Burn Us Down

39: You’re Here Now

Pushing his sunglasses up onto his head, Gerard pushed the door to the taxi he’d arrived in closed, his stare quickly landing on the house that matched the address that Olivia had sent to him. He had had to wait a few days. With the season not quite over, he hadn’t been able to get away from training, and from the match that they’d played the previous night, for long enough to travel to Alicante, and he was glad that he was finally there.

He had wanted to drop everything. When Olivia’s name had lit up the screen after a week of silence, he’d wanted to find the first flight he could and go to her, but Lionel, who’d been with him at the time, had urged him not to forget his other responsibilities. They had already been apart for a week, Olivia had had all that time to think, and a handful of days more wasn’t going to hurt, even if it had left him distracted and anxious. He was finally where he wanted to be.

Hearing the car behind him drive away, he adjusted the small bag which sat on his shoulder before he slowly made his way up the front path, hesitating ever so slightly before he pressed the doorbell. Taking half a pace back, he dropped his stare down towards his feet, only picking it up again when he heard someone lightly clear their throat.

Thea’s greeting smile was tight, a sight Gerard was growing increasingly used to. “Gerard” she greeted stiffly.

“Hello, Thea” Gerard greeted shyly.

Thea’s eyes looked him up and down, lingering on the faded bruise around his eye, before she shuffled out of the doorway. “Oliva is out back” she mused “Head straight through and you can go out via the kitchen door” she added.

Gerard offered her a sheepish smile in thanks before he shuffled past her, following her directions until he pushed the kitchen door open, stepping out onto the little patio which overlooked the nearby beach. Making sure not to make too much noise, he closed the door after himself before he glanced over towards where Olivia sat. He wanted to run then, to wrap her in his arms and tell her just how much he’d missed her, but he stopped himself, knowing that he would be pushing things.

Olivia had been vague. The message she had sent to him a few days previous had stated simply that they needed to talk before she had given him Thea’s address, but he couldn’t help but read into the message’s simplicity. She hadn’t signed off with the kisses she normally did. She hadn’t prefaced it with anything else, anything that could have given him hope, and he had taken that as a bad sign. As happy as he was to see her, he couldn’t shake the idea that she had probably only invited him because she wanted to end things officially. He thought that they were done, even if he didn’t want them to be. As much as he didn’t want to see it, the engagement ring that sat on the end table in their bedroom was, to him, a sign that things weren’t coming back, and he dreaded the thought of hearing Olivia say it out loud.

Letting out a quiet sigh, he simply watched Olivia for a moment. She hadn’t heard him, the earphones she wore would have prevented it, and for a second he just wanted to look at her. Whatever happened between them once the conversation started, he was glad to see her. Quirking a faint smile, he watched her reach up and tuck her hair back off of her face before his feet dragged him towards her.

Olivia heard his footsteps when he got closer and tugged the earphones out of her ears, glancing up at him with wide eyes. Without hesitation, she pushed herself back up to her feet, the tips of her fingers tracing the faded bruise around his eye.

Gerard let out a little hiss, partly out of pain, partly because he had just missed her touch. He hesitated for a second before he softly covered her hand with his. “It’s fine” he murmured.

Olivia shook her head, her eyes not shifting away from the bruise. “It’s not” she replied “I told my papa he had no right to do it” she added.

Gerard just leant into her touch, relishing it until she gently drew her hand away, pushing it into the pocket of her shorts she wore.

Gerard wanted to say something, anything that he thought could break the awkward silence which had moved to settle between the two of them, but he couldn’t quite find anything to say. ‘I’m sorry’ wasn’t enough, ‘I miss you’ wasn’t fair. Pushing his own hands into his pockets, he shifted his feet before he sighed. “I should have come sooner” he said gently “I had…there was training, and the match last night, and somehow Leo convinced me that I…” he trailed off, shaking his head at himself.

Olivia’s answering smile was tremulous. “You’re here now” she said.

“I am” Gerard confirmed with a shaky smile of his own “I was surprised to get your text. I thought you’d just come back to Barcelona when you were ready to…to talk to me” he added.

Olivia just nodded.

“What changed?” Gerard prodded gently. He didn’t want to push too hard.

