The Space Between Us

65: I Know

“What have you done with Victor and Antonio?” Amelia asked as she glanced over her shoulder at Nora, smiling at her impishly as she watched her slip a bottle of wine out of the fridge.

She couldn’t remember the last time that they had done it. They spent a lot of time together, but usually that time was spent around other people too, either Victor and Antonio or Amelia’s family and Lionel, and whilst Amelia wouldn’t have traded that time for anything, she was looking forwards to having Nora to herself for a little while. Things had changed for both of them. Nora had Antonio to focus on, and Amelia had had her own things to work through, and it meant that she was looking forwards to a quiet night, just her and her best friend.

“They’re having a boys’ day” Nora replied “Victor doesn’t get to spend as much time with Antonio during the week as he’d like, so most Saturdays, they go out for the day. Today, they’ve gone to the zoo with Fernando and Penelope” she added.

Amelia’s smile faltered a little at the mention of Penelope, but she was quick to shake it off, not missing the sympathetic expression that had flitted across Nora’s face. She didn’t want to spend their afternoon talking about Fernando. They had wasted far too many afternoons the same way. “I think it’s sweet that Victor does that” she mused.

Nora’s expression remained sympathetic for a beat, trying to gauge the look on Amelia’s face, before she allowed a soft smile to bloom across her face. “I’ve always told you that he was sweet” she quipped “Though, it’s possible that Antonio’s bought it out of him even more. He’s really great with him” she added as she sat down on the sofa, uncorking the bottle of wine in her hands.

Amelia watched her pour two glasses before she took one for herself, grinning around the top of it as she took a sip.

Nora caught the smile before she shook her head, scoffing out a laugh. “Amelia” she warned.

“What?” Amelia protested innocently.

“I know that look” Nora countered “That’s your ‘Has Victor not proposed yet?’ face. You’ve been giving me the same look for years, and the answer is still the same. No, he hasn’t asked” she added.

“Do you want him to?” Amelia prodded.

Nora stared into her glass for a moment before she slowly nodded her head. “I think I do” she admitted “I know I was a little...on the fence before Antonio was born, but since he’s come along, I have seen this different side of Victor, and it’s made me surer of something I was already about ninety percent certain about. He’s great, and I love him, and if he asked me...” she trailed off, finishing her sentence with a nonchalant shrug.

Amelia let out a little squeal, causing Nora to roll her eyes as she swallowed another mouthful of her drink. “What about you?” she asked.

Amelia’s smile faded a little as she shrugged. “I told you that Leo and I talked it through” she mused “He insists that he’s OK with us not getting married, and I want to believe him, but...I don’t know if I do yet. I think he thinks that he means it, but I just...I don’t want him to have any regrets, and at the moment, I am still worried that he might” she added.

They hadn’t talked about it any more. After the initial video call that she and Lionel had shared, the topic had been shelved, allowing for things to return to normal between them, but Amelia couldn’t quite shake the nagging doubt that lingered at the back of her mind. She knew that Lionel thought that he meant what he’d said, he’d been nothing but genuine with her, but the idea that he could regret it, or end up resenting her for it, was one that she couldn’t shake. She wanted him to be happy, and the idea that she was doing something that could change it worried her.

Nora watched her for a second, opening her mouth to say something, before she thought better of it, taking another sip from her glass.

Amelia tilted her head. “Nora?” she prodded.

“I was going to ask if you thought you could change your mind” Nora admitted “But I realised that that wasn’t fair” she added.

“It’s OK” Amelia quipped “Honestly? I am a little surprised that no one’s asked that already” she added, a faint smile on her face.

“Do you think you could?” Nora asked.

Amelia drew in a deep breath before she let it out slowly, answering Nora with a small shrug. “I don’t know” she said “I mean, I know that I can see a future with him. It’s felt big since we started to see each other, and I can see us being together for a long time, but I just...I can’t shake the idea that another marriage could be the same as the first. I walked into things with Fernando so naively, and now I am over-correcting, and I know it, but I just...right now, it doesn’t feel like the right thing, but maybe it could in the future. I don’t know” she added.

Nora leant over, gently squeezing her knee. “Can I ask you something else?” she asked.

“Can I ever stop you?” Amelia prodded impishly.

Nora smirked, but it was quick to fade. “You say you can see being with him for a long time” she mused “How long is a long time?” she asked.

“I can’t predict the future” Amelia mused.

“I know” Nora said “I just...are we talking about something like you wanted with Nando?” she asked.

“I wanted everything with Fernando” Amelia quipped.

“I know” Nora said “Do you want it with Leo, too?” she asked.

Amelia didn’t reply immediately, waiting so long that Nora regretted asking the question, but eventually she slowly nodded her head. “It looks different” she said “But I think so. I think he’s amazing, Nora, and I think, no, I know that he’d be a great papa some day. I want to be with him for as long as I can be. It’s so different from what I had with Fernando, and I think it’s better. Sometimes I wonder if...if what me and Fernando had was as real as I thought it was” she added.

Nora’s face was bright with a smile as Amelia spoke, but when she caught sight of something over her shoulder, it started to melt away, so much so that Amelia twisted in her seat, glancing back at Fernando and Victor who stood just behind her, Fernando’s hurt stare fixed on her.