Can’t Look Away

05: We’ve Done This Dance Too Many Times

Absent-mindedly pushing a spoon around her cup, Sasha shook her head, her eyes fixed on the phone which sat on the counter, taunting her with the fact that she had made things as weird as she had with Lionel the previous night. She hadn’t meant to. When she had extended the invitation to him, she had expected that they’d just sit and talk like they had at the wedding, but she had been caught off guard by how easily she had grown to like him, something which had caused her to pull back and try and put some kind of distance between them. It had felt like a date. She hadn’t meant for it to, but it had, and it had caused her to put up her walls, scared that if she didn’t, she’d find herself tripping over him.

Tapping the spoon on the side of her mug, she placed it down onto the counter before she lifted up her phone and unlocked it. Scrolling down her contacts list, she sought out Lionel's name, but before she had a chance to select it, footsteps padded down the stairs, causing her to almost throw the phone down and pick up her mug instead.

Cassie stopped in the doorway, cocking an eyebrow, before she shook her head and made her way towards the fridge. “You’re up early” she commented.

Sasha shrugged, sipping at her drink. “I’ve just woken up” she noted.

Cassie nodded her head, making herself a drink, before she perched on the other side of the counter. “So” she quipped.

Sasha sighed, shaking her head. “I don’t want to talk about it, Cassie” she mumbled into her drink.

“It was that bad?” Cassie prodded “What did he do? Ditch you during dessert or something?” she added, snickering a little.

“Of course not” Sasha replied, rolling her eyes a little “He was really...lovely” she added, her expression softening a little.

Cassie watched her over the rim of her mug, waiting for her to elaborate, but when she didn’t, Cassie let out a soft sigh. “Is that a bad thing?” she asked gently.

Sasha fiddled with her mug for a couple of moments, thinking the question over, before she lifted her shoulders in a hesitant shrug. “I thought it would be just dinner” she said carefully “I mean, we’d not called it a date, and I thought it’d be like the wedding. I thought we’d just talk, but he just...he was really sweet, Cass. I like him, a lot, but when he tried to kiss me...” she trailed off, shaking her head ruefully.

Cassie set her cup down. “You didn’t let him?” she asked.

Sasha shook her head, pushing a hand back through her hair. “I thought about it” she admitted “There was a moment, when I was looking into his eyes, where I really thought about doing it, but I chickened out. You were right, it was one of my worst ideas” she added, offering her friend a sad smile.

Cassie gathered Sasha’s hands in hers, squeezing them gently. “You’ve had worse ideas” she quipped.

Sasha let out a surprised laugh. “I shouldn’t have expected sympathy, should I?” she prodded.

“Why won’t you let yourself like him?” Cassie’s reply was soft and accompanied by another gentle squeeze of Sasha’s hands, but it still knocked Sasha for six. She had expected her friend to go along with their teasing.


“You said it yourself” Cassie interrupted “He’s lovely, and sweet, and you wanted to kiss him, so why didn’t you? Is it really just his past with Leila?” she prodded.

Sasha shifted in her seat.

Cassie sighed. “Is it really about him having been with Leila, or are you just using that as an excuse to hold yourself back?” she clarified.

It was something she had seen more times than she would have liked to. Sasha was bright, she was warm and funny, and but she also had a knack for self sabotage, something Cassie had witnessed more than once over the years, making her aware of the signs. She wanted what Leila had found with Olivier. She wanted to find someone that she could put her faith in, but she also worried about getting too close. Olivier hadn’t been the first man to burn her and it had left her hesitant to put her trust in someone new.

Sasha shook her head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about” she muttered.

“Yeah, I do” Cassie replied “We’ve done this dance too many times, Sasha” she added.

Sasha sat quietly, causing Cassie to squeeze her hands again. “Leila’s married” she mused “She and Olivier have been all starry eyed over one another for years, and it isn’t going change now. She’s not going to dump her new husband for Leo, Sasha, and Leo’s not just going to decide to do something about getting her back, either. He’s had three years to do something, to plead his case, but he hasn’t. You know that he’s not into her like that any more, and you know that if you talked to Leila about him, she’d probably be happy for the two of you. You know all of this” she insisted gently.

Sasha opened her mouth to argue, but deflated instead, letting out a soft sigh. “It’s probably too late anyway” she mumbled.

“You’ve got a phone, haven’t you?” Cassie prodded, tilting her head towards the device which sat on the counter.

“What would I say to him?” Sasha prodded nervously.

“You could start with hello” Cassie quipped impishly as she moved to step around the counter “See where it takes you” she added, swanning out of her room.

Sasha stared at the phone for a few long moments before she finally picked it up. Finding Lionel's name, she pressed it before she had the chance to back out and lifted the phone to her ear, listening to the dial tone until Lionel's sleepy voice snipped into her ears. “I woke you” she said gently.

“No, you didn’t” Lionel retorted, clearing his throat slightly “I’m surprised to hear from you” he added.

Sasha let out a sheepish laugh. “I’m surprised I called you” she admitted “I...I wanted to apologise for last night” she added.


“I do have to” Sasha interrupted, cutting off his insistence that there was nothing to say sorry for “I think I ruined what had otherwise been a really nice night by getting into my own head and I made things weird between us. I’m sorry” she added.

Lionel was quiet for a moment, something which made Sasha smile sadly to herself. “I’m a lot more complicated than you bargained for, aren’t I?” she quipped “I mean, you were probably just being nice at the wedding, and then I went and asked you to dinner. You should have just let me sat next to the bar” she added with a put on laugh.

“I thought you wanted last night to be a date” Lionel admitted.

Sasha blinked. “Did you want it to be?” she asked quietly.

Rusting sounded down the line, like Lionel was shifting uncomfortably, before his voice came again, quiet and shy. “Maybe” he said.

Sasha pulled the phone away from her ear, staring at it quietly for a few moments, before she moved it back into place. “I’ve...I’ve got a shift tonight” she babbled.

Lionel's laugh was surprisingly gentle. “Good for you?” he teased.

“I just...I was trying to...” Sasha closed her eyes and took in a breath before she let it out slowly “Can we get something to eat another night?” she asked.

“I’d love to” Lionel mused.

“Really?” Sasha squeaked.

“Yeah, really” Lionel replied “Send me a text. We’ll set it up, OK?” he asked.

Sasha nodded eagerly for a few moments before she realised that he couldn’t see her. “OK” she confirmed.

“Looking forwards to it” Lionel mused before he said goodbye, hanging up the call.

Sasha put the phone on the counter and stared at it, not entirely sure if the knots in her stomach were a good thing or not.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony and Jayme112234 for the comments :)