The Space Between Us

84: I Won’t Let You Run Away Again

Staring at the empty pillow that resided beside his own, Lionel exhaled a quiet sigh, a sound that resonated in the all-too quiet bedroom. He had always hated how quiet the room seemed. The apartment that he and Amelia had moved into weeks previous still felt too strange, too different from the home he had had in Barcelona, but it felt even worse that morning. The usual buzz of quiet seemed even more overwhelming without Amelia’s bright presence to distract him.

Keeping his eyes on the pillow, he stared at it for a long time before he turned onto his back, staring up at the ceiling like it held the answers to all of the questions that had been buzzing through his head since he had ended his phone call with Amelia. He had a lot of them. He wanted to know how Amelia had ended up alone with Fernando, how he had managed to get close enough to her to kiss her, but the question that kept pushing itself to the front of his mind was whether or not it would have happened if he had been there.

He should have been. He had always known that Nora’s engagement party was going to be hard for Amelia. Even without Gianna, who he still couldn’t quite believe that Fernando had bought to the party with him, the prospect of being in the same room as Fernando was something he knew Amelia found hard, and he hated that he hadn’t been there for her. He hated that he had lied, and that he had let his fear of being overwhelmed by being in Barcelona again drown out what he knew Amelia would be feeling. She had needed him, he knew it, and he had run away from it.

Shaking his head, he ran a hand over his face before the sound of his phone vibrating against the end table caught his attention. For a long moment, all he did was stare at it, unsure whether or not he wanted it to be Amelia, but eventually he coaxed himself into reaching for it. He felt an ache in his chest when he saw Nora’s name on the screen, but he wasn’t quite sure what it meant. He didn’t quite know if he was pleased or not that Amelia was giving him the space that he had asked for.

Reluctantly, he answered the call. “Nora” he greeted.

“You picked up” Nora replied “I’m surprised” she added.

Lionel pushed himself up, leaning against the bed’s headboard. “I figured you’d keep calling until I did” he said.

Nora huffed out a laugh, but it wasn’t the one that Lionel was familiar with. It was softer, sadder. “I am known for my persistence” she teased.

“Nora” Lionel’s voice was a soft complaint, a reminder to Nora about the situation they were in.

Nora sighed. “I spoke to Amelia this morning” she said “She told me what happened” she added.

Lionel didn’t say anything, not quite sure what he could say.

“Leo?” Nora prodded after a long moment of quiet.

“What do you want me to say, Nora?” Lionel asked.

“Tell me that you’re not going to let her go because Fernando is a fucking idiot” Nora replied “Tell me that you’re not going to break her heart because he’s a selfish jackass that can’t let her go and be happy because he realised far, far too late that he was screwing up the best thing that ever happened to him. Say that” she added.

Lionel pushed a hand back through his hair before he let out a quiet sigh. “She kissed him, Nora” he protested quietly.

“He kissed her” Nora corrected “And yes, there is a difference” she added, anticipating what his next objection would be.

“How does it even happen?” Lionel asked “How does a party that started with him walking in with Gianna, end with him kissing Amelia? I know you want to stick up for her, but I can’t get my head around that. He wanted to hurt her again. He did hurt her again, and yet, she ended up kissing him. How am I supposed to take that, Nora?” he pressed.

“You’re supposed to see it for what it is” Nora countered “You said it yourself. He wanted to hurt her, and what would be the best way to do that?” she asked.


“I am not going to let you run away from her again, Leo” Nora interrupted “You don’t know how much it hurt her the first time, but I do, and I know if you do it again now, it’s going to be so much worse” she added.

Lionel’s protests died on his tongue.

“She loves you” Nora’s voice had softened considerably by the time she broke the silence between them “You know that” she added.

Lionel opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, trying to say something, before he let out a shaky sigh. He did know how she felt about him. He had heard her say it enough, and seen the honesty in her eyes each and every time, and he knew that what had happened between her and Fernando hadn’t changed it. He knew that the real reason that he was hurting as much as he was was that he was scared. He was scared that he wouldn’t be enough for Amelia, that things between them would start to change, and he thought that the previous night was the first indicator of it. He had shied away from being there with her, and as result, things between them felt the worst they ever had.

“I am so scared, Nora” Lionel admitted “I want her to be happy, and I just...I can’t quite convince myself that I am the one who will make her happy, and this thing with Fernando, it’s just added to that anxiety. I have asked her to give up so much to be here, in a place I don’t really want to be, and I just...I keep thinking that she’s going to wake up one day and...and hate me for it” he added.

“She could never hate you” Nora said.


“Do you know how hard I had to try and convince her to go to France with you?” Nora interrupted.

“Nora” Lionel protested again.

“Not at all” Nora continued to talk like Lionel hadn’t said a word “I went over to her mother’s place, thinking that I would really have to try and convince her. I expected her to be unsure, because she is so unsure about everything. Even before Fernando, Amelia was always the type to second guess herself, but she didn’t even hesitate. She loves you, and she wants to be where you are, and if you keep doubting it, then all you’re going to do is push her away, and do the thing that you’re so scared of. Don’t let her get away” she added.

Lionel didn’t speak for a long time, so long that Nora had to poke him, sounding a little worried that he had hung up on her, but before he could say anything, he heard the distant sound of the front door opening and closing. Muttering a quick goodbye to Nora, he hung up the phone before he pushed himself out of bed and walked down the hall, stopping a few paces short of Amelia who stood against the front door, her wide eyes mirroring his.