You Loved Me Once

50: It’s Not Easy

Checking the screen of her phone, Alba let out a small sigh, seeing that it was still devoid of a message from Lionel. It had been a long night, after he’d left the restaurant, Alba had tried to get in contact with him more than once, but each time she was greeted with his voicemail, something which had left her a little irked. She didn’t blame him for being upset, she had been deliberately coy and evasive with him, but she hadn’t meant to push him back. She wanted to think, to get her head around things before she tried to discuss them with him, but it had backfired, something which didn’t sit well with her.

Frowning at the empty lock screen, she let out a quiet sigh before she dialled his number, her spare hand nestling into her blonde hair. “Buenos dias, Leo” she murmured as the phone clicked over to his voicemail message “I know that you’re still pissed at me for last night, but I’d really love to hear from you. I’m sorry, Leo” she mumbled before she hung the phone up, tossing it onto the desk ahead of her.

“Trouble in paradise?”

Alba, who’d directed her attention towards her laptop, looked up, an exasperated sound falling out of her mouth as she looked up at Jess. “It’s nothing” she murmured “I was just a little stupid and he’s not returning my calls. I am sure that it will be fine” she insisted, her tone flat.

Jess shook her head. “I don’t think you believe that” she commented as she stepped a little deeper into the room, closing the office door behind her “So, why don’t you tell me what’s up?” she posed, taking the seat on the other side of Alba’s desk.

Alba shook her head. “It’s…”

“I don’t want it’s complicated, Alba” Jess interrupted “There’s clearly something I am not getting here and I want you to talk to me, something I think you need. Have you really talked to anyone since you and he started dating again?” she pressed gently. She knew that it wasn’t her place, Alba had always been intensely private, but it was clear that she was in need of someone to talk to, something she had lacked since her parents had turned their backs on her.

Alba offered the receptionist a look before she sighed, pushing her fingertips through her hair. “We were supposed to get married” she murmured.

“Married?” Jess squeaked.

“He proposed just after our 6th anniversary” Alba mused, the slightest hint of a smile on her face “It was beautiful, Jess, and I knew that I could only say yes when he asked. We spent almost a year planning and things were going along so perfectly until 3 weeks before the big day. I had been working and I stopped off at the store before I headed home and I found him sat there, his bags packed and a half written goodbye note in his hand” she muttered, her expression tightening a little.

“He left?” Jess posed.

“He did” Alba confirmed “And then, 6 months ago, we were both in Argentina for a friends’ wedding and we put things back together again, until last night when I messed up. I love him, Jess, I know I do, but when I think of a future with him…I’m terrified. I trusted him, Jess, with everything that I had, and he tossed that in my face. I never even saw it coming” she babbled, her voice growing heavy.

Jess, who was listening to her intently, leant forwards slightly, her hand taking Alba’s and squeezing it gently in an attempt to calm her down.

“I want to be with him” Alba sniffed “I know I do, but when I think about taking steps forwards with him, I am back in that room that night listening to him tell me that he didn’t know if marrying me was what he really wanted. I know it’s stupid, he’s made it clear that that was a mistake but…but it’s something that I don’t know that I can ignore. I don’t know if I can just let it go” she babbled.

Jess shook her head. “You want to be with him?” she posed softly, her hand offering Alba’s another firm squeeze.

Alba nodded, sniffing a little in an attempt to avoid crying. It wasn’t like her to cry over something like the small fight she had had with her boyfriend

“Then you need to trust him” Jess noted gently “And I know that that is not easy, not after last time, but if you want to be happy, you need to, Alba. The two of you are perfect together, I envy what you have, and I think you’d be a fool to throw it away because of one moment that happened years ago. I know you, Alba, you care for him, and I know that he makes you happy. You’ve been so loved up for months” she insisted gently. She knew that it wasn’t her place, Alba’s relationship with Lionel was her business, but she was clearly looking for some sort of guidance, something Jess wanted to offer her. She had been happy, for months, Alba had been the happies that Jess had ever seen her, and she didn’t want it to fall apart over a mistake that had been made years previous.

Alba sighed a little before she nodded her head, her fingers pulling at her shirt.

“Alba, you’ve been so happy lately” Jess enthused “And Leo? He looks at you like you’re the greatest thing in the world. It’s adorable” she fussed with a smile.

Alba shook her head. “He doesn’t” she muttered.

Jess scoffed. “Alba, the man adores you, anyone can see it” she insisted gently.

Alba’s cheeks warmed a little, something which made Jess smile. “You two are good together, better than good, and you’d be an idiot to let that go” she enthused as she pushed herself to her feet, making her way towards the door.

Alba shook her head. “You didn’t come in here for that, did you?” she posed, wiping her eyes a little.

Jess shook her head. “There’s a visitor for you, Miss Nunez” she grinned before she stepped out of the door.

Alba offered the ginger woman an odd look before she pushed herself to her feet, padding into the foyer where she spotted Lionel sat beside the window, his expression soft and a little unsure. “He bought coffee” Jess chirped as she stepped past Alba. Alba offered the receptionist another look before she took a couple of steps forwards, pulling Lionel’s attention away from window he stared out of, watching the street.

“Hola” Alba squeaked.

Lionel startled a little at the sound of her voice before he looked up, offering out the takeaway coffee cup he held in his hand. “Are you free?” he posed “I think we need to talk. We could take a walk or we could talk in your office, but I think we need to talk. Last night was…”

“It was my fault” Alba interrupted “And I am sorry. I shouldn’t have been so evasive” she insisted with a small half-hearted smile.

Lionel nodded his head before he offered his hand out to her. “You want to take a walk?” he posed.

Alba nodded. “OK” she agreed with a small smile.
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Thanks to Waking-The-Fallen and Jayme112234 for the comments :)