The Things That You Do

69: The Sooner The Better

“Have you seen Zach’s blanket?”

Lionel, who was tying the laces on his shoes, looked up at the sound of Alexa’s voice before he turned, settling his brown eyes on where she stood in the doorway, gently bouncing Zachary in her arms.

It had been a while, after they’d celebrated Alexa’s birthday, a couple of weeks had passed, and with Barcelona due to play away at Espanyol that afternoon, Alexa had been asked over to lunch by her mother, something which she was looking forwards to, even if it was likely to mean spending the afternoon with her mother and Isabel fussing over potential wedding plans. She was looking forwards to the chance to spend a little time with her family. It was infrequent, with her relatives having busy schedules, opportunities to spend time with them all seemed to be few and far between, and Alexa liked to make the most of them, even if they did tend to involve her mother and Isabel making a fuss. She liked to spend time with them.

“What?” Lionel posed.

“Zach’s blanket” Alexa replied “You know, the one with the blue stripes on it. Have you seen it?” she added as she stepped a little further into the room, gently moving to settle down beside him at the foot of the bed.

Lionel watched her into the room before he shook his head, gently moving to Zachary out of her arms. “The last time I saw it, it was hung over the railing of the crib. If it isn’t there, I have no idea where it is. Don’t we have another one?” he asked as he gently shifted his hand, smoothing out the dark hair which sat on the top of Zachary’s head.

Alexa watched the movement of his fingers for a moment, a small smile on her face, before she nodded, her finger lightly tickling the sole of Zachary’s foot. “Of course we do” she mused “But my brother bought him that blanket and I really don’t want to listen to a lecture from Marco about how we never use any of the stuff that he’s bought for Zach. I have sat through that too many times already” she added, rolling her eyes teasingly.

Lionel offered her a crooked smile before he dropped his stare back towards Zachary, allowing a brief silence to pass between the two of them before he tilted his head, watching as Alexa padded across the bedroom, retrieving a pair of shoes from their wardrobe. “Is your mother still alright with me coming by later?” he posed “I mean, I know I said that I would drop in after the match, but if it is putting her out...” he trailed off.

Alexa, who’d moved to sit beside her dressing table, jumped a little at the sound of Lionel’s voice, before she lifted her head, offering him a soft smile. “She doesn’t mind at all” she mused “If anything, she’s looking forwards to it, and she’s not the only one. I’ve already told Ariana that her favourite uncle-to-be is going to be there and she’d never forgive me if you weren’t” she added, her voice warm and teasing.

It wasn’t a new thing, whenever the topic of spending time with her family came up, Lionel appeared a little shy and reluctant, and Alexa wanted to offer him a little reassurance, wanting him to know that, when it came to her family he had nothing to be worried about. It was still a work in progress, despite the fact that they had been dating for over a year, both she and Lionel were particularly cagey when it came to spending time with one another’s family, but she was confident that they would get better at it, even if it did take them time. The chances were that, the longer they were together, the longer they would spend in the company of each other’s families.

Lionel offered her a dubious look, something which made Alexa giggle gently before she stepped towards him, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek. “You’ll be fine” she mumbled against his skin before she took a pace back, gently moving to lift Zachary up into her arms “We should be going” she added.

Lionel glanced up at her for a moment, admiring the sight of her and Zachary, before he nodded. “I guess I’ll see you later” he quipped, feigning a sigh.

Alexa scoffed playfully. “You’d better” she quipped, playing along.

Lionel smiled at her teasing before he leant forwards, kissing her softly.

Alexa smiled at the contact, kissing him back happily for a few moments, before she gently pulled away, allowing Lionel to press a soft kiss against Zachary’s head. Gently pushing a few loose blonde hairs behind her ear, she smiled at the two of them softly before she padded out of the room, calling a ‘good luck’ over her shoulder, something which made Lionel smile.

Glancing at the door which stood ahead of him, Lionel shifted his feet slightly, trying to shake the knot which twisted in the pit of his stomach. He knew that it was a little silly, with him having known Alexa for years, he had spent copious amounts of time with Madeline and Marco, but still he found himself nervous around them, something which he couldn’t seem to shake, even if Marco and Madeline had been nothing short of welcoming to him since he’d met them for the first time. He couldn’t seem to stop himself worrying about the prospect of messing things up with them, something he knew would affect things between him and Alexa.

