When You Close Your Eyes

41: Don’t Doubt Me

Smoothing out the material of the sweater he wore, Lionel spared a soft look towards the mirror which stood away from him, a small sigh falling out of his mouth as he surveyed his reflection. He knew that he couldn’t avoid it, with it being Isabelle’s birthday, dinner with her parents and her sister was inevitable, but a small part of Lionel wanted to duck out, even if he did get along well with Isabelle’s family, a small part of him was slightly nervous about the prospect of spending time with them.

It had been a while, after Isabelle had visited her parents when they’d found out about the pregnancy, Lionel hadn’t seen Marco or Francesca face to face, and a small part of him was worried how they’d react to him, even if things between him and Isabelle were good, he was slightly worried that they wouldn’t be particularly welcoming towards him.

Pushing a hand through his hair, he spared another soft sigh before he padded towards the wardrobe, moving to collect a pair of shoes before he moved to settle down on the side of the bed.

“Are you nearly ready to go?”

Lionel, who’d been focused on pulling his shoes onto his feet, lifted his head at the sound of Isabelle’s voice before he nodded, offering her a weak smile. “I just need to put my shoes on and then we can go” he mused softly “Have your parents arrived yet?” he added, offering her a soft look.

Isabelle, who’d moved to collect her jacket which hung on the door of the wardrobe, quirked a soft smile at the slightly nervous tone of his voice before she padded towards him, settling into the seat at his side. “You know, you really don’t have anything to worry about tonight, Leo” she mused softly, her hand moving to take a hold of his which fiddled with the laces on his shoe. She knew that he was nervous, from the moment that had suggested that her mother and father would be in town for her birthday, Lionel had been a little edgy, and Isabelle wanted to offer him a little reassurance, even if things were a little awkward between him and her parents for a little while, she was confident that her parents would warm up to him again.

Lionel watched her hand for a moment before he shook his head. “I upset them, Isa” he mumbled softly “When you told me about bump, I gave them a reason to doubt me, and I am just…”

“You have no reason to be nervous” Isabelle interrupted softly, her hand gently squeeze his “Leo, my parents love you, even if you did freak out a little when I told you about bump, and I am sure that they’ll be fine with you tonight” she added warmly.

Lionel admired the smile on her face for a couple of seconds before he nodded, something which made Isabelle lean towards him, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek. “You’re going to be fine” she mused softly “And if they do try and cause a problem, then we can leave, but I am sure that it’s going to be OK. I think they love you more than me sometimes” she added, offering him an impish grin.

Lionel chuckled a little at her words before he nodded his head, offering her a small smile. “We should probably get moving” he noted softly.

Isabelle nodded her head in agreement before she pushed herself up to her feet, offering her hand back towards Lionel who quickly took it, offering her smaller extremity a gentle squeeze before he led her out of the room.

“Belle, sweetheart, you’re glowing” Francesca grinned as she stepped towards her daughter, wrapping her in a soft hug. It had been a while, since her visit to Bilbao, Francesca hadn’t seen her daughter face to face, and she was glad to see that she was looking so well, even more so with the bump which was just about visible beneath the dark material of the dress she wore.

Isabelle, who’d been sipping on a glass of water beside the bar, startled at the feel of the sudden hug before she wrapped her arms around her mother, offering her a brief hug. “It has been a while, mama” she mused softly “How are you?” she added, stepping back a little.

“I’m very well” Francesca mused “But I would rather here about you, Belle. How are you feeling?” she added, her blue eyes peeking down towards the bump that Isabelle sported.

Isabelle followed the line of her stare before she quirked a soft smile, her cheeks tinting a soft shade of pink. “I’m feeling very good, mama” she mused softly “The nausea wore off a few weeks ago, which I was more than glad about, and we’re due for another scan next month, something both me and Leo are looking forwards to. Things are going along very nicely” she enthused, her hand subtly brushing over her stomach.

Francesca watched the movement of her daughter’s hand for a couple of seconds before she opened her mouth to say something, only to be cut off as Lionel stepped up beside Isabelle, a sheepish look on his face. “Mrs Pereira” he greeted softly “It’s good to see you again” he added, his voice slightly shy.

Francesca offered him a look before she shook her head, a small smile appearing on her face. “It’s Francesca to you, Lionel” she mused softly “I’ve told you countless that it is Francesca” she added kindly.

Lionel offered her a slightly dubious look, wordlessly asking if she was sure, before he nodded his head, a small smile on his face. “It’s nice to see you again, Francesca” he repeated softly “I’ve just come over to tell you that our table is ready” he added gently, his dark eyes peeking towards Isabelle.

Isabelle offered him a light smile before she pushed herself off of the barstool, moving to following him towards the table that had been set up for them.

Francesca, who’d hung back a little, watched the two of them for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, a soft sigh falling out of her mouth. She didn’t want to cause a problem, for a long time, Lionel was something that had made Isabelle happy, but still Francesca was slightly worried, even if things did look good between the two of them, a small part of her worried that it still had the potential to fall apart before the baby arrived.

Sipping on the glass of wine which sat in his hand, Lionel spared a soft sigh, his dark eyes peeking towards Francesca who sat a little away from him. It had been a pleasant night, even despite his nerves about spending time with Isabelle’s family, both Marco and Grace had endeavored to make sure that he felt more than welcome, and Lionel had to admit that he had enjoyed himself, even if Francesca had been a little off with him, he was glad that he had gone along with Isabelle.

Taking another soft sip of his drink, he spared another look towards Isabelle’s mother before he shook his head, not missing the slight frown which played at the corner of her mouth. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” he posed, trying to keep his tone calm. The last thing he wanted to do was upset his future mother-in-law.

Francesca, who’d been pushing the last of her dessert around her plate, startled a little at the sound of Lionel’s voice before she shook her head, a soft sigh falling out of her mouth. “I don’t want to cause a problem” she noted softly “You and Isabelle, you’ve been doing this for so long and I’d hate for you to think that I am trying to mess things up for” she babbled gently.

Lionel shook his head. “Mrs Pereira…”

“I love my daughter” Francesca interrupted softly “And I know that you make her happy. I just want your word that you’re going nowhere. She’s crazy about you, Lionel, and then there is the baby…”

“I am going nowhere, Mrs Pereira” Lionel interjected, his tone slightly irked “I love your daughter, and I have no intention to going anywhere, and I am slightly offended by the idea that you think I could walk away from her, or our baby. I was clear with your husband, I intend to take the best care of Isabelle and of our baby, and I don’t like that that is in doubt. I know I freaked out, when Isabelle told me about bump, I didn’t handle it greatly, but me and Isa talked and we figured things out, and that ought to be enough for you” he added, his dark eyes mirroring the older woman’s.

Francesca offered him a soft look, briefly mulling his words over, before she nodded her head gently. “You’re right” she noted softly.

Lionel spared her a soft look before he shook his head. “I’m going nowhere, Francesca” he mused gently before he pushed himself up to his feet, moving towards Isabelle who was making her way back towards the table after saying goodnight to Grace and Samuel.

Francesca watched him for a couple of seconds before she shook her head. She hoped that he meant it.
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