All This Time

41: If That’s What You Want

Pulling the lid of her laptop down, Amelia deposited it onto the coffee table before she leant back into the couch, her eyes, not for the first time, drifting towards the clock that ticked on the wall opposite her. She had tried to avoid staring at it. It wasn’t going to do anything to soothe the anxiety in the pit of her stomach, nor was it going to make the time between then and the moment that Lionel appeared at her door for their prearranged dinner date pass any quicker, but she hadn’t been able to help it.

It was all she could think about. After she had made the decision to tell him what had happened between her and Fernando, she had spent all of her time imagining the way it would work out, and each scenario she had thought of ended with the two of them parting ways. Sometimes she thought it could be amicable, that Lionel could think that they had just moved too quickly and jumped into their relationship before Amelia had really been ready for it, but mostly she had pictured the hurt on his face that she was sure would be inevitable when the admission fell out of her mouth.

She wasn’t going to lie to him. Almost as soon as Fernando had left her apartment, she had resolved that she would answer every question Lionel threw at her with the most truthful answer she could, and it meant that, even if he offered her an out, Amelia wasn’t going to take it. She wanted him to know what had been going through her head, if only because when she had confronted Fernando about Gianna, all she had got in return was excuses. It would have been easy. She could have blamed the tequila that she and Molly and Thea had drunk on their night out. She could have said that Fernando had surprised her, and that she had been too slow in coming to her senses, but it wasn’t what had happened, and it wasn’t what she was going to say. If there was any scenario in which they didn’t break up, it wasn’t going to be helped by half truths or excuses.

Pulling her stare away from the clock, Amelia smoothed out the material of her jumper she wore, tugging free a loose thread before someone knocked on the door. For a second, she just stared at it, but when another knock came, she finally willed herself up to her feet. Padding towards the door, she placed her hand on it before she slowly tugged it open to Lionel who stood on the other side. Forcing herself to smile, she opened the door completely, allowing Lionel to step inside before he stepped towards her, greeting her with a soft kiss. Amelia lingered in the contact, almost convinced that it would be the last time it happened, before Lionel pulled away. With a grin, he ambled to the kitchen, setting the bag he’d bought with him on the counter.

Amelia listened to him talk, but she didn’t say anything. Instead, she just watched him for a few moments before she shook her head. “I need to tell you something” she said softly.

Lionel, who’d been reaching up for a plate, stilled at the tone of her voice before he lowered his arm, turning to face her. “Are you OK?” he asked.

Amelia twisted her fingers in the hem of her jumper for a moment, buying herself a moment of thinking time, before she exhaled a shaky sigh. “I will tell you anything that you want to know” she said “I don’t even know if you’re going to want to ask questions. You might just want to slam the door in my face and be done with it, and I would get that, too. I just...I don’t why I said that first. I am just stalling” she added.

Lionel took a step forwards, something Amelia mirrored with a step backwards and a rueful shake of her head. She already knew that she wasn’t strong enough to feel his hand slip out of hers, or his arms fall away from her waist once the words were out of her mouth.

Lionel’s forehead creased, both in concern and confusion. “Amelia, what’s happening?” he asked.

Amelia drew in a deep breath before she forced the words out of her mouth. “I kissed Fernando” she announced “He was here the other night. I had gone out with Molly and Thea, and when I got home, he was waiting outside. We had a brief conversation, and then he...he kissed me” she added.

“He kissed you?” Lionel asked.

“I kissed him back” Amelia answered, knowing the question that was really being asked “For a second, but I did” she added.

For a long moment, neither of them spoke. Lionel stared at the floor, his forehead creased as he tried to wrap his head around what Amelia was saying, and Amelia just watched him, waiting for the moment that he looked up and reacted. It took a while, but eventually, Lionel lifted his head and looked over at her. “Why?” he asked.

“Why did I kiss him back?” Amelia asked.

Lionel shook his head, trying, and failing, to mask the slight flinch in his expression. “He’s Fernando” he said “Even if I did believe that you’re as over him as you say you are, kissing him was something you loved once. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t still a part of you, no matter how small, that misses it. I could understand why you’d kiss him back. I don’t understand why you’re telling me” he added.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Amelia pressed.

“You didn’t have to” Lionel countered “It was just between you and Fernando. No one else saw it. No one else would have told me” he added.

“It happened” Amelia insisted “And I don’t care who else could have told you, I wanted to. It was a mistake, but it happened, and I am not going to lie to you about it. I don’t want to keep secrets from you. I have been on the other side of it, and even if it is only something small, it’d do more damage if I hid it, and I can’t do that to you. I wanted to be up front with you because that’s what you deserve. You deserve someone who’s going to be honest, and probably someone who wouldn’t kiss her ex-husband, but definitely someone who’d not hide it from you” she added.

Lionel was quiet for a few long moments before he slowly nodded his head. “Thank you for being honest” he said.

Amelia just shifted her feet, knowing that the other shoe was about to drop.

“I don’t want to fight” Lionel murmured “So I...I am going to go, but I just want a little time to get my head around it, OK? This isn’t me saying that we’re over” he added.

“It can be” Amelia said “If that’s what you want” she added.

Despite himself, and the situation, the corner of Lionel’s mouth quirked upwards slightly. “I have waited for a long time for this” he mused “I don’t think I am prepared to let it go so easily. I just need...”

“Time” Amelia finished for him with a rueful grin “You got it. Take all the time you need. I’ll still be here” she added.

Lionel took a pace towards the door before he changed his course, stepping towards Amelia before he cupped the back of her head, tipping it forwards so that he could leave a soft kiss on her forehead before he walked out of the door.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)