Burn Us Down

42: You Broke My Heart

Resting her back against the bathroom door frame, Olivia rested her forehead against the knees, trying to catch her breath as the distant sound of the flushing toilet filled the air. It didn’t happen often. Despite frequent bouts of nausea, often caused by smells and tastes that Olivia loved, she had found actually throwing up to be infrequent, but when it did hit, it hit hard, leaving her feeling awful for a while afterwards. She tried to hide it. As much as Gerard had insisted that he was on board for everything that her pregnancy was going to entail, the thought of having him, her not-quite ex-boyfriend, sit in the bathroom whilst she threw up made her feel slightly awkward, but she knew that he knew that she was trying to hide it, even if he hadn’t pressed it. The look on his face on the couple of occasions that she had slipped down the stairs after being sick told her that he was as awkward as she was about the whole thing.

Superficially, they were fine. They spoke easily, they made little jokes and shared smiles like they always had done, but whenever the conversation shifted towards the topic of them, they both had a tendency to try and pull away. They could easily talk about the babies. Olivia could ask about him about how the season was ending for Barcelona, and Gerard could ask how she got through the day at work without throwing up, but the elephant in the room only seemed to be getting bigger, something Olivia didn’t quite know how to combat. Her emotions were still all over the place, the pregnancy hormones weren’t helping, and she didn’t quite know what to say to him, something which had led to the two of them basically avoiding one another as best they could under one roof.

Squeezing her eyes closed, she took in a couple more deep breaths before she felt a hand against her shoulder, causing her to tentatively pick her head up, her hazel eyes meeting Gerard’s as the defender quirked a shy smile. “I heard the toilet” he said gently “And I know that you prefer me to leave you alone, but I just…I wanted to make sure that you’re OK” he added.

Olivia just blinked at him a couple of times, something which made Gerard laugh uncomfortably. “I can go” he offered, shifting in his seat “I just…”

Olivia was on her feet before he could finish his sentence, covering the distance that separated her from the toilet in one leap before she threw up again.

Gerard followed her, tenderly gathering her auburn hair in the palm of his hand so that he could keep it off of her face.

Olivia closed her eyes as she tried to catch her breath before she turned around, offering Gerard a sheepish smile over her shoulder. “Sorry” she whispered.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for” Gerard replied, gently tucking her hair behind her ear “Is it worse today?” he asked.

“It’s probably only the second time I’ve been sick” Olivia replied “It kind of knocks me off of my feet for a while” she added, smiling shyly down at her feet.

Gerard, who was still playing with her hair, nodded. “Do you want me to get you anything?” he asked quietly.

Olivia watched his fingers as they played gently with the ends of her hair, a moment of quiet passing between the two of them, before she diverted her stare back up to his eyes. “You broke my heart” she whispered.

Gerard flinched, dropping her hair as though he had been scolded.

Her words, as quietly as she had said them, resonated in the room, hanging in the air heavily for a few long moments before Olivia turned, leaning her weight against the sink. “I love you” she said softly “And I have loved you for four years, but you…you broke my heart, Gerard. Kissing Lana was bad enough, but everything you’ve done after that? What did I do to deserve that?” she asked, her eyes glancing up to where he stood in the doorway, staring down at his feet to avoid looking at her.

Gerard didn’t say anything, something which made Olivia shake her head, the tips of her fingers running shakily back through her hair. “I don’t know what is best” she said “I mean, I think you would make the worst ex-boyfriend” she added with a wobbly smile, trying to lighten the mood slightly as she moved to brush her teeth.

Gerard’s lips quirked upwards ever so slightly. “Really?” he asked.

Olivia lifted a shoulder in an innocent shrug. “Do you love the idea of me finding someone else?” she asked, spitting the last of her toothpaste into the sink.

Gerard’s expression fell. “Do you want to?” he countered.

“No” Olivia replied, moving to sit on the closed toilet lid “Not really, but I don’t know that we can…we can fix us this time. You’ve really shaken my trust in you, broke it, and I don’t know that we can get that back. It’s hard, because I know that I love you, and I know that you’re always going to be around because of…” she trailed off as her hand gently settled on the front of her pyjama shirt.

“But?” Gerard coaxed her, his voice edged with nervousness. He felt like that was the moment, the moment that he had been dreading since Olivia had first packed a bag and disappeared to Alicante.

Olivia hesitated, keeping her stare on her hand for a beat, before she slowly lifted her eyes to his. “But we don’t have to be together for us to be parents” she said gently.

Gerard felt his breathing stutter, his ears roared as blood rushed through them. “You don’t even want to…to try?” he spluttered. He knew he didn’t have the right to press, but he couldn’t just let their relationship end without any kind of protest. He understood why she wanted out, he knew that he’d hurt her, that he’d fractured what trust she had had in him and he knew how difficult it would be to repair that, but he had to insist that there was a chance they could. He couldn’t quite bear to let it just end.

“Gerard” Olivia protested softly

“I know I am a fuck up, ok?” Gerard cut in, his voice growing louder as he rushed to speak “And I know I hurt you. I can’t ever say sorry enough for what I did, but it doesn’t…we could try” he spluttered, not quite reaching the end of one thought before he started another.

Olivia bit down her lip, tears gathering in her eyes. “You think I want to do this?” she asked softly.

“If not, then don’t” Gerard retorted, stepping into the room before he knelt on the floor ahead of her, gathering her hands into his “Please, Livy” he added.

Olivia sniffled. She could see the tears in his eyes and they pulled at her heart.

“I can’t lose you, Olivia” Gerard whispered as he leant over her hands, pressing a scattering of kisses to them “I…I know I deserve to, but I can’t. I love you, nena” he added, tilting his head up to look into her eyes.

“You still hurt me, Gerard” Olivia replied quietly “You still kissed Lana. You still lied” she added.

Gerard’s hands frantically cupped her cheeks, brushing aside her tears before he pulled her into a kiss. Olivia let out a soft noise, both in surprise and at the familiarity of the gesture, but she didn’t pulled away from him, allowing him to kiss her gently, shakily, until he drew away, pressing his forehead to hers. “I know I don’t deserve you” he whispered, ghosting his lips over hers in another feather light kiss “But I can’t let you go, Livy”

Olivia had her eyes squeezed shut, tears on her cheeks as Gerard reached a hand up, his thumb brushing the tears off of her skin. “A chance” he whispered.

“You’ve had chances, Geri” Olivia sniffled.

“I took them for granted” Gerard replied “I was selfish” he added.

“What’s changed?” Olivia asked.

Gerard kept his eyes on her face despite the overwhelming urge he had to look down at her stomach. “You went away” he replied “To Alicante. You weren’t a 30 minute drive away, there wasn’t the chance of me bumping into you in the city somewhere. You were gone and I…I hated every single second of that because now that I’ve had you in my life, I can’t not. This house was mine first, but now that you’ve lived here, when you’re not here it is so quiet and foreign to me and I can’t take that. You make my life brighter, Livy, and it shouldn’t have taken almost losing you to realise that, but it did. I can’t not have you in my life, Livy” he insisted gently.

Olivia’s eyes searched his face, the tears still trickling down her cheeks. “We need help” she said gently.

Gerard nodded his head a little too eagerly. “Whatever it takes” he insisted.

Olivia wiped her cheek with the back of her hand. “We’ll talk to someone” she said “See where that leaves us” she added.

“OK” Gerard agreed, a watery smile on his face. It wasn’t much, but it was something.