When You Close Your Eyes

03: I Said I’d Play Along

Staring up at the ceiling which sat above his head, Lionel allowed a sigh to fall out of his mouth, trying to soothe the knotted sensation that twitched in the pit of his stomach. It had been a couple of days, after he and Isabelle had talked about what to do next, things between the two of them had been more than awkward, and whilst it irked him, he knew that it was something he merely had to put up with for a while, not wanting to make things worse between the two of them.

Pushing a hand back through his hair, he stared up at the ceiling for a few more moments before the sound of the spare bedroom door being pushed open reached his ears, causing him to turn onto his side, his eyes settling on Isabelle who had slipped into the room, the same nervous expression she had worn for days etched onto her features. Offering her a soft look, he spared another soft sigh before he sat up. “Is it time?” he posed quietly.

Isabelle nodded shyly. “It is” she confirmed gently “Their flight is due to land in a little while and I said that we would be at the airport to meet them, but, if you’d rather not, I can tell them that you were called into training last minute” she added, chewing on her lip slightly. She knew that there was no avoiding it, even despite their agreement to stick things out for another month, things between the two of them were awkward, and she knew that it wasn’t going to be shifted easily, even if they had agreed to pretend that the awkwardness didn’t exist when they were around her family, she knew that there was no missing it when they were alone.

Lionel watched her for a couple of seconds before he shook his head. “We both know that your madre would jump on that excuse in an instant, Isa” he noted, a weak smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

Isabelle admired his smile for a second before she nodded. “She would” she agreed softly “But…”

“I said that I would play along, Isa” Lionel interrupted, shaking his head a little “And that includes heading to the airport with you. Do you not want me to come?” he posed, moving to pull on the pair of shoes he had stowed at the side of the bed.

Isabelle nodded her head softly. “I would like you to come” she confirmed softly.

“Then we should get moving” Lionel noted, moving to pull his jacket around his shoulders “From what I remember, your madre doesn’t like to be kept waiting” he added before he padded out of the room.

Isabelle watched after him for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, letting out a small sigh in an attempt to soothe the nerves which twitched in the pit of her stomach. She knew that it was going to take some work, since they’d talked, things between her and Lionel had been unavoidably tense, but she hoped that they could at least pretend that things were alright around her family, even if they were still awkward when they were around one another. She hoped that they could somehow make it work.

Fiddling with the zip of the jacket she wore, Isabelle peeked around the airport terminal, her blue eyes searching for any sign of her mother and father. It had been a while, since the previous Christmas, Isabelle had only seen her mother and father fleetingly, and whilst she was nervous about the prospect of explaining what had happened between her and Lionel to them, part of her was excited to see them again.

Shifting her feet a little, she spared another look around the airport terminal before she felt an arm wrap around her waist, something which caused her to jump before she tilted her head, offering Lionel a quizzical look. It had been awkward, the car trip to the airport had been quiet and tense, and Isabelle knew that it was something that they needed to work on if they were going to make it through a month without someone questioning what was going on between the two of them.

Lionel offered her a small look before he shook his head. “Your parents” he noted softly “They’ve just collected their bags and they will be over in a second” he added softly.

Isabelle nodded her head a little before the sound of her name reached her ears, causing her to look up, her blue eyes mirroring those of her mother who stood ahead of her, a wide grin perched on her face. “Belle” she grinned softly “Mi princesa, it has been too long” she added before she stepped towards her daughter, wrapping her in a tight hug.

Isabelle let out a small squeak at the sudden hug before she wrapped her arms around her mother for a couple of seconds. “It has been a while, mama” she noted as she stepped back a little, offering the older woman a soft smile.

Francesca grinned at her daughter briefly before she flicked her attention towards Lionel, her grin widening a little. “Lionel” she mused brightly “It is good to see you again” she added before she stepped towards him, pulling him into a hug.

Lionel startled a little, slightly caught off guard by the sudden hug, before he pulled back, offering Francesca a wide smile. “It is good to see you too, Mrs…”

“Francesca” the older woman interrupted “I have told you countless times that it is Francesca to you. You’re practically family” she added before she pressed a kiss against his cheek, moving to talk to her husband who stood a little away from them, checking that they had collected all of their bags.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, caught off guard by the words that had fallen out of her mouth, before he shook his head, a small muted sigh falling out of his mouth.

“You OK?”

Lionel, who’d been peeking down towards his feet, jumped a little at the sound of Isabelle’s voice, before he lifted his head, offering her a weak smile before he nodded his head. He knew that it was going to take some work, things between him and Isabelle were more than slightly awkward and it was going to take some work to hide that from her mother and father, but he wanted to at least try and make it work, even if at the end of it he and Isabelle still made the decision to end their relationship, he wanted to give it the best shot they could.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)