The Things That You Do

84: I Always Knew He Liked You

Resting his back against the front of his locker, Lionel twisted the captain’s armband around in his hand, trying to swallow the knot which twisted in the pit of his stomach. It wasn’t the first game that he had captained, over the years, he had walked out with the captain’s armband on more than once, but he doubted that he had felt more nervous before. It had been a good season, despite narrowly missing out on the league, they’d made it to the final of both the Champions League and the Spanish cup, and whilst Lionel was excited by the prospect of winning the two competitions, he couldn’t seem to shake the knot which had existed in his stomach from the moment that the armband had been placed in his hands.

Pulling at the material, he tilted his head back slightly, resting it against his locker before he let out a soft sigh.

“Aren’t you going to get that?”

Lionel, who’d zoned out slightly, jumped at the sound of Luis’s voice before he lifted his head. “Huh?” he spluttered.

Luis quirked a small amused smile before he gestured towards the locker which stood behind the argentine. “Your phone” he pointed out “It’s just made a noise. Didn’t you hear it?” he asked as he sat down beside his own locker, moving to slip his feet into a pair of boots.

Lionel stared at him blankly for a second, something which made Luis chuckle before he pushed himself back to his feet, moving to collect Lionel’s phone which sat on the shelf inside of his locker. “It’s a message” he quipped, scanning the lock screen “It’s from your lovely girlfriend” he added with a smirk.

Lionel rolled his eyes slightly, mumbling the correction that Alexa was his fiancée, before he reached his hand out, encouraging Luis to place the phone down into his hand. Pulling his hand back, he quickly unlocked the phone before he opened Alexa’s message, something which caused him to quirk a soft smile, his dark eyes admiring the picture that had been sent to him. It was clear that Alexa didn’t know that it had been taken, the fact that her eyes were settled on Zachary who was sat in her lap grinning confided it, and he couldn’t help but smile, marveling about how sweet they both looked in their matching shirts.

“Is that a smile?”

Lionel, who’d started to type a reply, scoffed at Gerard’s comment. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he poked, not moving his eyes away from his phone.

Gerard, who’d moved to pull on his shirt, smirked. “Exactly what I said” he quipped “You’ve looked like you’re about to throw up since we got here. I’m surprised to see you smiling. What’s made you smile?” he added curiously.

Lionel glanced at him, briefly contemplating telling him that it was nothing, before he offered his phone out, showing off the picture that had been sent to him. “She’s here with her brother and his wife” he quipped “And I am guessing that either Marco or Isabel took her phone and sent me this” he added.

Gerard studied the picture for a moment before he lifted his head, sparing a look towards Lionel who was still smiling to himself gently, a sight which made the defender smile to himself. It was good to see, the smile that Lionel wore whenever Alexa or Zachary came up in conversation was a welcome sight, and it pleased the defender who was more than happy to see that things had worked out between the two of them. It had been touch and go for a while, after Alexa had told Lionel of her feelings, no one had been quite sure of what Lionel would do, but Gerard was thrilled that they’d figured it out. As far as he was concerned, there was no one better for either of them than one another.

“Zach looks like you” Gerard commented “And Alexa looks great. Pregnancy clearly agrees with her” he added, not missing the slight smile which twitched at the corner of Lionel’s mouth at the mention of Alexa’s pregnancy.

Lionel nodded in agreement before the sound of the changing room door being pushed open reached his ears, causing him to turn to look at it. “We should get out there” he murmured.

Gerard nodded before he reached across, patting Lionel’s shoulder reassuringly before he padded out of the room. Lionel hesitated for a second, taking in a breath, before he followed, hoping that the nerves in his stomach would disappear as soon as he stepped onto the pitch.

Gently adjusting Zachary on her hip, Alexa quirked a soft smile, her blue eyes settled on Lionel who was stood out on the pitch, anxiously awaiting the presentation of the trophy. It had been a difficult game, Bayern Munich had been dogged and determined in defence and had managed to take the match to extra time, but late goals from Luis and Sergi Roberto had prevented it going to penalties and given Barcelona the win, something which pleased Alexa, knowing just how much it meant to Lionel.

Shifting her feet, she caught Lionel’s eye for a second before she sent him a warm grin, something which caused him to wink in return before Gerard caught his attention, making him laugh.

“This must bring back memories for you” Isabel chirped.

Alexa jumped, not expecting her sister-in-law’s voice, before she whipped around, offering Isabel a quizzical look.

“Your first kiss with Leo” Isabel pointed out “I mean, this isn’t Barcelona, but it’s still a pretty similar setting. It must have been pretty romantic, no?” she added, nudging Alexa’s ribs gently.

Alexa’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she shrugged. “More surprising than romantic” she mused “I mean, I wasn’t really expecting him to talk to me, let alone for...that to happen, but it was a pretty great surprise” she added, sparing a look down towards her stomach.

Isabel followed the line of her stare, smiling a little at the sight of the small bump she carried, before she gently nudged her side once more. “For what it is worth” she quipped “I always knew that he liked you” she added impishly.

Alexa scoffed. “Sure you did” she quipped. She knew that Isabel was kidding, when she had first developed a crush on Lionel, it had been Isabel who had warned her off, not wanting her to get hurt, and whilst she and Lionel had gotten it together eventually, she was grateful for to her sister-in-law for urging her to not to get ahead of herself. She had needed time, she had needed an opportunity to wrap her head around the idea that she had feelings for one of her closest friends, and she was grateful for Isabel’s advice, even if things had worked out between her and Lionel. She was pleased that she had taken her time rather than rushed in head first.

Isabel grinned back at her in return before Marco appeared at her side, his phone held in his hand, something which made Isabel nod. “We’re going to head back to the hotel” she mused “We’re going to call your mama and check in on the children. Give Leo our congratulations” she added.

Alexa nodded before she offered the pair of them a hug. “I’ll see you” she mused.

Isabel and Marco offered her a polite grin before they stepped away.

Alexa watched them walk away before the sound of Zachary’s laugh caught hear ears, causing her to turn around, her blue eyes settling on Lionel who stood beside her, babbling happily to the little boy.

Quirking a small smile, she watched him fuss over Zachary for a few second before she lifted her hand, gently trailing it up his arm before she placed it against the back of his head, levering him into a soft kiss which caused a warm smile to spread across his lips before he leant back. “Hi” he greeted impishly.

Alexa giggled. “Hi” she mimicked.

Lionel grinned at her for a few seconds before he extended his arms, encouraging Alexa to place Zachary into them. “You don’t mind, do you?” he posed.

Alexa shook her head. “Of course I don’t” she mused “You should get back out there and celebrate. I’m sure I can look after myself for a little while longer” she added with a playful smirk.

Lionel offered her a slightly dubious look, something which made Alexa giggle before she leant into him, pressing a quick kiss against his lips. “Go” she mumbled as she pulled back.

Lionel merely kissed her again, something which caused Alexa to smile gently against his lips before she leant back. “I’m proud of you, you know that?” she mumbled tenderly.

Lionel returned her smile gently before he nodded. “Gracias” he murmured.

Alexa flashed him another shy smile before she heard someone calling his name, causing her to nudge him slightly. “Get out of here” she teased.

Lionel scoffed before he turned, taking a couple of steps before he spared her a look over his shoulder. “You look good in that shirt” he quipped impishly before he stepped away, rejoining his celebrating teammates. Alexa watched him across the pitch before she shook her head, smiling a little to herself as she mused about how far they’d come from the first kiss they’d shared on the touchline.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)