There Was You

46: Maybe This Time Won’t Be

“You did tell me to get here for six, didn’t you?”

Riley, who’d been staring at the screen of her computer, visibly startled at the sound of Iker’s voice before she looked up, rolling her eyes at the amused smirk which flitted around his lips. It’d been a little while, after they’d babysat for Matilda, a couple of weeks had passed, and with Iker’s parents having arranged to visit for the weekend, Iker had suggested that Riley join them for dinner again, something she had hesitantly agreed to. She was nervous, after their first attempt at introducing her to his parents, she was a little worried that the evening would feel uncomfortable, but she knew that she had to give it a shot, even if it did have the potential to be uncomfortable. With things between her and Iker only getting stronger, she knew that being comfortable around his parents would be necessary.

“It’s barely half past five” Riley replied with a faint smile, pushing her glasses back up her nose as she turned back to her screen.

Iker caught sight of her smile before he stepped a little further into the office, plopping down in the empty seat on the opposite side of her desk. “I know” he mused “But I was nearby and instead of heading home and coming back I thought I’d just come here. I can head out if you need me to” he offered, his voice softening a little.

Riley, who’d started to type, shook her head, offering him a glance out of the corner of her eye. “You don’t have to do that” she noted “I just need like...five more minutes to finish this up?” she added.

Iker nodded his head before he leant back, sitting silently for a moment before he reached a hand up, scratching his jaw slightly. “Are you going to want to change?” he asked.

“What?” Riley spluttered “Why? Do you think I need to?” she added, sparing a look down at her outfit.

Iker’s eyes widened a little before he shook his head. “No” he spluttered out “I just...I thought I’d ask. You look amazing, Riley, you always do, I just...” he trailed off, not quite sure what else to say.

Riley smiled, gently pulling her glasses off of her face. “Are you trying to make me nervous?” she asked.

Iker shook his head. “Of course not” he noted softly.

“Are you nervous?” Riley posed.

Iker hesitated for a second before he let out a soft sigh. “Last time...”

“Was last time” Riley interrupted softly “It’s not going to be the same this time around” she added, offering him an encouraging smile.

Iker glanced at her for a second, his eyes studying her face, before he quirked a small smile of his own, nodding his head in agreement. “Right” he mused.

“I don’t have to go with you” Riley noted after a couple of beats of quiet “I mean, if you’d rather I didn’t, I can just head home. But I think...I think it is something that we have to do eventually. They’re your parents, Iker, and if I am going to stick around, I should probably make an effort to get to know them. I mean, you’re practically an official Munuera already, I think I can make it through one dinner” she added, rolling her eyes playfully.

Iker watched her roll her eyes before he ducked his head, letting out a soft laugh. “An official Munuera?” he asked.

“I genuinely believe that most of my relatives you choose you over me if we ever broke up” Riley replied, her voice light and playful “I mean, I know my papa would, Garrett probably too and definitely Matilda. I think even my mama and Mia would be tempted” she added.

Iker laughed again, a sound which made Riley smile gently before she leant across the desk, gently taking his hand in hers. “I want to do this” she mused “They’re important to you, and I want to make the effort with them, even if last time was a mess. Maybe this time won’t be” she added gently.

Iker nodded his head slowly before he quirked a soft smile. “OK” he noted.

Gently adjusting the waist of her skirt, Riley took a pace backwards, scanning her reflection as best she could in the wing mirror of Iker’s car. She was nervous, despite her insistence that the dinner that they were going to that night wasn’t likely to be the same as their first attempt, she did still have knots in her stomach, and she couldn’t quite shift them, no matter how many times she reassured herself that things would almost certainly go better than they had before.

Running her hands down the front of her sweater, she attempted to smooth out a wrinkle which had formed in the material before she felt a hand against the small of her back, brushing up and down comfortingly. “You look fine” Iker murmured, kissing the top of her head softly.

“Just fine?” Riley retorted, her voice caught between playful and nervous.

Iker smiled. “Beautiful” he mumbled into her hair “Gorgeous. Whatever other adjective you want me to use. You look amazing, Riley” he insisted.

Riley smiled gently. “Flatterer” she mumbled playfully.

Iker kissed her head again before he stepped up to her side, his hand gently taking a hold of hers. “You ready?” he asked.

Riley hesitated for a beat before she nodded her head, causing him to squeeze her hand gently before he led her inside of the restaurant. Gently brushing his thumb over the back of her hand, he surveyed the restaurant for a few seconds before he spotted his parents, something which caused his stomach to flip a little before he stepped forwards, gently pulling Riley along with him. Reaching their table, he cleared his throat slightly before his parents turned to look up at them, their expressions brightening as they spotted Riley.

“You didn’t mention that you were bringing Riley, Iker” Carmen gushed, standing up from her seat.

Iker laughed bashfully, catching sight of Riley’s amused expression out of the corner of his eye. “I was sure I mentioned it” he quipped.

“It doesn’t matter” Carmen fussed “It’s so lovely to see you again, Riley” she added, greeting the brunette with a polite kiss on her cheek.

Riley smiled gently. “You too” she mused.

Iker gently moved his thumb over her hand comfortingly. “You don’t mind Riley joining us, do you?” he asked.

Jose Luis quickly shook his head. “How could we mind?” he asked, his tone a little overenthusiastic.

Riley smiled a little, her eyes settled shyly on her feet. “About last time” she murmured

“We’re sorry” Carmen contributed “We didn’t intend cause a problem between the two of you” she added.

Riley shook her head. “It’s water under the bridge” she mused.

“We really didn’t mean to make things awkward” Carmen insisted “I mean, with the way that Iker talks about you, the last thing we want to do is make things hard for him. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him so smitten before” she gushed.

“Mama” Iker warned playfully.

Riley laughed softly. “Really?” she prodded.

Carmen didn’t hesitate in nodding, her face lighting up with a small, hesitant smile. “I can’t make him stop talking about you” she mused.

Riley grinned up at Iker playfully. “I didn’t have you down as the gushing type” she teased.

Iker shrugged, trying, and failing, to distract from the pink which had started to spread over his cheek. “You’re worth fussing over” he replied quietly.

Riley’s teasing smile softened a fraction before she pushed herself up onto her toes, kissing his cheek swiftly before she moved to take her seat, already conversing cheerfully with his mother. Iker watched her sit down before he smiled a little to himself, marveling at just how far things had come for them in a matter of months.

“You joining us today, Iker?” Carmen quipped brightly.

Iker blinked a couple of times, pulling his stare away from Riley, before he smiled politely, slipping into the seat next to her.
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Thanks to FootieJo and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)