When We Were

Seventy Two: See You Next Year

“Is she asleep already?”

Lionel nodded his head to answer Emilia’s question, his stare not moving away from Maisie who was lying next to him on the couch, snoring happily. “She’s been out for a little while” he mused softly “I was probably going to take her upstairs shortly. Are you done going in and out of the bedroom now?” he asked as he turned, offering Emilia as smile as she leant against the living room doorway, slipping her feet into a pair of heels.

Emilia tucked her hair off of her face, rolling her eyes at him playfully. “I changed dresses once” she replied.

“And I still don’t know why” Lionel countered “You looked beautiful in the first one, too” he added.

Emilia shook her head as straightened out her dress, a bashful grin on her face. “You’re obliged to say that” she said.

Lionel shrugged. “It’s still true” he quipped “Boyfriend obligations or not” he added.

Emilia stepped deeper into the room, leaning over the back of the couch to press a soft kiss against the top of Lionel’s head. “You’re sweet” she mumbled into his hair “Are you still sure that you don’t want to come tonight?” she added as she stepped around the couch, crouching down ahead of Maisie.

Lionel was quiet for a moment, watching the gentle movements of Emilia’s fingers as she pushed them through Maisie’s dark hair, before he shook his head, looking back up at Emilia. “I’m sure” he noted “I mean, Maisie’s probably a little too young for a new year’s eve party, so one of us has to stay here and honestly, whilst I am sure that your friends are lovely, I don’t think tonight is the night you’re going to want me to meet them. When was the last time you had a night out with just your friends again?” he prodded, offering her a boyish smile.

Emilia shook her head as she smoothed out Maisie’s onesie. “It might have been a while” she mumbled.

“How long’s a while?” Lionel prodded.

Emilia shrugged. “We used to do lunch a lot” she mused “But I had Luca during the week and Isaac, he wasn’t really so reliable at first. Let’s just as leave it at, I’m really kind of looking forwards to it” she added, offering him a sheepish smile.

The invitation had surprised her, after years of turning down her friends party invites down, she had assumed that they’d get bored of asking, but when she’d received a text, asking if she wanted to go to a club with a friend of hers on New Year’s Eve, she hadn’t hesitated in accepting. It’d been a long time, too long, since she’d had a night with her friends.

Lionel smiled at her warmly before a knock at the door sounded, causing Emilia to push herself back up again, smoothing out the material of her dress. “Honest opinion” she breathed “Is it too much?” she added, gesturing to her dress and her makeup.

Lionel’s smile softened as he shook his head. “You look beautiful, Emmy” he mused earnestly.

Emilia’s cheeks flushed a faint shade of pink. Leaning forwards, she touched a careful kiss to Maisie’s forehead, using her thumb to gently brush the red lipstick stain away, before she turned to Lionel, kissing his cheek gently. “I shouldn’t be home too late” she mumbled as she stood up.

Lionel gently tugged on her arm, pulling her down and into a kiss. “Have fun” he murmured as he pulled back.

Emilia offered him a little wave as she walked out into the hall, collecting her bag and coat. “See you next year, Messi” she teased, blowing him a kiss from the doorway.

“What time is it?” Emilia asked as she fell into her seat, taking a sip from her glass.

“A little after 11:45” Martha replied “Why? Are you planning on bailing already, Moretti?” she teased, offering Emilia a bright playful grin.

Emilia rolled her eyes playfully, grinning around her glass. “It has been a while” she mused “And Maisie was up at 5 this morning and she wouldn’t go back to sleep” she added.

“You must be getting old” Martha teased “Felipe was up at 4 and you don’t see me slowing down” she added.

Emilia scoffed out a surprised laugh. “You’re three months older than me!” she giggled.

Martha offered her an amused shrug. “Maybe you’re just out of practice” she quipped “Why don’t you finish that glass and then we can have another dance? We’ll see in the New Year and then we’ll find a cab so that you can get home to that boyfriend of yours. I still want to meet him, by the way. I can’t believe that you’ve been together over a year and me and Elias haven’t had a proper introduction” she rambled.

Emilia finished her drink, placing the glass back on the table. “There wasn’t exactly a good time” she noted “I mean, when I was still living here, it was too early, and I live in Barcelona now. It’s not like I can just pop back over with him” she added.

Martha looked at her thoughtfully before she nodded. “Answer me just one question, then” she mused “Leo. The One?” she prodded.

Emilia allowed a slow smile to brighten her features. “The one” she confirmed “Martha, I’d marry him tomorrow if he asked me” she gushed.

Martha grinned. “Two things” she mused “One, I’m maid of honor, right?” she prodded.

“You’ll have to fight my sister-in-law for it” Emilia replied as she looped her arm through Martha’s guiding her towards the dancefloor.

“I’ll win” Martha boasted.

“What’s the second thing?” Emilia replied, playfully rolling her eyes.

“I’m so glad it’s not Isaac” Martha mused “That guy was just...god, he was the worst” she added.

Emilia rolled her eyes before she grabbed a hold of Martha’s hand, pulling her into the middle of the dancefloor as the New Year’s countdown started to be yelled around them.

Quirking a small grin to himself, Lionel leant against the upstairs banister, watching as Emilia teetered through the hall, tugging dark haired woman along behind her. He knew that they were trying to be quiet, the amount of Emilia’s shushes he’d heard followed by the other woman’s unfamiliar laughter told him that Emilia, at least, was trying not to disturb him and Maisie, but he hadn’t been able to resist getting up, wanting to at least catch a glimpse of one of Emilia’s friends. It wasn’t that he hadn’t met them, since Emilia had started to live with him in Barcelona, he’d walked in on more than a few video chats with faces he didn’t recognize and Emilia had been more than happy to introduce him, but he wanted to meet them in person. He found himself wanting to build connections with everyone that was important in Emilia’s life.

“Martha” Emilia whispered loudly “You’ve got to be quiet. I don’t want to wake Leo” she added.

Lionel smirked to himself before he pushed himself away from the banister, taking a couple of steps towards the bedroom.

“Why not?” Martha replied as she pulled a shoe off of her foot “I’d like to get a proper look at the future Mr Moretti” she added.

Lionel paused in his tracks, turning back towards the spot he’d vacated.

“He hasn’t asked me, Martha” Emilia replied.

“But you want him to” Martha almost sang “You love him and you want to get married to him. You want to be Mrs...Mrs Lionel” she spluttered out before she burst into a fit of giggles.

“I’d still be Moretti” Emilia insisted “But Mrs Moretti, Leo’s wife” she added dreamily before she ushered Martha through towards the kitchen, insisting again that they had to be quiet.

Lionel’s expression softened into a gentle smile. There had been hints, but it wasn’t quite the same as hearing it said out loud and confirmed by Emilia. Shaking his head, he turned back towards the bedroom and stepped inside, noting to himself that he had to talk to Luca sooner rather than later. He hoped that Luca was comfortable with him around, he hadn’t shown any signs of it being otherwise, but still Lionel wanted to do things officially. He wanted Luca to be among the first to know that he was planning on staying with Emilia for as long as possible.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)