Can’t Look Away

28: I Talk Too Much When I Am Nervous

“It’s not too late for you to order in”

Sasha scoffed, turning to offer Cassie a glare over her shoulder. “My cooking isn’t that bad” she replied.

Cassie smirked, holding her hands up teasingly. “I was just saying” she quipped “I mean, I’d be nervous if I were you. It’s not every day that your parents come over to meet your new boyfriend. It’d be pretty easy to get distracted” she added, her voice bright and teasing.

It’d been a while in coming. After Leila’s birthday and the morning that had followed it, the few weeks that had passed had been full of Sasha coming up with a myriad of excuses not to have her parents meet Lionel, but after more pressure from her mother, and some subtle hints from Lionel that he was ready to meet them, she had finally set it up, something Cassie knew made her more nervous than she had let on. She had tried to hide it. Whenever Cassie had brought it up, Sasha had swatted the subject away with a playful smile and a roll of her eyes, but Cassie knew it was a big deal. Sasha was trying to show Lionel that she was confident in their relationship. She was trying to show him that, despite the knocks they’d had, she was in it with him, and introducing him to Carina and Eddie was her way of doing it. She didn’t introduce her boyfriends to her parents lightly.

Sasha shook her head, moving to add the next ingredient to the pot in front of her. “Aren’t you supposed to be my supportive best friend?” she prodded.

“I’m still here, aren’t I?” Cassie retorted impishly “I could have just left you to freak out by yourself” she added.

Sasha shook her head, but didn’t say anything more, causing Cassie to step towards her so that she could squeeze her shoulder gently. “Are you worried that they won’t like him?” she asked gently.

“No” Sasha replied with a slightly nervous laugh.

Cassie, who’d moved to pour herself a glass of water, quirked an eyebrow. “You’re not?” she asked.

“They’ll like him” Sasha said, not looking up from the pot that she was stirring on the stove “Most people do. I’m worried that they’ll like him too much” she added.


Whatever reassurance that Cassie had been preparing to offer was cut off by the sound of the doorbell chiming, something which caused Sasha to look towards the front door. Letting out a soft sigh, she just stared at it for a few moments before she felt Cassie squeeze her shoulder. Glancing at her friend, she offered her a small appreciative smile before she stepped into the hall, moving slowly until she pulled the front door open. “Mama, papa” she greeted softly.

Eddie stepped over the threshold, wrapping her in a hug that Sasha returned happily. “Are we too early?” he mumbled “Your mother was pretty excited” he added.

Sasha shook her head as she stepped back. “You’re fine” she mused “I mean, Leo’s not here yet, but it’s OK. Cassie can keep you busy whilst I finish getting things ready” she added.

Carina moved forwards, smoothing Sasha’s hair off of her face before she kissed her cheek softly. “It’ll be fine” she insisted “We’re excited to meet him” she added.

Sasha smiled down at her feet nervously. “I know” she mused “I think he’s excited to meet you, too” she added.

Carina placed a kiss on her daughter’s forehead before she followed Eddie into the living room, leaving Sasha in the hall alone. Closing her eyes, she drew in a deep breath before she let it out slowly, trying, and failing, to loosen the lump in her throat. She wanted them to meet. Lionel was important to her and she wanted to share that with her mother and father, but still it produced knots in her stomach.

She wasn’t worried that they wouldn’t like him. The friends she had introduced him to, as well as James and Ellie, had warmed to him easily, and she had no doubt that he’d have a similar impression on her parents, but she worried that they’d get too smitten with him. She hadn’t quite wrapped her head around how serious things felt between them, and she didn’t want her parents to get ideas about a future when, despite Lionel’s best efforts, she wouldn’t let herself think too far ahead. He’d said that he wasn’t going anywhere, he’d reiterated it too, but Sasha couldn’t seem to convince herself to believe it completely. She wanted to. More than anything, she wanted to relax into their relationship and see it as something long term rather than temporary, but it wasn’t easy for her.

“They’re probably going to be embarrassing”

Lionel, who’d been shrugging out of his jacket, shook his head, a soft laugh falling out of his mouth as he watched Sasha nervously smooth out her shirt. “Sasha...”

“I love them” Sasha cut him off as though she hadn’t heard him speak “But they love to tell stories that they think are cute, but are actually mortifying. You should have heard the one they told Ellie when James first bought her home. It was...” she trailed off as Lionel’s lips met hers.

It was a soft kiss, one that was a little shy and nervous, but it was enough to soothe Sasha’s nerves. Smiling softly, she watched him pull away before she shook her head. “Sorry” she said “I talk too much when I am nervous” she added.

“I know” Lionel quipped impishly.

“I should stop, right?” Sasha prodded “I mean, we should just go in and get it over with, shouldn’t we?” she asked.

Lionel just smiled at her, causing her to let out a slightly nervous laugh. “Sorry” she said.

“Don’t be” Lionel’s voice was soft and reassuring “I’ll be nervous, too, when it’s my turn” he added.

Sasha smiled gently down at her feet. “I love you” she said softly.

Lionel’s eyes widened a fraction, and the tiny hesitation he had was enough time for Carina to step into the hall, stopping him from saying anything in reply. “I heard voices” the older woman announced “I couldn’t wait any more. You must be Leo” she added, grinning up at him.

Blinking a couple of times, he fixed a smile onto his face before he nodded, extending a hand to her. “That’s me” he mused “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs Vallejo” he added.

Carina cooed, shaking his hand. “Carina, please” she mused “Come inside. My husband’s excited to meet you too” she added.

Lionel wanted to shake his head. He wanted to turn back to Sasha and resume the conversation they’d been having, but a slight shake of her head told him to let it go. Turning back to Carina, he nodded, allowing her to guide him into the living room, but he still looked back at Sasha, seeing the anxiety cloud her eyes as she slowly followed after them.