In the End

49: I Should Congratulate You

Gently tugging at the bottom of her t-shirt, Ariella made sure that it was a little loose on her, trying to keep the small bump of her stomach hidden. It wasn’t overly noticeable, even in a tighter shirt, the small bump was noticeable if you were looking for it, but still she wanted to try and hide it, not wanting her friends to guess that she was expecting before she and Gerard had had the chance to tell them. It hadn’t been long, after Gerard had returned from Spain’s unsuccessful world cup campaign, a few days had passed, but with Argentina’s semi-final due to be played that evening, they’d opted to invite their friends over to their home in order to watch game, wanting to take the opportunity to share the news of Ariella’s pregnancy with them before it became too obvious to hide.

Fiddling with the bottom of her shirt a little more, she spared a cautious glance towards the bedroom mirror before she startled, her eyes spotting Gerard in the reflection. Blinking a couple of times, she shook her head before she turned around, offering him a questioning glance. “Do you do it on purpose?” she asked, a faint smile on her lips

Gerard, who was quietly admiring her, quirked a small smirk before he shrugged. “Maybe” he quipped.

Ariella rolled her eyes before she turned back towards the mirror. “Did you want something?” she posed, meeting his eyes via the mirror.

“Our guests have arrived” Gerard replied “And I told them I’d come and see what you were up to. You ready to get down there?” he posed, his eyes drifting down towards her bump as a crooked smile spread across his lips.

Ariella followed his stare down towards her stomach before she let out a soft sigh, a faint smile on her lips. “You can see it, can’t you?” she asked.

Gerard shrugged. “A little” he replied “But it’s fine. I mean, we’re going to tell them anyway, aren’t we?” he added as he stepped up behind her, his palms settling protectively over her stomach.

Ariella stared down at his hands for a moment before she nodded, turning so that she smiled up at him. “We are” she confirmed “Providing that you’re still sure of course” she added as she stretched up slightly, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek.

Gerard closed his eyes at the feel of her lips against his skin, enjoying their embrace for a couple of seconds, before he dipped down, pressing a soft kiss against the top of her head. “I’m sure” he mumbled into her hair “Besides, I am not sure how much longer we can it for. You’ve got a bump, Ella” he added, his thumb skimming over the front of her shirt.

Ariella watched the movement of thumb for a few seconds, enjoying the comfortable silence which lingered between the two of them, before the sound of voices floated up the stairs, something which caused Ariella to pull away from him slightly, her hand capturing his. Flashing him a soft smile, she gently knotted their fingers together before she pulled him out of the bedroom, guiding him down the stairs and into the kitchen where their friends stood, chatting loudly.

Cesc, who’d been pouring drinks, looked up at the sound of footsteps before he smiled, admiring the wide smiles which were stuck on both Ariella and Gerard’s faces. “I was starting to wonder if you two were joining us” he quipped.

Gerard, who’d slipped his arm around Ariella’s waist, scoffed. “We invited you over” he pointed out.

Cesc merely shrugged, something which made Gerard roll his eyes before he caught Ariella’s eye, causing a soft grin to spread across his features. “We...uh...we actually have something we want to tell you all” he breathed “Ariella...Ella’s pregnant” he stumbled out, his voice caught between nervous and proud as he gently shifted his hand, returning it to its familiar spot on her stomach.

Cesc, who’d flicked his attention back towards the counter, lifted his head, his eyes flicking back and forth between Gerard’s hand and the couple’s smiling faces. “Huh?” he spluttered.

Ariella quirked a shy smile, her fingers gingerly pushing her dark hair behind her ear. “I’m pregnant” she mused softly “A little over four months or so now” she added.

“Really?” Antonella squeaked, an awed smile on her lips.

“Really” Ariella grinned “I’ve got a sonogram somewhere if you’d like me to show it to you” she teased gently.

“I’d like to see it” Daniella contributed, an equally wide smile on her lips.

Ariella grinned. “I am sure that that can be arranged” she enthused as she padded out of the room, the two women on her tail.

