All This Time

31: Something

“I think we’ve got most of the big details figured out. We just need a hand with setup. Can we count on you?”

Amelia, who was quietly pushing the last of her food around her plate, let out a surprised squeak when her mother kicked her underneath the table, drawing her attention to Henri who was staring at her, a hopeful smile on his face. She hadn’t been listening. Since she had seen the concerned look on her mother’s face after she had caught her and Lionel together, the only thing that Amelia had been able to think about was what she was going to say when Felicity inevitably asked what was happening between them, and it meant that she had spent most of the morning staring down at the table, waiting for the questions to start. She knew that they would. Despite the smile that had initially brightened her mother’s face, the expression that had followed it was one Amelia had seen a lot since things between her and Fernando had gone wrong, and she knew that it meant that Felicity wouldn’t just let what she had seen go without comment. Felicity was her mother, and she was going to worry.

“Sorry?” Amelia squeaked.

Henri shook his head, waving his hand to dismiss Amelia’s apology. “I was just saying that we could use a hand setting up for the party next week” he repeated “Can we count on you to help? I know that anniversary parties might be a little...weird for you right now” he added, flashing Amelia an apologetic smile.

Amelia shifted a little in her seat before she shook her head, flashing Henri the best smile she could muster. “It’s fine” she mused “And I would be happy to help. You know that. Just tell me what you need doing, and I will do it” she added.

“It’ll be decorating mostly” Henri mused, sipping on his coffee “Your mother wants to go all out seeing as we’re celebrating twenty years” he added, rolling his eyes playfully.

Felicity scoffed, but didn’t say anything, allowing a moment of quiet to settle over the table before Felicity cleared her throat, her expression growing slightly cautious as she looked at her daughter. “Will you be bringing Lionel?” she asked tentatively.

Amelia, who was sipping on her mug of coffee, kept it in front of her face for a moment before she slowly lowered it down to the table, a quiet sigh falling out of her mouth. “I...I hadn’t planned on asking him” she admitted “It’s a pretty big statement to bring him to your anniversary party, and I don’t think...I know we’re not ready to start making big statements” she explained.

“Is it some kind of friends with benefits thing?” Felicity asked.

Henri coughed on his drink before he pushed himself to his feet, excusing himself hastily with a line about needing to make a phone call

Amelia was quick to shake her head, her cheeks burning. “No” she insisted “It very definitely isn’t that” she added.

“Then what is it?” Felicity asked.

Amelia was quiet for a moment, thinking over the question, before she lifted her shoulders in a reluctant shrug. She knew that that wasn’t what Felicity wanted to hear, but it was the best Amelia could offer. She knew that they were something. They had both agreed that they were, but that was as far as the conversation had gone, and Amelia was in no hurry to push it any further. She liked what they were doing. It didn’t feel pressured, or strange, and for a while, she was content to just leave it be. “It’s something” she said.

Felicity frowned slightly. “Something?” she pressed.

“Something” Amelia confirmed “We’ve not really defined what it is yet, but it’s something. We’re trying to figure it out, but we’re not rushing anything” she added.

Felicity nodded her head slowly, but the frown on her face didn’t disappear, something which made Amelia sigh as she fiddled with the napkin in her lap. “Mama...”

“I’m your mother, Amelia” Felicity interrupted, cutting off what she was sure would be Amelia insisting that she didn’t need to worry about her “I’m always going to worry about you, and I think this is something to worry about, even if you don’t. I would have almost been relieved if you had told me that it was just sex. That you were trying to get Fernando out of your system, and that Lionel knew what he was letting himself in for. I wouldn’t have liked it, but I would have understood, but this is...it’s a huge risk, Amelia, and I don’t know that it’s one you’re really ready to be taking” she explained, her tone tentative.

She knew Amelia wouldn’t like hearing it, but Felicity still wanted to say it, even if she was almost certain that it’d only serve to make Amelia angry. It was a warning that Amelia needed to hear. She knew that she was tired of dwelling on Fernando. After only a few weeks, Amelia had started to get irked with people walking on eggshells around her, or people hedging before they brought Fernando’s name up in conversation, but it didn’t mean that she was over what had happened. The way that she had reacted to Fernando when he had appeared at her birthday was all the proof that Felicity needed, and it meant that Felicity was worried. She was worried that Amelia was running into something she wasn’t ready for, that she wasn’t sure enough of her feelings for Fernando, or for Lionel, to be ready to start something with the Argentine, and she worried that, when Amelia realised it, the only person to get hurt would be Lionel who, for as long as Felicity had known him, had looked at Amelia like she the most wonderful thing he’d ever seen.

“I know what I am doing” Amelia protested softly “I wouldn’t have started it if I didn’t, mama. I wouldn’t do that to him” she insisted.

“I know you wouldn’t do it on purpose” Felicity said “But what you’ve just gone through, it was huge, Amelia, and no one would blame you for still feeling it. I just...I worry that you’re going to fool yourself into thinking that you’ve got bigger feelings for Lionel than you do, and that’s not going to do any good for either of you. I’ve seen the way he looks at you, baby” she cooed as she gently reached for Amelia's hand, squeezing it lightly.

Amelia stared down at their hand for a long moment, contemplating insisting that she knew what she was doing, but she couldn’t bring herself to, not when she had had the same worries about things with Lionel that her mother had. Exhaling a quiet sigh, she deflated in her seat slightly before she looked up at her mother, her eyes soft and sad. “I do have feelings for him” she said softly.

Felicity squeezed her hand. “No one said you didn’t” she replied.

“I like us, too” Amelia continued “He’s so...so good, mama. He’s comforting, and supportive, and he makes me smile, and I...I can’t stop worrying that I am going to do something awful to him and then I am going to lose him again, and I don’t want that, but I know that just being friends is off the table, too. I don’t know what to do with him” she babbled nervously.

Felicity didn’t know what to say, so instead, she just got to her feet and moved to the empty seat at Amelia's side, wrapping her daughter in a hug that Amelia fell into without complaint. “He’s got big feelings for me” she murmured “I just...I don’t know if mine are as big right now. I know I have them. I adore him, but I just...” she trailed off with a quiet sigh that made Felicity lean down, kissing the top of her head as she murmured reassurances into her hair.