All This Time

23: Do You Think Anything About This Is What I Want?

“Fernando?”

Fernando’s eyes slowly moved away from Lionel, refocussing on Amelia who’d moved slightly closer to him. Quirking a soft smile, he watched her for a second, but when he tried to step towards her, Henri shifted in front of him, wordlessly warning him that he wasn’t going to be allowed to progress any further. He wasn’t surprised by the reaction. The last time he had seen Amelia's stepfather or her mother, the older couple hadn’t help back in telling him how they felt, but he hadn’t worried about the risk when he had made the decision to show up. All he had thought about was the fact that it was Amelia's birthday and he wanted her to know that he was thinking about her. He knew what he was going to face when he got there. When he’d seen the picture that Molly had posted, it’d been clear that there were a lot of people present, people who loved Amelia and almost certainly loathed him for hurting her, but it was a risk he had been willing to take. He just wanted to see her.

“Amelia” Fernando cooed “It’s so good to see you. Happy birthday, baby” he added.

Amelia flinched. She hadn’t heard him use that nickname in a long time. Taking a second to compose herself, she rubbed her forehead nervously before she looked up at him. “What are you doing here, Nando?” she asked softly.

“It’s your birthday” Fernando replied as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“No one invited you here, Fernando” Henri said “You have no right to just show up like this” he added.

Fernando didn’t say anything for a moment, but his stare didn’t leave Amelia's. “I just wanted to see you” he said softly “I know that that’s stupid, and that Henri is right, that I have no right to show up here like this, but I just...I needed to see you. I needed you to know that I hadn’t forgotten” he added.

Amelia held his stare, allowing the words to hang in the air for a moment, before she ducked her head, shaking it slightly. “Please” she whispered “Just...Just go” she added.

“Amelia...”

“You heard her” Henri interrupted, stepping in front of Fernando when he attempted to move towards Amelia.

Fernando stumbled into Henri before he took a step backwards, his stare moving back towards Amelia before it drifted down towards her hand. Blinking a couple of times, it took him a moment to register the fact that Amelia's hand was wrapped in Lionel’s, before he lifted his eyes back up to her face, his forehead creasing.

Amelia followed his stare before she gently pried her hand out of Lionel’s, taking a small step towards Fernando. “Nando...”

“Let me guess” Fernando’s voice was sharp “You’re just friends” he added.

“What the hell does it have to do with you?” Felicity, who was stood in the doorway, snapped.

“Mama” Amelia complained, sending a pleading look towards her mother. She knew that Felicity had a point, but she also knew that pointing it out wasn’t going to help to diffuse the situation. Fernando was hurting and Amelia didn’t want to make it worse. She had always promised herself that, if she could help it, she wouldn’t try to deliberately hurt him to get even for all of the hurt he’d caused her. Ending their marriage had hurt him. Despite everything that had happened with Gianna, Amelia had no doubt that at one point, Fernando had loved her, and she knew that he was already hurting enough without her trying to make it worse.

Fernando glared at Felicity briefly before he turned back to Amelia. “You finally got what you wanted” he said.

“What I wanted?” Amelia pressed “You think anything about this is what I wanted?” she added.

Fernando scoffed. “Do you know what the first thing Molly told me was when we met?” he asked “That first night, when you were so excited to introduce me to your friends. She told me that there was someone missing, someone important. She told me that there was a guy before me, a guy that mattered, and that you were still close. Him. And now here he is. You finally got to be with the man you really wanted” he added, gesturing towards Lionel.

Amelia's cheeks turned pink, but she firmly shook her head. “Firstly, I am not with him” she countered “I told you before that we weren’t together, but even if we were, it’d be absolutely none of your business. And secondly, don’t you dare try and make out that I gave you some kind of justification to do what you did to me. Maybe my feelings for Leo were complicated when you and I met, Nando, but we both know that I gave you everything I had. I gave you all of my love, and we both know what you did with that. I fell for you, completely and utterly and you fucking know it. Don’t you dare try and pretend otherwise” she hissed, trying, and failing, to keep the tears from tumbling down her cheeks.

Fernando’s vicious expression softened ever so slightly when he saw the tears on her cheeks, but it didn’t last long when Lionel’s hand wrapped around her wrist, squeezing it comfortingly. He watched for a second, seeing Amelia's other hand gently squeeze Lionel’s, before he tried to step towards them, only to be pushed back by Henri. “You’ve already said enough” Henri muttered.

Fernando briefly contemplated pushing back, but when he looked around the room and saw the looks on the faces that surrounded him, he deflated with a heavy sigh. He wanted to shout. He wanted to keep talking until Amelia, and everyone in the room with them, looked at him like they used to, but he knew that it wasn’t going to happen. No matter how hard he pushed, how much he talked about what they had been and what they could have been, it wasn’t going to change anything. He’d broken Amelia's heart, and as much as he loved her, and regretted everything he’d done wrong, he was always going to be the person that had done that to her. Running a hand over his face, he exhaled a quiet sigh before he met Amelia's tearful eyes again. “I’m sorry” he said.

“I know” Amelia’s reply was soft and tired. He was apologising for more than that night, and Amelia had heard it too many times.

“I love you” Fernando said gently “I know it doesn’t make a difference, but I do” he added.

Amelia just nodded, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

“I...I am just sorry, Amelia” Fernando said before he walked out of the front door, pulling it closed with a loud thump.

The room was silent for a few moments. No one knew what to do, or to say, but eventually, Amelia turned into the embrace that Lionel was itching to give her, crying softly into his shirt under the concerned stares of her family.