Burn Us Down

14: I’d Like That

Hearing the distant sound of the front door closing, Gerard picked his head up from the book that he was studying, glancing out into the hall as he waited for Olivia to step into view. He knew that she was coming. When he had suggested that they get together, Olivia had been quick to ask if they could do something at home rather than heading out, and whilst Gerard knew that it increased the chances of the two of them lingering in awkward silence, he had agreed. They needed time together, time alone, and if it meant sitting through a slightly awkward dinner at their kitchen table as opposed to having the silence filled by the chatter of other people in a restaurant, then it was what they were going to do.

Hearing her unzip her jacket, he felt a soft smile tug up the corner of his lips before she shuffled into the doorway, something which allowed him to slowly trail his eyes upwards until they met hers.

Olivia watched him, her cheeks flushing ever so slightly pink, before she tapped the lid of the plastic pot she held in her hands. “I bought dinner” she said softly.

Gerard couldn’t have stopped the grin lighting up his face even if he had wanted to. “You didn’t think I could handle it?” he prodded, his voice a little uncertain even despite the impishness in it.

Olivia blinked, her eyes widening a little, but she covered it quickly, flashing him a playful grin as she shrugged. “I just thought I’d save you the trouble” she replied “And save myself from faking enjoying your cooking again” she added.

Gerard let out a playful scoff, pointing down at the book he’d left open on the table. “I was looking up a new recipe and everything” he played along.

Olivia feigned a grimace, something which made Gerard laugh as he stood up from the couch. Stepping towards her, he gently slid the pot out of her grasp before he hesitated. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to lean over and just about brush his lips against hers, but he knew that he had stop himself, not quite sure that he had it in himself to get close to her, only to watch her duck out of reach again. Dropping his stare away from her face, he glanced down at the pot, smiling at it ruefully. “Something new?” he asked.

Olivia, who’d been watching him with a slight frown, shook her head. “One of my favourites” she mused “My coconut curry recipe” she added.

Gerard nodded, still looking down at the pot, before he looked up at her with a slightly strained smile. “I’ll find get some plates” he quipped “Where do you want to eat?” he asked as he started to wander away towards the kitchen.

Olivia followed after him. “Here’s fine” she mused.

Gerard busied himself with pulling plates out a nearby cupboard before he moved towards another one, hesitating as he looked at the wine glasses in front of him.

Olivia smiled gently. “I came in a taxi” she mused.

Gerard let his head fall forwards, a bashful laugh falling out of his mouth. “I should have just asked” he quipped.

“It is the best way to find things out” Olivia chirped, her smile soft and sympathetic. She knew just how he felt, how asking the simplest thing now felt uncomfortable and unsure, and she wanted him to know that knew it. She wanted him to know that he wasn’t the only one that was struggling to figure out the balance between too much and too little.

Gerard let out another little laugh before he pulled two glasses out of the cupboard, carrying them, and the plates, over towards the table.

Olivia took the plates from his hands and set them down, serving a portion of food onto each of them whilst Gerard padded towards the fridge, returning seconds later with a bottle of wine and a corkscrew. The two of them didn’t say a word, pouring wine and plating up food in silence for a few moments, before they both sat down, regarding one another with tentative smiles. “When do you next play?” Olivia asked quietly.

“Sunday” Gerard replied “It’s a home match, if you wanted to come” he added, his expression slightly hopeful.

Olivia ducked her head, poking her food. “Max did say that he wanted to go again” she replied.

Gerard smirked around a forkful of food, but didn’t say anything. It was going to take him a while to get used to the idea of Olivia wanting to put little barriers between the two of them.

Olivia choose to ignore the smirk as she took a sip of her drink, allowing the silence to drag out for a few beats.

Gerard prodded at his food, uncomfortable in the silence, before he looked over at her. “How’s the hotel treating you?” he asked. It was a bad question, and he knew it, but he just wanted them to talk. The silence, whilst expected, had the potential to become unbearable quickly.

Olivia smiled sadly. “It’s comfortable” she replied “I mean, I try not to be there much, but’s got all I need. Room service is a pretty great perk” she added.

Gerard laughed, his expression softening into a nostalgic smile.

Olivia noticed, cocking her head to one side. “What are you thinking about?” she asked.

“Our first trip together” Gerard replied “You’d never been to Paris, and I was still in the ‘I’ve really got to impress her’ phase, so for your birthday I whisked you off for a few days. That first morning you must have ordered the entire room service menu for breakfast” he added.

“I didn’t know what sounded best” Olivia protested, smiling gently “I had to try and figure it out. It turns out that…”

“You loved the croissants” Gerard finished for her “You ordered them every morning after that” he added, almost bashful that he still remembered a trip that they’d taken almost four years previous in such clear detail.

Olivia blinked a couple of times before she nodded, her cheeks glowing a soft shade of pink. “I’ve tried making them since, but they’re nowhere near as good” she said, mostly speaking just to fill the silence.

“I’ll have to take you back some time” Gerard mused, his smile tentative.

Olivia’s smile was just as tentative as she nodded her head. “I’d like that” she confirmed.

If Gerard was surprised by the reply, he didn’t show it, greeting it with a slight nod and a small laugh which soon dissolved back into the lingering silence. They both shifted uncomfortably, neither one quite sure how to voice the thoughts on their minds. Gerard wanted to ask Olivia to come home. He wanted to insist that she didn’t have to stay in their room, that she could have the spare bedroom just as long as it meant that he had her around. Olivia wanted to ask if her moving home would alleviate some of the awkwardness. But neither one of them could find their voices, instead opting to sit in the silence, both hoping that more time would mean more little steps in the right direction.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)