If You Love Me

Eighty Seven: You’re All Grown Up

Leaning his back against the couch, Gerard quirked a small smile, his blue eyes settled on Alba who toddled around ahead of him, babbling happily to herself. It was early, with Alba having been a little snuffly overnight, she had woke up a little earlier than usual, but Gerard didn’t mind waking up to comfort her, even if he had been happily sleeping at Nora’s side, he was more than happy to wake up early on Christmas morning with the little girl.

Stifling a soft yawn into his hand, he watched Alba amusedly for a couple of seconds before he scooted towards her, lifting her easily into his arms. “You know” he mumbled as he playfully lifted her above his head, something which Alba giggle “We’re supposed to be being quiet. Your mama, she needs to sleep a little more now that she’s carrying around your baby brother or sister, and we don’t to disturb her, do we? We both know that she can be a little grumpy when she’s tired” he teased, settling Alba down into his lap.

Alba shifted a little, not liking being held in place, before she let out a small whine, something which made Gerard smile lightly before he ducked down, pressing a soft kiss against the top of her head. “Come on” he mumbled “I am sure that your mama won’t mind us opening a couple of presents before she wakes up” he added before he scooted a little further forwards, quickly collecting one of the presents which had Alba’s name written on it.

Alba fussed in his arms for a moment before she reached her hands out, lightly tugging at the wrapping paper. Gerard watched her for a moment, a warm smile perched on his face, before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached his ears, causing him to lift his head, his blue eyes settling on Nora who stood a little away from him, a playful smile on her lips. “Am I interrupting something?” she quipped “Because if I am, I can come back” she teased.

Gerard, who’d moved to push himself up to his feet, shook his head. “I was just trying to settle her down a little” he noted “She was snuffly overnight” he added.

Nora, who’d moved to greet Alba, lifted an eyebrow. “She was?” she posed.

“A little” Gerard clarified “I think she’s probably caught that cold that I had last week, but she seems OK now. I am sure that she will be fine when we head over to your mother’s later” he noted, offering Nora a playful smile which made her roll her eyes slightly.

It had been scheduled for a while, with Gerard’s parents having opted to go away for the holidays, they’d agreed to head over to her mother’s for Christmas, and whilst Nora was looking forwards to having a quieter Christmas than the one they’d had the year previous, she wasn’t looking forwards to her mother’s fussing. She knew that her mother meant well, since they had shared the news of her second pregnancy, Maria had been more than excited, and whilst Nora was pleased that she was happy, she wanted her to dial it back a little, not wanting to find herself coddled or fussed over.

“We’re still doing that?” she posed, settling down on the couch.

Gerard offered her a small smile before he nodded, settling into the seat at her side. “We promised that we would” he quipped “And besides, I am sure that it won’t be so bad. I mean, she’s going to have both of her grandchildren around. I am sure she’ll be too distracted to fuss over you” he added, his voice caught between teasing and reassuring.

Nora offered him a dubious look, something which made him chuckle before he gently shifted his hand, settling it against the bump which was noticeable beneath her pajama shirt. “You know that she’s just excited, right?” he posed “I mean, it was only a couple of years ago that you were single and now look at you. You’re a madre, you’re married, and we’ve got another baby on the way, and she’s just excited for you. I have no doubt that you’re going to be the same way when Alba grows up” he added, looking towards the little girl who sat away from them, happily playing with one of her toys.

Nora followed the line of his stare, quietly mulling his words over for a moment, before she nodded her head. “You’re probably right” she noted.

Gerard quirked a small smile. “It does happen sometimes” he teased.

Nora rolled her eyes at his comment, something which made him chuckle before he wrapped an arm around her, offering her a soft squeeze before he pushed himself up to his feet, moving to lift Alba up into his arms, carrying her back towards the Christmas tree. “Aren’t you going to join us?” he posed impishly, glancing at Nora over his shoulder. Nora smiled at him gently before she stepped towards him, sitting down at his side.

“So, Nora, how are you feeling?” Maria posed softly as she stepped into the living room, her blue eyes settling on Nora who was resting on the couch, dozing quietly. It had been a busy day, with the house full with her family, Maria been rushed off of her feet for most it, but with Gerard having disappeared with Alba to call his parents and Mateo and Emilia having departed to visit Mateo’s family, she had opted to check on Nora, even if she had tried to put it off for most of the day, she wanted to ensure that her daughter was alright.

Nora, who’d been drifting off, startled a little at the sound of her mother’s voice before she turned her head, offering her a small smile. “I’m OK” she mused “I mean, I’m a little tired, but I am a lot nowadays. This little one doesn’t seem to want to take it easy on me, something I am sure that he or she has inherited form their papa” she joked, brushing a hand over her bump.

Maria watched the small movement with a fond smile before she shook her head quietly, returning her attention to tidying.

Nora frowned. It wasn’t the first time, since they had arrived at her mother’s home, the older woman had seemed a little quieter than usual, and it made Nora a little curious, even if she was glad that her mother wasn’t fussing over her. It wasn’t like Maria to be so quiet. “Mama?” she posed gently.

Maria, who’d been gathering a few scraps of wrapping paper, shook her head. “I’m fine” she quipped, knowing what was going to come out of Nora’s mouth.

“You’ve been quiet” Nora countered “And you’re never quiet, mama. So, what is going on?” she posed as she stepped in front of her mother, catching the stare of her eyes.

Maria glanced up at her briefly before she shook her head. “Nora...”

“Mama” Nora cut in “I know it’s not nothing, so don’t tell me that it is. What’s going on?” she posed gently.

Maria offered her a small glance, briefly contemplating insisting that it was nothing, before she let out a soft sigh. “I’ve been offered a job” she revealed “It’s a good one, one I’ve been after for a while, and now that things are so settled for you, and for your sister, I’ve decided to take it” she added, shifting a little on the spot.

Nora frowned. “Mama?” she pressed, sensing that there was something that her mother wasn’t telling her.

Maria quirked a small smile, not surprised that Nora had caught on, before she shook her head. “The job is in New York” she noted.

Nora blinked. “New York?” she spluttered.

Maria nodded. “I’ve always thought about moving out of Barcelona” she noted gently “It’s always been a dream of mine and now that you, and Emmy, are happy and settled, I think the time is right. You’re all grown up, you’ve got families of your own, and I think the time is right. What do you think?” she posed tentatively.

Nora chewed on her lip for a moment, trying to wrap her head around her mother’s words, before she shook her head. “You’re going to go?” she posed.

Maria nodded. “I think so” she mused, a faint smile on her lips.

Nora offered her a soft look, not missing the smile she wore, before she shook her head. “I think it is going to be different” she noted “But, if it is what you want to do, then I am happy for you, mama” she insisted, her voice slightly soft.

Maria noted the tone of her voice before she stepped towards her, wrapping her in a soft hug that Nora didn’t hesitate to return, not quite sure of how she would get used to the idea of her mother living so far away.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)