If You Love Me

Sixteen: It Wasn’t Him

“So, Nora, how are things with you?” Maria posed as she padded around the table, placing food onto the plates which sat in front of her daughters and son-in-law. It had been a little while, with Emilia and Mateo preparing for the arrival of their baby, they’d opted to postpone their weekly dinner with their mother for a few weeks, but with things having settled down again, Maria had been keen to insist that they visit, even if it was only for a couple of hours, she wanted to catch up with her daughters.

Nora, who was quietly sending a text to Gerard, lifted her head at the sound of her mother’s voice. “Huh?” she posed gently.

Maria, who’d moved to take a seat at the head of the table, lifted an eyebrow before she tilted her head. “I asked how things are going, Nora” she repeated gently “Weren’t you listening?” she posed, her voice caught between curious and teasing. It hadn’t gone unnoticed, since Nora had arrived, she had barely been separated from her phone, but Maria knew better than to push the issue. Nora was stubborn, the more Maria pushed her, the more she was likely to push back, and Maria didn’t want to upset her. Chances were that Nora would come to her when there was something she wanted to say.

Nora, who’d moved to slip her phone into her pocket, shook her head. “Of course I was listening, mama” she noted softly “And things are going pretty well. I’ve been pretty busy at work in the last few weeks” she added gently.

Maria nodded her head. “What are you working on?” she posed gently, placing a forkful of food into her mouth.

“A couple have hired me to help plan their 10th wedding anniversary party” Nora replied gently “I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks and we’re making pretty great progress” she enthused warmly, pushing a little of her meal around her plate.

She knew what was coming, from the moment that she had allowed the news that she was working on an anniversary party slip to her mother, she had known that it was only a matter of time before her mother asked questions about her own relationship status, but still she wanted to shy away from them. She wasn’t a good liar, she never had been, and she was certain that her mother and sister, the two people who knew her best, would be able to tell that she was lying just by looking at her.

Maria nodded her head gently, sipping on her glass of water, before she offered her daughter a soft smile. “What about you?” she asked gently “Emmy told me a little while ago that she set you up on date. Did it go anywhere?” she posed, her expression curious.

Nora, who was focused on the plate ahead of her, shrugged. “We texted for a while” she admitted gently “And we met up for one of Spain’s matches during the Euros, but it didn’t go anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, Dani was lovely but…”

“He wasn’t a certain Spanish central defender” Emilia cut in, finishing for her younger sister.

Nora blinked a couple of times, slightly surprised by Emilia’s interruption, before she shook her head, something which made Maria lean across slightly, her hand gently taking a hold of her younger daughter’s. “You know, we only want to see you happy, Nora” she noted softly “I mean, I know that you’re still young, but it would be nice to see you find somebody. It’s been a while since you bought anyone home” she prodded softly.

Nora spared a soft glance down towards their hands before she lightly shook her head. “Mama…”

“You’re a beautiful girl, Nora” Maria interrupted softly “You’re kind and sweet and intelligent, and if Gerard’s not going to realize that then…then maybe it is time to start looking elsewhere. I am sure that Emmy and Mateo know a few guys that they could set you up with” she added, sparing a small glance towards her older daughter who nodded her head in agreement. She knew that Nora was reluctant to move on, for a while, she had been stuck on the defender, but Maria wanted to encourage her slightly, even if it was likely to take her a little while to get over the defender. She didn’t want her daughter to be stuck on a man who was seemingly oblivious to her feelings.

Nora watched her mother and sister share a look before she shook her head. “I don’t want to be set up” she mused softly.

Emilia shook her head. “Come on, Nora” she prodded gently “I know that you’ve been stuck on him for a little while, but…”

“I don’t want to be set up because…because I am already seeing someone” Nora interjected hesitantly. It wasn’t she wanted, when she had arrived at her mother’s home, she had wanted to avoid the topic of her love life entirely, but she knew that she wasn’t going to convince her mother and sister to stop, not without sharing the information that she was in a relationship.

Emilia, who’d been cut off half way through her sentence, blinked a couple of times before she tilted her head. “What?” she pressed.

Nora shifted in her seat slightly, chewing on her lip quietly, before she let out a soft sigh. “I don’t want you to set me up on a date because…because I already have a boyfriend” she clarified shyly.

Maria blinked a few times before she gently nudged Nora’s shoulder. “You do?” she squeaked.

Nora nodded her head softly. “It’s still pretty new” she murmured softly “I mean, we’ve only been seeing each other for a few weeks, but it is going pretty well” she added, a light smile pulling at the corner of her mouth.

Maria and Emilia shared a look before the younger woman shook her head. “You have a boyfriend?” she pressed, her voice slightly incredulous.

Nora scoffed a little, but nodded her head.

“Who is it?” Maria pressed, her voice slightly excited.

Nora’s cheeks warmed a little before she lightly shook her head. “Mama…”

“Come on, Nora” Maria interrupted “You have to tell us” she added, sparing her daughter a warm motherly smile.

Nora spared her a gentle look, briefly contemplating shaking her to tell her no, before she let out a soft sigh. She doubted that her mother or sister would let her leave the room without sharing the name of her boyfriend. Fiddling with the ends of her hair, she chewed on her lip quietly before she let out another gentle sigh. “It…It’s Gerard” she breathed quietly.
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Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)