When You Close Your Eyes

35: Four Years And Counting

Patting his opponent on the shoulder, Lionel offered the other man a brief smile before he stepped past him, ducking into the away dressing room. It had been a tough game, with Barcelona’s form having been a little erratic since the start of the season, they’d needed a win, and whilst the game against Eibar had been a little tougher than he’d anticipated, he was glad that the team had won, even if he hadn’t gotten on the scoresheet himself, he was pleased with the performance.

Tossing the swapped shirt over his shoulder, he padded towards his spot on the bench, moving to pull his undershirt off.

“Aren’t you going to get that?”

Lionel, who’d been preoccupied by getting changed, jumped a little at the sound of Neymar’s voice before he lifted his head. “Huh?” he posed.

Neymar, who’d moved to stand beside the argentine, quirked a small smile before he ducked down, collecting Lionel’s phone from the side of his bag. “Your phone, hombre” he quipped, offering the argentine an amused smile.

Lionel blinked a couple of times before he took the phone out of Neymar’s hand, his dark eyes softening a little at the sight of Isabelle’s name on the screen. It had been a little while, after they’d agreed to postpone any talk of a wedding, a couple of weeks had passed, and whilst things were still a little odd between the two of them, they were getting better, something which pleased Lionel, even if there was still the occasional awkward silence between them, he was pleased that things were getting better.

Offering the phone a soft look, he quirked a brief smile before he excused himself, ducking out into the hall before he pressed the phone against his ear. “Isabelle, hola” he greeted softly.

“Hola” Isabelle greeted, her voice soft and warm “I hope you don’t mind me calling so soon after the end of the match, but I didn’t get the chance to see you before you ducked out this morning and I figured I could call and wish you a happy 4th anniversary before you got on the plane to come home” she added softly, the smile almost audible in her voice.

Lionel, who’d moved to find a secluded spot in the corridor, grinned at the sound of her words before he shook his head. “I thought about waking you” he noted softly “But when I got up, you looked so comfortable that I didn’t want to disturb you, even if I did want to say happy anniversary. I know how much you love your weekend lay-ins” he added, his voice warm and teasing.

Isabelle let out a small giggle, something which made the grin on Lionel’s face grow a little. “Can you quite believe it had been 4 years?” he posed, breaking the comfortable silence which had settled around them.

“I can’t quite believe we made it 4 months, let alone 4 years” Isabelle mused softly “But I am pretty glad that we did. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like us” she added warmly.

Lionel chuckled a little before he nodded his head. “I kind of like us too” he mused softly before Gerard appeared ahead of him, tapping his watch slightly, something which made Lionel sigh a little. “I have to go, Isa” he noted softly.

“I’ll see you when you get home?” Isabelle posed softly.

“Of course” he noted softly “Happy 4th anniversary, Isabelle” he added, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

“Happy 4th anniversary, Leo” she replied softly before she mumbled a small goodbye, hanging up the phone.

Lionel allowed her words to hang around him for a couple of seconds before he shook his head, a soft smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. he knew that things still weren’t quite right, the small spate of the awkward silences that littered his conversations with Isabelle confided it, but still he was pleased that they had persevered, even if it had taken a little work, he was more than slightly glad that they had made it 4 years.

Sparing a small yawn into his hand, Lionel carefully closed the door behind him, glad to be home. It had been a long day, between flights and the match, Lionel had barely had an opportunity to relax, but he was glad that he was home. Part of him simply couldn’t wait to settle down on the couch for a while.

Allowing another yawn to slip out of his mouth, he carefully settled his bag down beside the door before he padded through the house, making his way into the kitchen where Isabelle stood, humming along to the song which played on the radio whilst she stirred the pot of food which stood ahead of her.

Quirking a small smile, he admired her for a couple of seconds before he padded into the room, wrapping his arms around her waist, causing her to let out a small squeal which made him chuckle a little before he ducked down, pressing a soft kiss against her shoulder. “I’m sorry for scaring you” he mumbled softly against her shoulder.

Isabelle leant into him a little before she shook her head, offering him a brief smile. “It’s OK” she mumbled softly “I’m just glad you’re home. As silly as it was, I missed you this morning” she mumbled, her fingers gently tracing the tattoo on his arm.

Lionel watched the movement of her fingers for a couple of seconds before he tilted his head, pressing a soft kiss against her neck. “Feliz aniversario, mi amor” he murmured softly.

Isabelle smiled a little at his words before she turned, pressing a brief kiss against his lips. “Feliz aniversario” she repeated softly between light kisses “You should go and get settled down in the living room. Dinner’s almost done and I figured that we could spend the rest of the night curled up in front of the television” she added, offering him an impish smile.

Lionel mulled her words over for a couple of seconds before he quirked a small smile. “I think that that sounds pretty amazing” he enthused softly.

Isabelle offered him another smile before she nudged him out of the room, something which made Lionel chuckle gently, glad to be home.

“You know, you could just head up to bed, I’d really not mind”

Lionel, who’d been contently dozing on the couch, startled a little at the sound of Isabelle’s voice before he lifted his head, offering her a soft look. It had been a quiet night, after he’d arrived home, they’d spent a few hours simply curled up in front of a couple of films, and whilst it hadn’t been the most romantic way to celebrate their 4th anniversary, Lionel had to admit that he had enjoyed it. He had liked having the opportunity to simply relax with Isabelle.

Isabelle, who’d been curled up at his side, giggled a little at the sleepy expression he wore before she lifted her hand, gently poking his cheek. “You look tired” she quipped “You should head upstairs” she added, moving to press a soft kiss against his cheek.

Lionel offered her a soft look. “Are you sure?” he posed.

Isabelle nodded. “I’m certain” she mused softly “Besides, I am probably going to be pretty close behind you” she added, stretching her legs out a little.

Lionel watched her for a couple of seconds before he ducked down, pressing a soft kiss against her head before he pushed himself up to his feet, offering his hand out towards her. “Congrats on putting up with me for four years, Isa” he mused, offering her a small smile.

Isabelle giggled a little before she knotted her fingers through his. “Here’s to many more years yet” she quipped, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek.

Lionel smiled at the contact before he squeezed her hand, wordlessly hoping that they had many more years together ahead of them.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)