The Space Between Us

18: Maybe He Wasn’t A Million Miles Away

Pushing her straw around her glass, Amelia exhaled a quiet sigh, glancing across the restaurant in search of Nora. She had called her. After her run-in with Fernando, she knew that she needed someone to talk to, and whilst she had briefly flirted with the idea of calling Lionel, she had opted for Nora instead. Fernando’s words had stuck with her. His annoyance at her potentially moving on was nothing new, but the comment he had made about her having chosen him over Lionel was, and it was something that Amelia wanted to talk about.

It hadn’t felt like a decision at the time. She and Lionel had always been the same way, and what she had felt for Fernando, almost from the moment she had met him, had been distinctly different to what she had felt for Lionel, but the more she thought about it, the more she realised that there was a chance that Fernando had a point. Being around Lionel had always been easy. They had never had to try to get along, and Amelia had always found his presence warm and comforting, but it wasn’t until he had disappeared from her life that she had realised how important he had become to her.

There was something between them, something that had come more easily than what she had had with Fernando, and the more she thought about what her ex-husband had said, the more she thought that he was right. She hadn’t ever let herself think of Lionel in that way. She had always maintained that he was just a friend, and that that was all he would ever be, but the more time she spent with him, the harder it was to ignore that there was a chance that she felt something, and that that something was something bigger than friendship.

“You do know that I am nearly eight months pregnant, right?”

Amelia, who’d been absent-mindedly staring into her glass, visibly startled at the sound of Nora’s voice before she nodded her head, offering her an apologetic smile as she slipped into the empty chair opposite her. “I do know that” she quipped “But you also know that you can just say no to me on the phone, right? I mean, no one forced you to come” she added, a small grin tugging at the corner of her mouth.

Nora scoffed playfully. “Like I could say no to you” she played along “Especially if you’re prepared to buy me a dessert” she added.

Amelia made a show of rolling her eyes, but still placed the dessert menu in front of Nora who eagerly scooted it across the table.

“So” Nora prodded, not glancing up from the menu “What’s up?” she asked.

Amelia was quiet for a beat, trying to find the right words, before she exhaled a quiet sigh. “Nando sold the house” she admitted.

Nora looked up then, her expression soft. “Oh” she breathed.

“It’s OK” Amelia mused, gently pushing a loose curl of hair behind her ear “He told me he was going to do it a while ago. He offered it to me again, but I still couldn’t take it, so it only makes sense that he sells it. He doesn’t need all that space, and he wants to be closer to Gianna and Penny, so...so it was the right move” she explained.

Nora’s expression was dubious, but she didn’t challenge what Amelia had said. “Then what was your call about?” she asked.

“I had to go and see his lawyer” Amelia mused “We bought the house together, and he needed my signature on some stuff so that he could sell it. He was there, too” she admitted.

Nora nodded her head slowly. “What did he do this time?” she asked.

Amelia shook her head, pushing her straw around her glass as a sad smile started to tug at the corner of her lips. “He was just himself” she muttered “At least, the version of himself that’s appeared since the divorce. We were talking, and then he let it slip that he knew that I was spending time with Leo” she added.

“Victor told him” Nora mused “Fernando came over after the baby shower to drop off a present for bump, and Victor let slip that Leo had been at the party. Fernando was pretty quick to guess that he had come with you” she added.

“What exactly did Victor tell him?” Amelia asked.

Nora hesitated for a second before she ducked her head, letting out a soft sigh. “You promised that you wouldn’t put me and Victor between you two” she murmured “You’re my best friend, Amelia, but Fernando is Victor’s. He was just trying to prepare Fernando, just in case something did happen between you and Leo” she added.

Amelia nodded her head slowly. She knew that she couldn’t argue against it. Victor’s friendship with Fernando predated Amelia’s relationship with him, and it meant that Amelia couldn’t ask Victor to side with her. He had been friends with Fernando since they were children, and no matter what Amelia said, or what Fernando did, Victor wasn’t just going to turn his back on him.

“Did he say something?” Nora asked “Fernando?” she clarified.

“He said that I wasn’t brave” Amelia answered “He said that...that he thought that there had been something between me and Leo before he had arrived on the scene, and that the only reason I got together with him was because I wasn’t brave enough to admit that I had feelings for Leo. He basically suggested that I had just settled for him, instead of trying to make things work with Leo” she explained.

“That’s bullshit” Nora scoffed “He’s just throwing that out now as some kind of excuse for what he did. You and Fernando were together for four years, and I don’t think I once heard him mention being wary of Leo. He’s just saying that to make you feel bad, Lia. He’s trying to play the insecure boyfriend so he has a little more of an excuse for what happened with Gianna. He’s grasping at straws” she added.

Amelia nodded, pushing her straw around her drink. “I know he is” she mused “And I don’t think I settled, but...but maybe he wasn’t a million miles away from being right about me having feelings for Leo” she added.

“What?” Nora spluttered.

“I didn’t know it then” Amelia insisted “And I loved Fernando with everything I had, you know that, but the more I think about it...I have always liked him, Nora. He’s warm, and kind, and I have a lot of fun when we’re together. I don’t know what I felt before. I never let myself dwell on it for too long, but now?” she added.

Nora blinked a couple of times, trying to get her head around what Amelia was saying, before she shook her head, a quirked grin on her face. “I can’t say I am surprised” she mused “I mean, I saw you together at the baby shower. You’re adorable together” she added.

Amelia smiled shyly, her cheeks flushed pink. “You think so?” she asked.

Nora nodded. “I do” she confirmed “So, you like him?” she prodded.

“Something like that” Amelia admitted.

“What are you going to do about it?” Nora asked.

Amelia flashed her a slightly rueful smile. “I wish I knew” she answered.