Until You Met Me

Fifty Four

“Do you want me to wait in the car?”

Molly, who’d been typing out a message to her sister, letting her know that they were outside, blinked a couple of times at Gerard’s question before she tilted her head, offering him a slightly confused smile. The call hadn’t come as a surprise. Only a few days previous, Felipe had called to announce that his and Poppy’s daughter had entered the world without a hitch, and ever since she had received that call, Molly had been eagerly awaiting a second one, waiting to find out when she could meet her niece for the first time. She was excited for her sister and brother-in-law. They had tried for years to get pregnant, and she was thrilled that it had finally happened for them. She couldn’t wait to meet the newest member of her family.

“Why would I want you to do that?” Molly asked.

“That’s not the question I meant to ask” Gerard answered, shaking his head slightly “I just...I don’t want to overwhelm Pop or the baby. Do you think I should wait out here?” he clarified.

He didn’t want to intrude. His relationship with Poppy had always been mostly polite, but he knew that she was wary of him in light of what had happened between him and Molly, and he didn’t want to make what should have been an amazing moment awkward. Molly was excited to meet her niece. She was excited to fuss over her sister and Felipe and coo at the baby, and he didn’t want his presence to add something to the moment that could have been avoided.

Molly’s smile softened a little before she reached out, gently squeezing Gerard’s hand. “Pop’s OK with you being here” she said gently “I didn’t just bring you to make you sit outside. I asked if it was alright if you were here too, and she and Felipe are fine with it. It is just going to be the four of us and the baby. Don’t you want to come and meet her?” she asked.

Gerard offered her a cautious look. “Pop’s really OK with it?” he asked.

Molly nodded without hesitation. “I wouldn’t have said it if she wasn’t” she answered “She probably wouldn’t let me hold the baby if I upset her” she added impishly.

Gerard huffed out a laugh, something which made Molly smile at him before she dipped forwards, placing a kiss on the corner of his lips. “I am going to go and knock on the front door” she said “If you want to join me, it’s up to you, but I am going to go and say hello to my niece” she added as she pulled away. Leaning over into the back-seat, she retrieved the gift bag that they had bought with them before she pushed the car door open and climbed out.

Gerard watched her walk around the car and pad towards the front door before he finally pushed his own door open. Pushing it closed after himself, he jogged to catch up to Molly who grinned up at him when he stopped on the stoop beside her. “You came” she quipped teasingly.

Gerard tried, but failed, to stop himself smiling back at her. “I have no idea how long you’re going to be here” he played along “Sitting in the car doesn’t sound like a lot of fun” he added.

Molly’s smile widened a little before the door swung open, revealing Felipe who was quick to hold a finger to his lips. “We’ve just convinced the baby to go back to sleep” he murmured “So, you’ll have to be quiet. Pop is in the living room” he added.

Molly nodded her head before she leant over, pressing a quick kiss against her brother-in-law’s cheek as she wrapped him in a brief hug. Felipe chuckled bashfully, hugging her back briefly, before he stepped aside, allowing Molly into the house. Gerard hesitated for a second before he stuck out a hand, something Felipe was quick to take, shaking it with a sheepish grin before he gestured Gerard inside, an invitation that Gerard accepted.

“Can you believe how little she is?”

Gerard, who was sat next to Molly, taking in the sight of her with her niece, blinked a couple of times at the sound of Molly’s whisper, his stare drifting up to her beaming face. She hadn’t stopped grinning. As soon as she had stepped into Poppy’s living, she had lit up, and the smile on her face had yet to fade, something Gerard couldn’t stop admiring. He knew how much that moment meant to her, and to her family, and he couldn’t help but feel a little awed by the fact that he had been included. He shouldn’t have been awed by it. For as long as he could remember, Molly’s family had treated him like an honorary member, but he still was. It meant more to him than he could put into words.

“She’s a baby, Mol” Gerard replied “Of course she is little” he added, rolling his eyes playfully.

Molly glared at him playfully, something which caused Gerard to grin. “What?” he teased.

“You annoy me” Molly answered, her voice warm and playful.

“Yeah, I know” Gerard quipped.

Molly giggled before she wrinkled her nose, her stare drifting back to the baby in her arms. “Felipe?” she said “I think the little one might need an outfit change” she added.

Felipe jumped up to his feet, quickly scooping the baby out of Molly’s arms, only to grimace slightly at the wet spot that had appeared on his sister-in-law’s t-shirt. “Sorry” he quipped “We’re still learning about how to put nappies on her” he added.

Molly shook her head, smiling at Felipe gently. “It’s fine” she said “I’ll just borrow a t-shirt from Pop. Is that OK?” she asked, glancing at her sister.

Poppy nodded. “Of course” she said.

Molly flashed her a smile as she followed Felipe out of the room, leaving Poppy and Gerard alone. For a long moment, neither of them moved to say anything, allowing a slightly uncomfortable silence to hang in the air that was broken when Gerard awkwardly cleared his throat. “She’s gorgeous” he said “The baby. She’s lovely, Pop” he added, grimacing a little at how he sounded.

“Thank you” Poppy replied.

“Thank you for letting me come and meet her” Gerard said.

“You and Molly are a package these days” Poppy replied, a slight smile on her face “I mean, you always were when we were kids, but it seems to be even worse these days. I thought you two were annoying then, but it’s got nothing on the way you are now. You’re very sweet together” she added.

Gerard blinked a couple of times, something which made Poppy shake her head, letting out a quiet sigh. “I don’t dislike you, Gerard” she said “I have problems with some stuff you’ve done, you know that, but despite that, I do think that you are the right person for Mol. I have always thought that. You just have something about the two of you, something I can’t explain. You make her happy, and that’s all I want. It’s all my parents want. Just stop getting in your own way and make her happy like you always have done. Be her goofy friend, be her shoulder to cry on. Be everything you’ve always been and I am pretty sure that you’ll be everything else to her” she added.

Gerard was quiet for a long moment, taking in what Poppy had said, before he nodded his head slowly. “What do you know about engagement rings?” he asked.

Poppy’s eyes widened. “What?” she spluttered.

“I am not going to do it soon” Gerard replied quickly, seeing the surprise on her face “I am not that...that irresponsible that I would want to put too much pressure on us right now, but we have already talked about it and I think I will need help to pick one. I don’t suppose you’d be inclined to help me, would you? I’d ask Ava and Sofia, but I think they like me less than you do” he added, offering her a lopsided smile.

Poppy tilted her head, her eyes searching his face. “Are you serious about this?” she asked.

“Very serious” Gerard replied.

Poppy was quiet for another long moment, her eyes scrutinizing the look on his face, before, finally, a slow, small smile pulled at the corner of her lips. “Alright then” she said “I...I would be happy to help” she added.