All This Time

08: That Hasn’t Changed

Reluctantly turning onto her side, Amelia narrowed her eyes on the front door, willing the person who stood on the other side of it, knocking, to disappear. She had little intention of answering it. After Fernando’s visit to her office, she had struggled through the rest of her work day before she had headed home, and now that she was there, she had little intention of allowing anything to disturb her. She needed the quiet. She needed to work through the feelings that seeing Fernando had bought up, and she knew that she couldn’t ask her friends or family to sit through it again. They had seen her get upset over him too many times in the previous few months.

Closing her eyes, she listened to the knocking until it stopped, something which caused her to breathe out a sigh of relief. Pushing herself into a sitting position, she watched the door until she heard another soft thud against it. Huffing slightly, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand before she strode to the door, hauling it open. “What?” she hissed.

Lionel blinked in surprise, something which afforded Amelia the chance to blow out a sigh, her cheeks flushing in embarrassment. She had expected Molly, or her mother and sister, someone who would have been used to her slightly sharp tone, and she felt embarrassed that she had snapped at him. It was a long way removed from the cheerful facade she had tried to keep up on the couple of occasions that they had bumped into one another.

“How’d you know where I lived?” Amelia asked quietly.

Lionel ducked his head, rubbing his jaw sheepishly. “I texted Molly” he admitted.

Amelia’s eyes widened. “What did you tell her?” she pressed. She loved Molly, but the last thing she wanted was her friend to know that she had seen Fernando. It would cue more sympathy and pity than Amelia could take.

“I didn’t tell her about Fernando” Lionel replied “I...I didn’t know if you’d want her to know. I just told her that you’d left your phone in my car and that I wanted to drop it off with you. Can I come in?” he added.

Amelia hesitated for a moment before she stepped out of the doorway, letting him move past her. Closing the door after him, Amelia slowly turned around, watching Lionel as he looked around the small apartment. “It’s a little different from the house, isn’t it?” she asked after a moment of quiet.

Lionel quirked a feeble smile at her attempted joke, but didn’t say anything. He didn’t know what to say.

Amelia watched him for a few more moments before she shook her head, defensively crossing her arms over her chest. “You didn’t have to come and check on me, Lionel” she muttered “I am fine” she added.

Lionel turned around to look at her, his expression incredulous. “You’re fine?” he said.

Amelia nodded firmly.

“So you look like you’ve been crying for no reason, then?” Lionel pressed “It’s just a coincidence that you look like that now and the last time I saw you, I was leaving you in an office with the man you’ve recently divorced? You’re not fine, Amelia” he added.

“Did you come here just to snap at me?” Amelia snapped back.

“I just want you to admit it, Amelia” Lionel said “I want you to talk to me. Please?” he added, his voice softening. He couldn’t keep things superficial any more, not after he had seen the look on her face when she had seen Fernando. She was hurting and, as much as he didn’t want to make things more complicated, he couldn’t just sit around and ignore it.

“You want me to talk to you?” Amelia’s voice was sharp “Fine. I’ll talk to you about my now ex-husband who, for six months, was sleeping with another woman behind my back and how I had absolutely no idea he was doing it. I’ll tell you how I naively believed every single lie he told me so that he could go and be with her. I’ll talk about how the other woman knocked on my front door just a few months ago and destroyed my whole world by showing me a picture of her newborn daughter in my husband’s arms. I’d love to talk about the DNA test that proved that that baby was his, or the way he tried to convince me that I should forgive him because he realised that he wanted to marry me, so he ended things with her. He thought that that epiphany would completely erase everything that had happened. Is that what you want to hear, Leo? Do you want to know that when I see him, I still go back to the moment I showed him the picture that his girlfriend had given me of him and his baby and watched his eyes, the eyes of the man I thought I was going to be with for the rest of my life, look away and confirm that it was true?” she sobbed, tears tumbling down her cheeks.

For a long moment Lionel just stared at her, trying and failing to wrap his head around what she was saying, before he stumbled forwards, throwing his arms open to Amelia who sunk into them without hesitation. She buried her face in his shoulder and cried, and Lionel didn’t say a word. He didn’t know what he could say.

Keeping her wrapped in his arms, he gently guided her back towards the couch before they sunk into it, moving around until they were settled in a comfortable cuddling position that they stayed in until Amelia lifted her head, staring down at him tearfully. “I...I’m sorry I yelled” she murmured “Seeing him...” she trailed off with a rueful shake of her head.

Lionel’s hand gently cupped her cheek, the pad of his thumb brushing the tears off of her skin. “I’m sorry” he said gently “I...I knew he must have done something big and I shouldn’t have pushed you to tell me. I just...I can’t keep ignoring that you’re hurting. I know you want me to” he added.

Amelia leant into his hand, allowing more tears to dribble over his fingers. “I don’t want to hurt you” she murmured “The last time I saw you was...was my wedding day and I...I hate the idea of hurting you. I know I did then and I am just trying not to do it again. You don’t want to watch me cry over him” she added.

Lionel gently guided her head towards him, pressing their foreheads together. “I want to help you” he murmured “I care about you, Amelia. That hasn’t changed. I just want to help” he added.

Amelia sunk into him again, crying softly against his shoulder as he gently skimmed his hand up and down her back, hoping that that was the start of their real friendship knitting itself back together.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)