When You Close Your Eyes

10: Is That What You Think This Is?

Sparing a soft look towards the door which stood ahead of her, Isabelle let out a soft sigh, her stomach turning a little at the thought of spending the evening with Lionel and her parents. She knew that she couldn’t avoid him forever, after she had ducked out of their bedroom that morning, she had been lucky to avoid him before she had left for work, but she knew that she couldn’t keep it up, even if she did want to avoid talking for a little longer, she knew that her parents would figure out that there was something wrong if she ducked out of coming home on time.

Sparing another look towards the door, she briefly contemplated walking away before she fished her key out of her bag, slipping it into the lock before she pushed the door open. Quietly, she padded into the hall, her eyes settling on her mother who sat at the foot of the stairs, pulling a pair of shoes onto her feet. “Mama?” she posed.

Francesca, who’d been focused on pulling her shoes onto her feet, startled a little at the sound of Isabelle’s voice before she lifted her head, offering her a soft smile. “I wasn’t expecting you back so soon” she mused softly.

“I got everything done earlier than I thought I would and I figured I could come back a little earlier than normal” Isabelle noted, trying to keep the slight hit of nerves out of her voice “Where are you heading off to?” she added, resting against the banister.

“Your sister called earlier and invited me and your padre out for the night with her and Samuel” Francesca explained softly “We’re heading out to dinner and we’re going to spend the night with her, meaning you and Leo can have the evening to yourselves” she added brightly.

Isabelle blinked a couple of times, slightly surprised by her mother’s words, before she quickly fixed a small smile on her face, something which made Francesca smile in return before she pushed herself to her feet, “I am sure that the two of you will have a lovely night” she enthused softly “I mean, he’s been preparing dinner for you and everything” she added, offering her daughter an impish grin.

Isabelle admired the smile on her mother’s face for a couple of seconds before she ducked her head, her cheeks tinting a little pink. She knew what was coming, as soon as her mother had explained that she and Marco were heading out for the night, she had known that Lionel would use it as an opportunity, but she had to admit that she was a little touched that he was making such an effort, even if dinner was likely to be slightly tense and awkward, she found it sweet that he prepared to make an effort.

Francesca noted the blush on her daughter’s cheeks before she shook her head, moving to press a soft kiss against the warm skin. “Have a good night, sweetheart” she enthused softly before she padded out of the room.

Isabelle watched after her for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, padding into the kitchen where Lionel stood, stirring a pot of food which stood on top of the stove. Quirking a soft smile, she watched him for a couple of seconds before she shook her head. “Leo?” she posed softly.

Lionel, who was concentrated on the food ahead of him, startled slightly at the sound of her voice before he turned around, a tight expression on his face, something which made Isabelle’s stomach twitch a little. “Dinner should be ready in a few minutes” he noted softly “Do you mind setting the table?” he added, turning back towards the stove.

Isabelle watched him for a couple of seconds before she nodded her head, moving to collect two plates from the cupboard. She knew that there was no avoiding it, with her mother and father out for the night, she knew that Lionel would want to take the opportunity to have the conversation that she had been avoiding, but part of her had been hoping to duck away from it for a little longer, even if she knew that it had to happen eventually, she had wanted to put it off for a little longer.

“How was work?”

Isabelle, who’d been pushing her food around her plate, startled a little at the sound of Lionel’s voice before she nodded her head, a small smile on her face. “It was alright” she noted softly “I had a couple of interviews that I had to do and an article I needed to get done, but it was good” she added quietly, her blue eyes peeking down towards her fork which pushed the last of her meal around her plate.

Lionel watched the movement of her fork for a couple of seconds before he shook his head, a small sigh falling out of his mouth. “You know, we can’t just keep avoiding the elephant in the room, Isa” he mumbled, his dark eyes peeking towards her gently.

Isabelle admired the soft expression on his face briefly before she shook her head, her teeth nibbling softly on the side of her lip. “What do you want me to say, Leo?” she posed softly “Things between us, they’ve not been good for a little while, and whilst last night was amazing, it’s not just going to fix it” she added, her blue eyes meeting his briefly.

“I know that” Lionel agreed softly “One night is not enough to fix it, but I just want to know what it is that is bothering you so much. There must be something, Isa, we didn’t just start to fight for no reason, and I want to know what it is. I want you to talk to me” he insisted before he shifted his hand, moving to settle it atop Isabelle’s which fiddled shyly with the glass which sat ahead of her.

Isabelle spared a glance down towards their hands for a moment before she shook her head. “Leo…”

“Tell me what is bothering you, Isabelle” Lionel interrupted softly, his hand offering hers a soft squeeze.

Isabelle chewed on her lip softly before she closed her eyes, a small sigh falling out of her mouth. “We’re not going anywhere” she mumbled softly.

Lionel blinked a couple of times before he tilted his head. “What?” he posed gently.

Isabelle took in a soft breath before she shook her head. “We’ve been doing this for almost four years and we’re not moving forwards like all of my friends are. All of my friends from school are married or pregnant, even Grace is getting married, and I…I don’t know that that is going to happen for us. I don’t want to be the girlfriend that insists on an engagement, or a pregnancy, I don’t want to push you into something else that you may or may not be interested in, but I thought we’d have moved forwards by now and the idea that we haven’t…it just gets me thinking” she babbled, her eyes fixed on their fingers which Lionel had moved to lace together.

Lionel mulled her words over for a couple of seconds before he shook his head. “It gets you thinking?” he posed, the tone of his voice undecipherable.

Isabelle offered him a shy look before she nodded. “What if someone better for you comes along?” she posed quietly.

Lionel allowed her words to hang around them for a couple of seconds before he shook his head, a bitter smile on his face.

Isabelle noted the smile and shook her head. “Leo…”

“You think that that is what this is?” he interrupted, his tone a little sharp


“You think that I would have dated you for four years, just to dump you the second I met someone else?” he added.

“Lionel, please” Isabelle protested softly.

Lionel shook his head. “I can’t do this right now” he mumbled, pushing himself up to his feet “I…I am going to find somewhere else to spend the night” he added before he pushed himself away from the table, moving to pad out of the room.

Isabelle watched after him for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, a couple of tears slipping out of her eyes. She knew that it was silly, after four years together, she should have been over the insecurities and worries that she had had at the start of their relationship, and she knew that by admitting them, she had hurt him, something she regretted.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)