There Was You

31: Why Should I?


Riley, who’d been staring over towards where Ben stood, blinked a couple of times at the sound of her name before she turned around, her grey eyes meeting Iker’s which looked at her, his expression caught somewhere between concerned and annoyed. It had been a few long moments, after Ben’s name had fallen out of Iker’s mouth, the three of them had descended into an awkward silence, and it meant that Riley had been caught off guard by Iker’s voice, causing her to pull her attention away from Ben and his new girlfriend. Swallowing a little, she allowed her eyes to search Iker’s face before she cleared her throat, gently shaking her head to herself. “Sorry” she mumbled softly, her eyes dropping down towards her lap.

Iker shook his head, offering her a weak smile. He could see that Ben’s presence had bothered her, the way that her facial expression had changed when her eyes had landed on him was something which had caused Iker’s stomach to drop, but he didn’t want to make her feel worse, knowing that seeing Ben and Melissa together would have felt like a blow to her stomach. There was no denying that her reaction bothered him, despite the fact that she and Ben had been together for years, he had assumed that their relationship, no matter how new it was, was a sign that she was getting over him, but the look on her face when she’d seen him had felt like a blow to Iker who had, in that moment, seen that Riley wasn’t as over her ex as he thought she was.

Watching her fidget with her hands for a second, he let out a quiet sigh, before he leant forwards, gently pushing her hair back off of her forehead. “We can go” he murmured softly “If you want to. Just...just say the word” he added.

Riley’s forehead furrowed a little before she shook her head, looking up into his eyes. “I don’t want to go” she replied.

Iker frowned. “You don’t?” he asked.

Riley shook her head, smiling timidly. “I’ll admit, I’d rather he wasn’t here, but I don’t want to let him ruin our night” she mused “I mean, if you’re uncomfortable, we can definitely leave, but...”

“I don’t want to leave” Iker interrupted “I just...I thought you would want to. I mean, he’s your ex and he’s here with his girlfriend...I just thought maybe you’d be a little uncomfortable” he added, his words hurried and unsure.

Riley smiled a little, not missing the uncertainty in his voice, before she shook her head, her hand squeezing the hand of his that she held onto. “I’m his ex” she murmured “And I am here with my new boyfriend. I don’t see him running out of the door, so why should I?” she asked, messing with his fingers gently.

She couldn’t deny that part of her was tempted to leave, despite the months that had passed, the novelty of seeing her former boyfriend be romantic with someone else did still bring a dull ache into the pit of her stomach, but a larger part of her wanted to stay, not wanting to let something as silly as being in the same room as Ben ruin a night for her and Iker.

Iker watched her fingers for a second before he tilted his head, meeting her eyes with a little half-smile. “You shouldn’t” he replied.

Riley returned his smile shyly. “That’s what I thought too” she quipped.

Iker squeezed her hand gently before he leant forwards, pressing a tender kiss to her forehead before he pulled away, sending a brief glance over her shoulder towards where Ben stood, trying, and failing, to be subtle about the fact that he was watching the two of them. Shaking his head, he pulled his attention away from the other man and settled it back on Riley, feeling his expression brighten as she smiled up at him gently.

“Are you sure that the two of you won’t stay for one more drink?” Sabrina prodded as she watched Riley stand up, pulling her jacket around her shoulders. It had been a good night, despite Ben’s presence in the bar, both Iker and Riley had relaxed into it with more ease than they’d been expecting, and they’d had fun, something which made Riley glad that they had stayed, even if she had caught Iker sending her ex-boyfriend looks on more than one occasion. It had been a good night for the two of them as a new couple.

They’d spent time together, Iker had more than enjoyed hearing embarrassing stories that Sabrina and a few of Riley’s other colleagues had been happy to tell, and Riley had enjoyed watching him grin, glad that his brief moment of doubt had passed. She had seen it in his eyes, when she had turned away from looking at Ben, she had seen the nervousness in his eyes that had been there when he’d admitted being scared about being her rebound, and she was glad that they had been able to push it aside. Ben was her past, no matter how big a part of it he was, their relationship was over, and her only interest was Iker who was slowly but surely becoming one of the most important people in her life.

