Burn Us Down

48: He Loves Me, I Know That

“Are you sure that I look Ok?” Olivia asked as she turned to glance at her phone which sat on the top of her dresser, Gerard’s face filling the screen. He had been gone for a few days. Barcelona’s preseason tour had taken him out to Japan, but despite the time difference, Olivia had insisted on calling him, wanting to talk to someone about how nervous she was about the day ahead of her. She knew that she shouldn’t have felt it. Max’s sixth birthday party was an unlikely setting for her and Melissa to come to blows, but it was the first time in a while that she had seen her sister, something which had knots in the pit of her stomach. They didn’t speak as much as they’d used to, if anything, Olivia had been slightly surprised when Melissa had called the week previous to invite her to the little boy’s birthday party, but she had accepted without hesitation. As tense as things were between the two of them, Olivia missed her older sister and her family and wanted to spend time with them.

Gerard quirked a soft smile, his eyes scanning up and down her frame adoringly. “You look pregnant” he replied warmly.

Olivia tilted her head. “Is that a compliment?” she asked “Or does this outfit cling to the bump too much? Should I change?” she added.

Gerard’s laugh was soft and warm. “It’s a compliment, or at least I think it is” he chirped “But no, I don’t think you need to change. I mean, everyone knows that you’re pregnant and honestly, I don’t think you could hide it even if you wanted to. Besides, it’s a six year old’s birthday party. You should dress as comfortably as you want to” he added gently.

Olivia looked at him doubtfully, something which made Gerard smile at her softly. “Are you nervous?” he asked gently, breaking the moment of silence which had settled over the two of them.

Olivia gently picked the phone up from its place on the dresser and carried it over towards the bed, gently clutching it in her hand. “Kind of” she admitted gently “I mean, I’m excited to see Max and I know that Valeria wants to talk baby names. I think my papa does to, but he’ll try and play it cool, but I don’t know what sort of reaction I’m expecting from Mel. I don’t think she’ll make a scene, she won’t want to upset Max, but…” she trailed off, shrugging sadly at the camera.

Gerard’s expression softened. “I wish I was there” he mused.

Olivia shook her head, a sad smile on her face. “You think you coming to my nephew’s birthday party would help things go smoothly?” she asked.

“At least Melissa wouldn’t be mean to you” Gerard replied with as playful a smile as he could muster. He couldn’t deny that the idea of not being welcome around her family wasn’t one that still hurt him. He’d always liked them. Aside from Melissa, who had never been overly welcoming towards him, he’d fitted into Olivia’s family almost seamlessly, and he missed being one of the group, even if he knew that it was his own fault. He missed their family dinners, catching up with Enzo and Alex, and getting to spend time with Max, and he knew that it would be a very long time before they found themselves on good terms, if they ever did again.

Olivia shook her head gently. “You’re sweet” she mused.

“I am” Gerard boasted.

Olivia laughed, Gerard did too. “I have to go” she mused “I will speak to you soon?” she asked.

“Whenever you want to” Gerard replied.

Olivia nodded, falling quiet for a moment, before she lifted a hand, blowing a kiss at the camera. “Get home soon, eh?” she mused.

Gerard spluttered out a surprised laugh before he nodded his head, flashing her a boyish grin. “I will do” he replied.

Olivia blew him another kiss, something Gerard mimicked playfully before Olivia hung up the phone, feeling a lot better than she had done before she had made the call.

“Max, I need to sit down!” Olivia laughed as her nephew sped away from her, chanting about how she couldn’t catch him. He hadn’t stopped moving. When Olivia had arrived at her sister’s home, she had quickly been swept into playing the party games that Melissa had arranged, and after they’d wound down, Max had insisted on starting a game of tag, something Olivia had joined in with as best she could, trying to avoid Melissa. She knew that she was looking for a chance to come over to her. Since she had walked through the door, Melissa’s gaze had lingered on her, and her bump, more than once, but Olivia wasn’t quite ready to start the conversation, still not entirely sure that it wouldn’t end in another argument.

“Why?” Max called back, a little pout on his face.

“Because of the babies, sweetheart” Melissa’s voice cooed “They’re making your aunt tired” she added.

