Can’t Look Away

57: She Knew It Was You

“You could have warned me how bad the food was going to be here”

Sasha blinked, breaking out of her thoughts to look up at Lionel who was wandering back through the door, a pair of sandwiches clutched in his hands. He had only been gone for a few minutes. After the ultrasound and a brief conversation with Sasha’s doctor, he had ducked out to try and find them both something to eat, and in his absence, Sasha had tried to figure out how to start a conversation with him, something which had proved harder than she had expected. There were a lot of things that she wanted to say. She wanted him to know that she knew that he’d never do anything to hurt her deliberately, that she knew that Leila was the one that she ought to be upset with, and that all she really wanted was for him to come home, but she couldn’t quite get her thoughts in order. She didn’t quite know what she should say to start the conversation.

“Huh?” Sasha spluttered.

“The food” Lionel replied as he retook the empty seat next to her bed “It’s awful. This was the best I could find” he added, placing a sandwich down in front of her.

Sasha stared at the sandwich, listening to the sound of Lionel unwrapping his own, before she shook her head. “I’m sorry” she whispered.

Lionel’s hands stilled. From the tone of her voice, he could easily tell that she was apologising for more than not warning him about the food, but he didn’t want to get ahead of himself. He knew that if he pushed, then Sasha would try and backtrack out of the conversation and they’d never get anywhere. Putting the sandwich down beside hers, he looked up at her, patiently waiting until she spoke again.

Sasha fiddled with the blanket in her lap, allowing a few moments of quiet to pass between them, before she closed her eyes, exhaling a soft sigh. “I know that you didn’t do anything wrong” she said “I knew it from the moment you told me what happened. I know I can be naive at times, but I’ve been with you for over a year. I know your tells when you’re lying, and I didn’t see them when you told me what happened. You were honest, even despite knowing how it would end, and I...I am grateful for that. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to say that” she added.

Lionel shook his head, one of his hands gently taking hers. “I get why you wanted space from me” he said.

“I know you do” Sasha replied “And I know that you won’t push me into trying to fix things. I know that you’re prepared to take this anyway you can get it, and I can’t...I can’t express how much that means to me. I mean, you showed up here without any hesitation. You heard that I was in trouble, and you just...showed up. You couldn’t even guarantee that I’d let you in the room” she added.

Lionel offered her a slightly bashful smile and a shrug. “I needed to see that you were alright” he replied “And, even if you had made me stay outside, I would have bribed Cassie to tell me what was going on. She likes me, you know” he added, his voice caught between sincere and playful.

Sasha smiled, grateful for his attempt to lighten the mood. “She does” she confirmed “Though, I don’t think she’s minded the accommodation switch that much. I am worried I am never going to convince her to leave our spare bedroom” she added.

Lionel smiled at her joke, the moment giving away to another brief silence that was broken when Sasha spoke again. “I want you to come home” she said softly “I don’t like you not being there. I shouldn’t have let you leave” she added.

Lionel lifted her hand, pressing a soft kiss against the back of it. “It’s alright” he murmured.

“I’m sorry” Sasha replied “It was a realization of a fear that I’ve tried my hardest to put to the back of mind. Leila has had no trouble telling me about her feelings for you, and whilst I know that you don’t share them, it was just...I can’t believe that she would do that. I know that she has had feelings for you in the past, but I never quite thought that she’d do this. I mean, she’s my sister. How could she do this?” she spluttered.

Lionel’s thumb traced the back of her hand, gentle and comforting.

Sasha stared at their hands quietly for a moment, sorting through her thoughts, before she shook her head. “She knows about Alex” she said quietly “She knows how that hurt me. And everything with her and Olivier. I know that she was in your life before I was, and that her feelings for you predate mine, but I just...I assumed that my being happy with you would mean something to her. She had to know that this would hurt me, Leo” she added, her eyes growing glassy again.

“She was upset” Lionel reasoned.

“She knew it was you” Sasha’s voice was more hurt than angry “She knew that it was you that she was kissing. She had to know that that would hurt me. Maybe she didn’t plan it, maybe it wasn’t calculated, but she still knew that it was you” she added.

Lionel ducked his head, not sure what he could say to that, or if he wanted to say anything at all.

“She hasn’t called” Sasha said softly “She knew that you were going to tell me, and she hasn’t called. She didn’t call about Olivier, either” she added.

Lionel opened his mouth to say something, but was stopped when the door swung open, allowing Carina and Eddie, trailed by Cassie, to spill into the room.

“Sasha” Carina spluttered “Sweetheart, we came as soon as we could” she added as she rushed towards the bed, scanning Sasha for any kind of physical injury.

Lionel glanced past the older couple, meeting Cassie’s eyes as she offered him a helpless shrug and mouthed ‘I’m sorry’. Forcing a small smile, he nodded his head in thanks for her attempt to get him and Sasha some space before he turned back to Sasha, watching as her mother fussed over her.

“Cassie said that we didn’t need to come” Carina fussed “But how could we not? Our baby is hospital” she added.

Sasha smiled weakly. “I’m fine, mama” she mused “Baby is too. I just hadn’t been taking care of myself” she added.

“You know better than most how important that is right now, peanut” Eddie chided concernedly.

“I know, papa” Sasha said “I’ll be more careful from here on out” she promised.

Eddie flashed her a warm smile. “Good” he quipped.

“Cassie said you’re going to be here all night, so James is going to your place to pick you up a change of clothes” Carina continued fussing “And then he’s going to pick up Leila, and...”

“I don’t want her here” Sasha interrupted, shaking her head firmly.

Carina frowned. “What do you mean, you don’t want her here?” she asked.

“She kissed Leo” Sasha replied “A couple of days ago, she kissed him, and she’s not even tried to apologise for it. I don’t want her here, mama” she insisted.

Eddie and Carina shared a look before they both looked at Lionel. “Leila kissed you?” Eddie asked. His tone wasn’t accusatory, merely curious.

Lionel shifted uncomfortably, but eventually nodded his head, something which caused Eddie to exhale a disappointed sigh before he shook his head. “I knew that she and Ollie were having their issues, but this...I am sorry, Leo. She shouldn’t have dragged you into her mess” he explained.

“I can’t believe she’s pulling this trick again” Carina muttered “Olivier first, and now Leo. Sasha, sweetheart, I am so...”

“Don’t apologise for her actions, mama” Sasha interrupted “It’s her problem, not yours” she added.

Carina and Eddie shared another look before Cassie piped up, suggesting that they could go and get something better for Sasha to eat. They hesitated slightly, but eventually, they followed Cassie out of the room, leaving Lionel and Sasha alone. They sat quietly, their hands still intertwined, before Lionel lifted them up, pressing a soft kiss against the back of her hand. “I’d love to come home” he whispered.

Sasha let out a laugh that was somewhere between delighted and sad. “I’d love to have you there” she replied.
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Thanks to Jayme112234, minimosh and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)