In the End

11: What Were You Thinking?

Tracing over the same line once more, Ariella let out a quiet sigh, her hand dropping its hold on the pencil which she had held onto. She had been working on it for a while, with a meeting set up with the expectant bride for later in the week, she had been trying to perfect the sketches for hours, but she couldn’t seem to will her mind to focus, no matter how much she wanted to. She couldn’t seem to fully remove it from the conversation that she and Gerard had had a couple of days previous, or the conversation that she knew that she had to have with Adrian when he arrived back in Barcelona.

They hadn’t spoken much, after he’d travelled away for the job he’d been offered, the most she had spoken to Adrian was an occasional text here and there, but she knew that she had to speak to him, that she had to tell him about the kiss that she and Gerard had shared. She shouldn’t have let it happen, the moment that Gerard had mentioned their first kiss, she knew that she should have stepped back from him, and she regretted that she hadn’t, knowing that it was unfair to both Gerard and Adrian that she had let it happen. Shaking her head, she moved to survey the sketch which sat on the table ahead of her before she let out a small groan, balling the paper up in her hand before she tossed it onto the floor.

“Was it that bad?”

Ariella, who’d started to draw another sketch, stilled a little at the sudden sound of a voice from the doorway before she turned, her blue eyes settling on the blonde woman who stood in the doorway, a warm smile on her lips. “Mama” she squeaked “What...what are you doing here?” she spluttered out.

Estella quirked an eyebrow. “I’m here to take you to lunch” she mused “Like we arranged last for me to do last week. Did you forget that we’d made plans?” she posed.

Ariella’s eyes widened, something which made Estella laugh before she stepped into the room, greeting her daughter with a tight hug. Ariella stiffened a little before she hugged her mother back tightly. “I’m sorry” she murmured “My mind’s been all over the place lately and I guess it slipped out that we had plans. If you give me a couple of minutes, I’ll grab a sweater and some shoes and we can go” she added as she pulled away, taking a step towards the doorway.

“We could always stay here” Estella suggested.

Ariella turned back towards her mother, her forehead slightly furrowed. “You’d not mind?” she posed “I mean, if you’d rather go out...”

“I want to spend time with you, Ella” Estella interrupted with a warm, motherly smile “It’s been a while since I got to spend time with only my baby” she cooed affectionately.

Ariella’s cheeks flushed a light shade of pink before she smiled gently, something which caused Estella to lean forwards, pressing a soft kiss against her cheek. “I’ll go and find us some takeout menus” she mused, stepping out of the room.

“So, what is going on with you, Ella?” Estella posed as she sipped on the glass of white wine which sat in her hand, her blue eyes narrowed on her daughter who sat a little away from her, poking at the leftover food on her plate. it had been quiet, since she had arrived at her daughter’s apartment, Ariella had been quiet and distant, and Estella knew that there was something on her mind, even if Ariella did keep forcing smiles and laughs at the right times. She knew that there was something bothering her.

Ariella, who’d been aimlessly poking at the scraps on her plate, looked up at the sound of her mother’s voice before she shrugged, pushing the best smile she could muster onto her lips. “Not too much” she quipped “I mean, work is going Ok, I’ve got a couple of sketches that I need to finish before a meeting at the end of the week, and my friends are fine. Everything is fine” she insisted, gently pushing her dark hair behind her ear.

Estella watched her for a few seconds before she shook her head, a small laugh falling out of her mouth. “Do you think I was born yesterday?” she quipped.

Ariella frowned. “Mama...”

“Ariella, I’m your mother” Estella interrupted “I raised you. I think I can tell when there is something bothering you, and when you’re lying to me, so, why don’t you just talk to me? You never know, I might be able to help you” she insisted, her voice firmly, yet still warm and affectionate.

Ariella spared her a glance, briefly mulling over her words, before she let out a quiet sigh, her fingers fiddling with the bracelet which sat on her wrist. “I’ve mentioned Adrian to you before?” she posed cautiously.

Estella nodded. “He’s your new boyfriend, no?” she posed “The one you replaced that lovely ex of yours with?” she posed.

