In the End

33: This Wasn’t So Bad

“So, what do you and Gerard have planned for tonight?” Estella posed from her spot in the doorway, her eyes admiring Ariella who stood a little away from her, neatly tucking the last few strands of her dark hair into place. She looked beautiful, the navy blue floral print dress that she had chosen out to wear that night was a wonderful choice, and Estella couldn’t help but marvel at her slightly, a little in awe of how contented she looked.

It had been a while, Ariella and Gerard had been back together for a few months, and Estella was pleased to see that it seemed to be working out for the two of them. She had been confident, from the moment that she had met Gerard for the first time, she had thought that he would make a good match for her daughter, and she was pleased that Ariella had realized it too, even if it had taken her a while. She was pleased that her daughter had seen what had been right under nose before it was too late.

Ariella, who’d moved to clip her hair into place, smiled at her mother via the mirror in front of her before she shrugged, her fingers gently adjusting the waist of her dress. “We’re just going out to dinner” she replied “I mean, normally, we’d just eat here, but seeing as it is Valentine ’s Day, we thought that we’d actually go out to a restaurant. I can’t remember the last time that we did that” she added, a soft shade of pink slowly spreading across her cheeks.

Estella, who’d moved to sit down at the foot of the bed, admired the soft hint of colour on her cheeks for a couple of seconds before she shook her head, her hands gently moving to take a hold of Ariella’s. “You nervous?” she posed.

Ariella shrugged, her eyes briefly peeking up at her mother before she dropped them back towards her feet. “I’m always a little nervous” she admitted “I mean, I know that we’ve known each other for a while, and we’ve been dating for a few months, but I always worry that I am going to stick my foot in it. I think we both know that that is something I am very good at” she added, a slightly shy smile passing over her features.

Estella squeezed her hands gently. “You do have a habit of talking too much when you’re nervous” she mused “But, I happen to know that that lovely boyfriend of yours likes that about you for some reason” she added, rolling her eyes playfully.

Ariella scoffed playfully. “You think so?” she asked, her voice slightly dubiously.

“I know so” Estella retorted “I mean, I can’t say I am an expert, but I think he’s pretty keen on almost everything about you, baby. He’s pretty in love with you” she added, a fond smile pulling at the corner of her mouth.

The blush on Ariella’s cheek darkened slightly at her mother’s words, something which caused Estella to laugh softly before the sound of the doorbell filtered through the apartment. Estella grinned at the sound before she pushed herself to her feet, pressing a brisk kiss against her daughter’s cheek. “I’ll let him in on my way out” she mused “Relax, baby. It’s just him” she added encouragingly before she stepped out of the room.

Ariella watched her out of the doorway before she turned back towards the mirror, her hands nervously tugging at the bottom of her dress. Smoothing the material out, she spared the mirror a cautious glance before the sound of a low whistle reached her ears, something which caused her to splutter out a small laugh before she turned, her eyes quickly settling on Gerard who stood in the doorway, a familiar grin perched on his lips. “Your mama wasn’t lying” he remarked.

Ariella smiled bashfully. “What’d she say to you?” she asked, self-consciously readjusting her hair slightly.

Gerard watched her fix her hair before he took a pace towards her, his hand gently replacing hers as she attempted to tuck her hair behind her ear. “She told me that you looked beautiful” he mused, flashing her a boyish grin “Which she was obviously right about, and she told me that I was to make sure that you have a wonderful time tonight, meaning that we ought to get going. We should probably try and keep at least one reservation we make” he added impishly.

Ariella rolled her eyes, but didn’t make a comment, instead moving to wrap her coat around her shoulders before she offered her hand out towards Gerard who was quick to take it into his own, a warm smile on his lips.

“You know, this wasn’t so bad” Gerard quipped as he rested back into his seat, his blue eyes settled on Ariella who sat opposite him, sipping on a mug of tea. It wasn’t something they’d done a lot of, since they’d decided to give their relationship a second try, Gerard was pretty confident that they’d only gone out to dinner together in restaurant a couple of times, but he had to admit that he had enjoyed it, even if Ariella had seemed a little more nervous that night. Like all of their previous dates, he had enjoyed spending the evening with her.

