Until The Sunshine Fades

Ten

Letting her hand hover over her phone, Isabella huffed out a soft sigh before she let it drop, the soft thump of it landing on the table breaking the silence which filled her home. She knew that she had to make the call. After the dinner she and Gerard had had a couple of days previous, she knew that her original plan to wait a couple of weeks before she broke the news of their supposed breakup to her parents had gone out of the window, but still she couldn’t quite find the nerve to make it. There were a lot of reasons she was dreading it. She knew how disappointed her parents would be, she knew that she would feel guilty over telling them another lie, but mostly, she worried that once she had spoken to them, then Gerard would move on, and the dull ache that had lingered in her chest since their moment would become a permanent fixture.

Rubbing her collarbone anxiously, she took in a deep breath before she swept her phone up into her hand, dialling her parents’ phone number as quickly as she could. She knew if she took a beat to think about it, then she would back out again. Bouncing her leg anxiously, she pressed the phone against her ear, waiting for a few moments before her father’s voice greeted her. “Hello?” he said.

“Hi, papa” Isabella replied “I wasn’t expecting you to answer” she added.

“That makes us even” Alejandro quipped “I wasn’t expecting you to call” he added, his voice warm and playful.

Isabella let out a soft laugh. “Is that a jab about me not calling enough?” she played along.

“It bothers your mother more than it bothers me” Alejandro said “But, I am still happy to hear from you. What’s up?” he prodded

Isabella shifted in her seat, her fingers tugging at a loose thread on her shorts before she let out a soft sigh. “I just had something I wanted to tell you and mama” she admitted.

“Oh” Alejandro breathed out “Did you want me to go and get your mother so that you can talk to her instead?” he asked.

Isabella’s lips quirked slightly. “I can tell you” she mused “It’s just something I thought you ought to know. Gerard and I...we decided to break up” she added, trying to keep her tone as even as she could.

Alejandro was quiet for a few moments, long enough for Isabella to grow slightly apprehensive about his reaction, before he let out a soft sigh. “What happened?” he asked tentatively “I mean, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, but...but you two seemed so happy at the party. Did he do something?” he prodded.

Isabella shook her head instantly. “He...He didn’t do anything wrong, papa” she insisted “Neither of us did. It was just...harder than we thought it was going to be” she added.

“Harder?” Alejandro asked.

“I adore him” Isabella said “We’ve been friends for a long time, and I care about him a lot, papa, too much to keep risking our friendship on something that has no guarantees. I started to worry about losing him, so we talked, and he had the same worries. We decided it was better to just play it safe, to stay friends whilst it was still possible” she explained, gently gathering her knees to her chest.

“Are you happy with that?” Alejandro asked.

Isabella sighed, leaning her head back against the chair. She hadn’t been expecting the question and, for a moment, she didn’t know how to answer it. She knew how she would have responded in the past. Before the party, she would have insisted that she was happy with the way things were, but things had changed, even if she and Gerard hadn’t kissed. The moment had been enough to draw Isabella’s attention to feelings she had spent a lot of time pretending to be blissfully unaware of.

“Izzy?” Alejandro prodded.

“I...uh...I don’t know” Isabella stumbled out.

Alejandro sighed. “I know you usually talk to your mother about this sort of thing, but can I say something?” he asked.

“Of course, papa” Isabella replied.

“I took a risk on your mother” Alejandro said “We were friends for a long time, too, and I liked that friendship, but I took a risk, and what I got was better than a friendship that I liked. I got forty years of marriage, and three children I love” he added.

Isabella smiled sadly. “You and mama were lucky” she said “What if we weren’t?” she asked.

“What if you are?” Alejandro countered “What if you’re talking yourself out of the best thing that could happen to you?” he added.

“Papa...”

“You’ll always find reasons to talk yourself out of it” Alejandro interrupted “But the result of that is a whole lot of ‘what ifs’. I know it’s a big leap, sweetheart. Trust me, I know, and I know how scary it is to make it, but if you think that there’s something there, then you really need to think about it” he explained.

Isabella tucked her hair off of her face, taking a moment to think about what her father had said. “I’ll think about it, papa” she said “Can you break the news to mama for me?” she asked.

Alejandro breathed out a sigh. “She liked him” he said.

Isabella felt her stomach twist painfully. “Will you tell her?” she prodded.

“Of course” Alejandro quipped “Are you going to be alright? Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked, his voice soft.

“I’ll be fine, papa” Isabella said softly “Thank you, though. I’ll call you soon?” she prodded.

“We’d love that” Alejandro replied “And we’re here, if you need anything” he added.

Isabella thanked him again before she hung up the phone, placing it back down onto the table. She knew that she had to do something. Despite her best efforts, her mind kept wandering back to Gerard, to the moment that they had shared and the feelings she had spent a long time trying to avoid, and she knew that it wasn’t going to stop and things weren’t just going to go back to what they’d been before. Things were more complicated between them. It’d been obvious in the back of the taxi the night they’d left her parents’ house, and it’d been obvious when they’d gotten dinner together, and she knew that the awkwardness that appeared between them wasn’t just going to disappear. One of them had to do something.

Staring at the phone, she chewed on her lip for a moment before she swept it back into her hand, sending a short text to Gerard, asking if they could talk, before the nerve deserted her again.