When We Were

Forty Three: He Didn’t Know That?

“Are you sure that I have to go with you?” Lionel prodded from his spot in the doorway, his eyes settled on Emilia who was staring into the bathroom mirror, trying to tame her messy dark hair. She had sprung it on him, after they’d spent Christmas day with her family, she had waited until they were tucked up in bed before she had told him about the prospect of their double date with Isaac and Naomi, and ever since, he had been trying to find a way out of it, almost certain that any dinner where he and Isaac were together could only end badly.

It wasn’t that he didn’t like the other man, though, the more he thought about it, the more sure he grew that he didn’t, but it was clear that Isaac thought that he was treading on his toes when it came to Emilia, something which made Lionel almost certain that they couldn’t get along, even if he knew that it would make things easier for both Emilia and Luca. As long as Isaac had feelings for Emilia, there was little chance of the two of them forging any kind of polite relationship.

“I’d like to not go alone” Emilia replied, twisting a piece of her hair around her curler.

“You could take Jordi” Lionel retorted.

Emilia snorted, offering Lionel a look via the mirror in front of her. “You’ve heard Jordi talk about Isaac, right?” she asked “Do you really think he’d want to go to dinner with him?” she added.

“Do you think I want to?” Lionel asked.

Emilia was quiet for a second, allowing the question to hang between the two of them, before she gently sighed, settling her curler down onto the bathroom counter. “I know that you don’t” she murmured “And honestly? If I didn’t have to go, I wouldn’t, but Isaac seemed serious about wanting to introduce Naomi to Luca, so I need to give them that chance and I’d rather not do that alone. Can you please just try? For me?” she asked, turning around to look at him.

Lionel held her gaze for a second before he lowered his head, nodding it slightly. “Alright” he noted “But when it goes badly...” he trailed off, offering her a halfhearted smile.

Emilia returned his smile, gentle and nervous, before she turned back to the mirror, still trying to fix her hair. “I just want you both to try and get along” she noted “You’re both in my life and hopefully, in your case, that’s something which isn’t going to change for a while. I know Isaac rubs you the wrong way, he does the same with everyone else in my life, but it would be a nice change if someone in my life could at least be civil with him. I’m not asking you to be his friend...”

“But you want me to be nice” Lionel finished for her.

Emilia quirked another nervous smile. “I’ll make it worth your while?” she asked more than stated.

Lionel didn’t want to laugh, but he couldn’t quite stop the sound from falling out of his mouth, something which made Emilia shake her head, giggling quietly to herself. “That sounded more awkward than I wanted it to” she quipped “But I will make this up to you. I promise you that” she insisted.

Lionel stepped towards her, dropping a kiss against the top of her head. “I’ll do my best” he murmured against her hair.

“So, how do you two meet, Emmy?” Naomi cooed, pulling Emilia’s attention away from Lionel who sat at her side, happily toying with her fingers as they waited for their food to arrive. It had been the same since they had sat down, with tension obviously lingering between Isaac, who’d spent most of the time just staring at Lionel, and the footballer, Emilia had taken it upon herself to try and relax Lionel, and it meant that they’d been a little wrapped up in one another. It wasn’t a deliberate attempt to ignore Naomi, as far as Emilia could tell, the blonde woman seemed nice and that was a good thing, but trying to keep the peace was important. The last thing she wanted was to make a scene.

Quickly fixing a smile, Emilia shook her head. “Leo’s a friend of my brother’s” she mused “I’ve known him since we were kids” she added.

Naomi quirked a pleasant smile. “That’s really cute” she fussed.

“It’s less cute when you find out I forgot about her” Lionel chimed in “Which she likes to tell everyone about” he added, offering Emilia a knowing look.

Emilia laughed, tucking a curl of her hair off of her face. “Not everyone” she noted, feigning an innocent roll of her blue eyes.

“It was one of the first things you told my friends when you came over to Barcelona” Lionel pointed out jovially “And you make the same joke about me forgetting you every time I go home, like I am just about to forget about you again” he added impishly.

“You might” Emilia played along.


“Will you two just stop?” Isaac’s voice cut Lionel off. It was low, almost a growl.

Lionel opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, but before he could say anything, Isaac spoke again. “You don’t have to rub this in my face, Emmy” he muttered “I get it. You’ve got yourself a new boyfriend. I don’t need to sit and watch this” he added, shuffling his chair back slightly.

“Isaac” Naomi warned gently.

“Why would you bring him?” Isaac continued as he stood up “I just wanted you to meet Naomi. Why did that have to involve him too? Why does everything have to now involve him too, Emmy?” he pressed.

Emilia shook her head, staring down at the table ahead of her. “You’re both part of my life, Isaac” she muttered “You both need to get used to the fact that neither one of you is going anywhere. I just...I just thought you could both make the effort. I thought you’d be capable of trying to get along with someone, anyone in my life, Isaac” she added.

Isaac scoffed, pulling his arm away from Naomi as she wordlessly tried to get him to sit down, not wanting him to make a scene. “No one gave me a chance, Emmy” he muttered “Jordi, your parents, your friends...they never even tried to get to know me” he added.

“You never gave them the chance to” Emilia retorted quietly “You ran away before they had a chance to get to know you, Isaac, and then you strolled back in again, like you had been gone for an hour, not months” she added.

Isaac shook his head. “You didn’t seem to mind that so much when you started sleeping with me again” he shot back.

Naomi’s grip on Isaac’s arm fell slack, the surprise on her face matching that which had appeared on Lionel’s, something which caused Isaac to tilt his head, his lips quirking upwards into a slightly bitter grin. “You’d not told him about that?” he prodded as he looked back at Emilia.


“He didn’t know that for almost a year after Luca was born, you and I were having sex?” Isaac continued to poke, almost gleefully.

Emilia’s cheeks were bright red. “Isaac, please” she murmured.

Isaac looked between Emilia and Lionel for a second before he picked his jacket up off of the back of his chair. “I’ll see you on Friday, Em” he chirped before he walked away.

Naomi muttered an apology before she hurried after him, leaving Emilia and Lionel alone in silence for a few seconds before Emilia shook her head, exhaling a shaky breath. “It was years ago” she murmured “After Luca was born, I was...”

“Can we just get out of here?” Lionel interrupted.

Emilia blinked, but nodded, offering him a smile which was shaky at best. “Of course” she confirmed.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)