You Loved Me Once

79: Not To Me

“Do you want something to drink?” Lionel posed as he padded into the living room of his hotel suite, his dark eyes glancing at David who followed along behind him, a tight expression etched onto his face. It felt tense, the idea of being alone with Alba’s father was one that had unsettled the argentine since he and Alba had gotten back together, but he knew that he couldn’t turn him away, even if he was concerned by David’s motives, he knew that Alba wouldn’t forgive him for not even hearing the older man out.

David, who was lingering in the doorway, shook his head. “I’m fine” he murmured curtly.

Lionel offered him a small look before he turned, collecting a bottle of water. “What are you doing here, Senor Nunez?” he posed.

David looked over at him before he shook his head, allowing a small sigh to tumble out of his mouth. “I want to talk about my daughter” he murmured.

Lionel nodded. “I got that much” he commented “But you’ve had months to call Alba, to come and visit us in Barcelona, I am merely trying to figure out why you’d show up at my hotel room door in the middle of the night whilst I was here for internationals” he added, his tone a little firmer than he had been anticipating. Lionel had never liked being around David, even despite David and Annabella being close with his parents for as long as he could remember, he’d always found the older man slightly intimidating, and he was a little surprised by the tone of his own voice. He had been expecting something a little shier.

David sighed. “My daughter wouldn’t talk to me if I called” he muttered.

“She would have done if you called months ago” Lionel countered “But now? You’re right, she probably wouldn’t pick up” he noted.

David shook his head. “I merely wanted the chance to talk to you, without Alba and Annabella. Do you think that that is something we can do?” he posed.

Lionel offered him a slightly dubious look, but nodded, offering him a seat on the couch.

David moved to sit down before he shook his head, another sigh falling out of his mouth. “I should have sent Annabella” he muttered.

“What do you want from me, Senor Nunez?” Lionel posed as he took a seat, his dark eyes peeking at the older man shyly.

“I want to make amends with Alba” David muttered “And I know she won’t listen to a word I say until I have made my peace with her decision to be with you” he added.

“What changed your mind?” Lionel posed “The last time I saw you, you were dead set against having anything to do with me” he pointed out.

David shook his head. “Calista came home from Barcelona with a picture of your daughter” he noted softly “She didn’t say much, but when Annabella saw the picture, I saw the look on her face. She misses our daughter, Lionel, and she’s itching to meet our first grandchild, something I know she is putting off because of me. I want to make amends for the sake of my wife” he explained gently.

“And what about you?” Lionel posed “Are you not even slightly curious about your grandchild?” he added.

“Of course I am” the older man snapped.

Lionel shook his head. “I have never stopped you and Alba talking” he muttered “If anything, I understand your hesitation about her being with me, but it has been 14 months, sir and whether you want to believe it or not, she is happy with me. We have a good relationship, we live together, and between us, we made the most amazing little girl. I am all for making amends, I know that Alba would love nothing more than for you and your wife to be around her and Isabella, but I am not going to put in a good word for you with her if all you want to do is cause a problem” he explained gently.

He knew what Alba wanted, she had wanted her parents around since she had discovered that she was expecting Isabella, but Lionel was hesitant. He wanted to make Alba happy, he wanted Isabella to have all of her relatives around as she grew up, but the idea of having David around unsettled him. The last thing he wanted was for the older man to cause an issue in his relationship with Alba which, aside from the odd hiccup, had been going remarkably well for some time.

David shook his head. “I have no intention of interfering with your relationship” he noted.

“You don’t?” Lionel posed, his expression slightly surprised.

“I don’t like you” David started bluntly “After the way things end between you and Alba last time, I doubt that I will ever trust you with her again, but despite that, Alba…she seems to be as smitten with you now as she was when you were first together and I have no right to get in the middle of that. You’re right, the two of you have got something good between you, you must do if you have made it last as long as you have, and I should have realised sooner that I couldn’t change it. I should have seen that no matter what I said, you and Alba, it was always going to happen” he noted, his expression softening slightly. He knew that it was late, Alba and Lionel had been together for over a year, but he knew that he couldn’t change his daughter’s mind. Regardless of what he said, Alba was always going to have some depth of feeling towards the footballer and as much as David may have disliked Lionel, he wasn’t going to change Alba’s mind about him.

Lionel quirked a small smile. “She misses you” he murmured gently, his dark eyes surveying the older man’s expression.

“I doubt that” David countered.

“She doesn’t say it” Lionel noted “But I know she does. She hated that you, and your wife, weren’t there when Isabella arrived” he insisted.

David sighed. “I can’t pretend that I am ever going to be comfortable with the idea that you and Alba are together again, but if you and I could figure out a way to be civil with one another, I think it would please my wife. I know that she wants Alba back in her life and I know she’s dying to meet Isabella” he insisted gently.

Lionel nodded. “I think that that is something Alba would like too” he agreed gently “But you have to know, Alba’s not going to make it easy on you or her mother. You hurt her, sir, a lot, and it going to take more than a few kind words for you to win her over” he insisted.

“My daughter has always been particularly stubborn” David quipped, a half-smile on his face.

Lionel quirked a small grin before he stood up, padding towards his bedroom, returning seconds later with his phone in his hand. “I have a couple of pictures of Isabella if you’d like to see them. I could even send you a couple to show to your wife” he suggested gently.

David nodded. “I would love to see them” he agreed.

Lionel offered him a small smile before he flicked through his phone, showing off the most recent picture he had of his daughter. “She’s just about 8 weeks now” he mused as he handed the phone over to David who took it, his dark eyes studying the picture.

“She looks a lot like Alba did as a baby” the older man noted.

“Aside from my dark hair, all her looks come from Alba” Lionel agreed, a small smile on his face.

David nodded his head, smiling gently at the picture on the screen. “I want to say sorry” the older man mumbled after a second of quiet.

“You should, but not to me” Lionel noted “I understand, sir, I broke your little girl’s heart and I am not expecting you to forgive me for that, but Alba…she thought that you’d trust her judgement and when you didn’t, it hurt her. She didn’t expect you to love me, neither of us did, but she was hurt that you couldn’t see that she was happy, or if you did, that that wasn’t enough for you” he explained gently.

“I messed up” David muttered “I should have handled it better” he added.

“Alba misses you, sir” Lionel mused “And I know that she won’t make it easy, but you should come back with me to Barcelona. You should come and fix it” he insisted.

David offered the younger man a slightly dubious look. He knew that Lionel knew what he was talking about, if there was one person who understood Alba then it was the forward, but still he was unsure. Alba had a habit of being stubborn, a lot like he did, and he doubted that she would welcome him or his wife if they were to arrive in Barcelona unannounced.

“I think you ought to think about it, sir” Lionel quipped as he moved to take the phone out of the older man’s hand.

“I will do” David muttered as he pushed himself to his feet “Thank you for not slamming the door in my face” he noted.

Lionel shook his head. “I merely want to work things out for Alba’s sake. I want her to be as content as she can be” he explained.

David nodded his head slightly before he jutted a hand out, something which Lionel was quick to shake. He knew that it would take work, Alba, like her father, had a history for being awfully stubborn, but Lionel wanted to do it. He wanted to give Alba the chance to make amends with her parents who, even despite her not saying it, he knew that she missed.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)