Max huffed, but quickly ran off, catching up with his friends.

Olivia watched him go, but she could feel Melissa lingering over her shoulder, causing her to sigh gently. “I don’t want to fight, Mel” she mused as she turned to look at her “I’d hate to ruin Max’s day” she added.

Melissa held up her hands innocently, a shaky smile on her face. “I’m not here to start a fight” she mused “I just…I wanted to know how you’re doing. You’re really showing now” she added.

She didn’t blame Olivia for thinking that she was there to start something. Almost every conversation that they had had since the pictures had first surfaced had become antagonistic quickly, but in all honesty, she just wanted to catch up with her little sister. Things were moving along quickly, before they knew it, the twins would have arrived, and after spending a couple of hours watching her sister chase Max around, Melissa couldn’t bear to miss it. She wouldn’t warm to Gerard. She never had and he’d done more damage, but his children were Olivia’s and Melissa couldn’t imagine not getting to see them when they came along, something they seemed to be rushing towards.

Olivia’s forehead creased dubiously, but Melissa’s shy smile ultimately won her over. Smiling gently, she settled a hand on the top of her bump, her thumb stroking it fondly. “We’ve got out 20 week scan in a few weeks” she mused “I know I look a lot further along than that, but my midwife says that that’s normal with twins” she added.

Melissa smiled. “Are you excited?” she asked “About the scan” she clarified.

Olivia nodded her head, her eyes still on her bump. “I love the scans” she mused “Gerard loves them more. He’s already started a campaign to convince me to let him find out what we’re having. Did you and Enzo want to find out with Max?” she asked, turning to look at her sister just as she managed to hide the grimace that had played across her features at the mention of the defender’s name.

Melissa shook her head. “We weren’t even tempted” she mused “Gerard…Gerard wants to know?” she asked, stumbling over his name.

Olivia thought about commenting, but she chose not to, instead nodding her head. “He won’t shut up about it” she mused “I’m tempted to just let him find out so that he’ll shut up” she added.

“Don’t” Melissa replied “It’s…It’s the best thing. When we found out we had a little boy…It was the most beautiful moment. After all the trouble we’d had throughout my pregnancy, that moment was perfect. Just me and my two favourite guys” she added.

“Your two favourite guys?” Olivia poked tentatively.

Melissa nodded, a wobbly smile on her face. “I was a terrible wife” she mused “Enzo…he deserved better, he still does, but that moment made it clear to me that there was nowhere I could be happier. Enzo’s just…he’s my guy, you know? The thing with the other guy…it shouldn’t have happened, but it did and it took me almost losing Enzo to see that I had made such a catastrophic error, but I worry that the damage is long lasting. Every time we fight, I half expect Enzo to throw out some comment about how I betrayed him, and I’d deserve it, but I worry sometimes that he only stayed because of Max and I…I don’t want you to be in that situation, Oli. I want you to know that the man you’re with loves you because you’re you, not because you’re having his kids. I don’t know sometimes with Enzo, and we’ve been back together for over six years, and I worry about you and Gerard. I know how bitchy I’ve seemed, but I really am just trying to look out for you, Oli” she insisted gently.

Olivia blinked slowly, her eyes lowering back towards her stomach. “He loves me, Mel” she whispered softly “I know that. He’s made his mistakes, but I know that” she insisted.

“I hope he does” Melissa replied earnestly “Whether I like him or not, there’s no doubting how much you’ve always loved him. I just don’t want to see you make the mistakes me and Enzo did. We made the decision just to power through, to take on the pregnancy and see where that left us, and I don’t want that for you. You deserve to feel loved and cherished, and never doubt where that love comes from” she added before Max called out to her, causing her to playfully roll her eyes before she chased after the little boy.

Olivia watched after her, the tips of her fingers touching her bump, before she shook her head. They had been working on things. They’d visited their counsellor once a week for weeks, they’d spent a lot of time together and talked about them, but in that moment, all Olivia wanted was for Gerard to be stood in front of her, his blue eyes mirroring hers, so that she could hear him say those three words they’d both been so careful with since she’d arrived back from Alicante.