The Space Between Us

68: I Wouldn’t Need Tips

Taking a sip from the lukewarm mug that was wrapped in her hands, Amelia exhaled a quiet sigh, contently watching the sun as it began to rise. She had been up for a while. Despite her best efforts to overcome her jet-lag, and the comfort that had been provided by sleeping next to Lionel for the first time in weeks, she had struggled to get a lot of sleep, and after a couple of hours of tossing and turning, she had eventually given up, opting to leave Lionel to it.

Moving to settle her cup down on the floor, Amelia drew her knees up towards her chest, sitting in a contented silence until she heard the screen door open, something which caused her to look up, a soft smile brightening her features as she watched Lionel step out onto the balcony, sleepily rubbing at his eyes. “I didn’t expect to see you for a while” she quipped.

With the hand that wasn’t trying to rid the sleep from his eyes, Lionel held up Amelia’s phone. “It’s been ringing for about ten minutes” he quipped “It’s Nora” he added.

Amelia’s forehead creased before she moved to take the phone out of his hands. Taking the phone in her grasp, she dialled Nora’s number before she pressed the phone to her ear. It took a few rings, but eventually Nora’s voice filled her ears. “You’ve finally picked up, have you?” she chirped.

Amelia huffed out a laugh, rolling her eyes as Lionel flopped into the space at her side, gently coaxing her feet into his lap. “I know you know that I am not at home” she countered “You dropped me off at the airport” she added.

“I know” Nora mused “And I know it’s early where you are and I am sorry about that, but I just...I had to call. I’ve got news” she added.

Amelia thought about making a joke, but the excitement in Nora’s voice stopped her. It was an excitement that she had only heard in her voice once before, when she had found out that she was pregnant with Antonio, and she knew that that meant that whatever Nora had to say was big. “News?” she asked, a faint smile tugging at the corner of her lips when Lionel gently brushed his thumb over her ankle.

“It’d better be big” Lionel grumbled, the starts of a playful smile on his face “She woke me up for this” he added.

“You hear that?” Amelia chirped into the phone “Leo will be pissed if you’ve woken him up for nothing” she added.

“You should have answered your phone quicker” Nora played along.

“Nora” Amelia complained through a laugh “What’s the news?” she added.

Nora took a second before she answered. “Victor” she breathed “He...uh...He kind of asked me to marry him” she revealed.

Amelia couldn’t have contained the delighted squeal that escaped her, even if she had wanted to try.

Lionel, who’d been dozing next to her, startled at the noise, frowning at Amelia. “Is everything OK?” he asked.

“He finally did it?” Amelia’s words were directed into the phone, even if the reassuring smile on her face was for Lionel’s benefit.

“He did” Nora confirmed “We went out for dinner, and he just...he just proposed. I’d love to tell you more specific details, but it’s pretty hazy. It happened like an hour ago, and I have been on the phone ever since, and I just...I can’t quite believe that he asked, Lia. I didn’t even know he was thinking about it. Did you?” she prodded.

Amelia scoffed playfully. “Because Victor would choose to confide in me” she teased “I am so good at keeping secrets from you” she added.

The noise that Nora let out in reply was somewhere between a sob and a laugh, something which made the smile on Amelia’s face soften. “I didn’t know” she mused “But I can’t pretend to be surprised. Victor’s been crazy about you for years. I’m so happy for you, Nora” she added.

“Thank you” Nora replied “I’m going to let you go. Tell Leo I am sorry for waking him?” she added.

Amelia laughed softly. “Will do” she confirmed “I’ll be home next week. We'll go out and celebrate then” she added.

“Can’t wait” Nora chirped before she ended the call.

Amelia pulled the phone away from her ear, staring at it for a second, before she shook her head, glancing at Lionel who watched her, a slightly baffled expression on his face. Quirking a faint smile, she gently took a hold of his hand, gently twining her fingers through his. “Victor proposed” she announced.

Lionel blinked a couple of times in surprise before his face lit up. “He did?” he mused.

Amelia nodded. “Nora’s over the moon” she said “Surprised, but ecstatic” she added.

“How’d he do it?” Lionel asked.

“Why, you looking for tips?” Amelia’s joke was softened by a slightly hesitant smile. She didn’t quite know how he would react to her making a joke about the possibility of him proposing after all that they had talked about, but she wanted to test the waters. She knew it was still an awkward subject, despite her having admitted that she hadn’t taken the possibility off of the table completely, and Lionel insisting that he didn’t really mind if they didn’t get there, she knew it would be sore for a while, but she didn’t want it to last for too long. She wanted them to be able to talk about anything.

It took a moment, long enough for Amelia to regret saying anything, but eventually, Lionel huffed out a slightly surprised laugh, rolling his eyes playfully. “If I were thinking about it, I wouldn’t need tips” he played along “But honestly, I am just curious. Victor doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who’d pull out all of the stops with some grand gesture” he added.

“He’s not” Amelia agreed “But Nora didn’t really get into the specifics. She’s still a little dazed that it’s happened at all. She said to apologise to you for waking you up, though” she added.

Lionel laughed. “I’m used to it” he quipped “I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have woken up on a Sunday morning to the sound of your phone because you’re late to your mother’s” he added.

Amelia shook her head. “I don’t know why she calls, I always show up” she mused.

Lionel grinned at her, allowing a moment of quiet to pass between them, before he cleared his throat, drawing Amelia’s stare, which had wandered back out across the city, up towards him. “Hm?” she asked.

“I know we mentioned this briefly” Lionel said “And it was before things got...weird between us, but my parents are going to be in Barcelona when we get home. I’ve bought up you meeting them with them, but I just...I was wondering if it was something that you’d be interested in doing. No pressure or anything. I just...I’d like you to meet them, and I would like them to meet you” he added, his face brightening with a cautiously hopeful smile.

Amelia stared up at him for a long moment, her eyes searching his face, before she slowly nodded her head, matching his cautious smile despite all of the butterflies that had filled her stomach. “I think I would like that” she mused.