You Loved Me Once

62: If You’ll Have Me

“Hey, you’ve reached Alba…”

Lionel let out a small groan as Alba’s voicemail snipped into his ears, a sound he had heard more than frequently in the few days that had passed since he had asked her to move in with him. He knew that it was a big step, excluding Alba’s pregnancy, his request to have her move in with him was the biggest step that he’d taken in their 10 month relationship, and he hated that she was pushing him away even if he had been half expecting it, he hated that she had been avoiding him.

Listening to the voicemail message, he caught the distinct beep before he let out a sigh. “Hola, Alba” he murmured “It’s me again. I was hoping you’d call me back after my last message, but clearly you either didn’t get it or opted against it. I just want to talk to you, nena, that’s all. Please, call me, Alba” he mused before he hung up the phone, tossing it onto the couch at his side.

“Still nothing?” Neymar, who had been collecting a few snacks from the kitchen, posed as he stepped into the room.

“Voicemail, again” Lionel returned, shaking his head.

“What did you do?” Gerard quipped, stealing a pieces of food from the plate in Neymar’s hand.

“What makes you think it was me?” Lionel posed.

Gerard shrugged. “You’d be mad if it was her” he noted “And besides, you’re pretty smitten with her, even if she had messed up, I doubt you’d hold a grudge” he added.

Lionel shook his head. “I didn’t think it was that bad” he murmured.

“We’ll be the judges of that. What did you do?” Gerard pressed, sipping on the drink that had been placed on the coffee table. It was impromptu, with the team’s final La Liga match of the season scheduled for that weekend, Lionel had opted to have a few of his teammates over for a small get together, but mostly it was designed to distract him from Alba who’d been distant with him for almost a week. It irked him, the way she had tried to put space between them, but he knew better that to push. The more he pushed Alba, the more she would push him back and that was the last thing that he wanted.

“I asked her to move in” the argentine mused with a little shrug.

“You did?” Javier posed, speaking out amongst the team’s mumbles.

“She’s going to have my daughter” Lionel reasoned “And when she does, I don’t know that I am going to be OK with her staying somewhere else with our baby. I don’t want to push her, I know she’s still trying to find her feet, but I thought it was the right time, something it clearly wasn’t” he mumbled, picking at the label on the bottle of water he held in his hand.

Gerard shook his head. “Do you blame her for being a little hesitant?” he posed as he leant forwards in his seat slightly.

“Honestly, no” Lionel returned, offering the defender a look “But I had been hopeful that she would be more open to the idea. We’ve been good, for the last few months, we’ve been great even and I thought, especially with the pregnancy, that it would be a step she was ready to make. I thought I called it right” he insisted.

“Has she not said anything?” Luis contributed from his spot on the floor.

Lionel shook his head, his fingers still pulling at the tattered label on his water bottle.

“Maybe she is just thinking” Neymar mused optimistically.

“Or maybe she’s decided that it’s a no and just doesn’t quite know how to tell him” Gerard pointed out.

Lionel snorted a little. “Way to be tentative, Geri” he teased feebly.

Gerard quirked an apologetic grin, something which made Lionel shake his head.

“You know Alba” the defender mused, trying to lighten the mood “She’s never been the most straight forward. Maybe she is just taking her time” he added.

“You don’t believe that” Lionel countered, not missing the look on his friend’s face.

Gerard shook his head slightly before the sound of the front door opening and closing caught their attention, causing Lionel to push himself up to his feet. “Alba?” he posed, stepping towards the doorway.

Alba, who’d been removing her jacket, looked up at the sound of her name, her eyes landing on Lionel who had his head tilted slightly. “Am I interrupting?” she posed, not missing his friends who stared up at her, curious expression on their faces.

“We’re just relaxing for the afternoon” Lionel noted “What are you doing here?” he posed, moving to pull the living room door to.

“I’ve not seen you for a while” Alba shrugged shyly “And I felt bad that that had happened. If I am getting in the way, I can go and I will call you later” she babbled.

Lionel shook his head. “I’m happy to see you” he cooed as he stepped towards her, pulling her into a soft hug.

Alba hugged him back tightly, her face leaning into the side of his neck. “I’m sorry” she murmured “I’ve been a pretty awful girlfriend in the last few days” she mumbled.

Lionel merely closed his eyes, more than content in their embrace.

“I’m sorry that I’ve been missing your calls” Alba babbled “I shouldn’t have done that, that was out of order” she added.

“Alba” Lionel murmured as he stepped back.

Alba sighed. “I was scared” she murmured.

“I know you were” Lionel mused “I knew as soon as I asked, but I think it is the right step for us right now. You’re going to have a baby, Alba, my baby, and when that happens, I would want both of my girls here, with me” he insisted, his fingertips gently tucking the blonde hair away from her face.

“I know” Alba murmured “And it does make sense that I move in here, but it worries me, Leo, more than it should, and I let it get the better of me. I’m sorry” she insisted.

Lionel shook his head. “I don’t blame you” he insisted with a small smile “But you have to know that there is nothing I want more than you to move in here with me, Alba. I messed up before, we both know it, but this time is different, this time there is something more to lose” he fussed as he dropped his hand, resting it against Alba’s bump.

Alba stared down at his hand, not missing the hint of a smile that had appeared at the corner of his mouth, before she leant forwards, kissing him lightly. “OK” she breathed as she pulled back.

“OK what?” Lionel babbled, his thumb skirting over the front of her shirt.

Alba smiled “OK, I will move in here with you” she announced.

Lionel blinked.

“It will be a slow process, a few weeks probably once I hand in the notice for my apartment, but if you’re sure about this, I am willing to try it” Alba mused.

“You’re going to move in here?” Lionel posed.

“If you’ll have me” Alba noted, a shy smile on her face.

Lionel merely stared at her, trying to wrap his head around it.

“Kiss her”

Alba, who’d been staring at her feet, shook her head, smiling at the sound of Gerard’s voice.

“He’s too busy staring at her” Neymar contributed.

Lionel rolled his eyes. “This does not concern you” he mused as he took half a step towards Alba, offering her a small smile.

Alba grinned back at him before she stepped a little closer, happily pressing a kiss against his lips which earned a few cheers from the room behind them. Lionel smiled a little at the sound before he reached his hand behind him, pulling the door closed with a small thump. “You’re sure?” he posed as he pulled back, his dark eyes surveying Alba’s face.

Alba shrugged. “We’ll figure it out as we go, no?” she posed.

Lionel nodded. “We will” he confirmed. He was under no illusions, Alba was more than likely to be tentative with him for a long time, but he knew that it was something he was merely going to have to work with. He’d made the mistake of letting her go once and it wasn’t something he was in a hurry to replicate.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)