Can’t Look Away

35: I Know That’s Easy To Say

“You know, you really don’t have to tidy up. I’d do it in the morning”

Lionel smiled down at the plate in his hand before he shrugged, glancing over at Sasha who hovered in the doorway, watching him around her kitchen. They hadn’t talked about Leila yet. When he had arrived at her home, they’d become immersed in their own little routine. They’d had dinner together whilst they watched an episode from the box-set they’d started together. Lionel had told her a funny story from training, and Sasha had returned the favour with an amusing story about her and Cassie, but they both knew that the conversation was coming, even if they were trying their best to put it off. Lionel was itching to know what had happened between them, and Sasha wanted to tell him.

Padding over to the cupboard, he put the plate inside before he gently pushed it closed again. “I’d hate to get you into trouble with Cassie again” he quipped “The last time we left dirty plates in the sink, I thought she was going to pass out” he added impishly.

Sasha laughed gently. “She’s dramatic” she quipped.

Lionel grinned, shaking his head amusedly as he wiped over a glass. “She is” he agreed “But, I still feel like I ought to pull my weight” he added.

Sasha nodded her head, allowing a moment of quiet to pass between the two of them, before she reached up, gently tucking her hair behind her ear. “Things with Leila” she said “They...uh...they went OK” she added.

Lionel kept tidying. He padded towards a cupboard, placing two glasses inside, as he nodded his head. “What does ‘OK’ mean?” he asked.

Sasha folded her arms over her chest before she lifted her shoulders in a slight shrug. “We talked” she replied “Like, really talked. I don’t think we’ve done that in a long time. She told me some things, I told her some things, and I think we’re better off for it” she added, a faint smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

It wasn’t fixed, not by any means, and it probably wouldn’t be for a while, but she hoped that they had made a move in the right direction. She didn’t like that she and Leila were at odds. Leila was her sister, and until Olivier, they’d always been close, and Sasha didn’t like that it had changed.

“What sort of things did you say to her?” Lionel prodded as he stepped towards her.

Sasha’s smile was sheepish as she looked down at the floor. “I was honest with her” she admitted.

Lionel gently pushed her hair back, his thumb gently skimming the side of her face reassuringly.

Sasha leant into his touch. “I told her that I didn’t care that she and Olivier had ended up together, but that I did care that she had never talked to me about it” she continued “I explained why that hurt more than anything. I am not good at being vulnerable, Leo, with anyone, not just you, and I had been putting on a front for too long. I needed her to hear that I was hurt, I needed her to see it” she explained.

Lionel bit his tongue, refraining from pointing out that Leila probably ought to have recognised it anyway, before he dropped his hand, gently tangling it with hers. “How do you feel now?” he prodded.

“I feel better for getting some things off of my chest” Sasha replied.

“Good” Lionel mused.

Sasha glanced up at him, her lips curved into a soft smile. “I know that you don’t like the way I handle things” she mused.

Lionel shook his head. “I’ve never said that” he replied.

“You’ve never had to” Sasha countered “I know I don’t handle things well, and I know that that can be frustrating. I’ve had to listen to Cassie’s lectures for forever” she added, her thumb gently brushing over the back of his hand.

Lionel watched her thumb for a beat before he leant forwards, resting his forehead against hers. “I just want you to be happy, Sasha” he said gently “I know that’s easy to say, and I know that I’m an outsider to your relationship with Leila, but it’s obvious that she’s not been the best big sister, and you ought to have said something before now. You don’t need her permission to be happy, Sasha. I just wish you saw it that way” he added.

Sasha’s eyes closed as she let out a soft sigh.

Lionel pulled his head back. Lifting a hand, he cupped the back of her head and kissed her forehead softly before he kissed the side of her nose and her cheek gently. “You deserve to be happy, too” he whispered, lightly touching his nose to hers.

“I am happy” Sasha’s voice was just as quiet.

“Really?” Lionel prodded “What makes you happy?” he added.

“Leo” Sasha protested gently.

“Tell me” Lionel encouraged, stealing a light kiss.

Sasha let out a slightly embarrassed laugh before she nodded her head slowly. “My job is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid” she admitted “I have a good family, and I am so excited to be an aunt soon. This place is pretty great too, and I love living with Cassie. I am so happy that she’s happy with Nolan, too. He seems wonderful, and I am glad that she’s found someone like that. And then there is you. I can’t quite believe that my impulsive dinner invitation has got us here” she added.

Lionel touched a kiss to the corner of her lips, smiling.

“I haven’t felt this good about a relationship in a long time” Sasha continued, leaning into him “You make me feel happy and loved. You might be a little...overzealous sometimes, but I know that’s only because you care. You’re a good thing, Leo” she added.

Lionel created a little space between them, tenderly touching the side of her jaw, before he offered her a gentle grin. “We’re a good thing” he corrected “Me and you, together” he added.

Sasha laughed gently. “I love you” she said “No matter how dorky you sound sometimes” she added.

Lionel just grinned, allowing Sasha to steal a soft kiss before she padded out of the doorway, calling back to him that she was going to get changed into something more comfortable. Lionel listened to the sound of her retreating footsteps before he padded back into the kitchen, putting away the last few things he’d left out. He hoped that things would get easier, that the gap between Leila and Sasha would start to heal, and they could relax a little more, but if it didn’t, he hoped that Sasha would realise how good things were, even without Leila’s support. They’d created something good, and letting it slip away would’ve been a mistake.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comments :)