The Space Between Us

14: We’re OK

Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, Amelia glanced down at her watch again before she glanced at the front door, silently pleading for the room to be filled by the doorbell’s chime. She knew that she could have texted Lionel to ask if he was still going to visit. He had said that he would. When he had left her apartment last time, he had done so with a promise that he would still see her for their usual Thursday night dinner, but Amelia had never found the nerve to text him and ask if it was still on, something that had led to her watching the door, hoping that someone would knock.

She was nervous about seeing him. After what had happened the last time that they were together, and her talk with Nora, she knew that it was likely to be a night full of difficult and awkward conversation, but she was still hopeful that he would show up. She wanted them to be in one another’s lives, and if it meant confronting all of the things that they had left unsaid, then it was something she was ready to do. She didn’t want to let him slip out of her life like he had done before.

Catching herself staring at the door again, she forced herself to look away, refocusing on the laptop that was perched on the coffee table ahead of her. Scanning through her emails, she stopped when she saw one from Fernando’s lawyer, something which caused her stomach to drop before she opened it. She had been waiting for him to get in touch. After Fernando had announced his intention to sell the house, it had only been a matter of time before his lawyer reached out to Amelia, wanting her to sign the final paperwork, but as sure as she was that she didn’t want the house, the idea of it being sold still stung. It hadn’t been that long ago that she and Fernando had been moving in, and now it, like everything else in their relationship, was disappearing.

After she had typed out a reply to the email, she pushed the laptop away from herself and sunk back into the sofa, rubbing her forehead tiredly. She wanted it all to be over. She wanted to wake up in the morning, and not have the wave of loss that had hit her every day since she had left Fernando overwhelm her again, but she knew that that wasn’t how it worked. She had to feel it, to mourn for the loss of the relationship she had thought that she would have in her life forever, and she knew that the only way to get over it was to give it time.

Letting out a heavy sigh, Amelia jumped when the sound of knocking filled her apartment, causing her stare to flash back towards the front door before she slowly pushed herself up to her feet. Crossing the apartment, she hesitated for a beat before she pulled the front door open.

Lionel, who was stood in the hall, greeted her with a small lopsided smile. “I’m sorry I am late” he chirped.

Amelia blinked a couple of times before a soft smile, one born mostly from relief, bloomed across her face. “I think I can forgive you” she quipped, stepping out of the doorway.

Lionel stepped into the apartment, allowing Amelia to push the door closed after him, before they both shuffled towards the living room, acutely aware of the silence that was following them. Taking seats on the sofa, they caught each other’s eye, earning two more bashful grins before Amelia shook her head, exhaling a soft sigh. “I want to say sorry about the other night” she said.

“You really don’t need to” Lionel countered “It was nothing” he added.

Amelia shook her head. “It wasn’t nothing, though” she said.


“Can I just say this?” Amelia interrupted gently.

Lionel’s eyes searched her face for a long moment before he nodded.

Amelia offered him a small smile before she looked down at her feet. “I wasn’t thinking” she said “If I had been, then I would never have done it. I shouldn’t have been sitting here, telling you about how I wish sometimes that I had fallen in love with someone else, not when I...I know how you felt about me then. It wasn’t fair of me, and it was even less fair for me lean in like that. I am so sorry” she added.

Lionel was quiet for a moment before he shuffled closer to her, gently taking a hold of one of her hands. “It’s OK” he said.

Amelia opened her mouth to protest, but Lionel was quick to shake his head, offering her a faint smile. “I know what this is, Amelia” he said “I know that didn’t share my feelings, and I am not here to try and convince you otherwise. I just want to be your friend. I know how hard all of this is on you, and I want to be one of the people that you lean on. I know that you’re scared of hurting me, but you won’t. I know what I am doing” he added.

He knew what she was trying to say. Even though she hadn’t said the words, he knew that she was trying to let him down gently, and he wanted her to know that it wasn’t necessary. He wanted her to know that he knew she didn’t return his feelings, and that he hadn’t reappeared in her life after things with Fernando had ended to try and change it. He just wanted to be there for her.

Amelia’s stare searched his face for a moment, looking for any sign that he didn’t mean what he was saying, before she slowly nodded her head. “I am still sorry” she murmured “All of this stuff with Fernando...” she trailed off with a rueful shake of her head.

Lionel’s hand squeezed hers softly. “It’s OK” he repeated “We’re OK” he added.

Amelia squeezed his hand back, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “I’m glad” she said.

Lionel smiled back at her bashfully, something which made Amelia’s smile widen a fraction before she pushed herself up to her feet, announcing that she would bring dinner back through with her as she walked into the kitchen. Lionel watched after her, his smile dimming slightly. He knew that she was still struggling, even if she tried to hide it from him, and he didn’t quite know what to do to help her.