Until The Sunshine Fades

Nineteen

“Izzy, where do you keep your wine glasses?”

Isabella, who was flicking through television channels, quirked a small amused smile, listening to the distant sound of Gerard opening and closing cupboards in the kitchen. He had surprised her. After they’d gone to lunch the afternoon after their first date, they’d not seen one another for a few days, but when Isabella had gotten home from work, she had found him on the doorstep of her home, a bottle of her favourite wine in one hand and a slightly bashful smile on his face.

He had made a joke, told her that he simply couldn’t stay away any longer, but Isabella had seen through it immediately. He was worried about her, he had been since she had admitted that there was a chance that she could lose her job, and whilst he wouldn’t admit it, and she wouldn’t call him out for it, she knew that he had shown up to check on her, something which had butterflies in the pit of her stomach. It meant a lot to her that he had paid attention to what was bothering her.

“The first cupboard on the right” Isabella called back “Am I going to have to start labelling cupboards so you can learn where things are?” she added impishly.

Gerard let out a loud huff in reply, something which caused Isabella to laugh before she leant her head back, watching him walk into the room. Quirking a soft smile, she took the glass he held out towards her before she leant up, pressing a quick kiss against his lips. Gerard smiled at the contact, still slightly in awe of how easy it felt, before he drew back, plopping down into the seat beside her. “Have you picked something yet?” he asked, tilting his head towards the television.

Isabella shook her head, taking a sip from her glass. “I was just flicking through the channels” she answered “I figured you’d probably want to switch it off anyway. I mean, I’m pretty sure that you didn’t come over just to watch my television” she added, smiling slightly.

Gerard thought about shrugging, about flashing her an impish grin and making a joke, but he opted against it. Instead, he rubbed his jaw gently, flashing Isabella a slightly bashful smile. “Which tactic do you want me to use?” he asked “My usual, or Elena’s?” he added.

Isabella’s lips quirked. She knew what he meant, it was his way of encouraging her to talk to him, and it always amazed her how well he seemed to know her. “You could always try just asking” she countered “You never know, it might work” she added.

“It doesn’t normally” Gerard countered, offering her a playfully wary look.

Isabella glared back at him, causing Gerard to laugh before he shook his head, his stare fixed on her face. “Has anything changed?” he asked.

Isabella’s expression sobered slightly before she offered him a tight shake of her head. “As far as I am aware, they’re still talking about what cuts need to be made” she said “They don’t really tell us too much, but I have started to put feelers out for other opportunities. I don’t know what will come up, but I thought I should start looking, just in case” she added.

Gerard gently plucked the glass out of her hand and settled it down onto the coffee table before he twined their fingers together, something which made Isabella shake her head, smiling up at him sadly. “I’m sorry” she said “I mean, I bet this wasn’t how you were expecting things to be now that we’re...” she trailed off, gesturing between the two of them.

“You can say dating” Gerard quipped impishly “It probably won’t kill you” he added.

Isabella rolled her eyes, her smile growing slightly brighter.

Gerard squeezed her hand softly. “I want you to talk to me” he quipped.

“I do” Isabella countered.

Gerard offered her a pointed look, a crooked smile on his face. “Do you?” he asked.

Isabella’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink. “I asked you to help me with that thing with my parents” she said.

Gerard’s answering laugh was bright and loud. “Only because you had to” he said “It was either ask for my help, or never live down the fact that you’d made up a boyfriend to get your mother off your back. I was the lesser of two evils” he added amusedly.

“Not so much” Isabella said “You did too good a job” she added.

Gerard knew what she was doing. She didn’t like the previous conversation that they were having. She didn’t like having it pointed out to her that, on occasion, she could be a little closed off and elusive, and he knew that she was trying to distract him, but he couldn’t ignore the comment she had dangled out ahead of him, even if he knew why she had said it. He couldn’t resist the temptation to ask what she meant.

“Too good a job?” Gerard asked, trying, and failing, to keep the smirk off of his face.

Isabella ducked her head, smiling down at her feet. “My mother doesn’t call to ask if I am seeing anyone any more” she said “She calls me to ask about you, to ask if we’re going to figure things out” she added.

Gerard couldn’t stop his grin from widening, something which Isabella caught out of the corner of her eye, her own smile widening a fraction. “I am probably going to wait a few weeks” she said after a few moments of quiet “And then I will tell them that we figured things out. It’ll make us seem a little indecisive, but honestly, I don’t think that’ll matter to them. They loved you, and I think they’ll be thrilled that I wasn’t stupid enough to let you go” she added, shaking her head amusedly.

Gerard grinned. “Just stupid enough to invent a fake boyfriend to start with” he quipped playfully.

Isabella laughed gently before she shook her head, glancing over at him, her expression sobering slightly. “I don’t like to admit to things that make me feel vulnerable” she said “I am not a talker, I have never been, and I can’t make any promises about it being different now that we’re...now that things are changing between us, but I will try to be more open” she added.

Gerard’s teasing smile softened, growing warm and tender before he leant over, pressing a soft kiss to her cheek. “I’m here” he murmured “For whatever you need me to be here for. That’s not going to change” he added, placing a kiss at the corner of her mouth.