The Things That You Do

15: I’m Sorry I’m Not Better At This

Alexa blinked a couple of times, surprised by his sudden arrival, before she quietly stepped out of the doorway, allowing him to step inside. It had caught her off guard, his sudden appearance at her door had been a surprise, and for a second, she didn’t quite know what to say to him. She had known that he would show up eventually, after the way that they’d left things between them, it was an inevitability, and whilst part of her wanted to get it over and done with, a small part of her was dreading it, almost certain that she knew what he was going to say to her. Shuffling out of the doorway, she watched him step into the hall before she lifted her hand, timidly gesturing towards the living room. “Go through” she mumbled.

Lionel, who’d moved to shrug his jacket off, offered her a faint smile before he followed her gesture, padding through the apartment and into the living room where he quickly made his way towards the couch, offering Alexa the seat beside him. Alexa, who’d followed him into the room, hesitated slightly, more than a little tempted to reject the offer, before she stepped towards the couch, settling herself down a little away from him as an awkward silence filled the air.

Lionel glanced at her, watching as she fiddled nervously with her sleeve, before he let out a gentle sigh. “I’m sorry about the other day” he mumbled.

Alexa jumped, not quite expecting him to talk, before she shook her head, peeking up at him briefly before she settled her eyes back onto the floor. “It was a lot for you to take in” she muttered “I don’t blame you for wanting to take a little time to get your head around it” she added.

“I am still sorry that I left like I did” Lionel replied “I shouldn’t have done” he added.

Alexa simply nodded, still not looking up at him.

Lionel let out another light sigh. “I broke up with my girlfriend months ago” he revealed softly.

Alexa frowned. “What?” she asked.

“Me and my girlfriend broke up months ago” Lionel repeated “We were together for a couple of months, but after a while, it became pretty clear that it wasn’t going to work long distance so we called it quits. I didn’t bring it up with you because the timing wasn’t right. You’ve been through a lot in the last few weeks, Alexa, and I wanted to help you through it, not focus on me” he babbled.

Alexa looked up at him briefly, thinking over his words, before she shook her head, closing her eyes. “I almost wish that Marco hadn’t called you” she mumbled “I mean, I know that he thought he was doing the right thing, he thought that I needed someone there with me that day, and with Poppy out of the way, he thought you were the next best thing, but you showing up in my life again has been hard. I know that I hurt you by taking a step back, but it worked for me. I was so smitten with you, Leo, I had been for a long time, and pulling away let me try and get over it, something I think I was pretty close to until Marco called you” she mumbled quietly.

She knew that Marco had thought that he was doing the right thing, with him being unaware of what had happened between her and Lionel, he had assumed that she would want Lionel with her in Poppy’s absence, and whilst Alexa was grateful for the original comfort that Lionel had offered to her, she regretted that her brother had called him, even if he hadn’t known any better. A small part of her wished that Marco had just let it lie.

Lionel shifted a little in his seat, moving a little closer to her, but Alexa merely shuffled a little further away. “Why don’t you just say what you came here to say, Leo?” she murmured, her blue eyes peeking up at him tearfully.

Lionel’s stomach tightened at the tearful look on her face before he quietly nodded, pushing a hand back through his hair as he tried to remember the words that he had come up with. It had taken him a while, after his conversation with Luis and Gerard, he had spent another day trying to figure out what it was he wanted, and he had worked out what he wanted to say, something which had escaped him as soon as Alexa had pulled the door open to him.

Shifting his hand, he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly before he let out an awkward sigh, his dark eyes looking towards Alexa who had lifted her hand, trying to wipe away a few loose tears which had slipped out of her eyes. Watching her quietly for a second, he felt his stomach twist before he shuffled closer, reaching his hand up towards her cheek before he allowed his thumb to catch her skin, wiping away a warm tear from her eye. Alexa startled a little, but didn’t pull away from him, allowing him to cup her cheek in the palm of his hand as his thumb tenderly traced the line of her cheekbone.

“I’m sorry I am not better at this” he noted after another few seconds of silence.

Alexa shook her head, offering him a light, tearful smile. “I’m not great at it either” she mumbled.

Lionel returned her smile hesitantly before he shifted his thumb once more, catching a few more loose tears. “You’re amazing” he noted “You’re warm, you’re smart, you’re funny and we both know that you’re easily one of the most beautiful women that I have ever met, and I like having you in my life, Alexa, and I don’t want to risk losing that” he explained haphazardly.

Alexa shook her head gently. “Leo...”

“Part of me feels the same way” Lionel interrupted “I mean, when you went out with Andres, it drove me crazy. I hated that you were so excited about him, that you’d kissed him and that he could make you smile, I was jealous of him because part of me wanted to be in his place, but I don’t know if that is enough to put our friendship at risk. I know that things can’t be the same, it’d be naïve to assume that we could just gloss over this and get back to where we were before, but I think...I think for now it’s the best thing. I’m sorry, Alexa” he mumbled tenderly.

Alexa sat quietly for a few seconds before she gently pulled away from him, wiping her sleeve under her eyes.

Lionel watched her shy away from him, but followed her movements, gently pressing a kiss against her cheek. “I should give you space?” he whispered against her cheek.

Alexa nodded. “You should” she confirmed shakily.

Lionel sighed, hating the shaky tone of her voice, before he leant over, pressing a kiss against her other cheek. “Lo siento, Alexa” he murmured before he pushed himself up to his feet.

Alexa watched him up to his feet before she followed, wrapping him in a light hug before she stepped back, wiping her eyes gently.

Lionel stared at her for a brief second, more than a little tempted to wrap her up in his arms and allow her to cry onto his shoulder, before he shook his head, mumbling a quiet goodbye before he stepped out of the room, heading towards the front door which closed moments later with a soft thud. Alexa listened to the thud, allowing it to hang in the quiet apartment for a moment, before she gently sank down onto the couch, closing her tearful blue eyes. A part of her was relieved, after the way that they’d left things the last time they’d talked, a part of her had been itching for a more concrete resolution, but still it hurt, even if she knew that in the long run it was best she knew. It didn’t mean it didn’t sting.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)