In the End

22: I’ve Been Here Before

“You know, we can watch something else if you want to” Gerard offered as he spared a glance over his shoulder, his blue eyes watching as Ariella padded into the living room, a mug of tea cradled in her hands. It had been the plan for a few days, with him having received a red card the last time that Barcelona had played Olympiakos, it meant that he was suspended for the return fixture, and with the night off, he had been quick to suggest that he and Ariella could spend the evening together, something the brunette hadn’t hesitated in agreeing to. It wasn’t uncommon, in the few weeks that they had been seen one another, they tended to take whatever opportunities that they could spend time together, and it pleased Gerard, even if he did still want to make sure that they were careful and took things slowly, he liked the idea that they were settling into a relationship that felt comfortable for them both.

Ariella, who’d moved to settle down on the couch beside him, shrugged. “I don’t mind watching it” she mused “I mean, I figured you’d probably want it on, but if you want to watch something else, we can. I’ll leave the decision up to you” she added, offering the remote out towards him.

Gerard eyed the remote for a moment before he shook his head, something which made Ariella smile before she leant forwards, settling the remote down onto the coffee table. “Are you sure that you’re not hungry or anything?” she posed “We’ve still got a little while before kickoff and if you did want something...”

Ariella’s voice trailed off as Gerard grinned at her, something which caused her to roll her eyes, a slight blush appearing on her cheeks. “What are you grinning about?” she grumbled.

Gerard smirked, not missing the blush which had spread over her cheeks, before he shook his head. “You’re fussing” he noted “I mean, since I came through your front door, you’ve been fretting over every little thing, and I think it’s pretty cute. You do know that this isn’t the first time I’ve been to your apartment, right?” he asked impishly.

It wasn’t a surprise to him that she was nervous, since they’d started to date again, he couldn’t quite recall a moment where she had been entirely relaxed around him, and whilst he wanted her to feel comfortable around him, he knew that it wasn’t going to be something which happened quickly. She had always been tentative, it was part of the reason that it had taken the two of them so long to admit that there was something between them, and he knew that she was likely to be a little bit more tentative second time around, even if things were going well between them. He knew that, out of the two of them, she was more aware of the prospect of putting a foot wrong and messing up what was going on between them.

Ariella merely offered him a look, something which made Gerard chuckle before he reached his hand out, gently brushing it up and down her arm before he guided it upwards settling it gently on the side of her neck. “You know” he mused “You really don’t have anything to be nervous about tonight, but given that you are, I should let you know that I happen to find your fussing remarkably cute” he added, his thumb lightly tracing the line of her jaw.

Ariella’s already pink cheeks flushed a shade darker, something which made Gerard smile softly before he leant towards her, pressing a soft kiss against her cheek. “You think you can relax a little?” he murmured softly, placing a soft kiss beside her ear “I mean, I think you’re very cute, but I would like to watch the match. You think you can hold off fussing until half time?” he posed, smirking a little against her skin.

Ariella let out a soft laugh before she playfully shoved his shoulder, pushing him away from her slightly. “Idiot” she quipped.

Gerard merely grinned at her for a moment before he made himself comfortable on the couch, lifting his arm in order to encourage her to settle into the seat beside him. Ariella glanced at him, feigning thought for a second, before she shuffled into the space that he had made for her, allowing Gerard to place his arm around her before he offered her shoulders a small squeeze, wordlessly reassuring her that there was nothing for her to be worried about.

Gently stretching her arms above her head, Ariella quirked a soft smile, her blue eyes settled on Gerard who laid on the couch behind her, his snores the only sound disturbing the quiet which filled the room. It was late, after they’d watched Barcelona’s 0-0 draw with Olympiakos, they’d settled on some re-runs of a sitcom for a couple of hours, but Gerard had hardly made it through one episode before he’d fallen asleep, something which made Ariella smile, pleased that he felt comfortable in her home. It had been a good night, despite her nervousness and fussing, the evening had felt a little more comfortable and relaxed than their previous dates, and it was a relief to Ariella who had worried that they’d find things a lot more awkward than they had.

Allowing a soft yawn to slip out of her mouth, she gently pushed a hand back through her dark hair before she pushed herself up to her feet, stretching out her legs slightly.

“What time is it?”

Ariella smiled at the sleepiness in Gerard’s voice before she turned to look at him. “Just after one” she replied.

Gerard, who’d sat up slightly, spared a yawn into his hand before he nodded. “That’s late” he quipped “How long’ve I been asleep?” he added.

“A couple of hours” Ariella replied “It was such a romantic end to our date” she added, offering him a playful smirk.

Gerard smiled at her sheepishly, something which made Ariella giggle before she shook her head. “I don’t mind” she mused “Just...promise me it won’t happen next time” she added.

Gerard, who’d moved to slip his feet into his trainers, nodded. “You’ve got my word” he noted.

Ariella smiled at him softly, allowing a beat of silence to pass between the two of them, before Gerard pushed himself up to his feet, moving to wrap his jacket around his shoulders. “I should get going” he mused “I had a great time tonight, Ella” he added as he took a step towards the front door.

Ariella followed him before she nodded, her fingers timidly pushing her dark hair behind her ear. “I had a good time too” she enthused “Even if you did fall asleep on me” she joked.

Gerard scoffed playfully before he leant over, pressing a soft kiss against her lips. “I’ll call you” he mused “I am sure that I’ll have a free night in the next few days and I’d quite like to spend it with you, providing that you’ll have me of course” he added between soft kisses.

Ariella kissed him back happily for a few seconds before Gerard reluctantly pulled away, his hand pulling the front door open. “Buenos noches, Ella” he mused gently before he moved to take a step out of the door.

“I love you”

Gerard stilled in the doorway before he turned around, his eyes settling on Ariella who stood behind him, a sheepish grin on her face. “Did you...?”

Ariella’s cheeks flushed as she nodded her head, a shy smile on her lips. “I love you” she repeated.

Gerard stared at her for a couple of seconds, allowing the words to hang around the two of them, before he breathed out a soft laugh, taking a step towards her. Reaching his hand out, he lightly cupped around her cheek before he guided her into another soft kiss, mumbling the same three words quietly in return before he pulled away from her, flashing her another soft grin.

Ariella marveled at his smile for a moment, noting just how much she liked seeing it, before she gently stepped back from him, nudging him towards the door. “Buenos noches, Geri” she mused.

“Buenos noches, Ella” Gerard replied before he ducked out of the door, allowing her to push it closed behind him, a soft smile drifting across her face. It felt familiar, the two of them saying those three words to one another was something which felt comfortable to her, and she was pleased that she had said them, even if things between the two of them were moving cautiously. She had wanted him to know precisely how it was she felt about him.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)