In the End

35: He Was Just Being A Concerned Friend

Gently pulling a hairbrush through her hair, Ariella allowed a soft yawn to fall out of her mouth, glad that she had taken the decision to postpone her flight back to Barcelona until the following morning. It hadn’t originally been the plan, after she had watched Barcelona’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea, she had been scheduled to take a flight back to the Spanish city, but after a brief conversation with Cesc who had been more than happy to offer her his spare room for another night, she had opted to stay and to arrange a flight back in the morning. She had enjoyed herself, the couple of days that she had spent in London with Cesc and Daniella had been good for her, and she was grateful that Gerard had arranged it for her, glad that she had had the chance to spend a little time with her friends.

Gently brushing a few more knots out of her hair, she moved to pull it up into a loose ponytail before she ducked out of the bathroom, padding quietly through the hall towards the room that Cesc had offered to her. Quietly pushing the door open, she moved to stow her toiletry bag in the holdall which she had left beside the wardrobe before she gently tugged her sweater over her head, folding it neatly into the bag.

“I am surprised you’re not already asleep”

Ariella, who’d been pulling the zip around on her bag, let out a small squeak in surprise at the sound of the voice before she turned around, her blue eyes settling on Gerard who stood in the doorway, a lazy smile on his face. “Surprise?” he quipped impishly.

Ariella stared at him for a moment, trying to compose herself, before she shook her head, a crooked smile spreading across her lips. “You know that your flight probably left without you, right?” she noted, pushing herself back up to her feet.

Gerard breathed out a small laugh before he nodded his head. “I do know that” he played along “So did yours” he added.

Ariella, who’d moved to take a seat on the side of the bed so that she could slip her socks off of her feet, nodded, peeking up towards where he still stood in the doorway. “Cesc offered to let me stay for another night and I thought I’d take him up on it” she mused “I was a little more worn out after the game than I thought I would be so I cancelled my flight and booked myself on one tomorrow morning. What about you? Your coach knows that you didn’t get on the plane, right?” she quipped playfully.

Gerard, who’d been watching her quietly, merely flashed her a small smile, something which made Ariella’s cheeks flame a soft shade of pink before she shook her head, shying away from his stare slightly.

Gerard marveled at the soft hint of pink on her cheeks before he stepped a little further into the room, gently settling down into the spot beside her. “I caught Cesc after the game” he noted, disturbing the comfortable silence which had settled between the two of them “He told me that you were planning on staying another night and I asked if he minded me joining you. He gave me that dumb smirk he gives me every time I mention you and told me explicitly that there was to be no...You know, but he said that he didn’t mind me staying. If you do mind, though, I can easily find somewhere else to go” he added as he inched his hand closer to hers, his fingers lightly brushing against hers.

Ariella watched his fingers quietly for a few seconds before a slow smile spread across her lips. “I suppose I can make some room for you” she joked softly.

Gerard smiled back at her gently for a moment before he pushed himself up to his feet, moving to toe off the pair of trainers that he wore.

Ariella mimicked his movement, pushing herself up to her feet, before stepped around the bed, climbing in on her familiar side. Tucking the duvet around herself, she rested her back against the pillow before she lifted her head, quietly watching Gerard as he got himself ready for bed.

Gerard, who’d moved to pull his t-shirt over his head, caught her eye before he offered her a playful wink, something which caused Ariella to let out a soft laugh, her cheeks turning a familiar shade of pink. Gerard smirked at her playfully before he padded around the bed, slipping into the space at her side. “How have the last couple of days been?” he murmured, once more disturbing the quiet which had settled between the two of them “Cesc hasn’t been too much of a pain, has he?” he added, his tone half joking.

Ariella smiled, not missing the slight concerned edge to his voice, before she shook her head, turning so that she looked up at him. “He’s always been a pain” she quipped “In all the years I have known him, he’s never been any different, but he’s been no worse than normal” she added.

Gerard lifted an eyebrow. “Really?” he asked, slightly surprised that Cesc hadn’t broached the topic of their relationship with the brunette.

He knew that the midfielder wouldn’t want to cause a problem, if there was one person who was rooting for the two of them more than anyone else, it was likely to be Cesc who’d been friends with Ariella since they were children, but he was surprised that he hadn’t attempted to talk to her about what was happening between the two of them, even if he was sure that Cesc wouldn’t want to upset Ariella. He had thought that he would at least attempt to check in on how they were doing.

Ariella’s smile softened at the tone of his voice before she gently reached her hand up, lightly pushing his dark hair off of his forehead. “He did talk to me about us” she noted.

Gerard leant into her hand, his blue eyes closing. “He didn’t upset you, did he?” he murmured “I mean, if he did...”

“He didn’t upset me” Ariella interrupted softly “He just...he just pointed out a couple of things. He was just being a concerned friend, Geri” she added.

Gerard opened his eyes, offering her a slightly dubious look.

“He’s not the first person to be worried about us, Geri” Ariella pointed out quietly “I mean, I think almost everyone we know was wary about us giving this another shot, and they can’t be blamed for that. After the way that things...things broken down between us, I’m pretty lucky that you decided that you wanted to give us another shot” she added, her expression growing slightly sheepish.

Gerard studied the expression on her face for a couple of seconds before he gently reached his hand out, tilting her head up so that her blue eyes mirrored his. “You know that I am not worried, right?” he murmured.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you were” Ariella replied softly “After last time...”

“You made a mistake, Ella” Gerard interrupted softly “And I am over it now, and I want to look forwards to what comes next for us. Yes, people are going to worry, and yes, they’re likely to stick their noses into this even though we don’t want them to, but it doesn’t change the fact that I am very happy in this relationship and looking forwards to seeing where it goes, because I want it to have a long and bright future” he explained, his voice firm.

It wasn’t the first time, on more than one occasion since they’d gotten back together, Ariella had worried about him having doubts over them, and he wanted to reassure that he had none, even if those around them did. He wanted her to know that, since they’d made the decision to get back together, he hadn’t doubted it or regretted it for a second.

Ariella blinked a couple of times, surprised by his interruption, before her expression relaxed into a light smile, something which caused Gerard to lean across, stealing a couple of soft kisses. “I love you, Ariella” he murmured softly as he pulled back.

Ariella admired the sincere expression on his features for a couple of seconds before she leant back into him, sneaking another couple of soft kisses as she mumbled the same words back to him, comforted by his reassuring words.
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Thanks to mslou1, Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)