The Things That You Do

66: That’s High Praise From You

Slowly twisting her engagement ring around her finger, Alexa spared a timid glance towards her mirror which stood ahead of her, her blue eyes scanning her choice of outfit to make sure that she looked alright. It had been a few days, after Lionel had presented her with the engagement ring, they’d opted to keep their engagement to themselves for a couple more days, but with his parents due to depart back to Argentina, they’d agreed that it was time to share the news, something which had led to them arranging to head out to dinner with both of their families.

She knew that they couldn’t hide it forever, with both her and Lionel slightly giddy about the fact they were engaged, it was only a matter of time before one of them spilt the beans, but still she was slightly apprehensive about sharing the news, even if she was confident that it would be greeted positively. A small part of her was worried that someone might suggest that it was a little too much too soon.

It was quick, despite the fact that they had been friends for a few years, they had only been dating for a little over one, and a small part of her was worried that their families might be a little cagey about their engagement, something which she worried might rub off onto Lionel. She knew that he was confident, since he had proposed to her, he had shown absolutely no sign of regret or worry, but still she worried about him changing his mind, even if she was pretty sure that she was just working herself up over nothing. The last thing she wanted was for any doubt about them to creep into his head.

Sparing her reflection another brief gander, she gently adjusted the material of her skirt before the sound of footsteps reached her ears, causing her to turn around, her blue eyes settling on Lionel who had stepped into the bedroom, Zachary in his arms. “Doesn’t your madre look pretty, Zach?” he cooed as he padded towards the bed, gently settling the little boy down into his car seat which sat on the bed.

Alexa’s cheeks warmed a little at the compliment before she shook her head. “You’re just saying that” she mumbled, shyly tucking a few stray blonde hairs behind her ear.

Lionel, who’d moved to pull his jacket around his shoulders, quirked a small grin, amused by her shyness, before he stepped towards her, wrapping his arms around her waist. “You OK?” he murmured, pressing a soft kiss against the back of her neck.

Alexa closed her eyes at the feel of his lips against her neck before she nodded. “I’m fine” she murmured quietly.

Lionel smirked against her skin. “You know I can tell when you’re nervous, right?” he mumbled “I mean, I have known you for a while, Alexa” he chirped as he leant back, gently turning her to face him.

Alexa followed his movements easily before she shook her head, something which made Lionel’s smile soften a little before he leant his head forwards, gently pressing his forehead to hers. “Tonight is going to be fine” he murmured “We’re going to go to dinner, we’re going to tell them about the engagement, and then we’re going to come home. It’s really nothing to be worried about” he added, his voice warm and reassuring.

He knew that she was nervous, one look at the expression on her face had confided it to him, and he wanted to assure her that she had nothing to be worried about. He knew that it was a big deal, the idea that they were engaged after just a year of dating was likely to cause some surprise amongst their relatives, but he was confident that they would be happy for them, even if they were surprised. He had little doubt that their families would be thrilled by the idea that they were engaged.

Alexa glanced at him uncertainly for a second before she let out a gentle sigh, something which caused Lionel to lean up, pressing a brief kiss against her forehead.

“You think they’ll be excited?” Alexa murmured, breaking the silence which had settled over the two of them.

Lionel, who’d moved to rest his chin on top of her head, smiled a little at her question before he took a pace back, offering her a small nod. “How could they not be?” he mused “It’s amazing news, Alexa, and I am sure that they’ll be over the moon. I mean, I like to think that your madre and Marco are pretty fond of me and I know for a fact that my family love you, so how could they be anything other than thrilled about this?” he fussed, his voice warm and excited.

Alexa’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink at his words before she quirked a timid smile. “My madre’s always liked you” she mused gently “Marco, less so, but I think you’re growing on him, not that he’d ever admit it to you” she added, her voice caught between soft and teasing.

Lionel breathed out a small laugh at her teasing before the sound of his phone vibrating his jacket pocket reached their ears, causing him to offer her a small smile. “You ready to go?” he posed.

Alexa hesitated for a split second before she offered him a light smile, something which caused Lionel to take a hold of her hand, offering it a tender squeeze. Knotting their fingers together, he moved to collect Zachary’s car seat before he led her out of the room, hoping that he had succeeded into soothing her nerves somewhat.

“Is he doing Ok?”

Alexa, who’d been quietly watching Zachary finish up his bottle, lifted her head at the sound of Lionel’s voice before she quirked a soft smile, offering him a slight nod of her head. It had been a good night, with her family due to meet Lionel’s parents for the first time, she had been slightly worried that they wouldn’t take to one another, but it had gone surprisingly well, something which had helped her to relax slightly. They had gotten on well, from the moment that her mother had met Lionel’s parents, the conversation had been easy and flowing, and it pleased Alexa who had been slightly worried that they wouldn’t get on.

