Until You Met Me

Twenty Nine

“Are you sure that you want to do this?”

Molly, who was running a brush through her hair, stopped for a second to watch Gerard in the mirror, a slightly amused grin tugging at her lips as she watched him pace around her bedroom. It had been coming for a while. After they had had dinner with both sets of parents, it had been only a matter of time before they took the step to spend time with their friends as a couple, and, after a little coaxing from both Ava and Sofia, Molly had suggested that she and Gerard invite her friends and their partners over for dinner, a step Gerard was surprisingly nervous about making.

She had thought that she would be the more nervous of the two of them. Since they had started to seen one another, she had been more than a little cagey about sharing the details with her friends, determined to not let anyone get too carried away with how well things were going between them, but since she had confirmed that both Ava and Sofia were free for the night, Gerard had been surprisingly anxious. She knew why he was. Despite having known both Ava and Sofia for years, he had always felt as though they weren’t his biggest fans, and despite Molly’s attempts to reassure him that there was nothing to be worried about, he still appeared nervous, something Molly found a little sweet, even if she was sure that her friends would be nothing short of welcoming. The idea that impressing them meant so much to him made her smile.

“It was my idea” Molly answered, resuming brushing her hair “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t want to do it” she added impishly.

Gerard scoffed, trying, and failing, to cover the laugh that fell out of his mouth. “I am just saying, if you have changed your mind, it’s not too late to cancel” he quipped as he sat down at the foot of her bed “I doubt that they’ll even be on their way yet” he added.

Molly set her hairbrush down, taking the moment that it took to wipe the slightly amused smile off of her face, before she padded out into the bedroom, stopping just short of Gerard who looked up at her, his expression growing slightly embarrassed. “You’re not going to cancel, are you?” he asked.

“No” Molly replied, gently settling her hands on his shoulders as his landed on her waist “Even if I did, I think they’d still show up anyway. I love them, but they’re really nosy and they really want to see us together for some reason. I have tried to tell them that there’s really nothing to see, that it’s still just me and you, but you know how they can be” she added, rolling her eyes playfully.

Gerard’s lips quirked upwards into a slightly reluctant smile. “Ava doesn’t like me” he said “I don’t know if Sofia does, either. We’ve not really ever spoken to one another. I am worried it’s going to be weird” he admitted.

“I like you” Molly replied “Actually, I love you. If it gets weird, just talk to me” she added, grinning at him warmly.

Gerard didn’t want to laugh, but he couldn’t help it. The warm smile on Molly’s face was infectious. “You’re just going to throw that out there now?” he quipped “After not wanting to say it in the first place?” he added playfully.

Molly flashed him another playful smile and nodded before she padded back towards the bathroom. “Get ready” she called over her shoulder “They’ll be here soon” she added.

“Do you need a hand?”

Gerard, who was scraping food off of the plate in his hand, visibly startled at the sound of Ava’s voice before he looked up, finding her stood in the kitchen doorway, a warm smile on her face. It hadn’t been as overwhelming as he had been expecting it would be. He knew that it probably wouldn’t be. From the moment that Molly had suggested it, she had reassured him that there was nothing for him to be worried about, but still he hadn’t been able to shake off his worries, not until the six of them had been sat around a table, talking as if it was something they had done a million times before.

It wasn’t the first time. Whenever Tiago had been busy, and Molly had needed someone to accompany her somewhere, Gerard had been there, and it meant that he had spent a lot of time with Ava and Sofia, and their partners, but he had been worried that it would feel the same. They had put up with him before. He was Molly’s oldest friend, and whilst Ava in particular had never warmed to him, they had put up with him because Molly liked having him around, and he had been happy enough with it then, but now that he was Molly’s boyfriend, he wanted things to be a little different. He wanted Ava and Sofia to like him because he knew how much all three of them getting along meant to Molly.

“Did I make you jump?” Ava asked “Sorry” she added.

Gerard shook his head, smiling embarrassedly. “I didn’t expect anyone to come back here” he said.

“Molly’s cooing over baby pictures with Sofia” Ava mused “And the guys popped outside for a smoke. I thought I would come and see if you needed a hand. Do you?” she asked.

Gerard glanced around the room briefly before he nodded towards the stack of glasses on the counter. “Molly prefers them washed by hand” he quipped “She thinks the dishwasher leaves them streaky” he added.

Ava’s face lit up before she stepped towards the sink, filling it up with water.

Gerard busied himself with plates, allowing a few beats of silence to pass between them, before Ava spoke up. “I like you two together” she said “You and Molly” she added.

“You’d not prefer to see her with Sam?” Gerard retorted, flashing her a small smile to let her know that he was joking.

Ava’s answering laugh was caught between bright and embarrassed. “I didn’t know that you were together at the time I set them up” she quipped “If I had known, I wouldn’t have done it. Actually, I shouldn’t have done it anyway. I think I have been a little too pushy in the last few months” she added.

“You wanted her to be happy” Gerard mused, sliding another plate into the dishwasher “Tiago was a big love, and she got hurt when it ended. You were just trying to help her to find someone who could make her happy. You couldn’t have guessed that the answer was right under your nose” he added, offering her another impish smile.

Ava rolled her eyes. “You weren’t exactly the easiest to read when it came to your feelings for her” she retorted.

Gerard nodded his head slowly. “I know” he agreed “But, Ava, I really care about her. You do know that, don’t you? I know you think that I am an idiot, and that most of the time, you’re just putting up with me because I am Molly’s friend, but I really love her. I know it’s taken us a while to get here, maybe too long, but I...I just want to make her happy. I always have” he added.

Ava’s eyes searched his face for a long moment. “This is real, isn’t it?” she asked.

Gerard’s answering nod was instant and firm. “I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t” he replied.

“I don’t think she knows how long she’s loved you for” Ava murmured “If this isn’t the real deal...”

“Ava, I am in love with her” Gerard cut in, his voice firm.

Ava searched his face for a moment longer before, finally, a slow smile blossomed on her lips. “OK, then” she quipped.

Gerard’s forehead furrowed. “OK?” he asked.

“I just wanted to see it” Ava said “The look on your face. The certainty. I wanted to know that this means as much to you as it does to her” she added.

Gerard blinked a couple of times, something which made Ava sigh softly. “Tiago was significant” she said “But you? You’re more than that to her. I don’t know if she knows it yet, but I do. I needed to know that you meant it. I know now” she added.

“I love her, Ava” Gerard repeated “And I want to make her happy” he added.

Ava smiled at him gently. “I really hope that you do” she said.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)