Until The Sunshine Fades

Forty Eight

Wiping her eyes, Isabella let out another quiet sniff, trying, and failing to stem the flow of tears which leaked from her eyes. She wasn’t quite sure why she was crying. It had been a tough day. It had started with a run in with David about a deadline that she had missed, and had finished with Elena calling, telling her that she, Dani and Alfie couldn’t make the trip out to Madrid to see her after all, but the tears had surprised Isabella, even more so since she couldn’t quite convince them to stop. She was used to the feeling. She was frustrated, and she was lonely, something she had felt since she had moved, but she had never let the tears come before, not until she had slumped onto her sofa that night, her ears filled with the apartment’s deafening silence.

Burying her face in her hands, Isabella let out quiet hiccup before she leant back against the sofa, wiping at her eyes again. Blinking the tears away, she drew in a couple of shaky breaths before she slipped her phone out of her pocket. As she wiped at her eyes again, she scrolled through her contact list, quickly finding and dialling Gerard’s number. Pressing the phone against her ear, she listened to the dial tone until it clicked over, allowing his voicemail message to chirp in her ear. When she heard it, Isabella let out a quiet sob, but she didn’t hang up, comforted by the sound of his voice.

Squeezing her eyes closed, she listened to the whole message before she spoke. “I know you’re busy” she said softly “And I know we said we’d video call tomorrow, before I have to go to work. I just...I just, I don’t know. Today was hard and I miss you so I thought I’d try and catch you. It’s not important really, just kind of needed to hear your voice, but I will speak to you tomorrow” she added shakily before she hung up the phone.

Turning it over a couple of times in her hand, she willed it to vibrate, but when it didn’t, she let out a shaky breath and scrolled through her contact list again, finding Marco’s name. “Hey” she breathed when he answered “Are you free? I need someone to eat take out with and maybe watch a weepy film” she added.

Marco let out a laugh and made a joke, teasingly asking she had mixed his number up with Mila’s, and despite it’s corniness, it made Isabella’s lips quirk slightly. It was exactly the kind of joke Gerard would have made. “I dialled your number on purpose” she quipped “I know it’s date night for Mila and Henri, so I know not to get in the middle of that. I just...I guess I just need some company tonight and all of the people I’d normally ask are hundreds of miles away” she added, not able to help the small quiver her voice gave.

“I’m twenty minutes away” Marco quipped “Should I grab food on the way through?” he asked.

Isabella shook her head, smiling in relief. “I was going to order a pizza” she replied “Are you the kind of person that likes pineapple on pizza?” she asked.

“If I say yes, are you going to tell me not to come?” Marco asked.

“If you say no, I might” Isabella played along “I love it” she added.

“I do, too” Marco said “I’ll see you soon” he added.

Isabella smiled to herself slightly. “See you soon” she replied.

“So” Marco announced as he padded back into the living room, settling a glass of cola down in front of Isabella who was scrolling through films on the television, trying to choose which one the two of them would watch.

Isabella glanced up at him briefly. “So?” she asked.

“Are you going to tell me what’s up?” Marco pressed “I mean, if you don’t want to, that’s fine. I’ll happily eat half a pizza and watch a film with you, I just thought I’d offer you the chance to talk. You sounded pretty upset on the phone” he added, offering her a shy smile. He didn’t know what she wanted, whether she wanted a sounding board or merely his company, and so he wanted to offer both, more than content for it to be either. He just wanted to make sure that she felt better.

Isabella fiddled with the remote in her hand for a moment before she shook her head, letting out a quiet sigh as she reclined into the couch next to him. “It was just a bad day” she said “I pissed David off this morning when I had to ask for an extension on my latest article. He was frustrated, and I think he took that out on me, but that just ended up frustrating me. Then I got a call from Elena, saying that Alfie’s come down with something and that she and her family couldn’t make it out here like we’d arranged and it just...” she trailed off, throwing her hands up. She didn’t quite know how to explain how she felt.

Marco’s arm settled around her shoulders, his hand gently brushing her arm.

Isabella shook her head. “It gets to me sometimes” she murmured “Being here, by myself. It overwhelms me still. I just needed something to distract me for a little while. You don’t mind, do you?” she asked.

Marco shook his head, flashing her a crooked grin. “It’s not like I had better things to be doing” he quipped.

Isabella smiled up at him gently. “So I am not taking you away from a hot date?” she teased.

Marco scoffed out a laugh. “I don’t think I’ve had a date since you got here” he quipped.

“I’d offer to set you up, but most of my female friends are married” Isabella said “Or, they’re in Barcelona and I wouldn’t recommend getting into a long distance relationship. It’s not a lot of fun” she added, her expression growing slightly sad.

Marco’s thumb brushed her forehead, smoothing out the little wrinkle that had appeared between her eyebrows. “You and Gerard are OK” he said.

Isabella shrugged. “Sometimes” she said.

Marco didn’t say anything, gently tucking her hair off of her face and behind her ear.

When Isabella felt his fingertips skim over the shell of her ear, she lifted her eyes to meet his, something which caused Marco to smile shyly, his face moving towards her carefully, waiting for her to pull back. Isabella didn’t move, she didn’t pull away nor did she move closer, she just waited until Marco initiated the contact. It was soft and fleeting, but it was enough to daze her so that she didn’t quite register the vibration of her phone in her pocket until Marco pulled it out for her and placed it in her hands, Gerard’s picture grinning up at her.