The Space Between Us

38: I Don’t Think I Ever Claimed To Be OK

Absent-mindedly tracing the faint tan line that was just about still visible on her finger, Amelia shifted in her seat on Nora’s sofa, straining to place the voice that accompanied Victor’s from somewhere else in the house. She was anticipating the sound of Fernando’s voice sooner rather than later. Nora and Victor had kept the party small, and as a result, she knew that Fernando had volunteered to drive a few people to the church, meaning that, eventually, his voice was going to follow Victor’s down the hall, something Amelia couldn’t help but dread. She had told people that it would be fine. Nora had asked almost as soon as she had stepped through the front door, and texts from her mother, and from Lionel, had been quick to follow, and whilst she had replied in the same way, insisting that it would be fine, she had her doubts that it would be true. Seeing Fernando still felt like a blow, and Amelia didn’t know that time had softened it.

Recognizing the voice as that of Nora’s father, Amelia exhaled a quiet sigh of relief before she glanced down at her hand, shaking her head as she pulled her other hand away from it.

“Are you ready to admit that you’re not as OK as you say you are?”

Amelia’s lips quirked ruefully as she watched Nora carry Antonio into the room and sit down next to her. “I don’t think I ever claimed to be OK” she replied “I was very careful about that. I said that I would be able to be civil” she added.

“So you’re not OK?” Nora asked.

Amelia sighed, pushing her hair behind her ear. She had hoped that Nora would pick up on her teasing and keep it going. “Seeing him still hurts” she admitted “I hate that it does, but it does. I saw the rest of my life with that man, Nora, and now I can barely stomach being in the same building as him. But I really think that it’ll be fine. I am going to try my hardest to not let him bother me” she added.

Nora wrapped her spare arm around Amelia’s shoulder, coaxing Amelia into leaning her head against her shoulder. “You don’t have to beat yourself up for still being hurt, Lia” she mused.

“It’s been nearly a year since I left him” Amelia noted.

“It doesn’t matter” Nora’s voice was firmer than Amelia had heard it in a while “You’re allowed to take as long as you need to get over what happened. I hate that you’re in this position. I tried to talk to Victor, but it just ended up being a fight. I told him that you shouldn’t be the one making compromises, but he just...” she trailed off, shaking her head in frustration.

Amelia blinked up at her, concern etched onto her features. “Nora” she said “I’ll be fine. You don’t need to...I don’t want you and Victor to fight because of me” she added.


“It’s my problem” Amelia interrupted “Well, mine and Fernando’s, but it’s not yours. We promised, when the divorce came through, that we’d never put you and Victor in the middle of us, and I intend to keep that promise. I will be fine. It’s only a couple of hours. I’ll get through it” she added insistently.

The idea that she could cause problems between Nora and Victor terrified her. She knew how much Nora loved Victor, and how much he loved her, and she couldn’t bear the notion that something that was her problem was causing friction between them. It was always going to be messy. Nora and Amelia had been friends since their childhood, and Victor and Fernando had been friends for a similar amount of time, and it meant that neither was willing to compromise on who got to keep their friends when the divorce was finalised, but if it meant preserving Nora’s relationship, Amelia would have backed out in a heartbeat. She didn’t want her friend to lose her happiness because of her and Fernando.

“Are you sure?” Nora asked.

Amelia nodded without hesitation. “Promise” she said.

Nora offered her a sympathetic smile in return, reaching out to lightly squeeze Amelia’s hand, before someone called for her, causing her to quietly excuse herself before she carried Antonio back out of the room. Amelia sat quietly for a few moments until the sound of her phone vibrating caught her ears, causing her to reach for her jacket that was draped over the back of the sofa. Slipping the phone out of her pocket, she checked the caller ID before she pressed it against her ear, a gentle smile brightening her features. “Hey, you” she cooed.

“I’m not interrupting, am I?” Lionel asked “I couldn’t remember when you said things were going to start” he added.

“You’re fine” Amelia mused “We’re still waiting for people to show up before we leave. So, to what do I owe this call?” she added.

Lionel made a noise that made the soft smile on Amelia’s face widen a fraction. She could picture his bashful smile and slightly pink cheeks. “I just wanted to check on you” he admitted “I know you said that you were fine, but I just...I thought that if I told you that I’d bought a nice bottle of wine for us to share over dinner later, it might make the next couple of hours slightly more bearable” he added.

Amelia grinned to herself. “It might” she mused.

“Good” Lionel spluttered out “That’s all I wanted, really. Are you sure that you’re OK?” he asked.

“Better now” Amelia replied “I’ll see you later?” she asked.

“Call me when you want to be picked up” Lionel confirmed “And try and enjoy it. It’s for Antonio” he added.

Amelia nodded her head, mumbling a quiet goodbye before the sound of someone clearing their throat ahead of her caused her to look up, the warm smile that Lionel had left her with melting away almost instantly as her eyes met Fernando’s. Fernando held her stare, his eyes shining with an emotion that, for the life of her, Amelia couldn’t figure out, before he gestured over his shoulder. “Everyone else is ready to go” he said, his voice rough “Are you coming, or do you need a few more minutes to flirt with your boyfriend on the phone?” he added.

Amelia bit back the urge to react. She knew that it was what Fernando wanted. Instead, she picked up her jacket and stepped past him without a word, hoping that she found herself sitting at dinner with Lionel sooner rather than later.