When You Close Your Eyes

26: Better Than The Last

Carefully smoothing out the material of the dress she wore, Isabelle quirked a soft smile, her blue eyes studying her reflection in the mirror which stood ahead of her.

It had been a few days, after they’d shared the news of the engagement with their families, they’d travelled back to Barcelona, and with it being New Year’s Eve, they’d opted to head to a party that Gerard was throwing, something which had Isabelle a little excited, even if Luis Enrique had insisted that the celebrations were to be quiet and subdued, Isabelle was looking forwards to spending a little time with Lionel’s friends.

Straightening her dress a little more, she spared her appearance another gander before she padded away from the mirror, moving to collect the pair of shoes she’d left beside the bed.

“Are you sure that you still want to come with me tonight?”

Isabelle, who’d moved to pull her shoes onto her feet, startled a little at sound of Lionel’s voice before she lifted her head, offering him a soft smile. “You don’t want me to come?” she quipped softly.

Lionel, who stood in the door way, rolled his eyes a little before he shook his head. “You know that I’d love you to come” he noted softly “But as soon as you walk through the door, people are going to spot that” he added, gesturing towards her hand gently “And I know that you’re not the biggest fan of people making a fuss of you, something they inevitably will once the words ‘Leo proposed’ fall out of your mouth” he added, his tone soft and thoughtful.

Isabelle smiled a little at the soft tone of his voice before she carefully pushed herself to her feet, moving to wrap her arms softly around his neck. “You’re very sweet for worrying” she murmured softly “But I think I can handle it. Our parents know, Leo, our siblings too, and it’s only going to be a matter of time before everyone else figures it out too” she added, her fingertips gently messing with the dark hair at the back of his neck.

She knew that he was a little nervous, since they’d arrived back in Barcelona, he had been a little protective of her, and whilst she found it sweet, she wanted to reassure him that she would be fine, even if people were likely to make a fuss, she knew it wasn’t something they could hide forever.

Lionel offered her a slightly dubious look, wordlessly asking if she was sure, before he nodded his head. “Ok” he enthused softly.

Isabelle quirked another soft smile before she ducked forwards, pressing a soft kiss against his lips. “You know” she mumbled between soft kisses “I love you” she added impishly.

Lionel spared a soft laugh before he shook his head. “I love you too” he mused softly.

Isabelle pressed another brief kiss against his lips before she stepped away from him, moving to collect her jacket which sat on the bed.

Lionel watched her for a couple of seconds before he stepped towards her, taking the coat out of her hands before he carefully moved to wrap it around her shoulders, a soft smile on his face. It still felt a little odd, the idea that he and Isabelle were engaged was still a little unfamiliar to him, but he was sure that he would get used to it, even if they did take their time when it came to making plans, he was sure that they’d grow used to the idea that they were more than just boyfriend and girlfriend.

“So, Isabelle, how was the vacation?”

Isabelle, who’d been sipping on her glass of orange juice, startled a little at the sound of Gerard’s voice before she lifted her head, offering the tall defender a soft smile. It had been a good night, even despite the restrictions that had been imposed, the party had been a good one, and Isabelle was glad that she had gone along with Lionel, even if she was still a little nervous about someone spotting the ring that sat on her finger, she had enjoyed spending time with his friends.

“It was nice” Isabelle mused softly “I mean, it’d been a while since we’d gotten away together, just the two of us, and it was nice to have a little time out” she enthused, a shy smile on her face

Gerard, who’d moved to sit beside her, admired her smile for a couple of seconds before nodded his head, offering her a quirked smile. “I’m glad, you know” he mused softly “I mean, the last thing I want to do is stick my nose into something which is so clearly between you and Leo, but I am glad that the two of you are trying to figure things out. I know he probably doesn’t say it enough, but he’s pretty smitten with you” he teased softly.

He knew that it wasn’t his place, whatever happened between Isabelle and Lionel was between the two of them, but he was glad to see that they were trying to figure things out, even if it did take them a little time and effort, he was sure that it would work out for the two of them in the long run.

Isabelle’s cheeks warmed a little at his words before she shook her head, her fingers gently moving to tuck a strand of blonde hair behind her ear.

Gerard quirked a bright grin at the blush on her cheeks before his blue eyes spotted the ring which sat on her finger, something which made him squeak a little in surprise. “You…Leo…” he babbled softly.

Isabelle blinked, slightly caught off guard by his babbling, before she shook her head, a soft smile on her face. “He didn’t mention it?” she quipped impishly.

Gerard rolled his eyes a little before he shook his head. “He didn’t” he murmured “He actually asked?” he posed.

Isabelle nodded. “He did” she confirmed softly.

Gerard was quiet for a second, mulling over her words, before he shook his head. “You and Leo, you’re engaged…”

“Engaged?” Shakira, who’d been padding towards her boyfriend, squeaked.

Isabelle, who’d been peeking towards Gerard, jumped a little at the sound of the other woman’s voice before she shook her head, a soft blush playing on her cheeks.

Shakira spared the other blonde woman a brief look before realization hit her, causing her eyes to widen a little. “You and Leo are engaged?” she squeaked, her voice a little louder than intended.

The blush on Isabelle’s cheeks darkened a little before she felt an arm wrap around her shoulder, causing her to peek up with Lionel who stood behind her, a warm smile on his face. “We are” he confirmed softly “Whilst we were away, I asked Isa to marry me, and she agreed. We’re going to get married” he enthused warmly.

The room, which had fallen a little quiet at the sound of Shakira’s voice, was still for a couple of seconds before a small ripple of applause started up, something which made Lionel smile a little before he ducked down, pressing a soft kiss against the side of her head.

Tugging the material of her jacket a little more around herself, Isabelle spared a soft yawn into her hand, enjoying the quiet of the garden that she was sat in. It had been a little while, after Lionel had shared the news of their engagement with their friends, she had spent a while fussing over the news with a few of her friends, but with midnight approaching, she had opted to duck out of the house for a little while, wanting a couple of minutes of quiet before the new year arrived.

Sparing a soft look across the garden, she allowed another yawn to fall out of her mouth before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached her, causing her to turn a little, her blue eyes settling on Lionel who stood slightly away from her. “This is where you got to” he mused softly “I was starting to think you’d ditched me” he teased, sitting down beside her.

Isabelle spared a soft laugh before she shook her head. “I just wanted a couple of minutes of quiet” she mused softly “People are pretty excited” she added gently.

Lionel nodded. “They are” he agreed “But it is a good thing. I’m pretty sure that most of them thought I’d never get the nerve to ask” he added, an impish look on his face.

Isabelle giggled softly.

Lionel marveled at the soft sound of her laughter for a moment before he shifted a little closer to her, wrapping an arm around her waist before he ducked his head, pressing a soft kiss against her shoulder. “I know that this year’s not been the best for us as a couple” he murmured softly, disturbing the silence that had settled over them “But I am sure that the next year…I’m sure that it’s going to be a good one for us, Isa” he added, pressing another kiss against her shoulder.

Isabelle smiled a little at his words before she shifted slightly, resting her head against his. “I hope you’re right” she mumbled softly.
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