Burn Us Down

03: If That’s All You Want To Give Me

Turning the key over in her hand, Olivia peeked up at the door ahead of her, trying, and failing, to ignore the lump that had been slowly working its way up her throat since she had pulled her car to a stop a little way down the street. She had thought about pulling into the driveway where she had parked countless times before, with her knowing Gerard’s schedule as well as she did, she knew that it was still very likely that he was out, but she had opted against it, all of a sudden feeling out of place near a house which, until a couple of days previous, had been her home. She had hesitated in coming back. Two nights spent in her sister’s spare bedroom had done little to help her sort through her thoughts, but with the supply of clothes that Enzo had bought back for her running low, she had decided to give in, not wanting to put her sister or brother-in-law out any more than she had to.

Closing her eyes, she allowed her hand to close around the key before she stepped forwards, shoving it into the lock before she pushed the door open. Not wanting to waste a moment, she shuffled across the threshold and pushed the door closed before she turned and looked down the hall, feeling the lump in her throat start to choke her slightly. Spluttering out a cough, she took a second to compose herself before she moved to take a step forwards, only to find herself almost falling over her feet when she looked up at the stairs. “Gerard” she squeaked.

Gerard just stared at her from his spot a few stairs up.

“I thought you’d still be…” Olivia, who’d been quick to look away from him, trailed off when she heard the stairs creak, letting her know that he’d moved closer to her. Feeling her breathing stutter, she watched his feet shuffle into her field of vision before she felt the tips of his fingers beneath her chin, tilting her head up so that she looked up at him. “Gerard” she murmured softly.

The corners of Gerard’s mouth quirked upwards ever so slightly. As silly as it was, he’d missed hearing her voice say his name. “I thought you’d just send Enzo again” he said quietly.

Olivia ducked out of his grasp, nodding her head slightly. “I thought about it” she replied “But I don’t want to take advantage of his and Melissa’s hospitality” she added.

Gerard stuffed his hands awkwardly into his pockets. “I could have just bought over some stuff” he said “I’d have left it at the door and you wouldn’t have even had to see me” he added.

Olivia shook her head, smiling slightly down at her feet. “Melissa would have chased you off with a bat or something” she mused.

Gerard laughed. “She’s always wanted to do that anyway” he quipped “She’s never been my biggest fan” he added.

“Maybe she was right not to be” Olivia spat the words out before she could stop herself, allowing a beat of uncomfortable silence to pass between them before she blew out a soft sigh. “I’m…”

“Don’t be” Gerard cut in “I deserve that” he added, flashing her a sad smile.

Olivia felt her stomach twist before she shook her head. “I’m not here to throw insults” she mused “That’s not how I…how I want to handle this” she said carefully.

Gerard just nodded, resisting the temptation he had to ask how she did want to handle things. He was the one in the wrong, and he knew that he just had to let Olivia figure things out at her own pace, even if the waiting was killing him. He knew that he had no right to push her one way or the other.

Olivia hesitated in the silence before she gently wiped her eyes with the bottom of her sleeve. “I keep getting tripped up” she announced softly.

Gerard tilted his head. “Tripped up?” he asked.

Olivia nodded. “There’s a part of me that wants to just…to just call it. I mean, I’m hurt and I am embarrassed, and it would be so easy to say that there’s no coming back from this. We had a fight, and whilst I was here, crying about it, you were out and…and doing that…”

“It wasn’t like that” Gerard interrupted softly.

Olivia’s hazel eyes snapped up to his, narrowing on them. “It’s what it looks like to me” she said.

Gerard nodded quietly. He didn’t quite know how to respond to that.

Olivia hesitantly stepped towards him, her hand lingering a breath away from his before she gently took it, slipping her fingers through his. Gerard exhaled softly before he squeezed her smaller hand, keeping it tightly wrapped in his own. “Why don’t you just end it?” he whispered softly.

“Is that what you want?” Olivia replied quietly, her eyes soft and curious as they looked up into his.

Gerard’s shake of the head was instant. “Of course it isn’t” he insisted “Livy, I hate that that’s now a thought that’s even gone through your head” he added.

Olivia just busied herself with toying with his fingers, causing Gerard to lift his other hand, touching her chin lightly so that she looked up at him again. “I’d hate to lose you” he murmured gently “I love you, nena. I love you so much” he added.

Olivia closed her eyes, allowing the words to linger for a few seconds, before she let them flicker open again. “Do you?” she asked quietly.

Gerard’s slightly hopeful expression collapsed.

“I believed you did” Olivia whispered “When you asked me to marry you, I thought that you…”

“I meant it, Olivia” Gerard interjected firmly “One moment of stupidity doesn’t change that. I wanted to marry you, I want to marry you” he insisted, squeezing her hand gently.

Olivia swallowed, blinking away the tears. “I might be having a hard time believing that right now” she murmured.

Gerard wanted to reach out, to gently brush the tears which had slipped out of her eyes off of her cheeks, but he held himself back, instead just offering the hand of hers that he clutched in his a tight squeeze. “Then let me prove it to you” he whispered.

Olivia shook her head. “Gerard…”

“Let me have some time” Gerard interrupted “I’ll take a day if that’s all you want to give me, but let me have some time to prove to you that I am as in love with you today as I have been for the last four years and that you can believe that I am head over heels for you, Livy. I know I messed up, and I don’t have the words to say how sorry I am, so let me prove it to you” he insisted softly.

He could see it from the moment she had first looked up at him on the stairs. The doubt and hurt was etched across her features and it had left her unsure of something which, until a handful of days pervious, she had been entirely certain of. She looked like she felt out of place, like she was lost in a place that was so familiar to her, and he wanted to assure her that it still was. He knew he couldn’t do it with words, saying sorry and insisting that he loved her wasn’t going to fix the hole in her trust that he’d created, and he knew that he had to convince her to give him a chance to show her, even if he didn’t quite know how. Convincing her to give him a chance in the first place was the first hurdle he had to clear.

Olivia stared up at him, an uncertain crease in her forehead.

“Please, Livy” Gerard begged softly “Any time you want to give me, I will take, but I can’t stand the idea that you doubt how I feel about you. I am not trying to down play what’s happened, I know that I probably don’t deserve to ask anything of you, but please…give me a chance” he insisted.

Olivia’s nod was small and uncertain. “Ok” she whispered.