All This Time

34: She Definitely Is

“I am so sorry that I am late”

Lionel, who’d been quietly surveying the menu in front of him, lifted his head to watch as Amelia slipped into the seat opposite him, an apologetic smile on her face. He wasn’t surprised that she was late. The plans that they had made to get together for dinner had been made at the last minute, and accompanied with a warning from Amelia that there was a strong chance that that day’s last meeting would overrun, but Lionel hadn’t minded waiting. He was just glad that Amelia still seemed as eager as ever to spend time with him. He had been worried. After Felicity had caught the two of them together, he had been sure that Amelia would be encouraged to be more cautious, to put more space between the two of them to avoid either one of them getting hurt, but if Felicity had said anything, Amelia had let it show in the days that had followed her breakfast with her mother. She had been a little quiet at times, a little more thoughtful than usual, but she hadn’t pulled away like Lionel had expected her to. If anything, she seemed slightly more sure of things between the two of them.

Leaning out of his seat slightly, Lionel pressed a soft kiss to her cheek before he sat back, offering her a small smile. “You said you could be” he quipped “So it’s OK. You’re here now” he added.

Amelia offered him a small smile before she shrugged her coat off, draping it over the back of her chair. With slightly pink cheeks, she picked up her menu and stared at it for a moment before she glanced up, catching Lionel’s eye. Letting out a slightly huffed laugh, she watched a small amused smile brighten his features before she shook her head. “Why couldn’t you make our lunch date?” she prodded, her voice light and playful.

Lionel let out a surprised laugh. “I didn’t realise it was on your schedule” he quipped “But I had a last minute meeting appear on my schedule, and I couldn’t exactly get out of it, so I thought that this was a good compromise. You didn’t sound too upset about it when I called you” he added teasingly.

Amelia shrugged, trying, and failing, to hide the smile that itched to grow across her face. “I like our lunches in my office” she mused “But I suppose this will do” she added.

Lionel offered her a slightly incredulous look before he shook his head, laughing quietly to himself. For a few moments they were both quiet, only speaking up when their waitress appeared at their table to take their orders, but when the other woman had departed, Lionel cleared his throat softly, drawing Amelia's attention over towards him. “I didn’t take you away from anything tonight, did I?” he asked.

Amelia shook her head, taking a sip from her glass of water. “I don’t usually have a lot of plans during the week” she mused “Any day this week would have been fine, except for Saturday night. All day Saturday, actually” she added.

“What’s Saturday?” Lionel asked.

“My mother and Henri are throwing an anniversary party” Amelia replied “They’ve been married for twenty years, and they’ve roped me and Thea into helping them set everything up, which probably means about an hour of decorating, and a lot more time with my mother cooing over her photo albums” she added.

Lionel’s warm expression clouded over, something which caused Amelia to shake her head slightly, a soft sigh falling out of her mouth. She knew what he was thinking. The way that his face had changed was similar to the way Henri’s face changed whenever he broached the subject of the anniversary party, and whilst Amelia knew it was inevitable that the people would cared about her were worried, she wished she could convince them that she could handle it.

There were a lot of things about her marriage ending that still stung. There were some days that she barely thought about it, and others where it was stuck on her mind, but just because things had gone wrong for her didn’t mean that she wasn’t capable of being happy for those around her, no one more so than her mother and stepfather. She adored Henri. He had appeared in her life in the aftermath of her father’s death, and he had been a calm and reassuring presence that both she and her mother had needed, and she was thrilled that they were still so happy together, even if it was tinged with a little sadness on her part. She was happy that her mother was happy.

“I am going to be fine, Leo” Amelia said softly “Maybe a fraction sadder than I’d like to be, but fine” she added.

Lionel’s eyes searched her face for a moment, checking for any sign that she was just putting on a brave face, before he nodded his head. “They’ve been married for twenty years?” he asked.

Amelia nodded, smiling a little in relief at the question. She didn’t want to dwell on the subject of her feeling uncomfortable in the face of other people’s happiness. “My mother met him six months after my father passed away” she confirmed “They were friends for a year or so, but something changed and when they found out that my mother was pregnant with Thea, they decided to get married. It was really cute, actually. Henri asked me for my blessing before he proposed to her, and when he did it, he let me help. I don’t know if I was actually any help, I was nine, but she said yes and never looked back, so it clearly worked” she added with a playful shrug of her shoulders.

Lionel couldn’t stop himself from smiling, marvelling at the grin that brightened Amelia's features. “Are there pictures?” he prodded.

“A lot of pictures” Amelia confirmed with a small smile.

“Maybe someday I’ll get to see them” Lionel chirped “Your mother definitely seems like the kind of mother to break out the baby pictures to embarrass you in front of your new partner” he added.

Amelia tried, but failed to stop her mind from drifting back to the image of Fernando sitting in her mother’s living room, giggling over the plethora of pictures that had been dumped in his lap by an overexcited Felicity, so when she quirked a small smile, it was more pained than she would have liked it to be. “She definitely is that kind of mother” she mused.

Lionel’s eyebrow lifted slightly, detecting something off in Amelia’s tone, but he didn’t push it, allowing a brief moment of awkward silence to settle over them briefly which was only broken when someone called Amelia's name, causing her to lift her head, her eyes widening at the sight of the couple that were moving towards her. Blinking a couple of times, she tried to push the wave of dread down inside of her before she stood up, allowing the petite brunette to wrap her arms around her, squeezing her tight.

Lionel’s head tilted to one side, a slight frown on his lips, something which was noticed by the tall man who loomed over the table. “Sorry” he quipped “I know we’re interrupting, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Amelia. I’m Matthias, and this is my wife, Helena. I’m...I’m Fernando’s brother” he added, his expression almost apologetic as his stare drifted back to Amelia whose own eyes had been quick to drop to the table ahead of her, feeling the discomfort creep in and hang over her.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)