In the End

17: We Can Take It From There

Self-consciously smoothing out the material of the sweater that she wore, Ariella lifted her head slightly, her blue eyes peeking at the front door which stood at the other end of the path ahead of her. It had taken her a little while, after her conversation with her father, she had been quick to find the earliest flight that she could get back to Barcelona, but with it having departed late the previous night, she had opted to wait until the morning before she paid a visit to Gerard, something which had made her increasingly apprehensive.

She knew that it was what she wanted to do, after opting to head to Madrid for a few days, she had only grown more and more sure that she wanted to make things work with the defender, and whilst his visit to her father’s home had confided to her that they were on the same page, she was still a little nervous, something she couldn’t seem to shake despite her best efforts.

Gently readjusting the hem of her sweater once more, she spared another cautious look towards the front door before she dropped her eyes towards her feet, trying to work up the nerve to step up the path. Hesitating for a couple of seconds, she briefly contemplated making a break back towards her car before she shook her head, taking a couple of small steps forwards before the sound of a soft chuckle reached her ears, causing her to pick her head up, her blue eyes spotting Gerard who stood a little behind her, a soft smile on his face. “This is a surprise” he mused warmly.

Ariella smiled at him shyly. “I...I hope it’s not a bad one” she mumbled “I mean, I can go if you’d like me to. I just...I got back to Barcelona last night and, after the talk we had in Madrid, I thought maybe you’d want to talk a little more. If you’re busy, I can come back” she babbled, her fingers shyly tugging at the bottom of her sweater.

Gerard watched the movement of her fingers for a second, slightly amused by how nervous she seemed, before he quirked a small smile, gently slipping his hand into hers. “I thought you weren’t due back in town for a few more days” he mused as he gently guided her up the front path, encouraging her to take a seat on the step.

Ariella, who’d taken the seat that he had offered to her, shrugged, her blue eyes fixed on her feet. “I wasn’t” she noted “But I...I wanted to come back a little sooner. I wanted to talk to you” she added, sparing him a sideward glance.

Gerard caught her glance before he lifted a curious eyebrow. “You do?” he quipped, his voice caught between curious and playful.

Ariella’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she nodded her head, offering him a timid smile. “You told me to think” she mused “When you left my papa’s house, you told me to think about what it was that I wanted, and that’s what I want to talk to you about. I want to talk about us, Geri” she added, her blue eyes meeting his tentatively,

Gerard held her stare for a moment, his blue eyes searching hers, before he gently shook his head, a slightly hesitant smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “There’s an ‘us’?” he posed, trying to keep his voice light and playful.

He didn’t want to get ahead of himself, the expression on Ariella’s face was hard to read, and he didn’t want to get his hopes up, even if a small part him was confident that her early return from Madrid was a good sign. He didn’t want to react until the words were out of her mouth. He knew what it was he wanted, even despite all that had happened between them, all he wanted was for the two of them to give it another shot, and he was hopeful that her arrival at his home signaled that she wanted the same thing, even if he couldn’t quite get a read on it. He was hopeful that she hadn’t just come to let him down.

Ariella breathed out a small shaky laugh, her fingers gently pushing her dark hair behind her ear. “I...I am kind of hoping so” she stumbled out “I mean, I know that that is what I want, and I thought it was what you wanted too, but if I have misread it...”

Gerard let out a small laugh, something which caused Ariella to tilt her head, a frown pulling at the corner of her mouth. “Why are you laughing?” she posed.

Gerard smirked before he offered her a nonchalant shrug. “I forgot how much you babble when you’re nervous” he replied “I mean, the last time I saw it this bad was when you told me you liked me for the first time. It feels a little like déjà vu” he quipped, gently nudging her foot with his.

Ariella glanced down towards their feet, mulling over his words for a few moments, before she gently shook her head, looking up at his face. “I know I messed up” she murmured “What has happened between us, it was a mistake, Geri, and I...”

“You’ve got to be honest with me, Ella” Gerard interrupted, his eyes moving away from their feet to meet hers “You’ve got to talk to me, about anything and everything that crosses your mind. You’ve got to put your trust in me, Ella, because if you can’t do that, then this isn’t going to go anywhere. You know how I feel about you, Ella, you know that I want you and that I love you, but if you’re not 100% certain that this, us, is what you want, then I am not going to try this again. I’m not going to set myself up for another fall” he insisted firmly.

Ariella glanced up at him, mulling over his words, before she gently lifted her hand, cupping his cheek softly. “I want you” she breathed.

“You’re certain?” Gerard pressed, his blue eyes searching hers for any sign that she didn’t mean what she was saying.

Ariella nodded, a shy smile pulling at the corner of her mouth. “I’m certain” she insisted.

Gerard merely stared at her, something which caused Ariella to let out a soft snuffly giggle, her thumb lightly skimming over his cheekbone. “I know that I have a lot to make up for” she murmured “I know I made such a mess of this before, but and me? It is what I want” she insisted with a shy smile.

Gerard blinked a couple of times, trying to wrap his head around her words.

“I can give you some time” Ariella suggested, a little perturbed by his silence “I mean, I get it if you need some time to think it over. I probably would if I were in your shoes” she added as she hurried herself back to her feet, moving to take a couple of steps away from him.

Gerard, however, was quicker. Pushing himself back to his feet, he gently gripped onto her wrist and turned her back to face him, guiding her into a soft kiss, which, to him at least, felt a long time overdue. Kissing her softly, he gently slipped his spare hand into her hair, holding her close for a few seconds before he pulled back slightly, softly resting his forehead against hers. “Dinner” he murmured, softly nudging his nose against hers.

Ariella, who’d closed her eyes when he’d kissed her, blinked them open, looking up at him confusedly. “Huh?” she spluttered.

Gerard grinned boyishly. “You can buy me dinner” he rephrased “And then we can take it from there” he added, gently passing his fingers through her brown hair. He knew what he wanted, he wanted the two of them to figure things out and go back to the way they’d been before they’d broken up, but he wasn’t naive enough to believe that it would happen instantly, even if he did want to give it a shot. He knew that it would take them a while to settle back into being in a relationship.

Ariella let out a soft giggle. “You want me to buy you dinner?” she quipped.

Gerard nodded. “You’re the one trying to woo me, Ella” he quipped “It’s only fair that you pay” he added.

Ariella let out another soft laugh before she nodded. “Fair enough” she quipped “When are you free?” she posed.

Gerard feigned thought for a moment, his fingers gently playing with her hair, before he quirked a small smile. “Tomorrow” he quipped.

“Tomorrow sounds good to me” Ariella replied.

Gerard gently tucked her hair behind her ear before he offered her a soft smile, one that Ariella mirrored shyly. “I’ll see you then” he mused before he stepped away, making his way towards the front door. Ariella watched him pull the front door closed before she gently shook her head to herself, pleased with how the conversation had gone between the two of them. She wasn’t stupid, whatever happened between them, it was likely to be slow and cautious for a while, but she was merely glad that it was something.
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Thanks to mslou1 and Jayme112234 for the comments :)