The Space Between Us

67: I Think I Will Be Happy

Adjusting the strap of her bag on her shoulder, Amelia glanced around the airport terminal again, searching for any sign of Lionel. She had tried to tell him that he didn’t need to come and meet her. After weeks apart, the extra hour that it would take for her to get from the airport to the hotel that they were staying at would make little difference, but as much as she had tried to dissuade him, she had been secretly delighted when he had insisted.

Things still felt a little strained between them. Despite the conversation that they had had about what their future looked like, and the agreement that they had reached, there was still a bad feeling that lingered in the pit of Amelia’s stomach, and she hoped that, the sooner she saw him face to face, the sooner the feeling would disappear. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, why she still felt cautious about their relationship despite Lionel’s reassurance that he had meant what he’d said, but she hadn’t quite been able to fully shake it, no matter how many times they had spoken like everything was as good as it had ever been. She hoped that seeing him, that being in the same space, would be the tonic to her worries.

Letting her stare wander over the sporadic terminal crowd, she exhaled a slightly disappointed sigh before she shuffled forwards, moving slowly towards the airport exit. Watching her feet, she made it only a couple of steps before someone stepped in front of her, causing her to look up.

Lionel, who’d stopped ahead of her, watched her eyes search his face before, slowly, her face lit up with a soft smile, one he couldn’t resist mirroring. He had seen it a million times on the screen of his tablet in the previous few weeks, but it bore little comparison to seeing it on her face in person. “Hi” he breathed.

“Hi” Amelia’s voice was soft with something like awe, like she couldn’t quite believe that he was there.

Neither of them moved for a few long seconds, taking a moment to take in the fact that they were back in the same place, before Lionel stepped forwards, gently prying Amelia’s bag off of her shoulder and settling it on his own. Amelia flashed him a soft smile before she gently twisted her fingers through his, following his lead as he led her towards the exit.

Sinking into the balcony’s sofa, Amelia closed her eyes happily, taking a moment to listen to the soft sounds of the city around her. She was happy to be there. Despite the fact that she hadn’t managed to shake the bad feeling from the pit of her stomach, and the fact that she and Lionel seemed to be a little nervous around one another, she was glad to be with him again, and she wanted to take a second to bask in it, knowing that, eventually, they would end up talking about what had happened whilst they’d been apart.

It wasn’t something that they could just leave alone. What Lionel had said was big, and whilst he had seemed so sure of it in the moment, Amelia knew she would end up asking him if he was still, and she knew that that would lead to another big conversation, something which would probably overwhelm the happiness that she felt at just being in the same place as him for the first time in weeks.

Tipping her head back slightly, she allowed the evening’s light breeze to brush over her features before she heard the screen door open and close, causing her to look over at Lionel who’d stopped a couple of steps short of her, a slightly apologetic smile on his face. “I didn’t mean to disturb you” he said “I was just wondering if you’d given any thought about what you wanted to do for dinner” he added.

Amelia shook her head, a soft smile on her face. “You’re not disturbing anything” she said.

Lionel offered her a playfully dubious look. “Are you sure about that?” he asked.

Amelia’s answering nod was immediate as she shuffled to one side of the sofa, making room for him at her side. “I did kind of come here to see you” she mused.

Lionel hesitated for a second before he moved into the space she had made for him, something which caused Amelia’s lips to quirk into a smile that was somewhere between amused and nervous. Lionel caught the smile out of the corner of his eye, something which caused him to huff out a nervous laugh. “It feels like it’s been forever since we were in the same place” he admitted.

“The last time we were, we left things in a weird place” Amelia quipped.

Lionel huffed out another laugh, one that was slightly more embarrassed, causing Amelia to turn into his side, gently wrapping an arm around him. “We don’t have to talk about it” she said.

Lionel gently kissed the top of her head, exhaling a soft sigh into her hair. “I’m sorry I left things like I did” he murmured after a moment of quiet “I hate that I left you worried. I was just caught off guard. But I have had time to think about it, and I meant what I said when we talked, Amelia” he added.

Amelia tilted her head, looking up at him. “I’ve been thinking, too” she admitted.

“Oh?” Lionel prodded, trying almost too hard to keep his voice even.

“I still don’t know that it is something that I am going to want” Amelia admitted, not wanting to give him any false hope “But I also don’t think that I have closed the door on it entirely. My marriage to Fernando was a disaster, because my relationship with him was a disaster. I didn’t know him, or what he was capable of, until Gianna appeared, and showed me who he was. I went into it so naive, and I got burned, and now I am too scared to do it again, but maybe, one day in the future, I won’t be scared of doing it” she added, each of her words carefully considered.

She didn’t want him to think that she had suddenly changed her mind, but she did want him to know that she hadn’t entirely rejected the idea of them one day getting married. She was still scared, and she was almost certain that that wasn’t something that was going to change for a while, but she wanted him to know that, one day, it could. It wasn’t a promise. She had been so careful to hedge her words, to ensure that he knew that there was no certainty to her fear dissipating, but she wanted him to know that she was thinking about it too. She wanted him to know that he wasn’t the only one who was open to changing the picture of what their future looked like.

Lionel’s eyes searched her face, taking in what she had said, before he leant forwards, gently kissing her forehead before he rested his against it. “I’d love that” he admitted quietly “But honestly? I just want us to be together. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a picture in my head for what it looks like, but as long as that picture has you and me in it, I think I will be happy” he added, moving to place another kiss against her forehead.

Amelia couldn’t stop herself from smiling softly, something which made Lionel smile as he gently brushed his lips over hers. “I’m so happy you’re here” he whispered “I’ve missed you” he added.

Amelia happily cuddled into his side, her smile growing when he pressed another gentle kiss to her temple, even despite the bad feeling that still persisted in her stomach. “I’ve missed you, too” she murmured.