The Things That You Do

08: You’ve Got A Beautiful Smile

Glancing up at the door which stood ahead of him, Lionel shook his head, a small sigh escaping his mouth. He knew that he was going to surprise Alexa, after she had turned down his offer of dinner, they’d not seen one another for a few days, and he knew that she wouldn’t be expecting his visit, but still he wanted to knock, even if she was likely to ask why he had shown up with little to no warning. He wanted to see her, even despite the tension which was more than slightly palpable between the two of them.

He knew that he had to be patient, Luis had been right when he had suggested that it was best to just let Alexa talk to him when she was ready, but still he wanted to stick around her, even if things were more than slightly off between them. The last thing he wanted was for her to step away from him again.

Looking up at the door once more, he briefly thought about turning to walk away, before he shook his head, knocking his hand against the door a few times before he stepped back, watching as the door pulled open to reveal Alexa who looked up at him, a small crease in her forehead. “Leo” she mumbled “I...I wasn’t expecting you. What are you doing here?” she asked.

Lionel offered her a light smile. “I’ve just finished training” he noted “And your apartment is on the way home. I figured I could drop by, but if that was wrong...” he trailed off, hoping that she would invite him inside.

Alexa shook her head before she stepped out of the door, wordlessly inviting him inside.

Lionel flashed her another small smile before he stepped by her, making his way through the apartment and into the living room.

“I’m sorry about the boxes” Alexa mused as she padded into the room “My mother...she’s just gone through my padre’s things and she needed somewhere to store the things that she wanted to keep, so she delivered these boxes of my stuff which I had been keeping in her garage” she explained.

Lionel, who’d moved to take a seat on the couch, shook his head. “It’s fine” he noted.

Alexa offered him a half-hearted smile, but didn’t say anything else, allowing an awkward silence to settle over them for a moment before Lionel cleared his throat. “Your mother went through your padre’s stuff?” he asked tentatively.

Alexa nodded, but didn’t lift her head, instead keeping her eyes fixed on her fingers which fiddled with the bottom of her sleeve. “She invited me and Marco over a couple of days ago and we made a start on it, but it was pretty tough, so we opted to leave it for a little longer, but my mother had different ideas. The next morning, she showed up here with those boxes and told me that she’d finished” she explained quietly.

“How’s she doing?” Lionel asked.

Alexa shrugged. “I’m not really sure” she mused “She and my papa...they were together for nearly thirty years, and I think she’s struggling without him, but I wasn’t expecting anything else. They did almost everything together and now that he’s’s not something she’s just going to bounce back from. She misses him, Leo, we all do, and right now, it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier” she added, peeking up at him timidly.

Lionel caught her glance before he shuffled a little closer to her, placing a comforting arm around her shoulders, something which caused Alexa to turn, cuddling into his body. Lionel flinched slightly, surprised by the sudden hug, but he didn’t pull away, instead he opted to rub his hand up and down her back comfortingly.

“I know it’s not what you want to hear right now” he murmured “But you’ve just got to give it time, Alexa. It will get easier” he added as he shifted his hand, gently cupping it around her cheek so that he could guide her eyes up to his. Staring into her eyes, he offered her a light smile before he reached up, gently tucking a few loose blonde hairs off of her face.

Alexa stilled, surprised by the slightly amorous move, before the sound of a phone vibrating filled the air, causing her to jump back. “Is that yours or mine?” she babbled.

Lionel blinked in surprise at how quickly she had pulled away from him, before he shrugged. “Yours, I think” he noted.

Alexa nodded and skittered away, returning seconds later with her phone in her hand.

“Who is it?” Lionel asked, trying to peek at the screen subtly.

Alexa, who’d been replying to the text, smiled gently. “It’s Andres” she replied “He’s asking if I am free to get a coffee with him once his shift is over” she explained.

Lionel looked at her, not missing the smile which had appeared on her lips, before he shook his head, a frown on his face. “Are you and” he asked.

It wasn’t an idea that sat well with him, the notion that Alexa could be dating Andres was one which had a knot in the pit of his stomach, and he wanted to talk to her about it, even if she was likely to think he was sticking his nose into something which had very little to do with him. He wanted to warn her to be slightly cautious. She wasn’t herself, the few visits that he had paid to her had convinced him of it, and he didn’t want her to run into something new whilst she was still struggling. He didn’t want her to do anything that she might regret.

Alexa lifted an eyebrow. “What?” she asked.

“You and Andres” Lionel replied “Are you two dating?” he pressed.

Alexa frowned slightly at his question before she shrugged. “We’ve seen each other a couple of times” she noted “And we’ve kissed, so I guess you could say so, although it’s not something that we’ve talked about. Is that a problem?” she posed.

Lionel hesitated, a large part of him wanting to nod, before he shook his head. “It’s not a problem, Alexa” he noted “I’re not quite yourself. You’re still struggling, even if you are trying to hide it, and I just...I worry that right now is not the best time for you to get involved with someone like you’re getting involved with Andres” he explained tentatively.

“You think that?” Alexa posed.

Lionel nodded. “I just don’t want you to get hurt, Alexa” he noted.

Alexa offered him a look, studying the earnest expression which marked his features, before she shook her head. “I’ll be careful” she mused.

Lionel frowned, but didn’t say anything, knowing that the question which had crossed his mind about her still wanting to go out with Andres would only upset her. “ like him?” he asked instead.

Alexa smiled shyly. “It’s been a while since I’ve been interested in someone, but Andres...Andres is nice. He makes me smile” she fussed softly.

Lionel looked at her, not missing the warmth in her smile, before he nodded, forcing the best smile that he could muster onto his face. “I hope he keeps making you smile. You’ve got a beautiful smile” he noted “But please, Alexa, be careful. I’d hate to see you get hurt” he added gently.

Alexa’s cheeks warmed at his compliment. “I’ll be careful” she repeated.

Lionel offered her another forced smile before he pushed himself up to his feet, jamming his hands into his pockets. “I should leave you to it” he noted “I’d hate to make you late for your date with Andres. I’ll call you though” he added.

Alexa, who’d moved to stand up too, nodded. “I know” she mused “Adios, Leo” she added before she stepped towards him, offering him a slightly awkward hug before she stepped back.

Lionel flashed her a small grin before he padded away, making his way towards the front door as his forced smile faded into a small frown. He knew that he couldn’t stop her, whatever Alexa wanted to do with Andres was entirely up to her and he knew that he couldn’t get in the way of it, but still he didn’t like it. He didn’t want her to get hurt, Alexa deserved to find something which made her happy, and his gut told him that that wasn’t likely to be Andres.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 and mslou1 for the comments :)