The Space Between Us

86: That’s Why

Idly twisting a curl of Amelia’s dark hair around his fingers, Lionel exhaled a quiet sigh, his eyes fixed on the ceiling above his head. He had been staring at the ceiling for a while. Whilst Amelia had been able to fall asleep almost as soon as she had set her head on her pillow, sleep had been harder to come by for him, and whilst he was wary of disturbing Amelia with his tossing and turning, he hadn’t been able to convince himself to move. He wanted to be near her. After a handful of days apart, and everything that had transpired since she had departed for Barcelona, he wanted to be as close to her as he could be, and then there was the proposal, something he was still trying to wrap his head around.

It had come out of nowhere. When he and Amelia had previously talked about the prospect of the two of them getting married, Amelia had always been so careful to explain that, whilst it was something that could change, she wasn’t sure that she would want to get married again, and it meant that Lionel had been in no way prepared for it when she had looked up at him and asked. He wanted it. From fairly early on in their relationship, he had been confident that he could one day see them getting married, but the idea that they actually were, that Amelia had actually asked him was one he was struggling with.

He wanted it, but he knew that Amelia had had reservations, and once the elation of their engagement had started to wear off, the doubts had started to grow. The last thing he wanted was for Amelia to put herself in a position that made her uncomfortable just to make him happy.

Squeezing his eyes closed, he tried to clear his mind, only to startle when he felt something brush against his forehead, causing him to blink his eyes open.

Amelia, who’d been gently brushing the hair off of his forehead, flashed him a soft smile.

Lionel couldn’t stop himself from smiling back, even if it was a little tired around the edges. “What are you doing up?” he asked.

“I was about to ask you that” Amelia countered “You looked like you were thinking hard about something” she added, gently smoothing out the furrow that had appeared on his forehead.

Lionel shook his head. “It’s nothing” he said.

“You’re a terrible liar” Amelia quipped impishly.

The corner of Lionel’s mouth quirked, like he had a joke that he wanted to make, but he didn’t. Instead, he exhaled a quiet sigh, something which caused Amelia to lean towards him, pressing her lips to his cheek. “Talk to me” she coaxed softly.

Lionel hesitated again before he turned his head, his eyes searching hers. “You asked me to marry you” he said gently.

Amelia’s expression brightened, transforming into the same warm expression that had lit up her face when the words had fallen out of her mouth. “I remember” she said “You said yes. Have you changed your mind?” she asked, her smile dimming a little, even despite the teasing tone of her voice.

Lionel was quick to shake his head. “No” he replied “I just...I think we should talk about it. I mean, the last time we talked about the idea of getting married, you were pretty certain that it wasn’t something you were going to want, at least not in the short term, and then yesterday morning, the words came out of your mouth, and I think...I think we need to talk about it” he explained.

Amelia’s eyes searched his face for a long moment before she nodded. “You’re worried that I didn’t mean it?” she asked.

Lionel shook his head again. “I know that you wouldn’t just throw that around” he said “I just...I know that you weren’t sure about it being something that you wanted, and I want you to know that, if you just asked because you think it’s something I want, then I don’t care if we’re married or not. I just want to be with you, and if you don’t want to get married, then that’s fine. The last thing I want to do is put you in a position where you’re uncomfortable just because you’re trying to keep me happy” he explained.

He knew that she had meant it. Amelia wasn’t the type to throw out words, especially ones that would mean so much, without thinking them through first, but he still wanted to offer her and out. He knew that what had happened with Fernando had left Amelia with scars. It had left her scared to put complete faith into something new, into someone else, and he didn’t want to rush her. He just wanted them to be together, regardless of what it looked like.

Amelia’s lips lifted into another soft smile. “That’s why I want to marry you” she mused.


“I want to marry you” Amelia cut off Lionel’s objection “I do. I think I probably have done for a while. You’re right, I didn’t think that it would be something that I wanted. Fernando pretty much destroyed any faith I had in myself, let alone in other people. I kept thinking of myself as naive. I convinced myself that he was this wonderful guy, and he wasn’t, and I think I have done something similar with you. I kept thinking of you as someone who will leave, someone who can’t be as good as you appear, and I just...I realised that that isn’t you. You’ve been nothing but supportive, and warm, and loving, and I want that. I want you. I trust you” she added.

Lionel blinked a couple of times, something which made Amelia smile gently. “You look surprised” she chirped.

Lionel shook his head. “I didn’t have a meeting” he admitted.

“What?” Amelia asked, her face clouding over with a frown.

“I didn’t miss Nora and Victor’s party because of some meeting” Lionel clarified “I just...I wasn’t ready to go back to Barcelona. I am sorry that I lied, but...I just couldn’t admit it. It is hard for me” he added.

Amelia frowned at him for a moment before her expression softened. “I know” she said gently.

“You’re not upset?” Lionel asked.

“A little, that you didn’t just tell me” Amelia said “But I am not upset at you for struggling. It is hard” she added.

Lionel just stared at her for a moment, something which made Amelia fidget, her cheeks flushing pink, before he gently leant into her, pressing his lips to hers. Amelia melted into the kiss, smiling into it softly, before Lionel pulled away. “That’s why I want to marry you” he whispered.

Amelia grinned at him. “That’s it, then?” she prodded “We’re engaged? Like, actually engaged?” she added.

Lionel finally let loose the wide grin that had been itching to fill his face. “Yeah, I think we are” he confirmed.