When We Were

Eighteen: How’s That Going?

Self-consciously smoothing out the t-shirt that he wore, Lionel let out a shaky sigh, his eyes fixed on the house which stood ahead of him. It was something they did every season, with the end of preseason approaching and the majority of the squad having returned from their extended summer break, the coaching staff had suggested that they get together for the day, and whilst Lionel knew that, as captain, he had to be there, a part of him had seriously considered staying home, hopeful that he would have the chance to catch Emilia on the phone.

They hadn’t talked much, since he had arrived back in Spain, there had only been a couple of calls between the two and it bothered Lionel slightly, even if he had always known that there would be teething problems. He’d been hoping for a little more than what they’d managed. It wasn’t like they were avoiding each other, but their schedules had yet to line up, meaning that he’d missed a few of Emilia’s calls and she’d missed a few of his, something which frustrated him slightly, even if he knew that it couldn’t be helped. He missed her more than he thought he would.

Closing his eyes, he took a second before he made a move to walk up the path, stopping as he felt a hand clap against his shoulder playfully. “You know it’s not going to be so bad, right?” Luis’s voice chirped playfully.

Lionel smiled down at his feet gently, nodding his head. “Sorry” he muttered “My head’s somewhere else entirely” he added.

“Somewhere interesting?” Luis asked as they slowly made their way up the path towards the front door.

Lionel shook his head. “It’s nothing” he noted.

Luis offered him a sideward glance. “You sure?” he prodded.

Lionel caught the look before he opened his mouth to reply, only to be cut off as Gerard swung the front door open, grinning widely at the two of them. “About time you showed up” he quipped “Everyone’s out the back. Food’s on the way” he added.

Lionel flashed him a small smile before he hurried past him, something which caused Gerard and Luis to share a look. “Is he Ok?” the Spaniard asked.

Luis just shrugged before he followed after the argentine.

~#~
Picking at the label of his drink, Lionel glanced around the table, half listening to the conversations of his teammates as they flowed around him. He had been quiet, with his mind still stuck on Emilia, he hadn’t been paying too much attention to what was happening around and he knew that it was only a matter of time before someone caught on. Judging by the looks that both Gerard and Luis had been sending him since he’d sat down, it was pretty clear that someone already had.

Pulling another loose piece of the label off, he rolled it up in his fingers before he flicked it onto the table, sparing a brief glance down towards his phone which sat there. Keeping his stare on the blank screen for a second, he let out a soft sigh before he shuffled to his feet, excusing himself back into the house.

Luis and Gerard shared another look as they watched him walk away before his phone vibrated on the table, something which caused the defender to lean forwards, a laugh bubbling out of his mouth as he scanned the text which had appeared on the screen.

“What?” Luis prodded.

Gerard grinned. “It’s seems Leo’s got himself a girlfriend” he chirped “Or at least, some woman’s mother or father thinks so” he added.

Luis frowned. “What?” he asked.

“He just got a text” Gerard replied “It says something about him sleeping with their daughter with a little winky emoji. Someone clearly thinks he’s spending time with someone” he added.

“Who’s spending time with someone?” Lionel asked as he padded back outside, plopping down into his seat.

Gerard’s grin grew a little wider as he turned back to the argentine. “You are” he quipped “Or someone’s parents think you are. You just got a text” he added, gesturing towards the phone.

Lionel’s forehead furrowed a little before he picked his phone up, his cheeks flushing a little as he read the text on the screen. “Marcella” he mumbled beneath his breath.

“Marcella?” Luis asked “Your girlfriend?” he added.

Lionel spluttered out a laugh, shaking his head as the blush on his cheeks grew a shade darker. “She’s...She’s the mother of the girl I am kind of...sort of...dating” he stumbled out “Emmy warned me that she’d get in contact” he added, swiping the text off of the screen embarrassedly.

“Who’s Emmy?” Gerard asked, not even attempting to keep the smirk off of his face.

Lionel kept his stare on his phone, shrugging his shoulders slightly. “Emilia” he noted “It’s kind of cute, actually. She’s...uh...she’s the sister of a friend of mine. I’d not seen her since we were kids, so when I ran into her at her brother’s wedding, I didn’t recognize her. long story short, we spent a lot of time together whilst I was in town and now we’re...dating long distance” he revealed carefully.

He didn’t want to overstate it, whatever it was that was happening between him and Emilia was still very much new and still tentative, but he couldn’t quite keep the excitement out of his voice entirely, something he could already see his teammates smirking at. There was no denying that it was complicated, that he already found himself a little frustrated at how things were working for them now that he was back in Barcelona, but he couldn’t pretend that he didn’t love the idea that they were still technically a couple, even if he was hesitant to use the word ‘girlfriend’. He liked her a lot and he knew that it showed when he talked about her.

Gerard nodded his head slowly. “How’s that going?” he asked.

Lionel smiled ruefully. “I keep missing her calls” he noted “She keeps missing mine” he added.

“You’ve not been back for that long” Luis pointed out.

“I know” Lionel replied “And I’m sure that things will settle down eventually, but right now...” he trailed off as his phone vibrated in his hand. Blinking a couple of times, he glanced down at it before he felt his face light up with a soft smile, Emilia’s picture filling the screen.

Trying to get control of his smile, he shuffled back to his feet before he gestured over his shoulder. “I need to take this” he noted.

“Don’t let us stop you” Gerard chirped impishly.

Lionel rolled his eyes shyly before he padded into the house, pressing the phone against his ear. “Hi” he breathed softly.

“I’m so sorry for my mother” Emilia replied quickly “I just read the text she sent you. It’s more than a little embarrassing” she added.

Lionel, who’d moved to perch on the arm of a couch, laughed gently. “Your mother is a little embarrassing” he countered “Jordi got it from her” he added.

Emilia playfully feigned a scoff, making Lionel laugh again as he shook his head to himself, noting just how much he had been waiting to hear her voice.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)