There Was You

01: You Looked Like You Could Use It

Closing her eyes, Riley allowed her head to fall backwards, softly bumping it against the wall which sat behind as another soft sigh fell out of her mouth. She had been sat there for a while, after she had said hello and congratulations to the happy couple, she had only waited a matter of minutes before she had slipped out onto their balcony, and with neither Marisol nor Nuno having come to look for her, she had opted to stay outside, almost certain that she didn’t have the stomach to watch her friends gush and coo over their new engagement.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for them, despite their ups and downs, Riley had been rooting for them for years, and she was elated that they’d finally taken the plunge and gotten engaged, but the timing of their engagement clashed with the end of her relationship, something she had yet to tell her friends. She had tried, after her boyfriend had ended things, the first person she had thought to turn to was Marisol who she’d known since she was a child, but before she had had the chance to say a word, Marisol had flashed the diamond ring that Nuno had gotten for her, causing Riley to stop herself, not wanting to detract from a moment that she knew her friend had been counting on forever.

Tugging on her light jacket, she attempted to ward off the light breeze which had ruffled her hair before she opened her eyes again, staring out over the city for a few seconds before the sound of footsteps reached her ears, causing her to look up, her eyes settling on a man who’d stepped out onto the balcony, clearly oblivious to her presence in the corner. Watching him for a few seconds, she tried to think of the best way to let him know that she was there before she lightly cleared her throat, causing him to turn, a vaguely amused smile on his face. “You didn’t have to do that” he quipped.

“I didn’t want to scare you” Riley replied, pushing herself back to her feet.

“You wouldn’t have done” he mused “I saw you sneak out of there a while ago and I never saw you come back in” he added.

Riley quirked a faint smile, a little amazed that, in a room full of people, he’d noticed her leave. “No one else noticed, did they?” she asked “Marisol, Nuno...” she trailed off.

“Busy” he replied “They’ve got a room full of fussing guests to keep them occupied” he added.

Riley nodded her head slowly. “Good” she murmured “I mean, I love them, but...” she trailed off.

“Iker” Iker mused after a second of quiet “I’m Iker, I’m a friend of Nuno’s” he added, sticking a hand out ahead of him.

Riley glanced at his hand for a second before she hesitantly placed hers in it, allowing him to shake it gently. “Riley” she mused.

Iker’s expression brightened. “Marisol’s best friend” he quipped “She talks about you all of the time” he added.

Riley shook her head. “I bet none of it is good” she retorted “I mean, I love her, but when she tells stories about us, I always come off looking like the bad influence, which is entirely untrue” she added playfully.

Iker laughed gently. “She’s very complimentary” he mused “About you and Ben” he added.

The warm smile that Riley had worn on her face faltered slightly before it fell away entirely, her grey eyes growing slightly tearful. Shaking her head, she attempted to wipe her eyes subtly before she cleared her throat. “I...uh...I’m sure she is really” she stumbled out.

Iker tilted his head, not missing the slight shake in her voice, before he took a pace towards her, trying to meet her eyes. “Are you OK?” he asked.

Riley nodded firmly, but kept her head down, deliberately trying to avoid meeting his stare. “I’m fine” she replied.

Iker sighed gently. “You’re not” he quipped “I mean, I can’t pretend to be an expert in Riley, but I am pretty sure you crying is not a good sign. Do you want me to go and find Marisol?” he pressed, taking a step towards the screen door.

“No” Riley replied sharply “No, not tonight. I am not going to bring her down whilst she’s so excited. She and Nuno have waited too long for this and I am not going to be the reason it gets ruined” she added, her voice softening.

Iker frowned a little, but nodded his head, stepping away from the door.

Riley watched him step back, allowing a few seconds of quiet to pass between the two of them, before she shook her head, gently pushing her fingers back through her dark hair. “I’m sorry for snapping” she mumbled.

Iker shrugged. “It’s OK” he mused.

Riley offered him a dubious look, something which made Iker smile a little as another silence passed between the two of them. Shifting his feet slightly, he stuffed his hands into his pockets before he looked back at her, trying to think of the right thing to say. Watching her, he saw as she lifted her hand to wipe at her eyes, before he cleared his throat. “Did I say something to upset you?” he asked quietly.

Riley, who’d been trying to be subtle about wiping her eyes, shook her head. “It wasn’ didn’t...” she spluttered before she took in a deep breath “Ben, my boyfriend.’s over” she added.

Iker’s eyes widened a little, but Riley didn’t notice, her eyes fixed on her feet. “We were together for years” she continued “And I really thought things were good between us, but he clearly had other ideas. Apparently, he’d rather spend his time out at bars rather than having cozy movie nights at home, a fact he didn’t mention until he was breaking up with me. He never liked my parents either, which he lied about, or spending time with my brother who I know adored him. He said so much that was was just crap he made up, and then he threw it in my face and told me that I didn’t know him. How the hell was I supposed to know him when nearly every word out of his mouth was a lie?” she hissed as she looked up at Iker.

Iker just blinked a couple of times, not quite sure what he was supposed to say to her.

Riley looked at him for a second, her eyes searching his stunned expression, before she shook her head, her own expression softening. “Oh my god” she whispered quietly “I’m...I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I did that. You don’t know me, you’ve never even met Ben, and I shouldn’t have...I just...I needed to say something, but still...” she trailed off as Iker stepped towards her, wrapping her in a slightly hesitant hug.

Riley let out a little squeak, something which caused Iker to tug back fractionally, only to have Riley tighten her grasp, hugging him tightly. Iker stiffened in surprise, but didn’t loosen his grip until Riley did, pulling back to look at his face. “You didn’t have to do that” she murmured.

Iker smiled, scratching his jaw awkwardly. “You...uh...You looked like you could use it” he mused.

Riley offered him a watery smile before she shook her head, carefully dropping her arms from his waist. “I should still get out of here” she mumbled “I think I’ve made a big enough fool out of myself in front you, Nuno’s friend” she added, trying, and failing, to sound lighthearted and cheerful as she stepped away from him, making her way towards the screen door.

Iker, however, didn’t let her get too far. “We could get coffee” he announced.

Riley stopped, hesitantly turning to look at him. “You really don’t have to do that” she quipped.

“The party’s not that fun” Iker quipped with a shrug “And Marisol and Nuno clearly wouldn’t miss us” he added.


“Tell me you’ve got something better to do” Iker interrupted “Aside from sitting and crying out here” he added.

Riley shook her head. “Just because you’ve seen me cry doesn’t make it your responsibility to try and cheer me up” she retorted.

Iker just offered her a shy smile, shrugging slightly.

Riley looked at him for a second, her eyes searching his face, before she shook her head. “You sure?” she asked.

Iker just nodded.

Riley started at him for a second longer, trying to think of a way to say no, before she sighed, nodding her head slightly. “If you’re one hundred percent certain, then...Ok. It sounds nice” she breathed.

Iker offered her another shy smile before he offered her his hand, something Riley took before he squeezed her hand reassuringly.