Burn Us Down

26: Later

“He’s on his way”

Olivia, who’d been checking her phone for a message from Gerard, startled a little at the sound of Lionel’s voice before she looked up, greeting the argentine with a slightly shaky smile. She had known that she was likely to run into someone. She had sat away from everyone else, despite Gerard’s insistence that people were looking forwards to seeing her, she had still made the decision to keep her distance, but with her and Gerard due to head out for dinner, she had headed towards the changing rooms, something which had increased the chances of her running into someone that she knew through Gerard. She knew that she had no reason to avoid them, what had happened with her and Gerard was their business, and Gerard had been the one at fault, not her, but still she wasn’t quite ready to see them, another indication of how things still weren’t quite back to normal.

Lionel returned her smile gently. “Did you enjoy the match?” he asked. He could see that she was nervous and he wanted to try and reassure her that there was no need to be. They were friends, even if they’d met through Gerard, Lionel considered Olivia as his friend and he wanted her to know it. Their friendship wasn’t dependent on whether or not she and Gerard were still seeing one another.

Olivia’s cheeks were a soft shade of pink as she nodded her head. “Yeah” she confirmed “It was a good one. You scored another great goal, Leo” she added, her voice a little higher than normal.

Lionel let out a soft chuckle, one that was both sheepish and amused. “Thanks” he mused.

Olivia flashed him another awkward smile, her eyes obviously peeking past him in hopes that Gerard would just appear.

Lionel opened his mouth to say something else, but the way Olivia’s face lit up stopped him, causing him to turn around and watch as Gerard stepped towards the two of them. Olivia seemed to hesitate, glancing at Lionel out of the corner of her eyes, before she stepped towards the defender, greeting him with a cautious hug that Gerard returned slightly more enthusiastically, a wide grin lighting up his face.

Lionel couldn’t not smile at the sight of the two of them, something which Gerard caught over Olivia’s shoulder, his own grin growing slightly sheepish before Olivia pulled away from him. “We’ll see you later, Leo” the defender quipped.

Lionel nodded. “I hope so” he mused “It was good to see you, Olivia” he added.

Olivia offered him a shy smile. “You too, Leo” she replied before Gerard tucked her underneath his arm, steering her out towards his car.

“So, what were you and Leo talking about?” Gerard posed as he slid into his seat, grinning at Olivia who’d sat down opposite him, her eyes already surveying the menu that had been left on the table for them. It’d been forever since they’d been out to dinner together. Even before the pictures had come to light and things between them had faltered, they’d been a little slack when it’d come to planning dates that weren’t just the two of them cuddled up in front of a film, and Gerard was excited to be there. He was excited to sit and talk to Olivia in a place that wasn’t their kitchen.

Olivia’s cheeks flushed. “I wasn’t doing much talking” she replied quietly “I just sort of awkwardly stood there while he tried to make conversation” she added.

“Why?” Gerard prodded as he picked up his own menu “I mean, you and Leo have always got on well” he added.

“I know” Olivia agreed softly.

“But?” Gerard prodded, offering her a small reassuring smile over the top of the menu.

Olivia shifted a little in her seat. “I just worry what they’ll think of us now” she admitted “Like I worry what my friends think of us. I know we’re getting better, and I know that we’re doing that because we both want that, but I just…” she trailed off, offering him a sheepish shrug in place of the end of her sentence.

They’d covered the ground before. When she’d gone to her birthday party, she had done so without him because she had been worried about what people would think, and seeing his friends bought up the same emotions. She knew what they were doing, why they were doing it, and she worried that people around them wouldn’t be able to see it.

Gerard’s warm smile softened as he slid a hand across the table, taking a hold of hers which fiddled with her cutlery restlessly. He didn’t say anything. He simply slipped his fingers through hers and squeezed.

Olivia looked down at their hands, a rueful smile on her face. “Sorry” she mumbled “I’m really good at bringing the mood down” she added.

“I didn’t want to say that, but…” Gerard’s warm teasing voice made Olivia giggle as he playfully trailed off.


Both Gerard and Olivia looked up at the woman who stood beside their table, a notepad in hand. “I’m Natalia” she mused “And I will be your waitress tonight. Can I start the two of you off with something to drink?” she asked.

Gerard smiled up at Natalia, a friendly warm smile that Olivia had seen a million times before, but the slight stab in her stomach was something new. She knew what Gerard was saying, after four years together, he was practically an expert on Olivia and she knew he’d be ordering the drink that she loved, but she couldn’t ignore the dull ache which had started to appear in her stomach, one she hadn’t felt since the very early stages of their relationship. Gerard was an attractive man, Olivia had always been keenly aware of it and she knew that he gathered attention, but after a few months, it had stopped bothering her. Until a few weeks previous, he’d never done anything to make her think that there was anything to be worried about, but with the picture of him kissing another woman still fresh enough in her mind, she felt the worry climb up her throat for the first time in years, even if she could see that he was just being polite and that Natalia was just being professional. It was still enough to bring up feelings that she hadn't felt for a very long time.


Olivia blinked, her eyes moving to meet Gerard’s concerned blues. “Huh?” she spluttered.

Gerard cocked his head to the side, the smile he wore appearing slightly uncertain. “You seemed to go somewhere else” he pointed out “I mean, I didn’t exactly need you to tell me what drink you’d order, but you look a little distracted. Are you OK?” he asked, trying to mask his concern with his playful tone.

Olivia made a move to shake her head, but Gerard’s eyes narrowed, offering her a look which told her that he knew that there was something up and he wasn’t going to believe her if she said it was nothing. Surveying his features, she let out a quiet sigh before she gently tugged her hand out of his, using it to fiddle with her napkin. “Later” she said quietly “I’ll tell you later. I promise. I don’t want to bring the mood down anymore” she added, forcing the best smile she could muster.

Gerard hesitated, worried that she was just trying to get him to drop the subject without intending to let it come up again, but eventually nodded his head. “Later” he agreed.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)