Olivia sucked in a breath, seeming to fiddle with something in the pocket of her shorts, before she gently thrusted a hand forwards, a small white envelope clutched in her grasp. “You need to see this” she said softly.

Gerard’s forehead creased a little. “What is it?” he asked “Is there something wrong?” he added.

Olivia shook her head quickly, firmly. “Just…you need to look at it, OK?” she said, pushing the envelope into his hands.

Gerard regarded her with another frown but didn’t push the envelope back. Taking it in one hand, he used the other to unfold the seal before he slipped out the contents, his breathing hitching at the black and white image that stared back at him. Letting the envelope fall away, he gripped the picture in both hands, staring at it with equal amounts of awe and confusion. He could make it out instantly, two little blobs, not one.

Olivia just stared at him, waiting for his reaction. She had cried. When the midwife had pointed out the two little blobs, Olivia hadn’t been able to stop the tears, and she couldn’t even begin to think about what Gerard would feel. There were so many questions, about them, about the babies, about what would happen next, and she could see him trying to work through it in his head, all while his eyes gazed down at the picture he clutched so gently in his fingertips.

Gerard blinked, reluctantly lifting his stare over the picture towards Olivia. “They’re…ours?” he asked.

Olivia just nodded, chewing on her lip anxiously.

Gerard couldn’t stop the slightly hysterical laugh which bubbled out of his mouth. “You know that there are two, right?” he squeaked.

Olivia’s lips slanted upwards ever so slightly. “I might have noticed that” she teased.

“You had a scan already?” Gerard asked “I mean, you could have only found out a few days ago” he added.

“Thea’s a midwife” Olivia replied “And I wouldn’t stop worrying. She did it to shut me up, I think” she added.

Gerard let out a more natural laugh, one that, despite everything, Olivia had missed hearing. “Do you have an idea of…of when I…we?” he spluttered, nodding towards the picture.

“About seven or eight weeks ago” Olivia replied “Somewhere around when we were in Paris or just after” she added.

Gerard’s mind drifted back to Paris for a split second, to how good things had felt that weekend, before he slowly looked back at Olivia, his blue eyes mirroring her hazel ones. “I know I don’t have a right to ask” he said “But, you are going to come back to Barcelona, right?” he asked.

Olivia nodded. “I am” she confirmed “But we…we still need to talk, Gerard. We need to talk about us, about the babies…about what is going to happen next and how it is going to happen, because it’s all so…so messy…”

“Not messy” Gerard interrupted “Maybe not completely straightforward, but not messy. You’re pregnant, and whether we have a future or not, I am in that with you” he added earnestly.

He couldn’t hide the pain on his face when he’d suggested that they didn’t have a future, he’d seen the way Olivia’s expression had softened, but he had to let her know that that wasn’t going to change things between him and the babies. He’d learn to handle it. He’d messed up, and Olivia wanted to move on, then he’d learn to handle whatever that meant, and he wanted her to know it. Their children, no matter how wonderful a surprise they were, weren’t his means of worming his way back into Olivia’s affections. If it was going to happen, it had to be because Olivia wanted him, not because she felt as though she had to have him back.

Olivia’s hazel eyes grew a little misty as she felt a little smile blossom on her face. “That’s good” she sniffed “Because I am really going to need you” she added.

Gerard didn’t hesitate then, not like he had done since he’d stepped out onto the patio. He knew that there was a long conversation ahead of them, probably many conversations, probably more arguments, but that wasn’t what that moment was about. It was about the two of them having made two beautiful things between them, two little people who were going to be their whole world, and the complications weren’t important then.

Without missing a beat, he wrapped his arms around Olivia, pulling her into a hug that Olivia eagerly returned for a few long seconds before she drew away, allowing him to cup her stomach with a shaky hand and a tearful smile which he turned up to her. “Two?” he spluttered out a little laugh.

Olivia’s laugh was just as snuffly as she nodded her head. “I know” she mused “I shouldn’t be entirely surprised though, my papa has a twin brother so it is in the family” she added.

Gerard’s gaze had drifted back to her stomach, his lips still holding a tender smile, before he leant over, touching two distinct kisses to the front of her shirt.