There Was You

10: I Don’t Mind Hearing Stupid Things

Gently tearing the napkin that she held in her hand, Riley spared a glance across the table, looking at Iker who sat opposite her, happily telling her a story, oblivious to the fact that she had stopped listening a matter of minutes previous. She had tried not to let it bother her, with Iker seemingly unfazed by Marisol’s interruption earlier in the evening, she had spent a while trying to pretend that it didn’t bother her either, but she couldn’t stop her mind from ticking, even if Iker didn’t seem bothered. She couldn’t seem to shake the doubts that Marisol’s visit had instilled in her.

She knew that Marisol hadn’t done it deliberately, if Riley had walked in on what Marisol had, she was certain that she would have been quick to jump to similar, if not the same, conclusions that the blonde had, but still it had gotten her thinking, something she couldn’t seem to stop, no matter how many times she reminded herself that Iker seemed more than happy with how things were between them. She couldn’t quite shake the notion that he was only hanging around in hopes of something more.

Returning her stare to her lap, she tore the napkin a little more before the sound of Iker clearing his throat caught her ears, causing her to cautiously look up, her eyes meeting his. “Huh?” she spluttered.

“You didn’t laugh” Iker replied.

Riley frowned. “What?” she asked.

“At the hilarious ending of my story” Iker elaborated “It was one of my best ones, and you didn’t laugh, which means you obviously weren’t listening. I mean, if you had been, you would have laughed, I’m sure of it” he added with a boyish grin.

Riley quirked a faint smile, briefly contemplating playing along with his teasing, before she shook her head, letting out a soft sigh. “Sorry” she murmured “I am somewhere else entirely” she added, taking a sip of her drink.

Iker tilted his head, his smile softening a little. “You want to share where?” he asked.

He knew that there was something bothering her, from the moment that she had closed the door behind Marisol, she had been a little quieter than she usually was, even around him, and he wanted to encourage her to talk to him, not liking the idea of there being something on her mind. He knew that she had worried about Marisol, from the moment that they’d started spending time together, both of them had attempted to hide it from the blonde, knowing precisely what she’d say, but he didn’t want her to think it mattered what Marisol thought of what was happening between them. They were happy with what was happening, and as far as Iker was concerned, that was the only thing that mattered.

Riley, who’d diverted her stare back down towards the napkin she was messing with in her hands, shrugged. “It’s nothing” she mumbled, not making any kind of attempt to look back up at him.

Iker shook his head, letting out an amused scoff. “I know I don’t know you that well” he mused “But I know you well enough to know that that’s a lie. You want to try that again?” he added brightly.

Riley couldn’t help but smile a little at his teasing before she shook her head, moving to settle the torn up napkin down onto the table. “It’s just me being silly” she murmured “I mean, Marisol jumped to some pretty obvious conclusions, and I guess they’s stupid” she cut herself off, sparing a brief glance at him before she turned her stare back to her lap.

Iker watched her, briefly contemplating reaching across the table so that he could tilt her head back slightly, before he hesitantly leant forwards, cautiously laying his hand over the top of hers.

Riley jumped a little, but didn’t jerk her hand away, something which allowed Iker to tighten his grip slightly, squeezing her hand softly. “I don’t mind hearing stupid things” he mumbled, ducking his head to catch her eyes.

Riley held his stare, her grey eyes searching his for a moment, before she let out a nervous sigh. “I’m not...I’m nowhere near over Ben” she announced softly “I mean, it’s been weeks, and I don’t feel any closer to being over him than I did when he broke things off. I was with him for years, Iker, and a few weeks was never going to be enough time to get over him, so if you’re just waiting around for that...let’s just say you’re going to be waiting around for a while” she added quietly.

Iker just blinked a couple of times, something which Riley took as an invitation to keep talking. “I’m not saying it’s a never” she mumbled “I mean, there’s no denying that you’’re attractive, and nice, and I...I enjoy spending time with you, I just...”

“What are you talking about?” Iker spluttered, cutting her off.

Riley blinked a couple of times, surprised by the interruption, before she met his eyes. “Us” she spluttered “I’m trying to tell you that...”

“I got that” Iker quipped “I just...I don’t get why you’re saying that. Is that what you think this is?” he asked, gesturing between the two of them.

“Isn’t it?” Riley prodded.

“You think my only interest in you is romantic?” Iker countered before he grimaced, noticing that his voice was a little louder than he’d expected “You think that’s the only reason I want to spend time with you, Riley? You think it’s just a ploy to get you into bed?” he spluttered.

Riley just stared at him, her eyes wide.

Iker leant back in his seat slightly, his eyes searching her face, before he let out a soft sigh. “I do like you, Riley” he murmured quietly “But not because I am attracted to you” he added.

Riley swallowed. “You’re...You’re not?” she spluttered.

Iker’s eyes widened as he recounted his previous words before he shook his head quickly. “That’s...I didn’t mean to...Of course I am attracted to you” he stuttered “I just meant that I like you for other reasons, reasons aside from the fact that I think you’re gorgeous, which I do, because you are. I am just...I am trying to say that that’s not the only reason I want to spend time with you, Riley. You’re smart and you’re funny, and being around you’s easy and I like that. I’m not expecting anything out of this. I mean if it were to happen, then I would be...then we could cross that bridge when we got to it, but it’s not the only reason I am interested in you. I like being around you, Riley, and I hope that...maybe, you might like being around me too?” he added, offering her a slightly timid grin.

It had caught him off guard, the conversation that Riley had started had seemingly come out of nowehere, and it had caught him more than a little by surprise, but he hoped that he had soothed her worries. He couldn’t deny that he was attracted to her, even if he tried to, he knew that she would know that he was lying, but he wanted her to know that the possibility of a romantic relationship wasn’t the reason that he was so keen on spending time with her. The simple reason was merely that he liked it.

There was something about them, underneath the awkwardness that lingered on the surface, there was something easy and comfortable in their relationship, and he liked that. He liked that she laughed at his bad jokes, and that she wasn’t afraid to roll her eyes when he was being stupid. He liked that her face brightened ever so slightly when he smiled at her. If he was honest, he just liked Riley.

Riley, who’d looked back down at her lap, peeked up at him slightly before she nodded her head, a shy smile on her lips. “I do” she confirmed.

“Great” Iker replied quickly, a little too quickly.

Riley laughed softly at his eagerness.

Iker felt his cheeks warm before he leant across the table, squeezing her hand again. “Marisol is going to say stuff” he muttered “And I am pretty sure that Nuno will say stuff too, but you don’t need to let it get to you, Riley. What we are, if anything, is our business. I don’t want you to think that there’s some kind of pressure on you, because there’s not. I like this, I like you” he insisted gently.

“Still?” Riley quipped with a grin that made it clear she was joking “Because if you were looking for an out, I just gave it to you. Take it and run whilst you can, Iker” she added, her voice softening a little.

Iker squeezed her hand, smiling at her softly. “You can’t get rid of me so easily, Riley” he replied warmly.
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Thanks to mslou1 and FootieJo for the comments :)