Until The Sunshine Fades

Forty Seven

Tiptoeing back into Gerard’s bedroom, Isabella’s hands tightened slightly on the edge of the plate she held, a nervous sigh falling out of her mouth. It had felt like a good idea when she had woken up. They had left things on an awkward note the previous night and she thought that the gesture of breakfast in bed would show that she was trying to smooth things over, but as she stared at his sleeping frame, she couldn’t stop the butterflies in the pit of her stomach. She was worried that it would still feel strained. As much as they had tried to pretend that everything was fine, the awkwardness between them had almost been palpable when they’d curled up in bed together, and she worried that it might not have passed, something which had caused her to hesitate at the bedroom’s threshold. She didn’t quite know that she was ready to have Gerard look up at her with uncertainty in his eyes.

She had overreacted. He had been so casual, so confident when he had talked about the prospect of marriage and children that it had knocked her off balance, and before she could stop herself, she had lashed out, scared by how confident he seemed that things were going to work out for them. She wanted them to. She loved him, loved how they were together, but she couldn’t let herself think too far ahead, not when things between them felt like they were one wrong word from falling apart. She worried that if she let herself get swept away, it’d only hurt more if things fell apart.

Hesitating for a split second longer, Isabella pushed herself forwards before she placed the plate carefully down onto the bedside table. Nervously pushing her hair back off of her face, she crouched down beside the bed and reached out, gently shaking his shoulder. “Gerard?” she said quietly.

Gerard grumbled quietly, his eyes opening slowly.

Isabella almost let out a cry of relief when Gerard’s lips lifted into a soft, sleepy grin. “Hi” she squeaked “I...I made breakfast” she added, hurrying to move out of the way of the bedside table so that she could see the plate she had left there for him.

Gerard’s forehead creased. “You’ve already eaten?” he asked.

Isabella shook her head, letting out a breath of quiet laughter. “I could only carry one plate at a time” she said “It’s a lot less romantic if I just sat down next to you and ate my breakfast” she added.

Gerard just smiled at her goofily for a moment before he shook his head, pushing himself up so that he leant back against the headboard. “Go and grab your plate, Izzy” he nudged as he leant over, lifting the plate into his lap.

Isabella opened her mouth, a question on the tip of her tongue, but when Gerard flashed her another, slightly sleepy smile, she allowed it to fall closed again. She knew that they did it too often. They were both guilty of letting things go unsaid, of bottling up thoughts and fears, trying to protect themselves and each other, and whilst she knew that, in the long run, it would probably do more harm than good, she couldn’t bring herself to break the peace.

Returning his smile, she ducked out of the room, returning a few moments later with a plate in her hands. Padding around the bed, she sat down on her side before she lifted her, her cheeks flushing pink when she noticed that Gerard was watching her. “What?” she asked.

Gerard shrugged lazily, his stare flicking back to his plate. “Nothing” he said.

“You were staring at me” Isabella pointed out.

Gerard poked at something on his plate for a moment before he shrugged again. “I was just going to say I like seeing you like this” he said “I like you being here when I wake up” he added, the tone of his voice hard to place.

Isabella’s slightly teasing smile softened, her cheeks growing pinker. “Gerard” she murmured.

“Don’t give me a speech” Gerard’s voice was tired, verging on frustrated “Don’t tell me that you have to go again. I know. I just...I want you to know that I really like it when you’re here. I am not saying it to...”

“I know” Isabella cut in quietly.

Gerard fell quiet, allowing the room to grow silent aside from the sound of their cutlery scraping against the plates. Neither of them was really eating. They both prodded at their food, sneaking cautious glances at one another, before Isabella shook her head. “I don’t know how to make this easier” she admitted “I wish I did. I hate how we are sometimes” she added.

Gerard settled his cutlery down onto his plate before he discarded it onto the end table, allowing him to lean back against the headboard, one arm tucked behind his head. “I don’t love it either” he admitted.

Isabella set her plate down too before she moved towards him, pressing her cheek against his chest. Gerard hesitated for a split second before his arm curved around her, squeezing her gently. “I miss you” he said quietly “I know that that sometimes isn’t what you want to hear, but I do. It’s not even just the couple stuff. I hesitate now when I text you. I never did before. I just...I don’t want to get in your way” he added.

Isabella turned, kissing the spot over his heart softly. “You never could” she murmured “I’ve been there for months, and I have made some friends, but it doesn’t mean that my favourite part of the day isn’t when I sit down and talk to you about nothing. I love it. I have cancelled plans for it. I missed Mila’s birthday party last week just because I was missing you and I wanted to listen to you talk, to see you grin at some story you were telling. Gerard, I am sorry that this is where we are, but please, you’ve got to believe that you’d never be in the way. I’d drop anything to speak to you about nothing and everything” she added, turning so that she looked up into his face.

Gerard’s eyes searched her face before he lifted a hand, his thumb gently tracing the line of her jaw as a small, sad smile pulled at his lips. “I wish I’d told you about how I felt years ago” he murmured.

“I was with Eli” Isabella protested quietly.

“I know” Gerard quipped “I still wish I’d told you, though. Who knows where we’d be” he added wistfully.

Isabella turned her head, kissing his chest once more before she settled back into his embrace. “I want to figure this out” she said “I know we’re still having problems, but I want you to know that. I want this, I want you, for the long haul” she added.

Gerard tipped her head back slightly so that he could press a feather light kiss against her lips. “I want it, too” he whispered.