I Know I Was for a While

43: I Have To Answer That, Don’t I?

Taking a couple of paces backwards, Lionel quirked a small smile to himself, his dark eyes searching the freshly painted wall for any spots that he’d missed. It had been a while, after he and Camila had agreed that they were officially living together, a few weeks had passed, and with him having had a day off, he’d offered to make a start on decorating Oscar’s new room, something Camila had hesitantly taken him up on, even if she had insisted that he didn’t have to do it. He’d been quick to assure her that it was something he wanted to help her with.

It was still settling in, despite the fact that they’d shared a house for months, the idea that they were officially living together was one that they were both still getting their heads around, but Lionel had to admit that he was pleased that they’d clarified it, even if the conversation had come a little out of the blue. He was pleased that both he and Camila were happy with the situation that they found themselves in.

Scanning the wall carefully, he wiped his paint stained hands on his shorts before the sound of a soft laugh reached his ears, causing him to roll his eyes slightly before he turned around, smiling a little at Camila who stood in the doorway, Oscar in her arms. “What are you laughing at?” he quipped, his voice warm and playful.

Camila shrugged. “Nothing” she mused innocently “I mean, you definitely don’t have flecks of grey paint in your hair or on your face or anything” she added impishly.

Lionel felt his cheeks warm a little, but he didn’t say anything, instead offering her a warm smile that Camila was quick to return, allowing a couple of seconds of silence to pass between the two of them before she shook her head, clearing her throat gently. “Are you busy?” she asked gently.

Lionel, who’d moved to tidy up a little, looked up at the sound of her voice before he shook his head. “I was going to take a quick shower” he mused “Why, do you need something?” he asked.

Camila shook her head. “I was just going to run to the shops quickly” she mused “But I was kind of hoping that you’d not mind watching Oscar whilst I was gone. I mean, if you’d rather I take him with me, I can do, but I was hoping you’d not mind. I only want to go and grab a couple of things. I should be gone for twenty minutes, half an hour tops” she babbled, her fingertips gently playing with Oscar’s dark hair.

Lionel watched her for a second, a soft smile tugging at the corner of his lips, before he took a pace towards her, moving to lift Oscar out of her arms. “I don’t mind” he mused “I mean, I think we can probably get by without you for that long, can’t we, Oscar?” he added, grinning down at the little boy who looked back up at him, a smile of his own lighting up his face.

Camila marveled at the two of them for a moment, noting just how adorable they looked together, before she gently shook her head. “You’re sure?” she asked.

Lionel didn’t hesitate in nodding. “We’ll be fine, Mila” he mused gently.

Camila looked at him hesitantly for a moment before she nodded her head, her expression softening into a light smile. “I know” she mused “I’ll try to be back as quickly as I can be” she added.

Lionel, who’d been babbling to Oscar, paused to offer her a small smile, something which made Camila shake her head gently before she leant towards him, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek. “I’ll be back shortly” she mused “There is a chance, though, that Isabel might show up whilst I am gone. She’s coming over to spend some time with Oscar this afternoon and she has a habit of being early. If she does show up while I am not here...”

“I’ll be on my best behavior” Lionel finished for her.

Camila offered him another soft smile before she gently leant into him again, pressing soft kisses against his cheek and Oscar’s head before she stepped away, padding down the hall. Lionel watched after her for a few moments, his ears catching the distinct thump of the front door closing, before he turned his attention down towards Oscar, offering the little boy a small smile as he carried him back towards Camila’s bedroom, cooing softly to him.

Hearing the soft sound of a knock at the front door, Lionel let out a quiet sigh, his gaze on Oscar who was settled on the floor ahead of him, his little hands grabbing for the toys which hung above his head. It hadn’t been long, after Camila had asked him to watch Oscar whilst she went out, a little over half an hour had passed, but with her still not back, he knew that he had to answer the door to Isabel, something which had a small knot in the pit of his stomach, knowing that whatever time he spent in the presence of the older woman was likely to be more than awkward.

It wasn’t the first time, with Isabel being keen to visit Oscar at least once a week, Lionel had bumped into her more than once in passing, but still he knew that the older woman didn’t like him being around, even she did smile at him whenever they saw each other. Lionel had no doubt that there was a part of Isabel that would have been more than happy for him to not be in the picture.

Sitting quietly for a few seconds, he listened to the soft knocking before he shook his head, sparing Oscar a playful roll of his eyes. “I have to answer that, don’t I?” he mumbled as he leant forwards, gently lifting the baby into his arms. Oscar grumbled a little, not liking being lifted up, but quickly settled, something which made Lionel laugh gently before he stepped into the hall. Hesitating for a second, he thought about not answering the door before he shook his head, moving to pull it open,

Isabel, who’d been waiting on the other side of the door, watched it open before her expression flinched, her eyes looking Lionel up and down. “Leo” she breathed.

Lionel quirked a polite smile. “Hola, Isabel” he greeted “You want to come in?” he added, stepping out of the doorway slightly.

Isabel forced the best smile she could muster onto her lips before she nodded, stepping past him into the house. “Where’s Camila?” she asked, turning back to look at him.

“She went out” Lionel replied as he pushed the front door closed “But she should be back pretty soon. Don’t worry” he quipped awkwardly, trying to lighten the mood slightly.

Isabel forced another polite smile, her eyes looking him up and down, before she shook her head. “You have paint in your hair” she mused, disturbing the silence which had been quick to settle over them.

Lionel breathed out a small laugh. “I know” he quipped.

“You’re decorating?” Isabel asked.

Lionel nodded. “We’re starting to work on a room for this little guy” he mused, gesturing towards Oscar who sat happily in his arms.

Isabel blinked a couple of times, surprised by his statement before she opened her mouth to retort, only to stop herself as the front door opened, allowing Camila to step into the hall. “Lo siento” she mumbled as she pushed the door closed behind herself “I got a little held up, but I am back now. Isabel, you’re early” she greeted, offering the older woman a soft smile.

Isabel, who’d been glancing at Lionel, blinked a couple more times before she turned to Camila, nodding gently. “I’m sorry” she mused “I got away earlier than I thought I would” she added.

Camila, who’d moved to take Oscar out of Lionel’s arms, merely offered her a quick smile before she turned back towards Lionel, kissing his cheek swiftly. Lionel grinned bashfully at the feel of her lips against his cheek before he cleared his throat. “I’ll leave you to it” he mused “It was nice to see you, Isabel” he added before he padded away, making his way up the stairs.

Isabel watched after him for a second before she gently shook her head, moving to fuss over Oscar who sat in Camila’s arms.
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