Can’t Look Away

41: First & Last

The moments after the front door closed seemed to last forever. They were waiting for the footsteps to fade, for the muffled voices to disappear from the other side of the door, but the wait seemed to drag on for an eternity, allowing a stifling silence to settle over the two of them. It hadn’t come up before. Whilst they had had a conversation about their past relationships, the extent of what Sasha had told Lionel about Alex was simply that he had cheated on her, ending their relationship, but, thanks to Cassie, she knew that she was going to have to give him more. She knew that she’d have to give him the full story.

Ducking her head, Sasha listened to the voices as they retreated down the hall before she spared Lionel a cautious glance, watching him push a hand back through his hair. “Leo” she whispered, reaching her hand out towards him.

Lionel flinched away from her touch slightly, causing Sasha to pull her hand back like it’d been burned. Pulling her hand to her chest, she held it there for a moment before she slowly let it fall back to her side. “It doesn’t change anything” she said gently “Alex is...He’s part of my past, just like he’s always been. It was just a little more complicated than I led you to believe. It doesn’t matter” she added.

Lionel slowly looked up at her, a small furrow between his eyebrows. “Why didn’t you just tell me?” he asked.

“I told you the important parts” Sasha argued.

“You don’t think you agreeing marry him is important?” Lionel shot back “You let me think he was just some boyfriend, but he was your fiance, Sasha. You were going to...”

“We were never going to get married!” Sasha yelped.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, affording Sasha the chance to deflate slightly before she sat down on the edge of the coffee table, hiding her face in her hands. Taking in a few deep breaths, she composed herself before she looked up at him, her expression softening. “Sorry” she whispered “I...I didn’t mean to yell” she added.

Lionel carefully crouched down in front of her, gathering her hands in his.

Sasha stared at their hands for a few moments before she sighed, peeking back up at him through her eyelashes. “He didn’t propose because he wanted to marry me” she whispered softly “We...we had a false alarm, and by the time we figured out that it was a false alarm, he’d already proposed and there was no taking it back” she added.

“False alarm?” Lionel’s voice was cautious, not wanting to press too hard.

Sasha quirked a slightly rueful smile, her stare drifting pointedly towards her stomach. “I was still training at the time” she admitted “That’s what made me do the test, and when it came back positive, I told Alex without double checking. His parents were really old fashioned, so he proposed, just to keep them at bay. We told people about the engagement, mostly so that when we told them about the pregnancy, they’d just assume that it’d happened when he proposed, but when I went to see my doctor, we discovered that there wasn’t a pregnancy. There never had been. The test that I had taken was one that Cassie and I kept in the medicine cabinet, just in case, and it was out of date. It gave me a false positive that I would have caught onto if I had just double checked, but I didn’t and then we were locked into an engagement that neither of us really wanted” she added.

Lionel’s hands squeezed hers gently.

Sasha let out a shaky laugh, shaking her head gently. “Our parents were so excited” she said gently “They wanted to make plans, but Alex and I...we kept making excuses to put them off. We did that for about a year before I found him in bed with some girl he worked with. I knew that things weren’t working between us, but I didn’t...I didn’t expect that” she added.

Lionel leant up slightly, touching a soft kiss to her forehead.

Sasha’s arms wrapped around him, sighing gently into his chest. “I should have told you sooner” she murmured.

Lionel kissed the top of her head gently, letting a gentle sigh ruffle her hair slightly. “I thought I would be the first” he mumbled.

Sasha leant her head back, frowning up at him confusedly. “What?” she asked.

Lionel’s answering smile was soft and shy. “When I ask you. I thought I would be the first one” he clarified.

Sasha’s eyes widened.

“Don’t look so worried” Lionel said quickly, mistaking the look on her face for panic “It’s a long way off. I just...I thought that when I did it, I’d be the first. The only one to ask you. I didn’t realise how complicated things were between you and Alex” he explained.

He wanted her to know that he had heard her. She had explained that she was a planner, that she wanted to be entirely sure of something before it moved forwards, and he didn’t want her to mistake his statement for pressure, especially in light of what she had told him about her relationship with Alex. He hadn’t known how complicated it was, but know that he did, a few more things about Sasha made sense. How deeply she had cared for Alex was obvious. She had been prepared to have a child with him, to marry him, and it meant that the way she had curled in on herself after things between them had ended made more sense to him. She had seen a future with Alex, and he’d shattered it for her.

Sasha shook her head, her surprised expression morphing into something softer. “I don’t care if you’re not the first” she said gently.


“I want you to be the last one” Sasha cut off his protests with a hopeful smile “When you ask, I want you to mean it. I want you to be the guy I...” she trailed off, laughing bashfully to herself.

Lionel closed his eyes at the sound, allowing it, and the words that had preceded it, to linger in the air between them, before he leant forwards, pressing his forehead to hers.

Sasha traced her fingertips across his jaw before she tipped her head back slightly, kissing him softly. “I need to go and call Cassie” she murmured between gentle kisses “This thing with Nolan is huge, and I need to talk to her” she added.

Lionel smiled against her lips before he pulled back, offering her a little nod. “Go” he quipped.

Sasha pecked his lips a couple more times before she disappeared into her bedroom, leaving Lionel staring after her, a goofy smile on his face. Things wouldn’t speed up. Sasha was a planner, and she had already told him that she had a timetable for things, but he liked know that they were on the same page, even if their future was a way off. He liked knowing that the one he saw was one she saw too.