If It Gave Us Time

02: You Still Do That When You Get Nervous

“Your hair is different now”

Isla, who’d been staring up at Gerard, blinked a couple of times at the sound of his voice before she shook her head, redirecting her stare down towards her feet. She didn’t know what to say, with her not having been expecting to see him, his being in front of her had left her slightly speechless, and it had led to a few long seconds of silence, something Isla wasn’t sure how to break, even if she knew that she eventually had to get something out of her mouth. She didn’t know what it was she wanted to say to him.

It had been years, after Gerard’s move to Manchester, the promised phone calls and visits had dwindled to none within a little over a year, and Isla couldn’t quite remember the last time that they’d been in the same place at the same time, something which had a familiar knot in the pit of her stomach.

Staring down at her feet for a few more seconds, she took in a slightly shaky breath before she tilted her head upwards, offering him a half-hearted smile. “You’re still as observant as ever, Gerard” she commented, self-consciously pushing the frames of her glasses back up her nose.

Gerard watched her mess with her glasses before he shook his head, a slightly amused grin playing at the corner of his mouth. “And you still do that thing when you get nervous, Lala” he chirped.

Isla’s cheeks warmed a little before she shook her head, her stare diverting back down towards her feet. “It’s Isla” she mumbled quietly “I’ve...”

“Always hated being called Lala” Gerard finished for her, his smile softening a little.

Isla blinked a couple of times, a little surprised that he’d interrupted her, before she nodded, wordlessly agreeing with him.

Gerard watched her for a second, not missing how apprehensive she seemed, before he reached his hand forwards, squeezing her elbow gently. “Why don’t you go and sit down?” he suggested softly “I’ll grab us something to drink and we can just...talk” he added, offering her another half-smile.

He knew that she was surprised to see him, the look on her face when she’d first looked up at him made it more than obvious, but he wanted to encourage her to stay, even if it wasn’t likely to be the night he had envisaged when he’d been asked if he was available to go out on a blind date. For a little while, he merely wanted to sit and talk to her.

Isla, who’d turned her eyes towards his hand which sat against her elbow, was quiet for a few seconds before she gently shook her head, pulling her arm back towards her side. “I don’t think so” she mumbled “I mean, if I had known it was you...” she trailed off as Gerard let out a scoff, rolling his blue eyes playfully.

“I’m not that bad, am I?” he teased “I mean, I know that it’s been a while...”

“A while?” Isla cut in, her voice a little incredulous “Can you actually remember the last time you and I were in the same room, Gerard?” she added.

Gerard’s eyes widened, surprised that she had cut in, before he shook his head, a slightly hesitant smile on his face. “It’s been a long time, Isla” he mused “And I know that, I just...”

“You just want to talk?” Isla finished for him, shaking her head slightly.


“Isla” Isla corrected quickly “And you didn’t want to talk to me a lot before, why would you want to bother now?” she added, her voice caught between soft and sharp.

Gerard flinched, not missing the sharpness in her voice, before he shook his head, his hand gently reaching for her arm once more. “One cup of coffee won’t kill you” he encouraged gently “And if you want to spend the whole time yelling at me, you can. I won’t even complain” he added, his lips quirking upwards slightly at the corner.

Isla rolled her eyes. “Gerard...”

“One drink” Gerard insisted “Please? I’ll even buy it for you” he added impishly.

Isla laughed despite herself, something which made Gerard grin before he shuffled towards the counter, quickly relaying their order to the waitress before he stepped back towards Isla. “Should we find a table?” he asked, his voice slightly uncertain.

Isla offered him a slightly dubious look, briefly contemplating turning him down, before she nodded her head. “Ok” she agreed gently.

Gently drumming his fingers against the side of his mug, Gerard quirked a faint smile to himself, his blue eyes watching as Isla reached her hand up again, pushing the frames of her glasses back up her nose. It had always been a tell of hers, since she had started to wear her glasses when they’d been in their early teens, she had always pushed them up her nose when she was a little unsure of herself, and he was glad to see that it hadn’t changed, even if a lot of other things about her had. He was glad that there were still little quirks about her that made her instantly recognizable to him.

“You’re staring”

Gerard, who’d moved to take a sip of his drink, smirked over the top of the cup before he shrugged. “So?” he quipped.

Isla rolled her eyes. “Gerard” she warned.

Gerard held his hands up, a soft laugh falling out of his mouth. “Sorry” he mused “I just...I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that you are my date. I mean, I know that it was a friend of Luis’s wife that was asking for a date, but I can’t quite believe that out of all the people in Barcelona...” he trailed off, shaking his head slightly.

Isla shook her head, taking a sip from her drink, but didn’t say anything else, something which made Gerard quirk a faint smile. “You look good” he mused after a couple of seconds, disturbing the slightly uncomfortable silence which had settled over the two of them “I mean, that should have been the first thing I said to you. You look really, really good, Lala” he fussed.

Isla scoffed quietly, rolling her eyes to herself. “Isla” she corrected.

Gerard grinned at her. “You used to let me call you Lala” he quipped “I mean, you’d complain but...”

“Used to” Isla interrupted quietly “I used to let you call me that. Just like you used to answer my phone calls” she added, her blue eyes briefly glancing up at his before she quickly dropped them, staring down at the table.

Gerard watched her drop her stare before he let out a soft sigh, something which made Isla shake her head, shyly pushing her hair off of her face. “I know it’s stupid, Ok?” she mumbled “I mean, you left when we were seventeen and it’s been years but...You just stopped taking my calls one day, Gerard. I called you one night, and everything was fine, and the next night...You pushed me out, Gerard, just like you promised you wouldn’t” she muttered, trying, and failing to hide the blush which had been quick to spread across her cheeks.

She knew that it was silly, the idea that she was still upset about something which had happened so many years previous was one which she knew was stupid, but she couldn’t help it, even if a part of her had been excited to see him when she’d first looked up, another, larger part had been reminded of how much it’d hurt when their friendship had reached its sudden end.

Gerard’s eyes softened. “Isla...”

“I’m sorry” Isla interrupted quickly “But I think I ought to go” she added, hurrying back up to her feet.

Gerard matched her movement, hurrying out of his seat. “You don’t have to go” he mused “We could...”

“Adios, Gerard” Isla cut in once more before she wrapped her jacket around her shoulders, rushing out of the door.

Gerard watched after her before he sunk back down into his seat, the words he hadn’t quite managed to get out of his mouth still whirring around his head.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and FootieJo for the comments :)