When We Were

Fourteen: The More Time I Spend With Him

“Do you want a drink or something?” Emilia chirped as she walked through her apartment, sparing a glance over her shoulder towards Lionel who trailed after her, his hands awkwardly stuffed into his pockets. He had been quiet, since Jordi had bought up Isaac, Lionel had looked as though he hadn’t quite know what to say, and Emilia hated that he had become uncomfortable, even if he had tried to mask it with well-timed smiles and laughs at Jordi’s jokes. She knew that the specter of Isaac had hung over the conversation from the moment that Jordi had bought him up.

Lionel, who’d turned to knock the front door closed, shrugged as he turned back around. “Depends” he quipped “How long am I staying?” he added as he followed after her into the kitchen, sitting down in a seat beside the counter.

Emilia, who’d moved to flick on the kettle, turned to grin at him. “Long enough for a cup of tea” she mused “Not long enough that I’ll be making you another one in the morning. Isaac’s...” her voice trailed off as Lionel dropped his stare down towards the counter, shaking his head slightly.

Allowing a moment of quiet to pass between them, Emilia listened to the soft rumble of the kettle before Lionel cleared his throat, pulling her focus back towards him. “Hm?” she asked.

“I want to ask you something” Lionel announced quietly “But I don’t...I don’t want it to upset you. I’m pretty sure it’s something you’ve heard before, but...you and Isaac...”

“I’m not interested in Isaac” Emilia’s tone was firm as she interrupted, her eyes trained on Lionel’s.

She knew what was coming, the tone of his voice twinned with the fact that his hands sat nervously fidgeting on the counter were reminiscent of how Jordi had behaved when he had asked her the same question a couple of years previous, and she didn’t want to leave room for ambiguity with her answer.

It wasn’t like Lionel and Jordi were the only ones to have asked, her parents, Isaac’s parents and the few friends that she had kept after she had fallen pregnant had all asked at some point since Luca had been born whether or not there was a chance of her and Isaac reconciling, but the answer was always the same. They’d not been good for one another, throughout her pregnancy and after it, she and Isaac had just never seemed to be on the same page, and she was sure that they never could be.

Lionel held her stare for a second, searching her eyes, before he sighed, his hand rubbing the side of his neck sheepishly. “I had to ask” he mumbled “I mean, whenever his name comes up in conversation, you’re so quick to change the subject and I just thought...I don’t really know what to make it, Em” he added, sparing her a slightly apologetic look.

Emilia, who’d turned to pour out their drinks, was quiet for a second, allowing his words to hang between them before she turned back around again, placing his mug down on the counter ahead of him. “I love my son” she mused “Luca is...he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I love that little boy more than anything, but Isaac and me? It was never right for either of us. I don’t like to talk about him, he’s my ex-boyfriend, Leo. Would you want to spend all of your time talking about an ex-girlfriend?” she asked.

Lionel shook his head. “Of course not” he replied.

“Then you can maybe understand why I don’t want to spend all of my time talking about Isaac” Emilia noted “He’s Luca’s papa, he’s always going to be that and that means he’s always going to be around, but I really don’t want to spend time trying to justify him to you. I already do enough of that when it comes to Jordi and my parents” she added, her voice softening a little.

Lionel nodded, sipping on his drink. “Jordi doesn’t seem fond of him” he noted.

Emilia scoffed into her cup, shaking her head slightly. “That’s the most massive understatement” she muttered “Since Isaac reappeared...”

“He disappeared?” Lionel pressed.

Emilia sighed. “For a few months” she confirmed quietly “The idea of being a papa...it was overwhelming for him and he seemed to drop off the face of the earth for a few months whilst I was pregnant. He only met Luca when he was about two months old” she added.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, but refrained from asking the questions that itched to jump out of his mouth. From just one look at the expression on Emilia’s features he could tell that she had answered them time and time again and was tired of it.

Emilia looked up, a faint smile pulling the corner of her mouth upwards. “What?” she prodded “No follow up questions?” she asked.

Lionel shrugged. “I just wanted to know if I was treading on his toes” he mused “I mean, I saw the look on his face when he saw me the other day and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting in the middle of something. Am I?” he asked.

Emilia didn’t hesitate in shaking her head. “You’re not” she noted “Me and Isaac...it’s been over for a long time and it’s not going to change any time soon. Besides, I’ve kind of got this crush on another guy” she added, playfully flashing him a coy smile as she tried to shift the conversation away from Isaac.

Lionel lifted an amused eyebrow. “Really?” he poked.

“It’s a little complicated” Emilia continued with a playful shrug “I mean, he’s from here, but he doesn’t live here and I don’t really know how I am going to balance video chats with Luca’s schedule, but you know what? The more time I spend with him, the more I’m tempted to try” she added, her teasing smile fading into something slightly shier and softer.

Lionel tilted his head, his teasing smile melting into a slightly confused one. “What?” he asked.

Emilia shrugged shyly. “I don’t know” she mumbled “I just...I think maybe we could be worth a shot. I mean, it’s going to be hard, but I am not entirely sure that I just...that I just want to let us go when you leave” she stumbled out.

Lionel just stared at her for a few seconds, trying to let her words sink in, before he opened and closed his mouth, something which made Emilia giggle shyly. “You did want to hear that, didn’t you?” she asked “I mean, if you’ve changed your mind...” her words trailed off as Lionel leant across the counter, his hand cupping the back of her neck as he guided her into a soft kiss.

Emilia fought the urge to giggle, instead opting to merely smile against his lips before he pulled back, grinning at her bashfully. “I...I wanted to hear it” he stumbled out “I really wanted to hear it” he added.

Emilia shrugged bashfully. “It’s not a promise” she mumbled “I just like you, Ok?” she added.

Lionel just grinned at her, wordlessly noting that it was better than nothing.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)