Like You Did Before

16: You Were Right To

Iker gingerly took a step backwards, his fingers gently untangling themselves from Matilda’s hair before he allowed his hands to fall back to his side. He didn’t know what was coming next. The kiss had been sudden, he’d done it before he’d really thought it through, and he worried that when the moment passed, Matilda would react negatively. He hadn’t meant to start another fight. When he had asked about Matilda’s conversation with Arthur, he had only intended to make sure that she had been sure about turning the other man down, but he knew that he’d said the wrong thing the moment he’d said it. The look that had passed over Matilda’s features was one he’d seen a lot more of than he would have liked.

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he took another step away from Matilda before he gently shook his head, a shaky sigh falling out of his mouth. “I…I’m sorry” he murmured.

Matilda blinked up at him. “Sorry?” she whispered.

“What else do you want me to say?” Iker asked “I didn’t mean to make things worse. I just…I just wanted to make you see that what you were saying, it was wrong” he explained, grimacing a little at his own words. They didn’t quite explain himself as clearly as he would have liked them to.

Matilda shook her head before she turned and started to push Lola’s pram, causing Iker to trail after her, careful to keep a small distance between the two of them. “It’s not wrong” she said after a few moments of quiet “Maybe it wasn’t true all of the time, but even before we finally broke up, you’d keep trying to push me away. All of the little fights, all of the times that you’d throw my friendship with Arthur back at me…how exactly do you think that made me feel, Iker?” she asked, sparing him a brief look over her shoulder.


“I loved you” Matilda interrupted softly “I told you enough times in the two years we were together, but sometimes I got the sense…I got the sense that it wasn’t quite the same for you and I don’t know that it’s the same for you now” she added.

Iker nodded his head slowly, following her for a few paces, before he gently reached out, tugging on her arm until she stopped and turned back towards him, her blue eyes hesitating to meet his. “I’ve made mistakes” he admitted “I think we can both stand here and say that, but I never meant to make you doubt that my feelings for you were the same as yours for me. I just…I don’t know what to say to make this better, Mattie. I want to, but I don’t know how” he added.

Matilda’s eyes searched his face slowly before she shook her head, her stare lowering to her feet. “I’m sorry” she whispered.

“For?” Iker prodded, taking a tentative step towards her.

“A lot of things” Matilda replied, a wobbly smile passing over her features “For saying that our relationship was a waste of time. I didn’t mean that. It was just a heat of the moment thing. I was tired of going in the same circle with you. You’d start talking about us getting married, I’d say that I wasn’t quite there yet, and then we’d end up in the same fight. I’m sorry that I went to Art as much as I did…I’m really sorry about the mess I managed to make of this” she added, a snuffly laugh falling out of her mouth.

Iker wanted to reach out. As soon as the tears had appeared in her eyes, he’d wanted to brush them away, but he stopped himself, still not entirely sure of where the boundaries sat between the two of them. “You didn’t make a mess of this, Mattie” he said gently “We both made our mistakes” he added.

“You just wanted to marry me, Iker” Matilda protested gently “And I kept…”

“You were right to” Iker cut in.

Matilda blinked, affording Iker the chance to close the gap between them a little more, his hand tentatively brushing hers. “We weren’t ready then” he spoke softly, sadly “I thought we were, but you were right. We kept going in the same circle, having the same fights, and I think if we’d pushed it further than we did, we’d have only made a bigger mess. I wanted you to want me like that. I wanted to be something to you that only I’d ever been, but that…that wasn’t a reason for us to do it. I see that now. I pushed too hard, maybe because I was scared that I’d lose you otherwise. Art…he got every side of you, and I hated that you could be so at ease with him, especially when I was so sure that he had feelings for you. I’m sorry for pushing you, Mattie, but it wasn’t because I’d be happier if you were with someone else or because I didn’t want to be with you, it was because I was so, so scared that you’d find someone who could do a better job at being your boyfriend than me” he explained.

Matilda’s eyes were fixed on their hands, watching as Iker gently twined their fingers together, before she slowly lifted her eyes to his face. “I thought you’d change your mind about me” she whispered “If I showed you my more anxious side, I thought I’d scare you away. I didn’t want you to see that part of me” she added.

Iker leant forwards, touching a soft kiss against the crown of her head that made her exhale a shaky breath. “I want all of you” he murmured into her hair “All of the anxieties as well as all of the good bits. It’s all I’ve wanted for a long time, Mattie” he added.

Matilda kept one hand on the handle of Lola’s pram, but allowed the other arm to wrap around his waist, embracing him gently. “Still?” she whispered.

Iker’s arms wrapped around her shoulders. He placed another kiss onto her head. “Still” he answered “It can be as slow and as tentative as you like, but I…I want us to try, Mattie” he added.

Matilda nodded wordlessly against his chest, causing Iker’s grasp to tighten on her ever so slightly before he let her go, allowing her to start guiding Lola’s pram back towards her apartment. They still had a long away to go, but that conversation was the best that they had had in a long time, and it had Iker hesitantly optimistic that they’d potentially reached a turning point in their relationship.