Until The Sunshine Fades

Five

“Last chance to get rid of me before someone sees”

Isabella, who’d been smoothing out her dress after climbing out of the taxi, quirked a faint smile before she turned around, finding Gerard already grinning at her as he moved to her side. It hadn’t been a long trip. Her parents’ house was barely fifteen minutes from her own, but for the duration of it, Gerard had kept her talking, leaving little time for her to fret about what awaited them on the other side of her parents’ front door. She knew how it would be. Although it had been a while, she had brought a boyfriend home before, and she knew how her family would react, but still she was nervous. As much thought as she and Gerard had put into what they were going to tell people, the whole plan would fall apart if people were able to see through them instantly.

“What are you expecting me to do?” Isabella prodded “Take the gift out of your hands and push you over the neighbour's hedge before someone sees us together?” she added.

“You’d push me over just to avoid being seen with me?” Gerard asked with mock outrage in his voice.

Isabella fixed him with a look, something which caused Gerard to laugh before he shook his head, his expression growing slightly more serious. “Izzy...”

“We’re already here” Isabella interrupted gently “And besides, I think it’s already too late to get out of it. I can see my mother waiting by the front door for us” she added.

Gerard’s head whipped up, glancing at the glass of the front door to find a hazy figure on the other side, before he looked back at Isabella, something which made her smile at him gently before she held her hand out. Gerard slowly lowered his hand into hers, tangling their fingers together before they turned towards the front door and walked towards it slowly.

As they moved towards the door, it swung open, allowing Isabella’s mother to step outside, a warm smile brightening her features. “Isabella” she greeted “You look wonderful, sweetheart. I’m so glad you’re finally here” she added.

Isabella rolled her eyes slightly before she slipped her hand out of Gerard’s, allowing her to accept the embrace her mother was keen to gather her into. “We’re here in plenty of time” she mused “The party isn’t due to start for another half an hour” she added.

Francesca pulled out of the hug, smiling at her daughter in a way that made Isabella roll her eyes again before she turned around slightly, flashing Gerard a small, reassuring smile. Gerard acknowledged it with one of his own before he took a pace forwards, offering his hand out towards Isabella’s mother. “I’m Gerard” he mused “Isabella’s boyfriend” he added.

Francesca’s eyes travelled up and down the defender momentarily before she placed her hand in his. “Francesca” she mused “It’s lovely to meet you. Isabella hasn’t said much about you, so we’re very excited to get to know you” she added.

Gerard let out a slightly bashful laugh, something which had Isabella fighting an amused smile, before Francesca gestured inside of the house. “Come inside” she mused “My husband and the boys are waiting to meet you” she added, barely able to keep the excitement out of her voice.

Gerard hesitated momentarily, something Isabella spotted instantly before she stepped closer to him, gently slipping her hand back into his. Gerard squeezed her hand, wordlessly thanking her before he lifted his head, smiling at Francesca again. “Sorry” he apologised “I’m just a little nervous. This has been just between the two of us for a while, so this is...it’s a pretty big step” he added.

Francesca’s smile softened. “I understand” she mused “Are we the first people Isabella has introduced you to?” she asked, leading the two of them into the house.

Isabella opened her mouth to answer, but Gerard cut in. “Elena was first” he replied “But she hasn’t met my parents yet, so you’re the first parents” he added.

“I’m glad that you could make it” Francesca said.

“Thank you for the invitation” Gerard replied politely.

Francesca offered him a warm smile before she guided him and Isabella through to the garden. “Alejandro, look who’s here” she cooed.

Isabella gently squeezed Gerard’s hand again as her father pushed himself out of his seat and stepped towards the two of them. “I promise, he’s nicer than he looks” she murmured.

Gerard breathed out a laugh. “Is that supposed to be reassuring?” he mumbled.

Isabella shrugged nonchalantly before she stepped away from him, greeting her father with a tight hug. “Happy anniversary, papa” she cooed.

Alejandro embraced her tightly, mumbling a soft thank you, before he stepped back, his eyes settling on Gerard. “Izzy” he mused “Aren’t you going to introduce me?” he prodded.

“Of course” Isabella replied “Papa, this is my boyfriend, Gerard. Gerard, this is my father, Alejandro” she added.

“Gerard” Alejandro said “You’ve mentioned his name before” he added.

“I have” Isabella confirmed “We were friends for a long time before we started to date. He’s featured in a lot of the stories I tell when I come over for dinner” she added, feeling her cheeks grow a little warm.

She had talked about him a lot. Their friendship was important to her, and so when she talked about what was going on in her life with her family, he had come up frequently, but he didn’t know it, and Isabella was slightly embarrassed to admit it. Aside from Elena, who she had known since school, he was the friend of hers that she spoke about most.

“You talk about me?” Gerard prodded.

Isabella nodded her head hurriedly, hoping that the subject would get changed quickly. “Sometimes” she mused.

“All the time” Alejandro corrected “She’s been talking about you for a long time. We should have put two and two together” he added, holding his hand out towards Gerard.

Gerard shook his hand firmly. “It’s good to meet you” he mused.

“And you” Alejandro replied “I hope you can live up to the picture that Izzy has painted of you” he added, his lips quirking upwards in an impish grin.

Gerard laughed. “I hope she told you some good things” he quipped.

“Only good things” Alejandro confirmed “It not so much of a surprise that you’re here, together” he added.

“Papa” Isabella complained softly.

Alejandro grinned at her. “I’m your papa, it’s my job to embarrass you” he quipped.

“Mama, don’t you need his help with something?” Isabella pleaded, glancing at her mother over her father’s shoulder.

Francesca laughed, but nodded her head, gently tugging on Alejandro’s sleeve. “Come on” she mused “We’ve got a few things to finish up inside. Boys, you too” she added.

Isabella’s brothers grumbled, but followed, leaving Isabella and Gerard alone. Once they were out of earshot, Gerard turned to Isabella, a slightly confused smile playing on his features. “I didn’t know you talked about me” he said.

“You’re my friend, of course I talk about you” Isabella replied “I talk about Lena, too” she added.

Gerard’s smile changed, but Isabella couldn’t place how, causing her to frown slightly.

Gerard saw her frown before he shook his head, fixing his smile. “I think I need a drink” he quipped “How upset would your mother be if we opened one of those fancy looking bottles of wine?” he prodded, gesturing to the bottles which were chilling a little away from them.

“She’d notice” Isabella mused “But, if my new boyfriend, who I bought home to meet her and my papa, was to ask...” she trailed off with a smirk.

Gerard laughed. “You’re lucky we’re still in the honeymoon phase, otherwise I wouldn’t be so helpful” he chirped before he wandered inside, not entirely sure why his stomach had dropped when Isabella had compared him to Elena.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)