Can’t Look Away

33: Nothing Is Fixed

“You’re still awake”

Sasha looked up from her phone, offering Lionel, who had padded into her bedroom, a soft, sleepy smile. “Just about” she replied “I was trying to find a present to get for James and Ellie, to celebrate the news, but then I got lost looking at stuff for babies. I mean, it’s all adorable and I can’t wait to buy some of it for my new niece or nephew” she added, shaking her head sheepishly as she moved to place her phone down onto the end table.

Lionel smiled as he sat down on the side of the bed, pulling his socks off of his feet. “Isn’t your mother likely to buy it all?” he quipped “I mean, it’s her first grandchild. she’s going to go overboard, isn’t she?” he prodded as he stood up again, tossing his socks, and his t-shirt, into the laundry basket.

“Definitely” Sasha replied without hesitation “But I think she’ll be like that with every grandchild. I hope so, at least. I’d love to watch her fuss over my future children” she added, her fingers fidgeting with the duvet.

Lionel, who’d padded into the bathroom, leant around the door, his toothbrush hanging out of his mouth. “Children?” he asked.

The smile that Sasha offered him was the shiest he’d seen. It was nervous, unsure, but it was also slightly hopeful. Slipping the toothbrush out of his mouth, he placed it back into the holder before he stepped back into the bedroom, retaking his seat on the side of the bed.

Sasha watched him quietly before she shook her head, her stare moving to her lap. “We don’t have to talk about this” she said softly “We’ve only been together for a few months. We don’t have to get too serious if you don’t want to” she added.

She didn’t want to scare him off. Their relationship wasn’t very old, and had proven to be up and down since it had started, and she didn’t want him to think that she was thinking too far ahead. She liked where they were. When things were working between them, they were wonderful, and Sasha had no desire to change it soon, even if her thoughts had wandered slightly. She was enjoying getting to know Lionel, and was enjoying relaxing into a relationship for the first time in a long time.

Lionel’s hand moved to cover hers, squeezing it gently. “Tell me” he said softly.

Sasha’s eyes traced his face, admiring the encouraging smile he wore, before she looked back down at the duvet. “Two” she said “I’d like two. You’re going to think it’s silly, but I am one of those people who plan out everything. I’d want to be dating for at least eighteen months before any engagement. I’d want to be engaged for a year and I’d want to be married for a year before children even entered the equation” she added, her cheeks flushing a soft shade of pink.

Lionel played with her fingers, smiling to himself. “So, if I was going to propose...”

“Leo” Sasha squeaked out a slightly hysterical laugh, shaking her head.

“Hypothetically” Lionel quipped through a laugh “If, hypothetically, I was going to propose, and I did it before eighteen months, you’d say no to me?” he prodded.

Sasha opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, a wide smile on her face, before she shook her head. “It’s open to change” she said “Nothing’s fixed. I just...I’m a planner, and I’d never want to rush into something without knowing that it was absolutely right” she added.

Lionel nodded his head slowly. “Two” he said “Sounds like a good number” he added.

Sasha shook her head bashfully. “Go and get ready for bed” she mumbled, shoving his shoulder lightly.

Lionel stood up, but before he retreated to the bathroom, he leant down and kissed her softly. Sasha leant into it, returning the kiss until he pulled away, offering her a tender smile. Sasha returned it for a few moments before she gently nudged him towards the bathroom, snuggling down against her pillow. Lionel followed her prodding, returning to the bathroom with a goofy smile on his face.

Sasha closed her eyes, listening to the sounds of him padding around the bathroom, before she heard her phone buzz. Letting out a soft sigh, she pushed herself to sit up before she picked it up off of the end table. Stifling a soft yawn in her hand, she unlocked the phone and opened the message she’d received.

“Anyone exciting?”

Sasha blinked, looking up at Lionel who stood in the bathroom doorway, a lazy grin on his face. “Leila” she said.

Lionel’s smile faltered instantly. “What does she want?” he asked.

“To get coffee” Sasha replied “Apparently, she wants to talk to me. Why do you look so worried?” she prodded.

Lionel rubbed the back of his neck. “I kind of talked to her tonight” he said “And I know that you don’t like me getting involved, but I had to say something. I know you worry about me making things worse, and I am sorry if I have, that’s not what I intended, but I just...I don’t like you doubting this, Sasha, doubting us, and Leila seems to have a knack for making you do that” he added, rushing to speak before she had a chance to get a word in.

He knew that Sasha worried about him and Leila talking. Whilst she was seemingly prepared to sit back and take what Leila threw at them, Lionel wasn’t afraid to tell her to back off, and he knew that she worried about him making things worse, but he wanted her to know that it was never his intention. He liked what they had. When it was settled, it was more than good, and he hated that one word from Leila seemed to be enough to make Sasha doubt it. Everyone else around them adore them as a couple, and he knew that Sasha knew it.

Sasha fiddled with her phone in her hand. “What’d you say to her?” she asked.

Lionel’s shrug was awkward. “I just pointed out a few things to her” he said “Things that mean that. really, she has no right to be upset about us” he added.

“I didn’t see you together” Sasha mused.

“You were preoccupied” Lionel replied “You were gushing over Ellie’s sonogram. It was just a quick conversation, I promise” he added.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Sasha asked.

“Because you were happy and excited for your brother and Ellie” Lionel noted “Because you were having a good time, and I didn’t want to bring you down. I like seeing you enjoy yourself, Sasha, and I was in no hurry to bring you down again. I promise you, it was nothing, I talked, she listened, that’s all” he added.

Sasha nodded her head slowly, fiddling with the phone in her hand, before she moved to type out a text.

Lionel watched her as he climbed into his side of the bed, but he didn’t speak until she’d placed the phone back onto the end table. “Are you going?” he asked.

Sasha nodded, looking over at him with a tired smile. “I’ve got some things I ought to say to her” she mused “And I should say them whilst we’re alone, and not in front of my parents. They kind of like you, they probably wouldn't if they knew you and Leila had rebounded off of one another” she added.

Lionel laughed, but the flush on his cheek gave away his nervousness. “You sure?” he asked.

Sasha moved to cuddle into his side, nodding against his chest. “I’m sure” she mused.
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Thanks to Dezi Demize and Jayme112234 for the comments :)