When We Were

Twenty Five: Leave It Alone

“Is there anything else you need me to do, Emmy?”

Emilia, who’d been focused on the cake which sat on the counter ahead of her, visibly jumped at the sound of Jordi’s voice before she turned around, causing her brother to let out an amused snicker, his fingers gently tapping his own forehead. “You’ve got a little something just about there” he quipped amusedly.

Emilia rolled her eyes before she turned back around, returning her attention to the icing that she was trying to smooth out over the cake. It hadn’t been long, after Lionel had departed back to Barcelona, only a matter of days had passed, but with Luca’s seventh birthday having passed in the week, that Saturday morning was to be his birthday party, something which meant that Emilia and her family would be spending the day with Isaac and his. It was always tense, despite her reminders to her parents and Jordi that Isaac was Luca’s father and that he had as much right to celebrate the little boy’s birthday as they did, someone always threw out a comment which caused tension to blossom between them, and it always had Emilia slightly on edge, not wanting a day that was supposed to be about Luca to descend into one which was about two families that couldn’t seem to put their differences aside.

“Where’s Luca?” she asked quietly.

Jordi, who’d moved to rest against the counter next to her, shrugged. “The last time I saw him, he and our papa were kicking a ball around outside, but I think mama got them to come back inside. You know how she is about muddy footprints” he quipped, rolling his eyes playfully.

Emilia smiled, still trying to get the icing of the cake right.

Jordi watched her for a few seconds before he gently nduged her side. “How’s Leo?” he prodded, his voice caught between soft and teasing.

Emilia shrugged, trying, and failing, to hide the small quirk upwards that her lips made at the mention of Lionel’s name. “He’s good” she mused “I mean, I got to see him for a couple of days and that was nice. He didn’t call you?” she asked.

Jordi scoffed playfully. “Like he has time for me now that he’s dating you” he teased.

Emilia couldn’t stop herself from blushing softly, a shy laugh falling out of her mouth. “I’m sure he could make time for you, Jordi” she quipped.

Jordi lifted an eyebrow like he had thought of an amusing retort, but was stopped from voicing it as Isaac padded into the room, something which caused Jordi to shake his head, letting a soft sigh. Emilia caught the sound before she reached out a hand, squeezing Jordi’s arm gently. “Please” she whispered.

Jordi nodded his head stiffly. “I should go and see if papa needs some help” he noted “How long’ve we got before Luca’s friends start showing up?” he asked.

“Another half an hour or so” Emilia replied “Can you ask mama if she finished packing the party bags?” she asked.

Jordi nodded his head dutifully. “Sure thing” he quipped before he padded out of the room, not offering Isaac so much as a glance as he passed him.

Isaac watched Jordi out of the room, shaking his head slightly, before he stepped a little closer to Emilia, smiling over her shoulder at the cake which sat on the counter top. “You know that my sister is a professional baker, right?” he asked quietly “She’d have been happy to make Luca a cake” he added.

“I’m not exactly comfortable asking favours of your sister” Emilia replied, returning her attention down towards the cake “Are she and your brother coming?” she asked.

Isaac, who’d moved to take a taste from the bowl of icing which sat on the counter, shook his head. “They couldn’t get the day off” he noted “They sent presents, though. Luca was tearing through them when I left him with your mama” he added.

Emilia nodded her head. “Does the cake look that bad?” she asked after a couple of beats of silence.

Isaac, who’d simply been watching her, shook his head, a little smile curling the corner of his lips upwards. “Nah” he noted “I mean, it looks like it was homemade. I think that that adds to its charm” he added.

Emilia rolled her eyes, glancing up at him with a faint smile. “You’re just saying that so I don’t toss it in the bin and spend the next half an hour yelling at someone to get a replacement” she mused, taking her own taste of the icing.

“You did that last year” Isaac pointed out “You know, before I had to stop my brother from punching Jordi” he added.

Emilia snorted, tucking her hair back off of her forehead. “Could have been worse” she muttered “The year before, my mother did throw a glass of lemonade over your mother” she added.

Isaac watched her push her hair off of her head before he spotted the smear of icing sugar which lingered at the edge of her forehead, something which made him sigh softly, his fingers already itching to reach up and brush it away. “You know we don’t have to keep doing this” he muttered “I mean, Luca’s a popular kid, and I think he enjoys himself, but I am pretty sure that he’d love a day out with just the two of us just as much. If we don’t have to have our parents and siblings in the same place, we probably ought to avoid it” he added.

“Or they could all grow up for a day a year” Emilia retorted, shaking her head.

Isaac snorted. “Luca’s seven now” he pointed out “And Jordi still can’t look me in the eye. I think that’s a little optimistic, Emmy” he added.

Emilia sighed quietly, something which caused Isaac to lean forwards, his thumb lightly brushing the icing sugar off of her head.

“Emmy, it’s Leo” Jordi called as he walked into the room, Emilia’s phone clutched in his hand.

Emilia’s expression brightened immediately before she pulled away from Isaac, excitedly sweeping the phone out of Jordi’s hand. “I’ve got to take this” she cooed “Jordi...”

“I’ll try and save the cake, Em” Jordi quipped, flashing her a playful smile.

Emilia grinned back at him before she pressed the phone to her ear, cooing excitedly to Lionel as she padded out of the kitchen, leaving Isaac staring after her for a couple of seconds before Jordi cleared his throat.

Isaac looked at the other man. “What?” he grumbled.

“She’s happy” Jordi noted “Whatever she has going on with Leo, it’s making her happier than I’ve seen her in a long time and I just want to tell you to leave it alone, Isaac. For Emilia’s sake, just keep your nose out of things” he added before he stepped past Isaac, focusing on the cake on the counter.

Isaac stared at him for a second before Luca’s voice called out for him, pulling him out of his thoughts before he made his way out of the kitchen.