The Things That You Do

21: You’re Ready To Call It A Night?

“So, tonight is the night, is it?” Poppy quipped teasingly as she padded into Alexa’s bedroom, plopping down at the foot of the blonde’s bed. She hadn’t been surprised by Alexa’s phone call, with the blonde having quickly confided in her that she and Lionel were due to head out for their first date, she had half been anticipating that she would call and ask for help when it came to getting ready, but Poppy was pleased that she had, even if she sure that Alexa would look great without her help. Part of her wanted to help reassure her friend that things would go fine between her and Lionel. She knew that it wouldn’t be the simplest transition, the move from friends to something more was likely to be a little bumpy, but Poppy was sure that Alexa and Lionel could make it work, even if it did take them a little time. She was confident that the two of them would make a good couple.

Alexa, who was pulling her dress up her body, rolled her eyes slightly at Poppy’s question. “Did you come here just to poke fun at me?” she posed, offering Poppy a small smile over her shoulder.

Poppy quirked a small smirk, but shook her head. “Of course I didn’t” she noted “I came here to help. So, how are you feeling?” she asked.

Alexa hesitated momentarily, mulling over Poppy’s question, before she shrugged, her expression growing slightly shier. “I’m a little nervous” she admitted “I mean, I know that Leo and I, we’ve been out to dinner together countless times, but tonight feels different. Maybe it’s just because we’ve called it a date” she added as she reached around her back, gently trailing the zipper up. She felt a little silly, even despite the fact that she and Lionel had called their dinner a date, it didn’t change the fact that it was something they’d done countless times before, and she felt a little silly for feeling nervous about something so simple.

Poppy studied her expression via the mirror before she shook her head, a reassuring smile appearing on her lips. “You’re allowed to be nervous, Alexa” she quipped.

“You don’t think it’s stupid?” Alexa countered as she turned around “I mean, it is just dinner with Leo” she pointed out.

“Tonight’s a pretty big deal” Poppy noted “And whilst it’s just dinner with Leo, it’s your first date, and everyone is nervous when they’re about to go on a first date. You might have done it a hundred times before, but tonight is different and I’m not surprised that you’re nervous. You’ve been waiting for this for a long time, Alexa” she mused warmly.

Alexa blushed a little, mumbling a comment about it not having been that long, before she padded across the room, slipping her feet into the pair of shoes which she had left beside the wardrobe. Standing up, she smoothed out the material of her skirt before she turned around, looking at Poppy. “So?” she quipped.

Poppy looked her up and down, studying her outfit, before she shook her head, a grin appearing on her lips. “You look great, Alexa” she enthused.

Alexa opened her mouth, preparing to ask if she was sure, but she was cut off by the sound of the doorbell, something which made Poppy’s smile widen before she pushed herself to her feet, quickly gathering up Alexa’s jacket and bag. “You look spectacular, Alexa” she insisted “And I am sure that Leo will tell you the same thing, so why don’t you go and get him?” she quipped, her voice warm and encouraging as she placed the jacket into Alexa’s arms. She knew that she was nervous, the look on her face screamed it, and Poppy wanted to encourage her slightly, even if she doubted that she could get rid of her nerves entirely. She wanted to try and encourage her to relax slightly.

Alexa hesitated for a second in the doorway, briefly contemplating backing out, before she quirked a small smile. “You think I look OK?” she mumbled.

“Beautiful” Poppy enthused “He’s not going to know what hit him” she added.

Alexa let out a small laugh before she turned, offering Poppy a tight hug before she quickly made her way through the apartment, pulling the front door open.

Lionel, who’d been waiting patiently on the other side, startled at the sudden sound of the door opening before he lifted his head, a small smile appearing at the corner of his mouth as his eyes settled on Alexa. Taking a couple of seconds, he admired her appearance before he took a step towards her, pressing a light kiss against her cheek. “You look beautiful” he mumbled quietly.

Alexa’s cheeks flushed at the feel of his lips against her skin before she shook her head, flashing him a faint smile. “You ready to go?” she asked, her voice slightly nervous.

