The Things That You Do

18: We’re Friends

“Are you sure about this, Alexa?” Poppy posed from her spot on Alexa’s bed, her eyes watching as her friend finished twisting her blonde hair into a braid. It had been a surprise, when Alexa had called her the previous night, Poppy hadn’t been expecting her to invite her to Barcelona’s final league match of the season, and she wanted to ensure that the blonde was sure about going, not wanting her to push herself into something that she wasn’t quite ready for.

She knew that it was a tradition between Alexa and Lionel, for a few years, Alexa had made a point of attending Barcelona’s final league game, but Poppy was a little surprised that she wanted to go, even if she had seen the text that Gerard had sent to blonde. She had assumed that Alexa would be keen to avoid all things connected to Lionel for a while longer.

Alexa, who’d moved to twist a hair tie around the base of her hair, glanced at Poppy via the mirror which stood ahead of her before she nodded, quirking a small smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “It’s the last game of the season, Pop” she pointed out.

“I know that” Poppy noted “But with things being as they are, are you sure that you want to do this? We could easily just watch the match on the television” she suggested, her voice slightly concerned. It wasn’t that she didn’t want Alexa to go, if anything, she was glad that the blonde was set on heading to the stadium, but she wanted to offer her the chance to duck out, even if she was certain that nothing she could say would change Alexa’s mind. She didn’t want Alexa to talk herself into something that she wasn’t ready for.

Alexa noted the tone of Poppy’s voice, smiling a little at her friend’s concern, before she shook her head. “I want to go, Pop” she noted “I always go to the last game of the season and that’s not going to change, even if things aren’t great between me and Leo. I want to be there. Besides, they could win the title tonight and I am not going to miss that” she insisted warmly.

She knew what Poppy was trying to do, since she had told her about what had happened between her and Lionel, the brunette had been nothing short of supportive, and whilst she appreciated that she was looking out for her, she didn’t want to skip out on the game, even if it did bring with it the chance of an awkward run in with Lionel. She wanted to go.

Poppy offered her a slightly dubious look, wordlessly checking that she was sure, before she relented, nodding her head gently. “Alright, we’ll go” she noted “But if you want to duck out at any time, you just give me the word. We can leave whenever you want to” she insisted.

Alexa, who’d moved to pull on her shoes, nodded. “Gracias” she noted before she stood up, collecting her sweatshirt from the side. “Ready?” she asked.

Poppy nodded. “I am” she quipped “How about you?” she added with a pointed look.

Alexa rolled her eyes playfully before she shook her head, insisting that things would be fine as she made her way out of the door. She knew why Poppy was nervous, after Lionel’s last visit to her apartment, they’d not had any kind of contact, and the brunette was clearly concerned about how things would go if they did run into one another, but Alexa didn’t want to focus on it. They were adults, they were more than capable of being in the same place at the same time, and she was sure that if they did bump into one another that it’d be fine, even if a little awkward. She was sure that they’d get through it.

“How much longer is left?” Poppy posed as she leant forwards in her seat, watching as Luis slotted a chance just wide of the post. It had been a difficult match, with Real Sociedad in contention to finish in the European places, they’d been determined and difficult to break down, but still Barcelona held the lead, even if it was a slender one.

Alexa, who was staring down at the pitch, lifted her head slightly and peeked towards the scoreboard, watching as a few more seconds ticked away. “A little over ten minutes” she quipped “Why, are you not enjoying yourself?” she added, offering Poppy a teasing smile.

Poppy scoffed playfully. “You are?” she retorted, her voice slightly incredulous.

Alexa offered her a nonchalant shrug. “It’s not my first tight game” she boasted.

Poppy rolled her eyes, something which made Alexa giggle before the sound of cheering erupted around them, causing her to direct her eyes back down towards the pitch. Glancing through the crowd, she watched as the Barcelona players sped towards the corner flag before she looked up towards the scoreboard once more, a fond smile spreading across her lips as she spotted Lionel’s name as the goal scorer.

Poppy, who was sat beside her, noted the fond smile on Alexa’s face before she gently nudged her side. “Are we going down there?” she posed, offering a brief look down towards the pitch. It was something that they’d done before, whenever they’d attended the last match of the season, they’d always headed down to congratulate the team, and whilst Poppy was pretty sure she knew the answer, she wanted to ask, wanting to offer Alexa the chance to shy away.

Alexa hesitated briefly, a small part of her tempted to say no, before she nodded her head, something which caused Poppy to lift a questioning eyebrow. “You sure?” she posed “I mean, you can just send them congratulatory texts. I know it’s not the same, but if you’re not ready...”

“We’re grownups, Pop” Alexa interrupted “And we’re friends. I think it’ll be fine” she added, her voice slightly uncertain.

Poppy offered her another look, a small frown on her face, before she nodded. “If that’s what you want to do” she conceded.

Alexa offered her a small nod before she turned her attention back towards the game, her stomach twisting at the thought of bumping into Lionel.

Listening the shrill sound of whistle, Lionel grinned to himself, his eyes surveying the stadium which erupted in loud cheers. It hadn’t been a straight forwards match, with Sociedad having their own ambitions, they’d proved to be a stubborn and determined opponent, and Lionel was thrilled that they’d managed to break them down, even more so since it meant that they’d regained the title that they’d lost to Real Madrid the season previous.

Grinning, he threw his arms up in celebration before he felt a set of arms lift him off his feet, something which made him let out a loud laugh, his brown eyes peeking over his shoulder at Gerard. “What are you doing?” he laughed as he wriggled out of the defender’s grasp.

Gerard grinned. “Celebrating” he quipped impishly.

Lionel rolled his eyes playfully before he tossed his arms around the tall defender, hugging him tightly.

Gerard slapped his back a couple of times before he lifted his head, his eyes quickly settling on Alexa who stood on the touchline, smiling a little at something Poppy had said to her. Quirking a smile to himself, he gripped Lionel’s shoulders before he turned him around. “Surprise” he grinned.

Lionel, who was surprised by the sudden movement, frowned at what the defender had said before he spotted her, something which caused his mouth to fall open slightly, awed by the sight of her. Gaping for a couple of seconds, he drew his brown eyes up her body before he shook his head. “” he managed to splutter out.

Gerard shrugged nonchalantly. “She always comes to the last game of the season, no?” he posed.

“Normally” Lionel replied “But I thought...” he trailed off, watching as Alexa laughed at something that someone had said to her.

“You going to go over there?” Gerard posed, nudging his side encouragingly.

Lionel, who’d been watching her, admired her smile fondly, a smile of his own tugging at the corner of his mouth. “She’s got a beautiful smile” he fussed more to himself than Gerard.

Gerard smirked, just about refraining from making a comment about how smitten the argentine looked, before he nudged his side. “Go” he mused simply.

Lionel jumped, surprised by the contact, before he shook his head, his feet dragging him closer to the touchline. Taking small tentative steps, he greeted a few congratulations from his teammates with a small smile before he stopped, his hand gently tapping on Alexa’s shoulder.

Alexa, who’d been chatting happily with a few of the wives and girlfriends, jumped at the feel of a hand on her shoulder before she whipped around, her blue eyes growing a little wide as they peeked up at Lionel.

Lionel held her stare, still awed by the notion that she was there, before he took a step forwards, his hand gently squeezing her arm before it trailed upwards, passing over her shoulder before it came to rest at the back of her neck, his thumb lightly brushing her warm skin. Alexa merely stared up at him, something which caused Lionel to quirk a small smile before he gently nudged her head forwards, meeting her halfway in a soft kiss that, in that moment, felt long overdue.
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Thanks to mslou1, Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)