The Space Between Us

66: They’ll Be So Proud Of Us

Fernando didn’t speak right away, but he didn’t look away from Amelia, not even when Victor and Nora mumbled excuses and shuffled out of the room, leaving the two of them alone. He knew that he shouldn’t have been as surprised as he was. After everything that had happened between them, the mess that he had made, he would have been more surprised if Amelia hadn’t had regrets about the two of them, but knowing that she probably had them and hearing her actually say it were two markedly different things, and when Fernando had heard Amelia admit that she didn’t quite know if what they’d had had ever been real, it’d felt like a blow to his stomach.

He knew how many mistakes he’d made, and how badly he’d hurt her, but he still hated the idea that she doubted the reality of their relationship. It had been completely real. Regardless of what had been happening between him and Gianna, his feelings for Amelia were as real as they could have been, and he had thought that Amelia’s for him had been, too. He thought that she regretted loving him, not doubted that she had ever loved him at all.

Hearing Nora and Victor’s footsteps retreat, he searched Amelia’s eyes for another long moment before he exhaled a soft sigh, shaking his head almost in disbelief. “You don’t think you ever really loved me?” he asked. His voice wasn’t sharp, it wasn’t an accusation. It was just a question.

Amelia, who’d stood up opposite him, shook her head as she wrapped her arms around herself. “That’s not what I said” she countered.

“You said you wondered if it was real” Fernando said.

“I thought it was real” Amelia replied “I believed everything you said to me, Nando. I believed all of the promises you made me, all of the times you looked at me like I was your whole world. I believed everything, and then I found out it was probably all lies” she added.

Fernando flinched, but still shook his head defiantly. “It wasn’t lies” he said.


“I know what I did, Amelia” Fernando’s voice grew sharper, cutting off Amelia’s inevitable mention of Gianna “But that doesn’t mean I lied to you about everything. I told lies, too many for you to want to forgive, but not everything was a lie. How I felt about you, what I said when I asked you to marry me, everything about that was real” he added.

Amelia’s eyes searched his face for a long moment before she looked down at her feet, shifting them uncomfortably. “I know it was” she admitted “And what you walked in on, what I was saying to Nora, I wasn’t questioning whether or not I loved you, because I did, once upon a time. I was just...I was trying to explain that this...this thing that I’ve got with Leo...” she trailed off, shaking her head in frustration at not being able to find the right words.

She didn’t want to hurt Fernando. As much as no one would have blamed her if she did, she had promised herself after their breakup that she would never do anything to deliberately cause him pain, and it meant that she had stopped short of admitting that her relationship with Lionel felt better to her than what she and Fernando had had. She knew how it would sound. Her relationship with Fernando had ended, and it would have sounded hollow that her relationship with Lionel, which was still going strong, was better for her, and so she had stopped herself from saying it. She didn’t want to have to try and justify her feelings to her ex-husband.

Fernando’s hurt expression softened a little. “It’s big?” he asked “You and Leo?” he added.

Amelia hesitated, but did nod. “I think so” she admitted “I know you probably don’t want to hear it, but I really...I love him, Nando” she added.

Fernando grimaced, but nodded his head. “I know you do” he said.

“You do?” Amelia asked.

Fernando nodded again. “There’s a picture in your living room” he mused “Of you and him. You look so happy in it, happier than I have seen you since Gianna. I want you to be happy, Amelia. I just...I am still trying to get used to the idea that making you happy is no longer my job. I know why it is how it is, and I know that there’s nothing I can do to change it, but I...” he trailed off, a pained smile on his face.

Amelia nodded her head slowly. She knew what he was trying to say. He was trying to suggest that he still wished that there was something he could do, some way he could repair the damage he’d done, but Amelia already knew that there wasn’t. Even without Lionel, and everything that they had together, the trust that she had had in Fernando had been too badly eroded and she knew that there was no restoring it. She knew that there would probably never come a day when she looked up at Fernando and wasn’t transported back to the moment that she had opened her front door to Gianna and felt the world turn on its head.

Fernando’s stare stayed on her face, searching for any little flicker of hope he could cling onto, but when he saw nothing, he dropped his head with a soft sigh of resignation. “I hope that he makes you as happy as you deserve to be” he said “I hope he’s everything you think he was, unlike me” he added.

“I think he is” Amelia said.

Fernando opened his mouth like he wanted to say something, but he was quick to dismiss it with a shake of his head, offering Amelia a clearly pained smile instead. “I should get out of here” he quipped “I don’t want to keep Nora and Victor out of their own living room for too long” he added.

Amelia smiled back at him sadly. “At least it didn’t end in shouting this time” she quipped.

“That’s pretty rare” Fernando played along “They’ll be so proud of us” he added.

Amelia let out a soft laugh that earned a small, genuine smile from Fernando before he stepped towards her, wrapping her in a hug that, after a few moments, Amelia returned before he stepped away and ducked out of the room, leaving Amelia staring after him. It felt like an end, like that was the first time Fernando had really seen that there was no way back for them, and Amelia hoped that it stuck. They both needed to move forwards.