Until The Sunshine Fades

Twenty Three

“Mama, I am here” Isabella announced as closed her parents’ front door, her eyes surveying the hall for any sign of her mother or father. It hadn’t been her first choice. After the fight that she and Gerard had had the night previous, she had been desperate to find a reason to get out of her home, but with Elena already having plans, and without the distraction that would could have afforded her, she had been stuck for choices, something which had caused her to call her mother, asking if she and her father were available for lunch.

She knew it would be awkward. Her parents wouldn’t quite know what to say to her, and she would probably say something she didn’t mean, but it beat sitting at home, trying, and failing, to come up with a way to make amends with Gerard. She wanted to call him, to insist that she was sorry for not telling him sooner, and to try and explain why she hadn’t, but she had talked herself out it. Gerard had asked for space, and, with no idea of what to say to him, Isabella had to give it to him.

Slipping her feet out of her shoes, she hung her jacket up beside the door before she heard someone clear their throat, causing her to lift her head, frowning at the sight of her older brother who had poked his head out of the living room. “What are you doing here?” she asked.

Alex scoffed playfully. “Is that anyway to greet your brother, Izzy?” he prodded.

Isabella rolled her eyes, but she did move towards him, greeting him with a quick hug. “Hello, Alejandro” she muttered “I didn’t expect to be seeing you. I thought it was just going to be me and our parents” she added.

“I had the afternoon free” Alex replied with a small shrug “And mama wasn’t really prepared to take no for an answer when she called” he added.

“She called you?” Isabella prodded.

Alex looked slightly nervous for a moment before he sighed, glancing down at his feet. “She told me and Unai what happened” he admitted “You know, with your job” he added sheepishly.

Isabella blinked a couple of times, but before she had the chance to reply, Alex held up a hand. “Before you do what we both know you’re going to do, can I say something?” he prodded.

“You don’t know what I am going to do” Isabella countered.

Alex’s lips quirked upwards into a knowing smile. “You’re going to get upset with mama” he quipped “And I am going to tell you that you shouldn’t. She was just trying to remind you that we’ve got your back. I know you prefer to deal with things by yourself, but it won’t hurt to have some support, will it?” he prodded.

He knew how independent she could be. Even when they were children, Isabella had preferred to do things by herself rather than with him or Unai, but he wanted her to know that their mother had only been trying to remind her of their support. Francesca merely wanted Isabella to be aware that, if she needed them, she had people that would drop the world for her.

Isabella let out a quiet sigh before she wrapped her arms around herself, shaking her head gently. It was the same thing Gerard had said. He had told her that she could deal with things in her own way, but she could rely on him, and hearing it from her brother only made the knot in her stomach worse. As more time passed, she grew surer that she had made an error in not talking to Gerard immediately. “No” she murmured.

Alex set a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently. “You look wrecked” he quipped.

The laugh that Isabella let out was tired, but genuine. “I think I am starting to see why you’re single” she quipped teasingly.

“You’re one to talk” Alex shot back playfully “I heard that you and Gerard went your separate ways” he added.

All laughter in Isabella’s expression disappeared. Almost as soon as the words were out of Alex’s mouth, her eyes were filled with tears, causing her brother’s eyes to widen. “Crap” he muttered “I...I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I thought the two of you were still on good terms?” he pressed.

Isabella shook her head, ducking it so that she could wipe at her eyes. “It’s a mess” she murmured.

Alex spared a slightly panicked look over his shoulder, hoping that Francesca had appeared just in time, before he turned back to his sister. “What’s a mess?” he asked tentatively.

“Is it dramatic if I say everything?” Isabella asked, offering him a sad grin.

“A little” Alex replied, playing along.

Isabella let out a rueful laugh, her hand gently rubbing at her collarbone. “It’s just been a tough few days” she mused “The...the thing with my job, it knocked me, and I don’t think I handled it as well as I could. In fact, I know I didn’t. This huge thing happened to me, and I just...I went back into the shell I go to when things go wrong. I think I have to fix everything myself, or handle it myself, and I know that that is stupid of me, but I can’t help it” she added.

Alex leant against the door frame. “Why’d you start crying when I mentioned Gerard?” he asked.

Isabella opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, trying to come up with an excuse, before she gave up. Pushing a hand back through her hair, she looked down at her feet, another sad smile pulling up one corner of her mouth. “I think I really messed things up with him” she admitted “We’d...uh...we’d been trying things out again, and I didn’t tell him about what happened with my job, not as quickly as I should have done anyway. I hurt him, and I don’t quite know how to make it better. I don’t know if I can make it better” she added.

Alex stared at her for a few moments, trying to think of something to say, but he was saved from having to say anything when Francesca stepped past him, gently wrapping Isabella in a hug. Isabella lifted her head briefly, checking who was hugging her, before she melted into it. “You heard that?” she murmured.

Francesca nodded wordlessly.

“You told me to tell him” Isabella whispered “You practically warned me that this is what would happen. I should have listened” she added, hugging her mother tighter.

“You were hurting” Francesca murmured “And you made a mistake, but I am sure, given time, he’ll understand it. He did not strike me as the type to give up easily” she added comfortingly.

Isabella hugged her mother tighter, wordlessly hoping that she was right. They had barely had a chance to see where things between them could go, and she didn’t want to believe that they could be over. She didn’t want to believe that she had managed to ruin their friendship so easily.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)