Can’t Look Away

38: I Don’t Know What I Would Have Done Without You

Placing the box that she had been carrying down, Sasha let out a quiet sigh, moving to perch on top of it for a moment. There were a lot of them. The small, one bedroom apartment that she had found a couple of weeks previous was now littered with cardboard boxes full of her belongings, but still it felt a little surreal. There had been no rush. Cassie and Nolan were still packing up Cassie’s things at the house, and they’d always insisted that, if she needed it, their couch was available to Sasha, but she hadn’t hesitated. Once she had wrapped her head around the idea of things changing, she had been quick to find somewhere new, and whilst getting used to it might take her a while, she knew that she’d get there eventually.

“You know, when I said I wanted to meet your girlfriend, this isn’t what I pictured”

Sasha blinked a couple of times before she lifted her head, watching Lionel step into the apartment, Gerard following after him.

“You weren’t exactly my first choice” Lionel countered “But Sasha’s siblings had other plans, so you’re the best I could do” he added.

Sasha smiled, shaking her head at the two of them. “I can’t thank you enough for helping, Gerard” she mused “I’ll have to figure out a way to make it up to you” she added.

Gerard, who’d moved to place the box he’d been carrying down onto a pile of ones that matched, offered her a nonchalant shrug. “Don’t worry about it” he quipped, offering her a warm smile.

“I’ll figure something out” Sasha replied “Are there many more boxes?” she prodded, glancing towards Lionel.

“I think we’ve got most of it” Lionel replied “I was going to go back down and do a final check” he added.

“I can do that” Gerard quipped “I’ll text if I need a hand” he added before he padded out of the door, pulling it closed with a soft thump after himself.

For a moment, the soft thump reverberated in the quiet apartment. Sasha pushed off of the box that she sat on and moved to pick it up again, checking the label before she padded across the room, settling it down with those that matched. Lionel watched her quietly for a moment before he stepped towards her, gently coaxing her into a soft hug that Sasha melted into with a soft sigh. “You doing OK?” he mumbled softly.

Sasha wrapped her arms around his waist, nodding gently. “Yeah” she confirmed “I mean, it’ll probably be a little weird when it’s just me here, but I’ll get used to it” she added.

Lionel squeezed her slightly, placing a gentle kiss on her head.

Sasha smiled softly at the feel of his lips against her head before she slipped out of their embrace. “I need to find the stuff for my bedroom” she mused “At least, the pillows and the blankets for the mattress” she added.

Lionel reluctantly let his arms fall away from her. “Your bed is definitely coming tomorrow, right?” he prodded.

“Definitely” Sasha confirmed, flashing him a small smile before she ducked into her bedroom.

Lionel smiled after her before he felt his phone rumble in his pocket. Slipping it out, he quickly read Gerard’s text before he sighed. “Sasha, I am borrowing your door key” he called.

“OK” Sasha called back.

Lionel looked around briefly, eventually spotting the key on the top of a pile of boxes, before he made his way out of the door.

“You could have spent the night at my place”

Sasha laughed gently, tucking her feet underneath the duvet. It had crossed her mind. With her bed not due to be delivered until the next day, and her old one disassembled, the logical decision would have been to spend the night at Lionel’s home, but she had opted against it, wanting to spend her first night in her new home sooner rather than later. “No one is making you stay” she retorted.

Lionel rolled his eyes, settling the cup of tea he’d bought for her on the makeshift nightstand beside the mattress. “I was just saying” he quipped “I have an actual bed” he added.

“It’s one night” Sasha replied “I’ll survive” she added.

Lionel held up a hand and flashed her a placating smile, something which made Sasha roll her eyes playfully as he padded around the mattress, settling on the other side. Slipping his shoes off, he lined them up next to hers a little away from the mattress, before he moved to lean against the wall. “It’s nice here” he said quietly.

Sasha smiled around the top of the cup. “You really think so?” she asked.

“Yeah, I do” Lionel confirmed “It’s different, but it’s nice, good. The apartment’s got a lot of light, it’s decorated nicely, and it’s got the added bonus of being closer to the hospital, which is good, no?” he prodded.

Sasha nodded, fiddling with the cup in her hands. She knew what he was doing. She knew that he was trying emphasise the positives in hope that he could distract her from the negatives, and Sasha had to admit that it was working. It’d been working for weeks. It was daunting for her. The prospect of living alone was new, and slightly scary, as was the chance that her friendship with Cassie would be different now that they weren’t living together, but whatever doubts or worries she had had, Lionel had done his best to soothe, reassuring her that different didn’t necessarily mean bad.

“You won’t miss the walk to the old place?” Sasha asked, setting the cup back down onto the box that she was using as a nightstand.

“Maybe a little” Lionel replied, a soft smile on his face “But, we can just take the stairs up from the parking garage. It’ll be almost the same” he added.

Sasha’s laugh was bright, the happiest Lionel had heard it for a while. “Because stairwells are so romantic” she quipped.

“Anywhere can be romantic if I am with you” Lionel chirped back.

Sasha let out a playful groan, making Lionel laugh as he tugged her close. Letting out a contented sigh, Sasha snuggled against his chest, holding onto him happily. “Thank you” she said softly.

Lionel leant over, kissing the top of her head. “For what?” he mumbled.

“For the last few weeks” Sasha replied “For guiding me to look at the bright side when I could have easily focussed on the negative. I don’t know what I would have done without you” she added.

“I’m glad I helped” Lionel mused, stuck for anything better to say.

Sasha picked her head up to look at him, a gentle smile toying at the corner of her lips. “I love you” she mused.

Lionel’s answering smile was just as tender, just as happy. “I love you, too” he replied.

Sasha leant up, kissing him a couple of times, before she returned to her spot against his chest, something Lionel responded to by wrapping an arm around her, content to have her close to him. He hoped that she knew just how happy he was. They’d had their bumps, they’d had their arguments, but he loved how things had worked out, and he hoped that Sasha knew it. He hoped that she, like he knew he already was, was in it for the distance.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)