The Things That You Do

35: I Don’t Know If I Believe That

“Is this a friend of yours, Alexandria?”

Alexa, who’d dropped her eyes down towards the table ahead of her, blinked a couple of times at the sound of her mother’s voice before she tentatively looked up, offering her a slightly stiff nod.

It had been a few moments, after Andres had hugged her, the table had been quick to fall into a thick awkward silence, but Alexa didn’t quite know what to say to break it, even if she did want to get rid of the silence as quickly as she could, she didn’t quite know how to introduce Andres without making things more awkward. She knew that Lionel wasn’t happy to see him, the expression which had appeared on his face as soon as she had acknowledged Andres confided it, and she didn’t want to make things worse, even if there was no getting away from how awkward it was. She didn’t want to make things more awkward.

Taking a couple more seconds, she cleared her throat slightly before she nodded, a faint smile on her lips. “This is Andres” she introduced “We...uh...we went out a couple of times a few months ago” she babbled.

Madeline tilted her head. “This is your ex-boyfriend?” she asked, her voice more than slightly confused.

Alexa spluttered out a small sound before she shook her head, her blue eyes quickly sneaking a look towards Lionel who merely stared at the table, his expression hard to read. “I wouldn’t quite go that far” she spluttered “I mean...technically...”

“We weren’t a couple” Andres cut in helpfully “I mean, we went out a few times, and we kissed, but we never quite got to a point where we considered us to be a couple. We were just two people who went out on a couple of dates” he clarified.

Alexa stared up at him for a few seconds, surprised that he had cut her off, before she nodded in agreement, offering him a grateful smile.

Andres acknowledged her smile and returned it before he lifted his pen, tapping it against the side of the notepad which he held in his hand. “Now” he quipped “I have a job to be getting on with. So, what can I get for you all?” he added warmly.

Madeline, Marco and Isabel shared a quick look before they started to reel of their orders to Andres, something which afforded Alexa the chance to shuffle her seat a little closer to Lionel’s, her hand gently moving to take a hold of his before she leant a little closer to his ear. “Leo” she murmured “I’m sorry. I...I didn’t think. My mother loves this restaurant and I guess that it escaped me that this is where he worked. I’m sorry about this” she mumbled lowly before she placed a soft kiss against his cheek, leaning back in her seat.

Lionel, who’d been subtly watching Andres, sighed a little at the feel of her lips against his cheek before he shook his head, offering her hand a soft squeeze. “We’ll talk about it later” he murmured low enough just for her to hear.

Alexa frowned slightly at his words, but didn’t comment, not wanting to make the dinner with her family more awkward than it already was.

“You know, you really didn’t have to drive me home. Marco was more than happy to give me a lift”

Lionel, who’d moved to push the door of Alexa’s apartment closed, lifted his head at the sound of Alexa’s voice before he shook her head, offering her a faint smile. It had been awkward, after Andres’s arrival at their table, the previously cheerful mood that had surrounded the group had been replaced by one which was awkward and quiet, and Lionel was a little glad that the dinner was over with, even if things between him and Alexa weren’t exactly comfortable. He was more than slightly relieved to be away from Marco and Madeline who grown more cautious around him after Andres’s appearance. “It’s OK” he mused “I don’t mind doing it” he added.

Alexa returned his smile hesitantly before she ducked down, untying the laces of her shoes as another awkward silence fell over them.

Lionel watched her for a few seconds before he let out a quiet sigh, pushing his hand back through his hair. “Alexa...”

“He’s not a problem, Leo” Alexa interrupted without looking up at him.

Lionel shook his head. “I don’t know how far I believe that” he mumbled.

Alexa was quiet for a moment, allowing his words to hang in the air briefly, before she lifted her head, her blue eyes peeking up into his brown ones. “What is that supposed to mean?” she murmured.

Lionel shrugged, folding his arms over his chest. “It means I saw you after you met him” he noted “I saw how smitten you were with him, Alexa, you smiled whenever you talked about him, and I don’t think that that just goes away” he explained.

Alexa scoffed dismissively. “You think I am still interested in him?” she asked.

Lionel merely offered her a non-committal shrug, something which made Alexa shake her head, a frown pulling at the corner of her mouth. “I did like him” she admitted after a couple of seconds of thought “Did, as in, I don’t anymore, at least, not in that way. We went out on a couple of dates, Leo, we kissed a few times, but it was never serious, and you know that, and you know why. I’ve liked you for so much longer and as long as that was the case, then things between me and Andres weren’t going to work out. I want you, Leo, I love you” she stressed as she stepped towards him, her hands taking a hold of his.

Lionel stared down at their hands for a moment before he lifted his stare, his brown eyes meeting her blues. “I don’t like him” he mumbled.

Alexa quirked a half-smile. “I know the feeling” she mumbled “I mean, I never even met your ex-girlfriend, but I didn’t like her” she quipped, her voice caught between shy and teasing.

Lionel’s expression softened slightly before he gently tugged her forwards, allowing him to press a soft kiss against the top of her head. “I’m sorry that you felt that way” he mumbled “If I had known...” he trailed off.

“But you didn’t” Alexa pointed out as she cuddled into him slightly “And that was my fault. I should have got it over and done with long before we got to that point” she added.

Lionel wrapped his arms around her tightly before he dipped down, pressing another soft kiss against the top of her head. “I’m glad that you got there eventually” he mumbled “Even if it did take meeting Andres and a few well-placed nudges from our friends. I like what we’ve got going on here, Alexa” he fussed quietly.

Alexa smiled gently before she pulled out of their hug, moving to press a soft kiss against his lips. “I like it too” she quipped as she leant back, gently brushing her nose against his.

Lionel smiled at the soft contact before he stole another kiss, something which made Alexa laugh gently before she pulled away from him, musing about getting changed into her pajamas before they settled down in front of a film. Offering him a small smile over her shoulder, she padded out of the hallway, something which made Lionel shake his head, wordlessly hoping that things kept going in the way that they’d started.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to FootieJo and mslou1 for the comments :)