Until You Met Me

Seventy Nine

Pushing the front door closed after himself, Gerard lingered by it for a moment, half expecting the silence that filled the house to be broken by a sudden peel of laughter from somewhere inside. It was often the case. Whilst Gerard had made a habit of ducking out whenever Ava and Sofia were around, he almost always returned before Molly had said goodnight, and it meant, more often than not, he had to poke his head around the door and fake a smile, knowing that the sight of him even just trying meant a lot to Molly. It probably wasn’t ever going to be completely fixed. Molly’s friends didn’t trust him, even despite the fact he had been in her life for longer than they had, and it wasn’t a problem that was just going to disappear, but he knew that it meant a lot to Molly to see him try, even if it was futile. He’d keep making the effort if it was enough to make her smile.

Standing by the door for a moment, he waited for the voices or the laughter to come, but they never did, causing him to frown. Shrugging his jacket off of his shoulders, he poked his head into the living room and the kitchen before he stopped at the foot of the stairs. “Molly?” he called.

There wasn’t an immediate response, something that had Gerard fishing for his phone in his pocket until he heard the stairs creak, pulling his attention up towards Molly who’d stopped halfway down them. “Did you call me?” she asked.

“I was just surprised that you weren’t down here” Gerard answered “Normally, when I get home, you, Ava and Sofia are only just opening the last bottle of wine” he added with a slight chuckle.

Molly’s lips twisted into a pained smile as she reached up, nervously pushing her hair behind her ear. “That...uh, that might not be something you need to worry about for a little while” she said.

Gerard tilted his head, his slight smile slipping off of his face as he studied the pained expression on Molly’s. Climbing up the stairs towards her, he spotted the redness around her eyes, something which caused him to gently coax her towards him, exhaling a soft sigh against the top of her head as he hugged her close. “You’ve been crying” he murmured.

“Would you believe me if I told you that I had just cut up some onions?” Molly quipped, tilting her head back to look up at him.

Gerard smiled despite himself, gently pushing a wave of hair back off of her face. “You cut up some onions and then went to bed?” he played along.

“Is that weird?” Molly teased, her smile just a little shaky.

“Incredibly” Gerard answered “So, do you want to tell me what really happened?” he asked, his voice growing softer.

He knew what it was. Ava and Sofia’s early departure, twinned with the redness around Molly’s eyes, screamed the answer at him, but he wanted to hear it from Molly before he reacted. He didn’t want to say something before he had all of the facts, knowing that he had a talent for saying the wrong thing and making things worse by mistake.

Molly tried to pass it off with a roll of her eyes and a small smile, but she was thwarted when her eyes filled with tears again, something that caused her to exhale a shaky sigh before she ducked her head. “I don’t even know why I am upset” she muttered.

Gerard gently cupped her cheek, using his thumb to brush away her tears as he slowly guided them both to sit on the step they stood on. “What happened?” he asked again.

“Ava doesn’t like you” Molly answered, gently toying with the fingers of his other hand to avoid looking up at him “I mean, you always knew that, but I just thought...I thought she was just being protective. But then she was here tonight, and she was saying these about us putting off making wedding plans, and it just...she didn’t seem protective any more. She was just mean, she said things about you, suggesting that you’d gotten cold feet or that you regretted proposing, and I had to ask her to leave” she explained.

Gerard nodded his head slowly, biting his tongue to stop himself from saying anything.

Molly looked up at him. “You’re not going to say anything?” she asked.

“She’s your best friend” Gerard replied.

Molly shook her head, letting out a sad laugh. “Seems like that means more to you than it does to her” she mused “She’s never held back in suggesting that I can do better than you, but you still won’t say a bad word about her” she added.

Gerard gently lifted her hand, pressing his lips to the back of it. “I know that I am never going to make her happy” he said “I don’t know why, but I am never going to be what she imagined for you, and I am OK with it, but if you’re not, then you really have to think about how close you want to be with her. I am not suggesting that you cut ties with her completely, I would never ask you to do that, but if she isn’t going to be supportive...” he trailed off, not quite wanting to say the words out loud in case Molly reacted badly.

He knew how reluctant she would be to put distance between her and Ava. Aside from him, Ava was the friend that she had had for the longest, and he knew that she meant an awful lot to Molly, but he couldn’t help but suggest that putting space between them was rapidly becoming something that Molly had to consider. Gerard wasn’t going anywhere. Regardless of how quickly or slowly things between him and Molly progressed, he was planning on being a permanent fixture in her life, and if Ava wasn’t prepared to compromise and accept that, then there was little chance that her friendship with Molly could continue without changing. Molly was stuck in the middle, and whilst Gerard had made some attempt to make things easier on her, Ava hadn’t, and her friendship with Molly was likely to be thing that suffered for it.

Molly sighed, cuddling into Gerard’s side. “Why can’t she at least pretend to like you?” she murmured “I mean, you’ve got likeable qualities. I don’t get why this is so hard for her” she added.

Gerard kissed the crown of her head, smiling into her hair. “Likeable qualities, eh?” he teased.

“You know what I mean” Molly replied.

Gerard’s lips moved to her temple, kissing it lightly. “It’ll get figured out” he quipped “But right now, why don’t we go to bed? You can tell me all about those likeable qualities of mine” he teased.

Molly laughed, a genuine brightness filling her face that made Gerard’s smile widen before he helped her back to her feet, wordlessly making a note to visit Ava and smooth things out as soon as he could.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)