The Things That You Do

32: What Makes You Say That?

Yawning quietly into his hand, Lionel lifted himself onto the kitchen counter, his ears filled with the quiet which lingered in the apartment. It was early, after Madeline’s arrival in the early hours, it had taken him and Alexa a while to get back to sleep, but after a couple of hours of tossing and turning, he had opted to get up, not wanting to disturb Alexa who had looked more than happy when he’d left the bedroom.

He had tried to sleep, after Alexa had settled the twins back down for the night, she had been quick to insist that they both try and get a couple more hours of sleep before they had to get up, but he had struggled to get back off, even if Alexa had been curled up against him, he couldn’t quite stop his mind from thinking about the three words which he almost said to her. He knew that they would say them eventually, with things progressing well between the two of them, it was only a matter of time before they said those three words to one another, but he wanted to hold off for a little longer, even if the words were on the tip of his tongue. The last thing he wanted was to say them too soon and make things awkward between the two of them.

Allowing another yawn to fall out of his mouth, he leant across the counter, flicking the kettle on before he sat back up, squeezing his eyes closed for a few seconds before the sound of light footsteps reached his ears, causing him to open them, his gaze landing on Ariana who stood in the doorway, a sleepy expression on her face. “What are you doing up?” he posed.

Ariana, who was wiping her eyes sleepily, looked up at him shyly. “I’m hungry” she replied quietly “Where’s Auntie Alexa?” she added, looking around a little uncertainly.

“She’s still asleep” Lionel replied “But I can go and get her if you want me to, or I can make you something to eat. I don’t mind” he noted kindly.

Ariana contemplated his offer for a moment before she stepped a little further into the room, looking up at him curiously. “Can I have toast?” she asked “I like toast with butter and jam. Does Auntie Alexa have jam?” she babbled as she padded towards the kitchen table, pulling herself up into one of the chairs.

Lionel watched her amusedly, offering her a small shrug. “I don’t know, but I can have a look for you” he replied. Stepping across the kitchen, he pulled the cupboard door open before he surveyed the contents, quickly locating a jar of raspberry jam. “You’re lucky” he added as he stepped back across the room, setting the jar down onto the counter.

Ariana grinned at the sight of the jar, something which made him chuckle a little to himself before he moved to collect some bread, slipping it into the toaster.

“Are you Auntie Alexa’s boyfriend?”

Lionel, who’d moved to collect a plate from the cupboard, startled a little at the sound of Ariana’s voice before he turned around, offering her a small nod. It still sounded a little odd to him, the idea that he was Alexa’s boyfriend was one which was still settling in, but he liked hearing it, even if he hadn’t heard the phrase ‘Alexa’s boyfriend’ used a lot. It still managed to make him smile. “I am” he confirmed with a light smile

Ariana nodded. “She likes you a lot” she mused innocently.

“Yeah?” Lionel replied “What makes you say that?” he added as he stepped towards the table, settling a plate of toast down ahead of her.

Ariana shrugged. “My mama says she does” she quipped through a mouthful of food “She said that Auntie has liked for you a long time” she added.

Lionel simply smiled, allowing a silence to settle between them for a few seconds before Ariana lifted her head, looking up at him. “Do you like her too?” she asked.

Lionel nodded his head without hesitation. “I like her a lot, Ariana” he admitted softly “Your aunt is pretty wonderful, isn’t she?” he added.

Ariana nodded her head enthusiastically. “She’s the best auntie” she enthused warmly “She took me and Adrian to the zoo in the summer and we had the best time” she grinned.

Lionel smiled at her enthusiasm before he shook his head. “I have the best time with her too” he enthused.

“You do?”

Lionel, who’d been focused on Ariana, startled a little at the sound of Alexa’s voice before he turned around, offering her a small sheepish smile. “You’re up” he quipped “I didn’t hear you come through” he added.

Alexa, who’d moved to step a little further into the room, shrugged. “My phone woke me” she noted “I’ve got a text from Marco saying that the baby was born a little while ago and asking me to get the twins ready so that we can head up to the hospital to meet the new addition. I didn’t expect to find the two of you in here” she added, offering a small smile towards Ariana who was happily munching on her toast.

Lionel followed the line of her stare before he shook his head, offering her a sheepish smile. “I woke up a little ago” he noted “And then Ariana came through so I made her some breakfast. We were just talking about you” he added, a small blush playing on his cheeks.

“I heard that much” Alexa pointed out with a shy smile.

Lionel grinned up at her shyly for a few seconds, something which made Alexa’s cheeks flush a light shade of pink before she shook her head, diverting her stare back towards Ariana. “Ari” she quipped “Why don’t you go and wake Adrian up? Your mama and papa are waiting to see you” she noted.

Ariana nodded dutifully before she padded out of the room, leaving Alexa and Lionel alone. “I hope she didn’t bother you too much” Alexa mused after a couple of seconds “She’s very talkative. It’s something that both she and Adrian inherited from Isabel” she added as she stepped towards the kettle, pouring two mugs of tea.

“She didn’t bother me” Lionel replied “Though, you are right. She is a lot like your sister-in-law” he pointed out.

Alexa nodded quietly before she lifted her head, offering him a coy smile. “So” she quipped “You have the best time with me, do you?” she teased.

Lionel scoffed, but didn’t correct her, something which made Alexa giggle before she stepped towards him, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek as she placed a mug down ahead of him. “For what it is worth” she quipped “You’re not so bad to be around either” she added before she padded out of the kitchen, mumbling about getting the twins ready for their trip to the hospital.

Lionel watched her out of the room before he shook his head, wordlessly noting that he would find those three words falling out of his mouth sooner rather than later.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)