When You Close Your Eyes

18: I Didn’t Know You’d Be Here

“You’ll be back in time tonight, won’t you?”

Lionel, who’d zipping up his holdall, startled a little at the sound of Isabelle’s voice before he lifted his head, his dark eyes peeking towards where the blonde stood in the doorway, her teeth gently nibbling on her lip. It had been a few days, after their latest conversation about their future, things between the two of them had been quiet and calm, and Lionel had to admit that he was slightly optimistic, even if he was keen to ensure that things between them moved at a steady and comfortable pace, he was pleased that they appeared to have put the spate of fights behind them.

“I might be a little late” he quipped, moving to collect his shoes from beside the dresser “But I will try to be back on time. I’d hate to upstage the bride and groom on the night before their wedding” he added, offering her a small smile.

Isabelle shook her head. “I highly doubt that either Grace or Sam would notice that you weren’t there” she quipped “But I know I would. If you’re late, I’ll have to spend the evening talking to my cooing relatives and I’d really love one night where there first words out of someone’s mouth aren’t ‘why aren’t you and that boyfriend of yours doing this yet?’” she added softly.

Lionel, who’d moved to pull on his over shirt, shook his head a little before he stepped towards her, pressing a gentle kiss against her cheek. “I’ll try my hardest to be back on time” he noted softly “But if not, remember that we’re doing this at our pace, Isa” he added, pressing a kiss against her other cheek.

Isabelle’s skin warmed a little before she nodded her head, offering him a soft smile. “I know” she confirmed softly “And I am glad that we are. I kind of like how we’ve been recently” she enthused softly.

Lionel smiled a little at her words before he ducked in, stealing a couple of light kisses before he pulled away, moving to lift his bag onto his shoulder. “I have to get going” he noted softly “I’ll see you at some point tonight” he added, stealing another brief kiss before he ducked out of the room.

Isabelle watched him go briefly before she shook her head, a grin perched on her face. It had been good, after the fight which had seen Lionel spend the night at Gerard’s, things between them had been wonderful, and whilst Isabelle knew better than to get ahead of herself, she had to admit that she felt better about them than she had in a long time, something which relieved her greatly.

Sparing a small look down towards her watch, Isabelle let out a soft sigh, sparing a small look down the street. She knew that he had warned her, with an away match that afternoon, there had always been a slight risk that Lionel would arrive a little late for Grace and Samuel’s rehearsal dinner, but still Isabelle was a little disappointed, even if she knew he would have tried his hardest to get back in time, a small part of her didn’t want to face the room full of her relatives alone.

Peeking down the street once more, she briefly scanned the passing traffic before she felt a hand land on her shoulder, causing her to let out a squeak in surprise. “Looking for someone?” Lionel’s voice quipped amusedly.

Isabelle rolled her eyes a little before she turned around, offering him a small shake of her head. “You’re late” she teased softly, a grin playing at the corner of her mouth.

Lionel chuckled a little before he shook his head. “I got back as soon as I could” he noted softly “Have I missed a lot?” he added, moving to push the door ahead of her open.

Isabelle shook her head. “They’ve only just ordered the first round of drinks” she mused softly, leading him through the restaurant towards the private room that her parents had rented out for the night.

Lionel nodded his head and followed after her, quietly padding into the room which appeared to be full of friends and family. “I thought this was supposed to be a quiet celebration” he quipped softly, his eyes surveying the room in surprise.

Isabelle admired the surprised expression on his face for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, a small giggle falling out of her mouth. “This is Grace’s definition of small” she quipped softly.

Lionel offered her a slightly uncertain look before Marco appeared ahead of them, a welcoming smile on his face. “I am glad to see that you made it, Lionel” he enthused warmly “I was slightly worried that Belle would spend all night outside waiting on you” he added, offering a teasing look towards Isabelle who rolled her eyes.

Lionel spared a small chuckle before he shook his head. “I couldn’t leave her alone all night” he noted “She’d never forgive me” he teased brightly.

Marco offered him a small smile before he patted his shoulder. “You two should come and sit down” he noted softly “My wife wants to get everything underway and I fear she will explode if we hold up her schedule for any longer” he added playfully.

Isabelle nodded her head in agreement before she padded towards her seat, Lionel and her father in tow.

Sparing a soft yawn into his hand, Lionel rested back into his seat, his eyes closing for a couple of seconds. It had been a long day, between the match he had played and the rehearsal dinner, it felt as though he had barely had a second to relax, but he was glad that he had shown up, even if it had meant spending the evening around Isabelle’s cooing relatives and friends, he had enjoyed seeing her relax and smile a little.

Pushing a hand over his face, he rested back against the chair for a second before he felt a nudge against his shoulder, causing him to blink his eyes open, peeking at Isabelle who sat in the chair opposite him, a soft look on her face. “You look tired” she noted gently.

“I feel it” he replied softly “It’s been a pretty long day” he added.

Isabelle nodded her head gently before she spared a soft look towards her watch. “We could go” she suggested softly “I mean, my parents and Grace, as well as her other two bridesmaids are spending the night at our place, but I am sure that they could make their own way back if you wanted to get out of here” she offered.

“You’d be Ok with leaving early?” he posed, stifling another yawn into his hand.

“It’s fine” Isabelle assured him “Besides, you look like you might fall asleep any second. We should go” she added softly.

Lionel offered her a slightly dubious look, wordlessly asking if she was sure, before he nodded his head. “I’d love to get out of here” he agreed gently.

Isabelle flashed him a briefly smile before she extended her hands out to him, pulling him back to his feet before she moved to collect their coats. Wrapping hers around her shoulders, she straightened out her dress a little before she moved to take his hand, leading him forwards a couple of steps before she accidently bumped into the man who’d been walking passed her in the opposite direction. “Lo siento” she mumbled softly.

The man, who’d been looking down at his feet, stilled a little at the sound of her voice before he lifted his head. “Isabelle?” he posed.

Isabelle blinked a couple of times at the sound of his voice before she looked up at his face. “Elijah” she breathed softly “I…I didn’t know you were going to be here” she babbled, her cheeks tinting a soft pink colour.

Lionel, who stood beside her, tilted his head. “Isa?” he posed, sparing a small look towards the tall man who stood ahead of him.

Isabelle stilled a little at the sound of his voice before she ducked her head shyly. “Leo” she breathed softly “This is Elijah, he’s Sam’s cousin” she introduced softly.

Lionel frowned, knowing that there was something else.

Elijah, who stood ahead of the couple, spared a look between the two of them before he shook his head. “I am also her ex-boyfriend” he noted softly.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, his dark eyes surveying the man who stood ahead of him, before he shook his head, his attention flicking towards Isabelle who offered him a look, telling him that they’d talk about it later.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)