Burn Us Down

05: I Don’t Know How To Be

Draping his towel around his shoulders, Gerard settled down onto the bench in front of his locker, his forehead creased in concentration as he stared down at his phone. He had waited. Cautious of trying to force things along too quickly, he had opted to wait a couple of days before he had tried to get in contact with Olivia, but despite the time he’d allowed to elapse, he couldn’t quite come up with the right thing to say to her. He didn’t feel the same about texting her as he had done before. After four years together, texting her had almost become instinctual. They were forever sending each other little messages, bad jokes or random thoughts which were enough to let the other one know that they were on their mind, but he knew that that, among other things, was something which had changed between them.

He couldn’t avoid the truth of it, his actions were the reason that things between the two of them felt so off and he knew that he was the one who had to try and prove that there was something to be fixed between them, but if he was honest, he didn’t quite know how. He had made a mistake, he’d let the fight that he and Olivia had had about their wedding plans get out of control and he hated the way that he had reacted. He hated that he’d allowed things to go so far and hated that Olivia, who he did love, even despite her doubts, was hurting because of him.

Letting out a soft sigh, he lifted the towel to wipe a few droplets of water off of his forehead before he looked back down at phone, frowning at the empty text box.


Gerard glanced up at Lionel, a tired smile on his lips. “It would be” he quipped “I’m having a tough time trying to come up with something to say to her” he added.

Lionel, who’d busied himself in his own locker, hesitated before her turned back to glance at the defender, a cautious look on his face. “You guys OK?” he asked.

Gerard paused for a moment, briefly contemplating playing it off, before het allowed another sigh to fall out of his mouth. “I really fucking hurt her, Leo” he admitted quietly “The kiss was bad enough, but the way she found out about it?” he added, shaking his head gently.

Lionel stepped closer, sitting down the bench beside the defender. “Why didn’t you tell her?” he asked quietly.

Gerard rubbed his jaw as he considered the question. “I didn’t want her to hate me” he admitted quietly.

Lionel spared the defender a pointed look, something which caused Gerard to smile ironically before he looked down at his phone again, staring at the blank text box for a beat before he spoke up again.

“We were already fighting. We’d had this massive argument about wedding plans. They were getting made so quickly, and Livy had…she knew exactly what she wanted, so she just made them and I got annoyed. I yelled some stuff about her not really needing me or caring about my opinions, and she yelled at me, saying that she had asked for my input and I hadn’t given it…it just got out of hand. We both said stuff we didn’t mean, and I left and then things just…just went from there. I regretted it as soon as it happened, how could I not? Livy is…I love her, I know that that sounds hollow now, but I really do” he insisted, looking up at Lionel for some kind of reassurance. He needed to hear someone, anyone, say that they believed him when he said that he loved Olivia.

Lionel nodded, a small smile on his face. “I know you do” he confirmed.

Their relationship had always seemed a little casual, if it wasn’t for the occasional romantic display of affection, it would have been easy to mistake Olivia and Gerard for a pair of friends rather than a couple, but it suited the two of them, When the other one was around, they always lit up and there was no mistaking it. The way that Gerard looked at Olivia, when he thought that she wasn’t looking at him, spoke volumes.

Gerard stared down at his phone again. “I didn’t do it to hurt her” he insisted softly “I hate that I did and I hate that things that were so second nature to me, now feel so…so strange. She said that we should get together, to talk, and I can’t…I can’t seem to find the way to start the conversation. Do you know how many times I have asked her to dinner in the last four years?” he pressed.

Lionel just nodded, knowing that the words that Gerard was saying were more meant for the defender himself than him.

“I want to make a bad joke” Gerard continued, almost oblivious to the fact that Lionel hadn’t said anything “I want her to text me that little eye rolling emoji that I am sure she has saved next to my name, but I know that I shouldn’t, and that she won’t. I just don’t know how to be, now. I don’t know if she wants me to be the same as always, or if I am supposed to just give her space. What am I supposed to do, Leo?” he pressed.

Lionel lifted his shoulders in a small shrug. “You made the mess, hombre” he quipped “It’s up to you to figure it out. You’ve got to talk to her, be honest and let her be honest with you, and then, after that, you see if there is anything left. You’re not going to make any progress by just sitting around and feeling bad, because how bad you feel pales in comparison to how bad she must be feeling. You broke her heart, hombre, and now it’s up to you to see if you can put it back together again” he said softly before he stood up, patting Gerard’s shoulder gently as he walked away.

Gerard watched him as he walked away before he turned back to his phone, tapping the screen to wake it up again. Taking in a deep breath, he stared at the empty text box for a beat before he allowed his fingers to wander over the keyboard, composing a short message which read ‘Can you come over? I’ll even cook, though, I’ve obviously got nothing on you’ before he added a little smiling emoji. Hesitating, he allowed his thumb to linger over the send button before he pressed it, closing his eyes at the sound which signalled the message being sent.

Wiping his forehead again, he moved to throw the towel into a nearby laundry bin before he heard his phone chirp again, causing him to glance down at it, letting out a slightly surprised laugh when he saw Olivia’s reply on his screen. ‘Obviously. I am a professional after all’ preceded a playful winking emoji, something which made Gerard smile before he replied again, not able to keep the hopeful grin off of his face.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)