Until The Sunshine Fades

Twelve

“You...You would’ve done?”

Gerard ducked his head slightly, trying to hide the amused grin that itched to spread across his face. “What did you think I was going to do?” he asked “I mean, you were leaning into me, I was leaning into you. That usually leads to a kiss” he added, his voice warm and playful.

He knew that it was a big deal. As easily as the admission had fallen out of his mouth, he knew that it had the potential to change things between him and Isabella and that it wasn’t something he could take back, but he hadn’t been able to deny it. He had wanted to kiss her. If it hadn’t been for Unai walking outside when he had, then he would have kissed her, and he wanted her to know it. They had tried to pretend that it was nothing, but it hadn’t worked, and they both knew it. They both knew that, regardless of the damage it could do, they had to be honest.

Isabella let out a laugh before she caught herself, glaring up at him slightly. “Don’t do that” she muttered.

“What?” Gerard asked innocently.

“Play it off” Isabella clarified “You can’t just announce casually that you wanted to kiss me and then make jokes like it isn’t a big deal” she added.

Gerard’s lips quirked again, but he tried his best to stifle it. “That’s not what I am trying to do” he mused “I just...I thought I’d try and keep it light. I do know that this is a big deal, Izzy” he added seriously.

Isabella glanced up at warily, something which caused Gerard to sigh softly before he tugged on her hand, moving her slightly closer to him. “What do you want me to say?” he asked.

“I don’t know” Isabella admitted shyly.

Gerard nodded his head slowly. “Can I ask you something?” he asked.

Isabella smiled slightly. “You just did” she teased.

Gerard let out a soft laugh before he shook his head, redirecting his stare down towards their hands. “If Unai had better timing” he murmured “Would you have kissed me, too?” he asked, keeping his stare away from her face determinedly. He didn’t know that he could stomach seeing the look on her face if she said no.

Isabella was quiet for a beat before she tentatively nodded her head. “I think I would have done” she admitted.

“Really?” Gerard asked, his eyes wide as he looked up at her.

Isabella’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink before she nodded. “You were really sweet” she mused “I mean, I know I prodded you into saying something nice, but what you actually said, it caught me by surprise. I didn’t know you cared about me that much” she admitted shyly.

“Izzy, I adore you” Gerard replied “Everyone knows it” he added.

“Everyone else, maybe” Isabella mumbled, smiling ruefully.

Gerard took a tiny step towards her, ducking his head so that he could catch her eye again. “Here’s something I haven’t said” he said “I never liked Eli” he added.

“Yes, you did” Isabella countered.

Gerard shook his head, smiling slightly. “No, I didn’t” he replied “But you did, so I was nice” he added.

“Why would you be nice to him just because I liked him?” Isabella asked.

“I told you earlier” Gerard replied “If I can keep making you smile, then I am happy. I didn’t like the guy, partly because he was boring, but mostly because he was with you. Do you understand what I am trying to say to you, Izzy?” he pressed.

Isabella’s eyebrows drew together. “Gerard...”

“If I say it, I can’t unsay it” Gerard interrupted “So this is it, last chance to tell me to shut up, because if not, I am going to say it and we’re going to be forced to talk about it” he added, his usual teasing smile tinged with something shier and uncertain.

He knew that they couldn’t keep dancing around it. With the admission about them both having wanted to kiss one another hanging between them, it was likely that they had already passed the point of no return, but he knew if he said the words out loud, they’d be forced to confront it and the tiny hope that he held of their friendship being unaffected would be extinguished. If he said it out loud, he couldn’t take it back.

Isabella’s eyes searched his face before she let out a shaky breath. “Say it” she whispered.

“I...I have feelings for you” Gerard admitted “Romantic feelings. I’ve had them for a while, but originally, you were with Eli...”

“I broke up with Eli almost a year ago” Isabella interrupted.

Gerard offered her a grin that was caught somewhere between playful and bashful. “As I said, I’ve had them for a while” he said “I just...I didn’t want to say anything. I can’t read you that well, and I worried that if I just came out and said it, you’d be scared off and I’d wreck what we have got, which I like, a lot” he explained.

Isabella’s lips quirked. “I said the same thing to my papa” she said.

Gerard tilted his head. “You asked your father for advice?” he asked.

“You told me to tell them about the breakup” Isabella pointed out “So I did. I mean, it might not have been a real breakup, but I think it’s possible that I let my feelings show a little anyway. I told them that we’d agreed to be friends, mostly because I was scared of taking a risk on something that doesn’t have any guarantees” she explained.

Gerard’s lips quirked slightly. “You let your feelings show” he repeated “Is that your roundabout way of saying that you might just have some feelings for me, too?” he prodded.

Isabella smiled shyly. “Maybe” she quipped “What would you say if it was?” she asked.

Gerard’s smile widened a little. “I’d tell you that I am going away for a couple of weeks” he noted “Preseason tour that I can’t get out of” he added.

“What’s that got to do with this?” Isabella asked.

“We’ve got to schedule a date” Gerard replied as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Isabella’s teasing smile faltered. “Gerard” she murmured “I don’t know that it’s that simple” she added.

Gerard nodded his head. “I know” he said “I know it’s a lot” he added.

“It is” Isabella agreed “And I...I think I need some time to think about it. Can we do that? Can we take a step back and think before we do something we can’t undo?” she asked.

Gerard nodded. “That’s surprising sensible coming from you” he teased, offering her a shy smile

Isabella returned his smile, just as shyly. “I do have good ideas from time to time” she played along.

Gerard stepped towards her, pressing a gentle kiss against her cheek before he pulled back, searching her eyes briefly. Isabella held his stare, waiting to see if he moved, before he quirked a rueful grin. “Why have you got to be sensible now?” he prodded.

Isabella let out a nervous laugh. “One of us has to be” she replied.

Gerard rolled his eyes before he stepped away from her, moving towards the door slowly. “I guess I will see you in a couple of weeks, then” he quipped.

“I guess so” Isabella replied “I’ll miss you” she added.

Gerard smiled at her words. “I’ll miss you, too” he said, hoping that when he came back in a couple of weeks, things weren’t ruined beyond repair.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)