When We Were

Seventy Three: Before I Ask

Peeking one of her eyes open, Emilia reflexively flinched, squeezing it shut again as a shot of pain radiated through her head. Letting out a quiet groan, she turned into her pillow a little more, keeping her face hidden for a few seconds before she heard movement. Hesitating, she took in a deep breath before she turned over, squinting up at the figure who stood over her. “Lionel?” she croaked.

Lionel, who’d move to place a glass of water down onto the coffee table, smirked a little before he nodded, crouching down next to the couch. “Were you expecting someone else?” he asked, pushing her hair out of her face.

Emilia grumbled, hiding away from the light again. “Am I on the couch?” she mumbled.

“You are” Lionel confirmed “I guess you didn’t want to disturb me when you got home last night. Good night, was it?” he prodded impishly.

“It used to take a lot more drinks for me to get drunk” Emilia replied “Martha was right, I am getting old” she added.

Lionel laughed gently. “You’re barely 30” he retorted.

Emilia just shrugged, keeping her eyes closed for a few more seconds, before she tentatively peeked them open, flinching at the bright sunlight which filtered into the living room. “Martha...”

“She left first thing” Lionel interrupted, knowing what her question would be “I bought Maisie down for a feed at about seven and I think we woke her up. She said she’d give you a call later. She seemed really nice” he added.

Emilia’s eyes widened. “You got up with Maisie all night” she breathed “I didn’t even...I’m so sorry” she whispered.

Lionel shook his head. “You don’t have to say sorry” he noted “She actually slept a little better than usual. I got four hours as opposed to the usual two” he added, offering her a grin.

“Still” Emilia mumbled.

“You deserved a night off, Emmy” Lionel fussed “And from all the giggles I heard last night, it sounded like you and Martha had a great time” he added.

Emilia stared at him for a few seconds, blinking sleepily, before the shrill call of her phone filled the air, causing her to flinch.

Lionel chuckled a little before he leant towards the coffee table, picking her phone up off of the surface. “Isaac” he noted, handing it over to her.

“What time is it?” Emilia asked, taking the phone out of his hand.

Lionel looked down at his watch. “It’s a little after half nine” he answered.

Emilia groaned, holding the phone away from her. “I was supposed to pick Luca up at nine” she mumbled “Isaac had plans and I promised him that I’d pick Luca up early. He’s going to be so annoyed” she muttered.

Lionel gently pushed the phone back towards. “Tell him that I am on my way” he noted.

Emilia hesitated, briefly contemplating fighting him on it, before she pulled the phone to her ear. “I know” she mumbled “And I am sorry that I am late. I went out with Martha last night and I overslept, but Leo’s on his way and he should be with you soon. About 20 minutes at the most” she explained.

Lionel pushed himself up to his feet, watching Emilia as she spoke with Isaac for a couple more minutes and hung up the phone. “Thank you” she murmured “I’d go, but my head is killing me and I don’t know how polite I would be” she added, offering him a crooked smile.

Lionel laughed before he leant over the back of the couch, pressing a kiss against her temple. “I’ll be back soon” he mumbled.

“I’ll try and be wearing something other than last night’s dress when you get back” Emilia replied.

Lionel pressed another kiss against her head before he stepped away from the couch, making his move towards the front door.

“Are you still hungry?” Lionel asked as he placed his glass down onto the table, his eyes fixed on Luca who sat opposite him. It had been a last minute change of plans, a combination of Isaac having not had time to give Luca breakfast and Lionel wanting to give Emilia a little more time to get over her hangover before Luca got home had encouraged him to text Emilia and let her know that he was going to take the little boy out for breakfast, but it had also presented him with an opportunity to talk to him, something he wanted to do sooner rather than later.

Luca, who’d been scooping the last spoonful out of his bowl of cereal, nodded. “Can I have something else?” he asked through a mouthful of food.

Lionel smiled and nodded. “I was going to order another drink anyway” he noted as he waved towards their waiter “What do you want? Another bowl of the same?” he asked.

Luca nodded his head enthusiastically, encouraging Lionel to relay their order to the waiter before a silence settled over the two of them. Lionel watched the waiter away before he turned his attention towards Luca, watching him for a second before he sighed, still not entirely sure what it was that he was going to say. “Luca?” he asked.

Luca, who’d been staring out of the window, turned at the sound of his name. “Huh?” he spluttered.

“I want to talk to you about something” Lionel noted “Is that OK?” he asked.

Luca’s forehead furrowed a little, but he nodded nevertheless.

“You know that I love your mama very much, don’t you?” Lionel asked.

Luca nodded his head.

“Well, I have been thinking about asking your mama to marry me” Lionel announced gently “And I wanted to make sure that you’re alright with it before I asked her” he explained carefully.

“Marry” Luca noted “Like a wedding? Like uncle Jordi and Auntie Samia?” he asked.

Lionel nodded his head. “Yeah, like that” he confirmed “I want to do that with your mama, because I love her very much and I think...I know she loves me too, but I want to make sure that you’re alright with me being around for a very long time. If you’re not quite sure, that’s OK, I don’t have to ask her yet, but if you are...” he trailed off, offering Luca a nervous smile.

Luca was quiet for a second, his forehead creased in thought, before he nodded his head slowly. “OK” he announced.

“OK?” Lionel asked.

“It will make mama happy” Luca mused “She’s been happy a lot since she was your girlfriend. She’s not sad like before” he explained.

Lionel smiled shyly. “You don’t mind me asking her, then?” he asked, wanting to be entirely surely.

Luca shook his head. “Ask mama” he noted.

“I will” Lionel agreed “But not for a little while, and I want it to be a surprise, so could you maybe not tell your mama I asked?” he added.

Luca frowned slightly in confusion. “Why?” he asked

“Because I want to...to think about how and when I want to ask her” Lionel explained “It’s a very special question, and I want to make sure that it’s good enough when I ask it to her” he added.

Luca nodded his head slowly.

“Thank you, Luca” Lionel mused with a grin.

Luca grinned back at him before he shuffled out of his seat, moving to hug Lionel tightly. “I’m glad you’re going to stay with mama” he mumbled softly.

Lionel just hugged him back, smiling softly. It was now only a matter of time before he found himself waiting for Emilia’s answer to the most important question he’d ask her.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)