In the End

08: I Don’t Know Why I’m Doing This

“Are you coming with us this afternoon, Gerard?”

Gerard, who was tying the laces of his shoes, startled fractionally at the sound of Lionel’s voice before he lifted his head, not missing the tentative expression which had appeared on the argentine’s face. He knew why he looked so uncertain, with him and Ariella not talking, he knew that Lionel was worried about bringing her name up in conversation, and whilst Gerard was grateful for him trying to spare his feelings, he didn’t want him to beat around the bush, even if the wound of their breakup was still slightly raw for him. He didn’t want people to shy away from talking about her just to spare his feelings.

It was bound to happen, with him and Ariella sharing the same group of friends, there was bound to be mention of her in front of him, and of him in front of her, and he didn’t want to shy away from it, even if it did still sting. He didn’t want to make things more uncomfortable than they needed to be for those around them.

“You mean to Ella’s birthday lunch?” Gerard posed, diverting his attention back down towards his feet. He wasn’t surprised by the question, with Ariella’s 28th birthday having arrived, he wasn’t surprised that Lionel had asked about it, and he had to admit that going to lunch with her had crossed his mind fleetingly, even if he had been quick to dismiss it. A small part of him had been tempted to text and ask her if she would have minded him tagging along.

It had been a while, after he had asked for space from her, a little over a month had passed, and whilst he knew that it had been for the best that they took some time away from one another, a small part of him missed her, even if things had been awkward and uncomfortable between the two of them for a while. He missed spending time with her.

Lionel watched him drop his stare back down towards his feet before he nodded. “I didn’t know if she’d mentioned it” he murmured “I mean, I know that things are...that you two aren’t...” he babbled, trying to find the right words.

Gerard quirked a half-hearted smile. “You can say it, you know” he quipped “Me and Ariella, we’re not talking” he added.

Lionel smiled sheepishly. “I know” he quipped “I just...I wondered if you were going to come. I’m sure she’d be glad to see you” he added tentatively.

Gerard hesitated for a moment, mulling over the argentine’s words, before he shook his head. “Perhaps” he quipped “But I still don’t think it’s the best idea. We’ve not spoken for a month, Leo, and I hardly think me showing up on her birthday is fair. Besides, isn’t Adrian going to be there?” he asked.

Lionel merely offered him a sad smile, something which made Gerard sigh before he pushed himself up to his feet. “Tell her I said happy birthday” he mused gently before he tossed his jacket around his shoulders, making his way towards the door of the changing room. Pulling it open, he quickly made his way towards the carpark before he slipped into the driver’s seat of his car, his hand quickly pulling his phone out of his back pocket.

Staring down at the screen for a few moments, he let out a quiet sigh at the sight of the picture which still made up his wallpaper before he shook his head, quickly dialing a familiar number. Pressing the phone against his ear, he listened to the dial tone for a few long seconds before the sound of Ariella’s answerphone message snipped into his ears, causing him to let out a soft sigh, both a little relieved that she hadn’t answered and a little disappointed.

Allowing the message to run through, he caught the high pitched beep before he shook his head. “I...I don’t really know why I am doing this” he mumbled “I mean, it would probably have been a lot easier to just pretend that I didn’t know what today was and let it go by, but...but I can’t do that. I know that things are a mess between us right now, perhaps that a bit of an understatement, but I still wanted to call. I hope that you don’t mind” he babbled awkwardly, his hand pushing back through his hair.

Pausing for a second, he thought through what he wanted to say before he let out a small awkward laugh, shaking his head to himself. “I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday, Ella” he mused gently “And to say that I...uh...I kind of miss you, which I know is stupid but...but I do. Happy birthday, Ariella” he added before he hung the phone up, quickly slipping it back into his pocket.

Stepping into her bedroom, Ariella neatly smoothed down the material of her skirt, her blue eyes studying her reflection into the mirror which stood ahead of her. She was excited, after having spent the morning being made a fuss of by her mother and step-father, she was looking forwards to spending time with her friends and Adrian, confident that the afternoon would be a little more relaxed than the morning which had preceded it.

Finishing adjusting the material of her dress, she neatly adjusted a few clips in her dark hair before she quirked a grin to herself, pleased with how she looked. Offering her reflection another appreciative gander, she moved to slip her feet into a pair of shoes before she padded towards the bedside table, her hand quickly gathering her phone before she pressed the home button, causing the screen to illuminate, Gerard’s name quickly catching her eye.

Blinking a couple of times, she gently perched on the side of the bed before she pressed the phone against her ear, listening intently to the message that the defender had left for her. It had been a surprise, after a month of no contact between the two of them, the last thing she had been expecting was his name to appear on the screen of her phone, but she couldn’t deny that she was pleased that it had. She had missed him, speaking to him and spending time with him, and seeing his name on the screen had made her smile.

Shifting her feet against the soft carpet, she allowed the message to end, relishing the familiar sound of Gerard’s voice, before she pulled the phone away from her ear, her blue eyes staring at it sadly.

“Are you ready yet?”

Ariella blinked a couple of times, wiping away a couple of tears which had, despite her best efforts, managed to worm their way out of her eyes, before she looked up, her eyes settling on Adrian who stood in the doorway, a familiar grin on his lips. “I mean, I know that it’s your birthday and everything, but I don’t think that your friends are going to be too thrilled if you’re late” he quipped impishly.

Ariella smiled as best she could before she nodded. “You’re right” she mused “I’ve just got to grab a jacket and then we can go” she added.

Adrian nodded his head before he padded out of the room, allowing Ariella to step towards her wardrobe, her mind still spinning with Gerard’s words. It had gotten to her, the tone of his voice and the words that he had said, they’d surprised her, and she didn’t quite know how to respond to them, even if she knew that she had to. She didn’t quite know what to say to him. She missed him, there was no denying that, but she didn’t quite know how to tell him that, even if she was certain that she wanted to tell him. She didn’t want to pull him back towards her just to end up hurting him all over again.
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Thanks to FootieJo, mslou1 and Jayme112234 for the comments :)