Burn Us Down

74: That’s A Big Step For Us

“You do know that I have done this before, right?”

Olivia, who’d been checking the temperature of a bottle on her skin, smiled a little before she glanced over at Gerard who’d stopped in the kitchen doorway, Aria in his arms. It’d been a little while. After their preliminary conversation about their potential wedding plans, a couple of weeks had passed, and whilst they’d not made anything concrete, they had made some progress. It was tentative. Gerard was wary of pushing too hard and overwhelming Olivia and Olivia was wary of excluding Gerard from decisions like she had done before, but they were still making little steps forwards and little steps, considering where they’d been a year previous, was a big deal.

“I just thought you’d appreciate a hand with their feed before I left” Olivia replied “They do outnumber you” she added.

Gerard made a playful face, feigning surprise as he looked between Olivia and Aria. “They do?” he prodded “I hadn’t noticed” he added.

Olivia offered him an unimpressed look, something which made Gerard laugh gently before he shook his head. “Are you sure that you’re not just trying to avoid leaving?” he prodded “I mean, I know that you love you sister, but you didn’t seem thrilled by the thought of heading out with her” he added, shifting his hold on Aria when she started to fuss a little.

It used to be something that Olivia looked forwards to. She and Melissa had always been very close, and Olivia would have chosen to spend time with her older sister over most people if she had the choice, but it was something that had shifted in the last year. A combination of things had led to it. Things between Gerard and Olivia, and between Melissa and Enzo had placed the two sisters on differing sides more than once, and it meant that their relationship was still a little fractured, even if they were trying to fix it. There was no ignoring how strained things still felt between them.

Olivia busied herself by preparing the second bottle so that she didn’t have to look up at him as she spoke. “It’s been a while” she mused “I’m just worried it will be a little…” she trailed off quietly

“Awful?” Gerard contributed, earning another glare which he batted away with an impish grin.

“Awkward” Olivia clarified, grimacing a little.

Gerard nodded his head slowly. “You want to cancel?” he asked after a moment of quiet.

Olivia shook her head. “I know it’s not going to be a picnic” she mused “Mel’s never made things easy, and I am pretty sure that lunch will be no different, but I do still want to go. She’s my only sister, Gerard” she added.

Gerard, who’d been gently bouncing Aria in an attempt to stop her from crying, lifted his head up, offering Olivia a small, reassuring smile. “I know” he mused “And I know that you want to work things out with her. I hope it works out the way you want it to, Livy” he added, gently smoothing a hand over Aria’s head to try and comfort her as she began to whimper.

Olivia watched the two of them for a moment before she stepped towards him, gently placing Aria’s bottle into his spare hand. Pushing herself up onto her toes, she pressed a light kiss against his cheek before she stepped back, smoothing out their daughter’s hair with the tips of her fingers. “You’ll call me if you need me?” she asked quietly.

Gerard wanted to scoff and playfully roll his eyes, but he stopped himself. Instead, he leant over, pressing a kiss against the top of Olivia’s head. “If you need me to create a diversion, just text me” he mumbled into her hair “I’ll call and get you out of there” he added.

Olivia smiled softly. “Thank you” she said softly.

“Gosh, they look so much like you”

Olivia, who’d been quietly perusing the menu, smiled at Melissa’s comment, lifting her head just enough to see her older sister flicking through the gallery of pictures that Olivia had pulled up for her on her phone. It was an easy icebreaker. With a lot of Melissa’s attention fixed on her divorce and her new relationship, there hadn’t been a lot of opportunities for her to come and visit Olivia and the twins, and it meant that pictures of the little girls was an easy way to start the conversation and alleviate some of the initial tension which had filled the air when they’d sat down together.

“You think so?” Olivia asked.

“I do” Melissa replied “I mean, Aria’s hair is darker, like Gerard’s, and I think Rosalie maybe has a little more of his features, but they are adorable, Oli. I can’t believe how big they are” she gushed.

Olivia gently leant over, taking her phone back and pushing it into her pocket. “They’re growing too fast” she mused.

Melissa sipped at her glass of water, allowing a moment of quiet to pass between the two of them, before Olivia spoke up again. “Me and Gerard started wedding planning again” she announced.

Melissa spluttered on her drink, slowly lowering the glass away from her mouth. “You did?” she coughed.

“Tentatively” Olivia confirmed with a slightly tight nod “I mean, nothing’s planned yet, but we’re talking about it. That’s a big step for us” she added, a soft smile brightening her face.

Melissa blinked a couple of times, swallowing the immediate impulse she had to ask if Olivia was sure about what she was doing, before she forced a polite smile, something Olivia saw through the instant it appeared on her face. Olivia thought about saying something. About pointing out that she and Gerard had taken their time and weren’t rushing into anything, but she knew that it wouldn’t make a difference. Melissa had her mind made up about Olivia and Gerard, and try as she might, Olivia knew that she wasn’t going to change it.

Letting out a soft sigh, she sipped on her own drink before she cleared her throat. “How are things with Nicolas?” she asked.

Melissa’s expression immediately brightened. “They’re good” she gushed “I met his parents last week, and that went really well. Max and him got on well, too, which is really great” she added.

Olivia just nodded her head, listening to her sister as she gushed about how well things were going with Nicolas as she tried to ignore the knot in her stomach. There was no way it was ever just going to go back, but the more time she spent around her sister, the more she recognised how big the distance between the two of them had gotten and how difficult it would be to knit it back together.


Olivia blinked, refocussing on her sister. “Hm?” she asked.

“Nico’s birthday is next week” Melissa repeated “Can we expect you and Gerard at his party?” she added, smiling hopefully.

Olivia hesitated for long enough that Melissa’s expression started to falter, but she was quick enough to nod that it didn’t crumple completely. “I’ll have to check Gerard’s schedule, but I should be able to make it at least” she mused.

Melissa clapped her hands together eagerly. “He’ll be so glad” she enthused “He really like the two of you” she added.

Olivia just grinned, not able to find the words to say the feeling was mutual.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)