The Space Between Us

01: You Don’t Have To Do That For Me


Amelia startled at the sound of her name, her stare jumping away from the faint tan line on her finger reflexively. She knew what would happen if she was caught staring at it. In the handful of weeks that had passed since she had slipped her engagement ring and wedding band off of her finger for the final time, she had been caught staring at the tan pattern they’d left behind more than once, and she couldn’t listen to the speech again. It was never meant as a judgement. Her mother, sister and stepfather, as well as all of her friends, only wanted her to feel better, and she knew that they were right when they told her that it was unlikely to happen if she kept staring at the line on her finger, but the logic of their argument was lost each and every time she caught sight of it. It was always there, reminding her of how everything had changed, and as hard as she tried not to focus on it, she found herself staring at it more often than she should.

Blinking a couple of times, she scanned the room before she exhaled a sigh of relief, realising that her mother’s voice had travelled into the room from the hallway outside. “Mama?” she called back.

“Are you nearly ready to leave?” Felicity asked “The reservation is in less than an hour, and I don’t want to leave Lexi waiting” she added.

Amelia looked down at the floor, staring at the pair of shoes she had ducked back into her bedroom to retrieve, before she looked back towards the closed bedroom door. “I just need a few more minutes” she called back.

“Fine” Felicity said.

Amelia didn’t move until she heard her mother’s steps retreating down the hallway. Leaning over the end of the bed, she picked up the shoes, only to pause when she caught sight of the line on her finger again, feeling the all too familiar drop in her chest. She had thought that it would disappear, or at least fade a little in the months that had passed since she had walked out of her and Fernando’s home, broken hearted, but it hadn’t. If anything, it had only gotten worse since the final divorce papers had arrived, and she had seen Fernando’s name scribbled beside her own.

She hadn’t thought that it could be fixed. What she had found out about Fernando had destroyed any trust that she had had in him, and she knew that he couldn’t get it back, but seeing his signature next to hers had still hurt. It was proof that they’d failed, that all of the things they’d talked about doing together were never going to happen, and it meant that she had been wrong every single time she had thought that he was the one.

Closing her palm, she drew in a deep breath before she moved to pull on her shoes. Slipping off of the bed, she collected her phone and a jacket before she walked out of the room, meeting her mother who was stood beside the front door. “Ready?” she asked.

Felicity looked up at her, her warm smile still tinged by sympathy. “When you are” she mused.

Amelia glanced at the front door, briefly contemplating retreating to her bedroom, before she felt her mother’s hand wrap around her, squeezing it gently. “Lexi is looking forwards to this” she cooed.

Amelia nodded, knowing what her mother really meant without her saying it.

Felicity squeezed her hand again before she pulled the front door open, guiding Amelia out ahead of her.


Amelia, who’d been quietly pushing the last of her dessert around her plate, blinked at the sound of her name, looking up towards her sister who was sat across the table from her, watching her with a small frown on her face. She knew that someone would eventually notice. As the night had gone on, her contribution to the conversation that flowed around the table had tapered off, moving from enthusiastic and easy to occasional and forced, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before her mother, or her older sister, questioned it.

It was too much. Despite her repeated insistence that it wouldn’t be, that her breaking up with Fernando hadn’t affected her ability to celebrate her sister’s birthday, sitting in a restaurant, trying to be happy had overwhelmed her, and she was looking for a way to escape it that wouldn’t leave her mother and sister disappointed in her. They were worried about her.

“Are you alright?” Alexa asked.

Amelia wanted to scoff, and she could see that Alexa wanted to take the words back as soon as they were out of her mouth.

“I mean, you’ve been quiet” Alexa corrected herself.

“Tired, I guess” Amelia replied, feigning a nonchalant shrug.

“Do you want to go?” Felicity pressed “We can get the check and...”

“No” Amelia interrupted, slightly too sharply “It’s still early. You and Lexi don’t have to give up your night for me” she added.

Alexa’s lips curled upwards into a sympathetic smile before she gently settled a hand on their mother’s wrist. “We’ve barely caught up at all” she mused “And I wouldn’t mind another glass of wine. It is my birthday, after all” she added.

When Felicity turned to look at Alexa, Amelia shot a grateful smile over her head. She was grateful for her mother’s support, for everything that she had done since things with Fernando had ended, but sometimes, she needed her to take a step back and allow her own space to start trying to figure things out.

Felicity looked between Alexa and Amelia a couple of times before she settled on looking at Amelia, her expression worried. “You don’t want me to drive you home?” she asked.

Amelia shook her head. “I’ll be fine” she mused “I just...I just need a minute. Lexi...”

“I get it” Alexa interrupted with a small smile “I’m just glad that you came” she added.

Amelia scoffed out a laugh, shaking her head ruefully. “I know that you don’t mean that” she said “But thanks for saying it, anyway” she added.

Alexa climbed out of her seat, wrapping Amelia in a soft hug that she was quick to return, a gentle sigh falling out of her mouth. After a few moments, she pulled away and put on her jacket, reassuring her mother that she would be able to make it home herself before she stepped away from the table.

Hurrying towards the exit, she ducked through the crowd until she felt a hand settle on her elbow, something which caused her to look up, the apology she had been preparing to utter dying on the tip of her tongue as she looked up into a face that she hadn’t seen since her wedding day. “Leo?” she asked.