Love Me Until My Heart Stops

07: I Won’t Let Him Ruin You

“Esmé, please tell me that you’re done running” Gerard complained as he reached the top of the stairs outside of the brunette’s apartment, his breathing panting a little. It had a taken a lot, after spotting Cesc, Esmé had jumped into the first cab she could find and made her way back to her apartment, and Gerard had had little choice but to follow her. Seeing Cesc, for Esmé at least, was somewhere nearing seeing a ghost and he wanted to ensure that she was OK. He wanted to ensure that her progress was not stunted by his appearance.

“You didn’t have to follow me, Gerard” Esmé replied, leaving the door open so that he could follow her inside. She didn’t want him there, after seeing Cesc, she wanted nothing more than to curl up in her bed, wallowing about the failure that was still remarkably fresh in her mind, but she knew that Gerard wouldn’t see it like that. He could be remarkably persistent when he wanted to be and Esmé knew he had little intention of leaving her alone.

Gerard shook his head, pushing the door shut. “You see him, freak out, and I am supposed to pretend that it never happened?” he posed.

“No, but you weren’t supposed to follow me here” Esmé shot “I would have thought that me saying goodbye to you there made it clear I didn’t want you to come here” she added, tossing her bag frustrated onto the side.

Gerard sighed. “I didn’t want you to take a step backwards, Esmé” he reasoned gently, taking a step towards “You seemed like yourself today, like you were actually getting a little better, and I wanted to make sure that seeing him didn’t change that. I watched you, before he appeared, and you were grinning and laughing. I know it’s been a few days, but you seemed alright” he added softly, his arms wrapping around her softly.

Esmé sighed and relaxed into his touch, her dark eyes closing. “When I woke up this morning, it wasn’t the first thing I thought of” she whispered “I thought about the game before he even entered my head and I thought that that was a good thing…”

“It is a good thing” Gerard assured her gently “Esmé, it was never going to be easy, I told you that, but that is a good step” he added.

Esmé shook her head and stepped away from him a little, pushing her hand through her hair. “Why did he have to come here, Geri?” she murmured, her voice shaking a little “Why couldn’t he just take the hint and leave me alone?” she added.

“Because he wants to fight for you” Gerard replied, stepping towards her again “Because he realizes now that you were probably the best thing for him and he wants to get you back. In his mind, he probably thinks he can make things right” he explained.

“You sound like you’re talking from experience” Esmé murmured, allowing him to wrap her up in another hug.

Gerard nodded. “Do you think I just let Shakira go?” he posed “I tried for weeks to get her to reconsider, I tried to prove that I wasn’t the guy she thought I was and that I could be better. It was a failed endeavor, obviously, but I really thought I could do it” he added, hugging her tightly.

“When did you get the hint?” she posed.

“It took a little while” he admitted “But I got there and I am sure that Cesc will too. He’s just going to make it a little tough for a while yet” he explained.

Esmé sighed and wrapped her arms around his waist, hugging him close. “I am sorry for yelling” she murmured.

“I am sorry for ever introducing you to him” Gerard replied.

“It didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time” Esmé pointed out “And you weren’t to know that he could be a complete and utter ass when he wanted to be” she added, offering him a small smile.

Gerard shrugged. “I know that, but I still feel a little responsible” he murmured.

Esmé shook her head. “You have nothing to be sorry for, Geri. I was the one who got with him, I should have known better” she murmured.

Gerard merely tightened his hold on her, allowing her to turn into his shoulder and whimper a little, a few loose tears soaking into the material of his shirt. It still stung, especially after a day when she hadn’t cried, but Gerard wasn’t about to let her go through it alone. Seeing Cesc had been a blow she didn’t need, but he wasn’t prepared to let it ruin what progress she had made. It hadn’t been a lot, it had only been a few days since the end of their relationship and it was clearly still taking a toll on her, but Gerard didn’t want her back at square one. Hugging her tightly, he pressed a kiss to the top of her head before he leant back, his blue eyes kindly roaming her face. “Do you want me to go?” he posed softly, his thumb brushing along her cheekbone and rubbing away some of the loose tears.

Esmé shook her head. “No” she mumbled.

“You didn’t want me here to start with” Gerard reasoned, trying to illicit a smile.

Esmé shook her head. “But now you are here, I don’t want you to go. Please, Gerard, stay” she murmured, wiping her eyes. The defender nodded his head and pulled her back into another tight hug, murmuring small reassurances into her ears. Esmé clutched onto him like he was a security blanket, listening intently to almost every word he said before she caught his eyes, noting that they were firmly fixed on her face.

“You’re staring at me” she whispered, cutting off his latest line about how she was better off without Cesc.

Gerard furrowed his brow. “I always look at you” he replied, crinkles forming around his eyes in confusion.

“I have never noticed before” Esmé noted “You’ve always looked at me like that?” she posed.

Gerard nodded. “Always” he quipped “It’s always been kind of hard not to” he added.

Esmé tilted her head. “What are you going on about?” she posed, leaning back a little from him.

Gerard shook his head. “It’s kind of hard not to look at you, Esmé” he repeated gently “We both know that you’re very beautiful and sometimes, I like to admire it” he mused, sheepishly looking down at his feet. He knew how it sounded, it was like he was trying to make a move on her, but it was the furthest thing from his mind. It would be months before she was anywhere near ready to move on and even when she was ready, she wouldn’t be interested in moving on with him. He was her friend, the best friend who hugged her to make her stop crying and who made ridiculous jokes to make her laugh, and that was alright by him. He liked what they were.

Esmé’s damp cheeks flushed a little. She doubted she had ever hear something so sweet from him before.

“Let’s stop talking” Gerard stumbled out, hiding his eyes from Esmé who stared at him in a way that was unfamiliar to him “Let’s find something to eat, I know I am starving” he added moving to step away from the brunette, but a hand on his wrist stopped him, causing him to peek down at Esmé’s face.

“Did you mean that?” she squeaked.

“Of course I did” Gerard replied “We both know that you’re a beautiful girl, Esmé, it’s a fact” he babbled.

Esmé smiled, her cheeks still pink.

Gerard admired the sight of her for a second before he swallowed thickly, taking a little pace towards her. It was suicide, he knew with each step he took, he was likely to ruin their friendship by following it up, but for a second, he couldn’t deny himself the shot. Esmé’s smile and blush was like an open goal to him and like the good footballer he was, he wasn’t about to miss it. Taking half a pace towards her, he gently cradled her cheek in the palm of his hand before he ducked his head, brushing his lips over hers. Esmé’s breathing stopped for a moment, something which caused Gerard to retreat, thinking he had probably overstepped the mark, but Esmé was quicker. Flashing the smallest of smiles, she placed her hands onto the collar of his shirt, pulling him back to her where she placed her lips to his, more than likely changing the landscape of their friendship beyond repair.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and petitmonstre for the comments :)