Until The Sunshine Fades

Twenty Six

“I know I’ve said it before, but I like him”

Isabella let out a soft laugh, drawing out of the hug that her mother had gathered her into. The statement didn’t surprise her. From the moment that Gerard had stepped foot into her parents’ home, he had fit in seamlessly, and she hadn’t needed her mother to tell her that she liked him. It’d been all over her face, and her father’s and brothers’ throughout the whole evening. It hadn’t surprised Isabella. When Gerard had accompanied her to her parents’ anniversary party, he had hit it off with her family easily, but still she had adored seeing it. It had done a lot to soothe some of the nervousness that she still harboured about their relationship.

“I like him, too” Isabella replied, ducking her head shyly.

“That sounds like we’ll be seeing more of him” Francesca teased with a soft smile.

Isabella, who’d been sneaking a glance at Gerard who was laughing at something her father had said, blinked a couple of times before she shrugged, turning back to her mother with a shy smile. “You might see him again” she quipped “Is that a problem?” she added.

Francesca gently smoothed Isabella’s hair behind her ear, a doting smile on her face. “I look forwards to it” she said.

The tops of Isabella’s cheeks flushed a gentle shade of pink, something which only got worse when she felt Gerard’s hand settle comfortably against the small of her back. “You ready to go?” he asked.

“Yeah” Isabella confirmed.

“You did remember to pick up the leftovers, didn’t you, Gerard?” Francesca asked.

Gerard lifted his other hand, showing off the bag he held. “Thank you for dinner, Francesca” he quipped “It was lovely” he added.

Francesca beamed up at him before she pushed up onto her toes, kissing both of his cheeks. “Come back any time” she cooed “You don’t even necessarily have to bring Isabella. We’d still be happy to see you” she added.

Gerard laughed. “I’ll keep that in mind” he mused.

Francesca smiled up at him again before Isabella tugged on his hand, wordlessly urging him towards the front door. Offering Alejandro and Francesca one last smile and a wave, he followed Isabella out of the house, trailing her back towards his car. Without saying a word, he placed the bag of food onto the back-seat before he climbed into the driver’s seat, finding Isabella staring out of the passenger window, a soft smile on her face. “What are you thinking about?” he asked.

Isabella startled slightly, before she shrugged, glancing over at him. “A few things” she replied “But mostly that this, tonight, was something I didn’t even really know I needed” she added, smoothing her dress over her lap in an attempt to hide the soft flush of pink on her cheeks.

It had been welcome. After having spent days mourning the loss of her job, and then fretting that things between her and Gerard couldn’t be repaired, that night had been a welcome change, and Isabella felt relieved, even if she knew that her worries hadn’t evaporated. She had enjoyed being distracted by seeing Gerard with her family.

“You needed to watch your mother try and ruin all my nutritionist's hard work?” Gerard chirped, starting the short drive back to Isabella’s home.

Isabella laughed, shaking her head. “I warned you she’d do that” she replied.

Gerard flashed her a smile, his expression growing softer. “You needed tonight?” he asked.

“It was a nice distraction” Isabella mused “My parents were too busy fussing over you, and Alex and Unai were too distracted by Erin to focus on my employment situation, and it was nice to not think about it for a while. I also kind of love that they’re still as giddy about you as they were the first time. Though, I have to admit, I like this car ride home better than the last one” she added, turning to him with a playful roll of her eyes.

Gerard chuckled. “I don’t think that’s saying much” he said.

Isabella just shrugged, allowing a few seconds of quiet to pass between them before Gerard spoke again. “So” he quipped “What’s next?” he asked.

“What do you mean?” Isabella asked, frowning slightly.

“Are you going to meet my friends? Are you and me going to go out to dinner with Elena and Dani? Can I convince you to meet my parents?” Gerard mused, offering her a small smile to let her know that there was no pressure. He wasn’t trying to push her into something she wasn’t ready for. He merely wanted her to know that if she was ready, then he was too.

Isabella shrugged, her stare fixed on her lap. “Do you mind us holding off on meeting your parents for a little longer?” she asked “I mean, I want to meet them, but maybe when things are a little more...settled for me” she added.

“They’re going to adore you, regardless” Gerard replied without hesitation “But, yeah, we can put it off for a little longer” he added.

Isabella flashed him a grateful smile. “Thank you” she mused.

“So, Elena or a friend of mine first?” Gerard pressed.

“You’ve already met Elena and Dani” Isabella pointed out.

“So, a friend of mine” Gerard quipped with a smirk “Have you worked with Leo before?” he asked.

Isabella rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stifle her grin. “I’ve interviewed him a couple of times” she confirmed “Why do you ask?” she asked.

“If you’ve met him, then maybe you’ll be a little less nervous. I mean, it’s unlikely, but...” Gerard trailed off impishly.

Isabella scoffed playfully. “Set it up” she quipped.

“Are you sure?” Gerard asked, his teasing voice growing slightly more serious.

Isabella didn’t hesitate to nod her head. “Yeah, I am sure” she confirmed.

Gerard glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, waiting for the uncertainty to creep across her features, but when it didn’t, he allowed himself a small, pleased smile. “Alright then” he mused “I’ll see what we can do and I will get back to you” he added.

Isabella scoffed out a soft laugh, but didn’t say anything more as she moved to lean her head against the window, a soft smile flitting around her lips. It had been a good night, and she hoped that it was the first of many. They were still figuring things out and growing into the way their relationship had changed, but nights like that made her hopeful that things between them would work out.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)