Since I Last Saw You

13: I Hope You Do

Resting her head against the cool glass of Lionel’s car, Ava allowed a soft yawn to fall out of her mouth, her ears filled with the soft sound of the music which emanated away from the car’s stereo. They’d stayed until the party had finished, despite her having offered Lionel more than one excuse to leave early, he’d been determined to stick it out, and Ava adored him for it, even if it had meant listening to her father’s drunken teasing and batting off her mother’s smirks when she thought Lionel wasn’t looking. The fact that he had fit in so well meant more to Ava than she had thought it would.

it was something she had thought of, before she had left and they’d broken up, she had contemplated introducing Lionel to her parents on a couple of occasions, but she had always hesitated, worrying that he would find her mother and father a little too much, but that night had put her worries to rest. Instead of shying away and trying to avoid her parents who, by the end of the night, had been more than a little worse for wears, Lionel had spent the night with them, telling stories and making jokes, and Ava had loved watching him do it.

Feeling a sleepy smile tug at the corner of her lips, she gently tugged the material of Lionel’s jacket around herself a little more, something which earned a laugh from the argentine who sat next to her, guiding the car through the streets towards her apartment building. “Didn’t you have your own coat?” he asked, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye.

“You threw it in the backseat” Ava replied “Someone spilt wine on it” she added through a yawn.

Lionel nodded his head slowly in acknowledgement. “When you say someone, you mean your slightly tipsy brother?” he quipped impishly.

Ava snorted. “Slightly tipsy?” she muttered “He, like my mama and papa, was well past that” she added.

Lionel laughed gently.

“They weren’t too bad, were they?” Ava pressed after a few seconds of quiet “I mean, they are a lot normally, but tonight...I just want to make sure that they didn’t embarrass me too badly, or make you uncomfortable. Did they?” she asked, turning to look over at him.

Lionel glanced back at her, offering her a small smile as he shook his head. “They were fine” he mused “In fact, I quite liked them. They both seem warm, and they’re incredibly proud of you and Lucas. They seem wonderful, Ava” he added.

Ava wanted to scoff, to make a joke, but she stopped herself, instead offering him the goofy smile that had immediately lit up her features as he had spoken.

Lionel, who’d moved to pull the car to a stop outside of her building, looked back at her, tilting his head at the sight of her smile. “What?” he asked, his voice caught between playful and confused.

Ava ducked her head, shaking it slightly. “It’s nothing” she noted “It’s just...you’re really great, you know?” she prodded with a bashful smile.

Lionel let out a soft, bashful laugh, his cheeks warming a little. “What makes you say that?” he asked.

Ava shrugged, fiddling with his jacket to avoid looking back up at him. “It’s just an observation” she noted.

Lionel smiled a little at the compliment before he shook his head, smoothing out the front of his shirt shyly. “I’m glad we did this” he noted after a few seconds of silence.

Ava didn’t hesitate in nodding her head in agreement. “It was good” she noted “Better than I thought it would be” she added.

Lionel let out a laugh. “Who did you think was going to put their foot in it? Me or your parents?” he prodded.

“I was about 50-50” Ava replied “You get nervous, my parents go over the top” she added.

Lionel smirked, but didn’t say anything, allowing a silence to settle and linger between them for a few seconds before Ava spoke up. “You know that I like you, right?” she asked quietly.

Lionel glanced downwards with a soft expression on his face, fiddling with the buttons on his shirt. “I hope you do” he replied after a few seconds of thought.

“I do” Ava replied “I know I’ve not exactly been straightforward with you since I got back but...gosh, I really like you, Leo. I want you to know that” she insisted.

Lionel smiled gently, half contemplating quipping back a playful comment about how Ava had always been a little confusing to him, but he opted against it. “I get why things are like they are” he noted “But tonight...it seemed like things were a little different. I wasn’t your ex-boyfriend for a few hours, I wasn’t the guy you cried about on a plane, and I liked that” he admitted, messing with an imaginary speck of mess on his shirt to avoid glancing back up at her.

Ava smiled gently as she watched him. “You do that a lot” she noted.

Lionel laughed. “Nervous habit” he quipped without looking at her.

“You did it the first time we kissed” Ava pointed out “You were pretty relaxed for most of the night, but as soon as we got out of your car outside my apartment building, you started fidgeting and fussing. I really thought you were going to tell me that you didn’t want to have another date” she added.

Lionel shook his head. “I knew I wanted another date the moment you sat down in the passenger seat when I picked you up” he mused.

Ava couldn’t stop herself from giggling shyly, something which caused Lionel to shake his head, a bashful grin on his face. “I like you too” he admitted, breaking the brief silence which had passed between the two of them “Though, maybe I am not as good at hiding it as you are. I think I’ve been pretty obvious since you got home” he added shyly.

Ava smiled at him gently for a few seconds before she shifted a little in her seat, leaning a little closer to him.

Lionel caught her movement, his eyes widening fractionally, before he carefully lifted a hand, tucking her slightly messy hair back off of her face. Tucking it behind her ear, he allowed his fingertips to trace the side of her face before he carefully cupped her jaw, his dark eyes searching hers. Ava held his stare, her smile still tugging at her lips, before she gently leant forwards, pressing her lips against his.

Lionel sighed gently at the contact, knowing that he had missed it, before he guided his hand into her hair, holding her close to him for a few long seconds before she pulled away, looking at him gently from beneath her eyelashes. “It’s late” she whispered.

“It is” Lionel whispered “You should get upstairs” he added with a rueful smile.

Ava nodded before she leant into him again, kissing him a couple of times before she pulled away, climbing out of the car. Clutching his jacket around her, she padded up the stairs outside of the building before she turned back to the car, waving at him shyly before she disappeared inside.

Lionel watched her inside before he allowed his head to fall back against the headrest, his giddy smile impossible to keep in.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)