Burn Us Down

34: She Can’t Mean This

For the longest moment, Gerard had absolutely no idea what to do. He wanted to go after Olivia. He wanted to pull her into his arms and insist that what Lana said had had been taken out of context. He wanted to wipe the tears off of her face and insist that there was no reason for all of the progress to come undone. But he couldn’t. His feet wouldn’t move. Any words he thought about saying got stuck in his throat as the blood rushed through his ears, filling the awkward silence which had descended around the room at the thump of a door slamming somewhere in the distance.


Gerard blinked, his attention dropping back to Lana who stood in front of him, her forehead furrowed slightly in confusion. “Wh...What are you doing here?” he spluttered out, his voice barely above a croak.

“I was invited” Lana replied as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Gerard squeezed his eyes closed. He couldn’t quite sort through his thoughts quick enough “Lana…”

“Did you really say that?” Antonella cut in.


“He did” Lana cut him off “Didn’t you, Gerard?” she prodded, a hopeful smile on her face.

Gerard opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, but no words came out, something which caused Antonella to scoff. Shaking her head, she looked like she was going to say something, but stopped herself at the last second, letting a gentle sigh out instead. “I’m going to check on Olivia” she announced “Piqué, if you have any sense left in you whatsoever, please, don’t follow. I really don’t think that you charging out there is going to help right now” she added, her voice softening a little despite the expression on her face.

“I need to talk to her” Gerard objected weakly.

“You’ll only make things worse if you barrel out there now, hombre” Lionel mused as he stepped up beside the defender, gripping the sleeve of his shirt to keep him in place “Anto will make sure that she’s OK, right?” he asked, glancing at his wife for confirmation.

Antonella nodded. “Of course” she confirmed.

Gerard looked between the other couple, his eyes also briefly flitting over Lana who was watching the scene in confusion, before he nodded his head. “Tell her that I can explain, OK?” he said softly “I know…I know how it sounds, but…” he spluttered.

Antonella’s answering nod was stiff, but she didn’t say anything else before she left the room, causing Gerard to turn back towards Lana.

Lana’s eyes searched his face.

“Why would you do that?” Gerard hissed “Why would you…surely you’d have taken the hint, no? I didn’t call, Lana! I was never going to call” he added.

“Gerard” Lionel warned, watching as Lana’s expression crumpled.

“Don’t bother, Lionel” Lana hissed, lifting a hand to wipe her eyes “I hope she dumps your ass and doesn’t look back” she added before she walked away.

Gerard watched her out of the room, feeling the eyes of everyone around them on him, before he felt Lionel grip his arm, steering him out of the room in the opposite direction of where Olivia had had disappeared.

Olivia had tried so hard not to cry.

When she had seen Lana, she had recognised her instantly. It would have been impossible for her to not recognise the woman that had been photographed kissing her boyfriend, but still she had tried so hard to not let it get to her, something which had fallen flat as soon as Lana had spoken. She knew that Gerard must have said something. As vague as his story had always been, he’d always said that there had been flirting and that that had led to the kiss, but hearing Lana suggest that it had been a promise to end their relationship that had done the trick felt like a blow of Olivia’s stomach and before she could stop herself, she had run from the room, tears falling down her cheeks.

It had been a low point for them. Gerard’s kissing Lana had come on the back of a couple of shakier months as well as the fight that had sent him out that night, but through it all, Olivia had never entertained the idea of their relationship ending and the knowledge that Gerard had hurt her all over again. She had believed him when he’d said that it was a mistake, but after hearing what Lana had said, it felt more like his way of getting out of a relationship that he wasn’t as happy in as Olivia had thought he was.

Hiccupping, she flipped her clutch bag open, rifling through it in search of a tissue.


Olivia looked up, offering a tearful smile to Antonella as she took the tissue out of her hand. “Thanks” she croaked.

Antonella smiled weakly as she sat down beside her, allowing a few long seconds of quiet to pass, before Olivia shook her head, dabbing at her eyes with the tissue. “Where is he?” she asked quietly.

“Leo’s dealing with him” Antonella replied “He tried to come out after you, but I thought that that would be a bad idea” she added.

Olivia just nodded her head quietly.

