You Loved Me Once

77: Better Than Before

“Are you sure that you don’t mind taking her for a couple of hours?” Alba posed as she peeked up at Shakira, her expression slightly uncertain. It had been a while, after their conversation about marriage, things between Alba and Lionel had been surprisingly good and with him having played his last match before the international break, they were headed out on a date, something which made Alba a little nervous.

It had been a while, with Alba’s pregnancy, she couldn’t quite recall the last time that they had headed out as a couple, but it was something that Lionel had been insistent about since Isabella had passed a month old and Alba didn’t want to turn him down, even if she wasn’t entirely enthused about it, she was sure that a night alone together would do them some good.

“Mind?” Shakira fussed “I live with 3 boys, I need to spend time with a girl every now and again” she teased, moving to collect Isabella from her car seat.

Alba shook her head. “I don’t want to put you out” she murmured gently “If you and Gerard have something else on…”

“We’re more than happy to keep an eye on Bella, Alba” Shakira interjected, offering the younger woman a small smile “Besides, I would never hear the end of it from your boyfriend if I let you duck out on date night. This must be the first date you two have been on since Bella came along, no?” she posed, a small smile on her face.

She felt bad, after her small slip up, she had worried that things between Alba and Lionel would fall apart, but she was pleased to see that they hadn’t, even if they did seem a little uncertain around one another on occasion, she was pleased to see that they were still doing alright, especially with Isabella around. She would have hated for the little girl’s parents to have fallen apart so soon after she had arrived.

“We have had nights in front of the TV” Alba mused, her finger gently twisting in her blonde hair “But this is the first date we’ve been out on since Isabella came along and I am…I am a little nervous” she admitted gently.

“You are?” Shakira posed, swaying Isabella a little to soothe the little girl who looked a little tearful.

“It’s stupid” Alba noted, shaking her head gently.

“It’s not” Shakira counted, stepping towards her a little “I know the feeling, but Alba, you have absolutely nothing to be concerned about. I’ve seen how he looks at you, how he’s always looked at you, and that’s not changed. You’re a beautiful woman, Alba, and Leo knows it too” she fussed softly.

Alba offered her a slightly dubious look, something which made Shakira shake her head. “I could stay for a little while” she offered softly “I could help you get ready, if you want of course” she offered gently.

Alba smiled timidly. “You’d not mind that?” she posed gently.

“Not even slightly” Shakira enthused “It’s the least I can do about the moment I caused for you both the other week” she added.

Alba shook her head. “You don’t need to apologise for that” she noted as she moved to take Isabella into her arms, allowing the little girl to cuddle into her shoulder. “You didn’t know” she added.

“I know” Shakira sighed “But I still feel bad for it. I should have just kept quiet” she added.

Alba shook her head. “You’re fine” she insisted with a small smile “Me and Leo, we had a good conversation and we’re fine. If anything, I think I feel a little better about us than I did before” she enthused as she padded towards the stairs.

It had been coming, from the outset of their second relationship, both she and Lionel had needed to lay everything about their breakup out and talk about it, and whilst she had hoped to put it off for a little while, Shakira’s intervention had led to a conversation that had needed to happen. It was the elephant in the room and with a little push, it was finally out of the way, something which made Alba a little more confident that her and Lionel’s relationship was going the right way.


“Alba?” Lionel posed as he padded into the house, his dark eyes searching for any sign of his girlfriend. It had taken a little while, with Isabella due to spend at least part of the night with Gerard and Shakira, Lionel had spent a lot of the day ensuring that he had the perfect date planned for his girlfriend, and he was excited to show her what he had come up with.

He wanted to make it special, with Alba’s pregnancy reaching its latter stages, they’d been forced to do something a little quieter when it came to their first anniversary, but with Isabella having arrived, he wanted to make more of a fuss, something he hadn’t had the chance to do since he and Alba had gotten back together. He knew that it wasn’t her style, when they’d been together before, Alba had always preferred a thoughtful dinner at home rather than having the stops pulled out for her, but Lionel wanted to fuss a little. He wanted to show her that what they had between them meant a lot to him.

“She’s just finding a pair of shoes” Shakira mused as she padded into the hall, Isabella’s car seat held in her hand “She should be with you in a second” she added.

