I Know I Was for a While

18: You’re Still You, I’m Still Me

Gently nibbling on her lip, Camila stood at the foot of her bed, her dark eyes settled on the two dresses which she had laid out on the duvet. It had been a few days, after she had worked up the nerve to ask Lionel out on a date, they’d opted to wait a couple of days before they headed out, but with Lionel having played a match earlier that afternoon, they’d made plans for that night, something which had butterflies in the pit of Camila’s stomach.

She knew that it was something she wanted to do, after a few weeks of growing increasingly close, she knew that there was something good growing between her and Lionel, and whilst she was sure that it was something she wanted to develop, she couldn’t shake the nerves from the pit of her stomach, worried that a bad first date would cause things to become awkward between them. It was obvious that they liked being around one another, from the moment that she had started to stay in Lionel’s spare bedroom, they’d been comfortable around one another, and she was wary of ruining it, even if she did want to see if things between them could grow into something romantic. The last thing she wanted to do was to mess up their friendship.

Staring at the dresses for a couple of seconds, she let out a quiet sigh before she padded towards the end table, collecting her phone which sat on top of it. Snapping a couple of pictures, she addressed a text to her mother before she plopped down onto the bed, waiting for her mother’s reply. Messing with her hair, she sat in silence for a few seconds before her phone buzzed, something which caused her to pick it up, pressing it against her ear. “Well?” she pressed quickly.

Lucille, who was on the other end of the call, let out a laugh. “You’re not even going to say hello, Camila?” she teased.

Camila sighed. “Sorry” she mumbled “I didn’t mean to be rude, I just...I’ve got not too much longer to get ready and I can’t decide. I figured you could help me out” she added, her tone caught between flustered and hopeful.

“What’s the occasion?” Lucille asked.

“Dinner with Leo” Camila replied, feeling her cheeks warm.

“Dinner with Leo?” Lucille pressed, her tone slightly amused.

“A...a date” Camila clarified.

“You’re going on a date with Leo?” Lucille asked, trying, and failing, to keep the teasing tone out of her voice.

Camila groaned. “Mama” she complained.

Lucille let out a soft laugh. “I’m sorry” she mused “I just...it’s cute that you’re so nervous, Camila. I mean, he’s Leo, you’ve known him for years, and yet the thought of going out to dinner with him makes you this nervous. You’ve never been nervous about dates before, sweetheart” she added, her voice warm and light.

Camila rolled her eyes at her mother’s teasing before she shook her head, her fingers fidgeting with the ends of her hair. “I know” she mumbled “But something about it being Leo...it feels different, mama, and I am nervous. I really don’t want to screw things up with him” she added softly.

“You won’t” Lucille replied.

Camila quirked a faint smile. “You can’t be certain of that” she quipped.

“Maybe not certain” Lucille replied “But I have good feeling about it. He’s seen you at your worst, Camila, and yet he still lights up when you’re in a room. I might not be certain that things won’t go wrong, but I have good feeling about you two. He’s a catch, sweetheart” she enthused gently.

It was a surprise, hearing Camila so nervous ahead of a date was something which had caught Lucille slightly off guard, and she wanted to reassure her that she had nothing to be nervous about, even if the two of them starting to date was a risk. Lucille had to admit that there was something about seeing Camila and Lionel together that gave her confidence in them.

Camila’s small smile widened a fraction. “He is, isn’t he?” she fussed.

“Absolutely” Lucille confirmed “Now, why don’t you put on that lovely blue dress and go out with that lovely man?” she added warmly.

Camila nodded. “I will do” she mused “Gracias, mama” she added before she hung up the phone. Stepping around the bed, she collected the blue dress from its spot against the duvet before she pulled it on, zipping it up just as a knock on the door filled the air.

Smoothing out the dress, she stepped towards the bedroom door before she pulled it open, grinning a little as she spotted a soft hint of pink on Lionel’s cheeks. “What do you think?” she asked.

Lionel, who’d been admiring her dress, blinked a couple of times at the sound of her voice before he looked up, offering her a shy smile. “You look beautiful” he complimented.

Camila’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she quirked a shy smile, her fingers gently pushing some hair behind her ear. “Gracias” she mused.

Lionel stared at her for a couple of seconds, allowing a moment of silence to pass between the two of them, before he cleared his throat, smiling at her sheepishly. “We’ve got a reservation” he mused “You ready to go?” he asked.

Camila didn’t hesitate in nodding, something which made Lionel breathe out a slightly nervous laugh before he offered her a hand. “Then let’s go” he quipped.

Camila let out a laugh as she placed her hand in his. She couldn’t deny that his nervousness made her feel a little more comfortable.

Gently pulling at the hem of her skirt, Camila let out a shaky sigh, her dark eyes watching as Lionel pulled the car to a stop outside of the restaurant that he’d chosen for their date. It had been quiet, since they’d climbed into Lionel’s car, neither one of them had spoken more than two words to the other, and it had only increased the butterflies in Camila’s stomach, even if she knew that he was nervous too. The quiet that had filled the car had made her worry that dinner would be as quiet and as awkward.

