All This Time

39: Here You Are

“Do you have a curfew?” Amelia prodded from her position in the middle of Molly’s bed, her eyes leaving the screen of her phone briefly to check how close Molly was to being ready, before they moved back, brightening at the sight of a new text from Lionel. It hadn’t been her idea. After a relatively tough week at work, and with Lionel preparing for a match the following day, she had planned on spending her Friday night curled up in front of the television, possibly with a glass of wine or two, but Molly’s call had changed her plans. Instead, the two of them, and Thea who Molly had called before she had called Amelia, were heading out to a bar.

She knew why Molly had been so insistent that they go out. It was Fernando’s birthday, a day that, for the past few years, Amelia had counted down to, and Amelia knew that Molly was worried that she might be tempted to reach out to him, so she had decided to try and distract her, something Amelia was partially grateful for, and partially frustrated by. She knew that everyone around her meant well. They were trying to help, to make sure that she felt supported and comforted, but sometimes she wished they would trust her a little more.

She was aware of what Fernando had done, of how he’d hurt her and how nothing good would come from the two of them being around one another again, and she sometimes wished that those around her could see it, too. Their marriage was over, and Amelia, even in her worst moments, hadn’t tried to change it.

Molly, who was running a brush through her hair, scoffed. “A curfew?” she prodded.

“A time that you need to be home by” Amelia clarified with an amused shake of her head “Do you need to be back to feed Maya or something?” she asked.

“I’ve already made up a couple of bottles so that Stefan can handle it” Molly replied “But, I don’t expect that we’re going to be out that late. I was thinking we could have a couple of drinks, dance for a bit, and then call it a night. It’s just been a while since we had a proper girls’ night out, and seeing as you were free, and Thea too, I thought it’d be fun” she added, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly despite the fact that her voice had grown slightly squeaky, a tell that she wasn’t telling the whole truth.

Amelia heard the squeak in her voice, but didn’t comment on it. Instead, she offered Molly a small smile and a nod. “You’re right” she quipped “It has been too long” she said.

Molly’s slightly nervous expression faded, being replaced by a gentle smile before she crouched down, pulling on her shoes. “It’s going to be fun” she mused “We’ve not had the chance to talk about you and Leo, yet” she added, turning to offer Amelia a smirk over her shoulder.

Amelia's cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she shook her head, focussing on fiddling with the bracelet on her arm. “Is that something we have to do?” she asked.

Molly scoffed out a laugh. “What do you think?” she prodded.

Amelia let out a playful groan, something which made Molly giggle before she collected her bag. “Ready?” she prodded.

Amelia's answering smile was as warm and as happy as it had been in a very long time. “Yeah” she quipped “I am ready” she added.

“Take your heels off before you try and walk up the stairs” Thea chirped as she pushed the taxi door open “I am not explaining to mama that you fell down the stairs because you can’t handle tequila” she added, letting out a tipsy giggle.

Amelia, who was shuffling out of the taxi, rolled her eyes as she set foot on the pavement, something that only made Thea, and Molly, giggle a little more. Leaning back through the door, she pressed a kiss to both Molly and Thea’s cheeks before she pushed the door closed, allowing her to turn and totter towards the apartment building.

Once she was inside the building, she leant down and slipped her heels off of her feet before she padded towards her apartment, her ears still ringing from the music she had left behind in the club that Thea had insisted that they go to. It hadn’t been the night Molly had planned, but it didn’t mean that it hadn’t been good. They had had fun. The three of them had talked, and danced, and relaxed, and Amelia was glad that she had gone, even if there was still a tiny part of her that was irked that Molly had felt as though she needed distracting from the fact that it was Fernando’s birthday. The night they’d had had made up for it.

Dangling her shoes off of her fingers, Amelia found her keys in her bag before she lifted her head, her forehead furrowing at the sight of the man who was sat in front of her front door. “Nando?” she pressed.

Fernando’s head, which had been leant against his knees, lifted slowly, his eyes trailing up her body until they reached her face, causing a soft, slightly goofy smile to brighten his features. “Baby” he cooed “Hi” he added.

For a moment, Amelia didn’t know what to do. She just stared at him, until Fernando, slowly and slightly clumsily, stood up, shuffling out of the way of the door. “I...I know I shouldn’t be here” he murmured, leaning against the wall next to the door “I’ve been drinking” he added.

Amelia turned her keys over in her hands. “Your brothers?” she asked.

“Work friends” Fernando corrected “I’m travelling up to see my parents in the morning, I suspect my brothers will be there, too” he added.

“Why are you here?” Amelia asked after a moment of quiet.

Fernando turned, bumping his forehead against the wall gently, before he blew out a soft sigh. “It’s what I wanted for my birthday” he muttered “To see you. I thought you’d be home, and that you’d slam the door in my face, but at least I’d have seen you. It’s stupid, and unfair, I know, but I just...It’s what I wanted, and I got it. Here you are, looking sensational” he added, turning back to look at her, an adoring smile on his face.

Amelia ducked her head, trying, and failing, to hide her pink cheeks. “Girls’ night with Molly and Thea” she murmured.

Fernando nodded his head, the tips of his fingers brushing against the side of her hand. “You look amazing” he gushed “Though, I always think you do. Fuck, I have missed seeing you” he added.

Amelia let his fingers brush the inside of her wrist before she moved away, stepping closer to the door. With a little shake in her hand, she slipped the key in the lock before she turned back, only to find her polite goodnight smothered in the soft kiss that Fernando had leant in to place on her lips. For a second too long, she let it happen, lost in it’s familiarity, in all of the memories that she had that were associated with his kiss, before the thought of Lionel popped in her head, causing her to jerk back. Without another word, she pushed the door open, walked inside and slammed it behind herself before she slid down it, burying her face in her hands as she heard Fernando’s voice on the other side, calling out to her to let him follow her inside.