I Know I Was for a While

57: You Shouldn’t Be

Slightly loosening the tie that he wore, Lionel rested his weight back against the kitchen counter, sipping on the glass of water that he held in his hand as he tried to stifle the nerves which twitched in the pit of his stomach. It had been a little while, after they’d celebrated Oscar’s first birthday, a couple of days had passed, and with his and Camila’s first anniversary having arrived, they had plans to head out to dinner, something he was more than a little apprehensive about, especially given the small box that resided in the pocket of his jacket.

He had thought about it a lot, after the conversation that he and Lucille had had at Christmas, the thought had been stuck on his mind more and more, and after a few weeks of hesitation, he had finally decided to go for it, something he was excited about, even if he was nervous. The idea that he could end the evening engaged to Camila was one which had a small grin itching to split across his features.

Closing his eyes for a moment, he took a couple more sips of water before the sound of heels clicking against the kitchen floor reached his ears, causing him to lift his head, sparing a look towards Lucille who’d stopped a little away from him, an amused expression on her face. “You OK?” she asked, her voice caught between concerned and amused.

Lionel quirked a small smile before he nodded. “I’m fine” he quipped “Where’s Mila?” he asked.

“She’s changing Oscar’s nappy” Lucille replied “I offered to do it, but she was insistent so I left her to it. Besides, I wanted to come and check on you. Tonight is still the night, isn’t it?” she asked, a wide grin on her face. It had been a surprise to her, Lionel’s announcement that he intended to propose to her daughter had been slightly out of the blue, but she was excited about it, even if she was a little surprised that he intended to do it so soon. For a while, she had suspected that it would only be a matter of time before she found herself being told by Camila that she was engaged.

Lionel, who’d moved to place his glass down onto the counter, breathed out a slightly nervous laugh before he turned back towards the older woman, nodding his head gently. “It is” he confirmed.

“Nervous?” Lucille asked.

Lionel shifted a little on the spot before he nodded, offering her a small sheepish smile. “A little” he confessed.

“You shouldn’t be” Lucille mused comfortingly.

Lionel offered her a small appreciative smile, allowing a couple of beats of silence to pass between the two of them, before the sound of footsteps reached their ears, causing them both to turn and watch as Camila stepped into the room, Oscar settled on her hip. Quirking a small smile, she looked between her mother and boyfriend before she tilted her head slightly. “You two Ok in here?” she asked, moving to hand Oscar over to her mother.

“We’re fine” Lucille quipped “I was just keeping Leo company whilst we waited for you. You took your time, Camila” she added playfully.

Camila offered her mother a roll of her eyes. “I’m ready in plenty of time” she mused “Our reservation isn’t for another hour” she added smugly.

Lucille rolled her eyes playfully before she leant towards Camila, lifting Oscar’s baby bag off of her shoulder. “If he’s ready to go, we should be on our way” she mused “I hope the two of you have a lovely night” she added, sparing a brief meaningful glance towards Lionel.

Lionel caught her look before he quickly dropped his stare, trying, and failing, to hide the blush which had been quick to spread across his cheeks. “Gracias” he mumbled quietly.

Camila tilted her head, not missing his slightly nervous behavior, but she didn’t say anything, instead opting to step towards Lucille, pressing a scattering of kisses to Oscar’s head. “We’ll see you in the morning, baby” she mumbled softly “We love you so much” she added before Lucille stepped away, calling back over her shoulder that she would be back first thing in the morning.

Lionel watched the older woman out of the room before he turned to Camila, offering her a small smile. “You ready to go?” he asked.

Camila quirked a small smile. “Do I look ready to you?” she quipped.

Lionel’s smile grew slightly shier as he looked her up and down before he nodded. “You look beautiful, Mila” he mused softly.

