Burn Us Down

46: It Took You That Long?

Gently twisting Olivia’s engagement ring between the tips of his fingers, Gerard heaved out a sigh, trying, and failing, to dislodge the lump of discomfort that had worked its way up his throat. He had been dreading it for a while. When he and Olivia had made the move to cancel their wedding plans, the day he had been looking forwards to most had quickly become one that he was dreading, but the ring sat in his fingers made it worse. He had thought that they were simply postponing things. Olivia had been so insistent about wearing the ring after the pictures had first surfaced that he had been convinced that it was only a matter of time before they started making plans again, but with her having given him the ring back, he now had no idea if they would ever make it up the aisle. He wanted to, and a small part of him, no matter how naïve it sounded, thought that Olivia wanted it too, but he knew that they were a very long way away from that happening, if it ever happened at all.

Staring at the ring, he twirled it around a couple more times before he heard a tentative knock against the bedroom door, something which caused him to look up, his face shifting into a sad smile that Olivia mirrored, her hazel eyes already a little tearful. Settling the ring back down onto the end table, he shuffled up to his feet before he opened his arms, allowing Olivia to rush into them, her arms wrapping around his waist tightly. Letting out a soft sigh, he gently settled his arms around her shoulders, embracing her quietly for a few moments before he pulled back, his thumb softly wiping the tears off of her cheeks.

“Sorry” Olivia mused as she lifted a hand, wiping her eyes on the back of it “I don’t really know why I am crying” she added.

Gerard smiled at her as he gently smoothed her messy hair back off of her face. “You can blame the pregnancy hormones, if you want to” he quipped.

Olivia laughed, a soft sound that reverberated around the room before it fell quiet again, something which caused Gerard to draw Olivia into him again, hugging her gently. Olivia didn’t resist, relishing the comfort that his arms bought, before Gerard sighed into her hair and pulled back. “Are you hungry?” he asked gently.

He could feel the elephant in the room. The pain of their failed engagement was etched onto both of their faces, but he wanted to try and steer the topic away from it, wanting to brighten the mood rather than dwell on the past. He knew that it wasn’t just going to go away. They both knew what that day ought to have been and both hurt over the fact that it wasn’t, but dwelling on it wasn’t going to change the fact that they weren’t going to end that day as husband and wife.

Olivia’s expression visibly brightened. “Always” she replied.

Gerard chuckled gently. “Then I will go and make some breakfast” he mused “Why don’t you go back to bed? I can bring it up to you” he added.

“Are you going to cook?” Olivia asked, wrinkling her nose playfully.

Gerard offered her a playful glare. “I’m trying to be nice, Livy” he played along.

Olivia’s smile softened a little as she nodded her head. “I know you are” she mused “And you’re sweet for it” she added.

Gerard thought about making a playful joke, but stopped himself, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his shorts. “I’ll go and grab some food” he mused “You’re still avoiding strawberries, right?” he asked, shuffling awkwardly towards the door.

Olivia nodded. “They make me nauseous” she confirmed.

“Any other preferences?” Gerard asked.

“There should be a tub in the fridge full of last night’s dessert” Olivia replied “Can you bring it back with you? I could really go for it right now” she added.

Gerard lifted an eyebrow, a little smile brightening his features. “You want to eat day-old brownies for breakfast?” he asked.

“Yes, I do” Olivia replied “Is that an issue?” she teased.

Gerard held his hands up, smiling at her. “Not at all” he quipped.

“Livy?” Gerard called as he ambled up the stairs, two plates of food balanced in his hands.

“In here” Olivia’s voice called back.

Gerard, who’d been making his way over towards the guest room that Olivia had taken up residence, stilled when he heard her voice before he slowly turned around. Blinking a couple of times, he stared at their shared bedroom door before he stepped towards it, gently pushing it open to reveal Olivia who was sat in the middle of their bed, a small sheepish smile on her face. “Hi” she greeted.

Gerard’s stare flitted between Olivia and the bedroom across the hall a couple of times before he padded inside, presenting her with the plate of food he’d made up for her.

Olivia took it out of his hands, settling it down on the duvet before she smiled up at him shyly. “You’re not going to ask?” she asked.

Gerard shook his head, placing a forkful of food into his mouth. He wasn’t about to question something he’d been wishing for since she had arrived back in Barcelona. It wasn’t much, Olivia had sat in the middle of their bed more time than Gerard could count, but it was the smallest hint that they were moving forwards. Since she had gotten back from Alicante, Olivia hadn’t set foot in their room, so to see her sat in the middle of their bed was something Gerard was just going to enjoy whilst it lasted.

Olivia let out a gentle laugh before she started eating, allowing a comfortable silence to fall over them for a few minutes before Gerard spoke up. “We would have ended up postponing it anyway” he announced.

Olivia tilted her head. “What?” she asked.

“The wedding” Gerard clarified “If the...the kiss hadn’t happened, I would have still taken you back to Paris and I would have still managed to get you pregnant, so we would have ended up postponing it anyway. There’s no way I could have convinced you to walk down the aisle with any sign of a bump” he added, forcing a playful smile onto his features.

Olivia kept her eyes on her plate as she shook her head, her cheeks flushing a soft shade of pink. “I wasn’t that bad, was I?” she asked.

“You had in mind what you wanted to make the day perfect” Gerard replied “I think…I think you’d been to a lot of weddings and you knew what you wanted for us. I don’t think I understood that then” he added, a rueful smile on his face.

“I should have been better at communicating it” Olivia mused “I just…I ran into it and I left you behind and then I got annoyed with you because you felt left out. I should have seen that I was moving too quickly, that you were getting overwhelmed. I was just…god, I was just so freaking excited that you’d asked. Honestly? I’d been hoping you that you would since our third anniversary” she admitted.

Gerard’s lips quirked upwards. “It took you that long?” he asked impishly.

Olivia rolled her eyes, smiling despite herself. “You’d thought about it before then?” she asked.

Gerard just lifted his shoulders in shrug, allowing another moment of quiet to pass between the two of them before Gerard shook his head, letting out a soft sigh. “I didn’t understand that your running ahead with our wedding plans was your way of telling me that you were excited” he admitted “I used it as an excuse, to pick a fight, to do a catalogue of stupid things that I know I am nowhere near making up for, but I do want you to know this. I always wanted to marry you. It’s why I asked. I had doubts, but they weren’t about you or how happy you could make me, because you do make me happy, even now. They were about things being concrete and they were so fleeting, but the damage had been done anyway. I am so sorry, Olivia” he whispered, his eyes drifting up away from his plate to meet hers.

Olivia blinked. “Even now?” she asked softly.

Gerard smiled sadly and nodded. “I like having you around, Livy” he mused “Awkward or not. I’d rather you were here than not. You’re my favourite person” he added.

Olivia fiddled with her cutlery, not quite sure what to say to that.

Gerard spluttered out a sad laugh, but was stopped from saying anything when Olivia pushed herself up onto her knees, leaning close enough to him that she could press her lips against his. Gerard’s eyes fluttered closed, but he didn’t move too much, not wanting to scare Olivia away. Olivia’s lips moved against his softly, kissing him gently before she pulled away, her eyes peeking into his shyly as the faintest of smile curled up the corner her lips.
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