When We Were

Seventy Four: It’s That

Turning a small box over in his hand, Lionel glanced at the closed bathroom door, listening for any sign that it was about to swing open and allow Emilia to pad back into their bedroom. It was something he did often, in the handful of months that had passed since he had asked Luca for his blessing, he had woken up more times than he wanted to admit thinking that that day would be the one where he finally popped the question, but each and every time he had talked himself out of it, finding some minute flaw which changed his mind. Everyone knew that he was thinking about it, his family and Emilia’s, all of their friends, Luca and even Isaac knew that it was only a matter of time before he asked, but thus far, he’d been able to keep it from Emilia, a fact he was pleased about. He knew she wanted him to ask, the conversation he had overheard her have with Martha was all the confirmation he needed, but still he wanted it to be a surprise. He didn’t want to miss out on the look of wonder on her face because someone had spilled the beans before he’d found his nerve.

Flipping the lid open, he quirked a small smirk to himself before he closed it again, turning the box over in his hand once more.

“Can you bring me the dress I left on the wardrobe door?”

Lionel jumped, reflexively stuffing the box into the pocket of his jacket before the door had opened fully, revealing Emilia who stood in the doorway in her underwear. “Huh?” he spluttered, flustered.

Emilia’s lips quirked upwards amusedly. “You know you’ve seen me naked, don’t you?” she quipped.

Lionel let out a surprised laugh, his cheeks flaming red. “I didn’t hear what you said” he noted.

“I asked if you could get my dress for me” Emilia repeated “I’ll need it if we’re going to get to dinner on time” she added amusedly, nodding towards the dress which hung on the wardrobe door.

Lionel blinked a couple of times before he shoved himself back up to his feet, almost stumbling on his way towards the cupboard.

Emilia watched him, her forehead creasing slightly. “Leo” she prodded “Are you alright?” she asked.

Lionel nodded, carrying her dress over towards her. “Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked with a smile.

“You just seem flustered” Emilia replied “I can call Martha if you want me too” she added gently.

Lionel didn’t hesitate, shaking his head. “She and her husband have come all the way to Barcelona” he noted “I’ll be fine” he added.

Emilia offered him a slightly dubious look before she took the dress out of his hand. “OK” she mused “I’ll put this on, then. Can you go and make sure that Luca’s not running the babysitter ragged?” she asked.

Lionel nodded his head dutifully before he scuttled out of the room, leaving Emilia frowning slightly after him. He had seemed distracted for a while, and whilst he hadn’t given her any indication that there was something seriously the matter, it was still somewhat disconcerting. She hated the idea of something bothering him and him not wanting to share with her what it was.

“Do you have to go back to the hotel yet?” Emilia asked as Martha stepped back towards the table, tucking her phone back into her bag.

“Felipe is fine” Martha noted as she sat back down, tugging Elias’s arm around her shoulders “So we can stay a little longer. Maybe another drink or two, if you can handle that, Moretti” she added, flashing her friend an impish smirk.

Emilia scoffed amusedly, shaking her head. “That was months ago” she noted “And I wasn’t that bad” she added, putting stress on ‘that’.

Lionel tried to stifle his laugh in his drink, causing Martha to laugh to as Emilia shot him a glare. “You got something to say, Messi?” she quipped.

Lionel grinned around the glass, shaking his head. “Of course not, Emmy” he quipped.

Emilia rolled her eyes before a little shiver crept up her spine, spurred on by the slightly cool spring breeze that pushed by their table.

“Are you cold?” Lionel prodded.

“A little” Emilia replied “I blame Elias and his insistence on sitting outside” she added, glancing at the other man across the table.

Elias merely rolled his eyes, mumbling a comment beneath his breath about it actually having been Martha’s idea to sit outside.

Lionel smiled a little at the interaction before he turned around, taking his jacket off of the back of his chair. “Here” he mused, offering it out to Emilia.

Emilia smiled at him gently and took the coat out of his hands, slipping her arms into it before she wrapped it around herself. Tucking the material into her lap, she smoothed it out slightly before her hand ran over a bump, something which caused her to tilt her head. Glancing up, she watched Lionel laugh at Martha and Elias’s playfully bickering, before she slipped her hand into the jacket’s pocket, quickly locating the object which had created the bump. Closing her hand around it, she tugged it out of the pocket before looked down at it, her breath catching in her throat.

“Emmy will back me up” Elias chirped “Emmy?” he prodded.

Emilia didn’t move.

“Earth to Emilia?” Martha teased “You still with us, Moretti?” she joked.

Lionel frowned, noticing Emilia’s lack of reaction. “Em?” he breathed softly “Amor, are you OK?” he asked.

Emilia turned in her seat, her wide blue eyes staring up at his face as she shakily moved her hand forwards, placing the small box down on the table between the two of them.

Martha’s gasp broke the silence as Lionel turned back to look at Emilia, his cheeks flushed pink. “I forgot to take that out of there” he murmured “I was looking at it earlier and then you came out of the bathroom and I...I hid it in my jacket” he spluttered with a rueful smile.

“Is it what I think it is?” Emilia whispered, her eyes scanning his face for some kind of hint or reaction.

Lionel breathed out a nervous laugh, his eyes closing as he leant his head forwards. “Yeah” he whispered “It’s that” he added.

Emilia made a sound that was somewhere between a laugh and a squeak.


“Martha” Elias hissed quietly.

Martha fell quiet, causing Lionel to glance at her for a second before he turned back to Emilia, gently taking her hands in his. Taking in a breath, he slipped off of his chair and onto one knee, his dark eyes looking up into Emilia’s tear-clouded blues. “I’ve talked myself out of this every day for months” he breathed “I had it in my head that there was going to be some moment that was utterly perfect and everything would go off without a hitch, but I should have known it’d be something like this” he added, shaking his head amusedly.

Emilia smiled down at him tearfully. “Yes” she whispered.

Lionel grinned. “Can I ask first?” he quipped.

“Sorry” Emilia mused “But it’s a yes” she added.

Lionel laughed. “Will you marry me, Emilia?” he asked.

“Yes” Emilia repeated “Yes, I will” she gushed.

Lionel almost tripped over as he sprung back to his feet, sweeping her into a hug which was accompanied by her giggles as he pressed a scattering of kisses to her neck and shoulders. Holding her tight, he felt a few of her tears soak into his shirt before they pulled away, allowing for Emilia to be swept away into Martha and Elias’s hugs and congratulations before she turned back to him, allowing him to gently twist the ring he’d been obsessing over for months onto her finger.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)