Camila smiled at him bashfully, her fingers timidly brushing a few stray hairs off of her face, before she reached her hand out towards him, encouraging him to follow after her. Lionel eyed her hand for a split second before he placed his own into it, his other hand subtly tracing the pocket of his jacket, checking that the small box that he had put in there a while previous was still where he wanted it to be.

“I am just going to go and check on something. I’ll be right back, OK?” Lionel fussed as he guided Camila back into the house, a slightly shaky smile on his face. It had been a good night, after they’d had dinner together, they’d taken a slow, romantic walk around the city before Lionel had insisted that they head home, but with the moment he proposed rapidly approaching, he had started to become noticeably nervous, something he knew that Camila had caught onto, even if she hadn’t asked about it. The slightly amused smile that she wore whenever she looked at him told him that she’d noticed.

Camila, who’d been shrugging out of her coat, looked up at the sound of his voice before she nodded. “OK” she mused, a slightly baffled smile on her face.

Lionel smiled back at her, moving to press a soft kiss against her cheek, before he quickly walked out of the room, affording Camila the chance to step towards the living room, plopping down onto the couch. Leaning forwards, she moved to slip her heels off of her feet before the sound of Lionel’s footsteps heading back towards her reached her, causing her to look up at him, not missing how flustered he looked. “What is up with you tonight?” she asked as she stepped towards him, trying to flatten a piece of his wayward hair.

“Nothing” Lionel replied quickly, too quickly.

“Liar” Camila countered amusedly.

Lionel looked at her, admiring the amused smile that she wore, before he simply offered her his hand.

Camila frowned, but placed her hand in his, allowing him to lead her through towards the dining room which had been decorated with a sporadic scattering of candles, filling it with a soft glow. Tilting her head, Camila looked around the room for a second, admiring the bouquet of flowers that she didn’t recognize which sat on the dining room table, before the sound of movement behind her reached her ears, causing her to turn around, her dark eyes widening as they settled on Lionel who’d dropped to one knee next to her. “What are you doing?” she breathed out.

Lionel, who’d been staring down at the floor as he tried to compose himself, smiled gently at the surprise in her voice before he looked up at her, a slightly nervous laugh falling out of his mouth. “You can’t guess what this is?” he joked.

Camila merely blinked, something which made Lionel shake his head, another shaky laugh coming out of his mouth. “I...uh...I practiced this” he stumbled out “I mean, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to...that tonight would be the night, and so I practiced what I was going to say to you. I hope it sounds as good to you as it did in my head” he added bashfully.

Camila’s face lit up with a soft smile. “Leo...”

“You...you make me so happy” Lionel interrupted, not even appearing to notice that Camila had spoken “When you started to stay here, I don’t think I ever saw us ending up like this, but I...uh...I want you to know just how happy you, and Oscar, make me. You’ve become so important in my life, Mila, and I...I really want you to know that, even if I can’t quite find the words for it. I want you to know it” he stumbled out.

Camila shook her head, still smiling tearfully. “Leo...”

“I thought you’d only be here for a couple of weeks” Lionel cut in again “When you first moved into my spare bedroom, I thought that you’d stay for a couple of weeks, a month maybe and then you’d find somewhere else, or that things would work out differently, but...but I am so glad that they didn’t, because after a few weeks of you staying here, I...I knew that I didn’t want you to go anywhere. I...”

“Lionel, will you just say it already?” Camila interrupted, letting out a snuffly giggle.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, surprised by her voice, before he let out a small laugh of his own. “I’m babbling, aren’t I?” he quipped, staring up at her.

Camila merely grinned down at him, something which caused him to shake his head before he stuck his hand into his pocket, retrieving the small box that he’d checked for countless times that night. “Camila” he mused “Will you marry me?” he asked.

Camila, who’d been trying her hardest to keep the tears at bay, let a few slide as her face lit up with a grin. Brushing them away from her cheeks, she bit down her lip softly before she nodded. “Yes” she breathed softly.
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Thanks to FootieJo and mslou1 for the comments :)