Can’t Look Away

13: Did You Ever Think That Maybe She Wasn’t On The Same Page?

Setting the paper cup he held down onto the table, Lionel picked his phone up, hoping that the screen would light up with a message from Sasha, letting him know that she was on her way. It had been hard for them to find a gap in both of their schedules. Sasha worked shifts, and Lionel’s days off had a habit of overlapping with days where she was working, but when he had suggested that they get coffee at a cafe a little away from the hospital, Sasha had leapt at the opportunity, something which had relieved him as much as it had pleased him.

It hadn’t been long. They had seen one another less than a week previous, but after her father’s birthday party, Lionel had half been expecting her to try and pull away again, put off their relationship by something her sister had said. He understood that it had the potential to become slightly awkward. He and Leila had a past and their past was one that had made spending time together slightly awkward, but he didn’t understand why Leila kept trying to put Sasha off of him. They were friends, awkward or not, they’d coexisted for years, and he couldn’t quite grasp why she kept saying things that made her little sister doubt what she and Lionel had.

Seeing that the screen of his phone was empty, he placed it back down onto the table before he felt a light touch against his shoulder, causing him to lift his head and smile. “I was just checking for a message from you” he quipped as he stood up, not hesitating to wrap Sasha in a hug.

Sasha wrapped her arms around him, happy to return the embrace. “Sorry I worried you” she said “One of my ladies in labour went into delivery just before I was due to leave, and she asked me to stay. Have you been here for long?” she asked, tugging out of the hug.

Lionel shook his head. “It doesn’t matter” he mused “I’m just glad you made it” he added, returning to his seat.

Sasha hung her jacket over the back of the chair opposite before she gestured over her shoulder. “I’m going to go and grab myself a drink” she mused “I’ll be right back” she added.

Lionel nodded before he picked up his phone, messing with it until he heard Sasha sit down. Quirking a small smile, he watched her for a few moments, something which made her smile before she pushed her hair behind her ear. “You’re staring” she commented.

“I’m just happy to see you” Lionel replied.

Sasha’s cheeks, which were already slightly pink, turned a shade darker. “You know it’s not even been a week, right?” she quipped.

Lionel lifted a shoulder, a warm smile on his face.

Sasha rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stifle her smile.

“So” Lionel mused after a moment of quiet “How was your father’s party? Was he surprised?” he asked.

Sasha’s hand, which had been stirring milk into her tea, stilled fractionally before she looked up. “He was” she confirmed “That was a surprise to me. My mother is the worst at keeping secrets” she added.

Lionel nodded, sipping on his drink. “You enjoyed it?” he asked.

Sasha glanced down at the table, offering him a small shrug. “It was a good night for my papa” she replied “And that’s all that really mattered. My mother had invited friends of theirs that they hadn’t seen in years, so it was mostly a night of telling people who knew me as a child what I am doing nowadays” she added.

Lionel watched her for a moment, noticing the tension that seemed to have made its way into her expression, before he reached across the table, softly covering her hand with his. “Sasha” he murmured.

Sasha closed her eyes at the sound of her name, taking a moment to think about what she wanted to say, before she blinked them open again, meeting his stare across the table. “Tell me about you and Leila” she said quietly.

Lionel sighed, squeezing her hand gently. “Do I want to know what she said?” he asked.

Sasha shook her head. “It was nothing” she noted “I just want to know what happened between you two. Can you tell me?” she prodded.

Lionel offered her a look, briefly contemplating pressing her to tell him what her sister had said, but eventually, he sighed and nodded his head. “We’d known each other for a little while. I’d not call us friends, exactly, but we were aware of each other. She knows Sofia, Luis’s wife” he explained, his eyes watching Sasha’s face for her reaction “Anyway, I had just broken up with my last girlfriend and Leila had just broken up with her boyfriend. It was ill advised, the first time. She was there, I was there, and it sort of just happened and it wasn’t until the following night we realised that it was probably a mistake. I wasn’t interested in anything more than that. The breakup between me and my girlfriend had been rough, and I was nowhere near ready to jump into something more, Leila swore that she was on the same page. I got up, I got dressed, and we agreed to put it behind us” he added.

Sasha fiddled with the stirrer which still poked out of the top of her drink for a moment before she looked back at him. “Did you ever think that maybe she wasn’t on the same page?” she asked.

Lionel shook his head without hesitation. “No” he noted “We were exactly as we were before, and a few weeks later, she was introducing everyone to Olivier” he added.

Sasha nodded her head slowly. “I think she felt something for you” she announced quietly “At least, that’s the impression I get” she added.

“It was years ago, Sasha” Lionel pointed out.

“I know it was” Sasha replied, her other hand covering his which rested on top of hers.

“I can’t make it go away” Lionel noted “I would if I could” he added.

Sasha’s smile was small. “I know you can’t” she mused.

“Then what do you want me to do?” Lionel asked.

Sasha’s shoulders lifted and fell in a small shrug. “I don’t know” she mused “I guess it’s just going to take some getting used to” she added.

Lionel squeezed her hand gently, but before he had the chance to say something more, something inside of Sasha’s coat beeped, causing her to tug her hands back and pull her phone out. “I have to get back” she mused, eyes fixed on the phone as she typed out her reply “One of my other ladies in labour is about to be moved to delivery. I’ll call you later?” she asked, pulling her jacket around her shoulders.

Lionel nodded, lifting his head up so that Sasha could touch a quick kiss to his lips.

Sasha smiled and stole a quick second kiss before she walked away.

Lionel watched her to the door before he turned back to his phone. Staring at it for a beat, he breathed out a sigh before he unlocked it, scrolling quickly to Leila’s number before he opened a blank message. He tried to compose the message a couple of times before he eventually sent it. They didn’t text a lot, nor did they meet up often, but he had a feeling that the only way that he was going to fix the issue that was still lingering between him and Sasha was to talk to Leila. He hadn’t seen it. He’d always worked under the assumption that the clean break between him and Leila had worked for them both. They had both been rebounding, using one another, and it’d been over before it had started, but there had to be a reason that Leila was warning Sasha away from him and he needed to know what it was.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)