Lionel grinned a little at her nervousness, a little relieved that she felt it too, before he reached his hand out, offering it out towards her. “I’m ready if you are” he quipped boyishly.

Alexa looked down at his hand for a second before she gently reached out, lacing her fingers through his.

Lionel’s grin widened a fraction before he offered her hand a light squeeze, wordlessly reassuring her that they had no reason to be nervous. It wasn’t the first time they’d gone out alone together, in the years that they’d known each other, they’d been out together countless times, and whilst he knew that the word ‘date’ lingered over the two of them, he didn’t want them to fixate on it. It was just the two of them, just as it had been numerous times before, and he didn’t want it to be any more awkward than it needed to be, even if it was their first date. He didn’t want it to become too awkward or strange.

Gently tucking a few loose strands of blonde hair behind her ear, Alexa shifted a little in her seat, her blue eyes glancing nervously across the table at Lionel who had his eyes settled on the dessert the menu, allowing an awkward silence to hang in the air between the two of them. It wasn’t the first one, since they’d sat down at the table that he’d reserved, their conversation had been disjointed and forced, but Alexa didn’t quite know how to fix it. They were both nervous, it was clear in the way that they spoke to one another, but she didn’t know how to shift awkwardness, even if she wanted to. She didn’t know what would help them both to relax.

“Are you going to get anything?”

Alexa, who’d been staring down at her hands in her lap, lifted her head at the sound of Lionel’s voice. “Huh?” she spluttered.

Lionel quirked a half-smile. “I was asking if you wanted to get any dessert” he quipped “But judging by how long you’ve been staring down at your hands, I think I should probably just get the check. You’re bored?” he added, his voice curious and amused.

Alexa’s eyes widen, worried that she had upset him, before shook her head quickly. “Of course not” she insisted “I’s awkward, isn’t it?” she babbled.

Lionel laughed gently, amused by the look on her face. “You can say that again” he quipped.

Alexa let out a small sigh in relief, something which caused Lionel to reach across the table, his hand gently taking a hold of hers. “I’m sorry that it’s been so awkward” he mumbled.

Alexa shook her head. “You’re not the only who’s been quieter than normal” she pointed out with a small grin.

Lionel returned her smile gently before he squeezed her hand once more. “I should get the check” he quipped.

Alexa lifted an eyebrow. “You’re ready to call it a night?” she asked.

“You’re not?” Lionel countered “I don’t know how much more awkward conversation I’ve got up my sleeve, Alexa” he added teasingly.

Alexa rolled her eyes at his joke before she pushed herself up to her feet, moving to wrap her jacket around her shoulders.

Lionel watched her with a frown, something which Alexa caught out of the corner of her eye. Smirking a little, she brushed her hair out from beneath the collar of her jacket before she turned to look at him. “Are you going to get the check or not?” she quipped “Because I saw a little ice cream shop up the street and I could really use some. So, I am going to go and you’re more than welcome to join me” she added before she leant down, pressing a quick kiss against his cheek before she padded away from the table.

Lionel watched her go for a moment, an amused smile on his lips, before he stood up, placing enough money down to cover their check before he jogged away from the table, catching up with her beside the door. “You know that there was a dessert menu, right?” he quipped as he dropped his hand slightly, resting it on the small of her back.

Alexa’s cheeks warmed a little at the feel of his hand before she nodded her head, offering him a small smile. “I know” she noted “But ice cream sounds a lot better, don’t you think?” she added impishly.

“Ice cream sounds pretty great, actually” Lionel mused.

Alexa smiled up at him triumphantly, something which made him chuckle before he leant over, kissing her temple briefly. He knew that it wasn’t going to fade quickly, for a while, things between him and Alexa were likely to feel a little forced and awkward, but he was hopeful that things would get easier the more time they spent together. It was new, being together in a romantic capacity was new to them both, and he hoped that they’d get better at it with practice.
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Thanks to mslou1, Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)