The Space Between Us

17: Maybe

Smoothing her dress over her lap, Amelia glanced up at the sound of footsteps, hoping to see Fernando’s lawyer striding towards her. She didn’t want to linger. The last time she had sat in the reception area of Fernando’s lawyer's office, she had departed as a newly divorced woman, and whilst she was trying her hardest not to focus on it, it was becoming harder to ignore. She had been sat there for a while. When she had given her name to the receptionist, the other woman had informed her that Stefan, Fernando’s lawyer, was in a meeting and would be with her as soon as he could be, but slowly but sure, Amelia’s patience was fading.

She had tried to distract herself. Since she had sat down, she had replied to all of her texts, and to a handful of work emails, all with the aim of taking her mind off of the fact that she was sat where she was sat, but each time she pulled her stare off of her phone, the realisation hit her all over again. She could remember the yelling. No matter how polite she had tried to be, how distant, Fernando had always managed to drag her into a fight, and the room she was sat in was another reminder of how much things between them had deteriorated.

Seeing that the person walking towards her wasn’t Stefan, Amelia refocused her attention on her phone, a faint smile tickling the corner of her mouth when she saw that she had a new text from Lionel.

“Did you used to smile like that when I sent you a text?”

Amelia’s head snapped up at the sound of Fernando’s voice, her eyes wide in surprise.

Fernando’s answering smile was apologetic. “Sorry” he quipped “I didn’t mean to surprise you” he added.

Amelia opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, too surprised to answer immediately, before she shook her head, moving to slip her phone into the pocket of her coat. “What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I am supposed to be meeting Stefan” Fernando replied “He said he’d have the final paper work on the house for me to sign” he added.

Amelia nodded her head slowly. “He’s stuck in some meeting” she announced “The receptionist keeps assuring me that he’ll be done soon, but I have been sat here for nearly half an hour” she added.

Fernando, who’d settled into the seat next to her, grinned. “He’s a good lawyer, but he’s the worst at keeping to his schedule” he quipped.

Amelia smiled at his teasing, but didn’t say anything in reply, allowing a long moment of quiet to pass between them that was only broken when Fernando cleared his throat, drawing Amelia’s stare up from the floor to his face. “I know about Leo” he said.

Amelia didn’t flinch like Fernando had been expecting her to, but she did look back down at the floor. “What exactly is it that you know?” she prodded.

“He was at the baby shower with you” Fernando mused “Victor let it slip. Once he did, it became pretty obvious that it was his voice I had heard on the phone that time I dropped in on you. You guys have been spending time together, enough time that you felt comfortable enough to invite him to Nora’s baby shower” he added, fighting to keep his voice even.

Amelia heard the strain in his voice, but didn’t look up from the floor. She knew what would happen if she did. “It’s not what you think it is” she said “And even if it was, I wouldn’t have to explain that to you” she added.

Fernando nodded stiffly. “I know that” he quipped.

“Do you?” Amelia’s voice wasn’t sharp or accusatory, but the question caused Fernando to grimace nevertheless.

“Amelia” Fernando protested.

“I am going to move on, Nando” Amelia said gently.

“With Leo?” Fernando pressed.


“Victor said that you two spend a lot of time together” Fernando interrupted.


“You bought him to your best friend’s baby shower” Fernando interrupted again “Are you going to move on with him?” he added

“Maybe” Amelia spat out before she could stop herself.

Fernando’s mouth snapped shut.

Amelia exhaled a soft sigh, her palm rubbing at her forehead gently. It wasn’t what she had meant to say. She had wanted to say something about it being none of Fernando’s business who she moved on with, but now that the idea that it was going to be Lionel was out there, she knew that Fernando wouldn’t hear anything else.

The atmosphere around them was heavy for a long time. Minutes ticked by with neither of them saying a word, before the silence finally got the better of Amelia. “I didn’t mean to say that it was going to be Leo” she murmured “It probably won’t be him. I just...I am going to move on, Fernando, and that’s got nothing to do with you” she added.

Fernando’s lips twisted into a bitter smile. “It’ll be him” he quipped.

Amelia shook her head. “Nando...”

“Oh, come on, Amelia” Fernando interrupted “We both know that if it wasn’t for me, you’d have ended up with him. You guys spent years dancing around how you felt, and then you met me, and I was the perfect excuse to run away from him. I wasn’t a risk, but telling your friend how you felt about? You never were brave enough for that” he added.

Amelia wanted to refute it. She wanted to tell Fernando that he was wrong, that he had misread what he had seen of her friendship with Lionel, but no matter how hard she tried, the words wouldn’t come, something which made the bitter smile on Fernando’s face turn even sharper. “I should have seen this coming” he muttered.

Amelia opened her mouth to object, but was cut off as Stefan appeared, an apologetic smile on his face. “Sorry” he quipped “Amelia, let’s get these papers signed. Fernando, another five minutes?” he said.

Fernando nodded his head wordlessly as Amelia pushed herself up to her feet. With a polite smile to Stefan, she moved to follow, only to stop and looked back at Fernando. “Please, just leave me alone” she mused “I don’t want to keep doing this. I don’t want to waste the rest of my life being hurt over you” she added before she turned and followed Stefan towards his office, leaving Fernando staring after her sadly.