There Was You

03: I Don’t Know How Helpful It Will Be

“If you had to choose, would it be lilac or yellow?”

Riley, who was staring down at the plate of food which sat on the counter ahead of her, glanced up at the sound of Marisol’s question, blinking a couple of times in confusion. She hadn’t been listening, since she had arrived for lunch a little while previous, her mind had been completely focused on trying to find the right moment and the right words to tell her friend about her break up, and it had led to her almost entirely ignoring what Marisol was saying. She had tried to focus, with her friend excited about the start of her wedding planning,

She had tried to listen to her and give support to her decisions, but she kept getting distracted, still looking for an opening to start the conversation about her and Ben. She knew that Iker had been right, despite not knowing her, he had hit the nail on the head when he’d suggested that she’d keep looking for excuses not to tell Marisol about what had happened, and she knew that she just had to get through it, sooner or later, she just had to get the words out of her mouth.

“Sorry” Riley murmured “I was somewhere else entirely. What are you talking about?” she asked.

“Bridesmaids dresses” Marisol replied “Lilac or yellow?” she pressed.

Riley shrugged. “Either would be nice” she mused.

Marisol scoffed playfully. “I forgot how terrible you were at decision making” she quipped “I can’t wait to see how on earth you cope when it comes to wedding planning” she teased, moving to stow her empty plate in the sink.

Riley held out until Marisol had turned away before she allowed her face to drop, a familiar lump growing in her throat. She knew that Marisol wasn’t doing it intentionally, as far as she was aware, Riley still had a steady boyfriend that she’d been hoping to get engaged to, but still it stung, even if it was something that Marisol had done for years. Her previously playful teasing now felt like sharp kicks to Riley’s stomach.

Taking in a shaky breath, she tried her hardest to keep tears from appearing in her eyes, before she opened her mouth to say something, only to be cut off by the sound of voices emanating away from the front door. Closing her mouth again, she swallowed a little before she turned around in her seat, watching as Nuno stepped into the room, Iker following close behind. “Nuno” she announced, hoping her voice didn’t shake “I wasn’t expecting to see you” she added.

Nuno grinned. “Don’t worry” he quipped “I won’t be gracing you with my presence for very long” he added, greeting Marisol with a soft kiss.

Riley rolled her eyes. “That’s a shame” she retorted playfully.

Nuno offered her a sarcastic glare. “You know you love me really, Ry” he quipped.

Riley just shrugged impishly, causing Nuno to roll his eyes before his stare landed on Iker who stood a little away from them, shifting his feet slightly. “Oh” he squeaked “You won’t have met. Riley, this is Iker, he’s a friend of mine. Iker, this is Riley” he added.

Iker quirked a small amused smile, briefly contemplating announcing that he and Riley had already met, before he stuck his hand out, offering it towards her. “It’s good to meet you, Riley” he mused.

Riley lifted her eyebrow slightly, not missing the grin he wore, before she leant forwards, placing her hand in his as a faint smile tugged at the corner of her lips. “You too, Iker” she replied.

Iker let out a quiet laugh, but Nuno didn’t notice, instead clapping his hands together. “I am going to go and change” he announced “And then we can get out of here, Iker. I am sure you don’t want to listen to a debate about dress colours for the rest of the afternoon” he joked.

Marisol scoffed, playing along. “It’s hardly a debate” she retorted “Riley’s the least decisive person I’ve ever met. Who knows what she’s going to do when Ben finally asks her” she added brightly.

Iker, who’d not stopped watching Riley, saw her expression fall whilst her friends laughed, something which caused his stomach to turn. Swallowing a little, he watched as Nuno and Marisol stepped out of the room, talking amongst themselves happily, before he stepped forwards into Riley’s eye line, something which caused her to shake her head, deliberately keeping her stare on her shoes. “No” she murmured “I still haven’t told her” she added, answering the first question she was sure would come out of his mouth.

Iker smiled softly. “I wasn’t going to ask that” he mused “I was going to ask if you needed me to cause a distraction so that you could run” he teased.

Riley smiled despite herself. “What’d you have in mind?” she played along.

Iker laughed gently before he shook his head, his expression softening a little. “I could stay” he suggested “While you tell her. I could just stand in the background if it would make you feel any better. I mean, I don’t know how helpful having a random friend of Nuno’s for support will be, but if that’s what you need...” he trailed off, his cheeks a soft shade of pink.

Riley glanced up at him, her eyes softening as she spotted the blush on his cheeks, before she shook her head, shyly pushing her hair behind her ear. “You really don’t have to do that” she mused “I’m just a random friend of Marisol’s” she added, her voice caught between soft and teasing.

Iker laughed gently before he shook his head. “If it is what you need...”

“Where was Ben, anyway?” Marisol’s loud voice interrupted as she stepped back into the room “I don’t remember seeing him the other night. Then again, I don’t really remember seeing much of you either, Ry. Did you sneak out?” she chirped, smirking suggestively.

Riley shook her head. “I was there” she mused “You just didn’t notice. You were pretty busy” she added.

Marisol offered her a dubious look before she turned to Iker. “And what about you? I remember you giving us a present, but after that, I don’t think I saw you for the rest of the night” she added.

Iker smiled sheepishly, catching Riley’s glance out of the corner of his eye, before he shrugged. “I...uh...”

“You got a better offer, huh?” Marisol teased with a smirk.

Iker spluttered a little, his cheeks flaming red.

Riley couldn’t help but smile a little at the flustered look on his face before Marisol spoke again. “So, Ry, where was Ben?” she pressed.

The smile on Riley’s face faltered a little, something which caused Iker, who already stood close to her, to subtly edge a little closer, his hand lightly brushing against hers in order to offer her a little comfort.

Riley, who’d been staring down at her lap, glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, not missing the faint smile he was giving her, before she shook her head, taking in a breath. “I...uh” she stuttered “I actually need to talk to you about that. I wanted to do it before, but then Nuno finally proposed, and you were swept away in that, and I didn’t want to burst the bubble. But I should probably say something” she rambled, offering Iker another look out of the corner of her eye.

Iker just kept his hand close to hers, wordlessly reassuring her that she could get through it.

“What’s going on, Ry?” Marisol pressed.

Riley took in another shaky breath before she shook her head, trying, and failing, to keep the tears from growing in her eyes. “Ben dumped me” she breathed out quietly.

Iker watched her, fighting the urge to wrap his arms around her, before he cleared his throat. “I need some privacy” he noted.

Marisol blinked, having forgotten that he was there, before she nodded. “Yes” she mused “Thank you, Iker” she added before she rushed towards Riley, gathering in a tight hug.

Iker took a couple of steps away before he turned around slightly, catching Riley’s stare over Marisol’s shoulder. Despite the tears in her eyes, she quirked a soft smile before she mouthed the words ‘thank you’, something which made him smile in return, mouthing back that it was no problem before he disappeared out of the room.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)