In the End

01: Are You Still Sure?

“So, tonight is the night, is it?” Antonella poked as she padded into Ariella’s bedroom, sipping on the mug of tea that she had made for herself “I mean, you’re finally going to introduce us to the famous text guy, aren’t you?” she added, her eyes peeking up at the brunette who stood a little away from her, filing through the contents of her wardrobe.

It had been coming for a little while, after Antonella had caught Ariella blushing at a text that she had received a couple of weeks previous, she had been quick to get the news that she was seeing someone new out of her, and she had to admit that she was curious about the new guy in her friend’s life. It had come along out of the blue, after she and Gerard had broken up, Ariella had spent almost six months avoiding any conversation about the prospect of her dating again, and when she had admitted that there was someone, it had surprised Antonella, even if she was slightly glad to see her moving on. She had thought that it would take Ariella longer to get over what had happened between her and Gerard.

Ariella, who’d been thumbing through the clothes which were hung inside of her wardrobe, rolled her eyes slightly before she turned, offering her friend a smirk over her shoulder. “He does have a name, you know” she quipped.

“A name you’ve not told me” Antonella replied “Are you going to tell me what it is or do I have to guess?” she added.

Ariella merely shrugged, something which made Antonella roll her eyes before she shuffled up towards the head of the bed, resting back against the pillow. “You know that Gerard is coming tonight, don’t you?” she posed, disrupting the comfortable silence that had settled over the two of them. “I mean, with Cesc and Daniella going back to London in the morning...” she trailed off quietly.

Ariella stilled slightly, caught off guard by the mention of her ex-boyfriend’s name, before she nodded her head, a slightly awkward smile pulling at the corner of her mouth. “I know” she mused “I mean, I figured he would be there. Is it going to be a problem?” she asked, trying to keep her voice light and nonchalant as she fiddled with the dress that she held in her hands.

Antonella watched her for a couple of seconds, not missing the shift in her voice, before she shook her head. “It’s not a problem for me” she replied “And I doubt Leo or the others will say much. I just thought that it might be a little awkward for you. Your new boyfriend meeting your ex....”

“We’re friends” Ariella interrupted “Me and Gerard, we’re friends, and I’m sure that it’ll be fine. I mean, it’s not like this is the first time one of us has dated someone since we’ve known one another” she babbled, her voice more than a little uncertain.

It had crossed her mind, with Cesc and Daniella due to depart for London the following morning, she had expected that Gerard would be in attendance that night, and whilst the thought of introducing her new boyfriend to her ex did make her feel slightly uncomfortable, she knew that she couldn’t shy away from it, no matter how tempting it seemed. It was simply something that both she and Gerard were going to have to get through if they were going to have any kind of friendship. It was what they were, despite the fact that they were still awfully awkward around one another, both Ariella and Gerard would insist that they were still friends, and Ariella wanted to treat him like that, even if the prospect of introducing her boyfriend to him did make her stomach flip. She didn’t want to exclude him.

Antonella offered her a look, mulling her words over for a few seconds, before she nodded, offering Ariella a soft smile. “I’m sure it will be fine” she quipped reassuringly “Besides, whilst I would be happy to wait to meet this new guy, I am kind of looking forwards to it. He’s got to be something pretty special if he’s got you grinning like a teenager” she added.

Ariella’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink, something which made Antonella giggle before she stood up, hugging Ariella tightly. “I’ll see you tonight” she mused warmly before she padded out of the room.

Ariella watched her go before she quietly shook her head and padded into the bathroom, wordlessly hoping that that night went off without a hitch.

Twisting his car keys over in his hand, Gerard stared up at the building which stood ahead of him, trying to work up the nerve to step inside and join his friends. He knew that he had to go inside soon, with him having told Cesc that he was only a matter of minutes away, he knew that it would only be a matter of time before the other Spaniard appeared to look for him, but he wanted to make the most of the last few minutes before he stepped inside, knowing what waited for him inside.