Smoothing her skirt out over her legs, she watched the car slow to a stop before she made a move to get out of it, something which was prevented by Lionel’s hand which moved to rest on the top of her arm. Frowning, she eyed his hand for a second before she turned to look at him. “Leo?” she asked.

“You’re sure that you want to do this?” Lionel asked.

Camila tilted her head. “You’re not?” she countered.

Lionel shook his head, a shy smile on his lips. “I didn’t say that” he replied “I just...you could say that I was nervous” he stumbled out.

Camila felt a small smile pull at her lips, but refrained from making a joke, instead opting to nod her head. “Tell me about it” she quipped “I mean, I was so nervous that I had to get a pep talk from my mother” she admitted.

Lionel let out a soft laugh. “I was this close to calling Gerard and asking for advice” he quipped, gesturing with his fingers.

“You were going to ask Gerard for dating advice?” Camila teased.

Lionel shrugged sheepishly, something which made the brunette giggle before she lifted her hand, covering his which still rested at the top of her arm. “It’s just dinner” she mused “I mean, since we’ve known each other, we’ve had dinner, just the two of us, a load of times, and just because this a date, doesn’t mean it has to feel any different, right? You’re still you, and I’m still me” she added, squeezing his hand softly.

It did feel different, with both of them acutely aware that it was their first date, there was a slight hint of pressure hanging around them, but Camila wanted to try and remove it, even if it was likely that they’d not be able to shake their nerves entirely. She wanted to remind Lionel, and herself, that going out to dinner wasn’t something which was new or different to them.

Lionel spared a glance down at their hands, mulling over her words for a second, before he turned his hand over, knotting their fingers together. “Let’s do it” he mused.

Camila offered him a look, wordlessly asking if he was sure, before she offered his hand a squeeze, moving to climb out of the car. Lionel watched her for a second, quietly admiring her, before he climbed out of the car himself, jogging towards her side. Flashing her a warm smile, he gently settled a hand at the small of her back before he guided her towards the door of the restaurant, something which made Camila’s cheeks flush a soft shade of pink.

Letting out a soft laugh, Camila gently nudged the front door closed behind her, her dark eyes watching as Lionel stepped ahead of her, excitedly telling a story about something that had happened on one of his away trips with Barcelona.

It had gone well, after the conversation that they’d had in Lionel’s car outside of the restaurant, they’d both visibly relaxed a little, and it had made the night better for them both, even if the conversation had lapsed into a few awkward silences. The rest of the night had been filled with easy flowing conversation and laughter, something which made Camila wonder what she had been worried about to begin with. There was no denying that they’d both felt nervous, with the word ‘date’ having been used to describe the dinner that they’d had that night, both of them had felt a little more unsure around the other than they usually did, but they’d relaxed into it, something which made Camila smile, even if it was only their first date. It’d only served to make her a little surer that there was something good between them.

Smiling, she listened to Lionel finish his story, before she shook her head, another soft laugh falling out of her mouth. “You really locked Gerard out of your room?” she quipped.

Lionel nodded, an impish smile on his face. “He kept forgetting his room key, and I was bored of having to let him in, so I just left him out there” he mused.

Camila giggled for a few seconds before a moment of quiet passed between the two of them, something which caused Lionel to breathe out a nervous laugh. “So” he quipped “It wasn’t a total disaster, was it?” he added, his dark eyes briefly meeting hers before they dropped down towards his feet.

Camila watched him a second, smiling a little at his shyness, before she took a pace towards him, her fingertips lightly brushing against his hand. “I don’t know about you” she murmured “But I had a lot of fun. It wasn’t the worst date I’ve ever been on” she teased softly.

Lionel met her eyes again, smiling gently. “If I am honest” he mused “It’s the best one I’ve been on in a while” he added.

Camila nodded in agreement. “Same here” she mused.

Lionel searched her eyes for a second before he lifted his hand, gently passing it over her cheek before he cupped it, his smile growing as he felt the skin warm a little under his touch. “A second date isn’t out of the question, then?” he teased, leaning forwards until their noses just barely brushed against one another.

Camila closed her eyes, relishing the light touch, before she closed the gap between them, kissing him quickly.

Lionel let out another shy laugh as she pulled away from him, something which made Camila shake her head as she gently trailed her hand up, stopping at the back of his neck as her fingers lightly brushed against his hair. “Tonight was wonderful, Leo” she mused.

Lionel nodded. “It was” he mused “I’m glad we did it, Mila” he added.

Camila flashed him a small smile before she gently pulled him closer, allowing her to press another soft kiss against his lips before she pulled away from him, taking a couple steps towards the foot of the stairs. “Buenos noches, Leo” she mused before she made her way upstairs, leaving him grinning dumbly behind her.
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Thanks to mslou1 and FootieJo for the comments :)