You Loved Me Once

76: Give Me Time

Staring at the closed bedroom door, Lionel rested his head back against the wall, trying to work up the nerve to step inside of the bedroom. It had been a little while, after Alba had excused herself, Lionel had left at least half an hour before he had followed after her, but still he couldn’t find the nerve to step inside and talk to her. He knew that it wasn’t going to be pleasant, from the moment the word ‘wedding’ had fallen out of Shakira’s mouth, Alba’s expression had confided that she was nowhere on the same wavelength as him, and a part of him was dreading hearing it from her mouth.

Eyeing the closed door for a moment, he briefly contemplated turning and walking away before the door swung open, allowing Alba to step into the hall.

“I thought you’d run off” she murmured as she moved to lean against the doorframe.

“I was simply trying to come up with what to say” Lionel countered gently “I didn’t exactly want to walk in there and make things significantly worse” he added.

Alba shook her head. “I shouldn’t have walked off” she murmured “That was…I’m sorry” she added, her eyes fixed on her hands which fidgeted nervously ahead of her. She felt bad, by excusing herself from dinner, she had pulled attention onto an issue she had hoped that they could skirt around, but she knew that there was no avoiding it. The subject had been broached and Alba was almost certain that Lionel wouldn’t let it slip past without talking about it.

“It’s OK” Lionel mused “I didn’t know that you hadn’t told Shakira about last time” he added.

“It’s not something I want people to know about, Leo” Alba countered, shaking her head “The only people that know are those who were around last time and Jess who I confided in when I needed someone to talk to. I don’t advertise the fact that you left me” she muttered, offering him a small glance.

Lionel sighed. “I didn’t mean it like that” he murmured “You two are close, I figured it would have come up at some point” he defended gently.

Alba offered him a soft look before she stepped into the hall, moving to sit down beside the wall.

“I’m sorry that it caught you off guard” Lionel mused as he moved to sit beside her.

“It’s no one’s fault” Alba murmured “I should have figured that that question would come along eventually. We’ve been together what, 13 months now?” she posed.

Lionel nodded. “13 amazing months” he clarified gently, offering her a half-hearted smile.

Alba returned his smile feebly before she turned her attention towards the wall which sat across from them, a soft sigh falling out of her mouth. “I do want to do it, you know” she murmured after a moment of quiet.

Lionel, who’d been pulling at a loose thread of carpet, turned at the sound of her voice, his head tilted slightly. “You want to do what?” he posed.

“I want to get married, Leo” she murmured “I want to be the bride and get to walk down the aisle in the pretty white dress, it’s something I’ve wanted since I was a little girl, but when I think about doing it with you…it scares me” she murmured, her eyes not daring to meet his which she could feel staring at her.

“Alba” Lionel sighed, his tone soft but still frustrated. It was a conversation that they’d had too often.

“I was so excited last time” Alba murmured “I was so ready to put on that dress and walk up that aisle to you, and within the blink of an eye, that was gone. I was ready for it, Leo, for us to be a married couple, and it was over before I even really knew what was happening. I know why you did it, I understand it and I have forgiven you for it, but I haven’t forgotten it. You had no idea how much it hurt to have you tell me that you weren’t sure of us” she insisted.

Lionel shook his head. “It wasn’t just some spur of the moment decision, Alba” he murmured.

“How long?” Alba posed.

“A couple of months” Lionel shrugged softly “I started having doubts just after we picked out the venue and it simply got worse from there on out, culminating in that night in our apartment” he mused.

Alba nodded. “You didn’t think to talk to me?” she posed, still not turning to look at him.

“I thought about it” he murmured gently “But every time I did, you turned to me with your smile on your face and gushing over something, and I just shut up. I didn’t want to be the thing that made that smile disappeared” he admitted.

“And so you just decided to leave?” Alba countered “You weren’t even going to break up with me face to face” she added.

“I just wanted the best for you and when I decided that that wasn’t me, I decided it was better to just break it off and, like a coward, I wanted to walk away without having to watch you cry because of me. I’ve always hated the idea that I could make you cry” Lionel fussed, his hand moving to find Alba’s which still fidgeted nervously in her lap.

Alba nodded her head quietly.

“It was a mistake, Alba” Lionel noted gently “The biggest one I’ve made and I hate that I hurt you, and that I made you so unsure about this. I wish I could prove to you that there is really no where I would rather be than with you and Bella” he fussed, squeezing her hand softly.

“I just need more time” Alba murmured “I don’t want to go through it again” she admitted gently.

“Alba, there’s no chance of it happening again” Lionel insisted “This is it for me, you and Isabella, and I wish I could make you see that. Last time, it was an error, and idiotic one at that, but this time…it’s different” he babbled.

Alba offered him a look. “Excuse me for having a tough time accepting that” she muttered.


“You have to be patient” Alba murmured, cutting him off “Whilst I know you thought you were doing the right thing, you really did hurt me and it’s going to take more time for me to get to a point where I can consider getting engaged to you again. I am sorry” she murmured.

Lionel nodded his head. “OK” he murmured softly.

“Really?” Alba squeaked.

Lionel smiled softly. “You thought I would say something else?” he posed, messing with her fingers softly.

“I was half expecting it” Alba murmured.

Lionel laughed a little and pulled her hand to his lips, kissing the warm skin gently. “I love you” he murmured “And this is where I want to be, even if it does mean waiting around for you to catch up to me, there’s nowhere I’d rather be” he insisted gently.

Alba offered him a small smile, her head moving to rest on his shoulder. “I love you too” she mumbled.

Lionel grinned and kissed the top of her head before Isabella’s cries spilled away from the bedroom, causing Alba to groan. “She needs a feed” she murmured.

Lionel nodded, carefully helping her back to her feet. “I’ll see you downstairs in a bit?” he posed as Alba made her way towards the bedroom door.

Alba nodded. “I’m starving” she commented with a grin before she ducked into the room.

Lionel watched after her for a second before he shook his head, a small smile on his face. It wasn’t what he wanted, if anything, he was more than ready to move forwards with Alba, but after their talk, he felt better. He knew that he had to wait, Alba clearly still had some work to do when it came to fully getting over what had happened previously, but he couldn’t help but be a little optimistic. He hoped that the more they spoke, the warmer she would get to the idea of taking a step forwards with him.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)