Can’t Look Away

02: Bet You Regret That Now

Twirling the stirrer around her glass, Sasha spared a quick glance over her shoulder, a soft sigh escaping her as her eyes surveyed the crowd. She hadn’t been expecting that Lionel would take her up on her offer. It had fallen out of her mouth before she had really thought it through, and the more she thought about it, the surer she got that she had probably scared him off, but she couldn’t quite extinguish the flicker of disappointment that had appeared in her chest, even if she had told herself that she had been silly to ask. She had hoped that she’d found someone she could talk to who actually understood what it was that was bothering her.

People had tried. After finally understanding that it wasn’t Leila’s marrying Olivier that was bothering her, her sister and her parents had tried to reassure her that eventually she’d find someone and get to where her sister had gotten, but it hadn’t made her feel better, not when the backdrop to their reassurances had been the preparations for Leila’s wedding. She was happy for her sister. Even despite the way that she and Olivier had met, Sasha was glad that she was happy, but it still stung a little. Their relationship had been so instant. They’d fallen for each other quickly and had been together ever since, and that was what Sasha wanted.

Smiling ruefully, she finished her drink before she settled the glass back down onto the bar and climbed off of the stool she was sat on. Smoothing out her dress, she moved to take a step away from the bar, only to stop when she looked up, her eyes landing on the glass of champagne that was being held out to her. Blinking in surprise, she took a step back before she glanced up, a smile softening her features.

Lionel smiled back at her sheepishly. “Hi” he greeted.

“I thought you’d forgotten about me” Sasha teased.

“I got caught by a few friends” Lionel said “You weren’t waiting, were you?” he prodded.

Sasha kept her smile in tact despite the small dip her stomach gave. “No” she replied “I’ve only been sat here for a few minutes” she added.

Lionel looked at her, slightly sceptical, before he wiggled the glass he was holding out to her. “I owe you a drink” he mused “I figured champagne was a safe bet” he added.

Sasha plucked the glass out of his hand and took a sip.

Lionel watched her, something which made Sasha shake her head, letting out a soft laugh. “Are you just going to stand there?” she asked.

Lionel ducked his head, letting out a bashful laugh, before he stepped past her, settling into a stool beside the bar. Sasha watched him sit down before she followed after him, setting her glass down onto the counter. Fiddling with the stem, she sat quietly for a few moments before Lionel cleared his throat, causing her to look up at him. “Your parents didn’t succeed, then” he quipped.

Sasha shook her head, smiling down at her drink. “Not through lack of trying” she replied “When I came back inside, my mother tried to nudge me towards one of Olivier’s cousins, but he was swooped up pretty quickly by one of the other bridesmaids. She let it be known that he was very much taken” she added.

“Was she his girlfriend?” Lionel prodded.

“I think she intends to be from now on” Sasha replied, rolling her eyes playfully.

Lionel laughed, but the sound faded quickly, leaving behind a slightly awkward pause. Shifting in his seat, he turned to look out over the rest of the party before he hear Sasha sigh softly. Turning back around, he watched her run a hand over her face before she looked up at him, her eyes soft and sad. “Sorry” she said “It’s been a pretty long day” she added.

“Are you OK?” Lionel asked gently.

Sasha nodded, her hands still fidgeting with the stem of her glass. “Yeah” she replied “It’s just been...I don’t know. I don’t know how to say it without sounding jealous or bitter” she added, shaking her head ruefully.

Lionel hesitated for a split second before he lightly placed his hand on hers.

Sasha stared at it quietly before she shook her head, ducking it so that he couldn’t quite see the soft smile on her face. “I’m in the same boat as you” she admitted gently “I am jealous of all of this. I know I shouldn’t be, I should just be happy for my sister, but being here, seeing all of this, it’s a pretty huge reminder that I am nowhere near getting it for myself. I know it’s not the most important thing in the whole world, but I just...I don’t know. I guess I am just a little...” she trailed off, breathing out a sad laugh.

Lionel didn’t quite know what to say, so he simply sat there, gently holding her hand.

“Sorry” Sasha apologised bashfully “I don’t quite know where that came from” she added, tugging her hand out from beneath his.

Lionel followed the movement of her hand, watching her use it to push her hair off of her face, before he took it again, holding it lightly in his.

Sasha stared down at their hands, scared to look up into his face. “Bet you regret coming for that drink now, huh?” she quipped.

Lionel’s laugh was gentle and warm as he lightly brushed his thumb back and forth over her hand. He didn’t know what to say to make her feel better, but he wanted to do something. He knew what she was feeling, the desire to be happy for Leila and Olivier twinned with the reality that he wasn’t anywhere near finding what they had found, and he didn’t know what to say to alleviate it. If he did, he would have told it to himself a long time before that moment.

Sasha tracked the movement of his thumb, her cheeks flushing a soft shade of pink, before she felt a hand on her shoulder, causing her to whip her hand out of Lionel’s.

Leila laughed. “Did I scare you?” she prodded.

“You crept up on me, what do you think?” Sasha retorted.

Leila held her hands up innocently. “Sorry” she quipped “But papa is looking for you. He wants a dance” she added.

Sasha nodded. “I’ll come and find him, then” she replied.

“Good” Leila chirped “He’s been looking forwards to it. Leo, you owe me a dance, too” she added, her eyes darting towards the Argentine.

Lionel nodded, a small smile on his face. “I’ll be right with you, Leila” he mused.

Leila smiled, her stare bouncing between the two of them, before she swanned away, leaving behind a moment of silence which was broken when Lionel placed his newly empty glass down onto the bar. Pushing himself up, he moved to walk away from the bar, only to stop when Sasha’s hand shyly tugged at his. “Do you want to get dinner some time?” she asked “It’s cool if you want to say no, I just...I don’t know. I am not good at thinking things through before I say them” she added, letting out a bashful laugh.

Lionel smiled down at her, not that Sasha knew it. She hadn’t looked up at him since the invitation to dinner had fallen out of her mouth. Shaking his head, he rifled through his pockets for his phone before he placed it into her hand, finally drawing her eyes up to him. “Dinner sounds pretty good” he said softly “Add your number and we’ll set it up” he added.

Sasha wanted to ask if he was sure, but she managed to keep the question in, simply adding her contact information to his phone before she handed it back and he walked away, allowing the soft smile to bloom across her features.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)