Riley, who’d been adjusting her jacket, shook her head. “I’ve got to get some sleep” she mused.

Sabrina scoffed. “Sleep?” she smirked suggestively.

Riley rolled her eyes, laughing gently. “Yes, Sabrina, sleep” she quipped.

“Can’t blame me for asking” Sabrina quipped, raising her hands innocently “I mean, have you seen your boyfriend?” she added.

Riley felt her cheeks warm a little before she opened her mouth to retort, only to be cut off.

“So, he is your boyfriend then?”

Riley, who’d been messing shyly with the necklace that she wore, stilled a little at the sound of Ben’s voice before she slowly turned around, her grey eyes meeting his blues. Holding his stare, she felt her jaw clench slightly before she nodded her head without hesitation. “He is” she confirmed.

Ben nodded his head slowly. “He’s a friend of Nuno’s” he noted “I thought maybe he and Marisol had sent him here with you so you didn’t show up by yourself” he added, the tone of his voice difficult to place.

Riley scoffed. “Because that’s the only way I could get a date?” she countered.

Ben offered her a non-committal shrug. “You’re not exactly the most outgoing, Ry” he quipped.

Riley shook her head in disbelief, too stunned by the comment to say anything else.

“How long did you wait, eh?” Ben continued.

“Ben” Melissa, who was stood behind him, warned gently, tugging on his arm slightly to try and get him to walk away.

Ben just smirked, not looking away from Riley whose cheeks were a soft shade of pink. “Weeks?” he asked “Days?” he added.

Riley shook her head, smiling bitterly. “Because you obviously waited months” she replied lowly “Because you’re such a great guy, right, Ben?” she added.

Ben met her eyes, shrugging slightly.

Riley shook her head again. “I really don’t know why I wasted so long on you” she murmured.

“It’s not like there were other offers, Ry” Ben quipped.

Riley’s expression flinched a little before she recomposed herself, quirking a faint smile to herself. “Maybe not” she replied “But you know what? The more I look back on it, the more I think I would rather have been alone than with you. You were selfish, Ben, you were a liar, and I was stupid to think I couldn’t do better, because I could have. You can stand here and be petty, if that’s going to help you to feel better, then go ahead, but you know what? For the first time, I’m looking at you and seeing my biggest mistake. I can’t believe I wasted four years on you” she added.

Ben scoffed and opened his mouth to say something in reply, but Riley cut him off, flashing a small grin over his shoulder. “My taxi is here” she mused “Sabrina...”

“I’ll see you at work, Ry” Sabrina quipped, trying, and failing to stifle a giggle at the look on Ben’s face.

Riley nodded her head before she padded towards the door of the bar, catching up to Iker who’d been stood in the doorway, watching her carefully. Watching her step close, he gently took her hand in his, knotting their fingers together as they walked out of the bar.

Taking a few paces forwards, he gently brushed his thumb over the back of her hand before he brought their hands up, allowing him to kiss the back of her hand softly. “You Ok?” he asked quietly.

Riley nodded. “I am” she mused.

“You sure?” Iker asked “Because I heard some of the stuff that he said to you and if you want me to go back there and punch him, I will. I mean, obviously, I’d rather not have to, but if you want me to...” he trailed off, smiling at her impishly as he tried to lighten to the mood.

Riley laughed gently. “I think I’m good” she mused.

Iker nodded, his expression softening. “Seriously” he mumbled “I know how much he hurt you, Ry. Are you sure that you’re alright?” he added.

Riley glanced down at their hands, admiring the fit of their fingers, before she nodded, smiling up at him softly. “I’m pretty sure” she enthused.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)