The Space Between Us

77: This Is Where I Need To Be

“You’ve definitely booked a flight for Sunday morning, haven’t you?”

Lionel, who’d been quietly watching Amelia as she walked around their bedroom, packing a small suitcase, blinked at the sound of her voice before he looked up at her, finding her watching him with a slight smile on her face. She was trying to hide how excited she was. After a few weeks of trying to get used to being in Paris, she was due to fly back to Barcelona that afternoon, and as much as she was trying not to let on just how excited she was, Lionel could see it on her face. She had missed a lot of things about Barcelona. She had missed her family, and Nora, and Lionel knew how excited she was to see them face to face again. The dozens of video calls that they had shared weren’t likely to be able to hold a candle to the reality of hugging her mother, discussing Nora and Victor’s wedding plans, or fussing over Alexa’s baby bump in person.

“Hm?” Lionel replied.

“You’ve booked a flight, haven’t you?” Amelia repeated “You know that the party is on Sunday” she added.

“You watched me arrange a flight after you’d booked yours” Lionel quipped, making a show of rolling his eyes.

Amelia shook her head with a smile, returning her attention to the half packed bag in front of her.

Lionel watched her fold another couple of shirts into the bag before he ducked his head, rubbing at the back of his neck. “How long are you planning on staying in Barcelona?” he asked before he grimaced, a little frustrated by the tone of his own voice.

He had wanted it to be breezy, like he was making a quip about her over-packing, but instead, it had come out with the concern that he felt, the concern that he was trying his hardest to hide. Amelia was excited to be going home, she was excited about being with the people that she loved, and Lionel knew deep down that that was all it was, but knowing that had done little to eradicate the knot of anxiety in the pit of his stomach.

They were both getting used to Paris, and to the ways that their relationship had changed, but Lionel knew that Amelia was nowhere near as happy as she had been in Barcelona. She wasn’t unhappy, but she wasn’t completely contented either, and Lionel worried that a trip back to Barcelona, back to where she had been at her happiest, would be enough to cause her to doubt what they were building in Paris.

Amelia’s hands fumbled with the t-shirt she was folding before she looked up at him, a crease in her forehead. “A few days” she replied “I told you that Nora wanted some help with some of the final party preparations, so I am going tonight. I am flying back with you on Monday” she added.

Lionel nodded his head slowly, something which caused Amelia to let out a quiet sigh before she stepped around the bed, settling into the spot next to him. “I don’t have to go for that long” she said softly “Nora’s always been a good planner, and I am sure that she has other people that can lend a hand” she added, gently taking a hold of Lionel’s hand.

Lionel’s lips quirked into a rueful smile as he twined his fingers through hers. “You’re excited about going” he quipped “And I am not trying to get in the way of that. I know how much you’re looking forwards to seeing everyone in person” he added.

“But?” Amelia prodded, gently brushing her thumb over the back of his hand.

Lionel rolled his eyes, mostly out of frustration at himself, before he shook his head. “I guess I feel a little weird about going back to visit” he admitted.

Amelia’s expression softened, causing Lionel to squeeze her hand gently. “I want to go” he said “I just...It feels strange” he added.

Amelia toyed with his fingers for a moment before she nodded. “I get that” she said.

Lionel watched her play with his fingers before he looked up at her. “You are happy here, aren’t you?” he asked softly “I mean, I think that you are. I think that we’re both getting used to… to being here, and not there, and everything that that means, but I just...” he trailed off when Amelia’s fingers gently cupped his jaw, guiding him into a soft kiss that caused him to sigh gently.

Amelia pressed kisses to the side of his nose, and his temple before she pulled away, her fingers still grazing his jaw tenderly as his eyes came to focus on hers. “I’m happy” she said gently.

“I know” Lionel said “I just know that you were happier there, and I guess I am worried that when you go back, you’ll remember that, too, and then maybe coming back here will be harder” he added.

Amelia gently brushed his jaw with her thumb. “Leaving there is going to hard for a while” she said “I mean, it’s home, and being a visitor is going to feel so strange, and leaving again is going to feel just as odd, but I am always going to want to come back here because this is where I need to be to be with you, and I really want to be with you” she added, her lips kicking upwards slightly.

Lionel’s smile matched hers. It was small, and bashful, but it told Amelia everything she needed to know about how much what she had said meant to him. Their situation wasn’t easy. They were both still adapting, both to their new home, and the new phase of their relationship that they were in, but Amelia was happy to offer him reassurance whenever he needed it. He had done it for her more times than she could remember in the early days of their relationship.

Leaning forwards, Amelia pressed her lips to his forehead before her phone chimed, causing her to look over at it.

Lionel gently guided her attention back to him, pressing his lips to hers briefly. “Are you ready to go?” he asked.

Amelia nodded without hesitation, unaware of the slightly painful twist it caused in Lionel’s stomach. He didn’t know when, or if, the guilt he felt about her having moved to be with him would dissipate. “I’ll see you on Sunday, right?” she quipped as she stood, picking up her bag.

“Like I’d leave you to face Fernando alone” Lionel tried to tease her, but his grin faltered a little. The idea of seeing Fernando again was an unwelcome one.

Amelia’s expression softened again, but Lionel didn’t give her the chance to question the look on his face. Instead, he pressed his lips to hers, mumbled a soft ‘I love you’ and nudged her towards the door, promising that he’d see her on Sunday, but not really knowing if he meant it.