There Was You

07: I Didn’t Notice It Deliberately

Bouncing his leg anxiously, Iker spared a glance down towards his phone, checking it for what felt like the thousandth time since he had sat down in the reception area of Riley’s office building. It had been a little while, after the two of them had gone out for dinner with Marisol and Nuno, a little over a week had passed, but with a gap having opened up in his schedule that afternoon, he had finally taken the plunge, sending a brief text to Riley to ask if she was free for lunch.

He had toyed with the idea for a while, after she had saved the address of her office into his phone, he had spent a couple of days thinking about texting her, only to chicken out before he had found the nerve to press send on the text message that he had probably composed on at least five separate occasions, but eventually he had just gone for it, something which had resulted in Riley inviting him to her office so that they could head out to lunch together.

Keeping his stare on his phone, he listened as a couple of people walked past him before he spotted a pair of feet stopping ahead of him, something which caused him to look up, his anxious expression softening a little as his eyes settled on Riley’s smiling face. “You waiting on someone?” she quipped, her voice caught somewhere between playful and shy.

Iker’s lips quirked upwards slightly.

Riley stared at him for a moment, admiring his small smile, before she shook her head, pushing the pair of glasses that she was wearing back up her nose. “I’m sorry for keeping you waiting” she mused gently “I was in a meeting and it ran a little long. You’ve not been sitting here for too long, have you?” she asked.

Iker, who’d been subtly looking her up and down, blinked a couple of times before he shrugged, ducking his head to hide the slight hint of pink which had spread across his cheeks. “Fifteen minutes or so” he quipped “But’s it’s fine. I got here early so...” he trailed off.

Riley nodded, allowing a couple of seconds of quiet to pass between the two of them, before she shook her head, smoothing down the front of the dress that she wore. “I need to just pop back to my office” she mused “I’ll be a couple more minutes and then we can go. You don’t mind waiting, do you?” she asked.

Iker shook his head quickly. “Of course not” he replied enthusiastically.

Riley smiled at his enthusiasm before she stepped away, affording Iker the chance to grimace, slightly embarrassed by how eager he’d sounded. He had been looking forwards to it, since Riley had texted him back earlier that morning to let him know that she was free, he had been eagerly awaiting it for most of the day, but he didn’t want to appear to eager, even if he was looking forwards to spending time with her. He didn’t want to make anything between them feel awkward or uncomfortable.

Shaking his head, he let out a quiet sigh before he heard footsteps coming back towards him, something which caused him to stand up, offering Riley a timid smile as she came to a stop ahead of him. “You ready?” he asked, nervously sticking his hands into his pockets.

Riley hesitated for a split second before she nodded, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I think so” she mused.

“You think so?” Iker quipped “Riley, if you’d rather...”

“You’re here now” Riley interrupted “And it’s just lunch between friends, right? What’s the worst that could happen?” she asked, offering him a small smile.

Iker returned her smile, briefly contemplating making a joke, before he gestured towards the door. “Let’s get out of here then” he quipped.

“How long’ve you and Marisol known each other?” Iker posed, sipping on his glass of water.

Riley, who’d been quietly perusing the menu, looked up, surprised by the sound of Iker’s voice. “Huh?” she spluttered.

“Marisol” Iker quipped “You know her. Blonde, about five feet two, spends an abnormal amount of time talking about the cuts of wedding dresses? How long’ve you known her?” he prodded, offering her a slightly shy playful smile.

It had been quiet between the two of them, without Nuno or Marisol around to spark off a conversation, the two of them had spent their time together simply waiting for the other one to talk, and with the silence seemingly keen to linger between them, Iker had opted to ask a simple question, hoping that it would spark an easy conversation between the two of them.

Riley couldn’t help but smile a little in return before she shrugged, returning her stare to the menu on the table ahead of her. “She was the first person I met when I started school here” she replied “We were about seven, I think? Anyway, I was kind of shy and she made me laugh, and before I knew it, we’d been friends for nearly twenty years” she added.

“You weren’t born here?” Iker asked curiously.

Riley shook her head, coyly tucking her hair behind her ear. “I am Spanish, actually” she mused “Well, half Spanish. I was born in Madrid. My father’s Spanish, but my mother’s Portuguese. We moved to Porto when I was about seven and I’ve not left yet” she added, smiling a little as she watched his face light up slightly at the little detail that they had in common.

Iker noticed her smiling at him before he cleared his throat, shyly glancing back down at the table. “Madrid?” he asked.

Riley nodded. “My parents moved back there a few years ago” she noted “I tend to spend a couple of weeks there throughout the year, a few days in the summer, a few days at Christmas” she added with a shrug.

Iker nodded his head, taking the information in, before he quirked a boyish grin. “I have a question for you” he quipped “And it might define the basis of our friendship. Real or Atletico?” he asked, meeting her eyes.

Riley tilted her head. “You’re not even going to ask if I like football first?” she teased, playing along.

“I don’t need to” Iker replied “There’s a picture of you and Marisol in Porto shirts on the wall in their apartment” he added.

“You noticed that?” Riley prodded impishly, her eyebrow raised suggestively.

Iker, who’d moved to take another sip of his drink, spluttered on it before he shook his head, his cheeks splashed with a soft pink blush. “I didn’t notice it deliberately” he spluttered “I mean, I just remember seeing it. Not that you’re not noticeable, of course you are, you’re...” he trailed off as he heard Riley giggle quietly into her own drink, something which caused him to shake his head, letting out a bashful laugh.

Riley smiled at the sound of his laugh before someone cleared their throat, causing her to look up at the waiter who stood patiently beside the table. Feeling her cheeks warm, she shared a quick look with Iker before they both reeled of their orders, allowing the waiter to depart before they looked at each other, both grinning bashfully. Riley held Iker’s stare for a brief second before she shook her head, redirecting her stare towards the table. “Real” she mumbled softly.

Iker tilted his head. “Huh?” he posed.

“The answer to your question” Riley replied “Real. I mean, I have a soft spot for Fernando Torres, and recently, I’ve taken quite a liking to watching Antoine Griezmann play, but my entire family are Real Madrid fans and I am pretty certain that they’d disown me if I chose any other team. I once told my papa that I thought Lionel Messi was amazing, and he didn’t talk to me for two hours” she quipped amusedly.

Iker laughed gently. “Really?” he asked.

Riley nodded. “He forgave me quick enough when I got him tickets to the match that weekend” she mused.

Iker couldn’t stop himself from grinning, something which made Riley shake her head, letting out another soft laugh. “So?” she quipped “Does my answer mean we can still be friends or should I go and find another friend of Nuno’s to suddenly befriend?” she teased, sipping on her drink.

“Your answer was perfect” Iker replied, smiling down at the table “I mean, I’d like to have heard a little less about Messi and Griezmann, but...” he trailed off, meeting her eyes for a split second.

Riley leant back in her seat, shrugging gently. “You can’t win them all, Casillas” she replied impishly.

Iker just smiled at her in return, making a note to himself that he could see them spending a lot of time around one another.
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Thanks to Brittt, FootieJo and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)