The Space Between Us

43: Let’s Not Try To

Watching as Lionel steered the car around another corner, Amelia frowned to herself, still trying to figure out what had caused Lionel to be so quiet. He had been enjoying himself. When she had ducked out of the room to take a call from a colleague, she had left him grinning at something that Nora had said, but when she had come back, the change in him had been obvious to her. He had still been polite. He had laughed at Nora’s jokes, and even made pleasant conversation with Fernando who had been more welcoming than Amelia could have hoped for, but Amelia knew that something was off. Since they’d gotten into his car and started the journey back to his home, he’d barely said two words to her.

Turning her stare out of the window, she watched the city fly by before she pressed her forehead against the glass, exhaling a soft sigh. “What did Victor say?” she asked quietly.

Lionel’s eyes didn’t stray from the road. “What makes you think he said anything?” he asked.

Amelia turned to offer him a flat look. “Really?” she asked.

Lionel exhaled a quiet sigh, dipping his head ever so slightly. “Is it really that obvious?” he asked.

“To me, it is” Amelia replied “I don’t think Nora and Victor noticed that anything was wrong, but I did. One minute, you seemed to be really enjoying yourself, and the next you seemed to be going through the motions. I figured that he must have said something when I ducked out to take that call. What was it?” she added.

Lionel adjusted his grip on the steering wheel, sparing Amelia a look out of the corner of his eye. He knew that most of what Victor had told him wouldn’t come as a surprise. It was obvious that Fernando still had feelings for Amelia, and the idea that he was trying to keep himself involved in her life wouldn’t have come as a surprise either, but the idea that Victor was scared for her, that he was worried that Fernando would prove to be too much for Lionel was something he was more hesitant to admit.

He wanted to dismiss the idea. He wanted to be able to reassure Amelia that, no matter what Fernando threw at them, they’d be able to weather it, but it felt like a promise that was too big to make in a relationship that they were still figuring out. They were in a good place, in that moment, but he didn’t know how long it would last. He didn’t want to make a promise that was too big for what they were.

“Leo?” Amelia prodded gently.

“He told me that Fernando still loves you” Lionel admitted.

Amelia nodded her head slowly, not quite sure what to say.

“He told me that Fernando’s not going anywhere” Lionel continued “Which wasn’t exactly a surprise” he added.

Amelia exhaled a quiet sigh. “He scared you” she murmured.


“He told you that Fernando’s going to throw everything he’s got at us” Amelia interrupted “He’s going to say things and do things, all aimed at keeping me alone, and that’s got you scared” she added.

Lionel wanted to object, but when Amelia let out a quiet scoff, he knew that the look on his face had given him away.

Shaking her head, Amelia turned to look out of the window again, taking a moment to try and control her frustration before she turned back to look at Lionel. “I can’t stop him” she said “I wish that I could, but I can’t. Victor was right, because of my friendship with Nora, Fernando’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be around, and he’s going to say things, because that’s just him, and I am probably going to get upset by whatever he says, but that’s not a reason to not do this” she added.

“I didn’t say that it was” Lionel countered.

Amelia offered him a sad smile. “You didn’t have to say it” she said.

Lionel pulled the car to a stop outside of his house before he sunk back into his seat, pushing a hand back through his hair. “I just don’t want to make anything harder on you” he said after a moment of quiet.

Amelia reached across the centre console, gently slotting her fingers through his. “You’re not” she said “Fernando is the one making things difficult. You’re a good thing, Leo. Please, don’t let him scare you off. I know that we’re still trying to figure out exactly where this is going, but I don’t want to lose it. It’s going to be difficult, but I want to try, and Fernando’s not a reason not to. He doesn’t get a say in what I do, or who I do it with, and I want to do this, with you” she added.

Lionel’s eyes searched her face for a long moment before he leant across the centre console, pressing a soft kiss against her forehead.

Amelia’s hand gripped at his shirt, keeping him close as he leant back. “I am scared, too” she admitted.

Lionel exhaled a soft sigh into her hair. “I’m not scared of what Fernando can do to me” he said “There’s nothing about me that you don’t know. You even know why I disappeared like I did after the wedding. I just...I’m scared that by being with me, you’re putting an even bigger target on your back. Victor said that Fernando wouldn’t stop until we were over, and I don’t like the idea of there being a scenario where you and I end up hurting each other” he explained. He’d take anything that Fernando could throw at him, but the last thing he wanted was to see Amelia get hurt again, or worse, to be the one who ended up hurting her.

Amelia tilted her head back to look up at him. “We can’t predict the future” she said.

Lionel nodded. “I know” he said.

Amelia’s lips quirked upwards ever so slightly. “Then let’s not try to” she said “Let’s just be happy, because we are happy, Leo” she added.

Lionel wanted to argue, to point out that he was just trying to be cautious, or protective, but the soft smile on Amelia’s face won him over, eventually coaxing a soft smile of his own onto his features. With a soft, sighed laugh, he nodded his head in agreement, something which made Amelia’s smile widen before she dipped into him, sneaking a soft kiss that he was more than happy to melt into.