The Things That You Do

12: You Can’t Know


Alexa, whose eyes were fixed on her feet, flinched a little at the sudden sound of Lionel’s voice, before she shook her head, still not moving her eyes to at least attempt to look up at him. It had been quiet for a couple of minutes, after she had interrupted him with her admission, they’d fallen into a long and awkward silence, and whilst she had been itching for one of them to speak, she was a little surprised that it was Lionel, even if she didn’t quite know what else to say. She had thought that she would be the one who tried to shift the thick awkward tension that had come to fill the room.

“I...I said it once” she mumbled “And I know that you heard it. I...I don’t want to say it again, Leo. It’s already awkward enough” she added with a forced shaky smile.

Lionel, who was staring up at her, felt his stomach twist a little at the smile which appeared on her lips before he shook his head, quickly averting his stare down towards his feet as he attempted to come up with something to say.

He didn’t quite know what to say to her, the idea that she had had some kind of romantic feeling towards him was one which had caught him more than a little off guard, and whilst he hated that she seemed so nervous around him, he couldn’t seem to come up with anything to say to her which didn’t sound stupid in his head. He knew that he had to say something, the admission she had made wasn’t something that they could just gloss over, but he didn’t know what to say. He didn’t quite know how he felt about the idea that Alexa had been interested in him.

“You can leave if you want”

Lionel, who’d been lost in thought, jumped at the sound of Alexa’s voice before he looked up at her, not missing the few tears which had appeared in her blue eyes. “What?” he spluttered.

“You don’t have to stick around” Alexa rephrased quietly “I mean, I know it’s a big deal, and if you need some time to let it sink in, then that’s OK. I guess...I guess I just want it to stop being so quiet” she babbled as she lifted her hand, wiping her eyes slightly.

Lionel watched her for a moment, a small part of him itching to wipe her tears away, before he shook his head, pushing a hand back through his hair. “You had feelings for me” he murmured quietly “Why didn’t you just tell me?” he posed, peeking up at her slightly.

Alexa met his eyes fleetingly before she shrugged. “How exactly would that conversation differ from this one?” she muttered “It’s awkward, Leo, talking to you about this, it’s really awkward, and it took a long time for me to get to a point where I thought I could tell you how I felt, and when I did, you pulled the rug out from beneath my feet and I got hurt, something I was in no hurry to repeat” she explained.

“I never meant for you to get hurt” Lionel mumbled.

Alexa shook her head, offering him a faint smile. “You didn’t know” she mumbled “And that’s on me, but it is why I stepped away from you. It’s going to sound selfish, I mean, I want nothing more than for you to be as happy as you can be, but I couldn’t stomach the idea of watching you be happy with someone else. That sounds awful, right?” she quipped awkwardly.

Lionel shook his head. “It doesn’t sound awful” he murmured.

Alexa snorted. “It does” she mumbled.

Lionel stared up at her for a few seconds, allowing another silence to settle over them, before he shook his head, a soft sigh tumbling out of his mouth. “You could have said something” he noted.

Alexa shook her head. “I couldn’t” she replied “I mean, you were all giddy about your girlfriend...”

“You could have said something before that” Lionel cut in, the tone of his voice a little hard to place. He knew that she had a point, regardless of the timing, the chances were that any conversation like the one they were having was likely to be awkward for them both, but still he was a little irked that she hadn’t said something sooner, even if he didn’t quite know how he felt about what she had said. He was annoyed that she had chosen to hide it rather than just talk to him.

Alexa blinked a couple of times, surprised by the strange tone of his voice, before she gently shook her head. “What difference would it have made?” she asked.

Lionel pushed a hand back through his hair. “I don’t know” he muttered.

Alexa sighed. “Leo...”

“You hurt me, Alexa” Lionel interrupted.

Alexa frowned. “What?” she asked.

“We were friends” Lionel noted “We were close, and when you pulled away from me, with no explanation, it hurt me. I don’t care about how awkward the conversation would have been, I still wish we’d had it then. I wish that you’d just talked to me” he added, his growing slightly more frustrated.

“And then what, Leo?” Alexa shot back “I’ve just told you that I had romantic feelings for you. Do you honestly think that that is something we could have just gotten past then? Do you think that that is something that we can just ignore now?” she added.

Lionel was quiet for a few seconds before he let out a small sigh, something which made Alexa shake her head. “I think it is best that you go” she murmured quietly.

Lionel frowned.

“What else is there to say?” Alexa asked “I told you how I felt, and I can make an educated guess about how you feel” she added quietly.

“You can’t” Lionel countered.

Alexa shook her head, awkwardly tucking a few loose hairs behind her ear. “Come on, Leo” she noted.

“You can’t know, because I don’t know” Lionel admitted.

Alexa frowned, but didn’t say anything, something which caused Lionel to shake his head. “I don’t know what to say to you, Alexa” he noted “And I think that I need some time to figure that out. I should go” he added as he pushed himself up to his feet. Offering her a small look, he briefly contemplated offering her an awkward hug before he shook his head, stepping past her without another word. He didn’t know what to say to her, what she had told him had knocked him for six, and he wanted to take some time to think about it, even if it did mean that they still had to have another conversation. He wanted some time to wrap his head around things.

Alexa stood quietly for a moment, listening for the distant thump of the front door, before she lowered her head into her hands, a small aggravated groan falling out of her mouth. She knew that it had been the right thing to do, regardless of how it changed things between her and Lionel, she knew that it had been for the best that she told him, but still she was upset. She had little doubt that things between the two of them wouldn’t quite be the same.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony, FootieJo, mslou1 and Jayme112234 for the comments :)