Burn Us Down

69: Not Like Before

“Was my papa OK?”

Gerard, who’d been trying his hardest to close the bedroom door quietly, jumped before he turned around, his stare landing on Olivia who was sat up against the headboard of their bed, her eyes still red and slightly tearful as they watched him. It’d barely been an hour. After their conversation, they’d both agreed that it was for the best that the twins spent the night with Olivia’s father, and while Olivia had made her way upstairs and got herself ready for bed, Gerard had disappeared to call Alex, wanting to make sure that he wasn’t putting the older man out.

Olivia had offered to make the call. Alex was her father after all, and she had missed him when he’d been by earlier, but Gerard had been quick to pluck the phone out of her hand, not quite certain that she would have been able to get through the call without crying, something he knew would be bad news for them. He hadn’t done anything wrong that night. Olivia’s tears were more out of frustration rather than him having upset her, but he knew that Alex wouldn’t have listened long enough to figure that out. Any sign of Olivia having been upset and the thin ice that Gerard was still skating on with her family would have evaporated.

Quirking a sympathetic smile, Gerard nodded his head. “Surprised” he mused “I mean, we’ve not had more than a couple of hours away from the twins since they were born and tonight has come pretty out of the blue, but I think he’s put it down to us…uh…” he trailed off, a soft blush spreading over his cheeks.

Olivia let out a soft, snuffly laugh, catching on. “Did he say that?” she asked.

“He didn’t come out and ask, but he did drop some pretty unsubtle hints” Gerard replied as he stepped towards the bed, sitting down next to her “I think I handled it well enough” he added, brushing her hair out of her face before he leant over, pressing a soft kiss against her forehead.

Olivia closed her eyes at the contact, cuddling into him. “Are the girls are OK?” she whispered softly.

Gerard nodded, kissing the top of her head gently. “They’re fine” he mumbled into her hair “And Valeria’s going to be back here with them first thing. I just thought that we could use some quiet time. Tonight was…it was a lot, and I thought you could use the rest” he added, his hand rubbing her back gently.

Olivia held onto him until Gerard gently leant back, once more smoothing back her hair. “I’m going to go and get changed” he mused “Why don’t you find something we can fall asleep in front of?” he added, picking a television remote up from the end table and pressing it into her hands.

Olivia smiled up at him, causing Gerard to smile back at her softly before he pressed a quick kiss against her lips. “I’ll be right back” he insisted as he stood up.

“I’m not going anywhere” Olivia replied before she gently lowered herself down, curling up against her pillow.

Gerard, who’d made it halfway to the bathroom, turned back to look at her, his blue eyes soft and bright. “I really hope not” he mused.

Letting Olivia’s hair slip through his fingers, Gerard leant over her, smiling at the sight of her sleeping face. It hadn’t taken her long. After choosing a film, which was still playing quietly in the background, Olivia had only lasted twenty minutes before she’d started snoring quietly, and Gerard hadn’t had the heart to disturb her, more than glad to see that she had relaxed after the night they’d had. It’d been necessary. As hard as it had been for Gerard to sit and listen to Olivia as she told him that she had convinced herself against letting herself imagine their future, it’d been a conversation that they needed to had, and Gerard was glad that they’d done it. There had been tension between them again. Olivia had been keeping things close to her chest, and Gerard had started to feel a distance growing between them, and, as hard as the conversation had been, it would have been worth it if it meant that they kept each other from doing something they’d end up regretting.

Bending over a little further, he touched a soft kiss against her head before he gently pried the remote out of her hand, using it to turn the television off. Trying his hardest not to move too much, he tried to get himself more comfortable, but only succeeded in making Olivia stir before she picked her head, her eyes blinking up at him.

Gerard just admired her for a moment before he quirked a sheepish smile. “Sorry” he whispered.

Olivia smiled through a yawn. “I thought I’d get an uninterrupted night of sleep with the twins at my papa’s” she quipped.

“I wasn’t trying to wake you” Gerard retorted “I was trying to get towards my pillow. You fell asleep on me” he added.

Olivia just cuddled closer, a sleepy grin on her face. “You’re comfy” she mumbled.

Gerard didn’t argue with her. He just wrapped an arm around her, keeping her close as he shuffled his way towards his pillow. Making sure that he was comfortable, he allowed Olivia to adjust herself against him before he tugged the duvet over the two of them. For a long time, neither one of them said anything. Gerard stared up at the ceiling whilst Olivia’s fingers traced shapes against his chest, but eventually, she sat up, pulling his eyes back towards her. “You need something?” he asked quietly.

Olivia shook her head. “You’re not losing me” she said gently.

Gerard’s smile was half surprised, half tender. “I know” he replied “It’s just…before the pictures, before Lana, you never used to have a problem telling me anything. You’d beat around the bush a lot, but if something was really bothering you, you’d tell me, but you don’t now. You turn inwards, and you pretend that there’s nothing wrong, and it makes me worry that you might never feel entirely comfortable around me again. We’ve fixed a lot in the last year, Livy, the fact that we’re even here right now is…it’s more than I imagined, but that’s where my worries stem from. You’re happy with me, but I worry that…that you’ll never trust me fully again and I don’t know how to deal with that” he explained gently.

Olivia leant over him, pressing a kiss to his chest. “I do trust you” she whispered.

Gerard gently cupped her chin, guiding her to look at him. “With some things” he mused with a rueful smile “But not everything, not like before. I broke that trust and I hate that, but what I hate more is that you can’t give me everything you used to. You think I am going to break your heart, Livy, whether you think it consciously or not, and that hurts, even if I know I deserve it. You used to trust me with everything” he added, his thumb tracing the line of her jaw.

Olivia kept her eyes on his, allowing a second of quiet to grow into a minute, before Gerard picked his head up, kissing her forehead gently. Olivia exhaled a soft sigh at the touch, something which made Gerard smile sadly against her skin. He’d broken it. what he had done with Lana had ruined things between him and Olivia, and whilst he wanted to be optimistic, to believe that they could eventually be back to where they were, there were moments, like that one, where he wondered if maybe they were trying to push something back together which just wouldn’t go.

They’d tried. They’d given each other space, spent a lot of time working on things with Eleanor, and still, there were times where things didn’t feel like they’d ever work again. He knew it was something that was always going to be slow, and that they couldn’t rush it and force things to feel right again, but sometimes he wondered if they’d do less damage if they quit whilst they were still on good terms. He always pushed the thought away quickly, but it was one that kept coming back and he didn’t he know if it was one he ought to voice.