Until You Met Me

Forty Six

“Thank you for having us both, mama” Molly murmured as she stepped into her mother’s embrace, allowing Julia to place a soft kiss against her head. She hadn’t been as nervous as Gerard had been. As far as she had been concerned, as long as she was happy, her parents wouldn’t have treated Gerard any differently, even in light of what had happened between the two of them, but it had still been a relief to her that the night had gone as well as it had. She had worried that the breakup would be the elephant in the room, that she and her family would spend the entire evening trying too hard to avoid talking about it, and that the end result would be a dinner that they all wished had never happened, but it hadn’t been like that. It had been fun, and most importantly, to Molly at least, it had felt like the countless dinners that they had all had together in the past.

“You know that you’re welcome here any time” Julia said, gently smoothing Molly’s hair off of her face “Both of you” she added.

Molly’s stare drifted over towards Gerard who was stood, talking to Felipe before she looked back at her mother, offering her a slightly nervous half smile. “Are you sure about that?” she asked.

Julia’s expression softened a little before she nodded her head. “You know what we think of him” she said “And it hasn’t changed. I told you before that arguments happen, and if you’re happy that it’s worked out, then we’re happy too. If you’re happy with him, then he’s always going to be welcome here, you know that” she added.

Molly studied her mother’s face for a moment, looking for any sign that she didn’t mean what she was saying, but before she could say anything else, she felt a hand settle on the small of her back, causing her to glance up at Gerard who smiled down at her softly. “Pop wants to say goodnight” he said.

“I’ll go and find her, then” Molly replied “I’ll only be a couple of minutes, and then we can go, OK?” she asked.

Gerard nodded. “Sounds like a plan” he replied.

Molly flashed him a soft smile before she ducked into the living room, leaving him alone with Julia. For a second, neither of them said anything, half expecting Molly to reappear quickly, but when she didn’t, Gerard turned to look at Julia, his expression cautious. “Julia...I just, I want you to know that I...I am going to do everything I can to make Molly happy” he stumbled out.

“I don’t doubt it” Julia replied “I know you love her. Can I just...can I give you some advice, potential mother-in-law to potential son-in-law?” she asked.

Gerard let out a slightly surprised laugh, but nodded his head. “Of course” he answered “I need all the help I can get, it seems” he added.

Julia stepped towards him, wrapping him in a soft hug that Gerard returned tentatively. “If you’re scared, talk to Molly” she said gently “You two have faced so much together, and you’ve always had a knack for...for helping each other be more confident, or to relax. Even before you were a couple, you always just got each other. So if you get scared, just talk to her. Just because she’s your girlfriend, doesn’t mean that she’s stopped being your friend, OK?” she asked as pulled out of their hug, an encouraging smile on her face.

She knew that their relationship was still new, and that, despite more than twenty years of friendship, they were still learning about one another in their new context, but she wanted to remind him not to forget their history, not when it had formed such a good foundation for their relationship to grow from. They knew each other. They knew how to talk to each other, and to offer each other comfort or reassurance, and Julia wanted Gerard to remember it. She wanted him to know that incidents, like the breakup that he and Molly had repaired, could be avoided if they were just as honest with one another as they had always been.

Gerard blinked a couple of times before he ducked his head, letting out a shy laugh as he nodded. “OK” he confirmed.

Julia squeezed his shoulder gently before she padded out of the hall, leaving him alone for a few seconds before he heard footsteps moving back towards him, causing him to look up and smile when he saw Molly padding towards him. “Are we free to go now?” he quipped.

Molly rolled her eyes. “Don’t act like you don’t love it here” she quipped, slipping her feet into her shoes “I saw your face light up when you got a hug from my mama” she added.

Gerard’s cheeks flushed a light shade of pink as he spluttered out a bashful laugh. “You know I love your family” he replied “And I was relieved that they still liked me. It would have been really easy not to” he added.

Molly’s smile faded ever so slightly. “You think that they can just stop liking you?” she asked “They’ve loved you for more than twenty years. One fight was never going to change that” she added, trying her hardest to keep her voice light.

Gerard quirked a reluctant smile. “You know, both of your parents dropped hints about us getting married” he quipped.

“What?” Molly’s voice was caught somewhere between surprised and indignant.

Gerard laughed. “Your papa told me that he wanted something official tying me to your family, and your mother just called me her ‘potential son-in-law’” he teased.

“I am going to kill them” Molly muttered, despite the slightly mortified smile on her face “They promised they’d stay out of it” she added.

Gerard just smiled at her amusedly, something which, when she caught it, made Molly’s cheeks turn red before she ducked her head, trying to hide the wide smile she wore. “What are you staring at?” she asked.

“Just my favourite person” Gerard replied, feigning a nonchalant shrug.

Molly’s answering laugh was a little too loud, something which made Gerard laugh too before he held his hand out towards her, watching as she took a hold of it and tugged him towards the front door, calling another goodnight to her parents. Following her, Gerard smiled to himself, repeating Julia’s words to himself. They knew how to make it work, they had done it for years, and he was optimistic that they could keep doing it, even if they did have bigger things to think about as a couple. It was still the two of them.
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As well as rewriting this chapter, I have deleted a couple that followed so that I can rework them.

Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment on chapter 45 :)