Until The Sunshine Fades

Twenty Four

Leaning back into the driver’s seat of her car, Isabella screwed her eyes shut, listening to the dial tone that echoed away from the phone she had settled in her lap. She knew that she should have called before she got into her car, but she hadn’t been able to work up the nerve to. She didn’t quite know if she could handle hearing Gerard say that he didn’t want to see her, and so she had driven to his home before he made the call, hoping that the fact that she was already outside would convince him to see her. She knew that he was still upset. Her phone had buzzed numerous times throughout the day, but every time she had looked down at the screen, hoping to see his name, she had been left disappointed, and she knew it was an indication of the damage that had been done. Even at his busiest, Gerard always found a second to send her a text.

Rubbing at her collarbone, she let out a nervous breath before the dial tone clicked over, allowing Gerard’s voice to fill the car. “Hello?” he said.

Isabella opened and closed her mouth a couple of times before she dropped her head, shaking it slightly. “Hi” she greeted, grimacing at the awkwardness in her voice “I...I’m glad you answered. I wasn’t sure that you would” she added.

Gerard let out a soft sigh, one that sounded equally frustrated and sad. “Of course I would” he said “I like talking to you” he added.

Isabella grimaced again, hearing the slight sharpness in his voice. “I...I’m outside” she stumbled out, breaking the momentary silence that had settled between them “I thought I’d call before I tried the door. I didn’t want to catch you off guard” she added.

“Come to the door” Gerard replied.

Isabella hesitated for a second before she nodded. “OK” she said “See you in a second” she added before she hung up the phone. Sliding it into the pocket of her jeans, she glanced at the rear-view mirror briefly before she pushed the door open, moving towards the front door that Gerard held open, watching her up the path.

Stepping past him, Isabella watched Gerard push the front door closed before he gestured down the hall, wordlessly directing her into the living room. Isabella hesitated momentarily before she wandered down the hall, Gerard following close behind. Entering the living room, she briefly thought about sitting down, but she opted against it. Instead, she paced a small distance away from Gerard before she turned around, nervously crossing her arms across her chest.

Gerard, who’d moved to perch on the arm of a chair, watched her for a moment before he shook his head. “Izzy...”

“I want to say sorry” Isabella interrupted “I...I don’t think I actually said that to you the other day. I think I made a lot of excuses, but I didn’t say that, and I want to. I’m sorry, Gerard” she added.

Gerard’s stoic expression softened as he shook his head, letting loose a soft sigh. “I acted like an ass” he said.

Isabella’s lips quirked despite herself. “I gave you a reason to” she mused.

Gerard lifted his stare, meeting her eyes. “I shouldn’t have reacted like I did” he mused “But I just...You hurt me, Izzy. I don’t like that you didn’t tell me, but what I dislike even more is that you didn’t feel like you could tell me. I don’t know if you would have told me before, but when you said that you didn’t tell me because you were scared of how it’d affect this...this new thing that’s happening between us, that really freaking hurt” he added, trying to soften his words with a slightly pained smile.

He didn’t like that Isabella hadn’t been upfront with him. A huge thing had happened in her life, and it stung him that she had decided to keep it to herself, but what hurt more was the idea that she didn’t feel as though she could turn to him just because things between them were in the process of changing. It was something Isabella had always struggled with. She had never been particularly good at talking about things that were difficult, or left her vulnerable, and Gerard knew it, but he hated that she had used their changing relationship to excuse it. They were supposed to be growing closer.

Isabella looked down at her feet, her hand moving to its familiar place on her collarbone. “I am scared” she admitted quietly “Now that we’re...we’re dating, things are exciting, but they’re also terrifying, and so I...I erred too much on the side of caution. I didn’t want to show you how...devastated I was. Who wants to try and comfort their new girlfriend so early in a relationship?” she prodded.

“That’s the thing” Gerard quipped with a rueful smile “You’re not just my new girlfriend, Izzy. You keep acting like we’ve not been friends for years. Like I haven’t see you at your best, and at your worst. That’s not just disappeared because we’ve started kissing” he added.

Isabella’s cheeks flushed pink, something which caused Gerard to quirk a small smile before he leant forwards, gently unfolding her arms so that he could take one of her hands into his. “I know we’re still figuring this out” he murmured “But I don’t want you to forget everything that has led us up to here. Our friendship is part of the reason we are here, Izzy” he added, leaning over to press a gentle kiss against the inside of her wrist.

Isabella watched him before she let out a soft sigh, her fingers gently pushing back through his hair. “I...I worked so hard to get to where I got” she whispered after a few seconds of quiet “And now it’s gone, and I don’t know what to do. I’ve put out feelers, looking for something else, but I just...I can’t get my head around it. I loved my job, Gerard” she admitted.

Gerard kissed her wrist again before he looked up at her face. “I know you did” he mused “And I am so sorry that it’s gone. Whatever you need me to do, I will do it. Just say the word” he insisted.

“You mentioned something about a hug the other night” Isabella’s smile was watery “Is that maybe still on the table? I could use it right about now” she added.

Gerard let out a soft laugh before he rose to his feet, allowing Isabella to throw her arms around his waist, hugging him tightly. Slowly, he placed his arms around her shoulders before he dipped his head, kissing the crown of hers. Isabella’s lips quirked upwards before she looked up at him, something which made Gerard smile down at her. “What?” he asked.

“I kind of told my mother that we were seeing each other again” Isabella revealed.

Gerard’s smile widened. “How thrilled is she?” he asked.

“Why don’t you find out?” Isabella prodded “I mean, I don’t think she’d object if I was to bring you home for dinner this weekend” she added.

Gerard feigned a gasp. “Isn’t it too soon for me to meet your parents?” he asked impishly.

Isabella rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stifle her grin, more than relieved that things between them seemed to be smoothed over. “Is that a no?” she prodded.

Gerard leant down, pecking her lips once, before he pulled away with a grin. “How could I refuse dinner with my biggest fan?” he chirped.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)