When You Close Your Eyes

17: One At A Time

“Are you sure that you don’t mind looking after them for a couple of hours, Belle?” Shakira posed as she padded into the living room, her dark eyes peeking back towards Isabelle who followed after her. It had been impromptu, Shakira’s arrival at her home had caught Isabelle more than a little off guard, but when Shakira had explained the situation, Isabelle had been more than happy to help out, even if she had planned on spending the night curled up on the sofa with a good book, she had been more than happy to offer her assistance to her friend.

“I don’t mind” Isabelle noted softly “Besides, you gave Leo somewhere to stay after our fight the other week, so it is the least I can do” she added, offering her friend a soft smile.

“How are things between the two of you now?” Shakira posed as she padded a little further into the room, settling the bag she carried on her shoulder down on the coffee table. She didn’t want to push, if she knew anything about Isabelle and Lionel, it was that they liked to keep things between the two of them, but she wanted to make sure that things were getting better. The last thing anyone wanted to see was the two of them break up.

Isabelle quirked a soft smile before she cocked her shoulder slightly. “It’s getting there” she noted softly.

Shakira noted the smile on her face and shook her head. “It’s that good?” she posed, a playful grin on her face.

“It’s getting there” Isabelle repeated softly “I mean, we’re both aware that it’s not going to be a quick fix, but since that fight, we’ve been getting along a lot better and I think it is good. I think we’re good” she added, a sheepish smile on her face. She didn’t want to get ahead of herself, whilst things were better between the two of them, she knew that there was still a little way to go, but she couldn’t help but be a little hopeful. She liked the way things were between them.

Shakira admired the bright expression on her face for a couple of seconds before she shook her head. “I’m glad” she enthused “You two are wonderful together” she added kindly before Gerard padded into the room, Lionel following along behind him.

“Are you ready to go?” the defender quipped, moving to settle Milan down onto his feet.

Shakira nodded. “I am” she confirmed softly “We shouldn’t be gone for too long. If the two of you need anything…”

“We’ll call you” Lionel mused softly “But I am sure that we’ll be fine” he added softly.

Shakira offered him a soft look before she stepped forwards, pressing a soft kiss against both of her sons’ foreheads before she padded out of the room.

“Are you two sure that you don’t mind giving up your night?” Gerard posed as he padded towards the door.

Isabelle shook her head. “Not at all” she mused softly “You have fun at dinner with your parents” she added, offering him a teasing smile.

Gerard rolled his eyes playfully before he ducked out of the room, something which made Isabelle giggle.

“Are they both asleep now?”

Lionel, who’d been reading a story to Milan, startled a little at the sound of Isabelle’s whisper before he lifted his head, offering her a swift nod. They had been at it for a little while, with Shakira and Gerard due to be back a little later than they had planned, Lionel had spent almost an hour trying to settle down the two toddlers, and he had to admit that he was glad that they were finally asleep. “They are” he confirmed softly “Though, it took a lot of work. It’s very easy to see that they’re related to Gerard” he added teasingly, pushing himself up to his feet.

Isabelle rolled her eyes a little before she took his hand, carefully leading him through towards the kitchen so that they didn’t disturb the two sleeping toddlers. “You know, you were pretty great with them tonight” she mused quietly.

Lionel, who’d moved to sit at the counter, tilted his head. “You sound surprised” he quipped, a cheeky smile on his face.

Isabelle, who’d moved to sit at his side, shook her head. “Not at all” she quipped “I’ve seen you with your nieces and nephews before, but I think it is very cute. You’re going to make a pretty amazing papa one day” she added shyly.

Lionel smiled a little at the nervousness in her voice before he shook his head, his arm snaking around her waist. “I’d love that, you know” he mumbled, pressing a soft kiss against the material of her sweater which covered her shoulder.

Isabelle tilted her head. “You would?” she posed softly.

“One day” Lionel mused, nodding a little “I mean, I think you’d look pretty spectacular with a bump, but we should take this one step at a time, Isa” he added, pressing another kiss against her shoulder.

“One at a time?” Isabelle posed, her voice quiet and soft.

Lionel nodded his head softly. “I know we’ve been doing this for a while now, but with the bumps we’ve had, I’d prefer it if we didn’t try to do everything at once. I want everything you do, Isa, and you’d have known if you’d just asked me, but now we’re on the same page, I still don’t think there’s a need to rush us. We’ll have been together four years in January and I think I’d still like to take our time over us. We’re in no hurry, mi amor” he mumbled, pressing a couple of quick kisses against her neck. He knew that they were on the same page, the conversations that they had had since their fight had confided it, but still he wanted them to take their time, not wanting to rush into things that they might regret.

Isabelle closed her eyes a little at the feeling of his lips against her neck before she nodded her head. “You’re probably right” she conceded softly.

“I often am” Lionel quipped impishly “But, seriously, there’s not need to hurry us, Isa. We’ve not been great lately, we both know it, but the last couple of weeks have been good and I just want us to keep doing what we’re doing. When this works, it works well” he added, kissing the same spot on her neck gently.

Isabelle smiled a little at his words before she shifted her hand, tilting his head so that she could press a soft kiss against his lips. She knew that he had a point, if they rushed things between them, there was a strong chance that they could end up messing up, and that was the last thing she wanted, even if she did want them to make steps forwards, she didn’t want them to rush things and end up hurting one another.