The Space Between Us

62: I Wish I Could Give You The Answer

“You didn’t need to do that”

Amelia, who’d been absent-mindedly moving a sponge over the surface of a dirty plate, startled at the sound of her mother’s voice, blinking out of her thoughts before she turned towards the doorway, watching as Felicity strode in with another armful of plates. She hadn’t heard her coming. When Nora and Alexa had started making their excuses to leave, Amelia had been quick to duck away, hoping to avoid anyone else asking if she was OK, and she had assumed that it would keep Felicity and Albert busy for a while.

They had a lot to fuss over. Alexa and Asier had bought Charlie, and the news that they were expecting their second baby, and Nora and Victor had bought Antonio, who her parents thought of as a second grandchild, and it meant that Amelia had assumed that she would have a while to herself. She had thought that she would have a little more time to perfect the pasted on smile she knew she would have to flash a handful more times before she left her parents’ home.

“I thought I was being helpful” Amelia replied, returning her attention to the sink “I didn’t want to leave it all for you and Albert” she added.

“You leave it for us every other week” Felicity chirped, settling the new plates down onto the counter “Though, I suppose you’re usually a little too busy with Leo to notice” she added.

Amelia really tried not to flinch, but when she caught sight of her mother’s face out of the corner of her eye, she knew that she had failed. Immediately, Felicity’s expression grew sympathetic, something which caused Amelia to sigh gently. “You mentioned him on purpose” she stated rather than asked.

“I figured you weren’t completely lying” Felicity said “You’re upset about something, and it’s got something to do with Leo, but I am pretty sure it’s more than just him leaving for a few weeks. So, what’s going on?” she prodded gently.

Amelia moved the sponge over another plate, taking a moment to think about what she wanted to say, before she looked up at her mother, a sad smile on her face. “Things are weird” she admitted “We...we had a conversation last night, and it ended on a weird note, and we didn’t talk about it this morning, so now he’s gone, and things feel weird, and I really don’t know what to do about it” she added, shaking her head ruefully.

Felicity nodded her head slowly before she stepped towards the sink, gently prying the already clean plate out of Amelia’s hands. Stepping away, she retrieved a towel and placed it into Amelia’s hand before she coaxed her into a chair at the kitchen table. She didn’t say anything, just watched as Amelia dried her hands, before Amelia shook her head, looking up at her apologetically. “I’m sorry” she murmured “You go through so much trouble every week, and I have been all mopey” she added.

Felicity shook her head, gently squeezing Amelia’s hand. “I like the trouble” she mused “And you don’t need to apologise. What’s going on, Amelia?” she asked gently.

Amelia looked down at her lap, exhaling a soft sigh. “I...I told him that I didn’t want to get married again” she said “Alexa made some comment when we were at dinner, and he wanted to talk about it, and...and that’s what came out. He didn’t really say anything after that. He told me that he understood, that he knew how much damage Nando had done, but you didn’t see the look on his face, mama. He looked so disappointed, and I hate that I put that expression on his face, but I just...How am I supposed to trust that it would work?” she pressed, looking up at her mother pleadingly.

She wanted her to have the answer. She wanted Felicity to be able to look at her and tell her what the right thing to do was, but when she saw the sympathy in her mother’s eyes, the tiny part of her that had hoped deflated. There wasn’t a simple right answer. Amelia’s fear of getting married for a second time wasn’t just going to dissipate, and neither was Lionel’s disappointment that she couldn’t see marriage in their future, and as long as both of those things were true, there was going to be tension between them. They loved one another, neither of them doubted it, but the idea that their futures didn’t line up was scary.

“Mama?” Amelia asked gently.

Felicity smiled sadly. “I wish I could give you the answer” she said “But I don’t know what it is, so I will just tell you something. I know that our situations are really different. Your papa, my Bruno, he died, and it means that the feelings I have for him are markedly different from those that you have for Fernando, but after he was gone, I was certain that I would never fall in love again” she added.

“Really?” Amelia asked.

Felicity’s next smile was wistful. “Your papa was the most amazing guy” she mused “He was so bright, so warm, so loving. He was just the best guy, and I loved him with everything I had, so when he...he passed, I was certain that I’d never find anything half as good, and I told myself that it was OK. I had had Bruno, and I had two beautiful little girls, and I was going to be OK on my own, but then I met Albert and I fell in love with him. It’s not exactly like it was with Bruno. It was slower, and more careful, but it’s just as strong and deep” she added.

“What’s your point, mama?” Amelia prodded.

Felicity squeezed her hand gently. “That what happened with Fernando, it shouldn’t effect what you want to happen with you and Leo” she said “I know that it’s made you more cautious, and no one could blame you for that, but you can be cautious, and not write things off. He didn’t ask you to marry him now, Amelia. He just wanted to know if there was a scenario where you could see it. If you can’t see it, then that’s fine. You should be honest with him, obviously. I just...I don’t want you to throw something aside because Fernando turned out to be a mistake. He was one, but there’s nothing to suggest that Leo will be” she added.

Amelia slowly nodded her head in place of answering. She didn’t know what to say.

Felicity offered her another sympathetic smile, and another squeeze of her hand, before Albert called out, preceding his strolling into the kitchen, gushing about Antonio smiling at him for the first time. Felicity stood up, grinning at him happily, and Amelia sat and watched them, mulling over everything her mother had said to her.