Turning the keys over in his hand, he spared a brief look back towards his car, before he sighed to himself, making his way towards the restaurant door. Stepping into the restaurant, he allowed his eyes to scan the room quickly before he settled them on Cesc, something which caused him to let out another quiet sigh before he padded over, greeting the midfielder with a gentle clap on the back. “I’m not late, am I?” he posed.

Cesc startled a little before he turned, shaking his head. “Surprisingly, no” he quipped with a grin.

Gerard scoffed playfully. “I could have just not come at all” he noted.

Cesc snorted, playing along. “You wouldn’t have done that” he retorted “We both know that you miss me too much when I’m gone for you to skip on tonight” he added teasingly.

Gerard rolled his eyes, but smiled nevertheless, something which made Cesc grin in return before he wrapped the tall defender in a hug. “Seriously” he murmured “I’m glad that you’re here. I thought that, with Ariella bringing him...”

“It’s fine” Gerard interrupted, stepping back.

Cesc quirked a dubious eyebrow. “You sure?” he posed.

Gerard nodded stiffly. “Why wouldn’t it be?” he asked, trying a little too hard to sound nonchalant.

Cesc opened his mouth, preparing to offer a reply, but cut himself off, his dark eyes settling on Ariella who stood a little away from them, talking quietly to a tall, dark haired man. Hesitating for a moment, he watched the two of them together, before he gently nudged Gerard’s shoulder, something which caused the tall defender to turn, his blue eyes settling on the couple. “You still sure?” Cesc mumbled.

Gerard, who’d been quietly watching the couple, blinked a couple of time before he nodded, fixing the best smile that he could muster onto his lips.

Cesc spared him another uncertain look before he stepped past him, greeting Ariella with an enthusiastic hug before he shook the hand of the man who stood beside her. Gerard hung back slightly, watching the interaction, before he shuffled himself forwards, moving into Ariella’s eye line. “Ariella” he breathed gently “Hola” he added.

Ariella blinked a couple of times, surprised to see him, before she quickly fixed a smile onto her face. “It’s good to see you, Geri” she greeted.

Gerard smiled at her awkwardly for a split second before he stepped towards her, greeting her with a brief hug and a rushed kiss on the cheek. “It’s good to see you too” he replied “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” he added, trying to keep their familiar awkward small talk flowing.

Ariella nodded. “It has been” she confirmed.

Gerard spared her another faint smile before he lifted his head, sparing a glance towards the man who stood beside her. “Aren’t you going to introduce us, Ella?” he posed as brightly as he could.

Ariella’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she nodded. “Of course” she mused “Gerard, this is Adrian, my boyfriend. Adrian, this is Gerard, he’s...uh...he’s a friend of mine” she added.

Adrian quirked a grin before he stuck his hand out, offering it towards Gerard. “It’s good to meet you, Gerard” he quipped “Ariella’s talked about you a lot. It’s nice to put a face to the name” he added warmly.

Gerard eyed his hand for a moment before he placed his own into it, offering it a quick shake. “I hope she’s only told you good things” he quipped.

Adrian chuckled. “Of course” he replied.

Gerard smiled at him briefly before the sound of Cesc’s voice calling them over towards their table reached their ears, something which caused Adrian to slip his hand into Ariella’s. “We should sit down” he quipped as he took a couple of steps, leading Ariella towards the table “You coming, Gerard?” he asked, glancing at the defender over his shoulder.

Gerard hesitated for a second, briefly contemplating making his way back towards his car, before he nodded, following after the two of them. Quickly padding around the table, he took the first empty seat that he could find before he lifted his head, his blue eyes meeting Ariella’s for a second before she ducked her head, staring down at her lap awkwardly, a sight which made him sigh.

It wasn’t the first time, since they’d broken up, things between the two of them had been awkward, and he doubted that it would get easier, even if they were supposed to be friends. It had already been months, six months had passed since Ariella had ended things between them, but still things were hard between them, even if they had gotten better at pretending they weren’t. He wasn’t quite sure that there would come a moment when things between him and Ariella felt easier again.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)