Burn Us Down

22: I’ll Hold You To That

Resting his shoulder against the frame of the bedroom door, Gerard quirked a soft smile, his eyes looking Olivia up and down as she stood in front of the mirror, smoothing out the last little details of the outfit she had put together. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen her get dressed up. For weeks, even when she had been staying with Melissa or at the hotel, he knew that she had spent more time by herself than going out with friends or family, and whilst it still stung him that he wouldn’t be with her at her birthday party, he was relieved to see that she was so excited about going. He had thought that she would try to get out of it. Even without him there, they both knew that people would still have questions about what was happening between them, and he had worried that it would put a dampener on her excitement. The last thing he wanted was for what had happened between them to ruin her special day.

Letting his head thump against the doorframe, he just marvelled at her, something Olivia caught in the mirror’s reflection, a soft smile lighting up her features. “Are you just going to stand there and stare?” she quipped, sparing him a look over her shoulder.

Gerard’s shrug was lazy, his grin warm. “I hadn’t planned on doing much else” he chirped “You look nice” he added.

Olivia laughed, more out of sheepishness than anything else, as she turned back to the mirror. “Do you like the dress?” she asked, brushing the material of her skirt.

“I like you in it” Gerard replied playfully.

Olivia smiled to herself, her cheeks warming a little, but she allowed the silence to last until she let out a soft squeak in surprise, feeling Gerard’s arms settle around her waist. Relaxing into him, they stood quietly for a few moments, comfortable in the embrace before Gerard tipped his head forwards, pressing a soft kiss to her shoulder. “You really do look beautiful” he mumbled tenderly.

“Thank you” Olivia replied.

“Did you want me to drive you?” Gerard prodded.

Olivia’s head dropped before she shook it, something which caused Gerard to sigh gently. “I’ve got a taxi booked already” she replied quietly “And I’ve already got a lift home too” she added.

Gerard swallowed, trying to get rid of the frustration which had worked its way up his throat, before he stiffly nodded his head. “OK” he noted.

Olivia turned around in his arms, her hands gently guiding his face downwards so that he looked at her. “I’ll only be a couple of hours” she said softly “I told Melissa that I wasn’t going to go crazy” she added.

Gerard tried to muster a smile. He wanted to show her that he understood and that he was really Ok with it, but from the apologetic look that spread over Olivia’s face, he knew that it hadn’t quite worked. Guiding her hands to his neck, he settled his on her hips and leant into her, kissing her softly. “I want you to enjoy yourself” he mumbled between kisses.

Olivia smiled gently against his lips before she pulled away, holding his stare for a few beats before her phone broke the silence. Stepping out of their embrace, she moved to check the screen before she picked up, throwing it into the bag she’d left on the bed.

Gerard watched her. “Your ride?” he prodded.

“It is” Olivia confirmed.

Gerard nodded once, pushing a half-smile, half grimace onto his face. “I’ll see you later then” he quipped.

Olivia stepped towards him, one of her hands reaching up towards his head and pulling it towards her, allowing her to kiss him gently before she pulled back, offering him a slightly sadder smile than he’d been expecting to see. “Next year” she said softly “I promise you” she added.

Gerard’s smile grew tenderer as he tucked her hair behind her ear. “I’ll hold you to that” he quipped.

Tucking her knees up towards her chest, Olivia rested back against the bed’s headboard, her phone pressed to her ear and ringing. She felt overwhelmed. Despite Gerard’s absence, the friends and family that Melissa had invited to the party hadn’t been shy about asking about him, or throwing her the pitying looks she had been dreading, but it had taken her a while to slip away and make her way towards Melissa’s spare bedroom. She’d known that it was coming. Gerard or no Gerard, people had seen the pictures and they knew from the engagement ring she still wore that Olivia hadn’t ended things with him, and it meant people were queueing up to ask why.

Closing her eyes, she listened to the dial tone before Gerard’s voice spoke up, greeting her playfully. “Nena, don’t you have better things to do?” he chirped.

Olivia smiled softly, eased by his chipper voice. “Maybe I just wanted to talk to you” she retorted.

“You ducked out of your own birthday party to talk to me?” Gerard’s voice was incredulous and playful, but it still sounded soft underneath, telling Olivia that he’d heard something in her voice that had made him worry.

Shaking her head, she sighed softly. “It’s not been fun” she admitted quietly.

“No?” Gerard asked.

“No” Olivia replied, blinking her eyes open to check that the bedroom door was still closed “It’s not like people are just asking how I could be so stupid, but the looks are…they say it all” she added.

“I should have come” Gerard quipped, clearly trying to brighten the mood “At least your papa hitting me would have taken some of the attention off of you” he added impishly.

Olivia smiled to herself, shaking her head gently.

“I know me setting foot near Melissa’s house is not a brilliant idea, but if you need me to come and get you, I will” Gerard spoke up, filling the brief silence “I’ll park down the street. She doesn’t even have to know that I am there” he added.

Olivia smiled again. “You wouldn’t stay down the street” she quipped “I know you” she added.

Gerard feigned a gasp. “I would too” he argued playfully.

Olivia giggled, making Gerard laugh softly too. “Ok, maybe I’d get out of the car” he quipped “And maybe I’d walk a little closer to the house, but I wouldn’t knock on the door. I like my face like it is” he added.

“I like your face too” Olivia replied softly.

“I know you do” Gerard mused “How could you not?” he added, laughing at his own joke.

Olivia closed her eyes, just relishing the sound of his playful voice, before someone knocking against the door caught her attention, causing her to glance up at Melissa who stood in the doorway, a slightly disapproving frown on her lips. Shaking her head, Olivia looked down at the duvet, pulling at it uncomfortably. “I’ve got to go, Gerard” she said quietly.

“You need me to come and get you?” Gerard poked.

“I’ll be fine” Olivia replied.

“Sure?” Gerard pressed.

Olivia smiled at his concern. “Sure” she confirmed.

“OK” Gerard noted “See you, Livy” he added before he hung up.

Olivia pulled the phone away from her ear, glaring up at Melissa who was still staring her down. “Did you want something?” she asked.

“There’s a cake downstairs” Melissa replied, her tone just as curt as her younger sister’s “People want to sing happy birthday to you” she added.

Olivia moved to stand up and step past Melissa.

“Why not bring him?” Melissa prodded “I mean, if you were just going to sit up here and talk to him, why not bring him?” she added.

Olivia did stop for a split second, contemplating throwing her sister a reply, before she forged ahead, reaching the stairs as she shook her head. She thought she’d done the right thing in leaving Gerard at home to attend the party, but part of her wished she’d just stayed with him, knowing that their night, in their little bubble, would have easily trumped the night she had had.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)