Burn Us Down

Epilogue: For Once

“You’re pulling my hair!”

Gerard gently tugged the hairbrush loose from Aria’s hair, letting out a quiet sigh as the little girl squirmed away from him. They were on a schedule. That night was an important one to Olivia, one she had been waiting for forever, and Gerard wanted to be on time, not wanting the moment that Olivia, along with Paige, celebrated the opening of their restaurant to pass without him or their children present. She’d been working towards it for as long as Gerard had known her. One of the first things he’d learnt about her was that she wanted to own, and cook in, her own restaurant, and whilst he’d offered more than once to help make it happen, she’d always turned him down, insisting that it was something she was going to do herself. It’d taken her a long time. She’d been saving before she’d met Gerard, and they’d been together for a little over ten years when she and Paige had finally taken the plunge, but Gerard had no doubt that it’d been worth the wait. The smile that Olivia wore when she spoke about it was something he’d never tire of seeing.

“I’m sorry, baby” Gerard apologised softly “But I need to get this finished. You’ve still got to get your shoes on and I need to get Michael ready. Can you just sit still for another minute?” he asked.

Aria grumbled, but did sit back down, something which caused Gerard to let out a sigh in relief. Running the brush through her hair, he fixed it into a ponytail before he gently tapped her shoulder. “Go and get your shoes on” he mused “And find your sister. Once I’ve got your brother ready, we need to go” he added.

Aria nodded before she skittered out of the room, allowing Gerard to stand up from the foot of the bed before he crossed the room, resting his weight against the side of the crib that stood there. Quirking a small smile, he took a moment to watch Michael stir before he gently leant down, scooping the baby up into his arms. They had waited a long time. Between the twins and the other things that he and Olivia had going on in their lives, the prospect of adding another baby had been placed firmly on the backburner for a long time, but a couple of weeks previous, he and Olivia had welcomed their son, something that hadn’t quite settled in yet.

Michael stirred a little, but didn’t quite wake up, something which caused Gerard to kiss his head softly before he moved around the room, picking up the baby’s nappy bag and blanket before he made his way out of the door. “Aria, Rosalie, come on” he called.

“Are we going to see mama at work?” Rosalie asked.

Gerard’s lips curved upwards into a warm smile. “Yeah, we are” he confirmed “Are you excited to see where she works?” he asked.

Rosalie grinned as she nodded her head.

“Then we should get moving” Gerard mused “I know your mama is looking forwards to having the three of you there” he added.

“And you, papa?” Aria chirped.

“I’d like to think she’d be happy to see me too, sweetheart” Gerard replied “Now, come on! We’ll be late otherwise” he added, his voice soft and playful as he tried to shepherd the twins towards his car.

“He’ll be here”

Olivia, who was peeking out of the front window, jumped at the sound of Enzo’s voice before she turned around, offering him a bashful smile. “I know he will” she confirmed “I just could have done with him being early for once in his life. He’s got this knack for making me feel better that I could really use right now” she added, letting out a slightly shy laugh.

Enzo smiled, offering her the glass he held in his hand. “It’s mostly orange juice, but there’s a tiny bit of champagne in it. Rhea mostly just wanted to smell the champagne” he mused, sparing a bashful look across the room towards his pregnant girlfriend.

Olivia laughed, gently taking the glass. “Thank you” she mused, her eyes drifting back out of the window again.

Enzo squeezed her shoulder before he wandered back into the crowd, leaving Olivia alone to sip on her drink. Letting out a quiet sigh, she watched people pass the window, drifting off for a few minutes before the sound of the door opening with a slightly loud bang reached her. Settling the glass down on a nearby table, she weaved through the crowd before her face lit up, her eyes landing firstly on the twins and then on Gerard who’d trailed them through the door, Michael in his arms. She didn’t move towards them immediately. She hung back and watched, smiling at the mere sight of them for a few moments before she took a step forwards.

“Mama!” Aria and Rosalie squealed, running towards her.

Olivia crouched down, laughing softly when the two of them wrapped her in a soft hug. “Hey” she cooed “Are you OK?” she asked.

The twins nodded against her before Olivia broke the hug, smoothing some hair off of Rosalie’s face. “Your ponytail’s come out” she said “Did papa not do it right?” she asked.

“Papa tried” Gerard’s voice was warm and playful.

Olivia looked up, smiling up at Gerard impishly. “You know that you were supposed to be here nearly twenty minutes ago, don’t you?” she asked teasingly.

“Be grateful that we’re as early as we are” Gerard retorted, playing along.

Olivia pressed kisses to both Rosalie and Aria’s heads before she ushered them off towards Alex and Valeria, allowing her to stand up and step towards Gerard. One of her hands landed on the back of his neck, the hand of Gerard’s that wasn’t holding Michael slipped to her waist, and they met somewhere in the middle, sharing a tender kiss which only ended when Michael let out a soft sound. Gently pulling away, Olivia blinked up at Gerard, smiling at him goofily before she moved to take Michael out of his arms.

Gerard watched the two of them, but he was quick to stop Olivia getting too far away, his arm gently curving around her waist. “This place looks incredible” he said softly “You and Paige must be over the moon” he added.

Olivia’s eyes didn’t leave Michael, but her smile was completely for Gerard. “We are” she confirmed “I mean, I don’t think she’s completely forgiven me for needing to take maternity leave immediately, but she’s met my temporarily replacement and she’s more than prepared to work with him for as long as I need. The place is more gorgeous than I could have imagined and honestly, if it wasn’t for my wanting to spend time with this little guy, I’d be here tomorrow night for the first shift” she added, tipping her head forwards so that she could kiss the top of Michael’s head.

“You need to take it easy for a little longer” Gerard pointed out. Michael’s birth hadn’t been completely straightforward and Olivia needed to take the time to recuperate, even if it did mean putting off her first night in her kitchen for a while.

“I know” Olivia replied “I’m just…I’m happy, Gerard. This place, the twins, Michael…you. I’m just happy” she gushed.

Gerard moved half a place closer to her, pressing his lips to her temple. “I’m happy that you’re happy” he mumbled.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment on the last chapter :)

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