You Loved Me Once

74: Be Cautious

Shifting a little beneath the duvet, Lionel blinked his dark eyes open, his ears doused by the soft sound of Alba’s voice. It wasn’t the first time, since she had arrived home, Isabella had proved to be a little temperamental, but it didn’t bother Lionel who’d grown to adore the sight of Alba and their daughter, even if it had led to a fragmented night’s sleep, he couldn’t find it in himself to be irked. Turning over slightly, he rested his head against the pillow and smiled, watching as Alba sung lowly to Isabella who cooed softly, her eyes fixed on her mother who wore a soft smile.

Lionel watched the two of them for a moment before he sat up a little, pulling Alba’s attention towards him. “Did I wake you?” she posed.

“No” Lionel mused “It was probably time for me to wake up anyways. How long has she been awake?” he posed as he pushed a hand through his hair, trying to straighten it out slightly.

“About 10 minutes now” Alba replied “She seemed to just want a little attention” she fussed, straightening out the baby grow that Isabella wore.

“She clearly likes hugs, just like her mama” Lionel grinned as he leant over, carefully collecting Isabella who let out a soft whine, not liking leaving the warmth of her mother’s arms.

Alba smiled at the two of them before the sound of her phone buzzing on the end table caught her attention, causing her to lean over and collect it.

“Another well-wisher?” Lionel posed, attempting to read the text message over her shoulder.

“It’s Shakira” Alba quipped “Apparently, she, along with Eva and Jess, would like the opportunity to come and meet Bella” she noted.

“Are you OK with that?” Lionel posed, dropping a kiss onto Isabella’s head.

Alba nodded. “I have no reason not to be” she mused “They want to meet our daughter, Leo, and a little part of me wants to show her off, even if I do want to be careful about who meets her, I am pretty proud of her” she fussed with a soft look towards Isabella.

Lionel smiled gently. “She is pretty beautiful” he teased gently “She obviously gets that from me” he added.

“Obviously” Alba quipped with a smirk as she pushed herself out of bed “Are you OK to get her dressed?” she posed.

“I think I can handle it” Lionel mused softly.

“Good” Alba smiled “If you need me, I will be in the bath” she added, pressing a brisk kiss against his lips.

Lionel watched her out of the room before he flicked his attention to Isabella, smiling as she shuffled a little closer to his chest. It still felt a little odd, even if Isabella was a couple of days old, it still felt strange that she was there with him and Alba, but it was feeling he was steadily getting used to. He’d adored Isabella from the second that he had seen her and it had only gotten stronger the more time he had spent around her.

“Who did Alba cheat on you with to get her beautiful daughter then, Leo?” Gerard teased as he padded into the kitchen, his hand slapping the Argentinian’s back in greeting.

Lionel shook his head. “You couldn’t just be nice?” he quipped “I’ve just become a papa” he pointed out.

Gerard smiled. “I know you have” he mused “And I came to offer my congratulations. From what I have seen of Isabella, she’s a beautiful girl, Leo” he fussed, moving to collect a bottle of water out of the fridge.

Lionel nodded, a fond smile on his face. “She is, isn’t she?” he posed softly.

Gerard nodded his head. “She clearly got all of Alba’s genes” he teased softly.

Lionel scoffed, something which made Gerard grin. “You know I am only teasing. She’s a beautiful baby, Leo, and she’s a lovely mix of you and your girlfriend. Congratulations” he enthused sincerely.

Lionel offered him a warm smile before he flicked his attention back to the newspaper that he had been reading, scanning the report of the match the previous night.

“Alba looks made up” Gerard mused as he slipped into the seat at his friend’s side “How is she coping?” he posed.

“Remarkably” Lionel mused softly “She and Isabella look amazing together and she’s already proving to be intuitive. She’s only a couple of days old, but already Alba looks like natural” he grinned.

Gerard shook his head. “You’re still excited?” he posed.

“It’s been amazing, Gerard” Lionel fussed gently “I mean, Alba got a little thrown off yesterday when her sister mentioned her parents, but she seems to be handling it. I can’t quite believe that she and I have a baby” he breathed, his face holding a soft grin.

“In fairness, if you’d asked me a year ago, I wouldn’t have put money on you and Alba being together” Gerard quipped.

Lionel smiled softly. “Neither would I” he admitted gently “But it worked out, so much so, I am contemplating asking her to marry me” he revealed softly.

Gerard blinked. “You’re thinking about what?” he spluttered, checking the doorway for anyone else. He had known that it was coming, for a few months, things had been more than settled between Lionel and Alba, but still the idea that the argentine was planning to propose worried the defender. It was inevitable, Lionel and Alba were supposed to end up together, but Gerard doubted the idea of marriage was on Alba’s mind, even if they’d been back together for over a year, and he didn’t want to watch his friend get hurt if Alba was to turn him down.

“It’s nothing concrete yet” Lionel mused, shaking his head slightly “But I’ve been thinking about it more and more and now Bella is here, it seems right. I know what I want, Gerard, and it’s Alba” he enthused with a grin.

Gerard nodded. “I don’t doubt that” he insisted softly “And I am sure that you’ll get there one day, but do you not perhaps think that this might be a lot?” he posed, checking the door way to ensure that no one was eavesdropping.

Lionel tilted his head.

“I know that you love her” Gerard insisted softly “And I know that she loves you, but this might be too much too soon and I don’t want to watch you get hurt should she say no. I don’t want you to mess up something that has been going along so well” he added.

“You think she could say no?” Lionel posed.

“I think you proposed before and hurt her” Gerard countered “And whilst I am sure that she has forgiven you, she’s not forgotten it. I am merely advising that you be cautious” he clarified softly before Alba stepped into the room, a soft smile on her face.

“Are you two going to hide in here all afternoon?” she posed as she moved to collect a bottle of water.

“Of course not” Gerard grinned “I merely want to give you a little space. Shakira, Jess and Eva seemed to be more than content to coo over Isabella, I didn’t think you needed me too” he quipped.

“You should come through, both of you” Alba cooed as she padded back out of the room, Gerard following after her.

Lionel watched the pair of them go before he let out a little sigh, his mind whirring with Gerard’s words. He knew that the defender had a point, he and Alba had been engaged before and the ending had been far from spectacular, but he hated the idea that that could cause Alba to turn him down. All he wanted was to move forwards and he didn’t want the mistake he had made to put the brakes on a relationship which had been going so well for so long.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)