When We Were

Twenty Seven: You Make It Sound Like A Big Deal

“One more forkful”

Lionel, who was sipping on his glass of water, smirked into it slightly, not able to miss the tone of exasperation in Emilia’s voice. it’d been steadily growing, since they’d sat down at a table in a restaurant near to Emilia’s apartment, Luca had been insistent that he didn’t want anything to do with the pile of vegetables that his mother had insisted on ordering for him, and he’d been stubborn about it, only taking a couple of forkfuls of peas which had been greeted with the same grimace and noise of disgust, something which had made Lionel stifle his laughs a couple of times.

He hadn’t been expecting it, when Luca had stood ahead of him at the airport, he’d frozen for a second, not quite sure what to make of the little boy’s presence but any concerns that he had had about meeting Emilia’s son had quickly faded once they’d started spending time together. The little boy was a lot like his mother, he was smart and funny and his enthusiasm seemed to be infectious, and it’d put Lionel at ease almost from the moment that they’d made it back to Emilia’s car.

Luca, who was poking the peas with his fork, shook his head. “No” he noted.

“You like peas” Emilia pointed out exasperatedly.

“Only when nana cooks them” Luca replied.

“They’re just peas, Luca” Emilia noted “One more forkful and then we’ll order some dessert” she added, gently prodding the plate.

Luca glanced down at the peas dubiously before he glanced up at Lionel for some kind of contribution, causing Lionel to shrug, a slightly amused smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “It seems like a good deal to me” he mused “I mean, the dessert menu’s pretty great. There’s all sorts of things on there. One more forkful of peas isn’t so bad” he added.

Luca hesitated for a second, seemingly mulling something over, before he took his fork into his hand, gathering a few peas onto it before he put it into his mouth.

Emilia smiled as she watched him before she lifted her gaze to meet Lionel’s, mouthing the words ‘thank you’.

Lionel smiled back at her bashfully before he shook his head, clearing his throat slightly. “Your mama told me that you play football, Luca” he noted, trying to keep the slight shake out of his voice.

Luca grinned, nodding his head happily. “I play on a team with my friend Javi” he confirmed “Mama says that we’re really good” he added proudly.

“She showed me one of your goals” Lionel mused “It was really good. Do you enjoy it?” he asked, trying and struggling to come up with something to talk about. He wanted to make the effort, with things between him and Emilia showing little sign of falling apart, he knew that having a good relationship with Luca was going to be important, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself from worrying about saying the wrong thing.

Luca just nodded his head, his eyes fixed on the menu he’d started to read.

Lionel nodded his head slowly, something which made Emilia slip her hand under the table, gently squeezing his leg. Not quite expecting the contact, Lionel jumped before he offered Emilia a quizzical look, something she answered with a small, reassuring smile, wordlessly telling him that he was doing better than he probably thought he was.

“Are you sure that you don’t want me to go?”

Emilia smiled to herself as she pulled Luca’s bedroom door to, not missing the nervousness which filled Lionel’s voice. It had been there from the outset, as soon as he had set eyes on Luca, he had immediately become self-conscious and had tried a little too hard to make sure that the little boy liked him, but Emilia had liked seeing it, even if it had resulted in Lionel being a little awkward. The fact that he had tried so hard with Luca suggested to her that he was serious about things between the two of them.

Making sure she was quiet in closing the door, she took a couple of paces back into the hall before she turned around, offering Lionel a little shake of her head. “I don’t want you to go” she mused.

“Are you sure?” Lionel prodded shyly “I mean, I’d hate to wake him” he added, glancing hesitantly towards Luca’s bedroom door.

Emilia’s lips quirked upwards a little more. “He’s not going to wake up” she mused.

Lionel opened his mouth to say something in return, but was cut off as Emilia stepped closer to him, pressing her lips to his. Letting out a soft sigh, he tentatively settled his hands on her waist, allowing the kiss to draw out for a few long seconds before Emilia pulled back, offering him a little smile. “It went fine” she mused, gently pushing her fingers through his hair.

Lionel shook his head, rolling his eyes lightly. “You’re just saying that” he mumbled.

“No, I’m not” Emilia replied.


“He ate his peas for you” Emilia interrupted, a soft laugh tumbling out of her mouth.

Lionel shook his head, smiling shyly down at his feet. “You make it sound like some kind of big deal” he muttered bashfully.

Emilia let out another laugh, patting his shoulder playfully. “It’s a huge deal” she mused.

Lionel’s smile widened a fraction, something which made Emilia grin at him gently before she leant forwards, touching her lips to his. “It’s a start” she murmured between light kisses “A good one, and it means you can relax a little. He liked you. You would have known if he didn’t. Just relax a little, Leo. You’re doing OK” she insisted, punctuating each sentences with a soft kiss.

Lionel closed his eyes, enjoying the kisses quietly for a few seconds, before he shook his head, still glancing timidly down at his feet. “I want him to like me” he murmured “I don’t worry about Jordi, or Marcella or David, but Luca? I know he’s the most important person in your life and I just...it matters that like me, Emmy” he added.

Emilia gently placed her hands at the back of his neck. “He does” she mused “And I am sure he’ll only grow to like you more. I mean, there’s a lot to like about you when you’re not just talking for the sake of it” she added, flashing him a slightly impish smile.

Lionel breathed out a laugh. “Em...”

“Just relax” Emilia mused “You’re doing fine” she repeated gently.

Lionel’s eyes searched hers for a few seconds, allowing her words to hang around the two of them, before he tipped his head forwards, resting his forehead against hers. “I love you” he mumbled softly, feeling Emilia’s body stiffen instantly “And I know that that’s soon, and I am not expecting you to...to say it back to me right now, but I wanted to say it before I left last time so...there it is. I love you” he repeated quietly.

Emilia did smile, the words causing a warmth to blossom in her chest, but she didn’t make a move to speak, not quite sure that she was ready to let those three words fall out of her mouth.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)