Burn Us Down

16: How Many Times?

Frowning gently to himself, Gerard carefully lifted a hand, using it to softly push Olivia’s messy hair back off of her face before he moved it away from her again, a quiet sigh slipping out of his mouth. He wasn’t quite sure of what to do with his hands. Olivia was still sound asleep, her soft snores still filled the air around the two of them, and whilst he knew it meant that she wasn’t paying him any attention, he didn’t quite know where he was supposed to put his hands. He didn’t know really what was going to happen when she opened her eyes and realised that they’d spent the night curled up together.

He knew that it was what she had wanted. When Olivia had stepped into their bedroom the night before, one look at her face had told Gerard what the reason was, but he didn’t know if she was going to regret it when she woke up, something which had him hesitant to pretend that that morning was like the countless ones which had preceded it.

Tucking his hands away from her awkwardly, he took a few moments to watch her sleep before he carefully untangled their legs, allowing him to slip out from beneath the duvet and sit up. Perching on the side of the bed, he took in a deep breath before he heard Olivia stir behind him, causing him to glance back at her over his shoulder.

Olivia stirred for a couple of seconds before she gently blinked her eyes open, meeting his almost instantly.

Gerard held her stare, allowing the awkward silence to hang around them for a few excruciatingly long seconds, before the distant chirp of a phone filled it, causing Olivia to quickly pull her gaze from his. “That’s mine” she said as she sat up quickly.

Gerard didn’t say anything. He just watched her as she hurried up to her feet and skittered out of the room. Waiting until he heard her voice across the hall, he slowly got back to his feet and followed after her, stopping in the doorway.

Olivia watched him as she listened to Melissa on the other end of the phone. “He’s still asleep” she said “But I am just about to sort out breakfast for him, so it should only be an hour, maybe ninety minutes before I get back to you” she explained, her eyes slowly lowering away from Gerard’s face and towards the floor.

Gerard shook his head softly, but didn’t speak until he’d heard Olivia hang up the phone. “Have you got class today?” he asked.

“This evening” Olivia replied.

Gerard’s nod was slow and contemplative. “So you could come back after you’ve dropped Max off?” he asked.

Olivia hesitated, but did eventually nod her head. “I can do” she confirmed “I’ve really got to get him back to Mel’s, he’s got to get to school, but I could…I could come back afterwards” she said.

Gerard’s face lit up with the faintest of smiles before he nodded his head. “Good” he mused.

Olivia felt her cheeks warm slightly before she gestured out into the hall. “I need to…” she trailed off as Gerard stepped out of the doorway slightly, allowing her to squeeze past him and make her way across the hall towards the spare bedroom where Max slept.


Gerard, who was sat at the kitchen table, glanced up at the sound of his name, watching as Olivia padded back into the room, her expression already uncertain. He knew she would have thought about not coming back. When she had departed to take Max home, the look on her face had told him that there was more than a chance that he wouldn’t see her again for a while, but he was pleasantly surprised that she had come back, even if it was likely to kick off another awkward conversation between the two of them. He was pleased that she wasn’t just trying to duck away from it. They were never going to fix things if they both decided to shy away when things got awkward.

Quirking a warm smile, he tipped his head towards the coffee pot which sat in the centre of the table. “It’s fresh” he quipped.

Olivia shook her head, lifting her hand to show off the coffee cup she held onto. “I got one on the way through” she mused.

“It’s got white chocolate or something in it, hasn’t it?” Gerard replied, clearly trying to lighten the mood.

Olivia couldn’t stop herself from grinning. “Caramel, actually” she replied “You know I like it sickly sweet” she added.

Gerard grinned back at her, allowing the teasing moment to fade into a familiar uncomfortable silence which lasted for a few seconds before Gerard ducked his head, letting out a soft sigh. “What are we doing?” he asked quietly “I’m not trying to start something, I just…I just want to know what we’re doing, Livy, because I am not entirely sure” he added as he lifted his head, his blue eyes looking to catch her gaze.

He knew that there hadn’t been a break up. The fact that the engagement ring he’d proposed with still sat on her finger told him that she, at the very least, thought that there was hope for the two of them working things out, but he wanted to know where it was they stood. Their interactions were all over the place. At one time Olivia had practically said that he didn’t care about what was happening, and at another, like the night before, things had felt so close to normal that it was hard for him to remember that it wasn’t. He didn’t know what they were doing and he wanted to.

Olivia let their eyes meet briefly before she looked down at her feet. “I don’t know either” she replied quietly.

Gerard pushed himself out of his chair and stepped towards her, his fingers coaxing her head back so that she looked up at him as he slipped the coffee cup away from her. “What about last night?” he asked softly “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed it, but what was that about, Livy?” he added.

“I couldn’t sleep” Olivia replied quietly “And our room was just across the hall and I just thought…I missed it. I missed you and last night I just…I needed it” she stumbled out.

Gerard tipped his face forwards, touching his forehead to hers. “I needed it too” he replied “But when we woke up this morning, I didn’t know what to do and that kills me. How many times have I kissed you in that bed?” he asked.

Olivia’s eyes closed, her breath grew a little shaky.

Gerard nudged his nose against hers. “I knew what to do before” he murmured “I knew that I could kiss that spot beside your jaw. I knew I could play with your hair. I knew I could do all the little things that drive you crazy without worrying that you’d flinch away from me when you realised what we were doing, and this morning, I didn’t know that. I just…I want to know what we’re doing. I want to know what we are” he added.

Olivia fidgeted, her hands reaching for him and pulling back a couple of times before she let them fall back to her side. “I don’t know” she whispered “But I…I know that we’re not making it up that aisle in six months” she added, her voice as soft as she could make it.

Gerard’s laugh was somewhere between amused and pained. He knew it, of course he did, but the way that she had said it, how she had just dropped it into their conversation, both made him want to laugh and cry.

Olivia’s hand gripped his t-shirt at the sound of his laugh. “But I want to make it there eventually” she insisted.

Gerard pulled his head back slightly, his blue eyes searching hers. “Yeah?” he prodded.

Olivia’s nod was hesitant and her smile was shaky, but it was there, earning her a small smile from Gerard in return before he leant closer again. Pausing, he waited for her to inevitably pull back, but it didn’t come, allowing him to lean into her until his lips brushed hers. Swallowing, he tried to linger in the contact, he had missed it so much, but Olivia’s hesitation resurfaced quickly, causing her to shyly pull away and clear her throat. Gerard backed out of the embrace reluctantly, but still smiled to himself. It was their first kiss in weeks and as small and as shy as it was, it meant more to him than he could have explained.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)