Until The Sunshine Fades

Thirty Six

It was too quiet.

That was the first thought that Isabella had had when she had closed the front door of her apartment, and, despite almost a week having passed, she hadn’t been able to shake it. She was used to being alone. Almost as soon as she had been able to, she had moved out of her parents’ house and into her own place, and it meant that she had spent a lot of time alone for years, but it felt different, and she hadn’t been able to shake her discomfort, even with the distraction of having started her new job. Each time she closed the door behind herself, she was faced with the quiet again and it reminded her that she was alone. She had made a couple of friends, and she had been out to drinks with them a few days previous, but it wasn’t the same as being able to drop in on Elena and Dani or spending the night in front of the television, rolling her eyes at things Gerard would say to make her laugh.

Toeing off her shoes, Isabella hung her jacket up beside the front door before she padded into the living room, plopping down onto the sofa. Rubbing at her temple, she tried for a moment to work away the headache that had been building for most of the afternoon before she heard her phone beep, causing her to let out a soft sigh before she stood up again, collecting her phone from its place in her jacket pocket.

Glancing down at the screen, she felt the tension in her expression fade before she bounded back to the sofa, eagerly collecting the incoming video call. “Either you’re psychic or you have incredible luck” she chirped, leaning back against the arm of the sofa “I’ve literally just closed my front door” she added.

“Maybe I just know you schedule” Gerard countered, greeting her with a wide smile “I mean, it’s not too different to the one you used to have. You finish at six, and you live a twenty five minute commute from your office. If I call after six thirty, I am probably going to catch you” he added.

Isabella fixed him with a look. “You couldn’t just let me believe it was a romantic coincidence?” she quipped.

Gerard just offered her a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders, something which made Isabella shake her head, unable to stifle her small smile. It felt strange. Talking to Gerard was the same. He had always been easy to talk to, and it hadn’t changed since their conversations had moved to the phone or the odd video call that they managed, but Isabella missed the comfort and intimacy of just having him in the same room. She hadn’t thought that that would be what she missed. They had been friends for a lot longer than they had been a couple, and she had thought that missing her friend would come first, but it hadn’t. She missed her boyfriend.

“Is it OK that I called early?” Gerard asked.

Isabella, who’d been lost in her thoughts, blinked a couple of times. “Huh?” she spluttered.

Gerard’s forehead creased slightly, but he didn’t ask the question that had crossed his mind. “I called early” he repeated “Is that alright? I would have waited, but I need to get to bed early ahead of the match tomorrow” he added.

“You could have just texted” Isabella said “One missed night won’t kill us” she added.

“I still wanted to see you” Gerard mused “Didn’t you want to see me?” he prodded, feigning a pout.

Isabella couldn’t have stopped herself grinning at him, even if she had wanted to. “I might enjoy seeing you” she quipped.

Gerard scoffed out a laugh. “Would it kill you to say the sweet things I set you up for?” he prodded.

Isabella shook her head, her smirk softening.

Gerard watched her, allowing a moment of quiet to pass between them, before he shook his head. “How are you?” he asked.

“Good” Isabella’s response was instant, but her eyes stayed away from the camera.

Gerard waited for a moment, debating whether or not to push it, before he slowly nodded his head. It was a lie and he knew it, but he also knew that if he pushed her on it, she would probably just end the call. It was a lot easier for her to avoid having difficult conversations with him when she could simply hang up on him. She was overwhelmed. The new job was something she could handle, but with the added pressure of having moved to a new city and trying to make new friends so she didn’t feel so lonely, she was obviously overwhelmed, but she didn’t talk about it. At least, she didn’t talk about it with him.

“Your mother called me today” Gerard announced, breaking the silence which had settled between them.

Isabella perked up in relief, an amused smile spreading across her face. “She did?” she asked.

“It was kind of like she was trying to arrange a play date for me and your brothers” Gerard quipped “Apparently, they’d really love the opportunity to get to know me better, so she’s set us up for dinner next week” he added.

Isabella giggled. “You agreed to go?” she asked.

“She didn’t leave much room to say no” Gerard said, shaking his head amusedly.

“It’s going to be so awkward” Isabella said with a grin “I want pictures, to prove that you actually went” she added.

“What exactly do you want to see?” Gerard pressed “Me and your brothers stood awkwardly next to each other, smiling despite the fact we’d actually like to be anywhere else?” he asked.

“Yes” Isabella confirmed, nodding eagerly,

“How have you convinced me that that is a good idea?” Gerard’s voice was playful, his smile caught between teasing and awed. He knew that he’d do anything to see Isabella smile the way she was smiling at him in that moment.

“You want my mother’s blessing” Isabella quipped “And you know it’d make me smile, so you’ll do it because you’re sweet, and you love me” she added.

“I do love you” Gerard confirmed “But is that really worth the most awkward dinner of my life?” he asked impishly.

Isabella feigned a gasp that made Gerard laugh before she dissolved into giggles too. Shaking her head, she took a moment to just look at him, but before she could speak, a beep echoed from his end of the line, causing him to sigh. “That’s an alarm I set to tell me when I had to eat” he said “It means I have to go. Is that OK?” he asked.

Isabella’s face fell, but she hoped that she did enough to keep him from seeing it. “Of course it is” she mused “What time is the game tomorrow?” she asked.

“Late” Gerard replied “I’ll call you in the morning, though. I promise” he added.

“I’ll be working” Isabella said “Pre-match research” she added.

Gerard’s eager smile dimmed as he ruefully shook his head. “Will you have time to answer a text?” he asked.

“From you? Always” Isabella meant it as a joke, but her voice came out just a little too sadly.

Gerard smiled again. “Love you, Izzy” he cooed.

“I love you, too” Isabella replied.

Gerard waved playfully at the camera before he ended the call, causing Isabella to sigh, her ears filled with the apartment’s silence again.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)