Can’t Look Away

14: Somehow, She Ended Up With You

“Can I get you anything?”

Lionel, who’d been shrugging out of his coat, looked up, glancing at Leila who stood over his shoulder, gently closing the front door after him. “I’m alright” he replied.

Leila nodded her head before she stepped around him, gesturing through towards the living room.

Lionel trailed after her, breaking the slightly uncomfortable silence between them as he took a seat on the sofa. “Where’s Olivier?” he prodded.

“Work dinner with a client” Leila replied, busying herself with adjusting a cushion before she sat down “I would have gone with him, but I’ve had quite a long day and I was looking forwards to coming home and relaxing” she added.

Lionel didn’t miss the thinly veiled resentment in her voice at his having disturbed her night. He had been insistent. He wanted to figure things out sooner rather than later, and the few texts that he and Leila had exchanged had conveyed that, and it didn’t matter to him that she was slightly inconvenienced. To his mind, the sooner he and Leila talked, the sooner he and Sasha could relax into their new relationship. “I don’t intend to stay for very long” he mused.

Leila nodded. “I’m guessing that you want to talk about Sasha” she noted.

“I do” Lionel confirmed “She told me that she told you about us” he added.

“Told is a stretch” Leila mused “I guessed it was you when she told me that she’d met someone at my wedding. The two of you spent a lot of that afternoon sat together, so it wasn’t much of a leap” she added, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly.

Lionel nodded his head slowly, taking a moment to think over what he wanted to say, before he let out a gentle sigh, one of his hands rubbing his jaw. “I really like her” he admitted “And I know that that might be a little awkward...”

“It’s not awkward” Leila interjected.

Lionel fixed her with a look. “Then why is it that, every time she’s seen you recently, she’s come back to me worrying about us?” he asked “She picked you and Olivier up from the airport after you got back from your honeymoon, and she was suddenly unsure of us. She saw you at your father’s party the other night, and when I saw her yesterday, she was trying to pull away again. I just want to know what you said to her” he added.

Leila looked at him for a second, her eyes searching his, before she let out a quiet sigh. “It’s surprised me” she noted “It’s been a long time since Sasha has had a boyfriend, and the idea that her new one, out of all the people in the world, is someone I’ve had a kind of relationship with...”

“It wasn’t a relationship, Leila” Lionel countered.

“It was still something” Leila replied “And the idea of you two together, it surprised me at first, that’s what my reaction was. She surprised me, and if I was a little distant at the news, it was because of that, not because I am trying to get between the two of you. Why would I want to do that?” she pressed, her voice almost incredulous.

“I don’t know” Lionel noted, shrugging his shoulders slightly “But Sasha worries...”

“Sasha worries about everything” Leila interrupted “Especially when it comes to new relationships” she added.

“Does that surprise you?” Lionel countered “She was dating Olivier, and now he’s married to you. Her boyfriend before that hurt her too. Are you surprised that she’s a little tentative?” he asked.

Leila blinked a couple of times, her forehead furrowing. “She told you that?” she asked.

“Why wouldn’t she?” Lionel asked, his own forehead creased slightly in confusion.

“She doesn’t talk about it” Leila replied “Honestly? After Olivier ended whatever was happening between them, she never mentioned it again. And she never really told anyone about what happened between her and Alex. She just told us that it was over. I found out about the cheating from someone else. She just...told you about it?” she asked.

Lionel nodded, causing Leila to fall quiet for a few moments before she sighed, pulling at a thread on the sleeve of her shirt. “I might not have been as welcoming as she would have wanted me to be” she admitted “But it’s weird for me” she added.

Lionel’s lips ticked up into a slightly bitter smile.

Leila caught it and frowned. “What?” she prodded.

Lionel shook his head. “Did you feel something me?” he asked.

Leila opened and closed her mouth a couple of times before she spoke. “Why would you ask that?” she prodded.

“Did you?” Lionel pressed again.

Leila shook her head. “It was a rebound” she replied “We both know that” she added.

Lionel was quiet for a moment, nodding his head in agreement, before he spoke again. “I like your sister, Leila” he said “A lot, and I think Sasha likes me, too. I want the chance to see where this leads” he added.

“Then see where it leads, Leo” Leila replied “You don’t need my blessing” she added.

Lionel shook his head. “I’m not asking for it” he noted.

“Then why are you here, Leo?” Leila asked, her voice growing slightly frustrated “We’re talking in circles, and I still don’t know what you’re really doing here. If I have upset my sister, that is between the two of us, it’s got very little to do with you. If she thinks that I am trying to put her off dating you, then she should come and talk to me herself, but I’ll let you in on something. I can’t understand how, out of all the people at my wedding, my sister ended up talking to the only other one I had slept with. There were loads of other people there, but she somehow ended up with you” she added.

“Why does it matter?” Lionel shot back “You just said that we were a rebound, that you didn’t feel anything for me, so why does it matter, Leila?” he added.

“Why her?” Leila asked.

“Why not her?” Lionel countered.

Leila opened her mouth to reply, but stopped herself, something which caused Lionel to shake his head. “I don’t want to cause problems between you” he said, calming himself down “You should hear how she speaks about you, she adores you, and I’d never forgive myself for wrecking that, but this is happening, Leila, and I want you to get used to it. I don’t know where it’ll lead to, maybe it’ll fizzle out quickly or maybe it won’t, but we both know that Sasha is going to look for support, and she’s going to look for it from you especially. I just want us to have a fair shot at something” he added.

Leila, who was staring down at her feet, nodded slightly.

Lionel pushed himself up to his feet. “I really like her, Leila” he repeated softly.

Leila just nodded again, causing Lionel to sigh before he mumbled a quiet goodnight and walked out of the room. Leila kept her stare on her feet until she heard the faint thump of the front door closing after him. Lifting her head, she glanced towards her phone which sat on the coffee table before she leant forwards and grabbed it. Finding Sasha’s name, she pressed the call button and pressed it against her ear, listening to the dial tone until it clicked over to her voicemail.

Hearing the beep, she shook her head. “Your boyfriend’s just been by” she announced “Apparently, he’s got it into his head that I am out to ruin things for you two. If you’ve got something you want to say, why don’t you just talk to me yourself next time, eh? I thought we were above this kind of petty stuff, Sasha” she added before she hung up the phone, tossing it back onto the table ahead of her.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)