Until The Sunshine Fades

Four

“You do know that the taxi driver is charging me whilst I stand here, waiting for you?”

Isabella grinned at Gerard’s complaint, but didn’t make an effort to hurry up. They weren’t running late. Isabella had specifically told Gerard to arrive at her place with plenty of time to spare before they were due at her parents’ home, but now that they were on the verge of showing up to her parents’ anniversary party together, the nerves had started to get to her.

She knew that she could back out. She could tell Gerard that she had changed her mind and head to the party alone, but she also knew that that would only take attention away from her parents, something she didn’t want to do. Her mother had told a lot of people that she was bringing someone, a lot of people seemed excited at the prospect of meeting Gerard, and whilst Isabella knew the excitement would be short-lived, she couldn’t bring herself to cancel. As nervous as she was, it was only going to be one night, and one night of pretending seemed immeasurably better than a life time of having her relatives bring up the time she had lied about having a boyfriend.

“Isabella, are you actually still in this building?” Gerard chirped.

Isabella’s grin widen a fraction as she smoothed out her hair one last time. After checking her reflection again, she collected her clutch bag from the dressing table in front of her before she turned towards the door. Hesitating momentarily, she drew in a deep breath before she moved, padding towards the living room.

“Izzy, I will walk into your bedroom” Gerard announced “I don’t care if you’re not dressed yet. I will just...” he trailed off as he turned around, his eyes landing on Isabella who’d stopped in the doorway, her eyebrow arched amusedly.

“You’ll just what?” Isabella prompted impishly.

Gerard cleared his throat, steering his eyes away from her. “I just wanted you to hurry up” he said “You were practically ready when you answered the door. I don’t know how you could have wasted another fifteen minutes” he added.

Isabella shrugged. “I had to finish getting ready” she mused “It was worth it, no?” she prodded.

Gerard nodded without missing a beat, but kept his stare pointedly away from her. “You look nice” he commented.

“Are you sure?” Isabella prodded impishly “You’ve barely looked at me” she added.

“You’re not normally hideous” Gerard quipped “Why would tonight be different?” he added, flashing her a wide teasing smile.

Isabella scoffed out a laugh. “Is that supposed to be some kind of compliment?” she asked.

Gerard offered her a slightly nonchalant shrug, causing Isabella to roll her eyes as she stepped past him, slipping her feet into the pair of shoes that she had left beside the door. Gerard watched her quietly, taking the opportunity to study her whilst she wasn’t looking at him. He thought that she looked beautiful, but when she had asked, he hadn’t quite been able to get those words out of his mouth.

“I just need to grab the present I bought” Isabella mused as she turned back to him.

Gerard huffed, something which caused Isabella to bump his shoulder playfully as she stepped back past him, collecting the neatly wrapped present she’d left perched on the coffee table. Gerard stepped towards her, sweeping it from her grasp, before he caught the label in his fingertips, a slightly amused grin spreading across his features. “You put my name on it” he said.

Isabella’s cheeks flushed a soft shade of pink. “Is that too much?” she asked.

Gerard shook his head, his eyes still fixed on the label, admiring the sight of their names side by side. “No” he mused “It should be from the two of us” he added.

“Are you sure?” Isabella asked.

Gerard looked back up at her, his amused smile widening slightly. “I’m your boyfriend, aren’t I?” he quipped.

Isabella let out a slightly surprised laugh. “I...I guess so” she mused “For tonight at least” she added.

Gerard nodded his head, allowing a brief moment of silence to pass between the two of them, before Isabella cleared her throat, fiddling with her clutch bag in her hands. “Do you remember the story we’re going to tell when people ask?” she asked.

“Of course” Gerard replied “Are you still sure that you don’t want to just admit that you lied?” he asked.

Isabella hesitated for a second before she nodded her head, a tiny smile pulling up the corner of her mouth. “I’ve come this far” she quipped “I’ve already gotten dressed, and you’re wearing such a nice suit. I might as well see it through” she added.

Gerard tipped his head forwards, letting out an amused laugh, before he leant forwards, collecting her door keys from the hook they hung on. Holding them out to her, he waited until she reached for them before he tugged them back, something which caused Isabella to glare up at him. “You were complaining about me wasting time” she pointed out.

“I know” Gerard quipped “I just...I wanted to say that...before we go… that you look really beautiful, Izzy” he spluttered out, the tops of his cheeks flushing a faint shade of pink.

Isabella’s eyebrows lifted slightly, caught off guard by the genuine compliment, before she ducked her head, hoping that she was hiding her pink cheeks from him. “Thank you” she said quietly.

Gerard smiled at her bashfully. “You’re not going to say the same thing to me?” he asked.

A laugh bubbled out of Isabella’s mouth before she could stop it, something which caused Gerard to scoff playfully. “You look beautiful, Gerard” she insisted “Really beautiful” she added.

Gerard preened a little, causing Isabella to roll her eyes again before she grabbed the bottom of his sleeve, tugging him towards her front door. “We really need to go now” she quipped “My parents wanted us there before all of the guests started arriving and we’ve already wasted the little spare time I left us. Don’t you want to make a good impression?” she added.

Gerard allowed her to steer him out of the door before he offered his hand out towards her, directing her attention towards it with a pointed look that made Isabella roll her eyes again before she placed hers into it.

“Let’s go” Gerard quipped “I’d hate to make a bad impression on my fake girlfriend’s parents” he added, squeezing her hand slightly, It wasn’t necessary, there was no one around to see them, but he wanted it to look natural when they did walk in hand in hand. Isabella’s parents would see right through them if she flinched when he reached for her hand.

Isabella laughed, but squeezed his hand back, trying to alleviate the butterflies in her stomach.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)