If You Love Me

Ninety Nine: She’s Been Good For You

Pulling his shirt down over his head, Gerard took in a breath, trying to settle the butterflies which fluttered in the pit of his stomach. It wasn’t the first one, throughout his career with Barcelona and with Spain, he had played in various finals, but still he was a little apprehensive, even if it wasn’t the first, and a small part of him couldn’t wait to get it over with. It had been a while, after their previous champions league win, it had taken the team a while to work their way back towards another final, and whilst he was optimistic about their chances, he couldn’t shake the knot in his stomach.

Adjusting the material of his sleeves, he smoothed them out a little before he padded back towards his locker, pulling his phone out of his jacket pocket. Sparing a quick look around the room, he noticed that his teammates were distracted before he moved to sit down, his blue eyes quickly spotting Nora’s name on the screen.

Quirking a small grin to himself, he opened the message before he shook his head, his eyes admiring the picture that Nora had sent to him. It was a cute one, Nora was sat up on the bed of her hotel room with Rafael in her arms and Alba at her side, and the three of them all wore Barcelona shirts, and Gerard couldn’t help but smile at it, even if it wasn’t the first time that he had seen them in his kit. It was something that never failed to make him smile.

“Is it from Nora?”

Gerard, who’d been composing his reply to Nora, startled slightly at the sound of Lionel’s voice before he lifted his head, offering him a small nod. “She was just wishing me luck” he quipped “She sent a picture of her and the children” he added, offering his phone out towards the argentine.

Lionel offered him a small look, not missing the smile which was perched on his face, before he took the phone, admiring the picture which filled the screen. “They look adorable” he noted “And it seems to have put a grin on your face” he added, offering the defender a slightly impish smile. It wasn’t uncommon, since Rafael had arrived, Gerard had seemed happier, and Lionel had to admit that he was pleased for him, even if it had been a long time in coming, he was pleased that Gerard and Nora had figured things out.

Gerard rolled his eyes slightly before he reached his hand out, collecting his phone once more. “Do you have a point?” he quipped playfully as he pushed himself up to his feet, moving to stow his phone in his locker.

Lionel shook his head before he held his hands up defensively. “I was merely pointing it out” he retorted “You seem to grin a lot when it comes to Nora and the children” he added.

Gerard tilted his head. “You’d like me to stop?” he quipped, moving to adjust his shin pads beneath his socks.

“Of course not. I think I speak for everyone when I say I much prefer you this way” Lionel noted with a small smile “But it wasn’t that long ago that you and Nora were pretending that you weren’t into one another and now look at you. You two are married, you’ve got two children and I just...She’s been pretty great for you” he added.

Gerard, who’d moved to slip his foot into his boot, glanced up at the argentine for a moment, briefly mulling his words, before he shook his head, a small smile appearing at the corner of his mouth. “She has been” he admitted “I mean, for a long time, we were both pretty naïve when it came to one another and our feelings, but we got there in the end and I am pretty happy with the results. She makes me happy, Leo, her and the children” he insisted softly.

It wasn’t something he talked about a lot, the way in which he and Nora had skirted around each other for as long as they had, but he knew that it had been worth it. It had taken time, for a long time, both he Nora had been quick to deny that there was anything more than friendship between them, but he was happy that they’d got it together in the end, even if they had had their hiccups. He doubted he could have been much happier with the way things had worked out for them.

Lionel admired the grin on his face and briefly contemplated retorting before their names were called, informing them that it was time to head down towards the tunnel. Shaking his head, he lightly nudged Gerard’s shoulder encouragingly before he padded out of the changing room, the tall defender in tow.

Twisting the last of her blonde hair into a braid, Nora spared a quiet yawn, her ears doused by the sound of someone knocking at the door. It was late, with the match having headed into extra time, she hadn’t got back to her hotel a lot before midnight, and whilst she wasn’t surprised by the knocking, she was a little irked with it.

Twisting a hair tie into her hair, she ensured that it in place before she padded towards the door, pulling it open. “Do you know...?” Nora’s words faded away as Gerard ducked into the room quickly, lifting her up off of her feet. Letting out a small squeal, she wrapped an arm around his neck before she lifted the other, slapping his back. “What are you doing, idiota?” she squeaked, a few giggles falling out of her mouth.

Gerard smiled at the sound of her laughter before he gently settled her down onto her feet, his blue eyes mirroring hers. “I just wanted a hug” he quipped “I mean, I know I saw you earlier, but I was easily distracted with the children and I didn’t have the chance. Aren’t you pleased to see me?” he added, a warm smile on his lips.

Nora rolled her eyes playfully before she took a pace towards him, settling a hand on the back of his neck before she gently pulled him down, guiding him into a soft kiss.

Gerard smiled, enjoying the soft contact briefly, before he settled his arm around her waist, lifting her up slightly, something which made Nora let out a squeal before she leant back, a playfully stern look on her face. “You’ve got to stop doing that” she noted “It took me a while to get Alba and Rafa settled and I don’t want to do it again so soon” she added, lightly smoothing out a few wayward hairs on the top of his head.

Gerard nodded. “I know” he mused “But I am just a little excited. We won, Nora” he breathed.

Nora smiled at the enthusiasm in his voice before she nodded. “I know you did” she noted “I mean, I did have to sit through extra time and the trophy presentation” she added sarcastically.

Gerard scoffed, mumbling his own sarcastic comment beneath his breath, before Nora pushed herself up onto her toes, pressing a soft kiss against his lips. “I am proud of you” she murmured between light and soft kisses.

Gerard held onto her happily for a few moments, enjoying the soft kisses, before she ducked back, a soft yawn slipping out of her mouth. “I think I am probably going to go and get some sleep” she noted “You’ll be in soon?” she posed.

“Of course” Gerard noted “I love you” he added with a smile.

Nora offered him a timid smile before she pushed herself up, sneaking another kiss. “I love you too, idiota” she quipped before she stepped away, making her way towards the bedroom.

Gerard watched her away before he shook his head, wordlessly fussing about how things had worked out for them. It hadn’t looked like it for a while, for a long time, he and Nora had been more than happy to avoid the elephant in the room, but he was pleased they’d taken the dive eventually. It seemed to have worked out for them.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)