The Space Between Us

40: I’m Sorry I Came To You With This


Amelia blinked dazedly, pulling her unfocused stare off of the floor to look up at Lionel who stood over her, his expression hard to place. She knew that she owed him an explanation. Only a handful of minutes after she had called him, and insisted that everything was fine, she had called him back, crying, and it had taken her the drive back to his home to try and compose herself, meaning that Lionel had no idea what had happened. He had guessed part of it. The sympathy in his expression was tinged with anger, and Amelia knew that that was meant for Fernando and not for her, but she hadn’t told him what Fernando had said. She had barely got her own head around the fact that Antonio’s christening had ended in yet another argument between her and Fernando.

Wiping her cheeks, she quirked a weak smile, taking the bottle of water that Lionel was holding out towards her. “Thanks” she said.

Lionel let the bottle slip from his hand into hers before he sunk down onto the sofa next to her.

Amelia took a sip of the water, allowing the silence to draw out between them, before she leant forwards to settle the bottle on the coffee table that was stood in front of her. “He asked me how I could be moving on” she said carefully “I ducked out to call you, and he followed. Once I hung up the phone, he was just...there, asking that question and insinuating that I hadn’t cared about our marriage. I know it shouldn’t have wound me up, but it just...” she trailed off with a frustrated shake of her head.

She knew that it was what Fernando wanted. When he said things like what he had said to her that night, she knew that he did it to get a reaction out of her, and that he was determined to use that reaction as proof that she still felt something for him, but no matter how hard she tried, Amelia couldn’t stop herself from taking the bait. She didn’t need to justify herself to him. Everything she had done from the moment that Gianna had appeared at her front door, a picture of Penelope in hand, had been justified, but she couldn’t help herself. There was something about the way Fernando twisted things that made her react, regardless of how hard she tried to stop herself.

Lionel’s hand settled gently on Amelia’s back, moving in comforting circles.

Amelia closed her eyes at the contact, exhaling a slightly shaky breath. “I messed up Antonio’s party” she muttered “We’d made it so close to the end, but Fernando couldn’t resist taking a shot. I didn’t mean to yell” she added.

“I’m sure you didn’t mess anything up” Lionel mused “And even if you did, Nora will understand” he added.

Amelia looked up at him, her eyes slightly hopeful. “Are you just saying that?” she asked.

Lionel gently tucked her hair back off of her face, shaking his head.

Amelia leant into his palm, allowing Lionel to dip forwards, gently pressing his lips to the crown of her head. “Do you need anything?” he asked “Even if it is just a lift home. Say the word, and it’s yours” he added.

“Can I stay?” Amelia asked.

Lionel blinked. “If that’s what you want” he said.

Amelia nodded her head, wiping at her eyes again. “Have you got something I can change into?” she asked.

“There’s loads of t-shirts in my room” Lionel replied “Follow me up and I will grab you one and show you to the bathroom” he added.

Amelia wordlessly nodded, taking the hand that Lionel held out to her and allowing him to guide her up the stairs..

Lazily tracing patterns against Lionel’s stomach, Amelia exhaled a contented sigh, a faint smile tickling the corner of her mouth when she realised that the lump that had been present in her throat almost all day had evaporated. She had been waiting for things to go wrong. From the moment that Nora had told her that Victor had insisted on Fernando being Antonio’s godfather, she had been anticipating the fight that had inevitably followed, but all of the negative feelings that she had felt when she had left Nora and Victor’s home had evaporated thanks to the man whose chest she had her head settled on.

Lionel hadn’t made her talk. He had given her time and space to get her thoughts together, and when she had decided to talk, he hadn’t chimed in. He had let her get whatever she wanted to off of her chest whilst restraining the anger that he felt. He hadn’t told her what a mistake Fernando was. He had just let her talk, and when she had finished, he had offered her the comfort she needed. She wasn’t used to it. Her family had always tried to comfort her, but more often than not, their comfort was accompanied by reminders of just how big a mistake she had made with Fernando, and it was pleasant change for Amelia just to have the comfort. She didn’t need to be told just how wrong she had gotten things with Fernando.

Turning her head slightly, she pressed a soft kiss against Lionel’s chest, causing him to pull his stare away from the television to smile down at her gently. “You OK?” he asked.

Amelia nodded. “Much better” she confirmed “Thanks for letting me stay” she added.

“What else was I supposed to do?” Lionel chirped impishly.

Amelia made a show of rolling her eyes before she settled her head back on his chest, exhaling another soft sigh. “I’m sorry” she murmured after a few moments of quiet.

“What are you sorry for?” Lionel asked.

“You can’t love listening to me talk about Fernando” Amelia said “So I am sorry that I came to you with this” she added.

Lionel was quiet for a long moment before he sat up, causing Amelia to sit up with him. “I want you to come to me” he said.

Amelia shook her head. “Leo...”

“I want you to come to me when you’re upset, Lia” Lionel interrupted “It doesn’t matter what I think of Fernando. If you need someone to lean on, I want to be one of the first people you think of. You don’t have to apologise for tonight, or thank me for letting you stay. I want to do these things for you” he added, his voice softening a little.

Amelia wasn’t wrong. Every mention of Fernando, and he had noticed that they were remarkably frequent, was a reminder of what had happened between them. It was a reminder of every missed opportunity, of the morning of Amelia’s wedding day and the year that they had spent apart, but he would have listened to her talk about him forever if it was what it took to make her feel comforted. He wanted to be that for her, a person that she could turn to when she was having a rough day, and he didn’t want her to think that she needed to apologise or thank him for it. He just wanted to be one of the many people she could turn to when she needed someone.

Amelia blinked owlishly, a complicated expression passing over her features. “You do?” she asked.

“I don’t think you can have too many people around you in times like these” Lionel said “And I know that we’re taking things really slowly, but I still consider myself a friend of yours. You’d go to Nora, so I want you to feel like you can come to me” he added, a shy smile on his face.

The same complicated look crossed Amelia’s face before she shook her head, focussing on fiddling with the bottom of the t-shirt that Lionel had given her to change into. “You’re more than a friend” she murmured “You do know that, don’t you?” she added.

Lionel nodded wordlessly. He knew it, even if he didn’t quite know what they were instead.

Amelia lifted her eyes to meet his. “I wanted to come to you” she admitted “After...After the fight with Nando. I didn’t even think about staying with Nora, or going to my mother’s. I just...I wanted you” she added.

Lionel’s answering smile was small, but Amelia could see how much what she had said meant to him. After only a second of hesitation, she leant in, kissing him softly, before she pulled back, her eyes searching his. The conversation that they had didn’t have any words, just a couple of looks, but it ended with Amelia laying back against the mattress, and Lionel gently reaching for the hem of her t-shirt before he pulled it over her head.