Until The Sunshine Fades

Fifty Two

Tugging the material of her jacket tighter around herself, Isabella lifted her head, hearing the squeal of brakes at the bottom of the driveway. She had been waiting for it. Since Gerard had hung up, she had checked her phone almost every two minutes, both wishing the time away and wishing for it to last longer, but she knew that eventually Gerard would appear and she would be forced to try and get the jumble of thoughts in her brain into some kind of order. She hadn’t had to think. After Gerard had ended their video call, her decision to call David and ask for a few personal days had been instant, as had the decision to buy a plane ticket and fly back to Barcelona, but now that she was there, she didn’t know what she would say or do. She only knew that she had to try and do something before their relationship fell apart completely.

As soon as she saw Gerard’s figure emerge from the car, she pushed herself off of the suitcase she sat on, but she didn’t move towards him. She waited, her arms wrapped around herself, for him to stride towards her, stopping when he was a couple of steps in front of her. With a look that she hadn’t seen before on his face, Gerard looked her up and down briefly before he leant down, sweeping her suitcase into his hand. “You didn’t book a hotel?” he asked quietly.

Isabella smiled embarrassedly down at her feet. “I...I didn’t think that far ahead” she admitted.

Gerard’s lips quirked upwards reluctantly, but he didn’t let Isabella see the smile for long. He quickly turned away and walked towards the front door, unlocking it and stepping inside before he turned back to look at her. “You didn’t come all of this way to sit outside, did you?” he asked.

Isabella tried to ignore the pang of pain that radiated through her chest as she shook her head. The words he had said sounded like so many of the quips he had made with her in the past, but there was no warmth in his voice, no lopsided grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. He was looking at her like she was a stranger. Taking in a deep breath, she walked through the front door and watched him close it after her before he walked past her, leading her into his living room.

Isabella shrugged out of her jacket, draping it over the back of the sofa, before Gerard turned back to look at her, his eyes searching her expression for a long moment. “Why are you here?” he asked.

“Gerard...”

“What do you think is going to be different from the other day?” Gerard cut in “Do you think I am going to be bowled over by you physically being here? Do you think that’s going to be enough to change anything?” he pressed. His voice was flat, carefully so, but Isabella could see the pain in his expression, despite his efforts to keep it neutral. He looked so tired.

“I...I don’t know” Isabella spluttered “I just...I couldn’t leave things like we left them. I thought, if I came here, we could...we could talk” she added.

“What’s there to talk about?” Gerard asked “You kissed another man, Isabella” he added.

Isabella squeezed her eyes closed and drew in a shaky breath before she nodded her head. “I know” she whispered.

“Then what are you expecting me to say?” Gerard pressed “I am not just going to forgive you because you’re here, in my living room. You can’t have thought that I would. This isn’t like the other fights, Isabella. This isn’t one of us having said something that we didn’t mean, and the other one getting upset. It’s everything I feared would go wrong, everything I’ve been dreading since you told me that you were going to go...”

“Do you think I don’t understand that?” Isabella snapped frustratedly.

Gerard’s lips quirked up into a bitter smile. “I missed one phone call” he said “You have no idea how much it hurt to hear that message you left me, telling me how bad a day you’d had, hearing you say you needed me and knowing that I couldn’t be there when you needed me. It tore me apart, Izzy, and I tried to put it right, but you...you were with Marco. I missed one phone call, on one bad day, and you...you did this. If you had just been here...” he trailed off, shaking his head frustratedly.

Isabella drew in a shaky breath, trying, and failing, to stop the tears burning in her eyes. “I’m sorry” she whispered.

“Sorry for what?” Gerard grumbled “For kissing Marco or leaving in the first place?” he asked.

Isabella shook her head. “You wanted me to go for the job” she protested quietly.

“Do you really believe that?” Gerard’s voice was softened by disbelief “I have had feelings for you for a long time, and just as we finally get it together, you get a job offer in another city. Do you honestly believe that I wanted you to take it?” he asked.

Isabella blinked at him tearfully, something which caused Gerard to shake his head, a hollow laugh falling out of his mouth. Pushing a hand back through his hair, he stared at her for another moment before he sighed, sinking onto the arm of a chair. “All I wanted was for you to be happy” he said “When you told me about the job Lucas was offering for you, you looked happy, but...but I always hoped that I made you happier. I waited for you to see it, to see that what I was offering you was better than some job, but you just...you didn’t. You didn’t talk to me before you took it, either, you just expected I’d make this work whilst you were off doing what you wanted to do, and I...I don’t think I can keep doing that. I don’t care if you think I am selfish, or if you accuse me of not trying, because I know I fucking tried to make this work, but it isn’t working. The thing with Marco is all the proof you need of that” he added.

Isabella shook her head. “Gerard” she protested softly.

“I love you” Gerard said, his eyes closing when Isabella sniffled “But I...I don’t think I can keep doing this. Long distance isn’t working, Izzy, and I honestly doubt that you’d even consider coming home, so that leaves one option” he added, his voice finally giving a sign that he was struggling. The words were quiet, and he choked at the end, but he got them all out.

“Please, don’t say it” Isabella insisted.

Gerard met her eyes for the briefest of moments before he looked away, letting out a shaky breath. “I can’t be your boyfriend on a part-time basis” he said “I need it to be all or nothing. I can’t have you here for three days and then spend four weeks catching you when I can. It’s too hard. I’m sorry, Isabella, but...but I think this needs to be over” he added, his eyes squeezing shut as the words came out of his mouth.

For the first few seconds after he had spoken, Isabella couldn’t even breathe, but then the tears came. Wiping them away quickly, she stared at Gerard, wordlessly willing him to change his mind, but he quickly moved away, striding towards the door. When he reached it, he stopped on the threshold and shook his head, staring at his feet. “Don’t go to a hotel” he said quietly “Go to your parents. You need them” he added before he walked away.

Isabella stared after him, her mind racing with things she wanted to say, that she needed to say, but she couldn’t force a single one out. Instead, she walked towards the front door, collected her suitcase, and left, the thud of the closing front door reverberating in both of their ears.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)