Burn Us Down

09: It Seems Unlikely

Drumming his fingers against the steering wheel, Gerard peered out of the window, staring up at the building he’d pulled up outside of as he tried to decide whether he ought to make his way inside or not. He had let Olivia know that he might, despite his uncertainty, he knew that dropping in on her unannounced was likely to do more harm than good, but still he couldn’t quite work up the nerve to head inside. Olivia had said that she wanted to see him. It had been a handful of days since they’d gotten coffee together, and she had suggested that if he were to drop by, then she would be pleased to see him, but still Gerard was apprehensive. The cooking school where she taught had been where he had asked her to marry him, and whilst it was a memory he cherished, it was one that had a lump in his throat when he thought about where they were now.

Allowing his fingers to find the keys which still sat in the ignition, he briefly thought about turning them and starting the car again, before he let out a soft sigh, sliding the keys out. Climbing out of the car, he turned around to lock it before he wandered towards the door. Stopping a pace short of it, he stared at it for a few seconds, allowing the memory of his proposal to pass through his mind, before he pressed ahead, making his way inside. Making sure that the door closed quietly behind, he shuffled through reception before he reached the back of the class, stopping when he caught sight of Olivia at the front of it, grinning as she showed off the plate of food she’d made.

“I see we’ve got a few more… creative interpretations” Olivia joked as she studied her class “But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great to have a little fun with plating things up” she added, her warm smile faltering only slightly when her gaze passed over where Gerard stood.

Gerard caught her glance, greeting her with a small, sheepish wave.

“I think that’s all we’ve got time for this week” Olivia mused “I hope to see a few of you again next week. Gracias” she added.

The class took their time to filter out of the room, a lot of people stopping to say thank you to Olivia before they left, but after a few minutes, Gerard and Olivia found themselves alone, allowing that now all too familiar silence to stretch between them. Olivia padded around the room, busying herself for a few long moments, before Gerard stepped towards her, gently taking the spoons that she had gathered up out of her hands. “I know you don’t have to do that” he said softly.

Olivia shrugged. “I sometimes do it to help the cleaners out” she replied “It’s why I am their favourite” she added, flashing him a playful smile that did, to his surprise, reach her eyes.

Gerard smiled back. “It’s not just your charming personality?” he played along.

“It helps” Olivia replied “But the tidying probably seals it” she added as she slipped the spoons out of his hand, moving to throw them in nearby sink.

Gerard watched her for a few minutes, just happy to be in the same place as her, before he gently cleared his throat. “You got anything for me to try?” he asked, offering her a hopeful smile. It was a little tradition of theirs. Olivia was always coming up with new recipes that she wanted to teach and Gerard, who was a frequent visitor, was an ever willing test subject, more than happy to taste whatever she came up with.

Olivia, who’d been rinsing off a plate under a tap, nodded towards the fridge. “Second shelf” she mused.

Gerard wandered towards the fridge and pulled it open, smiling a little at the familiarity of the routine. Sliding out the plate she’d left inside, he settled down near one of the cooking stations before he began to eat, allowing the room to fall quiet again.

Olivia washed a few more plates before she looked over at him, her lips curving upwards slightly. “Well?” she prodded.

Gerard looked up and grinned, lifting the empty plate to show it off to her. “What does it look like?” he asked.

“You eat anything I put in front of you” Olivia replied.

“I like your food” Gerard replied with a nonchalant shrug “You’re good at your job” he added.

“I could never teach you” Olivia replied, flashing him a playful smirk.

Gerard shrugged, his own grin softening into something more uncertain. “You could always keep trying” he quipped.

Olivia offered him a rueful smile before she turned back to the sink, resuming her cleaning.

Gerard thought about saying something more, about admitting that he missed her, but he stopped himself. Whilst it was true, and had been true since the first morning she had left their home, he knew that he couldn’t say it. He didn’t want her to think he was trying to push her into anything before she was ready.

“I’m going to start staying at a hotel in town”

Gerard, who’d started to push his fork around the empty plate, whipped his head up. “What? Why?” he asked.

Olivia shrugged. “Melissa is starting to annoy me” she replied “I mean, she means well, of course she does, but she just keeps…”

“Being so Melissa about the whole thing” Gerard finished for her.

Olivia nodded. “You know how she is” she mused “And how she feels about you hasn’t improved in the last couple of weeks, but I could do with a few days where she’s not poking her nose in. She keeps telling me that I should start to get in contact with our wedding vendors and cancelling the arrangements” she added.

Gerard’s breath hitched. “Have you?” he asked.

Olivia glanced over at him, her eyes studying her face, before she slowly shook her head.

“Are you going to?” Gerard asked, trying, and failing, to keep his voice from shaking.

Olivia seemed to think for an eternity before she lifted her head, her eyes meeting his. “Do you really think we’re still going to be getting married in six months?” she asked.

Gerard blinked, but couldn’t seem to force any kind of sound out of his mouth.

“I’m not saying that we won’t be together” Olivia continued, her voice softening “But I don’t think we’re going to be walking down the aisle in six months, Geri. It seems unlikely, doesn’t it?” she prodded gently.

She wasn’t trying to hurt him, but she was trying to be practical. Things were still so uncertain, Olivia still wasn’t entirely sure of what she wanted, and she couldn’t help but think the six month time scale that separated them from their wedding day was unrealistic. If they were going to figure it out, then it was going to take them time to grow back into their relationship, and she couldn’t see it happening in six months. It just didn’t feel like it was going to be enough time to get back to where they’d been before.

Gerard opened and closed his mouth a few times, grasping for something to say, before he pushed his hand back through his hair. “Don’t do it yet” he said quietly.


“Please?” Gerard interrupted “Please, just…just give it some time” he stumbled out.

Olivia glanced at him, wanting to argue, but opted against it, instead sighing before she went back to tidying up the room.

Gerard watched her quietly, knowing that he was probably only staving off the inevitable, but he couldn’t bear to hear her say it. After four years of dating, and months of being engaged, he couldn’t fathom that they wouldn’t walk down the aisle.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)