In the End

18: I Was Hoping There Would Be

Lightly pushing her hair behind her ear, Ariella took a couple of paces backwards, her blue eyes surveying the scene ahead of her thoughtfully. She had spent a lot of time on it, with her wanting to make sure that things between her and Gerard got off on the right foot, she had spent a lot of the day trying to plan out what they’d do on their second first date, and she was pleased with what she had come up with, even if it wasn’t quite the dinner date that she knew that Gerard was expecting. She was hopeful that he’d appreciate what she had planned out for the two of them.

She had contemplated making a reservation, after they’d talked the previous day, she had spent a little while trying to find a restaurant for the two of them, but in the end she had opted to shy away from it, even if she had promised that she would take Gerard to dinner. She didn’t want their second first date to crossover too much with their first attempt.

It had been an awkward evening, with both of them aware of the ways in which their relationship was changing, the dinner that they’d shared had felt more than a little forced and had been littered with awkward silences and bad jokes, and she didn’t want that night to be the same, even if she was sure that there would be a few unavoidable awkward moments. She hoped that things would feel a little more relaxed that time around.

Chewing on her lip thoughtfully, she gently readjusted a couple of the candles which she had set up before she took a step back, appraising the scene ahead of her.

“You do know that it is October, don’t you?”

Ariella jumped visibly at the sound of Gerard’s voice before she turned around, her blue eyes settling on the defender who stood grinning a little behind her, his hands stuffed into his pockets. Shaking her head, she looked him and down briefly before she quirked a small smile. “That’s how you’re going to greet me?” she quipped playfully “No ‘hola, Ella’. Instead, you’re just going to complain?” she added, arching her eyebrow teasingly.

Gerard offered her a nonchalant shrug, something which made Ariella roll her eyes playfully before she stepped towards him, wrapping him in a soft hug. Gerard smiled, his arms wrapping her softly before he leant back, pressing a soft kiss against her cheek. “Hola” he murmured quietly, pressing another light kiss against her skin.

Ariella closed her eyes for a moment, relishing the feel of his lips against her skin, before she pulled out of the hug, her hand taking a hold of his. Tugging him along behind her, she guided him a few paces up the stretch of beach before she waved her arm ahead of her, showing off the two deckchairs that she had set up on a blanket, candles sporadically settled around them. “I know I promised you dinner” she mused softly “And if you hate this, I am sure that it’s not too late for us to find a reservation. I mean, a lot of places tend to book up in advance, but if we looked hard enough...”

“Are you going to let me get a word in edgeways?” Gerard cut in, an amused smirk playing on his lips.

Ariella blinked, caught off guard by his interruption, before she breathed out a soft laugh, nodding her head. “Sorry” she babbled.

Gerard let out a small laugh before he shook his head, his hand offering hers a gentle squeeze. “Are we going to sit down?” he posed.

Ariella offered him a slightly dubious look, something which made Gerard laugh warmly before he tugged on her hand, guiding her towards the chairs that she had set up. Dropping his hold on her hand, he plopped down into a seat before he tilted his head towards the other, offering it to her. “Care to join me?” he quipped impishly.

Ariella stared down at him for a moment, briefly contemplating offering him the chance to go somewhere else, before she quirked a timid smile, taking the seat that he had offered to her. “You don’t think this is stupid?” she asked, sparing him a slightly uncertain look as she leant out of her chair, collecting two bottles of beer from the cooler which sat between the two of them.

Gerard watched her for a moment, not missing the slightly uncertain expression which had passed over her features, before he shook his head, a soft reassuring smile spreading across his lips. “I think it is nice” he mused “Although, I do specifically remember telling you that you should take me to dinner” he added impishly.

Ariella let out a small giggle before she nodded, something which made Gerard smile gently as he watched her move to collect some food for the two of them. He knew that she was nervous, her uncertain glances towards him and her babbling were all the hints he needed to know that she was apprehensive, and he wanted to try and help her relax a little, even if he was slightly nervous himself, he wanted to try and ease her nerves, knowing that once she relaxed, he would too.

“So, how was Madrid?” Gerard posed as he padded up the beach, his hand gently holding onto Ariella’s who walked alongside him, her spare hand holding his jacket around her shoulders. It had been a good night, after they’d settled down to eat, both of them had visibly relaxed into the night, and whilst there had been a few awkward silences shared between them over dinner, Gerard had to admit that it had gone better than he’d been expecting. He knew that it wasn’t going to be without its flaws, with what had happened between the two of them, he knew that it would take more than one night for things to slip back to what they’d been before, but he was still pleased with how things had gone. It was a good first step.

Ariella, who’d been quietly fiddling with his jacket, looked up at the sound of his voice. “Huh?” she posed.

“Your trip to Madrid” Gerard repeated “Aside from the part when I showed up, which I already know was amazing, how was it?” he added, grinning at her impishly.

Ariella nudged his side, rolling her eyes playfully, before she shook her head. “It was good” she mused “It was nice to be out for Barcelona for a few days and it was good to see my papa, Sabrina and the boys. It’d been a while” she added.

Gerard nodded before he dropped his stare slightly, settling it on their entwined fingers. “You’re glad to be back, though, aren’t you?” he asked.

Ariella nodded, squeezing his hand gently. “I’m really glad to be back” she mused with a smile.

Gerard marveled at her soft smile for a moment, musing to himself about how much he liked seeing it, before the sound of a phone filled the air around them, causing Ariella to let out a soft laugh, her hand quickly pulling his phone out of his jacket pocket. “You have a curfew?” she quipped, gesturing towards the alarm that he had set on his phone.

Gerard, who’d slipped the phone out of her hand, shook his head, offering her a boyish grin. “I don’t have a curfew” he returned “But what I do have is a match tomorrow night and that means, as much fun as I am having, I do have to get home. You don’t mind, do you?” he asked.

Ariella shook her head. “It’s fine” she mused.

Gerard offered her a dubious look, something which made Ariella smile before she turned to face him, her hands gently settling at the back of his neck. “It’s really fine” she insisted “But, to make it up to me, you’re in charge of planning out next date” she added.

Gerard cocked an eyebrow. “There’s going to be a next date?” he quipped, wrapping his arms around her waist.

Ariella’s eyes widened a fraction. “I...uh...I hope so” she stumbled out “I mean, I thought that tonight went...”

Ariella’s voice trailed off as Gerard’s grin grew, something which made her shake her head. “Do you have to keep doing that?” she huffed playfully.

Gerard smirked at her before he leant in, stealing a quick kiss. “I can’t help that I find your babbling cute” he mused.

Ariella spared him an unimpressed look, something which made Gerard laugh before he leant into her, pressing another soft kiss against her lips. Ariella stilled slightly, a little surprised by the soft kiss, before she gently kissed him back, something which caused Gerard to smile softly as he pulled away, resting his head against hers as he spied a familiar tint of pink on her cheeks. Grinning, he gently brushed his thumb over the reddened skin before he pulled away from her slightly. “So” he mused “A second date?” he quipped.

Ariella smiled softly. “I’d like that” she mused.

Gerard nodded. “I would too” he quipped “So, I will text you and we will set something up, but right now...”

“You have a curfew to get back for” Ariella finished for him with a grin.

Gerard rolled his eyes, mumbling a comment about her being lucky that she was cute, before he leant down to kiss her again, something Ariella didn’t hesitate in responding to, wordlessly fussing about how well that night had gone for the two of them.
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Thanks to FootieJo, mslou1 and Jayme112234 for the comments :)