Lionel nodded quietly.

“She looks amazing, Leo” Shakira smiled “You’re a lucky guy” she added, patting his shoulder as she moved to leave.

Lionel watched after her before he heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs, pulling his attention to Alba who moved towards him, a shy smile on her face. “Wow” he squeaked, his dark eyes wandering up and down her petite frame.

“I don’t look stupid then?” Alba teased softly as she reached the foot of his stairs.

“Not at all” Lionel squeaked gently, offering her a small smile “You look amazing” he noted gently.

Alba offered him a slightly bashful smile before she moved to collect her jacket, something he was quick to take out of her hand, helping to wrap it around her shoulders. “You’re still OK to come with me?” he posed softly.

“You have spent the whole day planning” Alba countered “And whilst I don’t love the idea of going out, I’ll do it for you. It just means you’re going to be in charge of Bella’s night feed when we get home” she mused with an impish grin.

Lionel rolled his eyes. “You’d do anything to not have to get out of bed, wouldn’t you?” he teased as he took her hand.

Alba merely flashed him an impish smile before she ducked out of the house, pulling him along with her.

“How much further?” Alba complained as she followed after Lionel, more than a little irked by the hand of his which he had placed over her eyes. She had never liked surprises, ever since she was a child, she had hated being kept in the dark, but Lionel had always found it slightly amusing. She had never been good at being patient.

“You’re about 5 steps away” Lionel noted, carefully guiding her through the door.

“5 steps too many” Alba countered.

Lionel scoffed. “You’re the worst person to surprise, aren’t you?” he teased as he steered her around another corner.

“You knew that about me when you decided that dating me was a good idea” Alba countered.

Lionel rolled his eyes a little before he pulled Alba to a stop, carefully pulling his hand away from her eyes.

Alba blinked, trying to adjust to the light, before she let out a small gasp, her blue eyes taking in the setting around them. “You remembered this place?” she squeaked.

“How could I not?” Lionel posed “This is the first restaurant I took you to after you moved to Barcelona for me. Our favourite restaurant and, for one night only, we’ve got it to ourselves” he grinned.

Alba shook her head. “What is this for?” she posed as she turned to look at him.

“We missed our first anniversary” he noted gently “And we spent our birthday in two separate countries. We’ve also not had a chance to celebrate the arrival of our little girl. I merely want a chance to enjoy a night with you, Alba” he insisted with an earnest smile.

Alba shook her head, trying her hardest to keep the grin off of her face.

“I know you like this place” Lionel teased as he moved to pull a chair out for her “And I know you’ve not been here since we broke up, so why don’t you take a seat and enjoy it, eh?” he posed.

Alba smiled gently and took the seat he had pulled out for her, her eyes studying the interior of the restaurant. It had been a while, after she and Lionel had broken up, she had developed a habit of avoiding places that they had frequented when they were dating, but she was glad to be back. The small restaurant had been the scene of some of their best dates and she had missed it.

“You’ve missed this place?” Lionel quipped as he poured them both a glass of water.

“I have” Alba confirmed “The last time I was here was just a few weeks before we broke up. Calista was in town and I insisted on showing her this place. It’s always been one of my favourites” she fussed.

“Then why have you not been back?” Lionel posed.

“You know why” Alba countered, offering him a look.

Lionel nodded his head, catching on.

“I am glad to be here though” Alba mused, trying to lighten the mood.

“I thought you would be” Lionel grinned “And I figured we could use a nice date night before I fly out for international duty. You’ve not changed your mind about coming, have you?” he posed.

Alba scoffed. “You want spend hours on a plane with our six week old?” she countered.

“Fair point” Lionel conceded with a smile “But you and Isabella, you’ll come back to Argentina for Christmas with me, won’t you?” he posed.

“We will” Alba confirmed “But right now, do you think we can order something? I’m pretty hungry” she mused with a grin.

Lionel rolled his eyes a little, but smiled and nodded his head, his dark eyes watching Alba as she perused the menu. It still felt a little off, when they were alone, things didn’t seem quite themselves, but Lionel was confident. They’d been honest with one another, they’d talked, and he felt as though it could only do them good. He felt as though their relationship was merely going to get better.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)