When We Were

Seventeen: I Don’t Think He’s Exaggerating

“Mama, this jumper is itchy”

Emilia, who’d been collecting the bouquet of flowers and bottle of wine she had bought for her parents from the back of her car, turned around, glancing at Luca who stood on the pavement, fiddling with the jumper that she had dressed him in. it had been a while, with her parents having been preoccupied for a while by Jordi’s impending wedding for some time, they’d not had much of a chance to see each other, but with them having returned from a holiday that they’d taken after Jordi’s wedding, Marcella had invited Emilia and Luca over, something Emilia was in equal parts excited about and dreading.

They’d always been close, Marcella and David had always been warm and supportive parents, but since Emilia’s relationship with Isaac, and Luca’s subsequent arrival, they’d become slightly overbearing, always seemingly trying to stick their nose into things when they weren’t needed. They’d taken it better than Emilia had thought they would. When she had first found out that she was pregnant, Emilia had been pretty confident that her parents would react negatively to the news. She had been expecting lectures, questions about how she hadn’t been more careful and about the man who’d gotten her pregnant, but she hadn’t got any of it. Instead, Marcella and David had merely smiled and started to fuss about the impending arrival, something they hadn’t stopped doing since Luca had arrived.

Watching Luca for a second, she quirked a small smile at the thought of how much his grandparents adored him before she shook her head, moving to lock the car. “You only have to wear it for a few more minutes” she mused “Just until we get inside” she added.

“I want to take it off now” Luca complained.

“You’d best come inside then” Marcella’s voice cooed.

Luca, who’d been facing his mother, turned around quickly, a bright smile filling his features. “Nana!” he announced.

“Come on, Luca” Marcella cooed “Get inside and go through to the living room. Grandpa’s in there with uncle Jordi. He’ll help you with your jumper and shoes” she added as she stepped out of the doorway, allowing the little boy to move inside past her.

“Jordi’s here?” Emilia asked as she followed Luca up the path.

“Hola to you too, Emilia” Marcella retorted, rolling her eyes playfully.

Emilia smiled before she leant over, pressing a soft kiss against her mother’s cheek. “Hola, madre” she mumbled.

Marcella gripped her tightly for a moment, prolonging the embrace for a few more seconds than Emilia had been anticipating, before she leant back, smiling down at the flowers that Emilia clutched in her hand. “Are these for me?” she asked.

Emilia nodded, smiling sheepishly down at the flowers. “It’s been a while” she noted.

“Uh huh” Marcella replied with a small smirk “Are you sure that they’re not some kind of bribe? I mean. Jordi did give us some interesting news when he picked us up from the airport. Are you trying to buy my silence, Emilia?” she prodded impishly.

Emilia felt her cheeks warm before she shook her head, her eyes fixed shyly on the floor. “I am going to kill Jordi” she mumbled.

Marcella grinned, patting Emilia’s pink cheek softly. “Try and wait until after dinner, honey” she mused “I’ve made too much food and I don’t want to be stuck with the leftovers” she added.

Emilia rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stop her smile, something which made Marcella’s grin widen a fraction before she stepped into the house, Emilia trailing after her.

“So” Marcella prodded as she stepped up towards the sink, placing the last of the dirty plates down next to it.

Emilia, who’d been wiping the plates over, glanced at her mother out of the corner of her eye, a faint smile tugging the corner of her lips upwards slightly. it wasn’t the first time Marcella had tried to start a conversation, since Emilia and Luca had arrived, the older woman had tried to catch her daughter alone on a couple of occasions, but each time they’d been interrupted, something Emilia was grateful for, even if she knew the conversation was inevitable. She’d been grateful for another couple of hours to get her thoughts in order.

“So what, mama?” Emilia retorted impishly, washing over another plate.

Marcella leant back against the counter, watching her daughter for a second, before she shook her head. “Leo, huh?” she prodded “I mean, I can see the appeal, he’s a good looking man, but I must say, I didn’t see it coming. After Isaac, I didn’t exactly see you ending up with another man you met at a party hosted by your brother” she added, her voice flitting between teasing and soft.

Emilia kept her eyes on the plate, shaking her head slightly. “It’s different, mama” she mused.

“I know it is” Marcella replied gently.

“I really like him” Emilia noted, sparing her mother a brief look.

“Jordi said you did” Marcella mused “Said the two of you were all smiley and touchy when you had dinner with him and Samia” she added warmly.

Emilia’s cheeks flushed, but she couldn’t hide her small smile. “You know he’s prone to exaggerating” she muttered shyly.

“I don’t think he’s exaggerating about this, Emilia” Marcella mused “I mean, you can’t stop smiling about him” she added.

Emilia spluttered out a soft laugh, but didn’t refute it, something which made Marcella smile before she stepped behind her, gently squeezing her shoulders. “I’m happy for you, honey” she mused, dropping a kiss on the top of Emilia’s head.

Emilia shook her head, staring down at the sink ahead of her. “But?” she asked.

Marcella smiled into her hair. “How’d you know?” she muttered as she pulled away.

“Because there’s always a but, mama” Emilia replied “So, what is it?” she pressed.

Marcella sighed. “I just want you to be careful, ok?” she mused “I mean, Leo’s great, we know that, but whatever it is that’s happening between the two of you is complicated and I don’t want to see you, or Luca, get hurt, ok? Just take it slow, Emilia, please” she added, her voice softening a little.

She knew it wasn’t what Emilia wanted to hear, but it was something which needed to be said. It wasn’t going to be straightforward, even without mentioning the distance, Marcella knew that Isaac would be a sticking point, and that there was no telling how Luca would react to the idea of his mother being with someone that wasn’t his father, and she wanted to encourage Emilia to be cautious, no matter how smitten she was. She needed to see the bigger picture and not just how things were when it was just her and Lionel.

Emilia stared down at the water in the sink for a moment before she nodded her head, turning to glance at her mother. “I’m trying to” she mused “I know it’s complicated, mama, and I am trying to be cautious. I promise” she mused.

Marcella smiled before she leant forwards, kissing Emilia’s forehead softly. “I’m going to need his number” she mused as she pulled back “It’s about time I had a catch up with him” she added with a playful smirk.

“He’s expecting your call” Emilia played along “Try to be nice” she added.

Marcella scoffed playfully. “As if I could be anything else” she joked.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)