Burn Us Down

31: Him

Tucking his arm beneath his head, Gerard shifted across his pillow, peeking out of the balcony door towards where Olivia sat, engrossed with something on her phone. He wasn’t surprised that she had woken up before him. In all of the time that they’d been together, he was almost certain that he could count on one hand the amount of times that he had woken up before her, and he wasn’t entirely surprised that she had opted to duck out of the room. It had been a big step for them. Since their problems had started, they’d only come close to being intimate once before and Gerard had been quick to curtail it, but there had been something about that morning that had felt right. They had taken their time, they’d almost allowed themselves to get to know one another again before they’d fallen into bed, and whilst Gerard knew that the hard work couldn’t just stop because they’d been physical, he had to admit that it felt as though a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.

Blinking his eyes sleepily, he stifled a yawn into the pillow before he heard the screen door open, something which caused him to look up with a grin.

Olivia, who’d been trying to close the door quietly behind herself, turned around before her own face lit up with a soft smile. “You’re awake” she announced “I was just coming back in to try and coax you out of bed” she added.

“Really?” Gerard quipped “Because I was just about to come outside and see if I could coax you back into it” he added impishly.

Olivia sat down on the edge of the bed before she shook her head, offering him an amused smile. “As tempting as that offer is, I had planned on seeing more of Paris than just this hotel room” she mused “So, do you think you can put on pants for long enough that we can at least go out and get some lunch or something?” she added playfully.

She didn’t quite know what it was, perhaps a combination of being out of Barcelona and their having been intimate, but for the first time in a long time, she felt as though they were both completely relaxed around one another, and she wanted to savour it, almost certain that when they touched down back at home, then their little bubble would burst a little.

Gerard huffed playfully. “If I must” he quipped, dramatically throwing the duvet off of himself.

Olivia shook her head and laughed as he padded across towards the bathroom, collecting a clean seat of clothes as he went. Hearing the door close behind him, she stared at it for a few seconds before she moved to fiddle with her engagement ring, a soft smile stuck immovably to her features. Things hadn’t felt that good between them for a while. Even before the kiss, things between her and Gerard had been slightly more tense than either one of them would have wanted to admit, and she wanted to bask in the easiness for as long as she could. It was a wonderful reminder of just how good things between them could be.

“Livy, am I boring you?”

Olivia, who’d been typing out a text, turned to look over her shoulder, flashing Gerard a playful smile which mirrored the one that already lit up his features. It had taken them a while, but they’d finally made it out of their hotel room, settling on a hastily thrown together picnic in a park that wasn’t more than ten blocks from the hotel. They hadn’t want to rush. The entire point of the trip to Paris had been to enjoy their time together, and they were, even if they hadn’t made a dent into the itinerary that Olivia had had in mind. They were just enjoying their time together.

“What makes you ask that?” Olivia chirped impishly.

Gerard scoffed playfully, lifting a hand to poke at the phone in her hand. “You’ve not put this down since we sat down” he quipped “Who are you talking to, anyway?” he asked.

“Paige” Olivia replied “You remember her?” she asked, smirking at him. It had been at Paige’s engagement party that the two of them had met.

“How could I forget her?” Gerard pressed “My parents making me go to her engagement party was one of the best things that ever happened to me” he added, leaning around so that he could press a soft kiss against her temple.

Paige was an old family friend, he’d known her since they were children, but until his parents had had to duck out of her engagement party, Gerard had had very little intention of going. They’d grown apart. The invitation that Paige had sent to his parents had mostly been a courtesy, and they’d only really accepted it out of politeness, but a change of plans had meant that he’d gone in their place, something, in retrospect, he wouldn’t have changed for the world.

Olivia closed her eyes at the feel of his lips against her temple. “She had the baby” she announced.

Gerard smiled against her skin. “Yeah?” he asked quietly.

“A little boy” Olivia confirmed “Aaron” she added, passing her phone back over her shoulder so that he could look at the picture her friend had sent.

Gerard smiled at the picture before he felt the phone vibrate in his hand, showing off an incoming text from Melissa. “She doesn’t even use my name anymore?” he asked.

Olivia, who’d moved to help herself to another glass of wine, furrowed her forehead. “Paige?” she asked.

“Melissa” Gerard corrected “She just calls me ‘him’?” he asked.

Olivia let out a gentle sigh, taking the phone back out of his hand so that she could read the text that her sister had sent, before she shook her head. “I’ve told her to stop it” she mumbled.

Gerard just shrugged, his good mood deflated. He knew that there was no taking back what had happened, and he knew that Melissa wasn’t about to let it go easily, but still the idea that she wouldn’t even acknowledge him by name stung. As much as she disliked him, he was still an important part of her sister’s life.

Olivia glanced down at the phone for a moment before she let out another sigh. “She had an emotional affair” she announced softly.

“What?” Gerard spluttered.

“Melissa” Olivia clarified “There was some new guy at work and there a lot of texting and flirting, but never anything physical. Enzo saw some of the texts, and they took a break, but it didn’t last for very long. A couple of weeks into it, Melissa found out that she was pregnant with Max and then they were back together again. Her dislike of you is hypocritical, but as far as she is concerned, what you did is worse than what she did and I am stupid for not making a clean break when I had the chance to” she explained.

Gerard just blinked a couple of times, not quite sure how to process the information, before he shook his head. “Enzo took her back because of Max?” he asked.

Olivia shrugged. “I don’t know, but if I had to guess, I'd say so” she replied “Melissa never talked much about it” she added.

“But she cheated on him” Gerard spluttered “Physical or not. How can she look down her nose at me?” he added, his voice raising a little.

“Being in the wrong has never stopped Melissa from spouting her opinion” Olivia replied “But you just need to ignore her. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere” she added, offering him a reassuring smile.

Gerard’s frowned didn’t ease, something which caused Olivia to push her fingertips back through his hair, guiding his forehead to lean against hers. “Hey” she whispered softly “I’m here” she repeated, pressing a feather light kiss against his lips.

Gerard, whether he wanted to or not, relaxed under her touch, something Olivia felt before she kissed him again, mumbling soft reassurances to him. Melissa being in the wrong wasn’t going to stop her from trying to convince Olivia that she was making a mistake, but Olivia wanted to assure Gerard, as he had reassured her before, that input from those around them wasn’t going to be enough to get her to question her decision to stay with him. She loved him. She had done for a long time, and that trip had been a wonderful reminder of just how easy things between them could be, something she doubted that she would find with anyone other than him.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)