I Know I Was for a While

06: You Know You Liked Her

Passing his hand back through his hair, Lionel spared a glance towards the mirror which stood ahead of him, scanning his appearance quietly as he tried to get himself ready for a dinner with the rest of the team. It wasn’t a first, with a new coach having been appointed in the summer, the team often gathered for nights out together, and whilst it was only dinner, Lionel had to admit that he was looking forwards to it, more than a little excited about the prospect of relaxing for a couple of hours. The season had started well, even despite the loss of Neymar, the team seemed to be doing well, and whilst Lionel was pleased with their progress, he was looking forwards to a night which was more about them relaxing.

Reaching his hands up, he readjusted the collar of the shirt that he’d put on before the sound of a low whistle emanated away from the doorway, something which caused him to let out a laugh before he turned, smiling at Camila who stood in the bedroom doorway, “I’m taking that as your way of saying I look alright” he quipped.

Camila shrugged impishly. “You don’t look awful” she quipped.

Lionel rolled his eyes, but couldn’t stifle his smile, something which made Camila grin as she stepped a little deeper into his bedroom, perching at the foot of his bed as a comfortable silence passed between the two of them. Lionel, who’d turned back towards the mirror, watched her in the reflection for a moment before he shook his head, moving to ruffle his hair once more. “What are you doing tonight?” he asked.

“I didn’t have a lot planned” Camila replied “I’ve felt a little tired all day, so I was thinking about curling up in front of a film before I head to bed early, which is nowhere near as fun as what you’ve got planned” she added.

Lionel scoffed playfully. “Have you ever had dinner with Gerard?” he joked.

Camila laughed. “He’s not so bad” she mused.

Lionel glanced at her via the mirror, a playfully dubious expression on his face, something which made Camila laugh again before the sound of Lionel’s phone vibrating against his bedside table filled the air, causing him to huff out a playful sigh. “That’s my cue to get out of here” he noted “I shouldn’t be home too late, but I will try and keep as quiet as I can. I’d hate to disturb you” he added, his voice softening slightly.

Camila, who’d pushed herself back to her feet, smiled a little at the softness in his voice before she took a step towards him, her fingers neatly adjusting the collar of his shirt.

Lionel watched her fingers for a couple of seconds before he lifted his head slightly, offering her a shy smile before he took a pace backwards, moving to pull his jacket around his shoulders. “Buenos noches, Mila” he mumbled as he stepped back towards her, hesitating for a split second before he pressed a quick kiss against her cheek. Shaking his head, he offered her another slightly shy smile before he stepped out of the room, leaving Camila behind.

Camila watched him out of the room for a couple of seconds, slightly surprised by how quickly he’d left, before she shook her head, mumbling a quiet ‘goodnight’ to him under breath as she made her way out of the room.

Quirking a soft smile to himself, Lionel lifted his phone up into his hand, quickly typing out a reply to the latest message that Camila had sent to him. It wasn’t the first one, since he’d arrived at the restaurant that the squad had arranged to visit that night, they’d sent a couple of texts back and forth to one another, and they made Lionel smile, even if they were mostly small talk and a couple of silly inside jokes. He couldn’t seem to keep the grin off of his face.

Rereading the message that he’d typed, he quickly pressed send before he moved to stow his phone back in his pocket.

“Are you finally going to start joining in, Leo?”

Lionel, who’d moved to sip on his glass of water, rolled his eyes at the sound of Gerard’s voice before he shook his head. “I’ve been joining in plenty” he quipped “You’ve just not stopped talking long enough to notice” he added, earning a few chuckles from their teammates who sat around them.

Gerard offered him a playfully unimpressed look before he shook his head. “You’ve spent most of the night staring at your phone” he pointed out “Whoever is on the end of those messages must be really interesting” he added, a suggestive smirk appearing on his face.

Lionel shook his head quickly. “It’s just Mila” he replied, his eyes fixed on the glass which he held in his hand.

Gerard noticed that Lionel wouldn’t quite meet his stare, but didn’t comment on it, instead opting to nod his head slowly. “How is she?” he asked gently.

Lionel shrugged. “Honestly?” he noted “I’m not too sure. I mean, she seems better than she was when she started to stay with me, but I think she’s still struggling to wrap her head around it. It’s a lot” he explained.

“How are you doing?” Gerard asked.

Lionel frowned. “Me?” he replied.

Gerard nodded. “It’s got to be a little strange for you” he mused “I mean, it wasn’t too long ago that you were...that you had feelings for her” he added tentatively.

It wasn’t something that Lionel liked to talk about, with Camila having been happy with Noah, he had been quick to squash any notion of him having had romantic feelings towards her, but still Gerard wanted to ask how he was doing, even if he knew that it was subject that the argentine would have been more than happy to never discuss. The last thing he wanted was to watch Lionel get hurt. He liked Camila, it was obvious to anyone that had ever seen the two of them together that he was smitten with her, and whilst Gerard knew that he couldn’t stop him from helping her, he did want to encourage him to be careful, knowing that it would be a while before Camila was ready to even contemplate a new relationship.

Lionel’s expression flinched a little before he shook his head. “Gerard” he warned quietly.

“You know that you liked her, Leo” Gerard mused.

Lionel just shook his head, not quite able to find the words to refute it.

“Be her friend, Leo” Gerard continued “Support her, look out for her, be the best friend you can be, but...”

“I am not interested in pushing things, Gerard” Lionel interrupted “She’s just got her heart broken by a guy that I know she was crazy about, she’s only a few months away from welcoming a baby into the world...I know that the last thing that she needs right now is me trying to push things into being something that it’s not” he added.

Gerard looked at him for a couple of seconds, mulling his words over quietly, before he nodded, offering him a small smile. “You’re a good thing for her, Leo” he mused.

Lionel offered him a shrug, mumbling a comment beneath his breath, before his phone buzzed, something which caused him to pull it out of his pocket, his expression brightening a little as he spotted Camila’s name on the screen. Gerard, who was watching him, saw the way his face lit up before he shook his head, wordlessly hoping that things between Lionel and Camila didn’t end with the argentine getting hurt. He knew that Lionel had feelings for Camila, no matter how much he tried to deny it, he knew that the feelings that he’d had hadn’t just gone away, but he hoped that the argentine would be careful, not wanting things between him and Camila, who needed someone like him around, to get ruined.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and mslou1 for the comments :)