Love Me Until My Heart Stops

58: He’s Ready When You Are

Standing in the hall for a moment, Gerard rested his head against door, his mind whirring with Roberto’s request. He knew that he couldn’t hide it, Esmé had every right to know that her father had made contact with him, but he doubt that that she would take it all that well. It was a sore point, Esmé and Delia seemed to shy away from talking about Roberto and he doubted that the conversation that he needed to have with his girlfriend would be a nice one, especially since he had developed the slightest of sympathies for the older man.

He didn’t doubt that Delia knew what was best for her daughters, she had raised the 3 of them almost single handedly, but Roberto had a point. He had sent letters, gifts, and Delia had had no right to hide that from the 3 girls, they deserved the chance to make a decision about their father for themselves. Taking a small breath, he gripped the bag in his hand before he padded into the living room, his blue eyes landing on his fiancée who sat on the couch, talking excitedly with her mother.

“You made it back” Esmé enthused as she caught sight of him “You left here almost an hour ago and I was starting to wonder if you were coming back” she teased.

Gerard smiled. “I kind of got sidetracked” he noted as he placed the bag of food onto the table, his voice wavering slightly.

Esmé tilted her head. “Gerard?” she posed.

“I need to talk to you about something” he murmured, his blue eyes peeking at her gently.

“Do you want me to go?” Delia posed, moving to push herself up from her seat.

“No” Gerard quipped “I need to talk to both of you” he mused.

“You’re worrying me” Esmé commented, her dark eyes studying his face. He didn’t sound like himself, he sounded a little unsure, and it concerned Esmé. She had assumed that all of their concerns and worries were firmly behind them. Gerard took a breath before he quietly sat down on the table ahead of them, his blue eyes focused on his girlfriend.

“I ran into your father” he murmured.

Esmé blinked a little, a small crease appearing in her forehead. “Are you sure?” she squeaked.

Gerard nodded his head. “He carries a picture of you in his wallet, Esmé, and you look like him. I know that the man I spoke to was your padre” he noted gently as he reached his hand out, gently taking hers.

Esmé swallowed a little. “He’s still in Barcelona” she whispered softly “I always envisaged that he’d gone further afield” she mumbled.

“What does it matter?” Delia enquired “Esmé, you said it yourself, you don’t want to be involved with a man who left you” she pointed out.

Esmé shook her head. “I don’t” she insisted “But it is strange to think that he could be so close. I always imagined he was further away and that that was the reason that he never came back” she reasoned, offering her mother a look. She didn’t want to upset the older woman, her mother had done a lot for her, but part of her had always been curious about her father, even if she had attempted not to be. He didn’t deserve her time, not to her mind at least, but she couldn’t ignore what Gerard was saying.

Gerard offered a glance to Delia before he sighed. “You never told them about his letters” he murmured.

Delia straightened. “What?” she squeaked indignantly.

Gerard turned his eyes back to Esmé. “He says that he sent letters, birthday cards and Christmas presents and having met him, I am inclined to believe him, querida. He was a timid man, a little unsure of himself, and I can him in you” he explained, squeezing her hand gently.

Esmé blinked a little before she turned her face towards her mother, a curious expression on her face. “Did he send things, mama?” she posed.

Delia scoffed. “What does it matter?” she mumbled.

“Did he send things to us, mama?” Esmé repeated gently, her hand gently squeezing Gerard’s who was more than happy to squeeze hers back, trying to offer some sort of reassurance.

Delia sighed. “There were letters, a few presents, but I sent them away. I didn’t want him trying to buy your affections. He left, Esmeralda, he made his decision, and he had little right to try and worm his way back into the lives of you girls. He had his chance to be a father and ran away from it” she insisted softly. She had known that it was wrong, sending away Roberto’s things, but she hadn’t wanted him to get back into their daughters’ lives. He had a track record for hurting them and Delia had merely been trying to protect them.

Esmé shook her head. “That wasn’t a choice for you, mama” she whispered.

“I wanted to protect you girls” Delia insisted “That man had the potential to hurt you all over again and I wasn’t going to sit by and just let him do it, Esmeralda” she mused.

Esmé shook her head, an action that made Gerard place his arm around her. “I think you ought to go, Delia” he mumbled gently.

Delia shook her head. “I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone” she insisted.

Gerard nodded. “I believe you” he insisted “But I think Esmé might just need a little time to get her head around it” he added, offering her a soft look.

Delia nodded her head softly before she pushed herself to her feet, pressing a kiss to Esmé’s forehead. “I did it for you girls, Esmeralda, I wanted to protect the 3 most important people in my life and whilst I apologize, I don’t regret it. I just hope you can see why I did it” she murmured gently before she stepped out of the room, leaving her daughter with Gerard who shifted to sit at her side, his arms carefully levering her into a tight embrace.

“You met him” Esmé murmured.

“I did” Gerard replied “He’s not what I was anticipating from the way your madre speaks about him, but I can see a lot of him in you. You’ve got his eyes” he explained gently. He didn’t want to push her, if she wanted to meet Roberto, then she was going to want to do it in her own time, but he wanted to encourage her. Gerard believed the older man, even if he probably shouldn’t have done, and was convinced that he just wanted a chance to make things right with his daughters.

“I have?” Esmé posed.

“Definitely” Gerard confirmed, kissing her temple softly “And maybe one day you’ll be OK with seeing it for yourself. I am not going to force you to do it, Esmé, I get that you’re probably going to want to speak with your sisters and madre before you take another step, but he’s ready when you are” he explained softly.

Esmé nodded her head softly. “Maybe in a few months, after the wedding” she suggested.

“Whenever you’re ready” Gerard mused softly, resting his head on hers.

Esmé settled into their embrace and closed her eyes, squeezing his hand gently. It was a possibility, maybe when things were settled down she would want to meet her father, but as she sat with Gerard, she knew that it was best to way until they were settled. Roberto was a complication she didn’t need in the run up to her wedding.