All This Time

37: My Worried Mother

“Do your family know that I am coming?”

Amelia, who was checking her reflection in the wing mirror of Lionel’s car, stilled slightly at the question before she lifted her head, offering him a slightly bashful smile over the car’s roof. It wasn’t an easy subject to broach. With her mother being wary of her new relationship, part of Amelia had been scared that if she had told the older woman in advance, then Felicity would try and talk her out of it, and she knew that her mother probably would have succeeded, something which Amelia didn’t want. She was nervous. It didn’t matter that her family had already met Lionel, or that everyone on the other side of the door knew that her marriage to Fernando was long over, but despite her anxiety, she wanted to do it, and she didn’t want to let her mother’s doubts convince her to back out. She was happy. After months of dwelling and trying to recover from what had happened with Fernando, she was cautiously optimistic about her relationship with Lionel, and she wanted other people to see it. She wanted them to see what she had slowly started to realise, that they were good for one another.

“Thea does” Amelia answered “But I...I might have kept it a surprise for my mother” she added.

Lionel lifted an eyebrow. “A surprise?” he asked.

Amelia shifted her feet for a moment before she let out a soft sigh, nervously tucking her hair behind her ear. “There’s something I probably ought to have mentioned sooner” she said carefully “After my mother caught us together, I went to breakfast with her and Stefan and she...she had some concerns that she wanted to express. It’s nothing that you and I haven’t already talked about, but I...I think you ought to know that she might not welcome you with open arms. It’s not because she doesn’t like you, she’s just...”

“Your mother” Lionel finished for her.

Amelia's lips quirked up into another shy smile as she offered him a single nod. “My worried mother” she corrected gently.

Lionel was quiet for a moment, long enough that Amelia was convinced that he was going to change his mind about following her towards the front door, before he slowly nodded his head, the faintest hint of a smile pulling at the corner of his lips. “I was expecting something like that” he said.

“You were?” Amelia asked.

“Your mother has just watched you go through something really difficult” Lionel replied “She’s seen how hard it’s been on you, and she’s going to want to protect you as best she can. How can I be surprised by that?” he prodded as he held his hand out.

Amelia hesitated for a split second before she walked towards him, slipping her hand into his, allowing him to lead her towards the front door. “You won’t take it personally if she’s mean, then?” she chirped, half-teasing.

Lionel let out a soft laugh, but didn’t hesitate to shake his head. He was braced for it. Amelia and Felicity were incredibly close, and after everything that had happened with Fernando, it was inevitable that Amelia's mother was going to be protective of her, but he knew better than to take it personally. It wasn’t him that Felicity was wary of. They had known each other for a long time, and had always gotten on well, but he knew that she would be scared of seeing Amelia hurt again. After seeing the way that the end of her marriage had hurt Amelia, he didn’t blame Felicity for being slightly worried that she was rushing into something else, but it didn’t mean that he was going to back out. He cared about Amelia, they had something good together, and he was confident that, eventually, Felicity would see that there wasn’t anything to be worried about.

“I think I will be OK” Lionel mused.

Amelia grinned up at him, but Lionel could see the nerves beneath her smile, something which caused him to dip forwards, stealing a quick kiss before he pressed his hand against the doorbell, not affording Amelia another moment to change her mind.

“I will be right back, OK?”

Lionel, who’d been listening to Henri tell a story about one of the first dates he’d taken Felicity on, turned his head to glance down at Amelia who was happily tucked into his side, offering her a slightly confused frown. “Hm?” he posed.

“I need to go and speak to Thea” Amelia clarified “We’re due to give a speech in a little while and we want to run through it one last time before we do. Will you be OK by yourself for a little while?” she asked, sparing a not-so-subtle glance at Henri.

She had been trying to avoid it. After the wide-eyed expressions that both her mother and Henri had given her when she had told her that she had bought Lionel with her, she had been careful to avoid leaving him alone with the two of them, but she knew that she couldn’t keep it up all night, even if she was worried about what they would say in her absence. She knew that, eventually, she had to trust that her parents wouldn’t say anything too bad, and if they did, she had to trust Lionel when he said he was ready for it.

Henri’s lips quirked upwards amusedly. “Don’t worry” he quipped “We’re not about to escort him off the premises” he added.

Amelia's cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink as she looked over at her stepfather. “I know that” she murmured.

“He’ll be fine, Amelia” Henri said gently “Promise” he added.

Amelia looked between Henri and Lionel a couple of times, looking for reassurances in their expressions, before she pushed out of her seat, placing a quick kiss against Lionel’s cheek before she walked away. After Amelia had disappeared, Henri and Lionel sat in silence for a couple of beats before the Argentine shook his head. “Henri...”

“We’re just worried about her” Henri interrupted “She’s our daughter, can you blame us?” he added, a good-natured smile on his face.

Lionel’s expression softened before he shook his head. “No” he mused.

“We knew there would be someone else eventually” Henri said “And the last we want to do is judge you by the standards of...of him, but we’re not going to stop worrying about her. You know what he did, you know how it hurt her, so surely you can understand me and her mother being a little...unsure of the two of you, right?” he asked

Lionel nodded his head gently. “Of course” he confirmed “All I ask is that you don’t compare the two of us. I am not Fernando, Henri” he added.

“No, you’re not” Henri agreed “And we will do our best to remember it. Just...just be patient with Amelia, OK? She is worth it” he added.

Lionel flashed him a small, bashful smile, something which made Henri smile back at him before he climbed to his feet, tilting his head towards the kitchen. “Come and have a drink with me?” he prodded “I’d like to get to know Amelia’s boyfriend a little better” he added, playfully stressing the word ‘boyfriend’.

Lionel let out a slightly surprised laugh, not able to hide the way his smile grew a little wider. “Is that how she introduced me?” he asked.

Henri nodded enthusiastically. “She was very specific about it” he quipped.

Lionel’s cheeks flushed a faint shade of pink, something which made Henri’s smile soften a little. As careful as he wanted Amelia to be, part of him wanted to see her as happy as she had looked tucked into Lionel’s side for a long time to come.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)