Ariella grimaced at her mother’s description of Gerard, something which made Estella shake her head. “Don’t pull that face” she quipped “We both know that that man was good for you” she added. It was no secret, from the moment that Ariella had first introduced her to the defender, Estella had liked him, and she was disappointed that Ariella had ended things. As far as she was concerned, what Ariella had had with Gerard was about as good as it could get for her daughter and she was disappointed that Ariella had chosen to throw it away. She doubted that Ariella was ever going to find someone who looked at her the way that Gerard did.

Ariella glanced at her mother once more before she shook her head. “I’ve messed up, mama” she murmured “I...I went to see Gerard the other day, I wanted to talk to him about...about what happened between us and I let him kiss me, something I know I shouldn’t have done. It wasn’t fair to him and it sure as hell isn’t fair to Adrian” she added, her eyes not shifting away from the bracelet she messed with.

Estella was quiet for a few seconds, trying to process Ariella’s words, before she shook her head. “You’ve really messed this up, haven’t you?” she mumbled “I mean, I thought you’d made a mistake anyway, Gerard was by far the best thing to happen to you in a long time and I still can’t quite believe that you let him slip through your fingers, but this? Ariella, this is so stupid, so selfish, and that’s not like you” she added.

Ariella merely nodded, her eyes not even attempting to look up at her mother.

“You need to talk to Adrian” Estella mused after a few moments of quiet.

“I know I do” Ariella replied.

“You need to end things with him, Ella ” Estella noted, ducking her head so that her blue eyes mirrored her daughter’s “I mean, I know that you think you like him, but it’s clear that your heart’s not entirely in it if you can so easily slip up with Gerard, and he doesn’t deserve that. He doesn’t deserve to be some sort of backup plan just because the relationship you really wanted didn’t work out. You clearly aren’t in love with him, Ariella, and he shouldn’t be led to believe you are when we both know that the chances of you falling for him are pretty much zero” she added.

Ariella held her mother’s stare for a second before she nodded, knowing that she was right. “I know, mama” she murmured.

“How did you let this happen, Ella?” Estella prodded, her voice softening ever so slightly “I mean, I’ve seen you and Gerard together, both as friends and as something more, and I still can’t believe that you dumped him. He’s wonderful, Ella, he’s caring, he’s funny, he’s smart, and that’s without mentioning how handsome we both know he is. What were you thinking?” she pressed.

“I clearly wasn’t” Ariella mumbled “At least not entirely clearly. I’ve made such a mess of this, mama” she added, shaking her head ruefully before she leant forwards, resting it in her hands.

Estella watched her for a moment before she reached out, her hand soothingly rubbing her shoulder. “It’s been a while since you visited your father” she murmured, breaking the silence which had settled over them.

Ariella looked up. “What?” she posed.

“It’s been a while since you went to see your padre” Estella quipped “Maybe, after you’ve spoken to Adrian, you should book a flight to Madrid to see him? You look like you could use the break and I am sure your father would be more than happy to see you” she suggested thoughtfully, a soft smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. She knew that it wasn’t going to be a quick fix, with Ariella and Gerard’s lives being as entwined as they were, getting over one another was always going to be a difficult process, and she thought a little distance would do them good, even if it wasn’t going to instantly make things better. Being away from one another was likely to give them both time to reflect and start thinking about moving forwards properly.

“You think I should get out of Barcelona?” Ariella asked.

“I think you and Gerard share the same group of friends” Estella replied “I think that you two are so entwined in one another lives that it is almost impossible for you two to move on properly if you’re both here and so, yes, I think a couple of weeks out of the city would be good for you, for both of you. He needs to have the chance to get over you, Ella, like you need the chance to get over him, and you need to give it to him. It’s the least he deserves from you now” she insisted gently.

Ariella stared down at her feet quietly for a couple of moments, allowing her mother’s words to hang in the air, before she nodded her head softly. “I’ll call papa” she murmured “I’ll ask if he minds having me over for a couple of weeks after I’ve spoken to Adrian” she added.

Estella squeezed her shoulder gently. “I’m glad” she enthused, offering her a reassuring smile.

Ariella returned it hesitantly before she nodded, reaffirming her decision to herself. She knew that it made sense, with her and Gerard sharing the same group of friends, there was always going to be a chance that their paths crossed, and she knew that he deserved space, even if it did mean her getting out of the city for a while.
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Thanks to mslou1, Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)