When We Were

Seven: Whatever You Want To Call It

Shifting his grasp on the box of chocolates that he held, Lionel tentatively knocked on the door before he took a pace backwards, waiting anxiously for it to open. He was slightly late, after their dinner the previous night, he and Emilia had made plans to spend the next evening together, but with him having spent the day with his parents, he had arrived at her apartment slightly later than they had arranged, something which had tightened the knots which were already turning inside of his stomach. He knew that it wasn’t anything yet, after the way that Emilia had reacted when he had tried to kiss her the night before, he knew that if it was to be anything, it would move slowly and carefully, but still he wanted to get off on the right foot, even if they were both aware of the reasons there were for them not to try. He liked her and, despite how nervous she seemed, he thought that she liked him too.

Shifting his feet slightly, he kept an eye on the closed door so that he wouldn’t miss when it swung open, revealing Emilia who smiled around the door shyly. “You’re late” she mused, the smile on her face making it clear that she was teasing him.

Lionel laughed bashfully before he lifted his hands, holding the box of chocolates out ahead of himself. “Jordi told me that you didn’t like flowers” he mused.

He had wanted to make a good impression, after the way the previous night had ended, he had wanted to do something that would make things feel a little more relaxed, and, after some hesitation, he had opted to call Jordi, wanting to know a few things that would help Emilia relax around him.

Emilia nibbled on her lip, trying, and failing, to stop her smile from widening. “You asked Jordi?” she asked “My brother, Jordi?” she added.

Lionel nodded, his cheeks tinting a light shade of red. “He knows you pretty well” he quipped “And I am trying to impress you. Besides, with how much he keeps smirking when we’re together, I thought he’d be happy to help. I had to listen to a few teasing comments, but it wasn’t so bad” he added, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly.

Emilia shook her head before she took the box out of his hands, grinning down at it goofily. “You asked which ones to buy specifically?” she prodded, glancing up at him through her eyelashes.

Lionel made a sound that was caught somewhere between a playful scoff and a nervous laugh. “I didn’t want to bring the wrong ones” he quipped.

Emilia laughed before she pulled the door open, wordlessly inviting him to come inside as she turned away and made a move towards the living room.

Lionel hesitated for a beat before he cautiously followed after her. “So” he mused, trying, and failing, to sound nonchalant.

Emilia, who’d busied herself with tidying away a few of Luca’s toys which were scattered over the floor, smiled to herself before she looked up at him. “So?” she chirped.

“We...uh...we never actually made any plans” Lionel stumbled out.

“We didn’t” Emilia agreed impishly.

Lionel laughed before he shook his head. “Any preferences?” he asked.

Emilia shrugged. “I’m sure we can come up with something between the two us” she mused.

“Ok, now I am sure that you’re cheating” Emilia announced as she looked at the screen, watching as Lionel’s character crossed the finishing line ahead of hers. It had taken them awhile to settle on something that they wanted to do, but when Lionel had spotted a games console tucked beneath the coffee table, he’d been quick to jump on it. It was fun, throughout the games, he and Emilia had spent time playfully yelling at one another and laughing, and any hint of awkward date nerves had been quick to dissipate, something which had relieved them both, even if they hadn’t said anything about feeling nervous to begin with.

Lionel laughed loudly. “How could I be cheating?” he argued.

“I don’t know” Emilia retorted “But you have to be” she added.

Lionel scoffed amusedly. “You and Jordi are a lot alike, you know that?” he chirped.

Emilia, who’d moved to take a sip of her drink, smirked over the rim of the glass. “How do you mean?” she asked.

“You’re both bad losers for a start” Lionel retorted with a grin that made Emilia roll her eyes.

“I prefer competitive” Emilia retorted.

Lionel rolled his eyes playfully. “Whatever you want to call it, it’s clearly a family trait” he mused “Jordi used to hate losing to me” he added.

“I know he did” Emilia retorted “His bedroom was next door to mine when we were kids. I could hear his tantrums” she added impishly.

Lionel let out another loud laugh before he shook his head, his expression flinching slightly in embarrassment.

Emilia caught the change in his expression before she shifted her hand, briefly squeezing his before she moved to stand up. “I’m going to get another drink. You want anything?” she asked, the tone of her voice softening a little.

Lionel shook his head, offering her a shy smile. “I’m good” he mused.

Emilia flashed him a dubious look, wordlessly asking if he was sure, before she padded out of the room. Lionel listened to her footsteps recede towards the kitchen before he shuffled out of his seat, glancing around the room quietly for a few seconds before his eyes settled on a selection of pictures which were tacked to the wall. Quirking a small smile, he looked over a few of them before they settled on a recent one of Emilia and Jordi, something which made his grin widen. “You even look alike” he chirped, turning around as he heard Emilia footsteps reenter the room.

“You have seen us together before” Emilia teased, settling her refilled glass down onto the coffee table before she moved to stand beside him “You know, we were together last night. We were together at his wedding. You do remember that, right? ” she added.

Lionel nodded. “How could I forget?” he quipped “I mean, I met you” he added.

“You’d met me before” Emilia retorted “You’d just forgotten me” she added with a grin.

Lionel laughed. “I’m never going to get to live that down, am I?” he asked.

“Probably not” Emilia retorted “I mean, I like to think I’m at least a little memorable. How could you possible forget me?” she added brightly.

Lionel’s expression softened into a tender smile. “Honestly?” he noted “I have no idea” he added softly.

Emilia’s cheeks flushed at the softness in his voice before she shook her head, fixing her stare on her feet. “You live in Barcelona” she murmured “I live here. You’re one of Jordi’s friends. I haven’t dated anyone since...” her words trailed off as Lionel lightly touched her chin with his fingertips, tilting her head up before he leant forwards, brushing his lips over hers hesitantly.

Emilia’s eyes closed at the contact, but she didn’t respond straight away, affording Lionel the chance to take a half step backwards before she closed the gap again, grasping the front of his shirt in her hand to keep him close. Relaxing into the kiss, she felt Lionel brush his lips over hers a handful of times before he pulled away ever so slightly, a goofy smile on his face. “Would it be clichéd to tell you that I don’t care about any of that?” he asked with a breathy laugh.

“Completely” Emilia replied with a soft laugh of her own.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)