Can’t Look Away

61: It’s Alright If It Is

Lionel felt Sasha’s shoulders stiffen under his arm, but she made no move to look at him. Instead, she kept her stare fixed on James and Ellie who stood a little away from them, starting off the ceremony. Blinking a couple of times, Lionel gently removed his arm from around her shoulders before shook his head, a muted sigh falling out of his mouth.

He knew that it was sudden. Aside from a couple of conversations that had occurred before he and Sasha had moved in together, the prospect of the two of them getting engaged wasn’t one that he and Sasha had discussed, and whilst he had been expecting her surprise, he hadn’t been expecting her to not react at all. It wasn’t something he had just blurted out in the moment. He had been thinking about it for a while, and whilst the moment wasn’t the perfect one, he hadn’t been able to keep the question in any longer. He was certain of them and couldn’t wait any longer to show Sasha.

Fiddling with his tie uncomfortably, he shuffled away from Sasha slightly before he redirected his attention towards James and Ellie, hoping that, once the ceremony was over, Sasha wouldn’t try and duck out of a conversation. He had asked her to marry him. The way that her shoulders had stiffened under his arm made it obvious that she had heard him, and it wasn’t something they could simply ignore, not that Lionel wanted to. He wanted to talk and could only hope that Sasha, who was famous for trying to avoid awkward conversations or trying to diffuse them with awkward humour, would afford him the chance to.

Gently sliding the bathroom lock closed, Sasha let out a sigh in relief, sinking down against the door. She had been trying to get away for a while. With Lionel’s proposal still ringing in her ears, sitting through James and Ellie’s wedding, and the photographs and speeches that had inevitably followed, had felt like an eternity, but with the party having moved back to her brother’s apartment, Sasha had taken the first opportunity to excuse herself, desperate to avoid Lionel who had been trying to corner her alone for most of the evening.

He had more than surprised her. The proposal had been simple, and confident, but it had still been enough to scare her, and whilst it had been hours since he had asked, she still hadn’t managed to wrap her head around it. She didn’t know what to make of it.

Closing her eyes, she let her head fall back against the door with a soft thump.

“You can’t stay in there all night”

Despite the knot twisting in the pit of her stomach, Sasha felt herself smile at the soft teasing tone of Lionel’s voice. “I think I could make a good go of it” she mused “I mean, your baby likes to kick my bladder like it’s a sport, so I am pretty well acquainted with bathrooms lately” she added.

A soft thump, almost certainly Lionel’s forehead landing against the other side of the door, preceded a soft laugh and then a quiet sigh. “Sasha” he said quietly.

Sasha sighed. “Leo, please” she protested softly.

“We can’t not talk about it, Sasha” Lionel replied “This isn’t some little thing. I asked you to marry me” he added, careful to keep his voice low.

Sasha squeezed her eyes closed again. “I know” she murmured.

“Open the door, Sasha” Lionel’s voice was soft, pleading “Please” he added.

Sasha hesitated briefly before she awkwardly pulled herself back to her feet, allowing her to swing the door open.

Lionel stumbled slightly, not expecting the door to open, before he shuffled past her, allowing Sasha to gently close the door again after him. Once the soft click of the lock closing had dissipated, the two of them stood in silence, staring at one another for a few long moments before Lionel shook his head, his hand rubbing at his jaw sheepishly. “Is it a no?” he asked.

Sasha opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, something which made Lionel smile sadly down at his feet. “It’s alright if it is” he said quietly “I mean, obviously, I had been counting on a different answer, but if that is what has gotten you so worked up, it shouldn’t. If you want to say no to me, Sasha...”

“I don’t know” Sasha spluttered.

Lionel blinked, his forehead creasing in confusion.

Sasha paced the width of the bathroom, trying to come up with the words to explain herself, before she let out a frustrated sigh, one of her hands gently settling over her bump. “I’m a mess of hormones” she whispered “And what I am about to say, it’s probably going to hurt, and I want you to know that I don’t mean it to. I can’t trust my instincts normally, but now I am pregnant, it’s worse than ever” she added, a shrill, nervous laugh falling out of her mouth.

Lionel stepped towards her, one hand cupping her face whilst the other gently twined its fingers through hers. “Tell me what you’re thinking” he said gently.

Sasha’s eyes searched his briefly before her spare had moved to his face, her fingertips tenderly tracing the line of his jaw. “I know that you love me” she said “I’ve known it for ages, and I don’t doubt it, so please, don’t think that that is what this is” she added.

Lionel smiled at her softly, wordlessly assuring her that he wouldn’t.

“Alex proposed because we thought I was pregnant” Sasha murmured “I don’t want that to be why you’re asking me, too” she added.

Lionel’s eyes widened.

“We’ve had a lot of moments like tonight” Sasha continued, determined to get her explanation out “Ivy was born, and then we started trying, and I fell pregnant, and now we know that he’s a little boy, and we just watched my brother get married. It’s been full on, full of milestones, and I….I am scared that, once everything has settled down, and the baby’s been here for a few months, you might…”

“No” Lionel interjected, knowing what was coming next.


“I am not like him, Sasha” Lionel cut her off again “I am not asking because James got married, or because you’re pregnant” he added.

Sasha stared at him helplessly.

“I want you” Lionel insisted “You, Sasha, all of you. This isn’t just some whim, I didn’t ask just because we were sat there, watching your brother’s spontaneous wedding. I asked because of you, not the baby, not anything else, but you. How could you compare me and him?” he pressed, his voice tight and frustrated. He didn’t want to get annoyed, but the idea that Sasha had him and Alex being even remotely similar in her mind irked him.

“I am not” Sasha protested “I just…I want you to be sure, OK?” she added.

Lionel scoffed before he could stop himself, causing Sasha’s face to fall. “Don’t put your doubts onto me” he muttered.

“I am not trying to” Sasha argued “I just think we should…”

“It’s a yes or a no question, Sasha” Lionel interrupted “Yes, you want to marry me. No, you don’t. Six months, a year, isn’t going to change anything” he added.

Sasha gaped at him, something which caused Lionel to shake his head before he stepped around her, unlocking the door. Taking in a deep breath, he swung it open and walked out of it, leaving Sasha stood alone in the bathroom, tears shining in her eyes.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)