Burn Us Down

02: Cut Your Losses & Run

“Do you want anything else?”

Olivia, who’d been staring into the glass of wine which she clutched in her hands, blinked a couple of times at the sound of her sister’s voice before she looked up, her forehead furrowing slightly. She had thought that Melissa was still out of the room, giving her the first moment of peace since she had set foot inside of her sister’s home. She wasn’t surprised by it, Melissa had always been the type to coo and fuss when something was wrong, and whilst Olivia appreciated that her older sister had offered her somewhere to go that wasn’t the house that she and Gerard shared, she had hoped that Melissa would see that, for a little while, she just needed somewhere quiet to think.

Shaking her head, Olivia placed her glass down on the coffee table, offering Melissa the best smile she could muster. “Sorry” she said “I didn’t…did you say something? I was in my own little world” she added.

“I just asked if you wanted me to get you anything else” Melissa replied gently “Enzo’s home from work, so he’s here with Max. If you need me to head over to yours and get some of your stuff, I can” she added.

Olivia fiddled with the sleeve of her sweater before she gently shook her head. “It’s OK” she said.

Melissa sat down on the edge of the coffee table, concern creasing her forehead. “You’re going to need clothes, Oli” she mused softly.

“If I need them, I’ll go and get them, Mel” Olivia replied, her voice slightly curt “It’s my home, I’m not scared of going back there” she added.

“I know you’re not” Melissa replied “I just thought that you’d prefer not to go if you didn’t have to. I was just trying to help” she added.

Olivia let out a shaky sigh, her eyes dropping down towards her lap. “Sorry” she whispered “I know that you’re just trying to help, I just…I’m just trying to get my head around things. I’m probably going to be pretty awful company for a little while” she added, flashing her sister a small, sad smile.

Melissa leant over, gently squeezing her sister’s hand. “Have you heard from him since this morning?” she asked quietly.

Olivia shook her head, making no attempt to look up at her sister. She knew what she would see if she did. Melissa had never warmed to Gerard, even after four years, she was still wary off him, and Olivia couldn’t bear to look up and see the ‘I told you so’ etched into her sister’s expression. She knew that Melissa wouldn’t say it, as blunt as she could be at times, she knew that her sister knew better than to point out the warnings she had given her throughout the years, but it didn’t mean that her expression didn’t scream it, something Olivia wanted to avoid.

“I told him I needed to think” Olivia murmured “And I told him not to press it. I’ll call him when I am ready to” she added.

“You’re still going to talk to him?” Melissa prodded.

Olivia still didn’t look up as she nodded. “I can’t just…just walk out and never speak to him again, Mel” she murmured “I just…I wanted to get my head straight and not just react in the heat of the moment. It’s not as simple as just cutting and running” she added as she finally picked her head up, her hazel eyes meeting her sister’s brown ones for a brief moment before they fell away again, settling on the ring she pushed absentmindedly around her finger.

Melissa resettled her hand on Olivia’s, stopping her fiddling. “Oli, he kissed someone else” she pointed out as gently as she could.

Olivia couldn’t stop herself from flinching.

“How do you know that that is where it ended?” Melissa asked.

“He told me it was” Olivia answered softly “And I believe him” she added.

If Melissa tried to cover her scoff, she failed miserably. “Oli…”

“I know he messed up” Olivia cut her off, not missing the note of condescension that was hidden in amongst her concern “Okay? I don’t need you pointing that out for me, Mel. I saw the pictures myself” she added sharply.

Melissa held her hands up defensively. “I’m just saying” she mused.

“I don’t want to hear it right now” Olivia replied.

Melissa responded with a tight nod. “You know what I think” she said.

Olivia sighed. “You’ve never liked him” she pointed out.

“It’s not that I disliked him, Oli” Melissa replied “I just…I always thought you’d do a little better than him, and now…”

“Melissa, don’t” Enzo’s voice caught the two of them off guard.

Melissa fell quiet for a split second before she let out a soft sigh, nodding in agreement with her husband. “I just…I want you to take some time and think” she said gently “I know how you feel about him, but I don’t want to see you just run back to him and take him back like nothing’s ever happened. He’s done something really stupid, and he’s hurt you, and you need to process that, Oli, so let me go and get some of your stuff…”

“I’ll go” Enzo contributed, seeing the hesitation on Olivia’s face.

Olivia flashed him a grateful look before she nodded. She knew that allowing Melissa to go would be a mistake. “Thank you, Enzo” she mused.

Enzo smiled sympathetically before he ducked back out of the room.

Olivia watched him go before she turned to Melissa, letting out a soft sigh. “Is the spare room set up yet?” she asked.

Melissa nodded. “I changed the sheets when I went up to check on Max” she confirmed “Don’t you want to stay down here for dinner, though? I was about to get started on it” she added.

Olivia forced a polite smile, but shook her head. “I’m not particularly hungry” she mused “I think I am probably just going to try and get some sleep. I’ve got the worst headache. I’ll see you in the morning?” she asked as she got to her feet.

Melissa went to answer, but didn’t have a chance before Olivia was out of the room, already trudging up the stairs. Navigating the familiar route towards her sister’s spare bedroom, she pushed the door open before she stepped towards the bed, collapsing on it as soon as she was safely within distance. Squeezing her eyes closed, she relished the silence of the room for a moment before she felt her phone in her pocket, something which caused her to hesitate before she slipped it out. Feeling her chest constrict, she bypassed the lock screen and opened a blank text to Gerard, ignoring the tears which stung her eyes at the sight of the cute nickname, adorned with emojis, that she had his contact saved under.

Typing quickly, she told him that Enzo was on his way over before she stuffed the phone back into her pocket, using all over her will power to ignore the vibration which was quick to start up against her leg. She wanted to talk to him, like she had told Melissa, their relationship wasn’t something she simply wanted to walk out on and not look back at, but she also wanted to take time to think, something she knew she wouldn’t do if she looked at his reply.