When You Close Your Eyes

64: You Do Things In Your Own Way

Slipping his jumper over his head, Lionel moved to settle it down in his locker before he sat down on the bench, quietly moving to undo the laces of his boots. It had been a long morning, with Marco and Francesca’s arrival as well as training, he’d barely had a second to relax, and he was keen to make the most of the brief rest, even if he knew he couldn’t avoid heading back to his home for too long, he wanted a couple of seconds to himself before he headed home to spend time with Isabelle and her family.

Moving to slip his boots off of his feet, he carefully stowed them beside his locker before he pushed himself back up to his feet, moving to pull his training shirt over his head.

“Are you going to join us, Leo?”

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

“A few of us are heading out to lunch” the Spaniard noted “And we were wondering if you’d like to come with us. Are you free?” he posed, padding towards his own locker.

Lionel shook his head. “I’d love to” he mused softly “But my wife’s parents arrived this morning and…”

“Your what?” Gerard interjected, his expression more than a little surprised.

Lionel blinked, quietly repeating his words back to himself, before he shook his head. “Gerard…”

“Your wife?” the defender interjected “You and Isabelle… you two got married?” he added, his voice a little louder than he had intended.

The room, which had been humming quietly with chatter, fell quiet as all eyes settled on Lionel, something which made the argentine sigh a little before he shook his head, his dark eyes peeking sheepishly around the room.

“You and Isabelle” Neymar quipped “The two of you are married now?” he posed softly.

Lionel briefly contemplated lying, but opted against it, instead opting to nod his head. “We are” he confirmed softly “Whilst we were away on vacation, me and Isa, we decided to elope and we’ve been married for about a month now, something we were trying to keep to ourselves” he added gently, his fingers messing shyly with the tie of his shorts.

He knew that it wasn’t their business, whatever happened between him and Isabelle was between the two of them, but still a small part of him felt badly, even if he knew that his friends simply wanted him to be happy, a small part of him felt bad about having kept them in the dark.

The room was quiet for a couple of seconds before Gerard shook his head, a small laugh falling out of his mouth. “At last” he quipped brightly.

“At last?” Lionel posed, his eyebrow lifted slightly.

Gerard offered him an amused smile before he nodded his head. “We’ve been taking bets on when you two would actually get married for months” he quipped “I think Sergi had eloping” he added, gesturing to the younger Spaniard who was collecting small amounts of money from those who stood around him.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, trying to wrap his head around the defender’s words, before he shook his head. “You’re not upset?” he posed.

Gerard shook his head. “Not even slightly” he quipped “You and Isa…you two have a habit of doing things your way, and whilst we’d all have loved to come to a wedding, this way makes sense. It’s very you two” he enthused warmly.

Lionel offered him a small appreciative smile before the sound of his phone buzzing reached his ears.

“You should probably get moving” Gerard quipped “From what I remember, Isabelle’s not a big fan of being kept waiting” he added, an impish smile on his face.

Lionel, who’d moved to finish getting changed, rolled his eyes slightly before he pulled his bag onto his shoulder, moving to pad towards the door. “You’ll…”

“Of course” Gerard mused, cutting him off “Congratulate your wife for me” he added, offering Lionel another impish grin.

Lionel rolled his eyes once more before he padded out of the room, a small relieved smile playing at the corner of his mouth.

Sparing a small look towards the door which stood ahead of him, Lionel let out a soft sigh, his stomach turning a little at the thought of spending the afternoon with Isabelle and her parents. He knew that he couldn’t avoid them, even if there was a small amount of tension which still existed between them, he knew he couldn’t hide away from Marco and Francesca forever, but a small part of him was tempted, even if he had promised Isabelle that he would be home as quickly as he could be, a small part of him was tempted to duck out for a little longer.

Offering the door another look, he briefly contemplated heading back towards his car, before he moved to pull his key out of his pocket, slipping it into the lock before he pushed the door open. Making sure that he was quiet, he ducked into the hall before he pushed the door closed, allowing him the opportunity to slip his feet out of his shoes before he padded into the kitchen, frowning slightly at the quiet that filled it.

Pausing for a second, he listened to the quiet, before he shook his head, moving to pour himself a glass of juice.

“Isabelle and Isla have gone out with my wife”

Lionel, who’d been pouring the juice into a glass, startled at the sound of Marco’s voice, causing him to spill the drink slightly.

Marco, who stood in the kitchen door way, chuckled a little. “I didn’t mean to startle you” he mused “I just heard you come in and thought I’d come and tell you where they’d gone” he added, offering a towel out to the younger man.

Lionel took the towel and wiped up the drink he’d spilled before he turned around, offering Marco a shy smile. “Where did they go?” he posed softly.

“Isabelle said that she needed to pick up some nappies for Isla and her mother tagged along” Marco noted “I think they’ve probably gone to lunch too” he added.

Lionel nodded his head quietly, something which made Marco sigh softly before he shook his head. “I hope you don’t mind me prying” he noted softly “I mean, you can tell me to keep my nose out, but is everything OK?” he posed softly. It wasn’t the first time, since he and his wife had arrived, both Lionel and Isabelle had been a little quiet and it concerned Marco slightly, even if he didn’t want to pry, he wanted to ensure that things between his daughter and her boyfriend were as good as they could be.

Lionel, who’d moved to place the carton of juice back into the fridge, stilled a little at the sound of Marco’s question before he lifted his head. “Marco…”

“I know it is between the two of you” Marco interjected softly “I just…I don’t want to see either of them hurt, Lionel” he added, his tone warm and fatherly.

Lionel mulled his words over briefly before he shook his head. “Marco, I assure you, everything between me and Isabelle is fine” he mused softly “I mean, of course we still have our moments, but every couple does, especially one with a newborn around. I promise you, Marco, things between me and your daughter, they’re as good as they have been for a long time” he added, his tone caught between soft and firm.

Marco offered him a slightly dubious look before he nodded his head. “I’m glad” he noted softly before he ducked out of the room, mumbling about heading out to meet a few friends.

Lionel watched after him for a couple of seconds before he shook his head, a small sigh falling out of his mouth. He knew that Marco meant well, for as long as he had known the older man, he had always been protective of his two daughters, but still he hoped that he would back off a little, even if he was only looking out for Isabelle. He hoped that he would warm to the idea that Lionel wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)