The Space Between Us

83: He’ll See That That’s Not You

Quietly pressing her forehead against the cool glass of the kitchen table, Amelia squeezed her eyes closed, listening to the silence that buzzed around her. She had been up for a while. After hours of tossing and turning, of wanting to pick her phone up and call Lionel again, she had finally dragged herself out of bed, half hoping that she would stumble into her mother or Albert who’d always been early risers, but instead she had been greeted by more silence, something that had only made her want to call Lionel even worse.

She knew that she shouldn’t call him. His request for space after she had told him about what had happened between her and Fernando wasn’t unreasonable, and she knew that if he said he needed space, then she had to give it to him, but it didn’t stop her from wanting to.

She had a million things that she wanted to say to him. She wanted to tell him that she was sorry that she had allowed Fernando to drag her into another fight. She wanted to tell him that she was sorry that he had gotten hurt, but mostly she wanted to tell him that, no matter what had happened between her and Fernando, it hadn’t changed the fact that she loved him. She knew that he had doubts some times, and that she had probably talked about Fernando too much for Lionel to be entirely certain of the fact that she didn’t have any lingering feelings for her ex-husband, but she didn’t. She was in love with Lionel, and she wanted to be sure that he knew it, too.

“You’re up a lot earlier than I thought you’d be”

Amelia startled at the sound of Albert’s voice, turning so that she could watch him as he shuffled into the kitchen.

Albert greeted her with a lopsided grin. “You look as rough as I expected you would, though” he teased “Good night?” he added.

Amelia stared up at him for a beat before her eyes grew watery, something which caused Albert’s smile to dissolve. Rushing towards the table, he slipped into the seat next to Amelia before he wrapped an arm around her, coaxing her into a hug that Amelia didn’t hesitate to melt into. “What’s going on?” Albert asked, gently rubbing her back.

“I fucked up” Amelia answered.

Albert pulled out of their hug slightly, brushing a few loose tears off of Amelia’s cheeks. “I am sure that that’s not true” he said soothingly.

“I hurt Leo” Amelia admitted “I...I got into another fight with Fernando, and somehow he ended up kissing me, and then I had to call Leo, and tell him that that had happened. He asked me for some time to think, but I just...I don’t know that he’s going to want to fix things. He sounded so hurt, and I just...I messed everything up” she added, her voice faltering.

Albert blinked owlishly, trying to keep up with everything that she was saying, before he slowly nodded his head. “Fernando kissed you?” he asked.

Amelia nodded, wiping her eyes.

Albert’s lips quirked into a bitter smile. “Have I ever mentioned that I hate him?” he asked.

“You’re not the only one” Amelia said, twisting her hands into the material of her sweatshirt.

Albert gently squeezed Amelia’s hand. “You did the right thing” he said “Telling Leo was the right decision, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. You know how it feels to be blind-sided, and we both know that Fernando is spiteful enough to make a point of telling Leo what happened. You had to tell him” he added.

Amelia offered him a tearful smile. “I know” she said “Doesn’t make it hurt less, though. He sounded so betrayed, so hurt” she added.

Albert squeezed her hand again.

“He thinks I told him as a way of getting out of us” Amelia continued.

“Is he right?” Albert prodded.

Amelia’s answering shake of her head was immediate, and firm, like she couldn’t quite believe that Albert was asking the question. “No” she said.

Albert held his hands up defensively.

Amelia exhaled, deflating. “I didn’t mean to snap” she said “But, no, he isn’t right. I know I haven’t done the best job at being confident in our relationship. What happened with Fernando left me too cautious, too scared to put my complete faith into something new, but as time has passed, I have started to grow confident in it. I love him, Albert. I see my future with him. I don’t know exactly how it looks, but I know it’s a big, long-term thing, and I don’t want out of it, and even if I did, I wouldn’t sabotage it. I care about him too much to just...just hurt him” she explained.

Albert’s eyes searched her face for a long moment, looking for any slight trace of doubt in what she was saying, before he squeezed her hand again. “I am sure that he knows that” he said “He was probably just hurt, Lia. After he’s had a little time to calm down, to think things through, I am sure that he’ll see that that’s not you” he added.

Amelia looked down at their hands, her expression unsure.

Albert ducked forwards, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head. “He loves you, Lia” he said softly “He always has done” he added.

Amelia’s lips quirked slightly into a sad smile. It hadn’t escaped her how much hurt she, and Lionel, could have been saved, if they had just been a little more honest with one another.

“Are you still going to catch your flight later?” Albert asked, breaking the momentary silence that had settled over them “I mean, if Leo wants some space, you’re more than welcome to stay here for as long as you need to. You know how much your mother has loved having you back here” he added, offering her a tentative smile.

Amelia twisted her fingers in her sweatshirt, briefly debating the idea of staying for a moment, before she shook her head. It was tempting, but she knew that longer she stayed in Barcelona, the harder it was going to be to leave. “I should go home” she said “If he needs me to stay out of the way for a while, I’ll check into a hotel or something” she added.

Albert looked like he wanted to object, but he didn’t. Instead, he wrapped Amelia in another hug that she was happy to sink into, relishing the brief respite from the ache in her chest.