The Things That You Do

20: No, We’re Not

Gently pushing the door to the empty director’s box closed behind him, Lionel turned, his dark eyes landing on Alexa who stood a little away from him, pulling at her sleeves nervously. It had been quiet between them, since he had met her in the tunnel, neither one of them had uttered more than two words to the other, and whilst he didn’t quite know what it was that he wanted to say to her, he knew that he had to say something, even if only to alleviate a little of the tension. He didn’t want to let the silence to linger for too much longer. Pushing a hand back through his hair, he watched her shift nervously for a second before he shook his head, a soft sigh falling out of his mouth. “I like your shirt” he quipped.

Alexa, who’d been staring down at the floor, jumped at the sudden sound of his voice before she looked up, offering him a small frown. “Huh?” she spluttered.

“Your shirt” Lionel noted as he took a pace forwards “It looks good on you” he added with a faint smile.

Alexa returned his smile fleetingly before she diverted her stare back down towards her feet, shaking her head gently. “You didn’t ask me up here to talk about my shirt, Leo” she noted “So, why don’t we just get to it?” she added, her voice slightly shaky. She knew that they couldn’t avoid it, the kiss that they’d shared wasn’t something that they could simply gloss over and pretend didn’t happen, but still a part of her couldn’t shake the idea that he had pulled her aside to tell her that he’d done it in the heat of the moment, something she knew would feel like a blow to the stomach.

Lionel, who’d moved a step closer to her, noted the uncertainty in her voice before he shook his head. “Alexa...”

“You kissed me, Leo” Alexa interrupted “A month after you told me that you didn’t want to give us a shot, you strolled up to me in a stadium full of people and kissed me, so, excuse me if I am a little confused. What was that, Leo?” she asked, her voice rising a little in frustration.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, surprised that she had cut him off, before he reached his hand out, gently taking a hold of hers which fiddled timidly with her sleeve. “I’m sorry” he noted “I mean, I’m not sorry that I kissed you, I don’t regret that for a second, but I am sorry that I caught you so off guard. I didn’t mean to confuse or upset you, Alexa” he explained.

Alexa, who’d been staring down at their hands, was quiet for a moment before she shook her head. “You kissed me” she repeated quietly.

Lionel’s lips curved into a faint smile at the mention of their kiss before he offered her hand a small squeeze. “I was so happy to see you” he noted, lightly brushing his thumb over the back of her hand “When Gerard pointed you out on the touchline, I was just so glad that you’d still come tonight given what happened, and I knew that I had to get that across to you, but I couldn’t come up with the words and so when you turned to look up at me I just...I kissed you” he stumbled out.

He knew that it wasn’t the best explanation, the words that he had spluttered out were awkward and uncertain, but it was the best that he could offer. It had been a quick decision, one that he’d made in the moment, and whilst it had led them to another awkward conversation, he didn’t regret it. To him, the kiss was something which felt long overdue.

Alexa listened to him, her eyes not moving away from their hands, before she shook her head. “You don’t regret it?” she mumbled.

Lionel shook his head quickly. “No” he replied “I don’t regret it for a second” he insisted.

Alexa smiled faintly, slightly relieved by his words, before she gently lifted her head, her blue eyes hesitantly meeting his brown ones as a silence settled over the two of them. She was relieved, as soon as he had confirmed that he didn’t regret the kiss, it had felt as though a weight had been lifted off of her chest, but still she didn’t quite know what to say to him, even if she was tempted to ask if it had changed anything between the two of them. A small part of her was afraid of the answer.

Lionel met her glance for a moment, not missing the slight smile she wore, before he gently squeezed her hand, taking a couple of seconds to think over his next words. He knew that he had to say something, chances were that, if he didn’t, things would simply slip back to the way they’d been before, and that wasn’t what he wanted, even if it wasn’t going to be straightforward. He wanted to make sure Alexa knew precisely where he stood.

“I know that I am sending mixed signals” he noted thoughtfully “And I am sorry for that. It’s’s taken me a while to wrap my head around things. It was sudden, Alexa, what you told me, it caught me off guard, and then I became wary of leaving you hanging for too long, and of the prospect of us trying this, only to fail, and I got scared. I know that this is going to sound stupid, especially given that we’ve done nothing but avoid each other for the last month, but I’d hate to lose you from my life, Alexa, and I worried, I still worry, that if we were to give us a shot and things didn’t work out then I would lose you and I thought, maybe, it was better to try and keep you around as my friend. I’d rather have that than nothing” he explained carefully.

Alexa shook her head. “We’re not very good at being friends right now, Leo” she pointed out with a slightly rueful smile.

Lionel quirked a small smile. “No, we’re not” he agreed.

Alexa shook her head once more, mumbling a small comment about them having messed things u between the two of them, before she moved to step past him, heading back towards the door.

Lionel allowed her to take a couple of steps past him before he reached his hand out, gently wrapping it around her wrist. “I want to try” he murmured.

Alexa froze for a second before she turned, looking up at him. “What?” she squeaked.

Lionel offered her a hesitant smile before he gently lowered his hand, slipping his fingers through hers. “I know what I said before” he noted “And if you want to shoot me down, I understand entirely, but I want to give this a shot. I’ve missed you, Alexa, the last few weeks, and I don’t want to keep doing that. I want to be around you” he insisted gently.

Alexa blinked a couple of times, trying to wrap her head around his words, before she shook her head. “If you’re just saying this” she muttered.

“I’m not” Lionel countered quickly.

Alexa offered him a dubious look, not quite sure that she believed him.

Lionel studied the look on her face, not missing her uncertainty, before he took a pace towards her, lightly cupping the back of her neck before he leant down, pressing his lips to hers. Alexa froze momentarily, but quickly reacted, kissing him gently for a few seconds before he pulled back, offering her a soft smile as he lightly nudged his nose against hers. “I want to try, Alexa” he murmured.

Alexa stared at him quietly for a few long seconds, her blue eyes searching his brown ones for any sign that he didn’t mean what he’d said, before she quirked a timid smile. “Then we should start with dinner” she mused shyly.

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

Alexa nodded. “It’s a pretty safe first date, no?” she quipped.

Lionel quirked a small smile at the word ‘date’ before he nodded. “It sounds good” he noted “If you just let me go downstairs and get changed...”

“Not tonight, senor” Alexa interrupted “You’ve got teammates who want to celebrate with you” she pointed out.

Lionel shrugged. “I can skip it” he noted.

Alexa let out a small laugh at his eagerness before she shook her head. “You should spend the night with them” she quipped “You should celebrate the title, and then, in a couple of days, we can go out” she suggested.

Lionel frowned, something which made Alexa let out another soft giggle before she leant over, kissing his cheek softly. “I’ll see you, Leo” she quipped impishly before she padded out of the room, allowing the door to close behind her with a soft thump.

Lionel stared at the door for a couple of seconds before he shook his head, smiling gently to himself. He knew that it wasn’t going to be the simplest thing they did, the transition from friends to something a little more was something which had the potential to make things more awkward between the two of them, but he wanted to give it a shot, even if it didn’t have the best ending. He knew that he would regret not even trying.
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Thanks to FootieJo, Jayme112234 and mslou1 for the comments :)