When You Close Your Eyes

92: For Keeps

“Are you sure that I can’t give you a hand with anything?”

Isabelle, who’d been straightening out the dress that she had dressed Isla in, startled a little at the sound of Lionel’s voice before she lifted her head, peeking up towards Lionel who stood in the doorway, a soft smile perched on his features. It had been a little while, after their second wedding, a couple of weeks had passed, and Isabelle had to admit that she was pleased with the way things were between the two of them.

It had been strange, after the way Lionel had reacted to the news of her second pregnancy, things between them had felt off for a while, but Isabelle was pleased with how things had settled down, even if they were only a few months away from the birth of their second baby, she was confident that things would continue to be comfortable and settled.

“I think I have everything under control” Isabelle replied softly “Besides, with our mothers on the way, I doubt I’ll be left to do much. They’re both very happy to fuss over this” she added, peeking down towards her bump which was noticeable beneath the dress she wore.

It had been scheduled for a while, with Isla’s first birthday having arrived, both sets of parents were due to visit, and whilst Isabelle was slightly apprehensive about having their parents around, she knew there was no getting away from it. It was a big day, Isla’s first birthday, and she knew that their parents simply wanted to celebrate with them.

Lionel, who’d stepped a little deeper into the room, moved a little closer to her before he wrapped his arms around her waist, settling his palms flat against her bump. “It is a big deal, Isa” he mumbled, pressing a tender kiss against the bare skin of her shoulder.

Isabelle leant into his embrace slightly before she nodded. “I know it is” she mused softly “But I am not due for a few months yet” she added, her fingers messing with his.

Lionel watched the movement of her fingers for a couple of moments before he ducked forwards, pressing another kiss against her warm skin. “They’re excited, Isa” he mused softly “They don’t see a lot of us, so when they do, they tend to fuss, but that isn’t the important thing today. She is” he added, his dark eyes flicking towards Isla who sat ahead of her parents, her bright and contagious smile perched on her face.

Isabelle followed the line of his stare before she quirked a small smile, her head gently resting against his shoulder. “Can you quite believe she’s one already?” she posed softly.

Lionel returned her smile before he shook his head. “No” he noted softly “It feels like only yesterday that you were in hospital, giving birth to her” he added gently.

Isabelle offered him another gentle smile, mumbling a quip about it not being too long before they were back their again, before she pressed a soft kiss against his cheek, gently moving to lift Isla up into her arms. Lionel watched the two of them for a brief second before he stepped towards them, pressing a light kiss against Isla’s cheeks. “Happy birthday, princesa” he mused softly.

Isla let out a giggle at the feeling of the kiss before she moved to rest her head against Isabelle’s shoulder, something which made Lionel smile a little. It felt a little strange, the idea that their little family was going to expand from 3 to 4 was still a little unfamiliar to him, but he was looking forwards to the new arrival, even if a small part of him was worried about how it would change things. Part of him couldn’t wait to meet the new baby.

“Both of your girls seem to be having a good time”

Lionel, who’d been placing candles into the birthday cake which sat on the counter ahead of him, startled a little at the sound of Gerard’s voice before he lifted his head, offering the defender a smile. It had been a pleasant afternoon, with Isabelle having invited a few of their friends over as well as their parents, the house had been a little busier than normal, but Lionel had to admit that he had enjoyed the small party that Isabelle had put together for Isla’s birthday.

“I think that they are” Lionel replied “I mean, Isa’s not enjoying our mothers fussing over her bump, but I think she is enjoying everyone making a fuss of Isla” he added warmly, the proud smile that had been on his face all day pulling at the corner of his mouth

Gerard, who’d stepped a little further into the room, admired the smile he wore before he quirked a smile of his own. “Look at you” he quipped playfully.

Lionel tilted his head. “What?” he posed.

“It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were sat in here, talking about Isabelle’s first pregnancy and now look at you. You’ve got Isla, you two got married, and in a few months’ time, you’re going to welcome another baby along. You’ve come a long way” he noted, his tone soft and kind. He knew that it was still a sore point, both Lionel and Isabelle tended to shy away from mentioning just how close they’d come to ending their relationship, but Gerard was proud of them, even if it hadn’t been perfect. They’d found a way to make things work between the two of them.

Lionel mulled his words over for a couple of seconds before he nodded his head, a small proud smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “We have” he confirmed softly “And I’m pretty proud of how far we’ve come” he added softly before the sound of Francesca’s voice reached his ears, causing him to turn and look towards his mother-in-law who’d padded into the kitchen.

“Francesca?” he posed.

“Isabelle was wondering where you’d got to” Francesca replied “Isla’s starting to get a little fussy and she’d like to do the cake before she goes to settle her down for a nap” she added.

Lionel nodded his head before he carefully moved to light the candle which stuck out of the cake. Ensuring that the cake looked alright, he carefully moved to lift it into his hands, carrying it out into the garden where Isabelle stood, Isla rested happily on her hip. Settling the cake down on the table, he pressed a light kiss against Isabelle’s cheek before he moved to take Isla from her arms, carefully leaning her closer to the cake as a chorus of happy birthday filled the air.

Gerard, who’d hung back slightly, watched the small family interact before he quirked a small smile, wordlessly hoping that Lionel and Isabelle’s relationship was for keeps.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)