There Was You

17: I Don’t Love It, But I Understand It

Pulling the light cardigan that she wore a little more around herself, Riley quirked a small smile, her eyes studying the scene ahead of her. It was still early, with the ceremony not due to get underway for more than an hour and a half, things were still in the process of getting ready, but still Riley couldn’t help but smile, a little amazed by the idea that her best friend’s wedding day had come around as quickly as it had. She had never doubted that it would happen quickly, from the moment that Marisol had said yes to Nuno’s proposal, she had known that it would only be a matter of a couple of months before they actually made it up the aisle, but she was thrilled for them, even if helping to plan the wedding had been more stressful than she had thought it would be. She knew that it would be worth it when, in a couple of hours, Marisol and Nuno were announced as husband and wife.

Grinning gently at the thought, she tucked a few loose hairs off of her face before she heard someone clear their throat behind her, causing her to turn around slightly, shaking her head as her stare landed on Iker. “Aren’t you supposed to be watching Nuno?” she asked, turning her stare back up the aisle as she padded up it.

“Aren’t you supposed to be with Marisol?” Iker countered.

Riley shrugged, but didn’t turn to look back at him. “Her sisters are there” she mused “Not to mention her mother, and my mother, and my sister too. It was a lot, so when she asked if someone would come out here and make sure that things were nearly ready, I jumped at the chance. I needed a few minutes” she added.

Iker smiled. “I get that” he quipped “Nuno’s mother is a lot too” he added.

Riley laughed gently before she turned around, something which caused Iker’s eyes to widen a little, marveling at how beautiful she looked.

Riley felt her cheeks flush under his stare before she shook her head, guiding her stare down to her feet. “You don’t like it?” she murmured softly.

Iker blinked a couple of times before he shook his head, clearing his throat gently. “I love it” he murmured “It’s a beautiful dress, Riley. Marisol’s got excellent taste” he added.

Riley lifted an amused eyebrow, something which made Iker shake his head, his cheeks flushing a familiar shade of pink. “You’re beautiful” he muttered “But in that look...You look amazing, Riley” he stumbled out.

Riley smiled sheepishly as she stared down at her feet. “You look nice too” she murmured “Very handsome” she added.

Iker couldn’t help but smile a little at the compliment before he took a step forwards, gently brushing his fingers against her jaw in order to make her look up at him. It had been a few days, after they’d talked about what was happening between them, they’d not had the chance to spend more time together, and Iker couldn’t deny that he was pleased that they had a few quiet minutes to themselves, even if they were trying to keep things between just the two of them. He couldn’t help but be glad that he had the chance to have Riley to himself for a moment.

Tracing his thumb along her jaw, he watched her eyes flick up to meet his before he quirked another soft smile, something which caused Riley’s face to light up, a sight he doubted he would find himself sick of seeing. “So” he mumbled “Just how many relatives of yours are here?” he asked, his eyes flicking between hers and her lips.

Riley laughed softly. “All of them” she replied “My parents you’ve already met, but my brother and sister are here too, as well as my sister’s husband and my brother’s girlfriend. My niece is here too. Marisol and I have been friends since we were kids, so when she was dishing out invitations, she insisted on inviting all of them, regardless of what I said” she added, rolling her eyes playfully.

Iker, who was still lightly tracing the line of her jaw, quirked another soft smile. “I’m expecting an introduction, you know” he muttered.

Riley nodded, happily leaning into his touch slightly. “I’d be happy to give you one” she mused “But I am probably going to introduce you as Nuno’s friend, and I want you to know that. It’s just...”

“It’s easier” Iker interrupted knowingly.

Riley nodded her head gently, peeking up at him uncertainly. She knew that it had bothered him before, the introduction that she had made between him and her parents was something which had irked him, and she wanted to make sure that it didn’t bother him too much again. It was easier, introducing him as Nuno’s friend was likely to arouse less questions from her relatives, and whilst they were still trying to figure out what, if anything, was happening between the two of them, she wanted to keep things simple, not wanting her friends or family poking their noses into something they didn’t quite have a full grasp on yet.

Iker noticed the uncertain look on her face before he turned around, scouting over his shoulders briefly before he turned back to hear, pressing a soft kiss against her forehead. “I get it” he mumbled softly as he stepped back, putting a little distance between them.

“You do?” Riley asked gently.

Iker nodded. “I don’t love it” he muttered “But I understand it” he added.

Riley offered him a dubious look, something which made Iker shrug, a half-smile on his face. “We’re still figuring things out” he mused “And it makes sense whilst we’re trying to figure things out that I am just Nuno’s friend. I don’t love hearing it, but I do understand it for now. Besides, it might be Marisol’s wedding day, but if she hears that you’re calling me something else...” he trailed off, letting out a soft laugh.

Riley laughed too, a sound which Iker marveled at before he leant towards her, lightly brushing his lips against hers.

Riley’s breath hitched a little before she pulled away, her eyes mirroring his for a second before she heard someone calling her name from a distance. Shaking her head, she moved to look past Iker back at the hotel before she sighed, spotting Isabella. “I have to get back” she mumbled “And I am sure that you do too. How bad is Nuno?” she asked, moving to start walking back.

Iker shrugged, walking alongside her. “He seems fine to me” he noted “He’s a bit quiet, but alright. What about Marisol?” he asked.

“She threw up three times this morning” Riley replied “But that’s not unusual when she’s nervous. She’s excited, I know that much” she added.

Iker nodded his head slowly as they reached the door. “I’ll see you later, I guess” he quipped, stuffing his hands in his pocket in order to stop himself reaching out to hug her.

Riley smiled a little, amused by the eye roll that Isabella had given, before she nodded. “Probably” she mused.

Iker nodded. “Good” he muttered, clearing his throat awkwardly “Cool. I’ll see you later too, Isabella” he added before he skittered away.

“Definitely” Isabella called after him “I’ll be saving you a drink and a dance” she added.

Riley stifled a little laugh in her hand before she turned and walked away.

“He’s not interested in you” Isabella quipped, following after Riley.

Riley shrugged. “I think only he knows that” she replied nonchalantly.
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