When You Close Your Eyes

06: Nothing To Be Sorry For

Ensuring that her email had sent, Isabelle let out a soft sigh, moving to shut her computer down. It had been a long day, with a couple of deadlines to meet, she had spent most of the day cooped up in her office, and whilst she was glad that she was finished with work of the day, part of her was a little apprehensive about the prospect of heading home, not thrilled about the prospect of sharing dinner with her parents and sister.

Shaking her head a little, she carefully closed the laptop down before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached her ears, causing her to look up, and her blue eyes settling on Lionel who stood in the doorway, a sheepish smile on his face. “Leo” she noted softly “What…what are you doing here?” she babbled softly.

Lionel, who’d moved to step a little deeper into the room, shrugged. “I was passing by” he noted softly “And I figured that you might like a lift home. I can go if you’d prefer” he added, his tone caught between awkward and teasing.

Isabelle, who’d moved to collect her jacket, rolled her eyes playfully before she shook her head, a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. “I would love a lift home” she noted softly “Just let me get my things together and we can head off” she added before she padded around the desk, moving to stow her laptop into her bag.

Lionel watched her for a couple of seconds before he shook his head. “Are you sure about dinner tonight?” he posed, trying to break the slightly awkward silence that had fallen over the two of them. It wasn’t the first time, after the conversation that they had had about the prospect of them breaking up, awkward silences had become more and more frequent between them, but Lionel was keen to not let them settle, not wanting things between him and Isabelle to deteriorate further.

“I’d rather it wasn’t happening” Isabelle quipped, moving to lift her bag onto her shoulder “But you know my mother. If we don’t show up, she’ll end up asking a lot of awkward questions and I’d rather not have to handle that right now, but if you’ve changed your mind, I can probably make an excuse for you” she added, offering him a soft look.

Lionel admired the expression on her face for a couple of seconds before he shook his head. “It’s fine” he noted softly.

“Are you sure?” Isabelle posed, leading him towards the door.

Lionel nodded his head. “I’m sure” he confirmed softly “Besides, your madre texted earlier to tell me that she was cooking, meaning that they’re having dinner in our home, something which would be pretty hard to avoid” he added, offering her a slight smile.

Isabelle rolled her eyes playfully before she padded out of the office, Lionel following along behind her. He knew that she was nervous, her repeatedly asking if he was sure gave it away, but he wanted to encourage her to relax a little. They’d been doing it for years, their relationship was almost 4 years long, and he wanted her to calm down a little. The more she worried, the more likely it was that they were figured out, something he knew that she didn’t want.

“How’s it going in here?”

Lionel, who’d been wiping over the last plate, startled a little at the sound of Isabelle’s voice before he lifted his head, offering her a small smile. It had been a long night, with Isabelle’s parents as well as Grace and Samuel around, the night had been full of talk about the impending wedding, and whilst Lionel had felt slightly uncomfortable, he had to admit that he enjoyed himself, even if the notion of talking about a wedding did stick in throat a little, he had enjoyed spending time with Isabelle’s family.

“I didn’t realize that we’d used so many plates or glasses, but I think I am almost done” he quipped amusedly “What are you doing out here?” he added, offering her a small smile.

Isabelle, who’d moved to sit beside the kitchen counter, shrugged. “I needed a minute” she noted softly “I mean, I am thrilled for Grace and Samuel, but listening to them talk about their wedding…”

“I know the feeling” Lionel interjected, his smile saddening a little.

Isabelle admired the weak smile on his face for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, something which caused Lionel to settle the plate down on the counter before he stepped towards her, his arms wrapping around her waist softly. Isabelle startled a little, not quite expecting the hug, before she turned, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I am sorry, you know” she mumbled quietly, her head resting against his shoulder.

Lionel shook his head before he ducked down, pressing a soft kiss to the top of her head. “You’ve got nothing to be sorry for” he mumbled softly “I mean, I don’t quite know what went wrong, but you’ve got nothing to be sorry for, Isa, I am sure of that” he added, gently brushing a few loose strands of blonde hair off of her face.

Isabelle watched the movement of his fingers for a moment before she flicked her eyes up, mirroring his stare for a couple of seconds before she flicked her attention down towards his lips, briefly contemplating the idea of kissing him before the sound of Grace’s voice filled the air, causing her to tug away from him slightly.

“Are you nearly done in here, Belle?” Grace posed as she stepped into the room “We’re about to start discussing seating plan and mama said that you’d be the best person to help out. You know how organized you are” she added, offering her older sister a bright smile.

Isabelle quirked a small smile at the compliment before she nodded her head. “I’ll be right with you” she noted softly.

Grace flashed her sister another bright grin before she bounced out of the room, something which made Isabelle shake her head a little before she followed her out of the room.

Lionel watched after her for a couple of seconds before he shook his head, moving to pad back towards the sink. He knew that things were faltering, for a while, things between him and Isabelle hadn’t been as easy as they had been when they’d first started to see one another, but still the prospect of ending their relationship stung, even if they had opted to postpone it for a while, the idea that they were breaking up hurt. Shaking his head a little, he wiped the dish cloth over the plate which sat in his hand before he let out a small sigh, his mind wandering towards the small box which had been stowed in his sock drawer for months.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)