When We Were

Twenty Two: With You Around

“Do you have time for a cup of tea or coffee, Isaac?”

Emilia, who’d been stood quietly beside the front door, looked up at the sound of Lionel’s voice, her eyes landing on where he stood in the doorway of the kitchen, his own stare fixed on Isaac who’d padded into the living room, plopping down onto the couch with a little smirk on his face. it had been quiet for a few moments, after Lionel had invited Isaac inside, Emilia hadn’t quite known what to say, and she still wasn’t sure, not quite sure which one of the two of them she was more irked with.

It wasn’t something which could be avoided, before introducing Lionel to Luca properly, she knew that he had to meet Isaac, but it was something she had wanted to hold off on, knowing that while she and Lionel weren’t entirely certain of how things would work between the two of them, she was going to hold off on suggesting that he meet her son. She knew Luca would love him, the little boy tended to like most people he was introduced to, and she didn’t want him to grow too attached, not when things between her and Lionel felt precarious. She didn’t want Luca to get hurt.

Isaac smiled, shrugging his shoulders lazily. “I’ve got some time” he noted “Coffee would be good” he added.

“How do you take it?” Lionel asked.

“Milk, no sugar” Isaac replied.

Lionel nodded his head dutifully before he turned towards Emilia, flashing her a small timid smile. “Em?” he asked.

“No, thank you” Emilia replied quietly.

Lionel nodded his head before he stepped back into the kitchen, allowing a few moments of silence to linger in the air before Emilia stepped forwards, causing Isaac to look up, smirking at her slightly. “I just want to meet him, Emmy” he quipped, not missing the expression on her face “I mean, you’re going to want to introduce him to Luca at some point and I’d like to have the chance to size him up in advance. I promise, I’ll be on my best behavior” he added impishly.

Emilia looked at him dubiously before she shook her head, her eyes softening a little as she looked down at him. “Please, Isaac” she mumbled “I...I like him, Ok? I know you want to make sure that he’s good enough to meet Luca, and I am not going to get in the way of that, but can you at least try and be nice?” she added gently.

Isaac’s smirk grew a little. “I’m always nice, Emmy” he mused.

“Isaac” Emilia sighed.

Isaac held up his hands innocently. “I promise” he quipped.

Emilia offered him another uncertain look before the sound of footsteps reached her ears, causing her to turn around slightly, watching as Lionel padded into the room, stopping to place a mug down ahead of Isaac. Isaac watched him place the mug down on the coffee table before he offered him a small smile. “Thank you” he noted.

Lionel just smiled slightly in return before he stepped across the room, sitting down in a chair a little away from Isaac. “So” he mused, sipping on his drink “What can I do for you, Isaac?” he asked.

“I just want to meet you” Isaac replied “I mean, if you’re going to be dating Emilia, then the chances are that you’re eventually going to meet my son and I’d like to have a sense of you before you do. Luca...Luca likes people easily and I want to be sure that you’re worth it. I don’t want my son’s heart getting broken” he added, his eyes drifting over towards Emilia who sat on the arm of Lionel’s chair, his hand settled comfortably against the small of her back.

Lionel watched Isaac’s eyes, watching as they lingered on his hand on Emilia’s back, before he nodded his head. He had a sense that Luca wasn’t the only one that Isaac was worried about. “I get that” he noted.

Isaac whipped his stare away from Emilia, offering Lionel a small nod. “You’re a friend of Emmy’s brother, aren’t you?” he prodded.

“Isaac” Emilia warned quietly.

“I am” Lionel confirmed, his thumb brushing comfortingly against Emilia’s back.

“I was a friend of his, too” Isaac mused “Though, he’s not exactly my biggest fan these days. You’re not worried about that? I mean, I think we both know whose side he’d take in a breakup” he added.

Lionel shrugged. “I’ve not really thought about it” he noted “I’m trying to be optimistic” he added, smiling up at Emilia who grinned down at him in recognition of their little inside joke.

Isaac frowned a little, his stomach twisting a little as he watched how at ease the two of them were around one another. “You’ve met her parents?” he prodded.

“When I was younger” Lionel replied “I’ve not had the pleasure since we’ve gotten together. I’ve spoken to Marcella, though. After she embarrassed me in front of my friends, I called her. She seemed pretty glad to hear from me, actually” he added, directing the latter half of his comment to Emilia who tilted her head.

“She didn’t mention that” she noted “How was it?” she added.

“Pretty much the same” Lionel replied with a laugh “You’d think it’d been days since I called, not a few years” he added.

“She’s always liked you” Emilia replied.

“Should she not?” Lionel teased.

Emilia giggled. “I suppose you’ve got some good traits” she played along.

Lionel smirked up at her before he opened his mouth to retort, only to be cut off as Isaac cleared his throat, pulling both Emilia and Lionel’s attention towards him, something which caused Lionel to frown, not missing the expression on the other man’s face. “I should really get going” he noted as he pushed himself out of his seat “Em, where are Luca’s boots?” he asked.

“Probably in his room” Emilia replied “I’ll go and grab them” she added as she stood up, hurrying out of the room.

Isaac watched her down the hall before he turned back to Lionel, his eyes looking him over for a few seconds before he sighed, bumping the frames of his glasses back up his nose. “You seem to fit” he noted softly.

Lionel tilted his head. “Fit?” he asked.

“Her family like you” Isaac rephrased “That’s something I can never say about myself. Even before...they never quite seemed keen on me, but they are on you. I have no doubt that if you met Luca officially, he’d like you too” he added.

Lionel shook his head. “I don’t want to make things strange or difficult for you, Isaac” he noted.

“Your being here does it, Lionel” Isaac replied “With you around, things between me and Emmy won’t be quite the same” he added, glancing down the hallway sadly.

Lionel nodded his head slowly, Isaac’s words confirming something he had thought since he’d first met him.

Isaac shifted his feet, still glancing down the hall, before he turned back around, stuffing his hands into his jacket’s pockets. “Are you and Emmy busy this morning?” he asked “Luca’s playing in his first match and I think he’d love Emmy to be there, and I think I’d like to be there when you two try and explain what’s going on with you. Are you up for it?” he added.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, not quite sure what to say.

“I think it’s best we wait” Emilia’s voice filled the slightly awkward silence.

Isaac tilted his head, letting out a slightly surprised laugh. “I’m giving you my blessing, Em” he noted.

“I know” Emilia noted “And thank you for that, but things are...I don’t think that...”

“She’s not entirely sold on us” Lionel finished for her, knowing precisely what she was trying to say.

“It’s not that” Emilia retorted, meeting Lionel’s eyes “I just...You said it, Isaac. He likes so easily and things between me and you, Leo, are just...they’re still so...precarious. I just...I don’t want Luca to get hurt” she stumbled out.

Lionel nodded his head, offering her a stiff smile. “You should go” he noted.

Emilia opened her mouth to object.

“It’s your son’s first game, Em” Lionel continued before she had the chance to speak “You should be there for it. I’ll be here when you get back” he added.

Emilia’s eyes searched his face before she quirked a small smile. “I’m counting on it” she mused, trying to lighten the mood “I’m not quite ready to let you go yet” she added.

Lionel smiled despite himself, something which made Emilia’s smile grow before she leant towards him, stealing a couple of light kisses before she turned back to Isaac. “I need fifteen minutes to get dressed” she noted.

“You have ten” Isaac replied, his teasing only half-hearted as he stared at the floor. Anything to avoid watching Emilia press her lips against Lionel's.

Emilia rolled her eyes before she made her way up the hall again, leaving Lionel and Isaac stood together, both of them watching her as she went.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)