All This Time

07: How Could We Not Be?

“What are you doing here, Fernando?” Amelia asked after a long silence, her stare, reluctantly, moving back towards the man who stood across the office. He wasn’t looking at her. From the moment that Lionel had left the room, Fernando’s stare had been moving back and forth between the closed door and seat the Lionel had occupied, and Amelia wanted his attention on her. He had shown up for a reason, and she wanted to know what it was, not to talk about why she and Lionel had been having lunch together. It had nothing to do with Fernando. Even if it had been something more than what it was, it had nothing to do with her ex-husband, and she didn’t want to entertain the idea of discussing it with him. He didn’t need to know what was going on in her life any more.

Fernando, who’d been staring at the closed door, looked back over at her. “I tried to call you” he said.

“And when I didn’t answer, you thought you’d come to my office?” Amelia retorted incredulously.

Fernando moved towards her desk, plopping down into the seat that Lionel had vacated. “I’m not here to cause trouble” he said “I found some stuff you left behind and I thought you’d want it. There are things I have that I know are important to you. I’d have told you that if you just picked up the phone” he added.

Amelia shook her head, sinking back into her own chair. She wanted to yell at him, to insist that he couldn’t just call or walk into her office like he had done before, but she didn’t. She knew from experience that it wouldn’t make any difference. Fernando seemed to think that things between them would just revert to what they had been. If he gave her enough space and enough time, he seemed to think that they could be what they’d been before, and for a little while, Amelia had thought the same thing, but she didn’t any more. The pain he’d caused her wasn’t fading and she was pretty certain it’d always be strong enough to prevent her from falling for him again.

Exhaling a sigh, she rubbed at her forehead before she looked at him again. “What stuff?” she asked.

Fernando’s expression brightened slightly. “Your photo albums” he said “The ones with the pictures of your papa in them. There’s still clothes, too. I’ve got boxes. They’re downstairs, in the back of my car. It’s why I came now. You’re at lunch, right?” he added.

Amelia nodded. “I’ll come down with you” she said as she stood up, retrieving her building pass and car keys.

Fernando followed her out of the room, keeping quiet until they stepped into the elevator. “Was that Leo?” he asked.

Amelia kept her stare fixed firmly on the closed elevator doors. “It was” she confirmed.

“I didn’t know that you two had started talking again” Fernando said.

“It’s a recent thing” Amelia muttered.

“Recent?” Fernando asked.

Amelia gritted her teeth, determined not to let the tone of his voice get to her. She knew what he was insinuating and wasn’t prepared to rise to the bait. It wasn’t true. She and Lionel had run into one another accidentally, and it was merely a coincidence that it lined up with the fact that her marriage was recently over, but she had little intention of justifying it to Fernando. It had nothing to do with him. “I am not talking about this with you, Nando” she said before the doors slid open, allowing her to stride through the foyer.

Fernando kept pace with her, following her out towards his car. Once they reached it, he unlocked it and opened the back door, pulling out the plastic box from inside. “There’s another one in the back” he said “Take this one, and I will bring the other one over” he added.

Amelia nodded her head wordlessly before she took the box out of his hands. Stepping away, she moved to find her car before she set the box down on the ground, allowing her to pull her keys out of her trouser pocket.

“You’re not wearing your rings any more”

Amelia startled when she felt Fernando’s fingers curve around her wrist, gently pulling her hand into his line of sight. With a tired sigh, she pulled away, moving to retrieve the box she had left on the floor. “We’re not married any more” she mumbled.

Fernando watched her for a moment before he shook his head. “Amelia” he said softly.

“Nando...”

“I just want to talk to you” Fernando interrupted “Can I do that?” he pressed.

Amelia shook her head, pushing the car door closed. “I don’t have time for this” she said.

“Are you really just going to turn your back on us?” Fernando called as she walked past him “We’ve had three good years, Amelia. Is that something you really just want to walk away from?” he added.

Amelia turned to look at him. “Is that really what you think this is?” she snapped “Do you really think that I am the reason that our marriage is over?” she added.

“Amelia...”

“You had an affair, Fernando” Amelia hissed “You spent six months sneaking around behind my back with another woman. You’re the father of her daughter” she added.

Fernando’s head dropped. There was nothing he could say to refute it. Amelia had seen all the proof she needed to. She had seen the photographs of him in the delivery room, cradling his newborn daughter. She had seen the results of the DNA test she had ordered herself, proving that the baby in the picture was his. He had gotten the other woman pregnant and the age of the baby was all Amelia had needed to know that it had happened whilst she and Fernando were together

“What was I supposed to do, Fernando?” Amelia’s voice lost its sharpness, becoming softer and sadder “Was I supposed to be grateful that you’d stopped seeing her before you asked me to marry you? You lied to me, over and over again. You made me look stupid. That’s why we’re done. How could we not be after that” she added.

Fernando made a move to step towards her, but Amelia simply took a step back, shaking her head. “I really have to go” she insisted “Please, stop calling. I don’t have anything else I want to say to you. Just focus on that little girl, Nando. She needs her papa” she added before she turned on her heel, almost running out of the garage. She didn’t stop moving until she was safely inside of her office again.

Once she had closed the door, she retreated to her desk and buried her face in her hands, letting the tears that she tried so hard not to cry slip. She had tried so hard not to think about it, the moment she had opened the front door to the home she shared with her husband and found another woman stood there with a baby in her arms, but every time she saw Fernando she was thrown back to that moment and the moments that had followed. She remembered how dazed she felt when Gianna had placed a photograph of Fernando and his daughter in her hand. She remembered the way her stomach had dropped when Fernando’s eyes had slipped away from hers, wordlessly confirming that what Gianna had told her was true. She remembered crying, and yelling and packing up her stuff, and she remembered the moment she had first thought it: she had known that it was a mistake to marry him before she had walked down the aisle.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)