Until The Sunshine Fades

Twenty Seven

“I can’t believe that you’re still running late. I texted twice to tell you I was on my way”

Isabella scoffed, but couldn’t stop her cheeks from turning a shade of pink as she reached over her shoulder, feeling blindly for the zip on her dress. She had tried to be ready on time. She wanted to make a good impression on Gerard’s friends, and she knew that being late wouldn’t get her off to the best start, but she hadn’t been able to help it. She had spent the early part of the evening on a video call with a contact that her old boss had put her in touch with, and as much as she had watched the clock, she had let time get away from her. It was the first interview she had had, and whilst she already knew that it wasn’t likely to yield a job, she had been grateful for the chance.

“I was busy” Isabella called back “I had an interview, and I lost track of time, but we should still make it to the restaurant on time” she added.

A knock against her bedroom door frame preceded Gerard’s voice. “That was tonight?” he asked.

Isabella spared a quick nod over her shoulder, her hand still trying to find the zip.

Gerard’s lips quirked up amusedly before he stepped towards her, slowly guiding the zip up her back. “How do you think it went?” he asked softly.

“I am pretty sure that I am not going to get it” Isabella answered “But, he seemed pretty impressed with my resume. He said he’d keep me in mind should something else come up, which is something I guess” she added, smiling half-heartedly at Gerard over her shoulder.

Gerard dipped forwards, touching a light kiss to her forehead. “You’ll find something” he said.

“You have a lot of faith in me” Isabella said, a slightly awed laugh falling out of her mouth.

“I do” Gerard confirmed “I mean, I think you’re pretty great, so it’s not completely unfathomable that other people might think it too” he added impishly.

Isabella let out a surprised laugh before she gently nudged his shoulder, breaking the lazy hold he had on her waist. “You’re so sweet sometimes it makes me wonder what I did to end up with you” she quipped sarcastically as she padded across the room, slipping her feet into the shoes she had left there.

Gerard watched her with a grin. “You lied and told your parents you had a boyfriend when you didn’t” he played along.

Isabella glared at him playfully. “Are you ever going to stop mentioning that?” she asked.

“How could I?” Gerard replied as he padded towards her “It’s the start of our story” he added, stealing a quick kiss.

Isabella rolled her eyes, but she was still smiling slightly when she pushed herself up onto her toes, kissing him again. “It’s embarrassing” she countered between soft kisses.

“It is for you” Gerard teased “Not for me. It’s funny for me” he added.

Isabella glared up at him again, but it didn’t do anything to dim the teasing smile on Gerard’s face. Lifting his arm, he checked the time on his watch before he looked back up at her. “We might make it to the restaurant on time, but only if we leave in the next two minutes” he mused “Are you ready?” he asked.

Isabella moved away from him, checking her reflection over in the mirror, before she turned back to him, offering him a slightly coy smile. “What do you think?” she asked.

Gerard’s teasing smile grew more sincere. “You always look sensational, Izzy” he said.

Isabella’s eyebrows lifted slightly, caught off guard by the sincerity on his face, before she ducked her, trying, and failing, to hide the blush on her cheeks. “How is it that you go from pain in my ass to amazingly sweet in the blink of an eye?” she asked.

Gerard let out a loud laugh before he shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. “I guess it’s a skill of mine” he quipped “Now, are we going?” he asked.

Isabella nodded. “We’re going” she confirmed.

“We’re not boring you, are we, Isabella?”

Isabella, who’d been glancing at Lucas’s name on the screen of her phone, blinked at the playful accusation, her eyes quickly snapping up towards Gerard’s which looked down at her, crinkled in obvious amusement. There had been a lull. Antonella had stepped outside to call and check in on her children, and Lionel and Gerard had been talking about something that had happened at training earlier that day, and it had afforded Isabella the chance to look at her phone, hoping that the reason for Lucas’s name on her screen would be obvious.

It was odd that he had called her, and the curiosity was getting at her. They had been office friends, but they rarely spoke away from work, and since he had dropped the news that they had lost their jobs, she hadn’t heard from him, something which made his name on her phone’s screen strange. She couldn’t think of a reason why he would call.

“You never call me Isabella” Isabella countered.

Gerard shrugged. “You weren’t listening anyway” he quipped.

Isabella smiled sheepishly. “Sorry” she mused “I didn’t know you were trying to include me in the conversation. Did I miss something?” she asked.

“He’s just being annoying” Lionel quipped, offering her a kind smile.

“When isn’t he?” Isabella played along.

Lionel chuckled before Antonella appeared, settling into the seat beside him.

With the other couple distracted, Gerard leant slightly closer to Isabella, dipping his mouth to her ear. “You OK?” he murmured.

“I’m fine” Isabella replied “I’ve got a call that I am a little anxious to return, but that’s all” she added.

“Do you want to duck out and return it now?” Gerard asked.

Isabella mulled the question over for a moment before she shook her head, smiling up at him softly. “It’ll keep until the morning” she mused “I don’t want to be rude” she added.

Gerard’s slightly concerned expression cleared into a playful smile. “You’d do it if it was just the two of us” he quipped.

Isabella nodded. “Because I already know you like me” she played along “You’re really bad at hiding it” she added.

Gerard pressed a kiss to her lips. “I’m done with hiding it. I did that for too long” he quipped.

Isabella smiled shyly, but before she had the chance to say anything else, Lionel drew Gerard and her back into conversation. Throughout the conversation, Isabella participated happily, but her gaze kept dropping back to her phone, wondering what it was that Lucas wanted to say to her.