Burn Us Down

32: He Never Wavered From Loving You

Tossing his ruffled team polo shirt into the backseat, Gerard buttoned up his clean shirt before he checked the time on his watch. He’d known that he wouldn’t be on time. Barcelona’s match away from home had been an early enough kick off, but the travelling was always going to mean that he’d be late to Alex’s birthday meal, and it meant that instead of walking in alongside Olivia, he was going to have to face it alone, something he was dreading. He knew that they were expecting him. The invitation had been extended to him by Olivia’s father, and he knew that that meant that everyone knew that he was on his way, but he couldn’t stop himself from being nervous, even if he knew that Olivia was waiting on the other side of the door. The prospect of spending the evening with her family, and with Melissa, in particular, was one he wasn’t going to be used to for a while.

Looking up into the rear-view mirror, he smoothed out his messy hair as best he could before he pushed the car door open. Swivelling in his seat, he made sure to pick up Alex’s present before he stood up, wandering up the front path until he pressed the doorbell. Listening to the chimes, he stuffed his hands into his pockets and took a deep breath, releasing it only when he heard the door sweep open.


Gerard’s head whipped up, his eyes darting past Enzo, who’d opened the door for him, towards Max who’d run down the hall. Grinning, he crouched down and let the little boy jump into his arms, sweeping him up in a tight hug. “Maximiliano!” he chirped “It’s so good to see you. What are you doing here?” he asked as he pulled back a little.

Max grinned. “It’s grandpa’s birthday” he replied “We bought him a present. There’s cake too. Papa says I can stay up and have some” he added.

Gerard smiled as he set the little boy back down onto his feet before he glanced up at Enzo, his expression growing slightly more sheepish. “Enzo” he greeted politely.

“Gerard” Enzo replied, the barest hint of a smile pulling up the corner of his mouth “Oli’s in the kitchen” he added.

Gerard nodded. “Alex?” he prodded.

“In the living room with Valeria and Melissa” Enzo replied.

Gerard glanced towards the living room doorway uneasily, his hands fidgeting with the neatly wrapped gift he held, before he made a move to step past it, padding up the hall towards the kitchen. Stopping in the doorway, he quirked a small smile before he cleared his throat, causing Olivia, who was standing in front of a half decorated birthday cake, to turn around, her face lighting up at the sight of him. “You made it” she quipped.

Gerard’s shrug was playfully nonchalant. “I said I would” he replied “Did you doubt it?” he asked.

Olivia moved to wipe her hands clean of icing before she stepped towards him, her hands hooking up behind his neck as she grinned up at him playfully. “I thought you might be a little scared without me to hold your hand through the door” she teased impishly.

Gerard’s hands settled on her waist as he playfully rolled his eyes, something which made Olivia laugh softly before she pushed herself up onto her toes, touching a light kiss against his lips. One of Gerard’s hands moved up, its fingers weaving through her soft hair before the sound of someone clearing their throat filled the air, causing the two of them to pull apart. Feeling her cheeks flush, Olivia carefully pulled away from Gerard, glancing towards Enzo who stood in the doorway, his eyes averted from the two of them. “Sorry” he muttered.

Gerard chuckled lightly “It’s fine” he noted “Did you need something?” he asked.

“Max wants you, Gerard” Enzo replied “Alex, too. He’s not seen you yet” he added.

Gerard nodded his head dutifully. “I’ll head through, then” he mused “Livy…”

“I’ll be with you once I am finished in here” Olivia answered before he had a chance to finish the question “Can you survive for that long?” she asked.

Gerard thought about making a joke about not liking his chances with Melissa in the room, but quickly reminded himself that Enzo was in the room with them, so instead nodded his head with a warm smile. “I’ll be fine” he noted.

Olivia lifted a playfully dubious eyebrow, but Gerard ignored it as he leant towards her, pressing a kiss to the top of her head before he ducked out of the room. Olivia’s smile was soft as she padded back towards the kitchen counter, resuming icing the cake which she’d left there.

Enzo watched her quietly before he cleared his throat softly. “You look happy” he announced softly.

Olivia didn’t look away from the cake. “I feel happy” she replied.

Enzo shuffled a little closer to the counter so that he could catch her gaze. “Really?” he asked.

“Really” Olivia replied, meeting his stare with a soft smile.

“Because if you’re struggling, you know that you can talk to me, right?” Enzo prodded “I might have some advice about this sort of thing” he added, a sad smile on his face.