“You’re welcome to stay here for the night” Antonella piped up after another extended silence “We’ll find you something to wear to sleep for the night and Leo can go and get you some stuff in the morning” she added.

“You don’t have to do that” Olivia replied, a wobbly smile on her face.

“I want to” Antonella mused “I meant it when I said that I missed you. A lot of people have, and I am not going to lose my friend again because your boyfriend is...” she trailed off as Olivia’s expression crumpled again, more tears spilling over her cheeks.

Letting out a sympathetic sigh, she gently coaxed Olivia’s head onto her shoulder, her hand rubbing soothing circles against her back.

Olivia closed her eyes, taking in a few deep breaths, before she leant forwards, burying her face in her hands. “I knew I was getting on his nerves” she announced, her voice muffled by her hands “I knew I was being a little high strung when it came to planning our wedding, but did he really tell her that he couldn’t wait to be rid of me? It wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but I was…I thought we were…” her sentences were broken up by another soft sob.

“This isn’t your fault” Antonella cooed softly.

Olivia turned out of her hands, her tearful eyes staring up at her friend. “I…”

“It’s not your fault, Olivia” Antonella insisted “Whatever you did, whatever your problems were, you didn’t deserve this. This is Gerard’s mistake, and he alone has to explain it, not you. OK?” she added, pushing Olivia’s hair back off of her face.

Olivia just blinked, her eyes tearful and wide.

Antonella tugged her into a soft hug.

Olivia hesitated, but hugged her back gently. Lingering in the hug for a couple of minutes, she felt her breathing calm down and tears slow slightly before she pulled away, her eyes meeting Antonella’s. “I need you to do something for me” she said softly “A couple of things, actually, and I’d like you not to ask questions” she added.

“Whatever you need” Antonella replied.

“I will need a room here tonight” Olivia said, wiping at her eyes with the back of her hand “If that’s still on offer” she added.

“Of course” Antonella mused with a soft smile.

Olivia’s replying smile was brittle before she closed her eyes. Taking in a breath, she lifted her hand, gently slipping off the engagement ring which had sat on her finger unmoved for months.

Antonella tried, and failed, to stifle her soft gasp.

“Give this back to him” Olivia said quietly “Tell him…tell him I can’t have it right now. Tell him I need some time” she added, gently enfolding the ring in the other woman’s hand.

Antonella wanted to ask if Olivia was sure. She wanted to point out how big of a deal it was to return the engagement ring, but the look on Olivia’s face stopped her. She looked lost, like she didn’t quite know what to do or think, and Antonella didn’t want to make things worse by pressing it. Swallowing, she gripped the ring in her palm before she stood up, quietly making her way back inside. Making her way through the house, she stopped to look in a couple of rooms for Gerard before she nudged the door to her and Lionel’s bedroom open, her eyes quickly landing on the defender.

Gerard was on his feet before Antonella was through the door. “Is she OK?” he pressed.

“Gerard, you might want to sit down” Lionel mumbled, seeing the look on his wife’s face.

Gerard’s forehead furrowed. “What?” he spluttered, glancing at Lionel over his shoulder.

“Sit down” Lionel repeated, acknowledging the subtle nod that Antonella had offered to him.

“You’re being ridiculous” Gerard shot back “Antonella…”

“She wanted me to give you this” Antonella cut him off as she stepped towards him, opening her hand up.

Gerard’s face drained of all colour. His eyes flicked between the ring, Antonella and Lionel before he tentatively reached out, taking it out of Antonella’s hand. With shaky steps, he reached the side of the bed, sitting down without so much as looking at anything other than the ring he held in his hand.


Gerard heard his name, but didn’t make a move to acknowledge it.

“Piqué, we’ve got to get you out of here” Lionel prodded.

Gerard just shook his head. “She…she can’t mean this” he spluttered “I messed up, I know that, but…but she loves me. We were doing so well. She was talking about us getting married again. This isn’t a new mistake, it’s the same one we’ve put behind us. It’s not…she can’t mean this, Leo” he added, his tearful blue eyes glancing up at his friend.

Lionel sighed, sparing a look at the ring in the defender’s hand. “It looks like she does, hombre” he murmured.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)