Like You Did Before

01: Are You Sure?

Iker didn’t like how quiet the room was.

It’d been busy only minutes before. When Matilda had reached ten centimetres, there’d been a flurry of activity that had filled the room with noise, but with the baby safely delivered, it’d fallen silent again, something which had Iker sat awkwardly beside Matilda’s bed, his ears ringing with the silence as he watched the baby stir in her sleep.

He still couldn’t quite believe what he was looking at. He’d known about the pregnancy for months. When Matilda had found out, she hadn’t hesitated to let him know, and he’d made sure that he’d been next to her at every little milestone, but still he hadn’t quite wrapped his head around the idea that the baby who was laying ahead of him, was his little girl.

Rubbing his eyes sleepily, he used his hand to stifle a yawn before he heard the bed creak, drawing his stare towards it.

Matilda smiled at him, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. It hadn’t done properly in months. “You look tired” she said quietly.

“I am tired” Iker replied “I mean, you called me at one in the morning, Mattie” he added, the faintest hint of a smile tipping up the corner of his mouth.

Matilda’s cheeks flushed a light shade of pink as she guided her eyes away from his, settling them on the baby who laid in between the two of them. Iker followed her stare, admiring their daughter for a few long, quiet, minutes before another yawn fell out of his mouth, something which made Matilda shake her head softly. “You don’t have to stay” she said gently “Me and her…we’re alright. We’ll be alright until my parents get here” she added.

Iker shook his head. He knew what she was doing. In the months that had passed since their breakup, the months that they had spent preparing for their daughter’s arrival, Matilda had perfected the art of curtailing their interactions before they got too awkward for them both, and but Iker didn’t want to leave then. As weird as things felt, he didn’t want to leave their daughter so soon after she had arrived.

He knew what was coming. He’d interacted enough with Matilda’s parents to know how stilted and forced the conversation would be when they arrived, but it wasn’t enough to get him out of the room. They were all going to have to get used to each other again. The baby had arrived, and Iker was going to be around for her, just as he had promised Matilda when she’d told him that she was pregnant, and it meant sticking things out, even when they were awkward and tense.

“I want to stay” Iker replied.

Matilda blinked, but didn’t say anything, her eyes still fixed on the baby.

Iker’s stare flicked up towards her face before he leant forwards only to stop himself, dropping the hand he’d lifted to push her hair off of her face back into his lap. “It’s still early” he said “I’ve not got anywhere to be for a while yet. I’d like to stay here with her for as long as I can” he explained.

Matilda’s blue eyes flicked up towards him, a soft, genuine smile brightening her features. “I am not trying to push you out of the door, Iker” she mused.

“Are you sure?” Iker asked.

Matilda’s smile faltered, but she nodded her head. “You’re her papa, Iker” she said “If you want to be here, I want you here” she added.

Iker kept his stare on her face, searching it for a few long seconds, before the baby let out a soft noise, causing him to swoop forwards, gently gathering her into his arms. With an easy smile, he fussed over her for a few seconds before he looked back up, his expression sobering a little at the sad smile that had come up onto Matilda’s features.

He knew where he mind had gone to. It’d jumped to the moment, a handful of months previous, when she’d stormed out of his home, yelling about how much time they’d wasted one each other, and he knew that she was noticing just how hard whatever lied ahead of them would be. They’d not talked about it. After she’d told him that she was pregnant, their conversations had revolved almost completely about the baby and what they’d do when he or she had arrived, but the topic of ‘them’ was one which they’d glossed over completely and it meant that it’d festered into something awkward and painful, something which would inevitably complicate things. They were in it together, but just how that would work, and how hard it would be, wouldn’t become apparent for a while.

Leaning over, he touched a soft kiss to the top of the baby’s head, before he gently held her out towards Matilda. “I think she needs her mama” he said softly.

Matilda’s laugh was as bright and airy as Iker had heard it in a long time. “That sounds so weird” she said, wrinkling her nose.

Iker shrugged. “You’ll get used to it” he mused “Besides, before too long, she’ll be saying it to you” he added.

Matilda laughed again, gently settling the baby in her arms. “She’s barely an hour old” she mused “Don’t start wishing the time away already” she added.

Iker just smiled, admiring the two of them together before Matilda cleared her throat slightly. “I need to…uh…” she stumbled out “She’s hungry” she added.

For a moment, Iker just stared at her, but when Matilda spared a pointed look down at her chest, he caught on. Spluttering out an embarrassed cough, he pushed himself out of his seat, his cheeks a soft shade of pink. “I’ll give you some privacy” he announced “I’ll be back, though” he added.

Matilda looked up from the baby, offering him another one of her shakier smiles. “I know you will” she mused “She’s here now, and where she is, you won’t be too far behind” she added.

Iker nodded, hesitating for a split second, before he leant over the bed, touching a soft kiss to the top of the baby’s head. He lifted his head again, his dark eyes meeting Matilda’s blue ones for a long moment, before he tipped it forwards, touching the faintest of kisses to her forehead. “I didn’t say it before” he mumbled as he stepped back “But you were…you were incredible with the whole…giving birth thing. I’m proud of you” he added, sheepishly stuffing his hands into his pockets.

Matilda ducked her head, hoping he’d not see the pink on her cheeks. “I’ll see you when you come back?” she asked.

Iker’s smile was rueful. She’d changed the subject. “Yeah” he confirmed “We’ll try and agree on a name when I get back” he added.

Matilda’s smile, for a brief moment, softened into something warm and familiar. “We’ve never agreed on anything” she mused.

Iker grinned at her from the doorway. “There’s a first time for everything” he chirped.