The Space Between Us

36: It’d Be A Bad Idea

“You know that I have wine, if you’d prefer that”

Amelia glanced up from her phone, watching as Nora walked back into the room and plopped back down onto the sofa, placing two fresh glasses of lemonade onto the coffee table. It was something that hadn’t happened for a while. For a while, all of Amelia’s free time had been spent with Lionel, and Nora and Victor were still adapting to having Antonio around, but with Lionel away for the night with the team, and Victor having gone out, Nora hadn’t hesitated to call, and Amelia hadn’t hesitated to accept. They still saw each other a lot. Sunday morning brunch at Amelia’s mother’s home was non-negotiable, and they spoke a lot on the phone, but they were both eager to catch up without anyone else around. They could be more honest when no one was around, admit things that they wouldn’t have admitted in front of their other friends or family, and it was something they’d not done in a while.

“You’re not drinking” Amelia replied “And I have to drive home” she added.

“You’re more than welcome to stay” Nora mused “I just have to warn you, Antonio’s a pretty terrible sleeper. After about five in the morning, it becomes nearly impossible to settle him” she added.

“Did he get that from you?” Amelia quipped with a grin.

“I’d love to say no, but I’d be lying” Nora replied “If you ask my mother, I was just as bad, if not worse” she added.

Amelia laughed as she reached for her glass. “I think I’ll pass, then” she mused “Besides, I don’t think I am ready to chance walking into a room with Victor and having to try and force conversation” she added, the smile on her face growing slightly more rueful.

Her relationship with Victor had changed completely after she and Fernando had separated. Before Fernando, and when Amelia had been with him, Victor had almost been like a brother to her. He had been someone that she could talk to easily, and she had found him to be a warm and funny guy, but after things between her and Fernando had started to unravel, the space the had grown between her and Victor felt like it couldn’t be bridged.

Victor knew that what Fernando had done was wrong. No one that Amelia had told had been able to find an excuse for what Fernando had done, not even Victor, but he still believed that she had done the wrong thing in leaving. He knew that Fernando loved her, that he was going to keep loving her for a long time, and he wanted Amelia to give him another chance. Victor wanted Fernando to be happy, and he was adamant that he couldn’t be without Amelia in his life.

Nora nodded, a sympathetic smile on her face. “Lemonade it is, then” she chirped.

Amelia huffed out a soft laugh, allowing a moment of quiet to pass between the two of them, before she let out a squeak, hurriedly slipping her phone out of her pocket. “I found a lovely dress for the christening the other day” she fussed excitedly “Tell me what you think about this” she added, pushing the phone into Nora’s waiting hands.

Nora studied the screen before she looked up, a warm grin on her face. “Are you trying to upstage me at my own baby’s christening?” she quipped impishly.

“Not on purpose” Amelia played along.

Nora huffed, a playful glare on her face. “You’d look amazing in it” she said “You should buy it” she added.

Amelia smiled to herself as she took the phone back from Nora and put the dress into her shopping basket.

Nora reached out to pick up her glass, taking a sip from it, before she spoke again. “I need to ask you something” she said carefully.

Amelia looked up from her phone, her smile dimming when she saw the anxious expression that had made its way onto Nora’s face. “What’s up?” she prodded.

Nora hesitated for a second, trying to come up with the right way to phrase what she wanted to say, before she exhaled a soft sigh. “You know I like Leo” she said “And you know that I am thrilled that you two are giving things a go. I think he’s really good for you” she added.

“But?” Amelia asked.

Nora grimaced. “I need to ask you not to bring him to Antonio’s christening” she said.

Amelia blinked in surprise.

“I don’t know if you were planning to bring him” Nora continued, determined to not let a silence settle between the two of them “But just...Victor made Fernando Antonio’s godfather, and we don’t know how the two of them would react to being in the same room. I hate asking this of you, because you shouldn’t have to make compromises for Fernando, but...”

“But it’s Antonio’s day” Amelia finished for her.

Nora shut her mouth, answering only with a tight nod.

Amelia was quiet for a beat before she nodded her head, offering Nora a tight smile. “I get it” she mused.

“Really?” Nora prodded.

“Nando and I are volatile as it is” Amelia said “Adding Leo to the mix is probably a terrible idea” she added.

“You know I adore him, and you two together” Nora insisted “But Victor and Fernando would throw fits, and that’s not what I want my baby’s big day remembered for. If I had had my way, Fernando wouldn’t have been anywhere near it, but you know how close him and Victor are. I wanted you to be Antonio’s godmother, but Victor would only agree if I allowed Fernando to be the godfather. I’m sorry, Lia” she added.

Amelia shook her head. “It’s OK, Nora” she mused “I’m not upset. Besides, I don’t even know that I would have invited Leo anyway. We’re still figuring things out” she added, a reassuring smile on her face.

She didn’t want Nora to feel bad for trying to make sure that a day that was supposed to be about Antonio stayed about Antonio. Nora was right to be worried. Amelia and Fernando could barely exist in the same space without a fight developing, and Amelia knew that adding Lionel to the situation would only make it worse. Fernando would take his presence as an act of aggression. He would see it as Amelia wanting to flaunt the fact that she was moving on, and whilst it wasn’t at all what Amelia wanted to do, she knew how quickly it would spiral out of control. She couldn’t blame Nora for wanting to prevent it.

Nora’s expression was dubious, but Amelia just offered her another smile. “Is it OK if he picks me up?” she quipped, her voice light.

Nora rolled her eyes, but nodded her head. “Of course” she mused “I’d invite him if I could, Lia” she added.

Amelia smiled back at Nora gently. “I know you would” she mused “Maybe the next kid” she added.

Nora’s eyebrows lifted in surprise, an amused grin spreading across her features. “Just how long are you planning on keeping him around for?” she chirped.

Amelia’s cheeks turned pink. “As long as he wants to be around” she answered.