The Space Between Us

70: We Don’t Need To Worry About That Right Now

“Can I do anything?”

Lionel blinked dazedly, his unfocused stare moving towards his father who stood over him, watching him with obvious concern on his face. He knew it probably wasn’t the first time he’d tried to get his attention, but since they had hung up the phone, Lionel hadn’t been able to hear anything over the sound of blood rushing through his ears. He couldn’t think, couldn’t speak, and it meant that, for an amount of time he couldn’t quite be sure of, he had just been staring into space, hoping that something happened to wake him up from what he was hoping was just a bad dream.

Blinking slowly again, he swallowed heavily before he shook his head. “I...I don’t think so” he stumbled out.

Jorge placed a hand on Lionel’s shoulder, squeezing it comfortingly. “We need to talk about next steps” he said.

“Tonight?” Lionel asked.

“No, but soon” Jorge answered “Tomorrow, maybe the day after, but we can’t wait around” he added.

Lionel’s answering nod was slow and dazed, something which caused Jorge to sigh gently, almost certain that he hadn’t heard a word that he’d said. Squeezing his shoulder again, he waited for Lionel to look up before he spoke. “I’m going to go and talk to your mother” he said “I can explain it to Amelia, too, if you want me to” he added.

Lionel’s eyes closed. He had forgotten that Amelia was there. Drawing in a shaky breath, he shook his head, opening his eyes to look up at his father again. “I’ll talk to Amelia” he said.

Jorge hesitated, like he wanted to ask if Lionel was sure, before he nodded his head. Without another word, he squeezed Lionel’s shoulder once more before he ducked out of the room, leaving Lionel alone in the silence. He didn’t move, not when he heard muffled voices from down the hall, or when he heard footsteps shuffle into the room he was sat in. He didn’t move again until he felt a hand on his back.

Exhaling a shuddering breath, he turned to look at Amelia, only to look away again quickly. He knew what he had to tell her. He knew that he had to tell her that the phone call he had ducked out of the room to take was one that had told him that his time at Barcelona was over, but words were failing him. All of the things that had been so stable in his life for so long were going to be throw into the air, and he knew that that included his relationship with Amelia. They had worked so hard to get to where they were, to a place where they felt happy and comfortable, and he knew it would change. Everything was going to change.


Lionel squeezed his eyes closed for a moment, hoping that the moment of time would loosen the lump in his throat, before he looked over at her again. “Did my papa say anything to you before you came through?” he asked.

“Only that you needed to talk to me” Amelia replied “He seemed pretty serious. Is everything alright?” she added.

Lionel shook his head. “Uh, no” he murmured “It’s not” he added.

Amelia’s expression softened with concern as her hand, which was settled on his back, started to move in small, comforting circles. “What’s going on?” she asked.

Lionel drew in another shuddering breath before he spoke again. “I...I’m leaving” he announced.

Amelia’s hand stilled on his back before it fell away in surprise. “What?” she whispered.

Lionel just looked at her, his eyes shining.

Amelia’s eyes searched his for a long, quiet moment before she choked out a noise, quickly moving to cover her mouth with a slightly shaky hand.

Lionel kept staring at her, willing her to say something, anything at all, but the words didn’t come, not for a long time. Eventually, Amelia carefully moved her hand away from her mouth. She opened and closed it a couple of times, trying to force something out, before she met his eyes again. “Is there anything I can do?” she asked.

Lionel’s lips quirked into a sad smile, but he wordlessly shook his head.

“Do you want me to go?” Amelia asked “I can do. If you need some time to...”

“Stay” Lionel interjected quietly “Please” he added.

Amelia nodded her head, gently rubbing his back again. Neither of them said anything for a while. Amelia’s hand kept moving in slow circles against his back, and, occasionally, she pressed her lips to his temple, a wordless attempt to offer him some kind of comfort, but mostly it was an attempt to disguise the fact that she had no idea about what to say to him. She had questions. She wanted to know what had happened, and what was going to happen next, but she knew that that moment wasn’t the right one to ask them, so she just chose to sit with him, trying her hardest to ignore the worry that was slowly growing into a lump in her throat.

“Are you OK?”

Amelia, who’d been staring into space over Lionel’s head, jumped at the sound of his voice before she leant back to meet his eyes, a sad smile on her face. “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” she asked.

Lionel’s answering smile was just as sad as he shook his head. “It’s big news for you, too” he said.

“We don’t need to be worrying about that right this second” Amelia mused.

“Amelia” Lionel’s voice was a soft warning, but it was one that Amelia dismissed with a shake of her head.

She knew what he was getting at. What he had told her was going to change everything, and eventually they would have to try and figure out how it changed things between the two of them, but it was a conversation that Amelia wasn’t prepared to start in that moment. It was too soon for them to be logical, for either of them to really know what they thought of what was happening, and what they wanted to happen next, and Amelia didn’t want them to say anything that they couldn’t take back. They both needed more time.

Lionel’s eyes searched her face before he nodded slowly, something which caused Amelia to gently cup his cheek in her palm before she leant forwards and pressed a soft kiss against his forehead. Lionel fought it for a moment before he melted into her embrace, leaving the two of them sat in silence, both wondering what came next.