The Space Between Us

39: Were You Always Like This?

Gently bouncing Antonio in her arms, Amelia quirked a lopsided smile, rolling her eyes at Nora who was stood a little away from her, playfully signalling that she was going to go for a nap whilst Amelia held the baby. She had tried her hardest to buoy Amelia’s mood. From the moment that Fernando had stepped into the same room as her, Amelia had felt the familiar weight of the past settle onto her shoulders and start to eat away at the excitement she had felt about being involved in what was a special day for Nora, and for her son, but Nora had tried her hardest not to let the negativity settle. She had put herself between Amelia and Fernando more than once. Fernando, since he had arrived, had tried on more than one occasion to corner Amelia, and Nora hadn’t let it happen, something Amelia couldn’t have been more grateful for.

Nothing good could come from them talking. They had done it countless times since Amelia had left, and it always ended the same way, and it wasn’t something Amelia wanted to chance on Antonio’s big day. She didn’t want that day to end the same way so many previous days had ended, with Fernando telling her that he thought that they could figure things out and her crying, having to explain that it simply wasn’t a possibility.

Nora made a show of rolling her eyes before she walked over, gently plucking Antonio out of Amelia’s arms. “I suppose I can take him back” she quipped.

Amelia shook her head amusedly. “I’d keep him for a little longer, but I was thinking about ducking out to call Leo” she mused “Things are starting to wind down, and as fun as a night with my ex-husband sounds, I think I’ll give it a miss” she added.

Nora nodded, gently swaying to soothe Antonio’s grumbles. “I think Victor has offered him the sofa for the night” she said “So he’s not exactly going anywhere. But you had a good time today, right?” she added.

“Of course I did” Amelia replied without hesitation. She knew how much it meant to Nora that she had enjoyed herself, and she wanted to assure her that she had. She wanted Nora to know that she would put up with Fernando as much as she had to if it meant that she could be around for the important moments in Nora and Antonio’s lives.

Nora looked at her dubiously, causing Amelia to roll her eyes, a grin on her face. “I had a good time, Nora” she mused “There was food, and drink, and I got cuddles from my favourite little guy. How could I not have had a good time?” she added, tickling Antonio’s cheek with the tip of her finger.

Nora’s expression was still sceptical, but before she had the chance to say anything, Victor swooped towards them, insisting that it was time for them to start Antonio’s bedtime routine. Nora agreed with a little nod before she turned back to Amelia. “Come and say goodnight before you go?” she asked.

“Of course” Amelia agreed “Night, night, Antonio” she added, gently brushing his cheek again before Nora turned and followed Victor away.

Once they were out of sight, Amelia slipped out into the hall and towards her jacket, slipping her phone out of her pocket before she ducked out of the front door, pulling it to behind herself. Dialling Lionel’s phone number, she pressed the phone against her ear, listening to the dial tone before it flicked over, allowing Lionel’s voice to fill her ears. “Hey” he chirped “How are things going?” he added.

Amelia smiled at his concern. “Things are fine” she mused “Actually, the party’s starting to wind down, so I was hoping that I could take you up on that offer you made earlier. Wine and dinner?” she added.

“Of course” Lionel spluttered “That sounds great. Did you want me to come and get you?” he asked.

“If you don’t mind” Amelia replied “I mean, I can get a taxi, if you’d rather I did that” she added.

“It’s fine” Lionel said “I’ll be there in 30 minutes?” he added.

“Are you sure?” Amelia prodded.

“Certain” Lionel insisted “See you in bit” he added before he hung up the phone.

Amelia smiled down at her phone until she heard the front door thud closed behind her, causing her to turn and look up at Fernando who stood behind her. Neither of them spoke for a minute, but the silence was broken when Fernando looked down at the phone that was held in Amelia’s hand, his lips quirking upwards into a sharp smile. “Leo?” he asked.

Amelia nodded wordlessly.

Fernando nodded his head slowly, pacing the porch for a few moments, before he stopped to look at her again. “How can you be moving on already?” he asked.


“I just don’t understand how you can be ready” Fernando cut in “I thought our marriage was...I thought it meant more than just a few months of mourning before you jumped into bed with someone else” he added.

Amelia gaped at him like he had grown a second head. She couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. Opening and closing her mouth, she tried to get a grip of the searing anger that she had felt at the insinuation that their marriage hadn’t meant anything to her, before she shook her head. “How can you stand there and say something like that?” she said, keeping her voice as even as she could.

Fernando answered with a nonchalant shrug.

Amelia shook her head, an incredulous scoff falling out of her mouth. “You’re going to accuse me of not caring about our marriage?” she asked “That’s pretty rich coming from the man who cheated on me, who got his lover pregnant and spent months sneaking around to see his baby, and then tried to use me as an excuse to abandon his daughter. What is it that you want from me, Nando? How do you expect me to live the rest of my life? Are you just expecting me to sit here, crying over you, for the rest of my life?” she added, her voice growing more and more agitated.

Fernando didn’t answer, but the look on his face did it for him. It was what he wanted. He wanted her to hurt over him for as long as possible, just as long as it meant that she didn’t move on. He wanted her to be alone for long enough that she started to see him as an option again.

Amelia let out a squeak in disbelief, trying, and failing, to keep the tears out of her eyes. “Were you always this unbelievably selfish?” she asked.

“Is it selfish to want to be with the woman you love?” Fernando shot back.

“You didn’t love me enough not to sleep with Gianna” Amelia countered.

“I made a mistake!” Fernando yelled “I fucked up, and I have said sorry for that. How long are you going to keep punishing me for it?” he added.

“You think ‘sorry’ makes this OK?” Amelia shot back “You think you saying sorry is going to change the fact that you ruined something I loved? And now that I am trying to move on with my life, you keep appearing, and keep trying to drag me back, and I can’t deal with it any more. It’s done, Nando. You and me, it’s so over. I don’t love you, any more. I hate that I ever thought that I did” she added.

Fernando blinked, anger giving way to sorrow as Victor and Nora rushed out onto the porch.

Amelia offered Nora an apologetic look, something Nora mirrored.

“I’m going to go” Amelia murmured.


Amelia cut off Nora’s protest with a small shake of her head, subtly gesturing to Victor who was already moving to coax Fernando inside. Nora sighed, squeezing Amelia’s wrist, before she headed back inside after Victor, leaving Amelia stood on the porch, her ears ringing from yet another fight between her and Fernando.