The Space Between Us

87: I Don’t Think It’d Be The Same On A Screen

“Leo, are you nearly ready?”

Lionel, who’d been staring into his half packed bag, startled at the sound of Amelia’s voice before he lifted his head, flashing a half-hearted smile towards where she stood in the doorway, a sympathetic expression etched onto her features. He knew that she was worried about him. From the moment that she had suggested a trip back to Barcelona to share the news of their engagement in person, she had tried to make things easier for him, even going as far as to offer him an out more than once, but every time, he had insisted that it would be fine, something he knew that neither of them really believed.

It was going to be hard. The idea of going back to somewhere that he had thought of as home, only to leave again a few days later was overwhelming, but he knew that there would never be a better reason to do it. If he couldn’t do it to share the news that he and Amelia were getting married, he doubted that he would ever do it.

Shaking his head, he turned back to his bag, busying himself by placing a couple more t-shirts inside. “I’m nearly there, I think” he said “Are we running late?” he asked.

“No” Amelia replied “I was just checking” she added, trying, and failing, to sound nonchalant.

Lionel’s lips quirked into a slightly sad smile before he glanced over at her again. “I am coming with you” he said.

“Are you sure?” Amelia asked “Because if you have changed your mind...” she trailed off when Lionel stepped towards her, gently pressing his lips to hers. Letting out a soft sigh, she lingered in the kiss for a few seconds before she pulled back, her eyes searching Lionel’s face.

Lionel watched her eyes scan his face before he leant forwards, pressing his lips to her temple gently. “I want to do this” he murmured “I want to see the look on your mother’s face when you tell her that we’re getting married in person. I don’t think it will be the same seeing it on a screen” he added.

“You’d probably be safer if she was on a screen” Amelia played along “I am genuinely frightened that she might tackle you” she added.

Lionel laughed gently. “It’s a risk I am willing to take” he quipped.

Again, Amelia’s eyes searched his face, almost like she was expecting to see a sign that he didn’t mean what he was saying, but Lionel just smiled at her, gentle and reassuring. It took a moment, but eventually, the concern melted out of Amelia’s eyes, being replaced something warm, and happy. “I’m glad that you’re going to be there” she cooed “It’ll take some of the heat off of me” she added.

“Is that the only reason?” Lionel teased.

Amelia feigned a roll of her eyes as she leant towards him, brushing her lips against his.

Lionel smiled into the kiss, lingering in it for a few moments, before Amelia pulled away from him. “You should finish packing” she mused, gently pushing his shoulder gently “Nora’s already told me that she’s not going to wait for us at the airport if we’re late” she added.

“Are we sure that Nora likes me?” Lionel teased as he stepped back towards his bag.

“She wouldn’t even bother coming to the airport if she didn’t” Amelia replied, plopping down onto the side of the bed.

Lionel smirked at her briefly before he stepped across the bedroom. Pulling a drawer open, he rifled through it for a second before his hand brushed something inside that caused him to pause. Wrapping his fingers around it, he pulled it out and stared down at it for a moment before he turned, looking back at Amelia who was busy, staring at something on the screen of her phone. Quirking a faint smile, he watched her for a moment before he cleared his throat.

Amelia blinked a couple of times at the sound before her stare landed on what was in his hand, her eyes widening a fraction. “What is that?” she asked.

“What does it look like?” Lionel chirped, his voice caught somewhere between impish and cautious.

For a moment, Amelia didn’t respond, her stare fixed on the small box that was clutched in his hand, but eventually, a soft smile started to bloom across her features. “How long have you had that?” she asked.

Lionel shrugged, trying, and failing, to hide the fact that his cheeks had flushed a soft shade of pink. “A while” he confirmed.

“How long is a while?” Amelia prodded “Before Paris?” she added.

Lionel feigned a glare in her direction, not missing the impishness in her voice, before he nodded his head. “After I got back to Barcelona in summer” he answered “I know that we’d talked about marriage, and you still weren’t sure that it was going to be something that you wanted, but I just...I guess I wanted it just in case. You hadn’t said yes, and you might never have said it, but just in case you did, I wanted to be ready” he added, his expression growing slightly sheepish.

It had been presumptuous. When he and Amelia had previously talked about the idea of marriage, Amelia had been careful to hedge things, not wanting to say anything certain to avoid getting Lionel’s hopes up, but it hadn’t stopped him from hoping. He would have been happy either way. As long as he and Amelia were together, he wasn’t too concerned with what it looked like, but he would have been lying if he said that he hadn’t hoped that things would change.

“You said that you’d be OK if we didn’t get married” Amelia pointed out.

“I would have been” Lionel replied “And I will be if you change your mind about the engagement. I just want to be with you, Lia, you know that” he added.

Amelia’s eyes searched his face again before another small smile appeared on her face. “You know, I proposed to you” she quipped.

Lionel laughed. “I remember” he replied “But I don’t think anyone will care about the story. As soon as we say we’re engaged, they’re going to want to see you wearing a ring” he said, offering the box out towards her.

“Will you put it on me?” Amelia asked.

Lionel’s smile softened a little before he flipped the box open, earning a soft gasp from Amelia. Carefully, he pulled the ring out of its box and slipped it onto her finger before he drew her hand to his lips, brushing a soft kiss against it. Amelia watched him, her eyes slightly shiny, before she pulled her hand back, marvelling at the ring on her finger. It looked surreal. For years, she had been haunted by the fading tan line, the reminder of her marriage to Fernando, and for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t what she saw when she looked at hand.

“You OK?” Lionel asked.

Amelia was quick to nod, a watery smile on her face. “Yeah, I think I am” she answered.