Love Me Until My Heart Stops

35: Do A Better Job Than I Did

“You seriously want me to put this on?” Gerard posed as he looked at Esmé, his eyebrow cocked a little in surprise as he stared down at the jumper that sat on their bed, its bold pattern staring up at him. It was early, the couple had agreed to spend the day with Esmé’s family before Delia made the trip to Brazil that evening, but Gerard was a little surprised to find the jumper on his bed, even more so to find that Esmé had chosen it herself. It was bold, the knitted navy jumper sported a festive motif that couldn’t be missed and it made him a little curious. He’d always thought Esmé had better taste.

Esmé, who had been fixing her hair, nodded. “It’s tradition” she mused “All of my family wear them when we get together at Christmas and I am not having you miss out. Isaac and Martin both wear them and even little Oliver does too. Ella sent me a picture of him this morning” she enthused, her brown eyes peeking over at him. She was slightly amused, his entire face had fallen when he had spotted the jumper, but she hoped that he would put it on. It was a tradition of her family and she wanted him to go along with it. She wanted him to feel as though she was making an effort to welcome him into her family properly.

“Your sisters put their poor boyfriends through this?” Gerard asked, picking up the jumper.

“It’s tradition” Esmé repeated “And my madre won’t let you through the door without it, so you can pout and not put it on and stay here by yourself all day, or you can wear the jumper for a couple of hours, and I will reward you later” she offered, moving to pull her own jumper over her head.

“It’s really a tradition?” Gerard poked, eyeing the jumper in his hands.

“Why would I lie about it?” Esmé reasoned as she padded over to him, taking the jumper out of his hands.

“Because you secretly hate me?” he suggested.

Esmé shook her head. “It’s a jumper, Gerard. Don’t you think you might be being slightly dramatic?” she mused as she clambered up onto the bed, placing the jumper on over his head “Besides, it’s 3 hours and no one you know will see you, just me and my family” she reasoned as she pulled it over his body, allowing him to place his arms through the sleeves. Gerard strained against the material slightly, not liking the slight itch it bought to his skin, but he still managed to feign a smile, something which made Esmé shake her head. “You’re an idiot” she giggled as she folded up the sleeves slightly.

Gerard shook his head. “I can’t be that much of an idiot, not only did I convince you to date me, but you live here. If one of us is an idiot, I fear it may be you, hermosa” he teased.

Esmé smiled gently and hopped down from the bed, moving to collect the bag of gifts that sat in the corner of the room. “Are you done pouting so that we can go?” she quipped, grabbing her jacket.

Gerard spared a look down at his jumper before he nodded, offering her a little smile. “I’m ready” he noted.

“You not going to toss the jumper off?” Esmé teased.

“It’s a family thing?” Gerard posed.

“Yes, I promise you that it is. I would not lie about it” she mused.

Gerard smiled. “Then I will keep the jumper on. They could be my family one day too, Esmé, and I don’t want to disrespect your traditions, no matter how many terrible jumpers it means I have to wear” he explained.

Esmé grinned at him and moved to place a kiss on his cheek, gently thanking him.

“You know, I’ve never seen my little girl so happy before” Delia mused as she stepped into the kitchen, her dark eyes settling on Gerard who stood beside the sink, quietly clearing away the last of the plates that Martin had left him with. It had been a pleasant day, Gerard had spent most of it getting to know Ella and Eloisa’s partners as well as cooing over Esmé’s nephew, and he was a little pleased with himself. Even despite his slight hesitation, he appeared to be fitting in well with Esmé’s family and he knew that that was a good sign.

Gerard laughed. “Having known her for as long as I have, Ms. Silva, I’d have to say you’re just saying that” he mused.

Delia shook her head. “I’m not” she refuted gently “She was happy with Cesc, anyone could tell you that, but it seems so much more complete with you. How are things?” she pressed gently.

Gerard smiled. “Better than I could have expected” he replied swiftly “I adore your daughter, Ms. Silva” he added earnestly.

Delia chuckled. “Firstly, you don’t have to call me Ms. Silva anymore, Gerard. You’ve been with my Esmé for four months now, I think we’re probably OK to start going with Delia. And secondly, you don’t have to tell me that you care for her. I have known since the second I met you” she enthused.

Gerard shook his head. “I really didn’t think I was so obvious” he mused.

“Only to the trained eye” Delia grinned “When Isaac first started hanging around Ella, she was completely oblivious to him. They were at university together and from the moment I met him, I knew he had feeling for her, but Ella, she was oblivious. All of my daughters appear to have a hard time working out their feelings” she mused.

“I think I am aware of Esmé’s” Gerard replied, leaning back against the counter.

Delia nodded her head. “I think I am too and that is why I wanted to give this to you” she announced gently before she pulled something out of her pocket, offering it over to Gerard who eyed it a little uncertainly.

“Delia” he murmured.

“This is the engagement ring that Roberto, Esmé and the other’s father, gave to me when I was 18 years old. He told me when he gave me this that he wanted to live a life with me, to create a family, and then 7 years later, he left me and our 3 beautiful little girls behind without a word. When he gave me this, I felt like my life was just starting. I was a girl who wanted the world and when Roberto proposed, I felt like I had gotten it. Obviously, that was naïve on my part, but I still keep this. I miss being that hopeful girl, Gerard” she explained.

“Why are you giving this to me?” Gerard posed, his blue eyes glancing down at the box which sat in the palm of his hand.

“Because out of all of my daughters, Esmeralda reminds me the most of myself” Delia replied “And because I want her to feel like the world is starting to make sense to her. I know that this is quick, Gerard, perhaps a little too quick, but I want you to take this and I want you to give it to my daughter when the time is right. I want you and her to make a better job of marriage than me and her papi ever did” she explained.

Gerard blinked. “You want me to propose to her?” he squeaked.

“When the time is right” Delia reiterated “There’s no rush on it, but I know Esmé and I know that there is nothing that would make her happier than starting a family life with you. Cesc was a mistake, a fluke, but you? I have seen that smile before, it’s the one I gave her papa” she mused.

Gerard shook his head. “Surely you would want to give this to Isaac, or Martin” he mused.

“I want you to take it” Delia smiled.

Gerard opened his mouth to respond, but stopped himself, his hand stowing the small box in his pocket as Esmé padded into the room. “Are you nearly done in here?” Esmé quipped as she padded past her mother.

Gerard offered Delia a look before he nodded his head, smiling gently. He had to wait, he knew that 4 months was too soon, but he felt assured. Having Delia’s trust was a big thing for him and he knew that he had to make good on it, he had to do a better job at looking after Esmé than her father ever had.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)