The Space Between Us

45: Eventually

Setting her glass down onto the patio next to her, Amelia looked back across her parents’ garden, her gaze catching on Lionel who was sat with Albert and Asier, grinning at something her stepfather had said. He had been accepted effortlessly. Despite her mother’s complaints about the invitation having been last minute, and not being prepared to host Lionel, he had fit into their routine seamlessly, and, unlike the first time he’d accompanied her, Amelia had left him to it. She had been scared. The first time he had visited her parents home with her, she had been scared of people saying too much, or asking too many questions that neither she nor Lionel really knew the answers to, but the fear wasn’t as overwhelming that time around.

It was still there. She had caught looks on her mother’s face that screamed her desire to ask for some kind of definition for what was happening between the two of them, and she had seen similar looks on Albert and Alexa’s face, but she had chosen to ignore them. She knew what would happen if she focussed on them too much. She would worry herself out of enjoying the morning, and that was the last thing she wanted to do. For the first time in a long time, she felt settled, and she didn’t want to worry the feeling away. Instead, she just wanted to enjoy a quiet and comfortable morning surrounded by the people she loved most in the world.

Catching Lionel’s eye, she flashed him a small bashful smile, something which caused him to wink playfully in reply before he turned back to his conversation, leaving Amelia shaking her head to herself until the sound of her glass being refilled caught her attention, drawing her stare up towards Felicity.

Felicity smiled down at her, amusement sparkling in her eyes. “I didn’t mean to interrupt” she quipped “I just wanted to finish up what was in the jug so I could put it in the dishwasher” she added, lifting up the empty jug for emphasis.

Amelia made a show of rolling her eyes, hoping it would distract from her pink cheeks. “You’re not interrupting anything” she said “I was supposed to be playing with Charlie, but he got mud all over his hands, so Lexi took him inside. I’m just waiting for him to come back” she added.

Felicity nodded slowly as she sat down next to her daughter. “And in the meantime, you’re just making eyes at the guy that you insist I shouldn’t call your boyfriend” she chirped.

“I wasn’t staring at him” Amelia retorted, her voice slightly too urgent “I was just staring into space” she added.

Felicity laughed gently, patting Amelia’s hand. “It’s OK” she mused “I mean, I know you’re not ready for labels yet, but you don’t have to pretend that you don’t even like him. You bought him home with you, Lia. I think the cat might be out of the bag when it comes to that” she added.

It was Amelia’s go to response. Whenever someone asked her what was happening between her and Lionel, Amelia tended to try and downplay it, trying to avoid people asking too many questions, and Felicity wanted to reassure her that it wasn’t necessary. Amelia was scared. She was scared of letting herself get too far into something again, scared that people around her would question if she was really ready to have something serious with Lionel, and Felicity wanted to prove to her that she didn’t need to be. No one in her family, or her circle of friends, wanted to cause problems. They only wanted to see her happy again.

Amelia answered with a bashful smile.

“Why did you bring him?” Felicity asked.

Amelia’s stare drifted back to Lionel before she shrugged. “He stayed over last night” she said “And I...I guess I wasn’t ready to stop spending time with him. You’d already told me that there was no way that you were going to let me skip coming over here, so I asked him to come with me. I know it was really last minute, but I didn’t know that I would want to bring him until this morning” she added.

“I don’t mind it being last minute” Felicity said “I was just curious. I know he’s been here before, but that was because I pushed you into bringing him. I was surprised that you brought him here without prompting. I am not surprised to find out that you invited him just because you like being near him” she added.

Amelia ducked her head, picking at a loose thread on her jeans. “Can I tell you something?” she asked.

“Anything” Felicity mused “Always” she added.

Amelia was quiet for a second before she looked back up at her mother, a shy smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “I really like him” she admitted “And I think that...that I might want to make things more...serious between us, but I can’t quite find the nerve to admit that to him. I am scared, mama. I want to do it, and I think that he wants it, too, but I just...I’m scared” she added.

Felicity lifted a hand, gently tucking Amelia’s hair back off of her face. “It’s OK to be scared” she said.

“It’s big” Amelia agreed with a little nod.

“It is big” Felicity mused “And after what Fernando put you through, you’re probably a lot more hesitant than you used to be, and that’s understandable. No one is expecting you to run at this, but if it feels right, if you want it, then there’s no reason not to go for it. I know it’s easy to see the risks, and to focus on only them, but there’s also always a chance that it works. It didn’t work with Fernando, but Leo’s not Fernando” she added, a soft, encouraging smile on her face.

Amelia’s eyes searched her mother’s face, finding nothing but warmth and reassurance in her expression, before she quirked a gentle smile, nodding her head resolutely. “I’ll talk to him” she said “Eventually” she added.

Felicity pressed a kiss against her forehead. “It’ll be fine” she enthused “I mean, you’ve not been looking at him, but he hasn’t stopped staring at you. I think there’s something there” she added, letting out a soft laugh when Amelia’s head whipped around to catch Lionel’s stare.