You Loved Me Once

78: It’s About Time

“Remind me why you didn’t want to come back to Argentina with me?” Lionel complained as he peeked at the screen of his laptop, his dark eyes trained on Alba who sat crossed legged on their bed, Isabella in her lap. It had only been a few days, with Argentina due to play a couple of world cup qualifiers, Lionel found himself in a hotel with his teammates, but already he missed Alba and Isabella, something the blonde couldn’t help but smile at. It felt a little odd, not having him around, but it was something she had been anticipating for a while, something which made Lionel’s pouting slightly more amusing to her.

“You wouldn’t have been the one who was sat on a long flight with a screaming baby for company” Alba countered “And besides, even if I had flown out with you, we wouldn’t have been spending our time together. You’re there for matches, and I would have spent my days cooped up in a hotel” she added.

Lionel rolled his eyes, something which made Alba giggle. “You’ve been gone for two days” she quipped.

“I know” he mumbled “But I don’t like being away from you and Bella for longer than a day and I miss you, no matter how stupid that sounds” he noted, pushing a hand back through his hair. He had known that it was coming, with an international break at the end of each month, it had always been a matter of time before he found himself away from Isabella, and as silly as it sounded, he missed her more than he thought he would.

“It doesn’t sound stupid” Alba murmured softly, a small smile on her face “If anything, it’s sweet, but it is only for a few more days. You’ve got the match tomorrow night and then one a few days after that and then you’ll be back here, something I can already tell Bella is waiting on. She misses her papa” she enthused, pressing a kiss to the top of Isabella’s head.

Lionel smiled. “That’s because she’s a papa’s girl” he enthused, grinning at the screen.

Alba rolled her eyes a little before the sound of a tap at his hotel room door echoed, causing him to sigh softly.

“You have to go?” Alba posed, a small smirk on her face.

“I do” he mused gently “But I will certainly be calling you and Isabella tomorrow. I love the two of you” he fussed gently.

“And we love you too” Alba smiled “Say adios to papa, Bella” she added, gently waving the little girl’s hand.

Lionel grinned softly at the sight before he closed the computer, padding over towards the door of his hotel room. It was late, with the team due to play a match the following day, a lot of them had opted to retire early, and Lionel was a little irked that someone had opted to appear at his door, even if he was still awake, he had been hoping to retire to bed after the conclusion of his conversation with Alba. Taking a breath, he placed his hand on the handle of the door and pulled it open, frowning a little at the sight of the hotel employee who stood outside. “Can I help you?” he posed, trying to keep the annoyance out of his voice.

“Senor Messi, there is a man downstairs asking after you” the employee noted.

“There is?” he posed softly.

“Yes, sir” the employee confirmed softly “A Senor Nunez is asking after you” he added.

Lionel frowned. “Are you sure that he said Nunez?” he pressed. It had been a while, after Calista had brought the topic of Alba’s parents up after Isabella had been born, it was something that he and Alba had avoided talking about, and he was more than a little surprised that the word ‘Nunez’ had fallen out of the hotel employee’s mouth. He had assumed that he would be the last person that David would talk to if he decided that he wanted to talk to anyone.

“Certain” the hotel employee quipped “He told me that his name was David Nunez and that he was looking for you. He claimed to be your father-in-law” he added.

Lionel offered the other man a look before he sighed. “Bring him up here” he noted gently.

The hotel employee nodded his head and skittered away, allowing Lionel to pad into his room, a knot in his stomach at the thought of being face to face with David Nunez. It had been months, since David and Annabella’s impromptu visit, he’d not been in the same room as the older man, and it concerned him that it would not be pleasant.

He worried David had only shown up to cause an issue.

Staring at the door of Lionel’s hotel room, David let out a sigh, trying to find the nerve not to turn his back and walk away. It wasn’t what he wanted to do, if he could have had his way, he would have continued to ignore the man that had broken his daughter’s heart, but from the second that Calista had appeared at his home, holding a picture of his granddaughter, he knew that there was no longer an option. He could see that Annabella was hurting, that Calista was too, and, as much as he didn’t want to make nice with Lionel, he knew that it was necessary.

Alba and Lionel were a package deal and if he wanted to make amends with his daughter, he needed to make amends with the man she had decided to give a second change to.

Eyeing the dark wood for a second longer, he let out an aggrieved sigh before he leant forwards, tapping his hand against the door.

“Senor Nunez” Lionel noted as he pulled the door back.

“Lionel” David muttered.

“You were the last person I was expecting to see whilst I was here” Lionel commented, his eyes peeking down at his feet shyly “Can I ask you what you’re doing here?” he added.

David sighed. “I wanted to talk to you” he noted, his tone a little firm “It’s about time, no?” he posed.

“It was about time months ago” Lionel countered, his tone a little stronger than he had been expecting it would be “You’ve missed out on a lot, including the first two months of your granddaughter’s life” he added.

David nodded his head. “I know” he muttered “And I want to talk about it, about you and my daughter. Do you think I could come inside?” he posed, his dark eyes mirroring those of the footballer.

Lionel looked around a little before he nodded his head, knowing that he couldn’t turn the older man away. It was something Alba wanted, even if she had never said the words, and if David wanted to make an effort, he had to too.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)