Like You Did Before

21: I Want To Get Somewhere With You

“So, are you going to tell me about your dinner plans or are you going to force me to guess?” Adrienne prodded from her spot in Matilda’s doorway, watching as her daughter padded around the room, getting herself ready. She had been vague. When she had called the day before, Matilda had simply asked if her mother or father was available to watch Lola that night, and whilst Adrienne hadn’t hesitated in offering, she was a little curious about why it was Matilda had called her and Luis as opposed to Iker. The keeper had been true to his word. Since Lola had arrived almost three months previous, he’d spent as much time as he could with the little girl, and it had surprised Adrienne that Matilda had called her. She worried that something else could have gone wrong between them.

Matilda, who’d been feeling for the zip on the back of her dress, shrugged, not chancing a look back at the older woman. It was what she and Iker had agreed. With things between them being new and tentative, they’d both agreed to bide their time a little, and it meant telling a few white lies here and there, something Matilda worried her mother would see through if she looked at her. “It’s dinner, mama” she mused “There’s really not that much to tell” she added.

Adrienne watched her for a moment before she shook her head, allowing a soft sigh to fall out of her mouth. “Are you going on a date?” she asked.


“I just worry that it is soon, sweetheart” Adrienne interrupted, cutting off Matilda’s inevitable protests “I know that you and Iker have been apart for a while, but Lola’s only a couple of months old. You’re a new mama, and things with Iker are complicated. I just worry about you rushing into something new before things are settled, that’s all” she added.

Matilda was quiet for a few moments, mulling over her mother’s words, before she slowly turned around, offering her a small smile. “It’s just dinner, mama” she mused.

Adrienne’s eyes surveyed her daughter’s face, searching it for something, before she let loose another soft sigh. “Just promise me that you’ll be careful” she said.

Matilda turned away again before she nodded, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I will be, mama” she mused.

“Good” Adrienne replied “Be careful, but enjoy yourself, sweetheart. With a new baby around, nights like this are likely to be few and far between” she added warmly before she stepped out of the doorway.

Matilda listened to her footsteps as they moved away before she smoothed out her dress, offering the mirror in front of herself a slightly nervous grin. She didn’t like keeping secrets. She had never been any good at it, but she knew that, for the time being, it was the right course of action. She and Iker didn’t know what was going on between them, what it could be or whether it was going to fail before it really got going, and she knew that keeping it between themselves for a little while was for the best. They needed the time to figure things out without anyone else trying to poke their noses in. Sparing her reflection another quick look, she nodded to herself before she collected her phone, sending a quick text to Iker to let him know that she was on her way down.

“Has your mama texted yet?” Iker prodded, searching Matilda’s face in the low light afforded to it by the low light of her phone screen. He knew that it was only a matter of time. The dinner that he and Matilda had enjoyed had been leisurely, as had been the walk around the park close to her apartment, and he knew that it wouldn’t be long before Adrienne texted, cutting their time together shorter than he would have liked.

Matilda shook her head as she slipped the phone into her coat pocket, offering him a playful smile. “You can’t get rid of me yet” she chirped.

Iker feigned a roll of his eyes, causing Matilda to reach the hand that wasn’t clasped in his up so that she could playfully swat at him. “I can go” she played along “I’m only a ten minute walk away from my apartment” she added, trying to tug her hand out of his.

Iker laughed, squeezing it gently. “Don’t go” he quipped “I’m enjoying myself” he added.

Matilda’s teasing smile softened a little. “I’m enjoying myself too” she admitted gently.

Iker smiled at her softly, allowing a moment of comfortable quiet to pass between them as they walked slowly back towards her apartment.

Matilda swung their hands, happy in the quiet, before she looked up at him again. “I’m glad that we did this” she said softly “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the time we spend together with Lola, but I am glad that we went out tonight. I…I was kind of worried that, without her around, we’d slip back into the awkwardness of before” she admitted.

Iker blinked a couple of times, surprised by the admission. It was the kind of thing that Matilda had tended to run to Arthur with. “Why?” he asked.

“There’s always something to talk about with Lola around” Matilda replied with a little shrug “I can talk about how well she’s been sleeping, or the cute little noise she made, but I worried that if it was just the two of us, all of the…uncertainty of before would creep back in again. It part of the reason why I hesitated when you suggested this” she added.

Iker nodded his head slowly. “I get that” he mused.

“You don’t think I am being silly?” Matilda asked.

Iker didn’t hesitate to shake his head. “I don’t” he mused “And honestly? I was a little hesitant to burst the bubble we were in, too” he added.

“But you took the plunge anyway” Matilda pointed out.

Iker nodded, a small smile brightening his features. “One of us had to” he mused “Mattie, I like that we’re on better terms, but that’s not all I want this to be and if we don’t try and make little steps forwards, then we’ll never get anywhere. I want to get somewhere with you, Mattie, however slowly” he added.

Matilda watched their feet as they walked for a few steps before she looked back up at his face, mirroring his gentle smile. “I’d like that too” she mused.

Iker squeezed her hand gently before he tugged her to a stop, nodding towards her apartment building which stood across the street from them. “This is where I leave you” he quipped.

“I’d invite you up to say goodnight to Lola, but I don’t know how my mama would react. I wasn’t exactly forthcoming with her earlier” Matilda explained.

Iker shrugged. “I’ll see her first thing, anyway” he mused.

Matilda nodded, standing next to him for a few quiet seconds, before she tugged on his hand, turning him slightly so that she could push herself up onto her toes and press a kiss against his lips. Iker stilled, more than a little surprised, but before he had the chance to kiss her back, she’d pulled away, a shy smile on her face. “Goodnight, Iker” she said softly, her hand gently slipping out of his.

Iker let her walk away, only responding when she turned and grinned at him over her shoulder. Lifting his hand, he offered her a goofy wave and a smile. “Goodnight, Mattie” he said more to himself than to her.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)