If You Love Me

Twenty Three: She Could Do Worse

“Are you sure that you want me to come with you today?”

Nora, who was tying the laces of her shoes, jumped a little at the sound of Gerard’s voice before she lifted her head, peeking towards where he stood in the doorway. It had been a little while, after she had spent the evening with Antonella, a few days had passed, and with her mother having arranged a baby shower for Emilia, Nora had asked Gerard if he wanted to go with her, something which made the defender slightly apprehensive.

He knew that they couldn’t duck out of it forever, eventually, he was going to spend time with her mother and sister and she would spend time with his parents, but still a small part of him wanted to put it off for a little while, even if it was inevitable, he wanted to have Nora to himself for a little longer.

“I’m sure” Nora noted softly “But if you’re having second thoughts, it’s Ok. You can duck out if you want to, I won’t hold it against you” she added, offering him a small smile. She knew that he was apprehensive, since he had arrived at her home, he had been unusually quiet, and Nora wanted to offer him the opportunity to duck out, even if she knew that her mother and sister were looking forwards to having a chance to make a fuss of them, she didn’t to push him into doing anything before he was ready.

Offering her a soft look, he briefly mulled over her offer, before he shook his head slightly. “I should come with you” he noted, his voice slightly nervous.

Nora, who’d pushed herself up to her feet, smiled a little at the nervousness in his voice before she stepped towards him, her arms loosely wrapping around his neck. “Are you nervous, Gerard?” she poked, her voice bright and playful.

Gerard scoffed playfully, something which made Nora giggle softly before she pushed herself up onto her toes, pressing a soft kiss against his lips.

Gerard startled slightly, not expecting the light kiss, before he wrapped his arms around her, holding her close for a few seconds before Nora ducked back slightly, offering him a light smile. “You have nothing to be nervous about” she murmured softly “My madre and Emmy, they like you, and I doubt that that is going to change just because we’re dating now. You’re going to be fine” she fussed softly as she pushed her fingers through his hair, brushing it off of his forehead.

Gerard smiled a little at her touch before he leant down, sneaking another couple of light kisses. Nora smiled a little, enjoying the soft kisses, before the sound of her phone vibrating in her pocket reached her ears, causing her to pull back slightly. “That’s our signal to get moving” she mused softly “You’re sure that you want to come with me?” she posed, straightening out the hair that she had messed up.

“You’re sure I’ve got nothing to worry about?” Gerard posed.

“I’m sure” Nora replied “They’re excited, Gerard, and they want to make a fuss, but I am sure that you don’t have any reason to be nervous” she added gently.

Gerard offered her a small look, wordlessly asking if she was sure, before he nodded his head. “Then I would love to come with you, Nora” he enthused warmly.

Nora flashed him a soft grin before she moved to take a hold of his hand, offering it a light squeeze before she guided him out of the room. Gerard followed along behind her for a couple of steps before he let out a soft sigh, trying to shift the knot which twitched in the pit of his stomach. He knew that she had a point, for as long as he had known Maria and Emilia, they had been nothing short of welcoming and warm towards him, but still he was a little nervous. Being Nora’s friend was one thing, but being her boyfriend was something else.

Stretching his legs out ahead of himself, Gerard let out a small sigh, his head resting back against the wall which stood behind him. It had been a nice afternoon, with Emilia’s due date approaching, Maria had been keen to throw a baby shower to make a fuss of the mother-to-be, and Gerard had enjoyed himself, even if he had been slightly awkward around a few of Nora’s relatives when they’d first arrived, he had settled in quickly to spending time with them. It had felt a little strange, the idea of spending time with Nora’s family now that he was her boyfriend was a little unfamiliar to him, but he was pleased with how it had gone, even if Nora had spent most of the day glued to his side in attempt to ease his nerves, he was pleased by how comfortable things had felt.

Closing his eyes, he enjoyed a couple of seconds of quiet before the sound of the sliding door reached his ears, causing him to lift his head, his eyes settling on Nora who stood a little away from, a soft smile on her face. “I thought I’d come and check on you” she noted softly “I mean, you disappeared about 10 minutes ago and I thought I’d come and make sure that you’d not made a run for it” she added teasingly.

Gerard quirked a small smirk before he shook his head. “I’ve not made a run for it” he quipped “I was just taking a minute. Don’t get me wrong, your family and friends have all been wonderful, but it’s still a lot” he added, shuffling across to make a little room at his side.

Nora, who’d moved to settle down beside him, nodded. “It is a lot” she agreed softly “But you’ve done pretty well. They seemed to love you” she enthused softly, resting her head against his shoulder.

Gerard offered her a soft look before he ducked down, pressing a soft kiss against the top of her head. “Nora” he murmured softly “You know that I…I love you, right?” he stumbled out softly.

Nora, who’d been quietly fiddling with his hand, stilled a little at his words before she lifted her head, her blue eyes mirroring his. “You do?” she posed softly.

Gerard spared her a small nod. “I do” he confirmed softly “But if you don’t want to say it back to me right now, then that’s fine. I just…I wanted you to know it” he insisted, his voice shy and uncertain.

Nora was quiet for a couple of seconds, allowing the words to hang around them for a brief moment, before she quirked a small smile. “You love me?” she repeated softly.

“I love you” Gerard repeated softly.

Nora’s smiled widened a fraction before she gently leant into him, pressing a soft kiss against his lips. Gerard startled, slightly surprised by the kiss, before he responded, kissing her happily for a couple of seconds before the sound of the sliding door reached his ears once more, causing him to pull away, his eyes settling on Maria who stood a little away from them. “I hope I am not interrupting” she noted softly “But, Nora, people are starting to leave and they’d like to say goodbye to you. Do you think you could pull yourself away for a couple of seconds?” she posed, a faint teasing grin on her lips.

Nora’s cheeks warmed a little at her mother’s words before she lightly shook her head, moving to press a soft kiss against Gerard’s cheek. “You know” she whispered softly “I love you too” she added softly before she pushed herself up to her feet, flashing him a soft grin before she disappeared into the house.

Gerard blinked a couple of times, slightly surprised by her words, before the sound of Maria clearing her throat reached his ears, causing him to look up at her. “Mrs Hernandez…”

“It’s Maria, Gerard” Maria interrupted softly “It has been for a while and just because you and Nora are a couple now, doesn’t change it” she enthused softly.

Gerard offered her a small smile before he nodded his head, something which caused the older woman to step towards him, gently patting his shoulder. “I don’t want to say too much” she noted softly “You and Nora, you’re adults and I am sure that you’re more than capable of figuring things out for yourself, but I do want to say something. My daughter, she’s been crazy about you for a while, and I want you to give this, whatever it is, your best shot. Nora loves you, Gerard, and I don’t want to see her heart get broken. She’s my little girl and I don’t want her to get hurt” she added gently. She knew that it wasn’t her business, whatever happened between Nora and Gerard was between the two of them but still she wanted to offer him a small warning, not wanting to watch Nora get hurt.

Gerard offered her a small glance, quietly mulling over her words, before he nodded his head. “I love her, Maria” he noted softly “And I am going to try as hard as I can to ensure that she doesn’t get hurt. I care about her, both as her friend and as her boyfriend, and the last thing I want is for her to get hurt” he insisted softly.

Maria listened to his words quietly before she stepped towards him, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek. “I hope it works out, Gerard” she noted softly “Nora could do a lot worse than you” she teased before she stepped away. Gerard watched her back into the house before he quietly shook his head, wordlessly hoping that it worked out.
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