Until The Sunshine Fades

Thirty One

Fiddling with the dial on the radio, Gerard shifted in his seat, his eyes searching the pavement for any sign of Isabella’s arrival. He knew that her flight had landed. Before she had departed, she had teasingly handed him her flight information, making a half hearted joke about him being able to make sure that she was coming home, and the information told him that the flight had landed almost fifteen minutes previous, meaning that Isabella could only be, at most, a handful of minutes from slipping into his passenger seat. She knew that he was there. After a few exchanged texts, Gerard had been able to convince her that he was more than happy to collect her from the airport, but he had the sense that she would drag her feet. Whether she had gotten the job or not, there was going to be a reason to be upset, and he knew that that wasn’t something Isabella was going to find easy to talk about.

Tapping his fingers against the steering wheel in time with the song on the radio, he surveyed the pavement again, only to jump when the passenger door swung open, allowing Isabella to fall into the seat at his side. “Sorry that took so long” she announced as she swivelled in her seat, placing her bag onto the back-seat.

Gerard quirked a half-amused smile. “I didn’t expect anything else” he quipped “You’ve never gotten anywhere quickly” he added.

Isabella fixed him with a glare, something which made Gerard chuckle. “You’re late for everything, Izzy” he said “You can’t be upset with me for pointing out something that is true” he added.

Isabella rolled her eyes, but it didn’t distract from the small smile that had started to pull at one corner of her mouth. Despite the all feigned glares and rolls of her eyes, she adored the easiness that existed between the two of them. “You don’t want to start by saying you’re pleased to see me?” she quipped.

“I came to pick you up from the airport” Gerard countered “I figured my happiness at you being back in Barcelona went without saying” he added, flashing her a quick smirk as he started the car.

“I’d still like to hear it” Isabella’s voice was playful, but Gerard could hear the edge that she was trying to hide.

After debating whether or not to press her for a moment, Gerard let out a playful huff. “I’m glad you’re home, Izzy” he quipped.

Isabella smiled softly, her fingers gently moving to trace the line of her collarbone as she turned to stare out of the window.

Gerard watched the movement out of the corner of his eye, knowing that it was the tell that gave away when Isabella was nervous, before he shook his head, his grip tightening slightly on the steering wheel. He had to ask. Aside from a few texts, one to wish her luck, and a few more to sort out the logistics of her return home, they’d barely spoken for the day that she had been away, and he knew that, as much as he liked their usual back and forth, he had to ask the question that he was dreading hearing the answer to.

He wanted her to be happy. Regardless of what it meant for their relationship, Isabella’s happiness was Gerard’s primary concern, but it didn’t mean that he wasn’t dreading the prospect of her moving away. He knew the job was perfect. He knew how happy it could make Isabella potentially, he’d seen it on her face when she had told him about it, and whilst he wanted to be as supportive as he could be, he hadn’t been able to shake the feeling of dread in his stomach. He didn’t want her to go.

“You’re being oddly quiet”

Gerard startled slightly, his eyes darting briefly towards Isabella. “Sorry” he said.

“It’s a pleasant change” Isabella chirped cheekily.

Gerard breathed out a laugh, unable to stop himself. “And here was me thinking that you like me” he quipped.

Isabella just flashed him a playful grin, allowing silence to fill the car again.

Gerard’s hands fidgeted on the steering wheel, one reached over to quieten the radio slightly, before he finally gave into his curiosity. “How’d the interview go?” he asked, trying to keep the nervousness out of his voice. He didn’t want to give Isabella any reason to try and duck out of the conversation.

Isabella’s hand moved back towards her chest, her eyes diverted down towards her lap. “It went well” she said “I...I was really impressed by the office, the project as a whole, and the guys that David introduced me to seemed like the kind of people I’d get on well with. It made it pretty easy to get over the nerves” she added.

“What about David?” Gerard pressed.

“He was great” Isabella mused “He said a lot of the things I wanted to hear” she added.

Gerard forced a smile, hoping that Isabella couldn’t see through it. He wanted to be happy for her. He could hear the excitement in her voice, even if she was trying to temper it, and he didn’t want to dampen it. He wanted to be excited that she was excited. “Did he give you an indication as to when they’d make a decision?” he asked.

Isabella shifted in her seat slightly before she slowly nodded her head. “They already gave me one” she said “They...They want me to start as soon as I can” she added.

Gerard felt the lump grow in his throat, he felt the disappointment spreading over his face, but he was quick to rein it back in, fixing another practised smile onto his features. “Izzy, that’s amazing” he gushed.

Isabella’s answering smile was caught somewhere between bashful and sad. She didn’t quite know what to say to him. She had seen his face, even if he had caught it quickly, she had still been able to see the pain on his features, and she didn’t want to make it worse. “I wasn’t expecting an answer as soon as I got one” she said.

“It’s good, no?” Gerard asked.

“Yeah” Isabella confirmed “It just surprised me. My start date is in a few weeks. I need the time to...” she trailed off.

Gerard smiled sadly. She didn’t need to say it. He knew what was going to happen.