Until You Met Me

Seventy Eight

“You know that I live here, too, right?”

Molly, who’d been reaching for the wine glasses on a shelf, let out a huff of laughter as Gerard reached over her head, collecting them for her. She knew that he was joking. Despite things having improved between her, Ava and Sofia, Gerard was still keen to maintain his distance, and it meant that whenever Ava and Sofia came over, he made himself scarce, not wanting to make things awkward. It was unavoidably awkward still. Gerard had reached a tentative truce with Ava, who, out of Molly’s friends, liked him the least, but it hadn’t improved their relationship dramatically. They both just wanted Molly to be happy, and if it meant that Gerard had to leave the house for a couple of hours whenever Ava and Sofia made plans to spend the evening with Molly, he was content to do it, knowing just how big a part of her life Ava and Sofia were.

“I had noticed that you appear to be here a lot” Molly teased “Did you move in without me knowing?” she added.

Gerard placed the glasses down onto the counter before he offered her a flat look, causing Molly to grin at him impishly. “You know that you’re welcome to stay” she announced as she padded towards the fridge, retrieving a bottle of white wine from inside “As you said, you live here, too, and if you want to join me, Ava and Sofia, then you’re more than welcome to. I am sure it will be a lot of fun” she added teasingly.

Gerard made a show of rolling his eyes, a slight grin on his face. “Do you remember when you kept trying to convince me that Ava didn’t hate me?” he chirped.

“She doesn’t hate you” Molly replied.

“She doesn’t like me” Gerard countered with a smirk.

Molly sighed, knowing that she couldn’t refute it like she used to. It wasn’t that Ava didn’t like him, though it appeared like that, she was just wary of the damage losing him could potentially do to Molly. He was the most important person in Molly’s life, he had been for as long as she had known Ava or Sofia, and whilst he obviously made her happy, Ava still remained wary.

Gerard watched the playful expression fade from Molly’s face, causing him to swoop towards her, stealing a quick kiss that made Molly squeak in surprise before she took a step backwards, laughing gently. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Gerard shrugged. “Just reminding you that you like me enough to make up for the fact that Ava doesn’t” he chirped.

Molly rolled her eyes, but couldn’t keep herself from smiling slightly. “You’re an idiot” she quipped.

“And you love that about me” Gerard played along.

Molly leant up and pressed her lips to his softly. “Maybe” she teased.

Gerard smiled at her gently before the chime of the doorbell filled the air, causing him to peck her lips once more before he stepped away. “I’ll let them in on my way out” he quipped “Have a goodnight. Don’t let Ava you set you up with anyone in my absence” he teased as he walked out of the room, leaving Molly smiling after him.

“So, are you and Gerard getting any closer to picking a date?”

Molly, who’d been sipping on a glass of wine, smiled bashfully around the top of it, answering Sofia’s question with a slight shrug. It was a question that she was asked a lot. Her parents, Gerard’s parents and their friends were all curious about when things would start moving forwards, and whilst they had reached an agreement that they would start planning in a few months, it wasn’t something that Molly had shared with anyone else yet. She was excited that they were going to get started, but she knew that if she told anyone else, they’d be too eager to start pitching ideas, something she wanted to hold off on until Gerard was ready. She didn’t want to run the risk of him getting overwhelmed any more.

“Not really” Molly replied “Gerard wants to enjoy being engaged for a while, and I think he’s right. We have done a lot pretty quickly” she added.

Ava, who was poking at some food on her plate, looked up, a slightly baffled smile on her face. “You’ve been friends for twenty years” she quipped “I don’t think anyone would say you two are moving ‘quickly’” she added.

“Ava” Sofia warned, glancing over at Molly whose stare had dropped to the glass in her hands.

Ava shrugged, reaching over to refill her glass. “I am just saying” she said “It’s not like you’re still getting to know each other. I don’t get why he’s dragging his feet. He proposed, I thought that that meant that he was excited to marry you” she added.

“Ava, shut up” Sofia insisted.

Ava blinked owlishly, surprised by Sofia’s sharp tone, before she looked up at Molly. “Molly...”

“Can you not even try to pretend that you’re not waiting for him to break my heart?” Molly’s voice was quiet, but the hurt was clear to hear.

“I was just...”

“Just trying to suggest that he’s got cold feet?” Molly asked “To suggest that him wanting to take a step back was a sign that he regretted proposing? There’s no good way to finish that sentence, Ava, because this isn’t trying to look out for me any more. This is sitting there and trying to convince me to doubt him, and I don’t want to hear it. If you haven’t got anything nice to say about him, which you very clearly don’t, then maybe you should just go” she added.

Ava opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, briefly looking at Sofia for some kind of backup, before she pushed herself up to her feet and left the room. A few seconds later, the front door closed with a loud thud, and Molly sunk back into the sofa, Sofia quickly wrapping her in a comforting hug.