When We Were

Nine: What’s That Got To Do With You?

“Luca, have you got shoes on yet?” Emilia called as she padded around the six year old’s bedroom, packing his bag ahead of Isaac’s arrival. It was a familiar routine, with Isaac having taken Luca for weekends for years, the process of getting the little boy ready was one he and Emilia went through almost every week, but still they always cut it close, something she knew irked Isaac, even if he’d never said anything. She knew him well enough to see the frustration in his eyes every time he stepped through her door just to find Luca only partially ready to leave.

She knew that he didn’t want to hang around her, almost from the moment that she had revealed to him that she was pregnant, Isaac had put distance between them, both physical and emotional, and whilst it had bothered her in the beginning, she’d grown used to it. They’d hardly known each other when she had fallen pregnant, they’d met at a party of Jordi’s and fallen into bed almost immediately, and after that they’d never really found a way to make things work between them, something which had culminated in Isaac disappearing for a few months and reappearing once Luca was almost two months old.

Pushing a few more pieces of clothing into Luca’s bag, Emilia listened to the quiet which greeted her question before she shook her head. “Luca?” she called again.

“I can’t find them” Luca called back.

Emilia, who’d been zipping up the bag, let out a quiet sigh before she moved out of the bedroom, stopping in the doorway of the living room when she spotted Luca sat in the middle of it, still merrily playing with his toys. “Luca?” she prodded.

Luca didn’t look away from his toys. “I can’t find my shoes, mama” he chirped.

Emilia smiled amusedly before she stepped a little further into the living room, bending down to drop a kiss on the top of the little boy’s head. “That’s probably because you’re not even looking for them” she mumbled playfully, her fingers lightly tickling sides.

Luca let out a small noise in surprise before he turned around, grinning up at his mother playfully. “I’m playing” he noted.

“I know you are” Emilia retorted “But you have to go and get your shoes on. Your papa will be here any minute” she added as she brushed her fingers back through his soft hair, a faint smile playing on her lips.

Luca’s already grinning face brightened. “He said we could go to the park” he announced “We’ve not been there in ages” he added.

“Do you like the park?” Emilia prodded.

Luca nodded enthusiastically. “I like the slides” he mused “And the swings. And I like playing football with papa too. He’s really good” he gushed.

Emilia pushed Luca’s hair out of his eyes, allowing her to lean forwards, pressing a soft kiss against his forehead. “You should go and find those shoes then” she mumbled as she pulled back “You don’t want to keep papa waiting, do you?” she added.

Luca shook his head before he ran off, something which made Emilia grin gently before the sound of knocking filled her ears. Letting out a quiet sigh, she self-consciously smoothed out her hair before she pulled the door open, the greeting that she had prepared for Isaac falling quiet as her eyes met Lionel’s. Staring at him for a few seconds, she watched his cheeks flush pink before she shook her head, letting out a soft nervous laugh. “Leo” she breathed “I...Did we...Hi” she squeaked.

Lionel smiled sheepishly. “Hi” he replied.

“What are you doing here?” Emilia asked.

Lionel shrugged, glancing down at the floor. “I could lie and say I was nearby” he mumbled “But really, I was just kind of hoping that you weren’t busy. I know I should have texted, obviously I should have done that so that this wouldn’t be so mortifying, but I didn’t and now I’m here and...” he trailed off as Emilia let out a giggle.

“Sorry” Emilia mused, smiling at him sheepishly.

“It’s probably a good thing” Lionel retorted “If you don’t stop me, I’ll probably talk forever” he added, flashing her a timid smile.

Emilia looked at him, marveling at the soft smile that he wore, but before she had the chance to step towards him, the sound of footsteps walking up the hall towards them filled the air, causing them both to turn, both of their stares landing on Isaac as he walked towards them. Isaac walked briskly up the hall until he looked up, stopping when his stare landed on Lionel.

Emilia watched Isaac’s expression shift before she shook her head. “Luca?” she called over her shoulder “Baby, are you ready yet? Your papa’s here” she added.

Isaac, who’d moved a little closer, sighed. “Why isn’t he never ready?” he asked.

Emilia didn’t say anything, instead just offering him a little apologetic shrug.

Isaac glanced down at her for a second before he turned to Lionel, sticking his hand out ahead of himself. “Isaac Fernandez” he noted.

Lionel hesitated for a beat before he opted to accept the handshake. “Lionel Messi” he noted.

“Are you sleeping with Emmy?” Isaac asked bluntly.

“Isaac!” Emilia squeaked, both her cheeks and Lionel’s flushing a bright shade of red.

“What?” Isaac asked.

“What on earth does that have to do with you?” Emilia retorted, her voice more than a little indignant.

Isaac just offered her a look before he turned back to Lionel, looking him over for a few seconds before Luca’s exuberant voice filled the air. “Papa!” he gushed “You’re here” he added, eagerly tossing his arms around Isaac’s waist.

Isaac smiled down at the little boy. “Of course I am” he noted “We’ve got big plans...”

“Leo!” Luca’s voice cut his father’s off as he spotted the footballer, greeting with him a bright grin.

Lionel returned Luca’s smile gently before he turned, sharing a look with Emilia that told him that they’d both seen the look that had passed over Isaac’s face. Clearing his throat, he offered the little boy a timid wave. “Hola, Luca” he mused.

Isaac made a small noise before he cleared his throat, his hand gently patting Luca’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go and get your bag, eh?” he prodded “Then we’ll head back to my house. Have you had dinner yet?” he asked.

“No” Luca replied.

“Then how about we order a pizza?" Isaac asked.

“Yes!” Luca squeaked excitedly before he dashed back into the apartment.

Emilia watched Luca back inside before she turned to Lionel, wordlessly encouraging him to duck past her.

Lionel acknowledged her look and stepped past her, allowing her to pull the door to as she turned to glance up at Isaac, already feeling his stare on her. “Isaac...”

“You’re introducing your boyfriend to Luca already?” Isaac hissed quietly.

“He’s not...I didn’t...” Emilia stumbled out “He was at Jordi’s wedding, that’s where Luca met him. I didn’t introduce them on purpose” she added.

Isaac opened his mouth to say something in reply, but stopped himself as Luca came running out of the door, tossing his arms around his father again. “Ready to go” he announced.

Isaac let his expression soften. “Say goodbye to your mama, then” he quipped.

Emilia kept her eyes on Isaac, not missing him mouth ‘we’ll talk later’ to her, before she dipped down, mumbling a soft goodbye to Luca before he padded away after his father.