Burn Us Down

21: I’ve Been Selfish

Tugging his pillow out from beneath his head, Gerard hurled it across the room, allowing a sound of frustration to rumble out of his mouth and into the silent spare bedroom that he had spent most of the evening hidden away in. He hadn’t tried to go back downstairs. After he and Olivia had yelled at one another, he had thought it best that they tried to give one another a wide berth, and with him being the first one to leave, he’d opted to take the spare bedroom, not wanting a conversation about who should to spark another fight. It had escalated quickly, quicker than Gerard could quite comprehend, and he didn’t want to make things worse by trying to start another conversation too quickly. The last thing he wanted was to push their relationship, which now felt as though it was teetering on the edge, over into unfixable.

Shoving himself upwards, he glared at the pillow which had hit the bedroom door and fallen to the ground before he allowed his head to fall backwards, bumping against the headboard. He was frustrated by how quickly things had changed. What had started out as a pleasant evening, one of the most pleasant that he and Olivia had had in a while, had gone sour so quickly that he hadn’t been able to do anything to stop it, and now things between them felt broken again, something which had reproduced the uncomfortable ache in the pit of his stomach. Olivia hadn’t meant to upset him, he knew that, but hearing her suggest that he wasn’t welcome at her birthday party had hurt him, even if her reasons were valid. He couldn’t not hurt at the thought of her celebrating without him.

Taking a deep breath, he squeezed his eyes closed for a few moments, trying to shake the frustration only to hurriedly blink them open again at the sound of the door opening. Adjusting to the light which slipped in from the hall, he tilted his head slightly, his eyes settled on Olivia who stood in the doorway, not quite sure enough to step into the room fully. “Livy?” he asked quietly.

“There was a noise” Olivia squeaked out “I just…I just wanted to make sure that you were OK” she added, her eyes looking anywhere but at him.

Gerard’s stomach dropped. He thought they’d gotten past the point where Olivia couldn’t even look at him properly. “Did I wake you?” he asked.

Olivia shook her head mutedly.

“I threw the pillow” Gerard noted, not wanting the stifling silence to creep in again “I was struggling to get comfortable and I got annoyed, so I threw it at the door. I’m sorry it disturbed you” he added.

Olivia’s lips tipped upwards into a ghost of a smile, but she didn’t say anything.

Part of Gerard wanted to sigh, to say her name as a means of coaxing her to speak, but he was wary. He didn’t want to fight again.

Olivia lifted her stare, glancing at him like she wanted to say something, but she clearly opted against it. Instead, she tipped her head, a wordless goodnight, and shuffled out of the doorway.

Gerard stayed quiet, listening to her light footsteps as they disappeared back across the hallway, before he threw the duvet off of himself. Before he could stop himself, he stood up and made his way across the hall, pushing the bedroom door open with a louder thump than he’d been expecting.

Olivia, who’d been fixing her hair in the bathroom mirror, peeked around the door frame, her eyes wide in surprise before they dropped down towards the floor. “Gerard…”

“Look at me” Gerard cut her off “Please, nena. I hate it when you won’t look at me” he added, his voice softening.

Olivia hesitated before she lifted her head, her eyes meeting his.

Gerard’s eyes searched hers for a few long seconds before he sighed. “I’m sorry” he breathed “Earlier was…it got pretty out of control, pretty quickly, and I am sorry for that. I know what you were trying to say, and I am sorry that I reacted like I did” he added.

Olivia reached up, fixing her ponytail to occupy her otherwise fidgeting hands. “I get why you did” she said quietly.

Gerard’s feet dragged him closer to her, stopping when he was stood in the bathroom doorway, his shoulder resting against the frame. “It’s your birthday” he said “And you should get to have fun and relax and that…that’s not going to happen with me there, I know that, but it still hurts, Livy. You’re my fiancée, whatever that means now, and the idea that you don’t want me there…”

“I never said I don’t want you there” Olivia cut him off, stressing the word ‘want’.

“Yeah, you did” Gerard replied, a sad smile on his face “Maybe not with words, but I know you, Livy. I saw the look on your face when I asked” he added.

Olivia mulled his words over for a moment before she reached up, rubbing a spot on her collarbone. “I don’t know how to do this” she admitted carefully “My papa and Melissa, they don’t say it, but they think I’m stupid. Well, Melissa says it, but I know my papa thinks it, even if he doesn’t say it. They can’t understand that I still want you, which I do, even though it doesn’t seem like it at times. I know I am blowing hot and cold. I know that I flit between being happy you’re here and being a sheepish mess, and I know that that’s hard for you, but I am trying to learn to be in this relationship again and that’s hard” she explained, sparing a brief glance up to see if he was paying attention to what she was saying.

Gerard just offered her a small, wordless nod, encouraging her to keep going.

“We’re starting in the middle, where we’re engaged, but not getting married anymore. Living together, but sometimes not sleeping in the same bed. A couple, but not being the couple we were before, and I am trying to get used to that, but it’s really hard and I don’t want to spend my birthday trying to explain something which I don’t really get yet to everyone else around me. They’ve already decided I am stupid and I don’t think you and I swanning in there, acting like nothing’s ever happened is going to do anything to help that. I can’t be in a room with people looking at me like I am some naïve idiot, not on my birthday” Olivia continued, her voice growing a little heavier.

Gerard stepped towards her, guiding her into a hug that she didn’t hesitate to melt into, her arms wrapping around his waist as he placed a kiss on the crown of her head.

“I’m trying” Olivia whispered, lifting a hand to wipe at her eyes.

“You shouldn’t be” Gerard replied, his hand cupping her cheek as he stepped out of their embrace “Nena, I am the screw up. I should be the one trying to find the balance, not you” he added.

Olivia opened her mouth to say something back, but Gerard’s lips cut her off, kissing her so gently, so carefully. Closing her eyes, she melted into the kiss, the quick touch of their lips melting into a tender kiss which only ended when Gerard drew back, touching a kiss to her forehead as his thumb, not for the first time, brushed the tears off of her cheek. “I’m sorry” he whispered softly “For everything. For the fight tonight, the one before. The kiss. For making things hard for you in ways I hadn’t even thought about. I’ve been selfish. I keep thinking that you’re putting the breaks on because you’re doubting us, but I never thought that…that you were struggling. I know how much Melissa and Alex mean to you and I am sorry for not thinking about the strain of what I did hurting that. I’m just…I’m so sorry, Livy” he added.

Olivia wrapped her arms around him again, pressing a kiss against his chest. “I know, cariño” she whispered softly.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)