Ariella quirked an eyebrow. “How bad were you expecting it to be?” she posed.

Gerard flashed her a boyish smirk before he shrugged. “It’s not very us” he returned “But saying that, I think it’s been a good night” he added.

Ariella rolled her eyes, but couldn’t keep her smile off of her face, something which made Gerard grin triumphantly before he turned, fishing something out of his jacket pocket. “Happy Valentine’s day, Ella” he quipped, placing the envelope down onto the table.

Ariella eyed the envelope for a second, a little surprised by his presenting it to her, before she lifted it into her hands. Gently tearing it open, she slipped its contents out before a small grin appeared on her lips, her blue eyes looking up towards the defender. “This is a flight to London” she mused.

“Is it?” Gerard retorted sarcastically.

Ariella glared at him playfully, something which made him chuckle before he reached his hand across the table, squeezing hers gently. “We’re going over to play Chelsea next week” he noted “And I thought, since it’s been a while since you saw Cesc and Daniella, maybe you’d want to come along with me. I’ve bought you a ticket for the game too” he added, his thumb lightly brushing over the back of her hand.

“You think I want to come to your game?” Ariella retorted, a soft smile on her face.

Gerard offered her a pointed a look, something which made her giggle before she leant across the table, sneaking a quick kiss. “Gracias” she mumbled.

Gerard flashed her a soft smile. “It’s no trouble” he mused “Though, I hope you got me something as amazing as what I got you” he added.

Ariella rolled her eyes gently before she turned towards her own jacket, slipping something out of the pocket before she settled it down onto the table. Gerard, who’d been watching her, followed her movement before he spotted the object that she had placed onto the table, something which caused him to lift an eyebrow. “Ella?” he posed.

“Open it” Ariella replied.

Gerard tentatively reached his hand out, carefully opening the small box that she had settled onto table to reveal a key, something which caused him to quirk an eyebrow, a nervous smile spreading across his face. “Are you trying to ask me to move in with you, Ella?” he posed, his voice half joking.

“No” Ariella replied quickly, a little too quickly.

Gerard lifted an eyebrow, something which caused a blush to spread quickly across Ariella’s features before she shook her head, her eyes quickly dropping down towards her lap. “I...I didn’t mean it like that” she spluttered “I mean, me giving you the key, it’s not me asking you to move in with me, but I... I shouldn’t have said no like that. I’s stupid” she babbled out.

“I bet it’s not” Gerard replied comfortingly.

Ariella peeked at him cautiously, not missing the warm expression on his face, before she breathed out a soft sigh. “I like us” she murmured “I mean, I know that...that last time happened and I know that I took you for granted before, but this time...I just wanted you to know that I am surer of us, and that’s what the key is. We’ve only been together for a few months, and things like moving in together are still a way off for us, or at least, they are for me right now, but I wanted you to have a key to my place. I want you to feel welcome there, I want you to know that I want you there” she explained, her eyes not straying too far away from her hands which fiddled nervously in her lap.

It was too soon, after only a few months of dating, it was, for Ariella at least, still far too soon to be thinking about making bigger steps in their relationship, but she wanted to give him something which showed that it was where she wanted to get to, even if it was a way away. She wanted him to know that she was determined that things work out between the two of them.

Gerard was quiet for a moment, allowing her words to hang around the two of them, before he quirked a soft smile. “You like us?” he asked.

Ariella merely smiled at him in return, something which caused him to reach out for her hand, pressing a light kiss against her soft skin. “I love us” he mumbled quietly, smiling against her hand.

Ariella admired him quietly for a couple of seconds before she leant forwards, pressing a sweet kiss against his head, something which made his smile widen slightly, more than happy with how things were going between them. They were still working at it, with their past, they were still trying to settle into being a couple again, but Gerard was pleased with how it was going, even if they weren’t thinking about steps forwards. He liked just where they were.
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Thanks to FootieJo, mslou1 and Jayme112234 for the comments :)