All This Time

26: You Used To Smile When You Saw Me

Biting down on her lip, Amelia stared up at the screen of her phone, trying, and failing, to stifle the smile that was desperate to spread across her face. It was a new thing. Whilst she had always liked talking to Lionel, her smiling at whatever texts he sent to her was a recent development, but as hesitant as she was to get too swept up in whatever was happening between them, it was something that she couldn’t help sometimes. They were getting somewhere. As slow and as cautious as their progress was, it was obvious that they were steadily moving from friends to something a little more, and Amelia couldn’t resist smiling at the thought. It wasn’t something she could have pictured only a few short months previous when her marriage had fallen apart around her.

“You’re awake”

Amelia's eyes darted to the door as she reflexively moved to drop her phone, hiding it from Molly. “Have you ever tried knocking?” she grumbled.

Molly’s eyebrow lifted when she saw Amelia stuff her phone beneath her pillow, but she didn’t say anything. Instead, she gestured over her shoulder, alerting Amelia to the sound of Una’s voice. “We made breakfast plans, remember?” she asked “You said that you were busy this afternoon, so we arranged to go out this morning. Una’s all excited about spending time with her favourite aunt” she added.

Amelia blinked a couple of times, but before she could say anything, the bedroom door swung open, allowing Una to toddle through it. With an excited squeal of Amelia’s name, the little girl used the duvet to pull herself onto the bed before she crawled towards her, wrapping her in a tight hug. Amelia didn’t hesitate to hug her back, playfully rocking her from side to side. “Morning, bug” she cooed.

Molly watched the two of them with a warm smile before she shook her head. “You need to get up, Lia” she quipped “You promised Una breakfast, and if you don’t get up now, we’re going to run into your afternoon plans. Is that what you want?” she prodded, offering a pointed look towards the pillow that Amelia had buried her phone under.

Amelia followed the look, the tops of her cheeks turning a light shade of pink. “Mol...”

Molly shook her head, cutting Amelia off. “Just get up” she quipped with a grin.

She didn’t want Amelia to have to talk about something before she was ready to. There was obviously something. Since her birthday, Amelia had seemed happier, even despite Fernando’s appearance at the party, she had seemed more at ease, and whilst Molly was thrilled for her, she wanted to give Amelia the opportunity to come to her when she was ready to. She was going to be scared. After the way things between her and Fernando had ended, there was no doubt that Amelia was going to be more cautious about things, and Molly didn’t want to add to the pressure by pushing her to talk about it. All she wanted, all anyone that cared about Amelia wanted, was for her to find her way to being happy again.

Amelia blinked a couple of times, surprised by the interruption, before she offered Molly a grateful smile. “I need about fifteen minutes” she quipped “Why doesn’t your mama take you through and find the cartoons on the TV?” she asked, gently pushing Una’s hair back off of her forehead.

Una’s entire face lit up. “Please, mama?” she pressed, looking up at Molly.

“Seeing as you said please” Molly mused, rolling her eyes playfully as she lifted Una off of Amelia and carried her into the living room.

Once Amelia heard the mumble of the television, she reached beneath the pillow and retrieved her phone, sending a text back to Lionel that had her smiling to herself again.

Offering Molly a wave, Amelia moved to pull her keys out of her bag, trying to ignore the excited butterflies that were fluttering in her stomach. She had tried to stop it. Throughout her morning with Molly and Una, she had kept reminding herself that she was just spending time with Lionel, and that that was something she had done countless times before, but it had been futile. She was excited to see him, no matter how much she tried to talk herself out of it. It was cautious. They were still sharing kisses that were quick and timid, and were still at the stage that, if they caught each other’s eyes, they looked away blushing, but Amelia had missed the feeling in her stomach. It was nervous, it was excited and warm, and Amelia couldn’t get enough it. It had been a long time since she had been at the beginning of a relationship, and it was something she wanted to relish. She liked the butterflies more than she would admit.

Padding through the front door of her building, she made her way towards her apartment, only to stop in her tracks when she saw that there was someone waiting beside her front door.

Fernando’s head lifted slowly, meeting Amelia's eyes tiredly. “You know, you used to smile when you saw me” he quipped, his lips twisting into a rueful smile.

Amelia dropped her stare to her feet. “Used to” she replied.

Fernando exhaled a quiet sigh, rubbing his forehead. “I...I didn’t know where else to go” he muttered “Something happened with Gianna, and I needed someone to talk to, and you’re the first person I thought of. I know that me showing up here like this is selfish but I just...I need you, Amelia” he spluttered.

Amelia felt her chest tighten, both in anger and in sympathy, before she shook her head. A large part of her wanted to yell, to tell he ex-husband that the last thing she wanted to do was spend her afternoon talking to him about what had gone wrong between him and the woman he’d cheated on her with, but another part of her stopped her. The part of her that had loved him once, that could see that he was struggling and wanted to do something about it.

Turning her keys over in her hand, she stared at him, searching his expression for any sign that he was just saying something that would get him into her home, before she stepped passed him, slipping the key into the lock. Once she had pushed the door open, she stepped inside before she turned back to look up at Fernando. “Are you coming or not?” she asked.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)