When We Were

Fifteen: I Don’t Think I Would Have Been That Optimistic

“How much of this stuff are you actually taking back to Barcelona?” Emilia prodded from her spot on Lionel’s bed, her eyes marveling at the piles of clothes which sat around her, waiting to be packed into the empty suitcase which sat on the floor. It had been a little while, after she and Lionel had talked about Isaac, and about the prospect of their relationship continuing when he made his departure back to Spain, a couple of weeks had passed, and with his flight booked for that afternoon, she had offered to help him pack, wanting to make the most of the last few uncomplicated hours that they had before he left and things between the two of them changed.

There was no avoiding it, once Lionel got on a plane back to Barcelona, the nice simple phase of their relationship would be over and replaced by something more tentative and uncertain, and whilst she was dreading it, she had resolved to keep reminding herself that whilst it would be unavoidably different, it wouldn’t be over, something which had a few butterflies fluttering in her stomach, even if they were outweighed by the fear of things faltering. The idea that they were going to try was one which meant more to her than she had thought it would.

Lionel, who’d been flicking through something on his phone, looked up with a grin. “I bought most of it back with me” he noted “So I will probably take most of it home. I mean, you never know when you’re going to need something. What if I get back there and desperately need a specific pair of socks that I left behind?” he quipped impishly as he stepped across the room, plopping down onto the side of the bed next to her.

Emilia scoffed. “You can buy more socks” she retorted playfully.

“But they won’t be these socks” Lionel chirped, tossing a few rolled up socks into the suitcase.

Emilia rolled her eyes. “You must have stuff back in Barcelona” she pointed out.

“I do” Lionel agreed “And honestly, I am probably not going to take too much of this stuff back with me. Just the things I wear all of the time” he added.

Emilia nodded her head slowly, allowing a brief moment of silence to pass between the two of them before Lionel stood up again, moving to place a few more things into the open suitcase, something which made Emilia smile softly. He hadn’t sat still all morning. Since she had arrived, he had kept moving, kept finding reasons to keep talking, and Emilia found it sweet, knowing that it was his way of attempting to avoid the fact that he was leaving that day.

Readjusting herself on the bed, she watched him pack quietly for a few moments before he looked up at her, smiling at her shyly. “You OK?” he asked.

“Are you?” Emilia prodded “I mean, I’ve been here for nearly an hour and I don’t think I’ve seen you sit down once” she added, smiling down at him gently.

Lionel looked up at her, his eyes marveling at her soft smile for a few seconds, before he ducked his head, grinning ruefully down at his lap. “You’re going to think that this is a little silly” he mumbled “I mean, we’ve been....uh...”

“Dating” Emilia contributed with a bashful look.

Lionel nodded in thanks, keeping his stare on his lap. “We’ve only been dating for a few weeks, but I...uh...I’m just trying to say that I’m going to miss you, you know?” he mumbled, frowning at his own words as they came out awkwardly.

Emilia, who’d started to mess with the necklace that she wore, let out a shaky laugh. “You’d have to remember me to miss me” she teased weakly.

Lionel let out a laugh, feeling the slight tension which had grown between them dissipate at the soft sound of Emilia’s laugh. “You’re still not over that?” he prodded “I said sorry, Emmy” he quipped, offering her an exaggerated roll of his eyes.

“I don’t think you did” Emilia retorted, playing along.

“Well, I’m sorry for forgetting that Jordi had an annoying little sister” Lionel teased.

“Annoying?” Emilia scoffed “You think I am more annoying than my brother? Have you actually met Jordi?” she added.

Lionel laughed, poking her leg playfully. “It’s so easy to annoy you” he mused.

Emilia rolled her eyes, feigning a pout.

Lionel laughed again before he pushed himself up, touching a quick kiss against her lips.

Emilia smiled as he pulled away, watching as he sat down again before she let out a soft sigh, pushing her hair back off of her face. “I’m going to miss you too” she mumbled softly.

Lionel, who’d moved to place a few more things into his suitcase, stilled a little at the sound of her voice before he looked up again, offering her a small, soft smile. “We’ll talk, though” he noted “I mean, if you still want to. And I am probably going to come back over in September. With the world cup out of the way, I’m taking some time off from internationals, so I will have some time then. I could...we could...” he trailed off, shaking his head ruefully as he struggled to come up with the words he wanted to say.

Emilia shook her head. “It won’t be the same” she mumbled.

“That doesn’t mean it won’t be good” Lionel countered quickly, placing more of his things into his suitcase “I mean, I don’t know about you, but I think we’re pretty good when we’re together. We can talk a lot, mostly because we’re pretty useless at actually finishing sentences, but it should make for some pretty interesting video chats. You can tell me how annoying your brother is and I might introduce you to Gerard and Luis so you know I am in the same boat” he teased softly.

Emilia let out a laugh which quickly faded into a sniffle, causing Lionel to look up in alarm, his expression softening as he watched Emilia lift a hand, trying to be subtle about wiping her eyes. Emilia caught his stare before she shook her head, letting out another sniffling laugh. “I am not a crier” she announced.

“Your face begs to differ” Lionel retorted, half teasing and half concerned.

Emilia rolled her eyes, still wiping them. “I bet this isn’t what you pictured when you accepted Jordi’s wedding invite” she mumbled.

“To end up dating a lovely woman?” Lionel prodded “I don’t think I would have been that optimistic” he added with a nonchalant shrug.

Emilia laughed. “You’re so dorky, you know that?” she prodded.

“Is that a good thing?” Lionel asked.

“I like it” Emilia quipped “It works for you. It’s weirdly charming” she added.

“I’m not sure that that’s a compliment” Lionel retorted with a laugh.

“It is” Emilia noted “I mean, you’ve got me to agree to try to have a long distance relationship. You must be doing something right” she added.

Lionel’s grin softened a little before he shuffled to his feet, moving to sit down on the bed beside her. Emilia watched him sit down before she held out a hand, allowing him to take a hold of it, their fingers knotting together easily. “We’ll get the hang of it” he mumbled, tracing his thumb along the back of her hand “We’ll get through the teething problems eventually” he added.

“Promise you won’t get upset if I miss a call” Emilia mumbled “With Luca...”

“I get it” Lionel interrupted “And we’ll find a schedule eventually” he added.

Emilia nodded her head slowly, watching the movement of his thumb over her hand, before her phone chimed in the distance, causing her to shake her head ruefully. “That’s my alarm” she mused “I’ve got to go and get Luca from a playdate” she added.

Lionel nodded. “I’ll call you when I land” he noted.

“Or at an appropriate time” Emilia quipped “I mean, I’m not exactly sure of the time difference, but if you call me in the middle of the night, I am likely to not forgive you” she added, offering him a tearful smile.

Lionel smiled. “I’ll figure it out” he noted “And call you at a time that’s not likely to get me dumped” he added.

“Thank you” Emilia mused, wiping her eyes.

Lionel brushed a few tears off of her cheek before he leant close, kissing it softly. Allowing the kiss to linger, he smiled softly against her skin before he spoke. “I promise to remember you this time, Emmy” he teased quietly.

Emilia snorted out a laugh. “I’ll send Jordi to Barcelona if you don’t” she joked.

Lionel laughed too before he gently tugged on her hand, helping her up to her feet before he followed suit, capturing her in a kiss that didn’t last long enough for either of them. Emilia pulled away first, flashing him another soft smile before she made her way out of the room, turning only to see Lionel lift a hand to offer her a little wave, a smile as unsure and sad as hers perched on his face.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)