Can’t Look Away

10: I Could Make You Happy

“I didn’t expect you to come and pick me up, you know”

Lionel lifted his shoulder in a shrug, sparing Sasha a look out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t want to admit to her that he worried that she wouldn’t show up if he didn’t. He had heard it when they’d been on the phone. Sasha had sounded hesitant and worried, and he could tell that she was reluctant to see him again, something which had implanted the idea that she had just said yes to him to get him off of the line. “I know” he replied “I just thought it made sense. We’re going to the same place, after all” he added.

Sasha nodded her head, fiddling nervously with a button on her coat.

Lionel’s hands shifted on the steering wheel, a subtle sign that he was uncomfortable in the silence, before he shook his head. “Did you get to sleep OK?” he asked “You sounded tired on the phone” he added.

Sasha smiled at his concern before she nodded, brushing her hair back behind her ear. “I did” she confirmed.

“Good” Lionel mused.

Sasha offered him another small smile before the silence filled the car again, lasting until Sasha let out a soft sigh. Shaking her head to herself, she fiddled with her hair again before she glanced at him over the car’s centre console. “Leo...”

“We’re almost there” Lionel cut her off “I hope you don’t mind that it’s not a restaurant” he added.

Sasha thought about pushing forwards. She wanted to tell him that she was scared, and that when she was scared, she ran, but when she looked around the car, she couldn’t quite bring herself to get the words out, at least not there. “Where are you taking me, then?” she asked.

Lionel glanced over at her. “My place” he replied “I just...I thought it’d be more private. I thought it would be easier to talk if it was just us” he added.

Sasha nodded her head, focussing her stare back on her lap. “This isn’t how I imagined seeing your place for the first time” she replied, trying to lighten the mood slightly. It had felt heavy since she had gotten into the car.

Lionel’s answering smile was small, but Sasha felt better for seeing it. “How exactly did you imagine it?” he asked.

Sasha shrugged, her own smile sobering a little. “Just...not like this” she replied.


“I actually got us some food”

Sasha, who’d been quietly looking around Lionel’s living room, jumped at the sound of his voice before she turned around, watching him wander into the room with two plates clutched in his hand. It had gotten quiet again. With their conversation from that morning hanging between the two of them, it’d felt like neither one had quite known what to say to the other from the moment that Sasha had climbed into Lionel’s car, and it didn’t seem like it was going to change any time soon. They had moved inside quietly. Lionel had afforded her the chance to look around with a tight smile and a small nod of his head, and she had accepted the same way, allowing the awkward silence to linger.

“You did?” Sasha asked.

Lionel shrugged nonchalantly. “I promised a reservation” he quipped “The least I could do was make sure that there was actually food when I changed the plans” he added, placing a plate down onto the coffee table.

Sasha quirked a shy smile as she watched him pull cutlery from his pocket and hold it out to her. “You are hungry, right?” he asked.

“I am” Sasha confirmed.

“Then join me” Lionel mused.

Sasha hesitated for a split second before she took the cutlery out of his hand, following him back towards the sofa. Sitting down, she tugged the plate of food a little closer before she started to eat. Lionel mimicked her, eating quietly for a couple of minutes, before he turned to watch her. “How did she say it?” he asked.

Sasha didn’t have to ask what he meant. Letting out a soft sigh, she lowered her fork down onto the plate before she shrugged her shoulders, her eyes remaining fixed on the plate. “I don’t know if I can describe it” she admitted quietly “She wasn’t overtly negative or anything, she just seemed a little...I don’t know, stiff? It felt like she was just saying it because she felt like she had to. I didn’t expect her to throw a parade or anything, but...” she trailed off, shaking her head.

Lionel’s hand moved towards hers, touching it lightly before he weaved their fingers together. “It was never really anything, Sasha” he murmured softly “It was a couple of nights, years ago. You’re not stepping into the middle of something” he added.

Sasha watched as he swept his thumb over her hand gently before she looked up at his face.

Lionel’s smile was gentle and reassuring. “I know you like me” he teased gently.

Sasha shook her head. “It’s not that simple” she mumbled.

“Yes, it is” Lionel countered “You’re single. I am single. I like you. You like me. Maybe meeting your family might be a little...awkward, but a couple of day fling, years ago, shouldn’t be enough to convince you that this good thing we’re onto is worth throwing away. I like you, Sasha, an awful lot” he added.

Sasha fidgeted.

“You learned to deal with her and Olivier, didn’t you?” Lionel asked softly.

Sasha nodded. “He makes her happy” she replied.

“I could make you happy” Lionel’s reply was hopeful and shy, but it was enough to pull Sasha’s stare up at his face again, her eyes a little wide in surprise. Quirking a bashful smile, he brushed his thumb over her hand again, squeezing it softly. “That was very forward of me” he mumbled sheepishly.

Sasha just blinked at him, causing Lionel to let out a slightly embarrassed laugh. “What I meant to say is that, if you can learn to be around Olivier after what happened between the two of you, just because he makes Leila happy, then she should be able to do the same thing for you when it comes to me, whatever you and I become to one another. I know that we’re not really anything right now, but if we were to...become something to one another...” he trailed off as Sasha’s fingers gently touched the side of his jaw.

Closing his eyes, he felt the tips of her fingers tentatively trace the side of his face before he felt her nose against his. Her touches were careful, almost hesitant, and Lionel tried his hardest not to move into them. He didn’t want to scare her off by being too eager. Sasha kept her nose within touching distance of his for a moment before she leant forwards, brushing a soft kiss over his lips that was over too quickly. Blinking his eyes open, he stared at her for a moment, watching her smile bashfully to herself. “We’re something” she said gently.

Lionel wanted to ask what, but stopped himself, instead settling for watching her with a soft smile on his face.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)