“He was pretty hungry” she mused “And I think we’ll need to get going soon. I don’t want to be late for his bedtime” she added, gently smoothing out Zachary’s hair with her fingers. Zachary, who’d been quietly draining the bottle, stirred a little at the feel of her fingers before he let out a small contented sigh, something which made Alexa smile warmly.

Lionel, who’d been watching the two of them, admired the smile on her face for a moment before he spared a glance across the table, watching those around them chat happily. Smiling gently, he shuffled his seat a little closer to Alexa’s, before he leant over, pressing a soft kiss against her temple. “Now?” he murmured low enough for just her to hear.

Alexa, who was staring down at Zachary, felt her cheeks warm a little at the feel of his breath against her skin, before she nodded her head gently, offering him a coy smile. “If you’re ready” she quipped.

Lionel mirrored her smile. “I’m ready if you are” he mused.

Alexa stared at him for a second, her blue eyes mirroring his brown ones, before she offered him a slight nod, something which caused him to breathe out a nervous laugh before he reached out, lifting his fork into his hand. Sparing Alexa another quick look, they shared a bashful smile, before he leant forwards, gently tapping the side of his glass with the fork, something which caused the conversation which floated around the table to fall quiet. “I’m sorry for the interruption” he joked shyly “But I thought it might be time for us to share why we invited you all out tonight” he added.

“You mean you didn’t just want to treat your girlfriend’s brother and his wife to a swanky dinner for the sake of it?” Marco quipped teasingly.

Lionel laughed bashfully and shook his head. “Not quite” he mused “Me and Alexa, we had a couple of reasons for inviting you all to dinner tonight. Firstly, since we’ve been dating for over a year now, we thought that it was about time that we introduced you all to each other. We figured, seeing as it’s likely that we’re going to be hosting Christmas this year, we wanted you to get to know each other a little better” he explained.

“And the other reason?” Celia posed, sipping on her glass of wine.

Lionel smiled sheepishly before he lifted his arm, draping it over the back of Alexa’s seat. “We...uh...we have a little bit of news that we want to share with you all” he mused “On the day that Zach was born, I...I proposed to Alexa” he revealed shyly.

“You did?” Madeline spluttered.

Lionel nodded gently, sparing a soft smile towards to Alexa over his shoulder. “I did” he confirmed “And she said yes” he added.

“You’re engaged?” Isabel squeaked, peeking towards Alexa “As in, you’re going to be Mrs Messi?” she added, her voice curious and excited.

Alexa’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink at Isabel’s words before she nodded, a timid smile on her lips. “That’s the plan” she mused sheepishly.

The table fell quiet for a moment, mulling over the announcement, before Madeline pushed herself up out of her chair, quickly pulling Lionel into a tight hug. Lionel startled, not quite expecting his future mother-in-law’s reaction, before he wrapped his arms around her, hugging her back tightly for a few seconds before she pulled away, moving to stand beside Isabel who had quickly started to fuss over the engagement ring which sat on Alexa’s finger.

Quirking a small smile, he accepted the congratulations of his mother and father who moved past him before he felt a hand clap his shoulder, causing him to turn, his dark eyes settling on Marco who stood beside him, a hard to read expression settled on his face. “Should I have asked for your blessing?” he posed, his voice caught between teasing and cautious.

Marco breathed out a soft laugh. “No” he quipped “Mentioning it to my mother wouldn’t have been a bad idea, but it’s fine. Given the hug she just gave you, I think you’re probably forgiven” he added.

Lionel smiled nervously, allowing a silence to settle over them for a few seconds, before Marco patted his shoulder once more. “My padre would have liked you” he noted thoughtfully.

Lionel blinked. “You think?” he squeaked.

“He hated that you played for Barca” Marco quipped “I mean, he loved Espanyol more than he loved me, Alexa or even my mother at times, and he hated that you were a Barca player, but as far as the man dating his daughter goes...I think he would have been pretty pleased. You’re not the worst guy that she could have had a kid with or gotten engaged to” he mused, his voice caught between heavy and playful.

“That’s high praise from you, isn’t it?” Lionel quipped.

Marco chuckled. “It’s probably as good as it is going to get for you. I might like you, but you are still the man sleeping with my baby sister. That’s not something I am going to forget” he smiled warmly before he stepped away, moving to congratulate Alexa. Smiling, the blonde woman wrapped her older brother in a tight hug before she peeked over his shoulder, catching Lionel’s eye. Holding her stare for a second, he quirked a small smirk before he mouthed the words ‘I told you so’, something which made Alexa giggle, a sound which caused Lionel’s grin to widen.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)