Until You Met Me

Twenty Six

“Are you sure that you want me to come back here tonight?”

Gerard looked up from the bowl of cereal he was eating, quirking a lopsided smile when Molly padded through the living room, hurriedly running a brush through her hair. She was running late. When her alarm had gone off, she had opted to ignore it in favour of cuddling with Gerard for a few more minutes, and by the time she had stirred again, she had been almost half an hour behind schedule, something which Gerard found slightly amusing. It wasn’t like her. For as long as he had known her, Molly had never been the type to procrastinate, but he kind of liked the idea that he was the thing that could pull her off track.

“What did you say?” Gerard asked “You were speaking too quickly for me to catch it” he added impishly.

Molly, who had been struggling with the clasp on her shoe, lifted her head to glare at him, something that only caused Gerard’s teasing smile to widen. “I have not got time for you to be cute” she quipped “I just asked if you were sure that you wanted me to come back here tonight. You need an early night, and I am heading out with Ava and Sofia after work. I might not be back until late” she added.

Gerard shrugged as he leant forwards, settling his bowl on the table in front of him. “I don’t mind if you wake me up” he quipped “But if you want to stay at your place, that’s up to you. I just like cuddling, and you seemed pretty keen on it this morning, so I thought maybe you’d want to come back here. You can even use your spare key” he added playfully.

Molly rolled her eyes, but couldn’t stifle the smile that had spread across her face. “You’re not going to ask for it back?” she played along.

“Would you give it back to me if I was?” Gerard countered.

Molly grinned and shook her head.

“Then you might as well use it” Gerard said.

“I will try and be quiet” Molly mused as she stepped towards him, stealing a couple of quick kisses “I probably won’t succeed, though, so I will see you tonight?” she added, gently smoothing out his messy hair.

Gerard smiled up at her warmly, his arms wrapped around her waist. “I hope so” he replied.

Molly pressed another soft kiss to his lips before she tugged out of his embrace and headed towards the front door, leaving Gerard staring after her, a soft, smitten smile on his face.

“To vacation days and school holidays”

Molly grinned and raised her glass, tapping it against Ava and Sofia’s before she drew it back, downing her shot. They hadn’t been out in a while. For various reasons, the three of them had been busy, and it had made getting together tougher than usual, but when they had found an overlapping gap in their schedules, they had been quick to seize the opportunity. They had stuff to catch up on. They needed to talk about how Sofia’s wedding plans were coming along, and how things were going between Ava and Jack, but Molly knew what would be top of the agenda. Her friends knew about Gerard. After her mother and sister had found out, she and Gerard had agreed that there was no hiding it any more, but aside from a couple of phone calls, which had featured a little squealing and Ava demanding to know every little detail of what had happened, they hadn’t had the chance to talk about it, something she knew her friends would want to rectify.

“So, how long are you going to make us wait, Molly?” Sofia teased.

Molly shrugged, smiling down at the bar. “You don’t want to talk about something else first?” she quipped “Did you figure out the seating chart conundrum?” she posed.

Sofia rolled her eyes, but shook her head. “We’re still trying to piece it together” she answered “It’s a really small wedding, but I think that that’s just made things more difficult. My parents don’t like Seb’s father. Seb’s sisters can’t sit with my sisters and now, it appears I am going to have to find a seat next to you for a certain someone” she added.

“I thought to get a plus one, you had to be together for over a year?” Molly replied “You don’t want strangers in your wedding pictures. You were very clear about that” she added.

“It’s Gerard, Molly” Sofia quipped “He counts, if only on a technicality” she added with a grin.

Molly laughed shyly, fiddling with the straw that poked out of the fresh drink that had been set in front of her. “I’ll talk to him about it” she said “I mean, it is in the summer, so it should be OK, but...I’ll ask” she added.

Sofia and Ava shared an amused look before Ava gently prodded Molly’s side. “Come on” she murmured “Tell us how it is going. Has it been worth the wait?” she asked.

Molly toyed with the straw for a moment, taking a second to contemplate the question, before she nodded her head, the tops of her cheeks flushing a soft shade of pink. “It’s...It’s really good” she admitted “I was worried that it would be really weird, you know? I mean, we’ve been friends forever, and I thought that crossing the boundaries into something more would be really awkward, but it wasn’t. It just kind of made me wonder why we weren’t together like this years ago” she explained.

Ava stifled a laugh, something which made Molly tilt her head, a slightly bemused smile on her face. “What?” she asked.

“Nothing” Ava quipped “I just...Are you really convinced that these feelings for Gerard have only appeared since you and Tiago broke up?” she asked.

“Ava” Sofia warned.

“What?” Ava squeaked “We both know that she has been a little oblivious to her feelings for him for a while. It just took Tiago pointing it out to really make her think about it. She has been in love with him for years” she added.

Sofia didn’t say anything to contradict it. She just shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, does it?” she prodded “They’re together now” she added.

Molly flashed the two of them a smile, showing that she wasn’t upset, but she didn’t say anything, too stuck on the realisation that whatever feelings she had had for Gerard previously had grown. It wasn’t just a crush any more, or a friendship that had sometimes blurred into something more, she was in love with him, and the reality of it had knocked the breath out of her for a moment. It should have been obvious, and the epiphany that Ava’s comments had sparked shouldn’t have surprised her, but it had, and it had caused her stomach to hurt a little, not quite sure what she ought to do with the thought.