All This Time

06: More Than I’d Like

Shifting his grip on the bag he held in his hand, Lionel leant back against the elevator wall, his other hand rubbing over his face nervously. He didn’t want to be nervous. Each time he had sent a text to Amelia, he had reminded himself that the ice had been broken between them again, and that they’d already decided that, for the time being, they were avoiding talking about the things that remained unsaid between them, but whilst he was trying to remain positive, he couldn’t shake the notion that it wasn’t sustainable. He wanted it to be. As strange as things were between the two of them, he wanted to stay around her, to try and help her get over what had happened between her and Fernando, but he worried that she wouldn’t let him. They could only keep things superficial for so long and Lionel worried that if, or when, he tried to press her for a little more, Amelia would push him away.

Hearing the lift doors slide open, he dropped his hand away from his face before he walked out, quickly making his way towards Amelia’s office. When he reached the door, he knocked on it a couple of times and waited for Amelia to call out before he pushed it open.

Amelia looked up from something on her desk, greeting him with a shy smile. “Hi” she said.

Lionel’s smile was just as uncertain as he moved into the room, closing the door behind himself. “Hi” he mimicked “I’m early, aren’t I?” he asked.

“Only a few minutes” Amelia replied “But it’s fine. I am just catching up with some paper work” she added.

Lionel, who’d moved towards the chair on the other side of her desk, stopped and looked at her before he sat down. “Are you sure?” he asked.

Amelia rolled her eyes amusedly, something which caused Lionel to breathe out a nervous laugh as he sat down. Leaning forwards, he placed the bag he held onto the desk between them, his cheeks starting to turn a soft shade of pink. “I thought this would be easier” he said “You said you had a meeting almost immediately after lunch, so I thought...” he trailed off when he caught Amelia staring at him, a genuine grin on her face.

Closing his eyes, he let out another nervous laugh before he looked back over at her, taking a second to marvel at the smile on her face. He couldn’t express how much he had missed seeing it. “It’s just a sandwich” he said “There’s a bottle of water in there, too, and I bought cookies. We can go out if you’d prefer to” he added.

Amelia shook her head, already moving to pull the contents of the bag out.

Lionel watched her, informing her which sandwich was his and which was hers, before he leant back in his chair. Unwrapping his own sandwich, he sneaked another couple of looks at her, something which made Amelia shake her head, trying, and failing, to hide her smile. “You’re not planning on just sitting there and staring at me, are you?” she asked.

Lionel shook his head, swallowing a mouthful of food. “How was your weekend?” he asked. It was a safe question, and he could tell that Amelia appreciated it. She had visibly relaxed when the question had fallen out of his mouth.

“It was fine” Amelia replied “It was Molly’s turn to keep me occupied on Saturday, so we went out and did some shopping for the new baby before we went back to hers. I fell asleep halfway through Una’s film and woke up to her blowing bubbles into my face” she added.

Lionel didn’t try to stop himself from laughing.

“Molly found it funny, too” Amelia quipped “I might have...screamed a little” she added.

Lionel shook his head, his laughter slowing. Taking another bite of his sandwich, he thought over what she had said before he frowned to himself. “Molly’s turn?” he asked.

Amelia’s eyes dropped to the desk, the laughter on her face disappearing. “She, my mother and Thea take it in turns to come over and get me out of the house most weekends” she admitted “They worry that if they don’t, then I will just sit at home and...think” she added hesitantly.

“Are they right?” Lionel asked.

Amelia hesitated before she reluctantly sighed. “Maybe more right than I would like them to be” she mumbled.

Lionel opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, debating how to follow up, before he shook his head. “Do they need a weekend off?” he asked.

Amelia tilted her head. “Are you offering to take over babysitting me?” she quipped, smiling in relief that he hadn’t asked a question that would have been harder for her to answer.

“I wouldn’t say that” Lionel said “But maybe I have a free Sunday that I’d like to spend with a friend” he added with a slightly shy smile.

Amelia’s already slightly pink cheeks grew redder as she ducked her head. “I...I am sure that they’d appreciate the break” she said “They’d probably love a weekend that doesn’t revolve around me. I’ll admit, I’ve not been the best person to be around in the last few months” she added.

Lionel scoffed playfully. “I’m sure that’s not true” he said.

Amelia offered him a good-natured roll of her eyes, something which made Lionel grin before he moved to swipe his bottle off of the desk. Taking a sip, he watched Amelia smile to herself slightly before he heard the door to her office swing open. Turning in his seat, he felt his eyes widen as they landed on Fernando.

Amelia’s stare snapped up to the other man and any trace of warmth and happiness on her face disappeared. Leaning forwards, she slowly put her sandwich down before she glanced at Lionel, her expression softening ever so slightly in apology. “Leo, can you go, please?” she asked quietly.

Lionel wanted to object. He could see that Amelia didn’t want him there, but the look on her face convinced him not to. It was her problem and she didn’t want him to get put in the middle of it. Reluctantly, he stood from his seat, but before he left, he leant over, feigning kissing her cheek. “If you need anything” he murmured lowly into her ear.

Amelia ghosted her lips over his cheek, offering him a faint grateful smile, before he pulled away, stepping past Fernando who watched every step he took until the door closed after him.

Amelia let the door close before she looked back at her ex-husband. “What do you want, Nando?” she asked.

Fernando turned to look at her. “What was that?” he asked.

Amelia closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. She could already feel that the conversation that lied ahead of her was going to be a long one.