Shifting his feet, he spared a brief glance back at his car over his shoulder before the sound of someone clearing their throat snipped into his ears, causing his head to whip up, his brown eyes settling on Marco who rested against the doorframe, a teasing smirk on his face. “You thinking of running?” he quipped.

Lionel opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, caught off guard by Marco’s appearance, before he let out a breathy laugh. “Is it that obvious?” he quipped.

“The longing looks towards your car give you away” Marco played along “But I don’t blame you. I still try and avoid my in-laws when I can” he added.

Lionel smiled at the joke, something which made Marco reach out, patting his shoulder gently. “You should come inside” he quipped as he stepped out of the doorway. “Your girlfriend is with my wife in the kitchen, but I would be careful if I were you. They’re likely to be talking about weddings” he added, pointing towards a room off of the hallway.

Lionel offered him a swift nod before he padded through towards the kitchen, stopping in the doorway when he spotted Alexa and Isabel in conversation. Pausing, he shifted out of the door frame slightly before he quirked a small smile, listening to Isabel as she quietly fussed over the engagement ring which sat on her sister-in-law’s finger. “I still can’t quite believe that your boyfriend choose this” she quipped “I mean, don’t get me wrong, Leo’s sweet, but I am surprised that his taste was this good. It’s beautiful, Lexi” she fussed, lightly twisting the ring around Alexa’s finger.

Alexa, who was sat with her back towards the door, quirked a small smile before she nodded. “I still can’t quite believe that I am wearing it” she fussed shyly “Him proposing came along as a huge surprise” she added.

“It was a good one though, right?” Isabel posed.

Alexa nodded without hesitation. “He caught me off guard” she mused “But I think our whole relationship has been a little like that. Our first kiss was surprising, moving in together was really sudden and then falling pregnant with Zach was a huge surprise. It only made sense that him proposing was a little out of the blue too” she added, her voice warm and excited.

Lionel, who was stood outside of the room, felt his smile widen at the tone of her voice, but didn’t move, allowing the two women to keep talking.

“Have you two talked about a wedding date yet?” Isabel asked.

“Briefly” Alexa replied “After we told you guys about the engagement, we talked about it briefly, but we didn’t really establish a lot. I was pretty nervous, I get a little worried sometimes, and I think we agreed to hold off for a little while, but the more I think about it, the more I think I want to do it sooner rather than later. I love him, Isa, I really love him, and a large part of me can’t wait to be his wife” she fussed softly.

“You can’t?” Lionel posed, stepping into the room.

Alexa, who’d been focused on Isabel, visibly jumped at the sound of his voice before she turned in her seat, her blue eyes widening a little at the sight of him. “Leo” she breathed “What....How long have you been there?” she spluttered.

Lionel shrugged. “A couple of minutes” he replied “I didn’t want to disturb you” he added, stepping past Isabel who made her way out of the room, mumbling about giving the two of them a moment..

Alexa stared up at him for a moment, stuck for something to say, before she shook her head, her cheeks flushing a soft shade of pink. “You heard that didn’t you?” she babbled.

Lionel merely nodded, something which made Alexa shake her head gently. “I know it is something I should have said to you first” she babbled.

“I don’t care about that” Lionel countered “I care about the words you said. You want to get married soon?” he pressed, his voice softening slightly. It was a surprise, the idea that Alexa wanted to get married sooner rather than later had caught him slightly off guard, but he had to admit that it pleased him. He had been expecting that Alexa would want them to have a long engagement.

Alexa’s blush darkened before she shrugged. “Perhaps” she quipped “But if you don’t want to...”

“The sooner, the better” Lionel interjected.

Alexa blinked a couple of times, surprised that he had cut in, before she tilted her head. “What?” she posed.

Lionel quirked a grin. “The sooner we can do it, the better” he rephrased slightly “I mean, I am not suggesting that we do it tomorrow, but I’d like it to be soon. Maybe in the summer?” he suggested.

Alexa mulled his words over briefly before she quirked a crooked smile. “The summer sounds nice” she mused, timidly pushing her hair behind her ear.

Lionel admired her smile for a moment before he stepped towards her, wrapping her in a tight hug that she didn’t hesitate to return, a soft giggle falling out of her mouth. “I’m taking that as yes” she quipped playfully.

Lionel merely squeezed her waist tighter, wordlessly agreeing with her.