When You Close Your Eyes

68: You Were Expecting More?

Resting back against the kitchen counter, Isabelle let a soft sigh fall out of her mouth, her blue eyes peeking towards the doorway which separated the kitchen from the dining room. It had been a little while, after Isla had stirred, almost an hour had passed, but still there was no sign of Marco or Francesca, something which both concerned and relieved Isabelle.

She knew that it couldn’t be avoided, with her mother likely to have told her father what had happened, there was no way that she or Lionel could duck away from a conversation with her father, but a part of her wanted to put it off for as long as she could, not wanting to listen to her father tell her that the decision she had made wasn’t the right one.

“You know, you could relax a little”

Isabelle, who’d moved to close her eyes, startled a little at the sound of Lionel’s voice before she lifted her head, peeking towards where he sat, Isla settled happily on his lap. “What?” she posed softly.

“You could relax a little” Lionel repeated softly “I mean, I’m not exactly looking forwards to having breakfast with your mama and papa, but you don’t have to look so tense. We made a decision, Isa, and it’s not exactly something they can change” he added, his voice warm and reassuring. He knew that she was nervous, from the moment that they’d left their bedroom, she’d looked more than a little shy and uncertain, and he wanted to encourage her to relax a little, even if things were likely to be tense. He didn’t want her to make things worse.

Isabelle offered him a soft look before she nodded her head. “You’re right” she quipped softly.

“I normally am” Lionel quipped, offering her a boyish smile.

Isabelle rolled her eyes softly before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached them, causing her to turn slightly, her blue eyes settling on Marco who stood into the doorway, an undecipherable expression on his face. “I hope I am not interrupting” he mused softly.

Isabelle blinked a couple times, not quite sure what to make of the tone of his voice, before she shook her head. “Of course not” she mused softly “I was just about to make a start on breakfast. Can I get you anything?” she posed timidly.

Marco, who’d moved to take a seat at the kitchen table, briefly mulled her words over before he nodded. “A cup of coffee would be lovely” he mused softly.

Isabelle nodded her head gently before she padded towards the kettle, flicking the switch on as a tense silence filled the room. Isabelle, who stood beside the kitchen counter, shifted a little before she shook her head, a soft sigh falling out of her mouth.

Marco, who’d moved to flick through the newspaper which sat on the table ahead of him, looked up at the sound of her sigh before he shook his head, a slight smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. “You were expecting more?” he quipped, his eyes peeking up towards his daughter.

Isabelle blinked, slightly surprised by the sound of his voice, before she nodded her head gently, her blue eyes mirroring his. “I assume you spoke to madre?” she posed softly.

Marco nodded. “I did” he confirmed softly “Your madre, when she came back to bed last night, she was pretty upset, but I calmed her down slightly, even if she is still upset with you. I managed to convince her that we didn’t have to leave right then” he added, his voice warm and calm.

Isabelle tilted her head, slightly caught off guard by the calmness in his voice, before she shook it. “Papa…”

“I am not going to yell at you, Belle” Marco interrupted gently “I mean, of course I am disappointed to have missed my little girl getting married, but I know that you didn’t do this to hurt me, or your mother. You did it because it was right thing for you and I can’t yell at you for that, either of you” he added, his eyes briefly peeking towards Lionel who sat beside him, a sheepish expression etched onto his features.

It had stung, the idea that he hadn’t been there to give his daughter away on her wedding day was something that hurt him, but he couldn’t be angry with them for eloping, even if his wife was more than a little upset, he couldn’t be angry at something which had clearly made Isabelle and Lionel happy.

“You’re not angry?” Isabelle squeaked softly.

Marco quirked a small smile at her question before he shook his head. “A little disappointed” he mused “I mean, I’d have loved to have been there to give you away, Belle, but I am not angry. You two…you were always going to get to this point and I am glad that you did it your way, even if I’d love to have been involved. You did it your way and it seems to have made you both very happy” he enthused gently.

Isabelle’s cheeks warmed a little at the sound of her father’s words before Isla let out a small whimper, something which caused her to shake her head gently. “I think someone would like her nappy changed” she mused as she stepped towards Lionel, carefully lifting Isla up in her arms before she ducked out of the room.

Lionel watched her go for a couple of seconds before the sound of Marco clearing his throat reached his ears, causing him to turn slightly, his dark eyes peeking up towards the older man who sat slightly away from him. “I am sorry, Marco” he noted softly “The idea of eloping…it came along pretty suddenly, but it was what made sense to me and Isa. I hope you can understand that” he mused softly.

Marco, who’d been searching his face, nodded. “I do understand” he noted softly “And whilst I am disappointed with the way it happened, I am glad that you and Belle figured things out. She might not say it an awful lot, but my daughter, she’s been smitten with you for a long time now” he added warmly.

Lionel quirked a small smile at his words, something which made Marco reach out, his hand gently patting the young man’s shoulder. “I don’t want to be a problem” he noted softly “You and Belle, it’s been good for a while now, but still…she is my daughter, Lionel, and I want you word that you’re going to do everything you can to ensure that she, and Isla, are as happy as they can be” he added, his tone fatherly and slightly sharp.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, slightly surprised by the change of tone, before he nodded his head gently. “I am going to do everything that I can to make sure that things work out for us. I love your daughter, Marco, and I am going to give this everything I have” he mused firmly.

Marco studied his face briefly before he nodded his head, a warm smile on his face. “Congratulations, Lionel” he mused softly as he extended his hand ahead of him “Welcome to the family” he added softly.

Lionel spared a soft look down towards the older man’s hand before he reached out, offering it a shake. “Gracias, Marco” he noted softly.