Until You Met Me

Seventy Seven

Lingering in the hallway outside of their shared bedroom, Molly rocked back onto her heels, losing the little nerve that she had built up on the short trip up the stairs. She had left it for a while. After the mess she had made the last time that they had been in the same room together, she had wanted to give Gerard some space, determined not to make things worse, but as she stood outside of the room, she was finding it harder and harder to ignore the little voice in her head that was encouraging her to turn away. It had only been a couple of hours. Only a couple of hours had passed since she had been sat in front of Gerard, comparing him to Tiago and asking if he had actually meant to propose to her, and as much as she wanted to make amends, she worried about what waited for her on the other side of the door.

Rubbing a hand against her forehead, she let out a gentle sigh before she reached forwards, gently tapping the door before she moved to push it open. Shuffling around it, she pushed it closed again behind her before she turned and looked at Gerard who sat on the side of the bed, watching her. For a second, she didn’t quite know what to do next. She looked at the space next to him, and at a seat that was a small distance away from the bed, but before she could move towards the latter, Gerard wordlessly offered his hand out. Molly blinked in surprise, but slowly lowered her hand into his, allowing him to coax her towards him before he gently took her other hand too, squeezing it gently.

Molly stared down at their hands, watching as Gerard’s thumb traced the line of her engagement ring, before she shook her head. “I said the wrong thing” she murmured “And then I just...I just kept saying the wrong thing. I am so, so sorry” she added.

Gerard lifted his head slowly, wordlessly encouraging her to keep talking.

“I’m sorry that I even thought about you in the same way as Tiago” Molly said “Because you’re not like him. You know that I don’t think that, don’t you?” she asked.

“Do you really think that that is my biggest worry?” Gerard huffed out with a gentle laugh.

Molly’s forehead creased, something which caused Gerard to sigh before he lifted her hand, pressing a gentle kiss against the finger that housed her engagement ring. “Do you think that I didn’t know what this meant?” he asked “I didn’t just...just ask you for the sake of asking you, Molly. I asked you because I want to marry you, and I hate the idea that you doubt that, just because I asked to slow things down a little. You can compare me to Tiago in as many ways as you want, just as long as you can honestly say that you believe that I asked you for all the right reasons” he added, his thumb still tracing a careful line over the back of her hand.

He didn’t care about the comparison to Tiago. In all of the months that they had been together, he had been compared to Molly’s ex boyfriend more than once, and whilst it would have usually bothered him, it had been lost in the static that had filled his ears when Molly had asked if he was serious about wanting to get married.

He hadn’t considered that she doubted it. When he had asked if things could be slowed down, Molly had jumped at the chance, telling him that she had felt overwhelmed too, and he hadn’t realised that it had changed, or that the little flinches he knew that he sometimes got whenever the wedding came up in conversation had been causing her pain. It was still overwhelming to him. The idea that the girl he had known since he was a child could, potentially, only be months away from becoming his wife still seemed far-fetched to him, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t want to do it. He just wanted to take a step back, and enjoy the ways things had already changed before they changed again.

Molly quietly watched his thumb before she nodded. “I know you did” she mused “I just...I am pretty awful at waiting. I spent years waiting on Tiago. I spent birthdays and anniversaries hoping that that would be the one where he...he asked me to move in with him, or for anything more, and it just never happened. That is what I meant to say earlier. I wanted to wait, too. When we were looking for a place to live, or when we were actually moving, waiting made sense, but now that’s all out of the way. I just wanted to know if you’d at least thought about it, but I asked it in the stupidest way I could” she added, a pained smile on her face.

Gerard tilted his head from side to side, a soft smile on his face. “There were probably stupider ways to ask” he quipped.

Molly laughed, melting away some of the tension in the air. “I know you knew what asking meant” she said “My mother told me about the afternoon you spent with her, trying to plan a proposal. She said you looked all smitten” she added.

Gerard ducked his head, trying, and failing, to hide the pink that had appeared on his cheeks. “I am smitten” he quipped “I have been for a while now” he added.

Molly leant forwards, kissing the crown of his head.

Gerard’s arms wrapped around her waist before he leant his head back, looking up at her softly. “I just want us to slow down a little” he said “We’ve spent a long time getting here, and I think taking a step back, to enjoy it, before everything changes again, isn’t a bad thing. I love you, Molly, and I just want to spend some time enjoying that. I want the other stuff, too, but I just don’t want us to lose sight of where we are by focussing on where we’re going” he explained.

Molly’s answering smile was a little sad as she nodded her head. “When you put it like it” she murmured.

Gerard gently cupped the back of her head, guiding her into a soft kiss before he leant back, pressing his forehead to hers. “The new year” he murmured “Give me until then, and then we’ll start planning. Though, if anyone drags me to a suit fitting on the first of January, I will have to rethink that” he added with a soft laugh.

Molly tilted his head back, kissing him again. “Deal” she murmured.