Can’t Look Away

51: I’m Always Paying Attention To You

Gently smoothing her hand over the new roundness of her stomach, Sasha smiled to herself, still more than a little in awe of the news. They had had to be careful for weeks. After they’d received the positive results, they’d visited her doctor and a midwife, who’d confirmed that Sasha was in the early weeks of her pregnancy, and since that moment, Sasha and Lionel had had to be careful not to let their excitement show, not wanting the news to get out before they were ready for it to. They had made a few people suspicious. Sasha’s habit of avoiding wine when she was with her sister or mother hadn’t gone unnoticed, and Lionel had been caught with his hand settled on her stomach more than once, but every time someone had asked, they had been quick to dismiss it, cautious of saying something too early.


Still smiling gently, Sasha glanced towards the open bedroom doorway, watching as Lionel came to a stop in it, a familiar goofy smile brightening his features. “Do you need something?” she asked.

Lionel’s eyes moved slowly from her stomach to her face before he nodded, a bashful flush on his cheeks. “I wanted to see if you were nearly ready” he said “We’re expected at your parents’ house pretty soon” he added, checking his watch for confirmation that they were running slightly late.

“I just need to finish getting dressed” Sasha replied “Five minutes?” she added as she wandered across the room, retrieving the dress she had left draped across their bed.

Lionel nodded, allowing a beat of silence to pass between them, before he looked over at her. “It looks rounder” he said softly “Your stomach. It’s not quite a bump, but...” he trailed off, letting out a slightly bashful laugh.

Sasha glanced down at her stomach before she looked over at him, her expression brightened with a gentle smile. “I thought I was the only one that noticed” she said “I mean, the difference is minimal. Unless you’re really paying attention, you wouldn’t notice it” she added.

A grin quirked up one corner of Lionel’s mouth. “I’m always paying attention to you” he quipped.

Sasha’s cheeks flushed a light shade of pink, something she tried, and failed, to hide as she moved to pull on her dress. “I was just saying, I don’t really look like I am twelve weeks pregnant” she mused.

“You are, though” Lionel chirped as he padded a little further into the room “We’ve got the proof” he added, swiping the photograph frame up from his bedside table. Padding across the room, he gently placed the frame into Sasha’s hands before he placed a kiss against her temple, causing her to let out a happy sigh.

For a couple of minutes, they both marvelled at the picture before Sasha turned into him, wrapping her arms around him. Lionel followed her lead, settling his arms around her comfortably. “Did you wrap the thing?” she asked gently.

Lionel nodded. “It’s with the bottle of wine I bought for them” he mused.

Sasha let out a soft laugh, tugging back ever so slightly so that she could look up at him. “You know, you don’t have to bribe them to like you any more” she mused.

“It’s just polite” Lionel replied, shrugging slightly.

Sasha pushed up onto her toes, kissing him briefly. “It’s really sweet of you” she mused “I like that you’re still making the effort” she added.

“It’s just a bottle of wine” Lionel retorted.

“My papa’s favourite, I am guessing” Sasha mused.

Lionel’s cheeks flushed pink, causing Sasha to smile before she pushed onto her toes again, kissing him gently. She wanted him to know how important the small gestures were to her. He was forever doing it. Whether it was buying a new toy for Ivy at every opportunity, or just sitting with her and Cassie whilst they talked about people she was sure he didn’t remember meeting, it meant the world to her, and she wanted to make sure that he knew it. She didn’t want him to think that she was taking it for granted.

“Is it a special occasion?”

Sasha rolled her eyes as she placed the parcel that she and Lionel had bought with them into her mother’s hands. “Can’t I just do something nice for you and papa without a reason?” she prodded.

Eddie grinned around his glass of wine. “You’re nearly 30 years old and you never have” he quipped with a laugh.

“That’s not true” Sasha replied “We bring you and mama something every time we visit” she added.

“I am guessing that that is probably more to do with Leo than you, Sasha” Eddie mused “I mean, the gifts have only started showing up in the last year or so, which just so happens to coincide with him showing up. Am I right, Leo?” he prodded, glancing over at Lionel who was watching the interaction with an easy smile.

Lionel let out a laugh, but shook his head. “I couldn’t possibly comment” he mused.

“That’s a yes” Carina quipped impishly.

Sasha let out a playful huff before she gently prodded the parcel in her mother’s hands, her expression softening slightly. “I really think you and papa ought to open this” she said.

Carina’s forehead creased slightly, but she nodded before she returned to her seat next to her husband.

Sasha stepped back slightly and flinched when Lionel’s hand reached up and touched the small of her back, rubbing it reassuringly. Turning to look at him, she marvelled at his warm smile for a moment before a squeal from her mother caused her to whip back around, watching as her father held up the tiny Barcelona shirt in front of her mother. Biting down on her lip, she smiled down at her feet. “Look at the back” she coaxed.

Carina gently reached for the shirt before she laid it in her lap, covering her mouth with a hand. On the back of the shirt, in place of Lionel’s name, was Sasha’s due date, and where his number would have been, they had taped a copy of their sonogram.

For a long moment, Eddie and Carina were speechless, but eventually, Eddie looked up, his eyes shining slightly. “Peanut” he whispered softly.

Sasha sniffled, her smile wide but wobbly. “You’ve not called me that since I was a teenager” she quipped “I remember having to bribe you to stop” she added.

Eddie pushed himself out of his seat, his hands gently gripping her arms. “My beautiful peanut” he whispered “God, I am so happy for you” he added before he threw his arms around her.

Sasha hugged him back just as tightly before Carina padded over, throwing her arms around the both of them.

Eddie picked his head up, glancing over at Lionel. “Get over here, Lionel” he quipped.

“Yes, get over here” Carina added.

Lionel hesitated briefly, but when he caught sight of Sasha’s smile, he stood up, stepping into the embrace where he was welcomed eagerly.

Eventually, they all pulled away. Sasha and Carina didn’t bother to hide the fact that they were crying, but Eddie tried to be more subtle. “Are we the first to know?” he asked.

Lionel, who was trying to be as subtle as the older man about wiping his eyes, nodded. “We’re calling my parents tonight” he mused “And I am sure that, before the night is out, Sasha will have told Cassie. I am a little surprised she doesn’t know already” he added.

Eddie laughed. “I’m surprised she didn’t know before you” he quipped.

“I actually knew before Sasha did” Lionel chirped “She’d taken a test before she went out, and not wanting to alert Leila to the fact we were trying, she left it unchecked. I found it first” he added.

Eddie’s warm grin dimmed ever so slightly. “You’re going to tell James and Leila?” he asked.

“Of course we are” Sasha quipped as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Eddie’s eyes searched for Carina’s briefly before he looked back at his daughter. “Be careful with your sister” he said gently “The subject of pregnancy is a little sensitive for her and Olivier right now, and whilst I have no doubt that she will be thrilled for you, it might not be the reaction you’re expecting” he explained.

“Are they trying?” Sasha asked.

“No” Carina said “They’re not. They’ve not been trying, either. It’s between them, sweetheart, but we just don’t want you to be disappointed if she doesn’t react like you want her to. This is spectacular news, Sasha, but just cut her a little slack, OK?” she asked.

Sasha’s forehead creased, but when Lionel squeezed her shoulder, the questions died on her tongue. Instead, she moved to pick up the shirt from the sofa, holding it up so that her parents could gush over it.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)