All Over Again

04

Drumming his fingers against the side of his water glass, Sergio glanced around Asier’s restaurant for a moment before he caught himself, moving his stare pointedly back to menu in front of him. It wasn’t the first time he had caught himself doing it. He frequented Asier’s restaurant often, and in the couple of weeks that had passed since he had seen Isabel there, he had spent a few moments each time looking around the room, half expecting to see her again, but when he caught himself, he was quick to put a stop to it, Asier’s warning ringing in his ears.

He wanted to ask him about Isabel. When the fog in his head had cleared, and he had been looking at her for the first time since she had walked out of his home, all he wanted to do was ask about her, but he knew that Asier wouldn’t tell him. Asier was a good friend, but he was a better older brother, and it meant that, if it was to protect Isabel, Asier would have done anything, even cut out one of his best friends.

Letting out a slightly frustrated sigh, he tried to focus on the menu before he saw someone sit down opposite him, causing him to lift his head, glancing at Asier. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Asier shrugged, pouring himself a glass of water. “It’s my break” he said “And I had some party details that I wanted to talk to you about, so I figured I could join you for dinner. Am I interrupting your staring contest with that glass of water?” he added.

Sergio rolled his eyes, pushing the glass away from himself slightly. “What did you need to talk about?” he asked.

“We need to finalise the menu” Asier replied “And the last time we spoke, you were still trying to figure an exact number of guests. We’ve got a couple of event rooms, but they’re pretty small, so I need to know if you need the whole place or not. As soon as you know, can you let me know?” he asked.

Sergio nodded his head. “I’m still working it out” he said “But you will be the first call I make when I know, OK?” he added.

Asier smiled. “The rest of it can wait, then” he said “But right now, we should order the special. I don’t know who came up with it, but I hear it’s pretty remarkable” he added impishly.

“You know that that stopped being funny after the first time you did it, right?” Sergio quipped.

“I know” Asier said “But I can’t help it. Making bad jokes is a family trait” he added.

The amused smile that had been on Sergio’s face dimmed slightly. It was how Isabel had broken the ice between them. He couldn’t remember the specific joke that she had told, but he could remember rolling his eyes in an attempt to hide his smile, and he could remember the quip she had made about it being a family trait. It had been enough of a reason for him to ignore Asier’s playful attempts to pull him away from his sister and spend the best part of two hours talking to her before she had had to leave.

Asier caught the change in Sergio’s expression before he let out a quiet sigh, rubbing at his jaw a little. He knew, just from the look on Sergio’s face, that his mind was on Isabel. “Ask” he quipped.

Sergio didn’t need to ask him to clarify what he meant. He just shook his head. “I’m not going to ask” he said.

“You obviously want to” Asier countered.

“You’re her brother, Asier” Sergio pointed out “I can’t ask you to tell me about her after the way things between us ended. I am not going to put you in the middle of this, not that there’s anything to be put in the middle of. You know what happened. You know that there’s nothing there any more” he added.

Asier was quiet for a moment before he shook his head, letting out a quiet sigh. “I saw the way you looked at her” he said “When she was here the other day. I saw the look on your face. We both know that there’s something there still. So why don’t you just ask me? I know that you want to” he added.

Sergio wanted to shake his head. To insist that he didn’t need to know how Isabel was, or anything else about her, but his resolve crumbled when Asier offered him a small nod, wordlessly confirming that he’d answer this time. It had come up before. A few weeks after Isabel had left, Sergio had tried to ask Asier how she was doing, but he had refused to give an answer more than ‘she’s fine’, and after a while, Sergio had simply stopped trying to ask. He had no right to. As far as everyone was concerned, he was the bad guy. He had been the one who’d broken up their relationship and he’d been the one who’d hurt Isabel, and whilst there was more to it than it, Sergio had learned to accept it. He was out of Isabel’s life, and it wasn’t fair of him to try and stay in it.

“How is she?” Sergio asked quietly.

“I think she’s happy to be home” Asier said “She loves it here, and I don’t think she really realised how much until she wasn’t here any more. She’s glad to be close to our parents again, and she’s got a really good job that she was excited about when I last spoke to her. And there’s Parker” he added.

Sergio nodded his head slowly. He didn’t need to ask who Parker was. The way that Asier had slightly hesitated in mentioning him told him everything he needed to know.

Asier waited for a long moment, expecting Sergio to say something, but when he didn’t, he offered him a firm look. “She’s happy” he said “And I know that there’s still something there. I saw the look on your face, but you can’t ruin that, even if you think she was looking at you in the same way. She’s really happy, Sergio” he added before he pushed himself out of his chair, announcing that he was going to retrieve their food from the kitchen.

Sergio’s stare drifted back to his water glass. He knew that Asier was right. Isabel was happy, and he knew that he ought to leave her be, but he couldn’t envisage that it was going to be that simple.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)