In the End

58: Is It Going To Be Like This Every Year?

Quietly soothing Toby’s cries, Gerard ducked out into the hall, pulling the bedroom door closed behind him. It was early, as was usual since the little boy had arrived, he had stirred a little before six in the morning, and despite it being Christmas morning, Gerard hadn’t wanted to disturb Ariella, knowing that she had been the one to get out of bed only a couple of hours previous when Toby had last woken up. It had been a few days, after Jacob and his family had visited, the next few days had been quieter for the little family, and Gerard knew that Ariella appreciated it, even if she hadn’t said anything. He knew that a small part of her had been itching to have a couple more days that was just about the three of them. Taking a couple of steps forwards, he ensured that he had pulled the door to behind him before he quietly padded down the stairs and into the kitchen, moving to warm up a bottle for Toby.

Allowing a sleepy yawn to slip out of his mouth, he rested his back against the kitchen counter before he gently lifted his hand, his fingertips smoothing out the dark hair which sat on the top of Toby’s head. “It’s Ok, little one” he murmured softly “It’ll take a couple of minutes to heat up and then we can get you some breakfast before we think about waking your mama up. I am sure she’s looking forwards to today. I mean, it’s not every year that you get to celebrate baby’s first Christmas” he added, smiling down at the little boy.

Toby let out another soft whimper and stirred in the defender’s arms, something which made him smile gently before he moved to collect the bottle, testing the temperature of the liquid on his forearm before he gently placed it into Toby’s mouth. The little boy fussed for a few seconds, letting out a soft whine, before he started to drink the milk, causing Gerard’s soft smile to widen ever so slightly.

“Why didn’t you wake me?”

Gerard, who’d been focused on feeding Toby, looked up at the sound of Ariella’s voice before he shrugged, smiling a little as she padded into the room, her hands self-consciously adjusting the bottom of the t-shirt of his that she wore. “You got up with him last time” he noted “And I thought it was probably my turn. You can only have been back in bed for a couple of hours” he pointed out.

Ariella, who’d moved to sit down beside the kitchen island, quirked a sleepy smile, her fingers attempting to straighten out her messy dark hair. “He woke up just after two” she mused “He needed a nappy change and I gave him a feed too. I didn’t wake you?” she asked.

Gerard shrugged. “I stirred a little as you went out of the door” he admitted “But you seemed to have it under control. Besides, with both of ours parents due to come over today, I needed all the rest I can get. We both know it’s not going to be a picnic” he added, his voice only half joking.

It had taken some negotiating, with his parents and Ariella’s all keen on spending time with Toby on his first Christmas, it’d taken them a little while to hammer out the details, but in the end they’d agreed to let them all visit, something which both Ariella and Gerard were wary about. They hadn’t spent a lot of time together, with the couple’s first relationship only having lasted a few months, the two sets of parents had only met fleetingly, and whilst Ariella and Gerard were certain that none of them would attempt to spoil the day deliberately, they were both slightly apprehensive, not entirely sure of how they would get along.

Ariella shook her head. “You think it will be that bad?” she posed.

Gerard shrugged, shifting his hold on Toby slightly. “Probably not” he mused “I mean, you’ve assured me that Jacob and Estella are capable of being polite to one another, and I have no doubt that my parents will be polite. It’s Toby’s first Christmas after all, and I don’t think any of them are going to come here intending to mess this up. It’s a big deal to us and I don’t think any of them is going to want to be the reason it gets spoiled” he explained reassuringly.

Ariella offered him a slightly uncertain look, mulling his words over, before she let out a soft sigh, nodding her head in agreement. “You’re probably right” she conceded.

“I know I’m right” Gerard replied confidently, a smirk spreading across his features.

Ariella rolled her eyes playfully before she pushed herself back to her feet, taking a couple of steps towards him. “Merry Christmas, Geri” she murmured as she gently pushed herself up onto her toes, kissing him softly.

Gerard smiled against her lips for a second before he pulled back, gently resting his forehead against hers. “Merry Christmas, Ella” he replied.

Ariella admired his smile for a second, a soft shade of pink spreading across her cheeks, before Toby made a small noise, pulling both Ariella and Gerard’s attention down towards him. Smiling softly, Ariella gently lifted the infant into her arms before she placed a soft kiss against his head, mumbling a soft ‘merry Christmas’ as she padded out of the room with him, quipping something about getting him dressed over her shoulder. Gerard smiled after the two of them. He doubted that he would ever find himself tired of seeing Ariella with Toby.

“You’re certain that you don’t need my help with anything?” Ariella asked as she rested against the kitchen doorframe, her eyes settled on Estella and Montserrat who stood ahead of her, chatting enthusiastically as they worked on preparing dinner.

It had been a surprisingly good morning, with Gerard’s parents having arrived early, along with Ariella’s parents and their partners, Ariella had half been expecting the morning to be filled with awkward small talk and long periods of silence, but she had been pleasantly surprised. They had gotten on easily, from the moment all of them had arrived, the conversation had flowed easily, and whilst it pleased the brunette, there was no doubting that it had caught her off guard. She had half been expecting people to start making excuses to leave before they’d even had the opportunity to sit down to dinner.

