The Space Between Us

58: I Didn’t Know Who I Could Trust

“Did I show you how to warm up his bottle?”

Lionel, who was sat on the sofa next to Amelia, quirked a lopsided smile, watching as she ignored Nora’s question in favour of fussing over Antonio who was sat in her lap, grabbing at the toy she held for him. Still smiling slightly, he looked up at Nora and nodded. “You did show her” he mused “And even if you hadn’t, I have warmed a bottle before. I’d help” he added.

Nora exhaled a soft sigh, flashing Lionel a grateful smile. “That’s why I am glad she brought you” she mused “Thank you for coming” she added.

Lionel answered with a small shrug, wordlessly telling Nora that it was nothing.


Nora blinked a couple of times, moving her stare off of Amelia and Antonio and up towards Victor who stood in the doorway, smoothing out the black tie he wore. Exhaling another soft sigh, she nodded to him before she glanced down at Amelia. “Are you sure that you don’t want to come?” she asked “I know how close you got to Fabio when...Are you sure that you don’t want to be there?” she added.

It was a question that everyone in the room had asked Amelia. She had been close to Fernando’s father, and with his funeral having arrived, they had all attempted to coax her into attending, worried that she wouldn’t allow herself to grieve if she didn’t, but each time she had shot them down, something that had them all worried. They knew why she was avoiding it. The prospect of being in a room, not only with Fernando, but with the rest of his family, a family she had once been a part of, was likely to be too overwhelming for her, but it didn’t stop them from worrying. When she wanted to, Amelia could be too good at running away from her feelings.

“I’m sure” Amelia mused, her stare still on Antonio.

Nora offered her a slightly sceptical look before she turned her stare to Lionel, wordlessly asking him to keep an eye on her.

Lionel nodded before Nora stepped forwards, pressing a soft kiss to the top of Antonio’s head. “We shouldn’t be back too late” she mused “If you need us for anything, just call. You’ve got both of our numbers” she added.

Amelia finally looked up from Antonio. “We’ll be fine” she mused.

Nora held her stare for a second, knowing that Amelia was talking about more than just looking after Antonio, before she slowly nodded her head. “Alright” she mused “We’ll see the three of you later” she added before she walked over to Victor, leaving Lionel, Amelia and Antonio alone.

The room was quiet for a while. Amelia cooed softly at Antonio who was more than happy to babble back at her, and Lionel just sat and watched them for a while, until Amelia looked up and caught his eye, a bashful smile dancing across her lips. “What?” she asked.

Lionel answered with a shrug and a small smile. “I was just thinking about that time I dropped in on you when you were babysitting for your sister” he mused “You were so excited, but so nervous that you were going do something wrong. I don’t think you stopped moving for the entirety of the time I was there” he added with a little laugh.

Amelia grinned, shaking her head embarrassedly. “I don’t know why I was so worried” she mused “Charlie was already walking and talking. All he wanted to do was sit there and watch his cartoons” she added.

Lionel let out another soft laugh that faded quickly, leaving behind a silence that was partway between tense and comfortable. Fiddling with the strap of his watch, he watched as Amelia stood up and settled Antonio down into his playpen before he sighed. “Why didn’t you go with Victor and Nora?” he asked.

Amelia didn’t react immediately, still busy making sure that Antonio was settled, but eventually she turned and looked at him, a tired expression on her face. “A lot of reasons” she replied “All of the ones you’ve already thought of, but mostly? I didn’t want to make today any harder for anyone, and by going, I would have done” she added.

“I just worry” Lionel mused “Nora told me that you were close to Fabio. I just don’t want you to bottle up your feelings” he added.

Amelia, who’d sat back down next to him, quirked a faint smile as she took a hold of his hand, gently playing with his fingers. “I liked Fabio” she admitted after a moment of quiet “Fernando’s mother, Lucia, she’s quite a lot. She always wanted a daughter, so when I came along, she was a little overexcited, and she never really stopped being overexcited. But Fabio was different. He saw that I was a little overwhelmed, a little out of my depth, and he looked out for me. He was quiet, and we had a few things in common. I used to watch Barca games with him” she added.

Lionel’s grip on her hand tightened fractionally. “Yeah?” he prodded.

“Fernando doesn’t like it much” Amelia mused “Neither do his brothers, but I could sit and watch it with Fabio. It was one of the things I missed most when things between me and Nando ended. I actually missed all of them at first. Lucia was a lot, but she was sweet, and Franco and Felipe were nice, too, but after Gianna, I didn’t know which of them I could trust any more. I don’t know if they knew about Penelope, but I think they did, and that means that, every time I spent time with them, they all lied to me. It was pretty hard to want to see them again after that” she added.

Lionel gently coaxed her into leaning into his side, allowing him to press a soft kiss against her temple.

Amelia exhaled a soft sigh at his touch. “I’m sad that he’s gone” she murmured after a moment of quiet.

“I know you are” Lionel mused “I just...I want you to know that you can talk to me about this stuff. If you need to talk, I am here to listen. Even if it is Fernando stuff” he added, lightly poking her side.

He knew she worried about making him feel awkward, but he wanted to reassure her that she didn’t need to be. He knew that what had happened between her and Fernando had been a big part of her life, and whilst it had had consequences for the two of them, he didn’t want her to feel bad about talking about it. Fernando’s relationship with Amelia, and his own, were two separate things, and he was capable of listening to her talk about it without feeling threatened. Their relationship was good, and he had no reason to believe it couldn’t continue to be.

Amelia huffed out a soft laugh, squirming away from him slightly. “I know” she mused.

“Don’t forget it” Lionel chirped.

Amelia looked up at him, a soft smile on her face. “I love you” she mused.

Lionel pressed his lips to her forehead, smiling gently. “I love you, too” he murmured.