If It Gave Us Time

24: I’m Counting It As A Win

Absentmindedly drumming his fingers against his legs, Gerard stared vacantly at Isla’s bedroom door, listening for the sound of her footsteps heading back towards him. It hadn’t been long, after they’d left her parents’ home, only a little over an hour had passed, but still Gerard was aware that it was only a matter of time before Isla asked what was bothering him, even if she hadn’t stopped talking or smiling since they’d gotten in the car. He knew that she knew that there was something on his mind. He hadn’t said a lot, with his conversation with Daniel still swirling around in his head, he’d barely uttered two words on the trip back to Isla’s apartment, and he knew that Isla had caught onto it, even if she hadn’t let on. He knew the look she got on her face when she was debating the best way to try and approach something.

Closing his eyes for a couple of seconds, he allowed the conversation that he had had with Daniel to replay itself in his mind before he felt the mattress shift a little, something which caused him to blink his eyes open, his gaze falling on Isla who’d sat down beside him, an amused grin on her lips. “I was worried you’d fallen asleep” she quipped “I mean, don’t get me wrong, you can stay if you want to, but you do take up a lot of space” she teased, playfully prodding his side.

Gerard rolled his eyes, but couldn’t force out a laugh, something which caused Isla to frown for a fraction of a second before she let out a small sound, quickly ushering herself back up to her feet. “I almost forgot” she mused as she stepped across the room, collecting the jacket that she’d changed out of “When I went upstairs with my madre before we left, she gave me something I am sure you’d like to see” she added as she pulled something out of the pocket.

Gerard tilted his head slightly, watching as Isla padded back towards the bed, before she placed something into his hand, something which caused him to offer her a quick frown before he looked down, his expression relaxing into a tender smile. “Is this us?” he spluttered, marveling at the photograph that Isla had placed in his hand.

Isla, who’d sat down at the foot of the bed, grinned. “I asked her the same question” she quipped.

“I don’t blame you” Gerard replied “I mean, we’re what? Nine or ten here?” he pressed, his voice a little incredulous.

“Ten” Isla mused “It was taken at my tenth birthday party” she added as she leant over, pointing out the background of the picture.

Gerard simply let out a small awed laugh, something which made Isla giggle softly before she shuffled up the bed, tucking herself against his side. Gerard watched her cuddle into his side before he wrapped his arm around her, holding the picture between the two of them. “I forgot how long you’ve been wearing glasses for” he mumbled after a few seconds.

Isla scoffed quietly. “That’s all you’re thinking?” she asked, turning to look up at him “Not that we both look adorable, or that this picture was taken so long ago, but you’re thinking about my glasses?” she prodded.

Gerard shrugged, a half-smile on his face. “I thought the other stuff went without saying” he quipped “I mean, of course it’s adorable, it’s got us in it, doesn’t it?” he added, dropping a kiss against her temple.

Isla nudged his ribs with her elbow. “You’re really dorky sometimes, you know that?” she quipped “I mean, it was cute when we were kids, but...” she trailed off, grinning up at him impishly.

Gerard rolled his eyes exaggeratedly before he dipped forwards, kissing the end of her nose quickly.

Isla giggled, playfully swatting him away from her before she reached up, taking the picture out of his hand. Scanning it once more, she smiled down at it softly before she pushed herself up to her feet, moving to pin it to the picture board which hung on the wall beside her bed. “Are you OK?” she asked quietly.

Gerard, who’d been watching her around the room, blinked a couple of times, caught off guard by the question before he shook his head, smiling down at the bed. “You’ve been waiting to ask that since we got back here, haven’t you?” he quipped.

Isla shrugged, pushing her glasses back up her nose. “You were quiet” she mused “In the car on the way home, you were strangely quiet. I had to talk, and we both know how bad I am at filling silences, so...are you OK?” she repeated gently.

Gerard smiled, a little amused by her babbling, before he nodded his head slowly, allowing a few seconds of quiet to pass between them. “I’m fine” he noted.

“Are you sure?” Isla poked curiously.

Gerard didn’t hesitate in nodding. “I’m sure” he mused “I guess...I guess I was a little overwhelmed by being around your parents and Rodrigo again” he added as he sat up, his hands settling on her waist as he pulled her a little closer to him.

Isla smiled down at him. “You?” she prodded, poking his shoulder playfully “Were nervous? Gerard, I never thought I’d hear you say such a thing” she teased.

Gerard smiled and shrugged. “It matters” he quipped “I mean, I know it’s only your parents and Rodrigo who I’ve known forever, but now that we’re...it matters that they like me, no?” he added, gently guiding his hands down towards hers, twining their fingers together.

Isla watched their hands for a second, her cheeks flushing a soft shade of pink, before she shook her head. “They’ve always liked you” she mused.

Gerard grinned up at her, briefly contemplating quipping something back, before he lifted up one of her hands, pressing a soft kiss against the warm skin. “I just wanted to make a good impression on them again” he mused gently “And whilst I hit a bit of a stumbling block with your papa, I think it went well overall. I mean, they didn’t chase me out of the house, so I am counting it as a win” he added, kissing the inside of her wrist softly.

Isla watched him for a moment, briefly contemplating pushing him into telling her what was on his mind, before she dipped forehead, pressing a soft kiss against the top of his head. “I’m going to go and get changed into my pajamas” she mused “Will you still be here when I get back?” she asked, dropping another kiss on his head.

“I can be” Gerard replied “Is that something you’d like?” he quipped.

Isla merely offered him a small shrug before she stepped out of the room, her pajamas clutched in her hand.

Gerard watched her out of the door before he laid back against the mattress, squeezing his eyes closed. He had been tempted to tell her, when Isla had prompted him to tell her what was on his mind, a large part of him had wanted to relay what her father had told him, but he had stopped himself, knowing that it was something which would only upset her, the last thing he wanted to do. He was hurt, because of Daniel’s interference, he’d messed their friendship up and hurt Isla in the process, but he knew that telling her what Daniel had done wouldn’t change it. It had happened, there was no getting away from it, and he wanted to look forwards rather than back, wanting to make sure that things had a happier ending for them second time around.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)