When We Were

Eleven: I Think We’re Worth Trying

Feeling Emilia’s hand squeeze his own, Lionel spared a glance towards her out of the corner of his eye, just about concealing the sigh that itched to fall out of his mouth and disturb the slightly uncomfortable silence which had come to settle between the two of them. It had been inevitable, after Emilia had moved to shut down a conversation about their potential future, the two of them had lapsed from comfortable teasing to uncomfortable quietness, and neither one of them seemingly knew what to say to break it. He understood that Emilia was hesitant, a combination of it having been a while since she had dated and the numerous complications that awaited them should they decided to give things a shot gave her every reason to be unsure, but still he was disappointed that she’d chosen not to talk about it. He wanted to have the conversation, regardless of the outcome, he wanted to know where they stood, and he had hoped that Emilia would be on the same page.

Sparing her another look out of the corner of his eye, he gently squeezed her hand back before he turned his stare back ahead of them, allowing them to walk in silence for a few more moments before Emilia made a soft noise, pulling his attention back towards her. “You Ok?” he asked gently.

Emilia offered him a feeble smile. “I’m fine” she mused “I just...My feet hurt. These shoes are...they’re pretty new and, in retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have put them on” she added, glancing ruefully down at her feet.

Lionel followed her stare down towards her feet before he shook his head, turning to look at her face once more. “We’re not too far away” he noted “Do you think you can make it back?” he asked.

Emilia nodded, smiling embarrassedly. “I’ll be fine” she mused “It’s just a little uncomfortable. It’s not the end of the world” she added.

Lionel offered her a dubious look, but Emilia was quick to dismiss it, letting out a bashful laugh. “I’ll be fine, Leo” she cooed.

Lionel nodded his head slowly. “If you’re sure” he noted.

Emilia squeezed his hand gently, allowing another few moments of quiet to pass between the two of them, before she gently shook her head. “I’m sorry” she murmured gently “I’ve...uh...I’ve kind of messed this up, haven’t I?” she asked.


“I told you that it’d been a while” Emilia interrupted with another self-deprecating laugh “I mean, I was never very good at it to begin with, but I’m also a little out of practice. It shows, no?” she asked softly.

“You’re doing fine” Lionel replied, a half-smile tugging the corner of his mouth upwards.

Emilia offered him a dubious look before she shook her head, turning her stare back down to the ground as they walked. “I do like you” she murmured “I...I hope that you know that. I just...I know that you’re going to go home and that that is going to make whatever this is a hundred times harder. I’m not saying I won’t think about it, because I have thought about it, I just...right now I don’t want to think about it, you know?” she prodded, wrinkling her nose at how awkwardly she had expressed herself.

She knew why he had been quiet, since she had asked him to hold off starting a conversation about what came next for the two of them, he’d barely uttered two words that weren’t some sort of throwaway small talk, and she wanted to try and make amends, feeling disconcerted by the awkward silence which had lingered between that wo of them since they’d left the restaurant.

Lionel, who’d been watching his own feet, nodded his head slightly. “It might not be so bad” he noted.

Emilia snorted. “How’d you figure that?” she prodded.

Lionel grinned shyly. “I’m just trying to be optimistic” he quipped with a shrug “You never know, maybe we’re just making it seem harder than it would be” he added, trying to keep his voice bright and playful.

Emilia squeezed his hand, tugging him down the street towards her apartment building which was steadily closing in on them. “That’s a sweet thought” she mused gently “But I think we both know that it would probably be more difficult than we already think it would be. I mean, let’s set aside everyone else who’s likely to try and stick their nose into things. That still leaves us with the distance, something which isn’t going to go anywhere any time soon. We’ll barely be in the same place at the same time, it’s not like I have enough money to make flights to Barcelona, and even if I did, I’ve got Luca. You’ve not got the time to fly back here all the time. It just...it feels like an impossibility and that’s why I tried to...why I told you not to talk about it. These last couple of weekends have been...I’ve enjoyed them and whilst I know that they’re coming to an end, it’s not something I really want to think about. You’ve grown on me, Messi” she added, smiling bashfully as her cheeks flushed a light shade of pink.

Lionel caught her blush out of the corner of his eye before he shook his head, smiling bashfully down at his feet. “Are you saying I’m not just one of Jordi’s friends anymore?” he poked.

“Am I just Jordi’s sister to you?” Emilia countered, bumping his side playfully.

“I don’t think I’ve thought about you like that since we bumped into each other” Lionel replied.

“That’s because when you first looked up at me, you had no idea who I was” Emilia retorted smugly.

Lionel let out a playful groan, something which made Emilia giggle as she padded up the steps outside of her apartment building, Lionel’s hand still tucked in hers. Feeling him squeeze her hand, she smiled a little to herself before she turned to trying to find her keys in her bag. Flicking through the bag’s contents, she felt Lionel tug on her hand a little before she felt his lips brush over the back of it, causing her to turn back and look at him, her eyes meeting his.

“You’re right” Lionel announced “About a lot of things, about the distance being hard and people being difficult. I mean, Jordi’s already sticking his nose in and we’ve barely been dating for five minutes, but just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean we ought to just not try. It’ll take some getting used to...”

“We’ll be dating through video chats, Leo” Emilia interrupted “Are we really worth that?” she pressed.

“It’ll take some getting used to” Lionel continued as though she hadn’t spoken “But I think we’d regret not even trying. I think we’re worth trying, Emmy” he added.

Emilia held his stare, her eyes searching his for a few long seconds, before she looked away, staring down at her feet. “I’m not saying we’re not” she murmured “I just...I don’t think we need to decide that right now. We’ve still got a couple of weeks, haven’t we?” she asked.

Lionel wordlessly nodded his head.

“Can we take them to think?” Emilia asked “To try and be sure about whatever this is?” she added.

Lionel smiled softly. “If that’s what you need, then sure” he mused.

Emilia let out a nervous laugh. “You seem pretty confident that that will pan out in your favour” she quipped.

“I can be confident sometimes” Lionel retorted with a shy shrug.

Emilia’s expression lightened into a soft smile before she leant over, kissing his cheek gently. “I’ll see you soon, Leo” she mused.

“Buenos noches, Emmy” Lionel replied softly.

Emilia flashed him another smile before she unlocked the door and made her way inside, leaving Lionel on the stoop outside, a small grin on his face. He knew that there were a lot of reasons for things to not work out between them, and he knew that Emilia feared things going wrong, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that things could work between them, even if it was a long shot. A long shot was better than no shot.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)