Can’t Look Away

37: I Need You To Tell Me It’s OK

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Sasha quirked a small sad smile before she lifted her head, watching as Lionel stepped into the room. She should have guessed that he’d come to check on her sooner or later. Almost as soon as the four of them had made it back to the house, Sasha had excused herself, and whilst it had taken him a while, she wasn’t entirely surprised that he was the one who’d come to check on her. It had started to settle in, the idea that Cassie and Nolan were moving in together, and that Sasha was going to need to find somewhere else to go, and it had knocked her. She was happy for them. Nolan and Cassie were a good fit, and if they were ready to make the next step together, then Sasha couldn’t be anything other than happy for them, but still the idea of things changing had left her unsettled. She liked her home, she liked sharing it with Cassie, and the idea that that was changing left her unsettled.

“Where are Cassie and Nolan?” Sasha asked.

“They went back to Nolan’s” Lionel replied, neatly stowing his shoes next to the wardrobe “I think they wanted to give you some space” he added.

Sasha, who’d been watching him, shook her head, her stare moving down to her lap. “That wasn’t necessary” she replied “I’m fine” she added.

Lionel thought about pointing out the fact that she was hiding in her bedroom, but opted against it. Instead, he settled against the headboard next to her, waiting for her to talk. He knew that she would. Sasha hated long, drawn out silences, and he knew that she’d rush to fill it. He knew that, if he waited long enough, she’d tell him what was going through her head.

Sasha glanced at him out of the corner of her eye before she shook her head, gently gathering her knees to her chest. “They know that I am happy for them, don’t they?” she whispered “I mean, yeah, I am upset about things changing, but I’d hate for Cassie to feel bad about that. They’re good together, and I really am happy that it’s working out for them. Do you think they know that?” she asked, turning her head so that she could look up at him.

Lionel’s smile was soft and reassuring. “I know they know that” he replied.

Sasha nodded before she turned away, allowing her forehead to settle against her knees.

Lionel moved a little closer to her before he lifted a hand, tracing soft circles against her back. “You’ve got time” he said softly “Cassie’s not going anywhere for a little while yet, so you’ve got some time to figure out what you want to do next” he added as he leant over, pressing a soft kiss against the crown of her head.

Sasha slowly lifted her head. “I know” she mused “I just...I don’t really know what I am going to do. I’ve never lived by myself before” she added.

“It’s not so bad” Lionel quipped, offering her another comforting smile “For a start, there’s no one to nag you about dishes” he added impishly.

Sasha laughed, nudging his side gently.

Lionel’s arm wrapped around her, encouraging her to lean into him, cuddling into his side. Letting out a contented sigh, he traced his hand up and down her side, smiling to himself when Sasha’s arm draped itself over his stomach. “I wouldn’t have to remember to put my t-shirt back on in the morning” he quipped.

“What?” Sasha asked, glancing up at him in confusion.

“When you have your own place” Lionel clarified with a grin “I’d not have to abide by the rules you and Cassie came up with” he added.

Sasha rolled her eyes softly. “You never listen to them anyway” she quipped.

“It’s not my fault that she’s always showing up unannounced” Lionel argued.

Sasha just laughed gently, a sound which gave way to a comfortable silence that was broken when Lionel sighed gently. “Do you have any idea what you’re going to do?” he asked softly “I mean, I know it was sudden” he added.

Sasha exhaled a sigh, cuddling closer to him. “I’ll have to start looking for something” she replied “It’ll be smaller than this place, given that it’s only me, but I will have to put some feelers out to get a sense of the sort of place I could afford. I don’t know how long it will take to find something, or how quickly Cassie and Nolan will be out of here, but if it comes to it, my parents have a spare bedroom I could use for a while whilst I am trying to figure out the next move” she explained.

Lionel thought about saying something, but didn’t. Instead, he kept his hand moving up and down her side, wordlessly assuring her that he was still there and that he was listening.

Sasha closed her eyes for a few moments, waiting for him to say something, but when he didn’t, she felt herself deflate slightly.

Lionel felt her soundless sigh, but still couldn’t bring himself to say anything.

The two of them sat in silence for a while, but eventually, Sasha untangled herself from their embrace, mumbling something about getting herself ready for bed as she shuffled out of the bedroom.

Lionel sat up against the headboard and watched after her before he sighed. It didn’t feel right to him. As logical as it was that Sasha stay with him, temporarily or permanently, it didn’t feel right to him, and he didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on their relationship. He wanted it to be natural. He wanted him and Sasha to do things at their own pace, not because other people’s circumstances had changed, and had changed things for Sasha, and he hoped that she’d understand it. Things hadn’t always been straight forwards or easy for them, and he didn’t want to rush things just because Nolan and Cassie were moving quickly.

Staring at the door, he thought about following after her, but eventually, he opted against it. Standing up from the bed, he padded towards the wardrobe and swung the door open, retrieving a pair of shorts from the shelf that Sasha had cleared out for him. Changing quietly, he placed his clothes in her washing hamper, before he heard her return. “Sasha...”

“I know” Sasha’s voice was quiet, but enough to stop him talking.

“You know?” Lionel asked.

“Why you’re not saying anything” Sasha clarified “I know why you’re not, and I get it. I just...this whole thing has knocked me for six, and I don’t really know what I am going to do now. I am happy for Cassie and Nolan, but I am upset by things changing, and worried that I won’t be able to figure it out, and right now, I just need you to tell me that it’s going to be OK” she added, her voice wavering.

Lionel’s didn’t hesitate. He moved towards her and wrapped her in a tight hug, feeling her warm tears melt through his t-shirt. “You’re going to be fine” he whispered “I promise you, Sasha. Things might be different, but that doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and however things change, I’m still here, OK?” he insisted.

Sasha just hugged him tightly.

Lionel kissed the top of her head, content to keep mumbling reassurances to her for as long as she needed him to.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)