Burn Us Down

59: Not Like Her

Hearing the volume in the living room rise, Gerard glanced over at Max, watching as the little boy obliviously chewed on the cookie he’d given to him. Gerard could hear what was being said. He’d heard Enzo’s revelation, followed quickly by Alex’s asking Melissa if it was true, and he couldn’t help but look at Max, knowing that the fallout from what was happening in the other room was going to change everything for him. It was going to get messy, the snippets of conversation he’d heard already told Gerard that the breakup between Melissa and Enzo was bitter, and he hated that Max was going to have to see it. The little boy deserved better.

Trying not to disturb the baby who slept in his arms, he shuffled back to his feet before he nudged the kitchen door closed, hoping that it would be enough to muffle the voices.

Max glanced up at the sound of the door closing, a tiny crease in his forehead, but he didn’t say anything as he moved to pick up another cookie. “Do the babies have names?” he asked through a mouthful of food.

Gerard shook his head, smiling down at the baby in his arms. “Not yet” he replied “Me and your aunt are trying to come up with names, but it’s pretty hard. We want to choose the right names” he added.

Max grinned around his cookie. “Can I help?” he asked.

Gerard’s expression had grown slightly tense as he heard another round of yelling through the door, but it brightened as he turned back to look at Max. “Do you have some ideas?” he asked “Me and your aunt have a couple, but we’d love the help” he added, trying to keep his voice light.

Max nodded his head eagerly. “I have a girl friend at school and her name is Lola” he enthused “I think that’s a really pretty name. I’ve got another friend and she’s called Sofie, that’s a good one too. Oh! What about Aria? I love that name too” he gushed.

Gerard smiled warmly, but it fell away when he heard a door slam shut somewhere else in the house.

Max glanced up at the sound, his forehead creasing again. “Are mama and papa fighting again?” he asked quietly “They’ve been fighting a lot” he added.

Gerard didn’t quite know what to say to him then, but he was saved from having to come up with something when the kitchen door edged open, allowing Olivia to step inside, a Moses basket clutched in her hand. Gerard didn’t say anything as she walked into the room and placed the basket down onto the kitchen table, but he could see the tears which she was trying to hide as she turned to smile at Max. “Your papa is going to take you home” she mused, softly smoothing the hair back off of his forehead.

“What about mama?” Max asked.

Olivia tried to hide the flinch, but she failed miserably. “She’s…she’s going to go home with grandpa” she replied “She’s a little upset now and she needs to calm down” she added.

Max frowned for a moment, but he didn’t argue when Enzo appeared at the door, a hand outstretched towards him. “Come on, buddy” he mused “We need to get out of here. Your aunt and uncle probably need the quiet for the babies” he added.

Max took his father’s hand, but stopped before he could be led out of the room, grinning up at Gerard. “Did you like the names I said?” he asked.

Gerard’s answering smile was easy despite the tension which lingered in the house. “They were great suggestions, Max” he quipped “I’ll have to share them with your aunt so we can try and choose” he added.

Max preened a little at the compliment before he waved, allowing Enzo to lead him out of the house.

Neither Gerard nor Olivia spoke until they’d heard the front door click shut and when it did, Olivia fell into Max’s vacated chair, her hands covering her face. “She did it again” she announced after a few seconds of quiet “Mel. The same guy. She cheated on him, again, Gerard, with the same guy” she added.

“I heard” Gerard replied with a grim nod “Are they over with?” he asked.

Olivia nodded without hesitation. “She left Enzo at the start of the week” she replied “But Enzo had made her promise that they’d keep up appearances today. He didn’t want the news to detract from everyone coming over to meet the twins. He’s such a good guy, Gerard, how could she do this to him again?” she added, her voice rising in frustration.

Gerard, who’d been settling their daughter down beside her sister, looked over at her before he lifted his shoulder. “I don’t know” he replied.

“And after she gave you such a hard time to?” Olivia spat “She was awful to you, Gerard, and now it just seems like that that was her guilt getting at her. I mean, she never gave you a chance, and when you did make a mistake, she was so quick to treat you like dirt and now…” she trailed off, shaking her head.

Gerard moved towards her, gently kneeling on the floor as he gathered her hands in his. “Are you OK?” he asked gently.

Olivia looked down at him. “She asked to stay here” she said “Like…like nothing had ever happened. She made this whole thing so much harder on me, on us, and she thought I’d just…just let her stay here? She’s been cheating on him for nearly six months, physically as well as emotionally this time, and she thought I’d just stand by her. How can I after how she treated you?” she asked softly.

“I did make mistakes, Livy” Gerard replied.

“Not like her mistakes” Olivia replied “You got frustrated and you did a couple of really stupid things which hurt me, but you’ve not broken me like Melissa has broken Enzo. He loved her, Gerard, so much. He looked past the first time, he still wanted to be with her, with Max, and she just threw that back in his face. how could she do that after all the talk she’d given me about how I should just cut my losses with you?” she pressed, her eyes shining with frustrated tears.

Gerard reached a hand up, the pad of his thumb brushing the tears off of her cheeks.

Olivia leant into his touch, squeezing her eyes closed for a moment, before she blinked them open again, looking down into his. “Max was helping with baby names?” she asked.

She wanted to push the topic of Melissa and her affair as far away as she could. She was upset for Enzo, frustrated by how Melissa had treated Gerard in spite of everything, and she didn’t want to let those negative feelings overwhelm her. That day was supposed to have been about her and Gerard introducing their daughters to their family and Olivia didn’t want to lose the good feelings in the negative ones that Melissa had bought into the house.

Gerard blinked a couple of times, caught off guard by the sudden change of topic, before he quirked a soft smile. “He’s got a lot of friends who are girls” he replied “And he was suggesting their names. He seems to be a popular kid” he added.

“He’s outgoing like his papa” Olivia replied “Were any of his suggestions good?” she asked.

“I liked one” Gerard replied “Aria” he added.

Olivia’s face blossomed into a soft smile despite the tears which still lingered in her eyes. “Aria” she repeated softly “I like that. Aria Camille” she added.

Gerard smiled. “Did we just choose a name?” he prodded.

Olivia’s laugh was bright and cheerful, a sound Gerard adored. “Don’t get ahead of yourself” she quipped “It might have escaped your notice, but we have two little girls. We’re only half way done” she teased.

Gerard pushed himself up to his feet, pressing a kiss to the top of Olivia’s head, before he stepped towards the table. Leaning over, he watched the twins as they stirred before he gently reached forwards, smoothing out their clothes. “Rosalie” he said gently “Rosalie Charlotte” he added, turning to glance back at Olivia.

Olivia’s eyes lit up before the smile curved her lips. “I love that” she cooed.

Gerard had turned back to the twins, watching the two of them with a doting smile. “Aria is the youngest” he mused.

Olivia didn’t say anything. She just stepped towards him and wrapped her arms around his waist, coaxing him to wrap an arm around her shoulder and squeeze, offering her a little comfort that he knew she still needed. Things were going to change. Olivia’s family, for as long as Gerard had been a part of it, had been close, and they both knew that that would no longer be the case, not in light of what Melissa had done and her treatment of Gerard. It couldn’t be the same, the family dinners, for a while at least, were going to go out of the window, and Gerard knew that Olivia would miss them, even if she couldn’t stand to be in the same room as Melissa. They had always done them, they’d always had each other’s backs, and Gerard wanted Olivia to know that, whilst her relationship with her family was going to change, her relationship with him was in the best place it’d been in a long time.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)