Burn Us Down

41: Unless That Would Be Weird

Tugging his hat further down his head, Gerard spared a look down at his phone, checking it for any sign of a message from Olivia. He knew that her flight had landed. He’d been watching the arrivals board intently ever since he’d stepped into the airport, and he knew that it would only be a matter of time before they found themselves together again, something he was looking forwards to and dreading in equal measures. He liked being around her. Despite their awkwardness and uncertainty, he simply enjoyed being in the same place as her, but he knew that once she was back in Barcelona, things would only get more complicated.

There were decisions to be made, where Olivia would live was the first, and he knew that it was likely to lead to more difficult conversations. They had to have them, of course they did, but it didn’t stop him dreading them, even if he did want things figured out one way or the other. Every time he saw her now, he expected her to say the words that scared him most: they were over and there was no changing her mind.

Staring at the empty home screen, he let out a little sigh before he gently pushed the phone back into his pocket, his eyes surveying the arrival lounge for any sign of Olivia’s arrival. So absorbed in checking the area in front of him, Gerard failed to notice Olivia until she’d already stepped into him, her arms wrapping him in a hug that he couldn’t resist returning. Keeping her close, he inhaled the familiar scent of her shampoo before he stepped back, creating a little space between the two of them. “Hi” he greeted gently.

Olivia’s smile was shy as she looked up at him, the skin of her cheeks a soft shade of pink. “Hi” she replied “Have you been waiting long?” she asked.

Gerard shrugged, gently prying her suitcase out of her hand. “It doesn’t matter” he replied “You said you needed a ride, so here I am” he added.

Olivia didn’t quite know what to say next, so she just nodded towards the exit, something Gerard understood without a word. Turning on his heel, he gripped the handle of her suitcase in one hand and pushed the other hand into his pocket, stopping it from reaching over and twining its fingers with hers. He wanted to. It was, after almost five years together, an instinct, but he did his best to tamp it down. Everything was still so tentative, so unsure, and he didn’t want to jump ahead of himself. He didn’t want Olivia to think that he thought that things would simply slot into place for them again.

“Where am I taking you?” Gerard asked, breaking the long silence as they reached his car.

Olivia almost jumped at the sound of his voice before she looked up at him. “Home” she replied.

“Our home?” Gerard pressed, a slight crease in his forehead.

“Yes” Olivia replied, a faint smile on her face “Unless you want to go to my papa’s home? I mean, I imagine the welcome will be warm” she added, the tone of her voice playful and warm.

Gerard laughed, lifting up his hat to show off the faded bruise on his face. “I think I will pass” he quipped, playing along “I was just surprised that you wanted to come home. I thought you’d want to be anywhere I am not for a while” he added, his voice growing softer.

Olivia, who’d walked around to the passenger door, offered him a soft look over the top of the car. “My papa and Melissa don’t know about the babies yet” she said gently “And until I get to three months, I don’t want them to. I get nauseous all the time, the smallest thing can set me off, and I don’t need them guessing. We both know what’s going to happen when they find out” she added.

Gerard quirked a sad smile before he nodded. Part of him, no matter how much he told himself not to get his hopes up, had hoped that he was part of the reason that she wanted to be home. “It’s not going to be pretty” he mused.

Olivia shook her head. “It isn’t” she agreed “So, can I stay at home?” she asked gently.

Gerard spluttered out a surprised laugh. “Why are you asking?” he asked “Livy, if you want to be at home, then be at home. You know I’d never stop you” he added.

Olivia smiled, something Gerard returned softly, trying to ignore how much the idea that she felt as though she needed to ask hurt him. It was their home, both of theirs, and he couldn’t quite get his head around the idea that she felt so out of place that she had to ask if she could stay there.

Gently skating her fingers over the bare skin of her stomach, Olivia quirked a small smile, one which dimmed ever so slightly when she glanced upwards, recognising the familiar décor of her and Gerard’s spare bedroom. He’d offered to take it. Even before he’d set her suitcase down after they’d made it through the front door, he’d insisted that if she wanted him to, he’d move into their spare bedroom, but Olivia had refused. She didn’t know how long she would be staying and she didn’t quite know that she had the nerve to walk back into the bedroom they shared yet.

Feeling her expression soften, she gently shook her head and diverted her stare back towards her stomach, allowing her mind to picture how it would look in a few months when she had developed a proper pregnancy bump.

“You’re going to get so big”

Olivia’s lips quirked into a grin before she looked over at the doorway, glancing at Gerard who stood there sheepishly. “Is that really something you want to point out?” she asked playfully.

Gerard lifted his shoulder in a shrug, a lazy smile on his face. “It’s true” he retorted “I mean, one baby would have done it, but two?” he quipped.

Olivia smiled a little, but didn’t say anything, allowing another uncomfortable silence to stretch out between the two of them before Gerard threw a thumb over his shoulder. “I made some food” he mused “I mean, I don’t know if it is going to set off the nausea, but you’ve definitely got to eat anyway. You’re eating for three now, and I am going to make sure that you do it, even if I spend the rest of the day holding your hair back as you vomit” he added.

Olivia looked up at him, her eyes wide and soft. “You’d spend your day like that?” she asked.

“In a heartbeat” Gerard replied without any hesitation “Unless that would be weird. I am still trying to find the sweet spot between kind-of-kind-of-not your boyfriend and giddy…father-to-be” he added, sparing her a sheepish smile.

Olivia returned it, her own smile just as shaky and uncertain. “We need to figure this out, don’t we?” she asked.

Gerard breathed out a shaky laugh. “Yeah” he mused “As much as I want to think about the…the babies, I don’t think we can just pretend the other stuff isn’t happening. I think we need to be in a good place, or at least a less awkward one, by the time they get here” he added.

“How do we do that?” Olivia asked.

Gerard’s smile was sad. “I wish I knew” he replied.
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