You Loved Me Once

06: You Thought It Was You?

Brushing the last of her blonde hair out of her face, Alba took in a breath, preparing to head downstairs and into the party that Oscar and Eva were hosting. She knew what was waiting for her, Eva had made it clear that Lionel would be there that night, but she wanted to take a moment to compose herself before she headed down and plastered a grin on her face.

She knew that she had to play the part, even if she didn’t speak with Lionel, she had to keep up appearances for Eva and Oscar, and she wanted a moment to compose herself. She wanted to at least pretend that she was irked by his presence. Checking her reflection over in the mirror, she mumbled a soft reassurance to herself before she stepped out onto the landing, making her way down the stairs and into the living room.

“Finally decided to make it downstairs then, Alba” Oscar teased, throwing an arm around her shoulders.

“I figured your fiancée would come and get me otherwise” Alba noted.

Oscar smirked. “She wasn’t far away” he quipped “But you should come and get a drink, relax a little” he enthused as he steered her towards the kitchen.

“How many drinks have you had, Oscar?” she posed, her eyebrow lifted a little.

Oscar scoffed a little before he stepped ahead of her, moving to hand her a glass of wine. “You should try and unwind, Allie” he grinned brightly “You’ve not been yourself since you landed” he added before he stepped away, moving to greet a few of his friends who milled around in the living room. Alba watched him go before she turned her attention to the glass in her hand, sipping at the red liquid slightly.

“He’s been like that all night”

Alba spluttered a little on her drink at the sound of Lionel’s voice, her eyes glancing up at him as he stood in the door way.

“I didn’t mean to scare you” Lionel noted softly “I just…I wanted to apologise for Oscar” he noted.

Alba shook her head. “You don’t have to apologise for him” she noted “It’s not the first time I’ve seen him drunk. The first time, he hurled in my handbag” she added.

“I remember” Lionel noted, a small smile on his face “It was the first time we introduced him and Eva” he added softly.

Alba nodded her head quietly, sipping on her drink.

“I’m sorry for the other day, Alba” Lionel noted as he stepped a little deeper into the kitchen “I didn’t mean to push you or upset you” he added softly.

Alba shook her head. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you” she murmured “It’s just…”

“I know” Lionel sighed “And I should understand that you don’t want to talk to me. It’s just odd, Alba. I know that I ended things, I know that’s my fault, but you’re still Alba, the little girl I grew up with, and I guess part of me thought that maybe…maybe you could overlook the other part” he explained haphazardly. He didn’t expect her to forgive him, if he were in her place, he knew that he wouldn’t have forgiven it, but part of him had been slightly hopeful, no matter how naïve it was. Part of him had hoped she would still hold some affection for the man she had grown up with.

Alba looked around the room briefly before she let out a small sigh. “I just want to ask you one thing” she murmured.

“You do?” Lionel posed, stepping a little closer to her.

Alba nodded. “I just want to know what changed, Lionel” she mumbled, her hands fiddling with her dress shyly.

Lionel lifted an eyebrow.

“I thought we were good” Alba babbled shyly “I thought that we were happy, and then you dropped that bombshell on me and you were gone. I’d love to know what it was that I did that made you suddenly want to throw all of those years away” she bumbled out.

Lionel blinked. “You think that you did something?” he spluttered.

Alba nodded. “I must have done” she shrugged “I just want to know what it is. I want to understand it” she insisted.


“Lionel, don’t pretend to care about my feelings” Alba interjected, her tone a little sharp.

“Firstly, I do care about your feelings, Alba, of course I do” Lionel countered “And secondly, what happened between us, that was all on me, not you. I thought I could handle it, the fact that you would be the only woman I ever dated, but as we drew closer and closer to the wedding day, I started to panic and I did what I felt was right. I couldn’t be the husband you wanted, Alba, not then, and so I left. I had to protect you” he explained.

Alba scoffed. “Protect me?” she muttered.

“Alba, you didn’t deserve to be stuck in a marriage that was likely to be doomed” Lionel noted, his tone a little frustrated.

“And you didn’t think to just say something?” Alba shot back “Lionel, if you had just spoken to me instead of jumping to the most drastic action you could take, we could have sorted it” she insisted.

Lionel shook his head. “You were excited, Alba” he murmured “You were like a little kid at Christmas and I couldn’t ask you to put it off. You’re right, I could have spoken to you, but you’d have merely talked me around and I would have hurt you and put you through a divorce. I didn’t want to do that to you, Alba. I wanted to protect you from what I would have inevitably done to screw up the best thing in my life” he spat.

Alba blinked.

“You were the best thing for me, Alba, you always were and you probably still are, but I know I can’t fix this. I just want you to know that there is not a day that I don’t regret doing what I did. I hate that I hurt you, Alba, I kick myself each and every day for it, and I hope that one day, you can understand where I was coming from. I wasn’t ready and I couldn’t ask you to wait for me to catch up with you, not when I didn’t know that I would” he explained softly. He knew that she was unlikely to be moved, if he knew one thing about her, it was that she had a tendency to hold a grudge, but he wanted to say his piece. He had thought it was the right decision, to hurt her then as opposed to down the line, and he stuck by it. Alba had deserved the best and in that moment, he didn’t know that it was him.

Alba mulled his words over for a moment before she shook her head. “All I wanted was you” she muttered “I didn’t care about marriage, Lionel, I didn’t care about a wedding. I loved you, you moron” she spat, her voice wavering a little.

Lionel’s eyebrows furrowed, not comfortable with the notion that he had made her cry. “Alba…”

“I just wanted you” Alba repeated softly “My friend, my boyfriend. Just you, Lionel” she added before she stepped out of the room, sniffling a little.

Lionel watched her go, her words ringing in his ears. “Idiota” he muttered to himself.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)