Like You Did Before

22: It’s Just Different

“Did you get her back to sleep?” Iker prodded as he lifted the blanket out of his lap, allowing Matilda to curl into his side before he draped it over the two of them.

Things had only gotten more comfortable. After their dinner date, the two of them felt as though they both knew better where they stood, and it showed in their interactions. They were at ease with one another. What had previously been awkward and uncertain, was now comfortable and warm, and whilst it was still just between the two of them, they both knew it would probably only be a matter of time before they made the decision to tell other people that they were trying again. They wanted to test it, to take little steps forwards and see where they were after each one, but neither one of them could deny that it felt better than it had first time around, something which still had them a little hesitant. It was working so well, and whilst that was something they wanted to share, they were both worried that when they did, people wouldn’t be as happy to see it as they were.

Matilda looked at him, a playfully unimpressed look on her face. “Do you think I’d be here, cuddling with you, if I hadn’t?” she quipped “I am capable of settling her down without you, Iker, even it if clear who her favourite parent is” she added, teasingly rolling her eyes.

Iker grinned. “I can’t help that” he quipped.

Matilda shook her head, letting out a soft laugh, before she collected the remote from the coffee table, unpausing the film that they’d been watching. Placing the remote down, she moved back towards Iker and settled her head on his shoulder, allowing him to rest his head against hers. “How was lunch with Naomi?” he asked quietly.

Matilda smiled, not taking her eyes off the screen. “You remembered that that was today?” she asked.

“I do take some of the stuff you say in” Iker replied “She’s getting married next weekend, right? So today was the last dress fitting” he added.

“It was” Matilda confirmed “I got to try on my bridesmaid dress for the first time” she added.

“You haven’t tried it on before now?” Iker asked.

Matilda shook her head, her hand gently moving to cover her stomach. “I had a bump when we first went to the boutique” she mused “But we knew that they were going to be getting married after I had had the baby, so getting measurements then would have been pointless. They took them a few weeks ago and had the dress made. I tried it on this afternoon” she added.

“And?” Iker prodded.

Matilda’s expression brightened with a sheepish smile, causing Iker to smile too. He liked her smile too much not to. “It’s pretty” she admitted “Really pretty. It’s the first thing I’ve put on in a little while and not felt weird in” she added, letting out a soft laugh.

Iker pressed a kiss against the top of her head. “You look great in anything” he mumbled into her hair.

Matilda shrugged at the compliment, her cheeks a soft shade of pink. “Maybe” she mused “I’m just still getting used to how…different things are since Lola came along” she added.

Iker’s forehead furrowed, but Matilda was quick to smooth it out, her fingers brushing the little ridge that had appeared between his eyebrows. “Don’t look like that” she mused “I’m not upset. It’s just different. A lot of things are just…different now” she added, offering him a small smile to assure him that she wasn’t complaining. She was just still getting her head around how things had changed when she’d found out that they were expecting Lola.

Iker reached up, catching her hand before he pulled it to his lips, allowing him to touch a soft kiss against her palm.

Matilda closed her eyes at the touch, smiling quietly for a moment before she pushed herself up, kissing his head as she slipped off of the couch. “Pause that again” she mused, gesturing towards the television “I’m going to grab something to eat. Do you want something? My papa brought his brownies over earlier” she added, grinning at him.

“He did?” Iker prodded excitedly.

Matilda nodded, just about stifling a giggle. “I’ll grab you one” she mused before she stepped out of the room.

Iker watched after her, a goofy smile on his face, before he heard the doorbell ring. Frowning, he sat still for a moment, waiting to see if it had disturbed Lola, before he progressed towards the hall. “Mattie, is it OK if I answer the door?” he called, trying to be loud enough for Matilda to hear, but not so loud that it disturbed Lola.

Matilda poked her head out of the kitchen, offering him a slightly confused smile. “Of course it is” she mused.

Iker nodded and stepped into the hall, pulling the front door open.

Naomi, who stood in the hall, blinked a couple of times, a slightly bemused smile brightening her features.

Iker didn’t have to ask to know what she was thinking. One look at a clock would confirm that it was long past Lola’s bedtime and he could see that Naomi was wondering why he’d still be hanging around his ex-girlfriend’s apartment.

“I…I had a fight with Micah” Naomi stumbled out “It’s not major or anything, but we needed some space to cool off and this was the closest apartment. I should have called, but with Lola around, Mattie’s normally still up. I can…”

“Mimi?” Matilda’s confused voice cut in.

Naomi’s stare left Iker, settling on Matilda before it narrowed slightly, causing Matilda to look away. “What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Micah and I had a fight” Naomi replied “I was hoping your couch was open” she added.

Matilda opened her mouth, glancing up at Iker, but he was quicker, nodding his head at Naomi with a soft smile. “I was just on my way” he mused, leaning over Matilda to collect his jacket “I’ll see you in the morning, Mattie” he added.

Matilda wanted to push up onto her toes and kiss him, but she stopped herself, flashing him a slightly awkward smile that he mirrored before he edged past Naomi, making his way down the hall. Matilda stepped back into the apartment, allowing Naomi to wander ahead of her towards the living room where she spotted the paused film and blanket, causing her to round on her friend. “Is there something you forgot to mention, Mattie?” she prodded.