Burn Us Down

65: It’s Not Even Close

Steering the car around another corner, Olivia glanced at Gerard out of the corner of her eye, a soft sigh slipping out of her mouth. She wasn’t surprised that he’d been quiet. The night had been a long one, and the revelation that Olivia had met Nicolas before wasn’t likely to have helped Gerard to feel more comfortable in a situation that was already awkward for him, but she wished that he’d just say something. It hadn’t been as bad as it could have been. She and Melissa had managed to be civil, and after the initial shock of seeing Nicolas had worn off, they’d managed to get on as well as they could, but as her ease had increased, Gerard’s seemed to have faded away. He’d been polite, smiled at the right times, laughed at Nicolas’s bad jokes, but he’d been off and Olivia had noticed it instantly.

Returning her stare to the road, she drove in silence for a few more minutes, glancing over at him periodically.

Gerard caught her looking at him before he shook his head, smirking slightly down at his lap. “You can just ask, Livy” he mused “I mean, you’ll probably get more answers with words than with looks” he added.

“You’ve just been quiet” Olivia replied.

Gerard’s first thought was to play it off. To offer her a nonchalant shrug and make a joke, but the way that Olivia looked at him told him that that was probably the wrong route to go. She looked anxious, like she was worried that she had upset him, and he knew that making a joke wasn’t going to help. Glancing out of the window, he took a second to puzzle through his thoughts, before he shook his head. “What happened between you and Nico was before me” he said gently “And I am not upset about it, I have no reason to be. I know that your break up with Leonardo was rough, and so what if you made out with a guy at a party? That’s got nothing to do with me, so don’t get yourself worked up worrying about if it upset me or not” he added, offering her a small, reassuring smile.

Olivia offered him another sideward glance. “If that’s not what’s bothering you, what is?” she asked.

“What makes you think that there’s anything?” Gerard retorted, plucking an invisible thread off of his trousers.

“I know you” Olivia replied, looking at him briefly to offer him a small smile “You got quiet. You’d been my calming influence all night, and then, after I’d shown Melissa and Nicolas the pictures of the twins, you were different. They didn’t notice, but I did. I thought it was the thing with me and Nicolas, but if it isn’t that…” she trailed off, hoping he’d chime in and finish for her.

Gerard sat quietly, allowing her unfinished sentence to hang between them for a few long seconds, before he lifted a hand, scratching at his jaw thoughtfully. “I just…I didn’t like him” he noted.

“Nicolas?” Olivia prodded.

Gerard offered her dry a look, wordlessly asking who else he’d be talking about.

Olivia nodded her head slowly. “Can I ask why?” she asked gently “Is it Enzo?” she added.

Gerard wanted to nod, to say that it was just loyalty to his friend that was preventing him from warming up to Melissa’s new boyfriend, but it whilst it was part of it, it wasn’t the entire reason. Nicolas had kept looking at Olivia. When he thought Gerard and Melissa weren’t looking, he’d sent her little looks and subtle smirks, and it had irked Gerard more than he wanted to admit. He wasn’t the type to be insecure or jealous. He knew that Olivia was beautiful, and that she had always attracted attention, but he knew that her affections lied with him and only him, but there was something about Nicolas that had rubbed him the wrong way.

“Gerard?” Olivia coaxed gently as she pulled the car to a stop outside of their home.

Gerard blinked, breaking out of his thoughts, before he shook his head gently. “I hate what she did to Enzo” he said firmly “I hate how she treated him, Livy, and I hate that she’s living it up with Nico whilst Enzo’s still in the home they bought together, broken hearted. She treated me like dirt for months, too, and tonight she acted like…like none of that had ever happened, and that irked me, but mostly it was just…him. The way he looked at you when he thought no one was watching him. The way he smirked like he knew something I didn’t. I just didn’t like him, Livy” he explained.

“Are you sure he was looking at me?” Olivia asked.

Gerard scoffed out a humourless laugh. “Completely certain” he replied.

Olivia reached across the centre console, her hand gently curving around his. “I didn’t look back” she mused softly.

“That’s not what I am saying” Gerard replied “I know that” he added, his voice ever so slightly sheepish.

“I wouldn’t look at him twice now” Olivia continued, a slightly playful smile curving up the corner of her lips “He might have been cute when I was drunk and pissed at my ex-boyfriend, but you? You’re cute all of the time. It’s not even close” she added, lifting up his hand so that she could press a gentle kiss against the back of it.

She knew, without him saying it, that he wanted to hear her say that it was only him that she was interested in and she was more than happy to do it. They were rare moments. Gerard was as confident as they came, and he very rarely, if at all, had moments were he was a little uncertain or insecure, but Olivia had gotten good at soothing him when they did come. He liked to know that he was the only one she was interested in and Olivia was more than happy to tell him.

The tops of Gerard’s cheeks flushed pink. “I’m not worried about that” he murmured “I just…Can we maybe hold off on handing him a wedding invitation?” he added.

Olivia nodded, messing with his fingers happily. “I was thinking about not giving him one anyway” she mused “I mean, it’ll probably piss Mel off, but I don’t exactly want our wedding reception being remembered for Enzo punching him, because he will. Nico’s got a way about him, easy and confident, and it comes across a little smug at times, and I can’t see my brother-in-law taking that in his stride” she added.

“I wouldn’t blame him” Gerard mused.

Olivia kissed the back of his hand again, smiling gently against his skin. “Thank you for coming tonight” she murmured after a moment of quiet “I know you didn’t have fun, but I am glad that you were there. You made it easier for me” she added.

Gerard squeezed her hand in his. “I’m glad” he mused.

Olivia leant over, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek, before she pushed the car door open and climbed out.

Gerard stayed behind, watching her up to the front door with a soft smile, before he followed, feeling the little knot of tension that had lingered in his stomach all night relax.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)