Until The Sunshine Fades

Forty One

Placing his feet onto the floor, Gerard turned to glance over his shoulder, watching Isabella as she stirred in her sleep. She had had a good night. After she had gotten over her nerves and relaxed into getting to know his parents, she had enjoyed herself, and whilst Gerard was pleased to see it, it hadn’t been quite enough to stop him thinking about what it would be like when she left again. He had thought that he’d be better prepared to deal with it. He knew when she was leaving, it wasn’t going to come out of the blue like the initial job offer had, but still the prospect of her going left him unsettled. He had enjoyed having her in his home. Despite it only having been a couple of days, little touches of hers had started to appear, most notably, the faint scent of her favourite perfume whenever he padded into his bedroom or bathroom, and he could already feel himself dreading their absence. He could already feel himself missing her.

Hearing Isabella’s soft snoring, he quirked a sad smile to himself before he pushed himself up, padding slowly towards the door which led out onto the balcony. Stopping briefly, he picked up a sweatshirt before he ducked outside, plopping down into a chair. Leaning backwards, he propped his feet up on the railing before he squeezed his eyes closed, taking in the quiet. He hadn’t thought ahead. When he had suggested that he and Isabella try to see how their relationship would cope with the distance, he hadn’t fully contemplated what her coming home would feel like, and it surprised him how much it hurt. He loved having her there, but he knew that it was only temporary and, in that moment, temporary didn’t feel like it was going to be enough.

“Gerard?”

Gerard’s eyes snapped open, quickly moving to the door where Isabella stood, rubbing her eyes sleepily. “I was so careful” he said.

Isabella smiled. “You left the door open” she pointed out “The sudden wind in my face was a surprise” she added.

Gerard shook his head, a rueful smile on his face. “Sorry” he said.

“I guess I can forgive you” Isabella said impishly.

Gerard let out a soft laugh. “Go back to sleep, Izzy” he quipped.

“Are you coming, too?” Isabella prodded.

Gerard hesitated, something which caused Isabella to shake her head, smirking to herself. “Out with it” she said.

“With what?” Gerard pressed.

“The thing that is bothering you” Isabella said as she moved towards him, plopping down into the seat next him before she lifted her legs, propping them over his “I know there is something” she added.

Gerard watched her for a moment, smiling ever so slightly when he recognised the sweatshirt she had pulled on as one of his, before he shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know what you mean” he quipped.

Isabella scoffed. “And you call me evasive” she said.

“I just can’t sleep, Izzy” Gerard said, trying to keep his voice even “I was tossing and turning, and I thought the fresh air would do me some good” he added.

Isabella stared at him for long enough that Gerard knew that she knew he was lying, but she didn’t press him. Instead, she just wrapped his jumper around her a little more and pulled her legs back, bringing her knees towards her chest. “I liked your parents” she announced after a few moments of quiet.

Gerard, who’d been quietly staring into space, slowly brought his stare back to her, flashing her a small smile. “They liked you, too” he quipped “Not as much as your mother adores me, but still, they were very happy to have met you” he added.

Isabella playfully pushed at his shoulder, scoffing out a soft laugh that quickly faded, leaving in its place a slightly uncomfortable silence. Shaking her head, Isabella busied herself with fiddling with a loose thread on her pyjama bottoms before she looked up, finding Gerard watching her, his eyes soft and sad. “What?” she spluttered, her voice caught between teasing and anxious.

Gerard just shook his head, a slightly rueful smile on his face. He couldn’t say what he was thinking. It would hurt her and probably start a fight that he had worked to avoid since she had told him that the job that Lucas was offering to her was in Madrid. “I just like staring at you” he said softly.

“Like you’re about to cry?” Isabella asked.

“I am not going to cry” Gerard retorted, rolling his eyes dramatically.

Isabella’s lips quirked slightly. “I just meant that you look like you’ve got something on your mind, something that’s upsetting you” she said.

“I told you. I am fine” Gerard insisted, determinedly meeting her eyes.

Isabella knew it was a lie. His voice gave it away, even if his eyes didn’t, but she didn’t press it. If it was important, she trusted that Gerard would tell her about it. Quirking a soft smile, she closed the space between them, pressing a couple of lingering kisses against his lips before she lowered her head, gently bumping her forehead against his chin. “I am freezing” she whispered “I am going to go back inside and curl back up under the quilt. If you stay out here too long, I can’t promise that I will not be wrapped up in all of it by the time you get there” she added.

“You say that like you don’t usually have all of the blanket” Gerard’s voice was as wistful as it was playful.

Isabella picked her head up, studying his face again. “Are you sure that you don’t want to tell me anything?” she asked.

Gerard nodded once. “Absolutely certain” he confirmed.

Isabella looked at him dubiously for a moment before she slowly, reluctantly, nodded her head. Unfolding her legs, she stood up before she held her hand out towards him, wordlessly inviting him back to bed with her. Gerard eyed her hand before he placed his own into it, allowing her to tug him after her. Stumbling back into the bedroom, Isabella turned to stare at him, flashing him a brief coy smile before she slipped his jumper back off of her shoulders, her pyjama shirt following quickly.

Gerard watched her with a soft smile before he closed the distance between them, kissing her softly. “I love you, you know that?” he whispered as he leant back, allowing Isabella to pull his jumper off.

Isabella’s hands stilled, her eyes mirroring his. “Of course I know that” she said “You know I feel the same, right?” she asked.

Gerard wordlessly nodded before he kissed her again. He hoped that the way the felt about one another would be enough.