Burn Us Down

35: What Did You Think Would Happen?

Placing the packed bag down beside the bedroom door, Olivia guided a wobbly hand back through her hair, scanning the quiet bedroom for anything else that she wanted to take with her. It wasn’t everything. Clothes of hers still hung in the wardrobe, shoes were still lined up neatly on the floor, but it was enough to sustain her for a while, long enough for her to clear her head and figure out where things between her and Gerard stood. She hadn’t spoken to him in days. His calls had always been sent quickly to voicemail, and aside from one text which she had responded to in order to let him know that, physically, she was OK, his texts had been unanswered too, and Olivia had little desire to change it, not quite sure of what she would say to him if they were face to face again.

She knew that the mistake was the same. Gerard had kissed Lana and Olivia had known that for months, but the situation felt different. She had written it off as a mistake, as Gerard’s way of handling his frustration, but the idea that he had done it with intentions of ending their relationship, and that he’d never mentioned it before, broke her heart.

Closing her eyes, she tried to swallow the lump in her throat before she heard movement behind her. Letting her eyes flutter open, she stared out across the bedroom before she spoke. “You’re not supposed to be here, Gerard” her voice was so quiet, so unsure.

Gerard, who’d taken up a place in the doorway, shook his head. “I live here” he pointed out.

“I know” Olivia retorted, still not turning to look at him “What I meant was that I had asked Lionel to run interference. He was supposed to…”

“I’m not an idiot, Livy” Gerard interrupted her “I saw through him in seconds. You don’t need him to do your dirty work. You could just reply to my texts” he added, his frustration obvious.

He knew that she’d asked him for space. Once the shock of having her engagement ring in his hand had worn off, he’d asked Antonella to tell him exactly what Olivia had said when she’d given her the ring, but he couldn’t just let it lie. He knew that he’d made a mistake in not having been more specific in explaining what had happened between him and Lana, he knew that hearing it from Lana had hurt Olivia, but he knew that they could smooth it out. What he’d said had been in the heat of the moment, he’d not meant a word of it, and he hadn’t mentioned it to Olivia because he didn’t want her to think even worse of him.

“You could get the hint and stop texting” Olivia shot back, turning to glance at him over her shoulder “If I wanted to talk to you, I would” she added.

Gerard pushed himself off of the doorframe. “You can’t just throw your engagement ring back at me and expect me to leave it, Olivia” he said.

“I didn’t throw it back at you” Olivia objected “I gave it to Antonella and told her to tell you that…”

“You could have told me!” Gerard yelped as he stepped past her, standing face to face with her “You don’t need to use go-betweens. You could just talk to me” he added, his voice softening.

Olivia bit back the urge to scoff as she dropped her stare down towards her feet, her fingers fidgeting with her hair. “I…I just want to get my stuff” she said quietly “I’ve got some time owing from work, so I am going to take a trip down to see my aunt and uncle. I’ve got plans to go tonight” she added.

Gerard wanted to step towards her, to guide her head back so that she looked up at him rather than down at her feet, but he stopped himself. He knew that he was skating on thin ice if he was skating on any ice at all. “Your aunt and uncle?” he asked “Your mother’s sister. Out in Alicante?” he added.

Olivia tried to be subtle about wiping at her eyes as she nodded. “Yeah” she confirmed, trying, and failing, to keep her voice from shaking “I…I want to get out of Barcelona for a little while” she added.

Gerard stepped towards her.

Olivia quickly stepped back, evading the hand he’d tried to put on her arm.

Gerard dropped his hands back to his side, exhaling a sigh. “We can talk, Livy” he said gently “We can try and…”

“Smooth this out?” Olivia’s voice was sharp as she looked up at him, her hazel eyes wide and tearful “You just had to be completely honest with me, Gerard. You just had to tell me that you thought about breaking up with me, that that was what you had said to Lana to make her kiss you, and then we could have worked to get past it, but you didn’t just admit that. What did you think would happen? You chose not to tell me, like you chose not to tell me about the kiss in the first place” she added.

“I didn’t want to make things worse” Gerard argued “I was trying to…to spare what feelings I could” he added.

Olivia’s answering laugh was harsh as she glared up at him. “Do my feelings look spared to you, Gerard?” she asked.

Gerard opened and closed his mouth, something which made Olivia close her eyes, another humourless laugh falling out of her mouth.

“I’m sorry” Gerard spluttered.

Olivia wiped at her eyes again before she shuffled across the room, collecting a phone charger which was curled up on her bedside table. Wrapping it around her hand, she moved to stuff it into the side of her bag before she turned back to Gerard. “My father and sister won’t give you my aunt’s address” she said softly “I’ve asked them not to. I just…I want to have some time away from here, to think, to…to try and see if there is any fixing this” she added.

“You don’t have to go to Alicante for space” Gerard replied quietly “This isn’t our first time, Livy. You need space, I can give it to you here, in Barcelona” he added.

Olivia smiled at him weakly. “It wasn’t space last time” she whispered “It was messy at the start, and then it almost felt like we were right back at the beginning of us again, and I can’t…I can’t do that right now. I need to go” she insisted.

Gerard stepped towards her again, but unlike before, Olivia didn’t move back. Her hand curved around his as it settled on her cheek, guiding her hazel eyes to his blues. “I know I’ve fucked this up” he whispered “God, I’ve made such a mess of this, but Livy, you do not need to run away from me. I can do space, I promise you I can. Please, don’t go” he insisted.

A part of him was terrified that if she went, then she wouldn’t come back.

Olivia closed her eyes. “I have to” she replied, gently prying his fingers off of her cheek “I just…I have to, Ok?” she spluttered.

Gerard let her step away from him. He watched her pick up her handbag and suitcase before she set them back down again, turning back to look at him. Blinking, he kept his eyes trained on her as she closed the gap between the two of them, touching the lightest of kisses to his lips before she pulled away. “I didn’t throw my engagement ring back at you” she whispered, making more space between the two of them “I just…I don’t know, but I didn’t do that. I don’t want you thinking that I did” she added before she walked back towards her bags. Hoisting them up, she offered him a weak tearful smile before she disappeared out of the room.

Gerard didn’t move until he heard the front door shut downstairs. It was then that he slumped back against the bed and buried his face in his hands, the stinging in his eyes finally overwhelming his attempts to hold back the tears. Squeezing his eyes closed, he took in a few shaky breaths before he allowed his head to fall back against the mattress, staring up at the ceiling in the vain hope that it held the answer to how he could make things better again.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)