Can’t Look Away

36: You’ve Had One Breakfast With Him

“Have I mentioned that you’re my favourite of Cassie’s friends?” Nolan quipped with a grin as he turned around, watching as Sasha and Cassie padded down the stadium steps behind him. It had been Lionel’s idea. At breakfast one morning, Cassie had again broached the subject of Lionel and Sasha joining her and Nolan for a double date, and he had suggested that they come to the game before the four of them headed out, something both Cassie and Nolan had jumped at without hesitation. It was something that meant a lot to both Cassie and Sasha. They were both happy. For the first time in a long time, they both had people in their lives that were making them happy, and they were both excited to share that with one another, even if it did mean tugging Nolan and Lionel along for the ride. They were both happy to see the other so happy.

Sasha laughed, shaking her head. “If I had known earlier that this is all it would take to make you like me, I’d have gotten Leo to get tickets sooner” she quipped.

Nolan shrugged. “It wouldn’t have hurt your chances” he played along.

“You liked her just fine before she showed up with tickets” Cassie mused, plopping down into her seat.

“I did” Nolan confirmed “But I think she’s moved above your brother in the list of people you’ve introduced me to” he added.

Cassie rolled her eyes. “You only liked my brother because he took you drinking” she quipped.

Sasha, who’d taken the seat beside Cassie, tilted her head. “You’ve met Benjamin, Nolan?” she prodded.

Nolan nodded his head as he draped a newly bought scarf around his neck. “I met him a couple of weeks ago” he confirmed “I’ve met most of the family, actually. Cassie’s cousin had an engagement party, and she dragged me along with her. I met Benjamin, his wife and the boys as well as her mother and stepfather. We’re due to travel up next weekend to her dad’s” he added, smiling affectionately at Cassie who responded with a roll of her eyes that tried, and failed, to distract from the flash of pink which had spread over her cheeks.

Sasha’s lips quirked up into a teasing smile. “I didn’t realise things were getting so serious, Cassie” she chirped.

Cassie scoffed, playing along. “You’re one to talk” she retorted “Leo was with you at Ellie’s pregnancy announcement. I’m surprised that your mother hasn’t shown up with wedding dress fabric swatches” she added.

“She’s got Ellie’s pregnancy to fuss over” Sasha mused “So, I am safe from that for at least a few months. Once Ellie’s had the baby, though, all bets are off” she added.

“For what it is worth, I think you could do worse” Nolan quipped.

“You’ve had one breakfast with the man” Cassie retorted, rolling her eyes playfully.

Nolan held up his hand innocently. “I’m just saying” he mused “The way he looks at you when you’re not looking at him says a lot” he added.

Sasha blinked a couple of times before she smiled gently, nodding her head in thanks. Pushing herself out of her chair, she leant against the railing, watching Lionel who stood across the pitch, going through his warm-up.

Nolan watched her stand up before he turned to Cassie, offering her a look that caused her to sigh slightly before she mouthed the word ‘later’ back to him.

“That first goal was sensational”

Lionel smiled around the top of his glass, amused by the excitement in Nolan’s voice. He liked him. He had done from the moment that they had met for the first time, and he knew that Sasha liked him too, something he knew meant a lot to Cassie. He’d caught her staring a few times. Like Sasha did when she thought Lionel wasn’t looking, Cassie turned ever so slightly to glance at Nolan, to make sure that he was still getting along with her friends, and it made Lionel smile. He knew how much Cassie’s happiness meant to Sasha.

“Nolan, maybe he doesn’t want to talk about the game” Cassie quipped.

Lionel shook his head, swallowing a mouthful of his drink. “It’s fine” he mused “I’m glad he enjoyed it” he added.

“I did” Nolan confirmed “I used to go with my room-mate all the time, but...” he trailed off, his warm smile faltering slightly.

“Nolan” Cassie said as she squeezed his hand gently “Let’s just do it” she added.

Nolan looked at her, wordlessly checking if she was sure, before they both turned to look at Sasha.

Sasha’s laugh was slightly nervous. “What are you looking at me like that for?” she prodded.

Nolan sighed. “I can’t live with my room-mate any more” he said “We’ve been at odds for a while, but since I’ve been seeing Cassie, he’s gotten worse. He’s petty about everything. He picks fights over the most ridiculous things, and I just can’t deal with him any more, so I’ve started looking for a new place, but I can’t afford rent on my own” he explained.

Sasha felt the lump in her throat growing, even before Cassie spoke.

“Our lease is up soon” Cassie continued, her tone soft “So, I wouldn’t be leaving you to pay rent on your own, but me and Nolan have been talking and I think we both want to take this opportunity. We’ve not been dating long, but we’ve known each other for long enough that it doesn’t feel too fast. I know it’s sudden, Sasha, and I know it leaves you...”

“I’m happy for you” Sasha’s voice was as shaky as the smile she pushed onto her face.

“You are?” Cassie asked cautiously.

She knew how sudden it was, and she hated that she had sprung it on Sasha, but it made sense for her and Nolan. They’d known each other for a while. They’d met a long time before they’d started seeing one another, and it meant that, despite them only having been together for a few months, they felt more than ready to take the step together, something she hoped that Sasha understood. The last thing she wanted was for Sasha to think she was leaving her behind lightly.

Sasha breathed through the tightness in her throat, keeping her smile in place. “Of course I am” she said “It’s amazing news, Cass” she added, her voice faltering slightly.

Lionel’s hand rubbed Sasha’s back gently.

Cassie smiled at her sadly. “I’m sorry” she said gently.

Sasha waved a hand, the other wiping at her eyes. “Don’t be silly” she mused “You’re moving in with your boyfriend. I can’t get in the way of that. It’s’s sudden. I am happy for you, Cassie. You, too, Nolan. Though, I ought to warn you about the pitfalls of living with her” she added, a sniffled laugh falling out of her mouth.

Nolan smiled gently. “She already nags me” he quipped.

Sasha let out another laugh. “You’ll get used to it” she retorted.

“I am not that bad” Cassie protested.

“Leo’s scared of leaving dishes behind because of you” Sasha pointed out “You are that bad, Cass” she added.

Cassie scoffed playfully, but it didn’t hide the sympathetic look in her eyes, something Sasha noticed and responded to with a small, genuine smile. She had things to figure out. With Cassie moving out, she knew that affording the rent on their house was likely to be impossible by herself, and it meant that she had to figure out where she was going to go next, but she didn’t want that to hold Cassie back. She was happy with Nolan, and they were ready to take that step together, and Sasha couldn’t be the reason they held back.

Feeling Lionel kiss the top of her head gently, Sasha leant back into him, smiling softly as Nolan and Cassie talked about the apartment that they’d been looking into getting. “You OK?” Lionel whispered softly.

Sasha nodded. “I’ll be fine” she replied.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)