Can’t Look Away

52: Is Someone Going To Tell Me What I Just Saw?

“I’m sorry, I can’t get away sooner”

Lionel sighed, his stare fixed on Leila who was walking towards the front door. He hadn’t anticipated that he would have to make conversation with her. When he and Sasha had made plans to have both of her siblings over to tell them about the pregnancy, he had assumed that Sasha would have picked a time that she couldn’t miss, limiting the time Lionel had spend around her sister, but he had been wrong. Instead of being upstairs, getting ready, Sasha was still at the hospital and Leila was almost at the front door. “Is there no way?” he asked.

“No” Sasha replied “She’s so close to delivering, and her husband’s not here, so I promised I’d stay. You know I wouldn’t do this to you deliberately” she added.

Lionel rubbed his forehead in frustration before he nodded. “I do” he confirmed “Are James and Ellie going to be on time?” he asked.

“Possibly not” Sasha replied “Leo, I am so sorry” she added.

Lionel’s head lifted at the sound of the doorbell. “You’re going to owe me for this” he quipped.

Sasha let out a soft laugh. “I’m going to have your child in a few months” she retorted.

“I am pretty sure that that won’t be as painful as me having to force conversation with your sister” Lionel joked, glancing back at the front door as the bell rang again. As much as he wanted to, he knew he couldn’t stall forever.

Sasha scoffed out another laugh, making Lionel sure that she was rolling her eyes on the other end of the line. “Don’t be so dramatic” she mused “Oh, and Cassie’s going to drop by at some point. She’s already come and taken my keys from me so you don’t have to worry about letting her in, but I just didn’t want you to freak out if you found her in our bedroom. There’s a dress of mine that she wants to borrow for a date tomorrow night” she added fondly.

“Cassie’s got a date?” Lionel asked.

“I’ll tell your about it later” Sasha replied “I have to get back. I’ll be home as soon as I can” she added.

“I’ll see you then” Lionel mused “Love you” he added.

“Love you, too” Sasha replied before she hung up the phone.

Lionel stared at the phone in his hand for a moment before the doorbell chimed again, causing him to exhale a sigh before he moved towards it, swinging it open to Leila who greeted him with a slightly relieved smile. “I was starting to think you weren’t in” she quipped.

Lionel stepped aside, allowing her to step into the house, before he closed the door behind her. “I was talking to Sasha” he said “She’s still stuck at the hospital and probably is going to be there for a while, so until your brother, Ellie and Ivy get here, it’s just you and me” he added, hoping that the smile on his face looked more polite than it felt.

Leila nodded her head slowly, allowing an awkward silence to grow between them.

“Can I get you anything?” Lionel asked.

“Do you have any wine?” Leila countered “I think I am going to need some” she added, offering him a pained smile.

Lionel chuckled, more out of nervousness than anything else, before he gestured towards the kitchen. Following her, he moved to collect a glass for her before he retrieved the bottle from the fridge, settling it on the counter in front of her. “Sorry it’s already open” he quipped “Cassie brings it over when she comes to visit Sasha” he added.

Leila waved a hand before she moved to pour herself a glass.

Lionel watched her, allowing the awkward silence to grow between them again, before he cleared his throat. “I thought Olivier would be with you” he quipped “We invited the two of you” he added.

Leila sighed into her drink. “We kind of guessed why you’d invited us” she murmured “And you wouldn’t want him here if it is what I think it is. We’d only end up fighting, and spoiling what is otherwise sure to be a lovely occasion” she added.

Lionel bit his tongue, trying to stop the urge to pry any further, but Leila must have seen it on his face.

Quirking a slightly sad smile, she traced the rim of her wine glass before she shook her head. “Sasha’s pregnant” she said gently “At least, we assumed that that was why you’d invited us over, and the topic of babies’s a slightly complicated issue for me and my husband. We’d been in agreement for years. Neither of us was crazy about the idea of having them, so we decided that we wouldn’t. Ollie loves his job, and I adore mine. We like being able to do what we want, when we want to do it, and it meant that having a baby just wasn’t on our agenda. Then Ellie got pregnant” she added.

Lionel didn’t say anything, he just looked at her, offering her the chance to continue if she wanted to.

“I saw her first sonogram and I melted” Leila continued, swallowing a mouthful of her drink “I couldn’t get it off of my mind. I kept thinking about how I would feel if it was mine, and so I talked to Ollie about it and he...his mind is still made up” she added.


“I told him that we could still wait” Leila talked over him, her eyes growing cloudy with tears “That we could take a couple of years to enjoy ourselves before we start to try, but he just...he’s not interested, and I know I can’t make him interested in it, so now I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don’t want to lose him, I love him, but this’s more important to me than I realised. I want it, Leo. I didn’t think that I did, but I do” she added.

Lionel didn’t know what to say, or what to do. For a moment, he just stared at her, watching her cry, before he slowly stepped around the counter and opened his arms to her. Leila didn’t hesitate for a beat. She stepped into his arms and wrapped hers around him, crying gently into his shoulder. Lionel slowly closed him arms around her. “I’m sorry that you’re struggling” he said carefully.

Leila sniffled.

“I wish I had more to say” Lionel mumbled “Sasha would know what to say” he added, trying to pull out of the hug.

Leila allowed him to create a small space before she pushed up onto her toes, pressing her lips to his briefly.

“What the heck?”

Lionel’s head whipped around, his stare landing on Cassie who was stood in the kitchen doorway. “Cassie” he spluttered.

Cassie stared back at him, her eyes narrowed.

Lionel wilted slightly under her stare before he turned back to Leila.

“Is someone going to tell me what I just saw?” Cassie pressed.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)