Love Me Until My Heart Stops

14: You’re Never Going To Fix It If You Don’t

“Miss Silva, are you listening to me?” Luis Enrique enquired, his eyes fixed on the brunette who sat ahead of him, a blank expression on her face. It wasn’t like her, Esmé had built herself a reputation for being a competent and hard working girl, but he could see that there was something wrong, that there had been something wrong for a little while. He didn’t want to pry, he had little want to ask about her private life, but he knew about Cesc. The midfielder’s relationship with Esmé had been everywhere when he’d arrived to manage Barcelona and he recalled his players talking about its unfortunate and slightly ugly conclusion a few weeks previous, something which concerned him slightly. He trusted Esmé not to let it bother her, he’d made it clear from day one that her personal issues were not welcome in his office, but there was something on her mind, she simply wasn’t herself.

Esmé, who’s mind had been whirring with Gerard’s words, nodded. “Of course I am, sir” she noted “You wanted me to get a hold of the press schedule for this morning and then check the arrangements for the trip to Bilbao for the first league game tomorrow night” she explained.

The coach nodded his head. “Alright” he noted, stepping away from her desk “Are you still planning on coming with us to Bilbao?” he posed.

Esmé stiffened fractionally, but nodded. It would have been odd, too suspicious if she suddenly backed out, and the last thing she needed was people asking questions. Even the mere mention of her friend, who she had only seen briefly in the few days that had passed since his admission, made her choke up a little and she didn’t want people probing it too much. What had happened between her and Gerard was regrettable, she knew that walking away from him had been a mistake, but she couldn’t handle more people pointing it to her. Delia had done enough of that. “Of course I am” she replied “It’s the start of the title defence and I wouldn’t miss it” she added.

Luis nodded his head uncertainly, not missing the shake in her voice. “Alright” he mused “I will see you on the coach this afternoon then” he commented before he stepped out of the office, making his way towards the training pitch. Esmé watched him go before she leant forwards in her seat, resting her head against the cool wood of her desk. She hated it, the knots in her stomach and the lump in her throat that appeared whenever she thought about Gerard, but she didn’t know what to do about it. She couldn’t talk to him, whenever she looked at him, his face fell slightly into a sombre expression and she couldn’t handle it. One right look with his blue eyes and she would run away again, something which would inevitably make things worse.

Sniffling a little, she closed her eyes and sighed, wishing she could go back a few days and change the way things had panned out.

“Are you feeling OK, Gerard?” Andres Iniesta noted as they stood in the carpark, awaiting the arrival of the coach that would take them to the airport for the short flight to Bilbao. Everyone had noticed, the defender wasn’t his usual bright and cheerful self, and it had fallen on the captain to ask the question that everyone wanted answered. Gerard wasn’t smiling, he wasn’t making people laugh, and that was not a good sign for the team who needed him focused on the game ahead of them.

Gerard, who had been aimlessly staring at the blank screen of his phone, nodded. “Perfect” he replied, his tone a little sharp. He was trying to not think about it, the way everything seemed duller now that he and Esmé weren’t talking, but the looks his teammates were offering him didn’t help. They all looked sympathetic, even if they didn’t know that there was something to feel sorry for him for, and he was struggling with it. He didn’t want them telling him what a mistake he’d made, not when he was acutely aware of it.

Andres frowned. “You’re not yourself” he noted.

Gerard rolled his eyes. “So I am having an off day, doesn’t everyone have them?” he snapped.

Andres raised his hands. “I’m sorry for asking” he muttered before he retreated away, causing Gerard to sigh to himself. He hadn’t meant to snap, Andres was only trying to help, but he hadn’t been able to stop himself. Snapping seemed a considerably better option than admitting that he had himself out to Esmé and she had run away from him, clearly repulsed by the notion that they could ever be anything more than the friends they’d always been. Guiding a hand through his hair, he scanned the carpark briefly, his blue eyes settling on the brunette who stood with Lionel and Luis Suarez, talking and smiling like everything on earth was perfect.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Jordi Alba posed.

Gerard shook his head. “No” he replied.

Jordi smiled at him gently. “You know that she does feel it, don’t you?” he posed. He wasn’t the closest to Gerard, they were teammates, but it hadn’t taken a lot to figure out that his foul mood coincided with Esmé’s sudden regression in her moping about what everyone assumed was Cesc. The defender hadn’t been himself since the second leg of the Super Cup and Esmé had become more and more withdrawn from the same point.

Gerard shook his head. “She doesn’t” he murmured “She made it very clear that she doesn’t” he added.

“Do you not think that she’s scared?” the left back posed “She’s just been hurt, by your best friend no less, and you barreling in probably couldn’t have come at a worst time” he reasoned.

“How do you know I barrelled in?” Gerard questioned, removing his eyes from Esmé and settling them on Jordi.

“It wasn’t hard to figure out” the left back smiled “You’re impetuous, she’s timid, and you’re both fucking miserable now. You said something” he added.

Gerard sighed. “How could she be scared of being with me?” he murmured “I’ve been around long enough to show her that I could never hurt her, that I could really make her happy, how could she be frightened of that?” he murmured.

“Because it is you” Jordi smiled “With Cesc, taking the risk wasn’t scary because she knew she wouldn’t lose anything dramatic if they split up. He wasn’t her best friend, she didn’t tell him all of her secrets, but you are. She doesn’t want to admit it, but it’s all over her face. She does feel it, Gerard, but you got in too soon, and you scared her and now, being the stubborn idiots that you both are, you’re staying away from one another, hoping that that will fix it” he added.

Gerard shook his head. “You don’t know a thing about us” he muttered.

“I know enough” Jordi replied “You should talk to her” he added.

Gerard snorted. There was no chance of him making the first move again. He’d done it before and it had only seen him get hurt.

“You’re never going to fix it if you don’t” the left back quipped before he wandered away, leaving Gerard shaking his head before his eyes landed on Esmé once more, catching the stare of her brown eyes with his. They stared at one another for a moment, neither quite daring to break the eye contact, before Lionel ushered Esmé away, causing Gerard to sigh.

He needed to do something.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Hockeykid40 for the comments :)