Estella, who was stirring a pot on top of the stove, shook her head “I think we’ve got it handled between the two of us” she mused.

Ariella lifted an eyebrow. “You’re sure?” she posed.

Estella nodded. “We’re doing fine” she enthused “So why don’t you go and sit down? Toby’s taking his nap and that means you can relax for a little while” she added warmly.

Ariella briefly contemplated arguing, insisting that she wanted to help, before she nodded her head, stepping out of the doorway. Shuffling a few paces down the hallway, she ducked into the living room before she felt her body collide with someone else’s, causing her to let out a soft squeak before she felt an arm around her waist, holding her up. “You Ok?” Gerard asked.

Ariella blinked a couple of times before she nodded, smiling up at him. “I’m fine” she mused “Though, next time, you ought to watch where you’re going” she teased.

Gerard rolled his eyes, but smiled nevertheless, something which made Ariella giggle before she shook her head, noticing the empty room behind him. “What’d you do with everyone else?” she asked as she stepped past him, checking on Toby who was happily sleeping in his Moses basket.

Gerard watched her, not missing the way her face lit up when she looked down at their son, before he shrugged. “Your papa and Sabrina headed upstairs with Alex and Diego to call her parents” he explained “Stefan went to bother your madre and my papa is in the other room reading a book. No one really wanted to be responsible for disturbing Toby during his nap” he added, resting his weight against the doorframe.

Ariella nodded her head, her eyes not shifting away from Toby who stirred slightly in his sleep, letting out a contented sigh.

Gerard watched her for a few seconds before he shook his head, stepping a little further into the room. “Come on” he encouraged as he reached Ariella’s side, capturing her hand in his “No one else is around. This is the perfect time for us to exchange a couple of presents” he enthused brightly, gently leading her towards the Christmas tree which sat in the corner of the room.

Ariella laughed. “You’re a child” she quipped.

Gerard merely flashed her a wink before he stopped, ducking down to collect a neatly wrapped parcel from the floor before he offered it out towards. “From me and Toby” he mused.

Ariella pushed her hair behind her ear shyly before she gently took the present out of his hand, moving to peel the wrapping off of it. Slipping the gift out of its paper, she smiled a little before she flipped open the small box, her fingers gingerly brushing over the bracelet which sat inside. “Gerard” she breathed “It’s beautiful” she added.

Gerard quirked a grin, but didn’t offer the teasing retort he’d thought of, instead offering her a surprisingly modest shrug. “I thought so” he mused, the slightest hint of a blush on his cheeks.

Ariella offered him another shy smile before she closed the box, setting it down on the side before she dipped down, picking up one of the gifs that had Gerard’s name scrawled on the label. Hesitating for a moment, she briefly contemplated setting it back down before she offered it out towards him. “I hope you like it” she babbled uncertainly.

Gerard flicked his stare up from the present towards her and flashed her a reassuring smile before he dropped his stare once more, pulling the paper away from the gift, revealing a framed sketch of himself and Toby. Scanning the picture, he stared at it in awe for a few seconds before he lifted his head, sparing a look towards Ariella who stood ahead of him, shifting her feet sheepishly. “ drew this?” he breathed.

Ariella nodded quickly. “We’ve got a picture that’s very similar” she explained “It was taken when you held him for the first time by one of the nurses, and I thought I could draw it. It’s been a long time since I’ve sketched anything other than wedding dresses, so I apologise if it’s not very good. I just...”

“It’s perfect” Gerard interrupted softly.

Ariella blinked a couple of times, surprised by the interruption, before she ducked her head, trying to hide the redness of her cheeks. “Really?” she squeaked.

Gerard nodded. “It’s amazing, Ella, really” he breathed “I love it” he added.

Ariella offered him a bashful smile, something which caused Gerard to settle the sketch down before he stepped back towards her, wrapping his arms around her waist. “I love you” he breathed softly, pressing a tender kiss against her forehead.

Ariella wrapped her arms around him, enjoying their embrace quietly for a few seconds, before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached her ears, causing her to reluctantly pull back, her eyes settling on Estella who stood in the doorway, a doting smile on her face. “I’m sorry” she mused “But we’re having trouble finding a few things in the kitchen. Can we borrow one of you?” she asked.

Ariella nodded. “I’ll be right with you” she mused.

Estella smiled pleasantly before she ducked back out of the room, allowing Ariella the opportunity to push herself up onto her toes, sneaking a couple of soft kisses before she pulled away. “I should go and be helpful” she quipped playfully.

Gerard nodded. “You should” he encouraged.

Ariella smiled at him gently and took a couple of steps before she paused, turning to look back at him. “Is it going to be like this every year?” she asked, her smile growing slightly shier.

Gerard smirked. “I sure hope it’s like this for years to come” he enthused.

Ariella grinned back at him sheepishly before she ducked out of the room, wordlessly hoping for the same thing.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)