If You Love Me

Ninety: I Love You For It

Gently smoothing out the material of her dress over her bump, Nora let out a shaky sigh, her blue eyes briefly studying her reflection in the mirror. It hadn’t been long, after she had Gerard had discovered that they were expecting a little boy, only a couple of days had passed, but with her mother due to leave for New York in the morning, they’d arranged to head out for dinner, something which upset Nora slightly. She knew that it was what her mother wanted, since Maria had told her of her plan to leave, the older woman hadn’t stopped gushing over it, and whilst Nora was happy for her, she couldn’t quite shift the lump which existed in her throat at the thought of her mother being so far away.

Carefully tucking a few loose blonde hairs behind her ear, she allowed another soft sigh to fall out of her mouth before the sound of a small knock against the bedroom door caught her ears, causing her to turn slightly, her blue eyes peeking up towards Gerard who stood in the door, a soft expression on his face. “Did you just knock?” she teased halfheartedly.

Gerard quirked a faint smile. “I did” he confirmed “But only because I didn’t want to make you jump. I thought I would come up and see if you’re almost ready to get going” he added.

Nora, who’d moved to sit down on the side of the bed, nodded. “I think so” she mused “How was Alba when Leo came to pick her up?” she asked as she ducked down, attempting to place her shoe onto her foot.

Gerard watched her struggle to get her shoe on for a moment before he moved towards her, taking the shoe out of her hand. “She was fine” he noted “I mean, she was a little grumpy since it wasn’t you or me, but I am sure that she will be fine, and if she isn’t, I told Leo to call us. He’s got both of our numbers” he explained, gently slipping her shoe onto her foot.

Nora watched him for a moment, admiring the kindness in his action, before she nodded her head quietly, something which made Gerard offer her a soft smile. “You doing OK?” he posed gently. He knew that she was upset, even if she did deny it every time he asked, and he wanted to encourage her to talk to him, even if he knew that it was likely to be futile. He wanted her to know that he was there.

Nora shrugged. “I don’t really know” she murmured, shyly twisting her hair around her finger.

Gerard admired her briefly, not quite sure of what to say to her, before he pushed himself up to his feet, dropping a tender kiss on the top of her head. “You still want to go?” he murmured.

Nora cuddled into him slightly before she nodded. “I promised we would” she noted.

Gerard wrapped his arms around her, offering her a light hug before he carefully drew away, offering his hand out towards her. “Come on” he mused “We should probably be on time this once. I’d hate to keep your madre waiting” he teased with an encouraging smile.

Nora marveled at his smile briefly before she placed her hand in his, allowing him to squeeze it gently. He knew that it was likely to be a tough night, with Maria due to depart for New York the following morning, it was likely that Nora would be more than a little tearful, but he knew that he couldn’t shy away from it, even if he did hate the idea of her crying. He knew that he had to be there for her when she needed him.

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, Gerard let out a soft sigh, his head resting back against the restaurant wall which stood behind him. It had been a long night, with Maria’s departure due the following morning, both Nora and Emilia had appeared a little quiet and tearful, but with them distracted, Gerard had opted to excuse himself, wanting to give them a moment to say goodbye in private.

Shifting his feet a little, he pulled the material of his jacket a little more around himself, before he felt something nudge against shoulder, causing him to startle a little before he turned, his blue eyes settling on Maria who stood beside him, a familiar warm grin on her face. “This is where you’re hiding, is it?” she asked playfully.

Gerard breathed out a laugh before he shook his head. “I am not hiding” he quipped “I just thought I would give you a moment alone with your daughters. It is getting pretty late and I figured you’d be heading back to your hotel soon, so I figured I’d give you some space” he babbled shyly.

Maria quirked a small smile, not missing the shyness in his voice, before she leant a little closer to him, nudging his shoulder playfully. “You know” she quipped “I kind of like the idea that you’re still a little shy around me” she teased.

“You’re my mother-in-law” Gerard countered, returning her smile “What’d you expect?” he added.

Maria laughed gently at his joke before she lightly bumped his shoulder once more, something which caused Gerard to lift his arm, lightly wrapping it around her shoulder before he guided her into a soft hug. Maria hugged him back gently before she took a step back, smiling up at him warmly. “You’re going to look after her, aren’t you?” she posed.

Gerard nodded. “Of course I am” he replied.

“Good” Maria quipped “Because you make her happy, happier than I have seen her before. I mean, you two did take your time about it, and more than once I was convinced that it would never happen for you, but since you two got it together, you’ve made her so happy and I love you for that” she enthused kindly.

Gerard offered her a soft look, quietly mulling her words over, before he flashed her a sheepish smile, something which made Maria step towards him, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek. “Keep doing what you’re doing, Gerard” she noted before she stepped back, her attention switching towards the door where Nora and Emilia stood, tearful looks on their faces. “It is getting pretty late” she announced.

Gerard nodded his head in agreement. “It is” he noted “And we still have to go and collect Alba. Did you want a lift back to your hotel, Maria?” he posed.

Maria shook her head. “I’ve already called a taxi” she enthused “But thank you for the offer” she added.

Gerard flashed her a small smile before he stepped towards her, offering her another tight hug. “Adios, Maria” he mused.

“Adios, Gerard” Maria replied “I’ll see you in a few months when that baby boy of yours arrives” she added, patting his cheek warmly.

Gerard nodded his head before he stepped back, allowing Maria to turn her attention towards Nora and Emilia. “I will call you both when I land” she insisted “And I will probably call once, maybe twice a week just to check in on you. It’ll be like I never left” she teased brightly.

Nora scoffed and mumbled a comment beneath her breath, something which made Maria breathe out a laugh before she stepped forwards, lightly cupping her youngest daughter’s cheek. “It’s going to take some getting used to” she noted “I mean, you and Gerard won’t have a babysitter around the corner any more, but you will get used to it, sweetheart, and I will be here for the important things. I promise you” she insisted, her spare hand brushing over Nora’s bump.

Nora offered her a dubious look, not quite believing her, before she ducked forwards, wrapping her mother in a tight hug that she was quick to return before she moved her spare arm, wrapping it around Emilia. Holding onto the two girls, she hugged them tightly for a few seconds before the sound of a car horn reached her ears, causing her to duck back. “That’s going to be my taxi” she mused “I’ll call you when I land” she insisted as she stepped back, wiping her eyes softly.

“Adios, mama” Emilia noted, sniffling slightly.

“Adios, Emmy” Maria replied “And, adios, Nora” she added before she stepped away, making her way towards her taxi.

Gerard watched the older woman walk away before he stepped forwards, gently opening his arms towards Nora who quickly turned into them, hugging him tightly.