The Space Between Us

78: I Can’t Let You Walk In There Without Knowing

Allowing her eyes to flutter open, Amelia blinked sleepily, her lips quirking slightly when she looked around the bedroom she had fallen asleep in. It wasn’t a room that she usually associated with good memories. Most of the nights that she had spent in her mother’s spare bedroom had been in the immediate aftermath of her marriage’s end, but looking around it that morning, she felt warm and happy, comforted by the idea that when she got up, she would walk downstairs and find her mother and stepfather sat in the kitchen. She was excited to see them. As used as she was getting to being in Paris, nothing compared to the familiarity of being at home, and she wanted to make the most of the few days that she had there. She had missed waking up in a bedroom that didn’t feel unfamiliar and temporary.

Staying curled up beneath the duvet, she sleepily looked around the room until she heard a knock at the door, something which caused her smile to widen a fraction. Pushing herself up, she settled back against the bed’s headboard just as the door swung open, allowing her mother to step inside, a mug clutched in her hands.

Felicity’s face brightened when she looked over and saw Amelia smiling up at her. “Look who’s finally awake” she quipped.

Amelia, who’d reached for the mug in her mother’s hands, shrugged. “I got in pretty late” she said “You didn’t hear me?” she asked.

“I thought maybe you’d gone back to Leo’s place” Felicity replied.

“I thought about it” Amelia said “And on Sunday night, after the party, we’ll probably go back there, but I thought, while it’s just me, I could stay here. Would you mind?” she asked.

The laugh that Felicity let out was somewhere between soft and incredulous. “Mind?” she asked “I insist that you stay here. It has been far too long since I had you here” she added.

Amelia smiled bashfully over the top of her mug.

Felicity leant over, pressing a kiss to the crown of her daughter’s head. “I’m so happy to see you” she murmured “But there are a lot of people itching to see you, so get your butt out of bed and come and say hello. You’ve drawn quite the crowd” she added as she pulled away, flashing her daughter an impish grin.

“What did you do?” Amelia’s glare was undercut by the laughter in her voice as she kicked the duvet off of herself.

Felicity shrugged innocently as she stood up. “What makes you think I had to do anything?” she chirped “Your sister and Nora knew when you were arriving anyway, so can I really be blamed if they took it upon themselves to show up and bring their partners and children with them, just to see you?” she added.

Amelia rolled her eyes, but it didn’t do anything to dampen the smile on her face.

Felicity stepped towards her, wrapping her in a tight hug. “Gosh, I have missed you” she murmured.

Amelia hugged her back, just as tightly. “I’ve missed you, too” she said.

“So, just how much are you freaking out about Sunday?” Amelia chirped as she sunk down onto the sofa beside Nora, passing a glass of wine into her hand. It had been hours. What had initially started out as just a quick welcome home breakfast had snowballed into lunch, and dinner, and now it was just Amelia and Nora left, something that Amelia was a little grateful for. She was happy to be there, happy to be surrounded by the people she loved, and had missed, but she was ready for something quieter.

Nora made a show of rolling her eyes as she took a swallow of her drink. “You’d think I was actually getting married in two days” she quipped.

Amelia smiled. “It’s been that bad?” she asked.

“I thought it would just be a party” Nora replied “But it feels like a much bigger deal than that. Our entire families are meeting for the first time, and it means that it’s taken a lot more planning than I thought it would. I thought it would be something small, a little party to celebrate our engagement, but every time I speak to my mother, or Victor speaks to his, there’s someone else we have to put on the guest list, and it just….it’s overwhelming” she added.

Amelia’s forehead creased a little. “Are you OK?” she asked “If I had known it was that bad...” she trailed off, not quite sure how to finish her sentence. There wasn’t much she could do when she wasn’t there.

Nora offered her a tired smile. “It’s just a lot” she quipped “That is why we aren’t getting married for a year, at least. I need all of that time just to sort out the guest list” she added.

Amelia smirked. “I told you it wasn’t easy” she quipped “Every time you complained at me for whining about how difficult planning a wedding was. I told you it was hard, and you always dismissed it. Do you understand now?” she poked impishly.

Nora didn’t roll her eyes like Amelia expected her to. She didn’t scoff, or make a quip in reply. She chewed on her lip for a moment before she slowly, and reluctantly, turned to look up at Amelia. “There’s something I need to tell you” she said.

Amelia’s smirk disappeared, being replaced by a soft frown. “Sounds serious” she said.

“I just don’t want you to walk into the party without knowing” Nora said “I mean, you’re going to have Leo with you, and I don’t imagine that you care that much anyway, but I just...I can’t let you walk in without being aware of it” she added.

“Nora” Amelia spluttered out, wanting Nora’s babbling to stop “What’s wrong?” she added.

Nora’s eyes searched Amelia’s face for a long moment before she exhaled a quiet sigh. “You know that Fernando’s going to be at the party” she said “I mean, he’s Victor’s best man, so it’s non-negotiable that he be there, but I just...i think you ought to know that he’s bringing someone with him” she added.

Amelia blinked, her forehead furrowing. “You thought I should know that Fernando’s bringing a date?” she asked “I mean, you just said that I am bringing Leo, and you know that things are a little better between me and Nando these days, so why are you…?” she trailed off when she saw the grave expression on Nora’s face.

Nora reached over, squeezing her hand gently.

“Gianna?” Amelia whispered.

Nora nodded just once, but it was enough for a lump to catch in Amelia’s throat, her mind thrown back to the moment that she had opened her front door and found Gianna standing there, preparing to drop the news that would blow her entire world apart. Blinking, she tried to ask Nora how Fernando had ended up back with her, but the words wouldn’t come. She couldn’t get her head around the notion that, in only a few days time, she would be face to face with Gianna again.