The Things That You Do

17: It Won’t Hurt To Ask

Toying with the phone which sat in his hand, Lionel let out a quiet sigh, not quite able to work up the nerve to send the text to Alexa that he had typed out almost ten minutes previous. It had been weeks, after he’d told Alexa that he didn’t want to put their friendship at risk, neither one of them had made a move to contact the other, but with Barcelona’s final league game set for the next day, he wanted to text her, wanting to invite her to the match. It was a tradition of theirs, since he and Alexa had been close, she had always made it to the final league match of the season, and whilst things were strained between them, he still wanted to extend the invitation, even if she didn’t reply. He wanted to at least try to mend fences between them.

He wasn’t naïve, after what had happened between the two of them, it was more than likely that whatever relationship there was between him and Alexa was likely to be strained and awkward for the foreseeable future, but still he wanted to try and make things a little better, even if it was likely to be in vain, he wanted to start trying to piece back together whatever was left of their friendship.

Flipping his phone over in his hand once more, he reread the words that he had typed out before he shook his head, moving to stow his phone back in his locker.

“Have you still not sent that text?”

Lionel, who’d moved to collect his shoes from inside locker, jumped at the sound of Gerard’s voice, but didn’t turn to look at him, instead offering him a sharp shake of his head. “No” he mumbled as he padded towards the bench, pulling his shoes onto his feet.

Gerard, who’d moved to lean against the locker beside Lionel’s, watched the argentine for a moment before he shook his head, moving to sit down beside him. He knew what had happened, after he and Alexa had talked, Lionel had been quick to confide in him and Luis about what he had said to Alexa, and whilst the defender thought that he’d been stupid, he hadn’t said anything, not wanting to interfere with something which had very little to do with him.

He knew that Lionel thought he’d done the right thing, with him not being quite sure of how he felt, he’d thought it was for the best that he didn’t lead Alexa on, but Gerard couldn’t help but think he’d missed a trick. To everyone else it was obvious, the way that Lionel spoke about Alexa and the way that he looked at her told everyone around them that there was something there, but Lionel needed to catch up, something he had to do by himself.

“You know that the worst she can say is no, right?” Gerard mused after a couple of seconds of quiet.

Lionel, who’d been tying his laces, nodded. “I know” he noted simply.

“Then why haven’t you sent the text?” Gerard prodded “You never know, she might want to be there” he added with an encouraging smile.

Lionel admired the smile that the defender wore for a moment before he shook his head, staring back down at his feet. “I doubt it” he mumbled “I mean, it’s only been a few weeks since...I highly doubt she’s going to appreciate me sending her this text. I just...I don’t want to make things worse, Gerard” he added, sparing the defender a sheepish look.

Gerard glanced at him for a second before he shook his head, extending his hand towards Lionel. “Give me your phone” he noted.

Lionel frowned and quickly shook his head. “Gerard...”

“I’m not going to send the text” Gerard interrupted, knowing precisely where Lionel’s mind had jumped to “I want to show you something” he added.

Lionel offered him a slightly dubious look before he pushed himself up to his feet, collecting his phone from inside the locker before he hesitantly offered it out towards Gerard.

Gerard took a hold of it for a second, his thumb quickly passing over the screen, before he turned the phone around, showing off a picture of Alexa and Lionel to the argentine who sighed a little at the sight of it. It was a good one, Alexa sat in foreground, holding the phone that she had taken from Lionel, whilst he sat in the background grinning, and the sight of it made Lionel’s stomach flip, even if it was a good picture of the two of them. It was merely a reminder to him of how things had changed between the two of them.

“I know that this isn’t the only one on here” Gerard noted softly “Alexa has a knack for stealing your phone and taking pictures, but I wanted to show it to you. I know that a lot has happened between the two of you, and that things are pretty awkward right now, but she’s your friend, Leo, perhaps your best friend, and I don’t want to watch you let her slip away from you again. You’re right, it has only been a few weeks, but things between the two of you aren’t going to get any easier if neither one of you at least attempts to make a little step forwards. She might turn you down, she might not be ready to see you, but it won’t hurt you to ask” he explained, his voice warm and encouraging.

Lionel, who’d been staring quietly at the photo, mulled his words over for a moment before the sound of his name being called reached his ears, causing him to look up, his eyes settling on the member of the coaching staff who’d stepped into the changing room. Shaking his head quietly, he excused himself to Gerard before he padded across the room, following the member of staff out of the door.

Gerard watched him go for a moment before he turned back to the phone in his hand, shaking his head slightly. He knew that Lionel had a point, with things being so fresh between the two of them, there was a chance that Alexa wasn’t interested in seeing Lionel so soon, but still he didn’t see the harm in trying, even if she did say no. He didn’t see the harm in trying to make a small step forwards. Sparing a cautious look towards the door, he quickly located Alexa’s number in Lionel’s phone before he slipped his own out of his pocket, copying it.

Placing Lionel’s phone back into his locker, he padded back towards his own locker before he typed out a quick text, inviting Alexa to their match. He knew that it wasn’t his place, whatever happened between Alexa and Lionel was between the two of them, but he didn’t see the harm in nudging things a little, even if Alexa did say no to the invite. To him, there was no harm in at least trying.
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