If It Gave Us Time

23: It Was Our Decision To Make, Not Yours

Lazily brushing his fingers against the side of Isla’s hand, Gerard quirked a small smile, catching sight of the soft blush which had spread across her cheeks out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t the first time that she had looked a little sheepish, with her parents and brother around, every time he’d attempted to take a hold of her hand or had leant a little closer to her, she’d blushed and pulled away from him, and Gerard couldn’t help but be a little amused, something he knew that Eva and Rodrigo, who hadn’t stopped smiling at the two of them since they’d arrived, shared in.

It hadn’t been as bad as Isla had anticipated it would be, despite Daniel’s seeming uncertainty around him, both Eva and Rodrigo had been quick to ensure that the defender felt comfortable, and Gerard was grateful to them, even if he had caught Daniel frowning at him more than once throughout the meal. He had enjoyed the opportunity to get reacquainted with Isla’s family.

Grinning a little to himself, he allowed his fingers to trail upward slightly, tracing the faint line of the scar on Isla’s arm before the sound of footsteps reached his ears, causing him to drop his hand back to side as he looked up, greeting Eva with a polite smile. “Everything OK?” he asked, watching Isla shift a little further away from him out of the corner of his eye.

Eva, who’d moved to collect a couple of empty glasses from the coffee table ahead of them, smiled gently. “Everything’s fine” she mused “The little ones were starting to get tired, so Rodrigo and Cara took them home, but that doesn’t mean that the two of you need to rush off. I was just about to put another pot of coffee on” she added.

Isla shook her head, just about stifling a soft yawn into her hand. “We need to get going soon, Ma” she mumbled “I mean, I don’t know about Gerard, but I’ve got a pretty early start tomorrow” she added.

Eva nodded understandingly. “Of course” she mused “Just let me head upstairs and grab a phone number that I have for you. One of my friends’ daughters just got engaged, and I told them that I’d give you their number so that the two of you could set up a meeting” she added.

Isla rolled her eyes, but nodded nevertheless, smiling up at her mother warmly. “I need to head to bathroom before we go anyway” she mused as she stood up “You’ll be Ok for a few minutes?” she asked, sparing a look down towards Gerard.

“I think I can probably cope without you for that long” Gerard teased “It’ll be tough, but...” he trailed off, grinning.

Isla shook her head, but couldn’t stop herself from laughing quietly, something which made Eva smile softly, admiring just how at ease the two of them seemed around one another. It had been a surprise to her, the revelation that Isla and Gerard were spending time together again was one which had come a long a little out of the blue, but she was relieved to see how easily they still got on, something she had worried about given the abrupt way that their previous friendship had ended.

Shaking her head, she watched the two of them grin at each other for a second before she tugged on Isla’s sleeve. “I thought you had to get going” she teased.

Isla spluttered out a small embarrassed laugh before she nodded, quickly skittering out of the room with Eva following close behind her.

Gerard grinned to himself, amused by how shy Isla seemed, before the sound of movement reached his ears, causing him to look up once more, his eyes watching as Daniel stepped into the room, only to pause as he noticed that he and Gerard were alone. Blinking a couple of times, he eyed the defender uncertainly for a moment before he cleared his throat, fixing the best smile that he could muster onto his face. “Sorry” he noted “I thought I heard my wife and daughter in here” he added.

“You’ve just missed them” Gerard replied “Apparently, Eva had a phone number that she wanted to give to Isla before we got out of here” he added.

Daniel nodded his head stiffly, allowing a few uncomfortable seconds of silence to pass between them, before Gerard shook his head, letting out a soft sigh. “Have I done something wrong, Mr Vasquez?” he asked “I mean, I know that things between me and Isla, they didn’t exactly have a brilliant ending last time, but...” he trailed off as Daniel shook his head, his eyes fixed on his feet.

“It’s not you” The older man noted “I mean, you being here, it was a surprise, but it’s got more to do with me. I really thought I’d seen the last of you, Gerard” he added, not making even the slightest attempt to look up at the younger man.

Gerard frowned for a second before he shook his head, letting out an anxious laugh. “Am I that bad?” he breathed out.

Daniel shook his head. “No” he replied quickly “You’re a good guy, you always have been, and Isla...she’s always seen that in you, but...but you’re a reminder of a decision I made a lot of years ago, one that ended up hurting Isla more than I’d anticipated it would” he added, his words careful and precise.

The frown that Gerard wore deepened. “Mr...Daniel, what are you talking about?” he pressed.

Daniel was quiet for a moment, allowing the question to hang uncomfortably in the air, before he lifted his head, his eyes meeting Gerard’s. “You’d been gone for a about a year” he started quietly “But still Isla waited on your calls every day like they were the most important thing in the world. You must remember making them, no?” he asked.

Gerard merely nodded, urging the older man to keep talking.

“She was starting to really...really fall for you” Daniel added “I mean, you two...there’d always been something there, anyone who’d seen you together knew it, but I really started to notice it then. She was in love, not that she ever said it, but she clearly was, and that’s when I realized that I had to...that I needed to do something before one of you got hurt. It couldn’t have worked, not with you there and your life going one way, and her here and her life going another way, it’d have been a disaster, and so I mentioned to your mother that she’d been out on a few dates with some guy she knew, hoping that it’d be enough to cool things off between you. I...”

“I stopped talking to her” Gerard breathed out, cutting the older man off.

Daniel nodded his head slowly. “I know” he noted “But that wasn’t...I was just trying to stop her getting her heart broken. You were young, and it would have been too hard on you both, so I stepped in, trying to look out for my daughter. I didn’t mean for you to stop talking, I thought it’d be like all of the other fights you’d had, that you’d been annoyed with each other for a few days, but you’d figure it out and stay friends. I didn’t mean for things to get as bad as they did, Gerard, but it felt like the right call to make. I was just trying to protect Isla” he insisted.

Gerard pushed a hand back through his hair, taking a few long seconds to think over the older man’s words, before he shook his head. “With all due respect, Daniel” he muttered “That wasn’t a call for you to make. It was for me and Isla to figure out, whether we wanted to be together, or not, whether we thought it was worth the risk or not, that was our decision to make, not yours” he insisted firmly.


“Piqué, are you ready to get out of here?” Isla’s voice chirped, her tone warm and cheerful.

Daniel and Gerard shared a look before Isla padded into the room, a bright grin on her face. “If we don’t go now, my madre will never let us leave” she mused “Five more minutes, and she’s going to start making up the spare room” she teased, obliviously moving to slip her feet back into the pair of trainers that she’d left before the end of the couch.

Gerard held Daniel’s stare for a moment longer before he turned towards Isla, smiling at her as best he could. “Back to yours?” he asked.

Isla’s cheeks blushed before she shook her head, sparing a timid glance towards her father. “You’re dropping me off at home” she clarified.

Gerard nodded. “Of course” he quipped.

Isla smiled at him before she stepped towards her father, hugging him tightly. “Adios, papa” she mused.

Daniel hugged her back tightly. “It was so good to see you, baby” he enthused “Same time next week?” he asked.

“Unless I get a better offer” Isla chirped before she kissed his cheek, skittering out of the room.

Gerard glanced at Daniel once more before he followed after Isla, something which made Daniel sigh, wordlessly hoping that there was a small chance that Gerard wouldn’t share what he’d told him with Isla.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)