Olivia looked back down at the cake, mulling his words over for a moment, before she let out a quiet sigh. “How long did it take for things to feel completely normal again?” she asked quietly.

Enzo lifted himself up onto the counter before he lifted his shoulders in a shrug. “Things never go back to what they were, not completely” he replied “Especially for me and Mel. Only a handful of months after I thought our marriage was over, we had our beautiful baby boy and things were entirely different. As for when I started to feel comfortable around her again…it was a good few months, maybe a year or so” he added.

Olivia’s eyes widened a fraction. “Even with Max?” she asked.

“She was in love with someone else” Enzo replied, trying to keep his voice as casual as he could despite the obvious sting his words bought “She wanted him more than she wanted me, and honestly, without Max, I think she would have left me for him, but she did fall pregnant and she did stay with me, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t take me an awfully long time to relax around her again. At first we were just trying to make things work for the baby, but we did fall back in love with one another somewhere down the line and we figured things out, but it was still hard work. It still is now” he added.

Olivia ran her knife around the cake, smoothing out its icing. “Do you regret forgiving her?” she asked.

“No” Enzo replied without hesitation “I’ve had doubts, of course I have, but I love your sister and our family” he added.

Olivia kept icing the cake as she nodded her head slowly. “Do you think I am making as mistake with Gerard?” she asked after a few long seconds of quiet, her eyes peeking cautiously up towards her brother-in-law.

Enzo shook his head. “Not at all” he replied “I think letting him go would have been a bigger mistake” he added.

“Tell that to my sister” Olivia snorted.

“He hurt you, Oli” Enzo said softly “And Melissa…she’s overcompensating. She doesn’t want you to go through what we went through, but she doesn’t entirely get that the situations are…they’re entirely different. My wife fell out of love with me and fell into it with someone else, but Gerard, as stupid as he was, he’s never wavered from being crazy about you, Oli. His kiss was a mistake, it meant nothing to him, and you can see just how much he wants to make things right with you. It was never about not loving you. He still looks like he does the first time I saw you two together, all dreamy eyed and smiley” he fussed gently.

Olivia couldn’t keep the small, hopeful smile off of her face as she moved to add decorations to the top of the cake. “You think so?” she asked.

Enzo laughed gently, nodding towards the doorway. “See for yourself” he chirped.

Olivia’s forehead furrowed before she turned around, her eyes landing on Gerard who stood in the doorway, a shy smile on his lips. “Hi” he squeaked.

“Hi” Olivia mimicked “I thought you were…” she trailed off.

“I was” Gerard confirmed “But you might have been right. I am scared of your papa” he added.

Olivia’s laugh was the brightest it had been in a while, something which made Enzo grin before he shuffled off of the counter. Squeezing Olivia’s shoulder, he offered her a little nod, wordlessly assuring her that she was doing the right thing, before he shuffled across the room, ducking past Gerard as he made his way back into it.

Olivia and Gerard both watched Enzo out of the room, allowing a brief silence to pass between the two of them, before Gerard looked over at her. “He’s not wrong, you know” he mused “It was never about…her. I didn’t feel anything for her” he added.

Olivia nodded, a small smile on her face. “I know that” she noted.

“I’ve loved for four years, Livy” Gerard continued “And honestly, I can’t picture not loving you. If you told me that you wanted to get married next week or in ten years, I’d do it. I’d do anything you wanted me to” he added, closing the gap between the two of them with assured strides.

Olivia just watched him, reacting only when his hand guided her head back slightly, his lips meeting hers in a soft kiss. Without hesitation, she melted into the kiss, reciprocating it until Gerard pulled away, touching his forehead to hers. “So, as much as I love you” he mumbled, his lips kicking upwards impishly “I was also sent back here by Max who was wondering if the cake was anywhere near ready to go. I was wondering that too” he added.

Olivia shoved his shoulder, giggling. “Way to ruin a moment” she mused.

Gerard tugged her into another kiss. “I love you” he whispered “Always, Livy” he added.

Olivia smiled against his lips. She had doubted it. The picture of him kissing another woman, twinned with the fact that he hadn’t told her about it, had, for the first time, called his feelings towards her into question, but she knew that Enzo had been right. He’d never wavered. Gerard, from the moment things had started to go wrong, had always been adamant that his feelings for her were as strong and as real as they’d always been, and in that moment, for the first time in a long time, Olivia completely believed him. In that moment, there were no worries about what people would think about her decision to stay with him, no doubts about him and other women, just the belief that their relationship could, and would, find its footing again.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)