Love Me Until My Heart Stops

03: Because You’re My Best Friend

“Esmé” Gerard murmured softly. It was early, usually too early for the defender on a morning after a match day, but he hadn’t been able to get much sleep. It had blindsided him, Esmé showing up in his room the previous night in an unexplained fit of tears, and the curiosity still burned inside of him, something which had prevented him from sleeping. He knew that it was on Cesc, the midfielder was one of very few people that had the ability to reduce her to tears, but he couldn’t quite place what he could have done. As far as Gerard had been aware, they were as loved up and as happy as they had ever been and he couldn’t come up with a feasible explanation for the sudden change.

Shifting slightly, he placed his hand against Esmé’s shoulder and shook it gently. “Esmé” he murmured “Esmé, please” he added.

Esmé shifted a little, making a small noise before she opened her dark eyes, staring up at Gerard in a way that broke his heart. She looked so vulnerable, like she would break if he dared to touch her again, and it made Gerard’s stomach turn. He didn’t know what Cesc had done, but he already knew that he wanted to hurt him for it.

“What time is it?” Esmé murmured, her hands rubbing her eyes which were still red and puffy.

“It’s about 6” Gerard replied.

“Why are you awake?” Esmé posed, moving to sit up a little.

“Why do you think I am awake?” Gerard countered softly “You showed up here last night in tears and I was kind of hoping you’d like to give me some sort of explanation” he added.

Esmé shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it, Geri” she murmured, pushing her hand back through her messy dark hair.

“And I am not going to let you get away with it so easily, Esmé” he returned, his fingertips gently replacing hers and tucking her hair behind her ear “You were a wreck last night, you didn’t say two words to me, and I was sort of hoping you could let me in on why. Something clearly happened” he reasoned softly.

Esmé sighed. “I really don’t want to talk about it” she reiterated gently.

“Then I will ask Cesc” Gerard replied, causing her face to flinch.

“Don’t talk to him” she noted, her voice drifting somewhere between pained and furious.

“You won’t tell me” Gerard replied, knowing that he was spot on about it being Cesc that had upset her “And I am sure that he will, so I will just call him” he added, moving to find his phone which had been left in the pocket of the training jacket he had worn back to the hotel.

“Gerard, please” Esmé pleaded.

“I want to know what is going on” the defender replied stubbornly “And you’re being coy on it, so I will ask him. He never could lie to me” he rambled, finding the midfielder’s phone number in his phone. Esmé watched him before she reached up, trying to swat the phone out of his hand. “I want to know what is happening, Esmé” he repeated, lifting his hand so that even despite the elevation of the bed, she still couldn’t quite reach it.

“You really don’t need to know” Esmé shot, her hands gripping at his forearm in an attempt to drag it back down to her height.

“I think I do” the defender replied stubbornly “You can’t show up crying, Esmé, and expect me to just pretend that you didn’t. I hate seeing you cry and I hate it more when you won’t just admit the problem” he added, his expression soft, yet in away hurt by the fact she refused to confide in him. It wasn’t the first time she had cried, in the nearly 5 years that they had known one another, it was an all too frequent occurrence, but Gerard hated it more when she was stubborn with him. All he ever wanted to do was help and he couldn’t understand why she would ever want to refuse him the chance to.

Esmé admired the expression on his face before she sighed, moving to sit down on the side of the bed. “I called him last night” she murmured gently.

“You call him every night” Gerard pointed out, sitting on Bartra’s vacant bed opposite her, his blue eyes mirroring her brown ones.

“He acted like a total ass” she murmured “He was insulting Arsenal, which he never does, and he was whining and complaining in a way I hadn’t seen for a while” she explained.

Gerard tilted his head. “Esmé, Cesc can be an ass, but I don’t see why that is worth…”

“He cheated, Gerard” Esmé interjected.

Gerard blinked.

“I was talking to him, like I do every night, and then I heard this voice. He was too quick to deny that there was someone there and then this girl walked into his room. She was wearing the shirt I got him for his birthday last year and she kissed his cheek like I kiss his cheek. I can’t say for sure that he did it, but I am about 95% convinced” she explained, her voice shaking and tears growing more apparent in her eyes.

Gerard stared at her, wide eyed. “You…” he stumbled out.

“I am pretty sure, yes” Esmé mused, wiping her eyes.

“He…” the defender babbled.

Esmé nodded her head. “That’s why I came here. After seeing that, there was nothing I wanted more than a hug from you and for you to tell me that it was going to be OK” she explained, offering him a slightly sheepish grin.

Gerard, who was still trying to wrap his head around the notion that Cesc could have done something like that to the girl he loved, lifted his head, his eyes once more meeting hers. “I was the person you wanted to come to?” he posed.

Esmé nodded. “Of course you were, Geri” she insisted as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

The defender shook his head. “Your sister, your mother, Leo…you had all of those people who would have probably done a far better job and you came to me?” he squeaked.

Esmé shook her head and moved to sit on the other bed beside him, her hand taking his whilst her head rested tearfully on his shoulder. “Because you’re my best friend, Geri” she murmured “Those people, they’d have asked questions and insisted on talking, but you? You know better and that is why I came to you. After all these years, you can’t still be surprised by that” she murmured, squeezing her eyes closed as a few more tears fell out of them.

Gerard shook his head and placed his arm around her waist, hugging her like she wanted. “I am always going to be surprised, Esmé” he murmured, kissing her head gently “And I will be talking to Cesc, there is no way on this earth that he gets away with doing that to you” he added. Esmé thought about telling him no, she was going to fight her own fight, but in his arms, she couldn’t bring herself to. There was no place that she had ever felt safer than when she was curled up with him.
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Thanks to FootieJo, petitmonstre and Jayme112234 for the comments :)