You Loved Me Once

46: The Proud Girlfriend

“Is she always like this?” Neymar posed from his seat, his eyes fixed on Alba who was sat in her own seat, oblivious to what was happening around her. It was mid-morning and with the Ballon d’Or due to be presented that evening, Alba, along with Lionel and a few of his teammates sat on a plane, preparing to head out to Zurich for the ceremony. It had been a last minute decision, Lionel had held out on asking Alba to join him in fear that she would say no, but with a half-day already arranged for that day, it had taken a little less convincing than he had been expecting.

Lionel nodded. “She takes her work seriously” he mused, admiring his girlfriend who messed with the wire of her headphones, mouthing her latest sentence to herself. “She was due to be in work this morning, but with the agreement that she would have her latest piece in by midnight, her editor let her off. I think she’s trying to get it done before the ceremony” he added.

Neymar smiled. “At least you managed to convince her to come” he mused “I am sure she will want to see you win” he added with a grin. It had been touch and go, with Lionel still trying to shield Alba slightly, the feeling had been that the blonde wouldn’t travel with him, but Neymar was pleased to see her at his friend’s side. He was sure it would mean a lot to the argentine to have his girlfriend present when he inevitably collected his 5th award.

Lionel rolled his eyes. “We don’t know that I have won” he commented, earning a small snort from the Brazilian “But I am glad that she’s here in case I do. It will be a good way to start the year” he enthused gently.

Neymar offered him another warm smile before he rested back in his seat, allowing Lionel to flick his attention to Alba, his fingers tugging at the wire which led away from her ears.

Alba, who’d been completely focussed on the screen of her computer, startled, letting out a squeak which earned snickers from those around her, none more so than Lionel. “What are you doing?” she posed.

Lionel smiled. “I was just trying to get your attention” he noted “I don’t think you’ve looked away from that screen since we got up this morning and I wanted to check you knew where we are” he teased.

Alba rolled her eyes. “Are you going to be this chipper and annoying all day?” she posed, saving the latest draft of her piece.

Lionel offered her a non-committal shrug, something which made Alba roll her eyes. “You’re a pain” she commented.

“I’m your pain” Lionel teased with a grin.

Alba tried to keep the irked expression on her face, but failed when Lionel leant over, kissing her cheek in an attempt to make her laugh. “I’m glad you’re coming, Alba” he mused as he rested in his seat, his hand taking hers and messing with her fingers.

Alba watched their hands for a moment before she offered him a smile. “I’m glad too” she admitted “I mean, I could have done with a little more notice so that I could get this article done, but if you do win it, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be” she enthused.

Lionel offered her an impish grin before he lifted his hand, allowing him to press a kiss to the back of her hand.

“You look beautiful, Alba” Lionel mumbled as he stood behind his girlfriend, his arms rested contently around her waist. She did look beautiful, the navy floral print dress she had opted to wear looked perfect on her, but he could tell that she wasn’t so sure. She had been quiet for a while and he knew better than anyone that that was not a good sign.

“You have to say that” Alba muttered, tugging away from him slightly.

“I don’t have to say a thing” Lionel countered “You look beautiful, Alba, stunning, and I cannot see how you can’t see that. You know what I think of you” he insisted softly.

Alba shook her head. “I don’t look odd to you?” she posed, her hands tugging at the material slightly. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, the dress she had picked to wear was one that she had owned for a while and one that she wore frequently, but it felt a little uncomfortable, something which made her nervous. It wasn’t her forte, the idea of having her picture taken was one she tended to shy away from, but she knew that that night she had no choice. It was practically an obligation that she stood by Lionel’s side as he had his picture taken.

“Odd?” Lionel pressed, a small frown playing at the corner of his mouth “Alba, nena, you’re glowing” he added, his tone insistent.

Alba offered him a slightly dubious look before a tap at the door echoed, allowing one of the event organisers to step into the room. “We need to get downstairs” the woman noted gently “We’re due to start shortly and the two of you are due for pictures beforehand” she added.

Lionel offered the other woman a look before he extended his hand to Alba, who looked at it uncertainly. “You’re going to be fine” he murmured softly as he ducked down, collecting her hand “You’re beautiful, Alba, and I am going to be beside you the whole time. You just keep looking at me” he insisted before he placed a kiss on the side of her, trying to calm her down slightly.

Alba leant into him slightly before she took in a breath, just wanting to get it over with.

“You have 5 of these?” Alba commented as she held onto the trophy that Lionel had placed in her hands. It had been a big moment, the second he’d stepped up onto the stage to collect his award, and Alba had to admit that she was proud, even if she was a little nervous about being sat at his side, she doubted she could have been prouder of him.

“I do” Lionel smiled “I’ve been lucky” he added.

“Or, you really are quite good” Alba smiled “I mean, they keep voting for you. You must be doing something right” she commented with a grin.

Lionel rolled his eyes briefly before he took the trophy out of her hands, settling it on the table ahead of them. “Are you feeling better now?” he posed, shifting his seat a little closer to hers. It wasn’t the first time, Alba had always been a little nervous when it came to being seen with him, but he wanted to reassure her that she had done OK. He wanted her to know that he was proud of her.

Alba shrugged. “I still don’t quite feel right” she admitted, tugging on her dress “But I am OK. I guess I was just nervous” she mused.

Lionel nodded his head before he ducked in, kissing her gently. “You have no reason to be nervous” he mumbled as he pulled away slightly, resting his forehead on hers “You’re easily the most beautiful woman in the room right now” he fussed.

Alba snorted, but Lionel didn’t let her get a word out, instead stealing another kiss. “You shouldn’t care what they think, nena” he fussed “To me, you’re stunning, and that should be all that counts” he added.

Alba mulled his words over briefly before she sighed, knowing that he was probably right. “You’re a great boyfriend as well as a great footballer, you know” she mused “I am a little proud of you for both” she added.

Lionel grinned before someone else padded towards them, preparing to offer him their congratulations.

Alba watched him and grinned to herself, more than a little proud of him.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)