Can’t Look Away

22: I Can’t Let Myself Do It If I Am Doing It Alone

Pulling her knees up towards her chest, Sasha shifted in the chair she sat in, her eyes surveying the quiet kitchen as she sipped on the mug of tea that she had made for herself. She had thought about leaving. After she had woken up and taken a shower in Lionel’s guest bathroom, she had thought about ducking out of the house before he woke up, but she had managed to talk herself out of it, knowing that if he woke up and found out that she had left without a word, she’d hurt him. He hadn’t made it more than what it was. When they had arrived at his home, he’d shown her to a spare bedroom before he’d kissed her goodnight and disappeared to his own, and Sasha was grateful for it. She knew it wasn’t a big step, but it was one that she wanted to make on her own terms and she was grateful that he hadn’t tried to push it.

Draining the last of her drink, she placed the empty cup down onto the table before she wrapped her arms around her knees, staring out of the window contently.


Sasha smiled at the sleepiness in Lionel’s voice before she turned to look at him. “Morning” she said gently “I made myself some tea. I hope that’s OK” she added.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, trying to shake the sleepiness from his eyes, before he nodded his head. “Of course” he mused.

“I’ll be out of your hair soon” Sasha quipped, trying to fill the silence. It wasn’t awkward, but she didn’t want it to linger.

Lionel, who was drinking from a glass of orange juice, frowned slightly over the top of it before he set it down, shaking his head slowly. “There’s no hurry” he said “I mean, I didn’t think you were in work until this evening, and I don’t have to be anywhere for a couple of hours. I thought we could have breakfast together” he added, offering her a slightly hopeful smile.

Sasha quirked a soft smile, tucking her slightly damp hair behind her ear. “I don’t want to overstay my welcome” she said, her voice caught between soft and teasing.

“I’m asking you to stay” Lionel played along “Please?” he prodded.

Sasha feigned thinking about it for a moment before she nodded. “I think I can stick around for a little while” she mused.

Lionel smiled at her warmly, more than a little relieved to see that the tension that had been in her shoulders when he’d walked into the room had faded slightly. He knew that she needed the chance to get used to it on her own. Whilst it wasn’t that big a deal to him, he knew that Sasha was struggling to trust herself as their relationship progressed, and he wanted to make sure that things happened between them on both of their terms. He didn’t want to scare her off by trying to push her into something she wasn’t quite ready for.

“So, how long do you think it will be before Cassie ropes us into a double date?” Lionel asked, placing his glass back down onto the table.

Cassie grinned around her forkful of food. “It will probably be pretty soon” she replied “It’s very rare that she and I have boyfriends at the same time, so she’ll want to make the most of it as soon as possible. If she waits, one of us is sure to stick our foot in it” she added, prodding another piece of food on her plate with her fork.

Lionel’s teasing smile faded slightly, causing Sasha’s forehead to crease as she looked at him. “Did I say something?” she asked.

Lionel hesitated for a second before he shook his head, letting out a quiet sigh. “I wish you could let yourself be a little more optimistic” he admitted “I mean, I know why you’re not, and I understand it, I just...I don’t know. I wish you’d let yourself believe that we’ve got something good here” he added.

Sasha blinked in surprise.

“I know that’s selfish” Lionel continued, not wanting an awkward silence to grow between them “I shouldn’t have said anything” he added, his attempt at a bashful smile coming out as a slightly pained grimace.

“I...I do think we’ve got something good” Sasha said quietly.

Lionel poked at his food. He didn’t want to look to eager to hear what she had to say. “You do?” he asked.

“Yes” Sasha confirmed “I do. I just...I’m scared. I’ve been so careful. After Alex, I waited forever to get back out there, and I waited even longer after what happened with Olivier, and now there’s you” she added.

“What does that mean?” Lionel asked.

Sasha fiddled with her fork, thinking over the question for a moment, before she lifted her head, glancing at him shyly. “It means that I can see myself getting in too deep already and I don’t know how to slow it down” she admitted “I like you, Leo, so much, and that scares me for a whole lot of reasons, so I try to put distance between us. I overthink things which should be no-brainers. I mean, take last night, for example. I couldn’t go home, so I should have asked you right away. You’re my boyfriend, spending the night here shouldn’t have mattered like it did, but it did. I...I can feel myself falling into this, but I can’t let myself do that if I am doing it alone” she added, diverting her stare back down towards her plate.

She kept it there as a silence settled between them, only lifting it when she felt Lionel’s hand, tentatively and slowly, cover her own. “Sasha” he said softly.

Sasha’s eyes met his hesitantly.

Lionel’s lips quirked into a soft smile. “You’re not falling into this alone” he said “If you’re in too deep, then I am too” he added.

Sasha searched his expression, almost expecting to see some kind of worry in it, but he looked like he always did, content and reassuring. Feeling her eyes sting a little, she ducked her head, tightly squeezing his hand. “I’m sorry” she whispered “I didn’t mean to make this heavy. You just wanted to have breakfast” she added, spluttering out a laugh.

Lionel’s other hand moved to her cheek, the pad of his thumb gently gathering a tear off of it, but he didn’t say anything, something which caused Sasha to smile up at him tearfully, letting the moment speak for itself.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comments :)