Since I Last Saw You

17: A Break

Leaning over to tie the laces of his shoes, Lionel turned his head slightly, stealing a quick glance over at Ava who stood outside on the balcony, still talking into her phone with a wide smile stuck on her face. It’d been the same way for a couple of hours, after they’d finished watching the show, she had been inundated with calls from her parents, her brother and some of her friends, and after a while of just sitting around and waiting for her to finish, Lionel had decided it was about time he went home, almost certain that when she ended her call with Lucas, she would be instantly greeted by the next. He was thrilled for her, since she had first picked the phone up to her mother, she hadn’t stopped smiling and fussing, and whilst it meant that he had been sat there for a while, just watching her, he hadn’t wanted to intrude on a moment that, he could tell just by looking at her, meant the world to her.

Hearing her excited voice through the slight crack in the sliding door, he quirked a grin to himself before he stood up, stepping up towards the door. Pausing for a second, he marveled at the soft sound of her laughter before he gently slid the door open.

Ava, who’d been staring out over the city, turned at the sound of the door, smiling up at him gently. “I’m going to go now, Lucas” she said into the phone “Yes, I have something better to do than talk to you. I’ll speak to you soon” she added before she hung the phone up, stuffing it into her pocket.

Lionel tilted his head. “I’m better than listening to Lucas gush with praise?” he quipped amusedly.

Ava laughed. “It’s pretty close” she quipped “I mean, my big brother’s fussing over me is a pretty rare experience, but I have been on the phone for nearly two hours and you’ve just sat here. I suppose I can spare you a few minutes” she added, her voice still bright with her excitement.

Lionel couldn’t stop himself from smiling at the tone of her voice. “You’ve not stopped grinning yet” he pointed out “For someone who was so concerned that it was going to be awful, you seem pretty pleased with yourself” he added.

Ava rolled her eyes, but didn’t stop herself from smiling, her fingers messing with the bottom of her sweater bashfully. “I am pleased” she admitted “Hearing people tell me that it was good...I know it’s a little silly, I mean, nearly all the calls I got were from my friends and family who were hardly going to call to tell me how awful it was, but I still liked hearing it. I was proud of it, and hearing people tell me that I should be...” she trailed off, shaking her head as a bashful laugh tumbled out of her mouth.

Lionel looked at her, watching as she moved to bashfully tuck her hair behind her ear, before he took a pace towards her, causing her to glance up slightly, her blue eyes peeking up at him through her eyelashes. “You should be proud of yourself” he noted gently “I’m proud of you” he added, his voice softening a little.

Ava stared up at him, allowing the words to hang in the air for a few seconds, before she ducked her head. “Even though it means that things between us...?” she trailed off quietly.

Lionel nodded his head gently. “I don’t love that things between us right now feel so...I don’t know, uncertain?” he noted “But going...it was something you needed to do, and I am glad that you did, even if things between us are still...you know. You got to do the thing that made you happy and I’m happy about that” he explained, grimacing a little at how awkwardly he’d worded it

Ava smiled gently at the way his nose wrinkle before she took a step towards him, her arms cautiously settling on his shoulders as her hands settled on the back of his neck.

Lionel hesitated for a split second before he cautiously followed her actions, his hands carefully resting on her waist.

Ava closed her eyes, relishing the light touch for a few moments before she gently shifted a hand, pushing the tips of her fingers through the hair at the back of his neck.

Lionel leant into the touch, smiling tenderly.

Ava twined her fingers through his hair, playing with it gently as a few beats of silence passed between them before she closed the distance between their faces, capturing him in a soft, hesitant kiss. Lionel stilled a little, more than slightly surprised by the kiss, but he warmed to it quickly, kissing her back gently before he pulled away, his nose gently bumping against hers. “Ava...”

“A break” Ava interrupted “That’s what you said. That we would just be on a break” she added.

“I did say that” Lionel agreed.

“Then it’s over” Ava replied quietly.

Lionel frowned. “What?” he asked.

“I like you” Ava announced gently “And I like us spending time together, so whatever break we were on, I want to end it. I want to be...you know, your girlfriend” she added, her voice faltering slightly with nerves.

Lionel’s eyes widened a fraction. “What?” he repeated.

Ava shook her head, diverting her stare down towards their feet. “I want us to be us” she murmured.

Lionel nodded his head slowly. “Are you sure?” he asked “I mean, tonight’s been a pretty big deal, your emotions might be a little...”

“I know what I am saying” Ava interrupted, her lips quirking upwards slightly at his concern “I want you, Leo” she added.

Lionel stared at her for a few seconds before he tipped his head forwards, breathing out a bashful sound that was caught somewhere between a sigh and a laugh. Keeping his stare on his feet for a second, he took in a breath before he looked up, his eyes catching on Ava’s which had moved to look up at him again. Holding her eyes, he allowed his stare to search them for a second before he leant forwards, tenderly bumping his forehead against hers. “OK” he mumbled.

“OK?” Ava asked, her voice caught between soft and amused.

“I want you to be my girlfriend” Lionel clarified “I’ve wanted that for months, Ava. From the second that you weren’t any more” he added.

Ava giggled. “You know how cheesy that sounded, right?” she asked, guiding their faces closer together.

“I do” Lionel confirmed with a grin “But I also knew it would make you laugh. I’ve told you a hundred times, I’m funny” he added impishly.

Ava rolled her eyes, smiling goofily, before she leant into him, pressing her lips against his in a kiss that Lionel didn’t hesitate to reciprocate.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)