The Space Between Us

47: I Don’t Blame You For Being Scared Too

Carefully pushing Amelia’s messy hair back off of her face, Lionel exhaled a quiet contented sigh, the starts of a lopsided smile pulling at his lips. He couldn’t help himself. Despite the almost endless loop of warnings that had filtered through his mind, reminding him that things between him and Amelia would still move slowly, even despite the new status of their relationship, he couldn’t stop himself from grinning, and he hoped that, when Amelia woke up, she would be the same.

He was all too aware that there was a chance that she wouldn’t be. Since Lionel had re-entered her life, he had noticed that she had a tendency to do things before she had fully thought them through, and he couldn’t ignore the part of his mind that worried that what had happened between them the previous night had been another example of it, but he had tried his hardest to silence it. He wanted to believe that it was real. He wanted to believe that when Amelia had admitted that she was ready to move their relationship forwards, she had been serious, and until he had something to disprove it, he would.

Moving to brush another flyaway hair away from her eyes, he lightly brushed a kiss against her forehead before he rolled away, sitting up on the side of the mattress. Stifling a yawn into his hand, he sat on the edge of the bed for a few moments before he felt a light tug on the back of his t-shirt, causing him to turn and glance over his shoulder, his lips quirking at the sight of Amelia who smiled up at him sleepily. For a second, neither of them said a word, just allowing small bashful smiles to brighten their faces before Lionel leant forwards, gently pressing his lips to hers. It was a soft kiss, tentative and shy, but when they parted, they were both still smiling softly.

“Did I wake you?” Lionel asked.

Amelia, who’d moved to settle against the headboard, shook her head as she tried to brush the knots out of her hair. “I’ve been half awake for a little while” she admitted “And my alarm’s going to go off in a few minutes” she added.

Lionel glanced towards the end table before he leant forwards, switching off the alarm that was set on Amelia’s clock.

Amelia watched him with a soft smile before she reached for his hand, gently twisting their fingers together. “Are you OK?” she asked.

Lionel wanted to nod, but he knew that Amelia had seen his momentary hesitation. Her loose grasp on his hand tightened a fraction, a wordless reassurance that, if he had something that was bothering him, she was there to listen to it. Shaking his head slightly, he fixed his stare on their hands briefly before he glanced up at her face. “Was last night real?” he asked carefully “I mean, it felt real, but you sometimes do things without really thinking them through, and I just...I am not saying that that’s what happened, but I just...I want to make sure that what I think is happening, is actually happening” he added, grimacing slightly at how awkwardly his words had come out.

Amelia blinked a couple of times, an expression passing across her features that caused Lionel to try and pull away, but she didn’t let his hand slip from hers. “Leo” she protested gently.

Lionel turned back to look at her. “Am I kidding myself?” he asked.

“No” Amelia said “I meant what I said last night. And you’re right, I have done some things without really thinking them all the way through, but last night wasn’t one of them. I am not going to sit here and pretend that everything’s going to be amazing and perfect, because I am pretty sure that the only thing I can guarantee is that I am going to make a whole lot of mistakes, but I meant it. I care about you, a lot, and if you’re ready to make things more serious, then I am willing to try, too” she added, a hopeful smile brightening her face.

She understood why he was hesitant to believe her. Since he had reappeared in her life, she had been a little all over the place, and had done things that, almost as soon as she had done them, she had regretted, but the previous night wasn’t one of them. It had been growing for a while. Their not-quite-friendship had allowed her to get close to him, to see him around the people she loved, and see that he wasn’t just going to disappear when things got difficult, and all of it had been enough to reassure her that she was ready for things to become more serious, something she wanted him to see, too. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, the previous night had been a result of everything that had happened between them since they’d run into one another again, and whilst she couldn’t guarantee that it’d go perfectly, she had become comfortable enough with him to be ready to give it a shot.

Lionel’s eyes searched hers, looking for any sign of uncertainty, before Amelia squeezed his hand softly. “I am scared” she admitted “And I don’t blame you for being scared, too. Fernando did a lot of damage, and I can’t promise that there’s not going to be any kind of hangover from that, but I feel ready to try. I want to try this with you. I want to be the girlfriend of the guy who gave up his Thursday nights, just to have dinner with me. I want to be the girlfriend of the guy who just wants to be there for me, no questions asked” she added.

Lionel hesitated for another moment, before his expression softened, allowing a gentle smile to bloom across his face. “Well, I would like to be your boyfriend” he admitted.

Amelia grinned at him, something which caused Lionel’s smile to widen a fraction before he leant forwards, gently pressing his lips to her forehead. After a moment, he drew back, mumbling about making the two of them breakfast before he padded out of the room, leaving Amelia smiling after him gently. She didn’t know how it would go. She didn’t know if they’d find a way to make it work, or if what Fernando had done, and the man himself, would ruin things, but she knew that she had to try. She had already overlooked Lionel once, and it wasn’t a mistake she was going to make again.