All This Time

28: He’s Got Nothing To Do With It

“Yes, you are”

Lionel’s stare moved away from Amelia, settling on Fernando who’d stood up behind her. He knew what Fernando wanted. On the couple of occasions that they had been in the same place at the same time, he had gone out of his way to try and provoke Lionel into saying something, attempting to draw him into a fight that he had no business being in, but Lionel knew better than to let him succeed. He didn’t want to be between Amelia and Fernando. Their marriage, and what had happened to it, had had nothing to do with him, and he didn’t want to get in the middle of it, knowing that any intervention that he made was likely to only make things worse. His friendship with Amelia was complicated. They both had had feelings for one another at one point or another, and he knew that if he tried to tell Fernando to back off, then the other man would try and use that fact against Amelia, trying to justify the way he had hurt her, something Lionel didn’t want to put her through.

“No, he isn’t” Amelia argued “I haven’t got anything else to say to you, Nando” she added.

“We were having a conversation” Fernando countered, pulling his stare away from Lionel to settle it on Amelia who was stood beside the front door, her arms crossed over her chest defensively.

Amelia ducked her head, determinedly staring down at her feet. “I’ve said all I’ve got to say” she murmured “Our marriage is over, Fernando, and it means that I can’t...I can’t keep doing this with you. You loving me isn’t enough to fix this. It’s never going to be” she added, trying her hardest to keep her voice from shaking.

Fernando opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, trying to conjure a response, before his stare latched onto Lionel again.

Amelia caught the moment that Fernando’s eyes narrowed, something which caused her to scoff, shaking her head. “It’s not because of him” she murmured.

Fernando looked back over at her. “What?” he asked.

“Leo’s not the reason I am not interested in reconciling with you, Fernando” Amelia repeated “So stop looking at him like he is. Our marriage was over before he came back into my life, and the way it ended, the way you hurt me, that’s all the reason I need to know that we are never going to be together again. How do you think it would feel, Nando?” she pressed.

“Amelia...”

“Do you think I would be able to trust you?” Amelia continued speaking like Fernando hadn’t said a word “Do you think I wouldn’t be suspicious of every time you had to work late? Do you think I want to spend the rest of my life wondering where you are and what you’re doing every time you’re not with me? Because I know I don’t. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life waiting for you to break my heart all over again, and that’s why I have no interest in reconciling. I can’t trust you, and because of that, I know I can’t love you again. Leo’s got nothing to do with it. This is because of you, and only you, Fernando, and you need to get that through your head. It’s over” she said firmly.

She didn’t want to hurt him. As much as Fernando had hurt her, she had always promised herself that she wouldn’t do anything to deliberately hurt him in retaliation, but she knew that she needed to say it, no matter how much it stung Fernando to hear it. He was the reason their marriage had ended and the reason that Amelia had no interest in patching up their relationship. It wasn’t because of Amelia's feelings for Lionel, or his presence in her life. It was because of the way Fernando had hurt her, and the way she knew she would live her life if she let him back into it. She wouldn’t be able to trust him, to believe him when he told her something, and Amelia knew that she wouldn’t be able to bear the suspicion. She knew that she would never stop waiting for it to go wrong again.

Fernando’s expression softened, his stare holding Amelia's, before he lowered his head. “You don’t know it’d be like that” he muttered.

“I do” Amelia confirmed softly.

Fernando looked up again, searching her face, before he shook his head and moved towards the door, closing it after himself with a loud slam.

For a long moment, the air in the apartment rang with the sound of the door slamming, before Amelia turned, looking up at Lionel. “I’m sorry” she murmured “I don’t...I don’t even know why I let him in. Every time we’re in the same room, it ends like that, and I know it, I just...I guess I can’t shut off the voice in my head that reminds me I cared about him once” she added, letting out a rueful laugh.

Lionel was quiet for a moment, staring at the closed door, before he slowly turned his stare back towards Amelia. “Are you OK?” he asked.

Amelia was quiet for a beat, thinking about the question, before she slowly nodded her head. “I am” she confirmed “I needed to say it, and he needed to hear it. Even if you weren’t in the picture, Fernando wouldn’t be an option. He couldn’t be. I couldn’t do that to myself” she added.

Lionel’s lips quirked upwards slightly into a reluctant smile. “I’m in the picture?” he asked.

Amelia cleared her throat, trying, and failing, to distract Lionel from the pink on her cheeks. “I...I don’t know” she spluttered “I mean, I don’t really know what I would say about us. I just...I wanted to be clear that I have no intention of going back to Nando. It’s important to me that you know that, even if I would have liked you to have not seen what you just did. I don’t know if you have thought it, or if it worries you at all, but I wanted you to know, which you do now, so I am just going to stop talking” she babbled, her cheeks growing redder and redder.

The reluctant smile on Lionel’s face widened, growing warmer and tender, something which made Amelia smile back at him gently. With an amused shake of his head, Lionel stepped in close and pressed his lips to her forehead, causing Amelia to lean into him, comforted by his touch. Wrapping an arm around her, Lionel kept Amelia close, his lips moving to her temple before he exhaled a quiet sigh of relief.

He was wary. He had seen that Amelia was still struggling, even if she did try and hide it from him at times, and he knew it meant that they had to be careful, but he hadn’t realised how much he needed to hear her say that she had no intention of going back to Fernando until she had said it and he had seen that she had meant it. It was a thought that lingered. He had seen enough of Fernando and Amelia together to know how she had felt about him, and he couldn’t dismiss that there was a part of her that could have possibly still felt that way about the other man, but when she had said that Fernando was no longer an option, he had seen that she meant it and it relieved him more than he wanted to admit. He didn’t know what they were, or what they could be, but he knew that now they had started something, he was reluctant to let it go.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)