You Loved Me Once

05: You Know Him


Alba, who was huddled up against the pillows at the head of her bed, sat up a little, her blue eyes watching as Eva stepped into the room, her expression slightly unsure. It had been a few hours, after she’d made her way out of the tasting, Alba had taken to staying in her room, not interested in conversing with either Eva or Oscar who would inevitably want to talk about what had happened.

“Are you not even going to come down for lunch?” Eva posed, her weight depressing the mattress slightly.

“I would do, but I have no guarantee that that man isn’t sat down there. It does seem to be your favourite thing to do right now” Alba mumbled.

“He’s not” Eva noted gently “It’s just me and Oscar” she added.

“I’d believe you, but you’ve pulled that trick on me before” Alba murmured.

Eva offered her a look before she let out a sigh, shaking her head. “Why won’t you just talk to him, Allie?” she posed after a moment of silence “That’s all he wants” she added.

“And I all want is to forget about him, Eva” Alba countered “I want to forget that I grew up with him, that he was my first, that I wanted to marry him, but I can’t do that so why should I let him get his way?” she posed softly. She knew that it was petty, a conversation with Lionel was likely to diffuse some of the tension between them, but she simply couldn’t will herself to do it. The idea of talking about their past had a lump in her throat and she doubted that she would get through it without yelling or crying, something she didn’t want to do in front of him.

Eva sighed and stood up, padding around the room for a moment before she reached the bookshelf, a small smile forming on her face as she spotted a photo which stood on the shelf. “Do you remember this?” she posed, offering the frame out to Alba who sat up, reluctantly taking it.

“I do” she noted “This was 2009, Rome” she added, her blue eyes scanning the photo. It was a good one, Eva and Alba were grinning widely whilst Lionel kissed Alba’s cheek, his hands holding out the champions league trophy that he had won.

“A good night” Eva noted.

“Eva” Alba warned.

“I know you don’t like to admit it, Alba, but I know you still care about him” Eva noted.

“And why is that relevant?” Alba posed “Eva, this guy took my heart and tossed it out of a window. Why the hell should I give him the time of day?” she spat.

“Because you’re alone” Eva snapped “Because you’re always alone, you have been since he ditched you, and I thought maybe…if you talked to him, you could get some sort of closure. I am not expecting a miraculous reunion, Alba, but you’re 28 and I want to see you happy” she insisted.

Alba mulled her words over for a moment before she shook her head, tossing the photograph onto the mattress.

“You’ve barely looked at another guy, Alba” Eva noted softly “And I thought…I thought talking to him would do you some good. I want you to be happy, Alba, I want you to find someone to make you happy, and whether you like it or not, I think Lionel holds the key to that” she explained softly.

“I have dated” Alba mumbled.

“A two week relationship with your co-worker does not count” Eva pointed out.

Alba shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it, Eva, not to him” she insisted.

“But he’s precisely the one you do need to talk, Alba” Eva quipped, patting her legs gently.

Alba let out a slightly aggrieved sigh.

“Tomorrow night” Eva noted “We’re due to have an engagement party, a few friends, my family, and Leo. You could talk to him then” she offered softly.

“Do I have to?” Alba pouted.

“It could be your wedding gift to us” Eva mused, a teasing grin on her face.

Alba rolled her eyes. “You’re not getting anything else” she noted.

“I only want my best friend to be happy, Alba” Eva noted gently “And I think you’d stand a better chance of that if you and Lionel had a conversation. He’s not going to push you, Alba, you know that that’s not him” she explained.

“I thought I knew that” Alba muttered “But then again, I thought I was going to marry that man” she added, a bitter expression moving over her features.

Eva sighed. “I know he hurt you, Alba, but he is still that little boy you grew up with. The one who hugged you when you scraped your knee or made you laugh when someone ruined your dress. You know him” Eva insisted before she pushed herself to her feet, quietly leaving the bedroom.

Alba mulled her words over for a moment before she flicked her attention towards the picture frame which still rested on the duvet. Carefully picking it up, she settled it in her lap, letting out a small sigh as she brushed her fingers over the cool glass. It wasn’t the first picture she’d looked at, over the years, she had found herself looking at them from time to time, but still they made her a little upset. They had been good memories, days that she had adored at the time, but they were ruined. Almost all of her good memories were mildly tainted by Lionel, the one person who’d always been there.

Admiring the picture for a moment, she brushed her finger over Lionel’s face before she shook her head, moving to stow it in the bin which sat at the side of her bed. She knew that Eva had a point, she hadn’t dated for a long time, and she knew that she was right when she said that Lionel held the key to it. If she spoke to him, chances were that she could get out all of the words she had thought of after he’d left and she’d feel better, something she had done since he’d left.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)