Gerard watched her out of the room, a fond smile stuck on his face, before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached his ears, causing him to turn, his blue eyes settling on Cesc who stood beside him, a half-smile on his face. “So, Ella’s pregnant, eh?” he quipped.

Gerard breathed out a small laugh before he nodded. “She is” he confirmed “I mean, we’ve known about it for a little while now, but it still feels a little odd to say it out loud. She’s pregnant, I’m going to be a papa” he fussed excitedly. It did still feel strange, despite the countless times that they’d talked about Ariella’s pregnancy, saying the words out loud still felt a little surreal to Gerard, and he couldn’t help but smile whenever they talked about it, even if there were still a few months away from the baby’s arrival. He couldn’t wait to meet their son or daughter for the first time.

Cesc watched him for a couple of seconds, admiring the wide smile which had appeared on his features, before he gently shook his head. “This is it for you, right?” he asked “I mean, you and Ella, it’s for keeps, isn’t it?” he clarified gently.

Gerard lifted an eyebrow. “You’re worried?” he asked.

Cesc shook his head. “Not worried” he noted “I just...I’ve known her since she was eight years old and I guess you could say that I am a little protective of her. I’ve always kind of looked out for her and that’s not going to stop just because she’s ended up with you” he added, a fleeting grin passing over his features.

Gerard breathed out a small laugh, but didn’t say anything, something which caused Cesc to lift his hand, patting the taller man’s shoulder gently. “I know she messed up before” he murmured “And I know that you’ve both come a long way from that point, and I just...I’ve never seen her look at someone like she looks at you, Geri. She’s crazy about you and now she’s having your baby and I guess I am just asking...”

“I’m not going anywhere, Cesc” Gerard interrupted.

Cesc blinked, surprised by the interruption, something which caused Gerard to quirk a half-smile. “She did make a mistake before” he noted “But I made my fair share too and we both were at fault for what happened before. It was a mess, but we’ve worked hard to get to this point and I don’t think either one of us is going anywhere any time soon. I love her, Cesc, I really do” he insisted gently.

Cesc stared up at him for a few moments, mulling over his words, before he offered him a nod. “I know you do” he quipped “I think I knew you had feelings for her before you did” he added with a smirk.

Gerard snorted. “Yeah?” he quipped.

Cesc grinned boastfully. “You’re not subtle” he retorted “You kept staring at her when you thought no one was looking. It was kind of sad” he joked.

Gerard rolled his eyes. “It worked out, didn’t it?” he fought back playfully “I mean, she is having my baby” he added.

Cesc nodded, his smirk softening into a smile. “She is” he confirmed “I should congratulate you for that. You and’re going to be amazing parents” he added.

Gerard smiled bashfully. “Gracias” he mused.

Cesc grinned at him warmly for a few seconds before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached his ears, causing him to look up, his eyes settling on Ariella who stood in the doorway, a warm grin spread over her features. “You two coming?” she posed “I mean, the game’s about kick off and I’d like to show Cesc our sonogram. You want to join us?” she asked.

Gerard nodded. “We’re just coming” he noted “Isn’t that right, Cesc?” he added.

Cesc smiled before he padded towards the doorway, stepping past Ariella and out of the room.

Ariella watched him pass her before she turned back towards Gerard, lifting her eyebrow slightly. “You two alright?” she asked.

Gerard nodded before he stepped towards her, wrapping her in a soft hug that she was more than happy to return. “We’re fine” he noted “He just wanted to do the protective friend bit. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before. Besides, he was a lot scarier first time around” he teased.

Ariella, who’d cuddled into him, swatted his shoulder playfully, something which made Gerard laugh before he squeezed her softly, dropping a light kiss against the top of her head as he wordlessly fussed about how far they’d come. It hadn’t been long, less than a year previous, they’d not even been on speaking terms, and he couldn’t help but marvel at how far they’d come. They were happy, even despite things moving at a faster pace than they’d anticipated, they were settled into a happy and comfortable relationship, and he was hopeful that it would stay that way. He liked what they had together.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Jayme112234 for the comments :)