Where We Are

30: I Told Her The Truth

“Are you nearly ready to go?”

Maia, who’d been placing the last few clips into her dark hair, looked up at the sound of Iker’s voice before she quirked a small smile, nodding her head gently. It had been a while, after their latest conversation about the prospect of them moving in together, a few weeks had passed, and with Maia’s 27th birthday having arrived, they were due to head to a party that her parents had arranged for her, something which had Iker slightly on edge. He knew that it wasn’t his first time, since he had met them for the first time, he had spent more than one evening with Hector and Carolina, but still he felt a little awkward around them, something he doubted would ever fade away entirely.

“I think so” Maia noted “Is the babysitter here?” she posed, slipping the last clip into her hair.

“She’s in the nursery with Ella” Iker noted “I’ve already given her our numbers, just in case, and she said that she would call if we need anything, so, if you’re ready, we can get moving” he added, his dark eyes studying her closely. It had been a while, between their breakup and Ella arriving, Iker couldn’t quite recall the last time he had seen Maia so dressed up, but he knew that he had missed it. She looked beautiful.

Maia, who’d moved to slip her feet into her shoes, caught his stare via the mirror which stood ahead of her before she shook her head, a soft shade of pink appearing on her cheeks. “I’m taking your awkward staring as a good sign” she teased, leaning down to adjust her shoe on her foot.

Iker blinked, a little surprised that he had been caught staring, before he quirked a shy smile. “It’s been a while since I saw you all dressed up” he noted “I forgot how good you looked” he added.

Maia lifted a playful eyebrow. “I don’t look good normally?” she pressed, a feigned frown on her face.

Iker, who’d stepped a little closer to her, scoffed. “You know that I think you’re beautiful” he countered, gently pulling her a little closer.

Maia quirked an impish smile. “Maybe I just like to hear it every now and again” she teased, her fingers straightening the tie that he wore.

Iker watched her for a moment, admiring her smile, before he leant forwards, gently resting his forehead against hers. “Do we really have to go tonight?” he murmured “I mean, it is your birthday after all. Shouldn’t you choose how you celebrate it?” he added, lightly rubbing circles into her hip with the pad of his thumb. He knew that it was a tradition, with Maia being an only child, her parents had always made a fuss of her birthday, but a small part of him wanted to shy away from it, wanting the opportunity to spend the evening alone with his girlfriend.

Maia smiled a little at his question before she shook her head. “I’d love to” she murmured “But my mama and papa have gone to a lot of effort to plan tonight and I don’t want to upset them by not showing up. Do you think you can make it few a couple of hours of small talk?” she posed, offering him a soft look.

Iker met her stare briefly before he let out a small sigh, something which made Maia giggle softly before she pushed herself up onto her toes, stealing a quick kiss. “You’ll be fine” she insisted “I promise you, it will be a couple of hours at most, and then we can come back here and we can do whatever you want” she added, a coy grin pulling at the corner of her mouth.

Iker returned her coy smile before he offered his hand out towards her, something which made Maia giggle before she laced their fingers together, leading him out of the room.

Sipping on the drink which sat in his hand, Iker quirked a small smile, his dark eyes settled on Maia who stood a little away from him, grinning as people sang happy birthday to her. It had been a good night, even despite his nerves about the prospect of spending time around her mother and father, Iker had found himself relaxed and calm, and he was pleased that they had gone, even if he had been hoping for a quieter night. He was pleased that both he and Maia had enjoyed themselves.

Taking another sip of his drink, he watched her blow out the candles before he joined in the round of applause, flashing her a grin as their eyes met. Smiling at her briefly, he watched her speak with a couple of the party guests before he felt someone nudge his shoulder, causing him to turn, his dark eyes settling on Carolina who stood beside him, a familiar motherly smile on her lips. “Mrs Varela” he greeted.

Carolina shook her head. “It’s Carolina, Iker” she corrected “I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve told you that” she teased.

Iker simply smiled at her sheepishly, something which made Carolina shake her head before she gently bumped his shoulder once more. “How are things, Iker?” she posed, her eyes settled on Maia who stood a little away from them, talking with one of her cousins.

“Things?” Iker posed.

“How are you and Maia doing?” Carolina clarified “I mean, I talk to my daughter a lot, but she is a little coy when it comes to you and I thought I would ask. Things are going well?” she posed, her voice soft and curious. She didn’t want to stick her nose in, whatever happened between Iker and Maia was between the two of them, but she was curious about how things were going. She wanted it to work, for Maia’s sake as well as Ella’s, she wanted things between her daughter and the keeper to work out, and she wanted to ensure that they were on track.

Iker noticed the tone of her voice before he nodded, offering her a small smile. “It’s a work in progress” he noted “After last time, I think both me and Maia are a little cagey, but it seems to be going well. I like being around your daughter, Carolina” he enthused warmly.

Carolina offered him a small look, her eyes searching his face for any trace of a lie, before Maia appeared beside them, something which caused her to shake her head, excusing herself politely. “I’ll leave you to it” she mused before she stepped away.

Maia watched her mother step away from before she lifted her head, offering Iker a curious look. “You OK?” she posed.

Iker quirked a small smile before he nodded. “Your madre was just asking for a status update about us” he noted.

Maia lifted an amused eyebrow. “And what did you tell her?” she posed.

Iker shrugged. “The truth” he noted simply “That it’s a work in progress, but that I like being around you” he added, his dark eyes staring down into her blues.

Maia blushed softly before she shook her head, something which made Iker smile before he leant down, pressing a soft kiss against her lips. Maia startled, caught off guard by the gentle kiss, but she warmed to it quickly, kissing him happily for a few seconds before the sound of someone clearing their throat reached her ears, causing her to duck back. Flashing Iker a small apologetic smile, she quickly turned, her blue eyes settling on the woman who stood ahead of her, a smile on her face. “Maia” she greeted “Happy birthday” she added.

Maia blinked a couple of times before she shook her head. “Melena” she breathed “What are you doing here?” she added.

Melena shrugged. “Your mother invited me” she noted “And I couldn’t refuse. I’ve not spoken to you since your last deadline and I was hoping that we could take a few minutes to discuss what happens next. Do you have a couple of minutes?” she pressed curiously.

Maia gaped for a couple of seconds before she felt Iker’s hand on her back, something which made her shake her head. “Iker” she murmured “This is Melena Ruiz, she’s my editor and publisher. Melena, this is Iker, my boyfriend” she introduced.

Melena nodded before she reached her hand out, offering it to Iker. “It’s nice to meet you, Iker” she noted pleasantly.

Iker stared at her hand before he took it hesitantly, offering it a quick shake. “You too, Melena” he noted simply before he excused himself, something which made Maia sigh before she flicked her attention back towards Melena, offering her the best smile she could muster. She knew that it was a sore spot, her job and what happened next for her wasn’t something she and Iker had talked a lot about, but she knew that it was something they needed to discuss. They couldn’t ignore it forever.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to FootieJo for the comment :)