Until You Met Me


Shifting in the chair that he sat in, Gerard spared a look back at the door over his shoulder, waiting for it to swing open and allow Ava inside. He knew what was going to happen when she did arrive. After he had dropped Molly off at home the previous night, he had taken the time to read the texts that Ava had sent to him, and it had left him in no doubt as to why she wanted to speak to him. She was worried. What he had done the previous night could, and probably should, have been handled differently, and could have easily backfired and made the hurt that Molly was going to feel much worse, and Gerard wasn’t surprised that Ava wanted to know why he had done it. He knew that if he was in her shoes, he would have been just as concerned.

Pushing a hand back through his hair, he shifted in the chair again before he slid his phone out of his pocket. Tapping the screen, he dismissed a couple of notifications before his eyes found Molly’s name, something which caused his thumb to still for a moment before he opened it. It didn’t say much. Her message was just thanking him for the lift home, and was accompanied by a grinning emoji, but it was enough to cause him to smile a little, mostly in relief that it appeared as though everything was still as it always had been between the two of them.

Nothing about the previous night had been different aside from the suggestion that it had been a date. The way that they had talked had been the same, the laughing at each other’s teasing had been the same, and there had been no threat of a kiss goodnight when Gerard had left Molly outside of her apartment building, but still he had worried that the word ‘date’ would be enough to change things. He didn’t want things to change.

“Is that from Molly?”

Gerard, who’d been crafting his reply to Molly’s message, almost dropped his phone at the sound of Ava’s voice, something which caused her to smirk a little as she rounded her desk and plopped into her chair. “I thought you’d heard me come in” she said “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you” she added.

Gerard shook his head, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. “It’s fine” he quipped.

Ava watched him push his phone into his pocket before she shook her head, leaning back in her chair slightly. “Have you spoken to Molly this morning?” she asked.

“She texted me” Gerard answered “She just thanked me for giving her a lift home last night” he added.

Ava nodded her head slowly before she got her phone out. Tapping the screen a couple of times, she opened a message on the screen before she slid the phone across the desk. “She sent me this last night” she said “I always text her after a date, just to see how it went. I was half expecting her to text me, demanding to know why I had chosen you, but instead, I got this” she added.

Gerard hesitated for a split second before he leant forwards, reading the message on the screen of Ava’s phone. “I don’t know why you chose him” he read aloud “But it wasn’t the worst thing you could have done. It was weird, but maybe a good kind of weird?” he added.

“Why didn’t you just tell her about Dani?” Ava asked.

Gerard kept his stare on Ava’s phone as he shook his head. “She’d have been hurt” he said “I know she was resistant to the idea of letting you set her up again, but she was looking forwards to it and knowing that he wasn’t coming would have hurt her. I saw an opportunity to spare her that, and I took it. It’s like I said last night, it was just dinner” he added.

“That text doesn’t sound like Molly thinks that” Ava countered.

“It’s not like that between us, Ava” Gerard insisted.

Ava slid her phone back across the desk and placed it back in her bag before she spoke again. “Do you want it to be like that between you?” she asked carefully.

“Don’t you think that if I did want that, I would have done something about it by now?” Gerard answered, offering her a slightly crooked grin.

He knew it wasn’t an answer, and from the expression that was on Ava’s face, she knew that he was purposefully avoiding the question, but he didn’t know what else to say. It was his go-to response. For as long as he and Molly had been close, there had been people around them, asking if either of them wanted more than what they had between them, and the response that Gerard had given to Ava was the one that he always gave. He had known Molly for over twenty years. They had been introduced by their mothers who were still very good friends, and their connection had been almost instant, and that was what he pointed out whenever someone asked. He had had more than twenty years to make a move, and the fact that he hadn’t ought to have been enough to explain how he felt about her.

Ava offered him a slightly sceptical look before she shook her head. “I don’t know” she said “I don’t know what you are thinking now, and I don’t know what went through your head last night, but I am worried about it” she added.

“There’s nothing to be worried about” Gerard said.

“Isn’t there?” Ava countered “Molly thinks I set her up with you. She thinks that that dinner you went out to last night was a date. What if she asks you for a second date? Are you going to turn her down? Are you going to tell her that you weren’t even supposed to be there last night? This is a big deal, Gerard, and I am worried that the only person that is going to be hurt by this is Molly” she added.

Gerard’s expression softened a little. “What do you want me to do, Ava?” he asked.

“Tell her the truth” Ava answered.

“What good would that do now?” Gerard countered.

“What is the alternative?” Ava asked “Are you going to date her? You just said that if you wanted that, you would have done it by now. You can’t just do it because you’re worried that she will be pissed about last night. You know what she is looking for. You must know part of the reason that she and Tiago broke up” she added.

“I know the whole reason they broke up” Gerard said, slightly offended by the idea that Ava thought she knew more than he did “They’d been together for years. Molly wanted to settle down. Tiago didn’t” he added.

Ava blinked before her forehead creased, but whatever thought had crossed her mind, she was quick to shake away. “My point is, you can’t just go along with it because you’re scared to hurt her now” she said “You’ll only hurt her more that way. You wanted her to have a nice night, you gave her that. It was sweet, and she will see that eventually, even if she does get upset first. You’ve known her for a long time. It can’t be the first time you’ve done something to upset her” she added, her lips quirking upwards slightly.

Gerard’s answering smile was reluctant and resigned. “She could tell you some stories” he quipped.

“She has told me some stories” Ava said “She cares about you. Telling her the truth about last night won’t change that” she added.

Gerard nodded his head. “You’re right” he agreed.

Ava offered him a small reassuring smile, something Gerard returned before he pushed himself out of the chair and excused himself. Walking out of Ava’s office, he closed the door after himself before he leant his head back against it, a tired sigh falling out of his mouth. Ava was right and he knew it, but it didn’t make the prospect of upsetting Molly any easier for him to take. He had to tell her. He had to make sure that things didn’t change, but he was dreading it. Whatever the previous night had been, it had been good, and he knew that admitting the truth would tarnish its memory.