When We Were

Seventy One: You Said You Had High Hopes

“So, what presents did you get?” Emilia prodded as she leant forwards to place her tea down on the coffee table, her eyes fixed on Luca’s face which lit up the screen of her laptop. She had made sure to get up early, with Luca spending Christmas with Isaac and his family, she had wanted to get her video call in before Isaac’s parents or siblings had a chance to interrupt, and whilst it had meant slipping out of Lionel’s arms, she wouldn’t have missed it. It was the first Christmas day that Luca had spent away from her, and whilst she was going to miss the blur of activity that the day usually meant, she knew how much it meant to Isaac that Luca was with him.

Luca’s face lit up with a wide smile. “I got lots” he gushed.

Emilia smiled back at him. “Like what?” she prodded.

“Lots of new toys” Luca replied “And some new paints and pens. I got clothes too, but they’re boring. Oh! I want to show you my new shirt” he babbled excitedly before he ducked off screen, returning seconds later with a bundle of material in his hands. Grinning at his mother once more, he unfurled it before he held it a little too close to the camera.

Emilia couldn’t not smile at his enthusiasm. “Baby, you need to back up a bit” she mused “I can’t see what you’re showing me” she added.

Luca shuffled back from the camera slightly, still clutching his shirt with a wide smile. “It’s got my name on it!” he enthused happily.

Emilia blinked a couple of times, taking in the sight of the familiar blue and red shirt, before she nodded her head, her smile softer than it was before. “It certainly does” she mused.

“It’s Barcelona” Luca gushed “Like Leo” he added.

“What’s like Leo?”

Emilia leant her head back, looking up at Lionel who stood behind her, Maisie yawning sleepily in his arms. Taking a second to look at the two of them, she smiled goofily to herself before she turned back towards the laptop, nodding at it slightly. “Luca’s already opened his presents” she mused “Come see” she added as she shuffled across the couch slightly, making room for Lionel ahead of the camera.

Lionel padded towards her before he sat down. Yawning tiredly, he greeted Luca with a wave and smile as he carefully settled Maisie into Emilia’s arms. “Hola, Luca” he noted “Merry Christmas” he added.

“Leo!” Luca squeaked “Look at what I’ve got” he added before he held his shirt up again.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, still half asleep, before his eyes softened a little in recognition. “Barca” he mumbled softly.

“Barca” Luca parroted happily.

“Luca, breakfast” Isaac’s voice called.

Luca huffed. “I have to go, mama” he noted.

“I heard” Emilia replied, glancing away from her fussing over Maisie “I’ll see you in a couple of days, yes?” she asked.

Luca nodded.

“I love you, baby” Emilia fussed “Merry Christmas” she added.

“Merry Christmas, mama” Luca replied “And Leo and Maisie” he added.

Lionel smiled at him. “See you soon, buddy” he mused.

Luca offered the three of them a parting wave before he darted off camera again, allowing Lionel to lean forwards, closing down the laptop. Smiling a little to himself, he shook his head before he turned and looked at Emilia, watching her and Maisie for a moment. “Presents or breakfast first?” he asked quietly.

Emilia went to reply, but was cut off as Maisie let out a loud cry, causing her to laugh gently. “I think Maisie’s saying breakfast” she cooed.

Lionel leant over and lifted Maisie out of her mother’s arm, pressing a soft kiss against her little cheek. “Breakfast it is, then” he mused.

“Mama, have you not got one that you like, yet?” Jordi complained as he shifted his hold on Felix, glaring up at Marcella who swanned around ahead of them, a camera clutched in her hand.

“You’ve been sat there for five minutes” Marcella retorted “You don’t hear Emilia complaining” she added, snapping a few more pictures.

Emilia, who’d been smoothing out Maisie’s dress, looked up. “Would it make a difference if I was?” she prodded impishly. She had been anticipating the fuss, with two new grandchildren to gush over, she had been amazed that Marcella hadn’t been waiting by the door when she, Lionel and Maisie had arrived, but she knew that there was no stopping her.

Marcella scoffed. “I just want a few pictures of my babies and their babies, is that really so much to ask?” she complained.

“Luca’s not here” Jordi protested.

“Jordi, just let the woman take her pictures” Samia interjected, laughing.

“How is he grumpier than Felix?” Lionel chirped from his spot on the arm of the couch, grinning at Jordi who scoffed, rolling his eyes.

“I just didn’t realize I was coming over for a photo shoot rather than Christmas dinner” Jordi muttered “Besides, how are you so chipper, Lionel? Don’t tell me Maisie’s a good sleeper” he added.

Lionel shook his head. “She wakes up every two hours” he noted “But don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. You’ve only been doing it for a few days” he added, offering Jordi a playful smirk.

Jordi scoffed, but didn’t have a chance to respond before Maisie let out a cry, something which pulled Lionel’s attention towards her and Emilia. “Nappy?” he asked.

Emilia shook her head. “Hungry” she noted “I put a bottle in the fridge when we got here. I’ll go and warm it up” she added before she stood up, carrying Maisie out of the room.

Lionel watched after them, briefly contemplating following after them, but Jordi’s laugh stopped him, causing him to turn around, offering the other man a curious look. “What are you laughing at?” he asked.

Jordi feigned fussing over Felix, grinning to himself. “Nothing” he replied innocently.

“Jordi, be nice” Marcella scolded him gently.

“I’m always nice, mama” Jordi chirped “Besides, it wasn’t a mocking laugh. It was more a...an ‘I can’t quite believe them’ kind of laugh” he added.

Lionel tilted his head. “What’s that mean?” he asked.

“It means that I expect you’ll be here next Christmas, and the one after that and the one after that” Jordi chirped, still fussing over Felix’s onesie “That eventually I am going to have to write a brilliant best man’s speech that will make fun of both you and my sister. It means, that I can’t quite believe that this worked out this well” he added, his voice softening a little on the last sentence.

Lionel quirked a small sheepish smile. “You always said you had high hopes for us” he quipped shyly.

Jordi looked up from Felix.

Marcella looked up from her camera.

They both stared at Lionel.

Lionel rubbed his jaw sheepishly, knowing exactly what their looks meant. “Not soon” he noted “I don’t want it to follow Maisie so closely, but there have been a couple of cues from Emmy that she might...and I think I do. The summer, maybe, or this time next year providing that things are still...you know” he explained cautiously.

Marcella and Jordi shared a look before the older woman stepped forwards, wrapping the forward in a tight hug. Lionel startled, not expecting it, but hugged her back gently, taking the hug as her way of giving her blessing. Holding onto her for a few seconds, he smiled a little at the thought before he stepped back, knowing that there was someone else’s blessing he needed before he gave it any more thought, and that he’d have to find a way to convince Luca, after he’d asked him, not to spill the beans to his mother.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)