Like You Did Before

24: I Don’t Think It Will Come Up

Resting his shoulder against the door frame, Iker quirked a soft smile, watching Matilda as she fussed over Lola. He knew that she was nervous. Whilst Lola had spent nights away from her before, the prospect of not being able to come back first thing in the morning to pick her up bothered Matilda more than she would say, and Iker had resolved not to push it, opting to only offer her reassurances when she asked for them. He knew that everything would be fine. He and Lola would be fine by themselves, and he knew that Matilda, despite her reservations about seeing Arthur again, would enjoy herself at Naomi and Micah’s wedding, and he wanted to encourage her to relax. She deserved a day to enjoy herself.

“I know you’re staring”

Iker’s lips kicked up into a grin, his eyes moving away from Lola towards Matilda’s face. “I didn’t want to disturb you” he mused “I just thought I’d let you know that your phone is blowing up. Naomi’s called three times in the last fifteen minutes” he added, pulling her phone out of his pocket so that he could hold it out towards her.

Matilda eyed it for a second before she shook her head, redirecting her stare down towards Lola. “She’s just freaking out because I am not at the hotel yet” she mused “She’s got every minute of tonight planned out, but I told her I was probably going to get there after everyone else. I’ll call her once I leave here” she added.

Iker nodded his head, stuffing her phone back into his pocket, before he stepped towards the seat she sat in. Leaning over, he kissed the top of her head lightly before he sat down on the floor, content to simply sit and watch her with Lola.

Matilda allowed the silence to linger for a few moments, only breaking it to mumble to Lola when her face screwed up in a delicate yawn, before she quirked a soft smile, glancing at Iker through her eyelashes. “You’re not going to give me a pep talk?” she prodded.

“Do you want me to?” Iker chirped back “You know that it’s going to be fine. You might even enjoy yourself” he added impishly.

Matilda fixed him with a playful glare.

Iker smiled at her for a moment before he dropped his head, shaking it slightly. “It will be fine, Mattie” he said, his voice softer than before “Me and Lola, we’re going to be just fine, and you’re really going to love the wedding. We both know that you’re a sucker for them, even if you did keep turning down my offer to plan ours” he joked feebly.

Matilda’s expression softened, but she chose not to say anything. The topic of their almost-engagement was one they’d gone over before and she didn’t want to do it again.

Iker shifted in the silence, regretting the joke, before he cleared his throat. “Are you worried about seeing Arthur?” he prodded.

Matilda’s answer was a tight shrug and a nervous smile. “I want to see him” she admitted “He probably doesn’t feel the same way about seeing me, but I want to see him. I’ve missed him, even if things are certain to be weird between us” she added.

Iker thought for a second, trying to come up with something comforting to say to her, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t promise it wouldn’t be awkward. The last time Matilda and Arthur had been in the same place, he’d admitted to having feelings for her, and she’d told him that she didn’t feel the same, and Iker knew he couldn’t tell her that it would be Ok. It wasn’t the sort of thing that faded easily, the pain of an unrequited love was one which lingered, and he knew that it was likely to make things between Matilda and Arthur more than awkward, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell her that either. She didn’t need him making the anxiety at the thought of seeing Arthur worse.

Matilda’s eyes flicked up to his face before she quirked a small smile, shaking her head slightly. “Don’t look so worried” she mused “I’m not under any illusions. It’s going to be weird. He’s probably not going to want to even look at me, let alone have a long conversation about what he’s missed. I am not expecting some big, emotional reunion. I just want to see him. I want to know that he’s Ok” she added.

Iker nodded his head slowly, mulling her words over for a moment, before he scratched at his jaw shyly. “Are you going to tell him about this?” he asked, gesturing between the two of them.


“This isn’t some jealousy thing” Iker cut in. He recognised the tone in her voice, it was one which had preceded many of their fights.

Matilda’s expression was dubious, causing Iker to shake his head. “I am not trying to start something” he noted “And this isn’t about wanting him to know that you and I are working towards something. I just…I think if he asks, you should tell him. I don’t think letting him think you’re available is going to do things between you any good” he added.

Matilda wanted to shake her head, to point out that it was likely to make things between her and Arthur even worse, but she opted against it. Instead, she smoothed out Lola’s hair before she replied. “I don’t think it will come up” she mused “As I said, I am not expecting us to fall back into things” she added.

Iker noticed that she had swerved giving him an answer, but he didn’t challenge it. He knew her well enough, knew them well enough, to know that if he pushed the topic more, then the conversation would quickly grow into an argument that neither of them wanted to have. Letting a moment of quiet pass between the two of them, he watched Lola stir in Matilda’s arms before Matilda gently stood up. Iker followed her, standing up before he took Lola out of her arms, cuddling her close.

Matilda looked at them, the slight tension in her shoulders evaporating as she leant forwards, kissing the back of Lola’s head gently. “I love you, sweetheart” she whispered “I’ll see you tomorrow night” she added.

Iker’s hand drifted towards Matilda’s waist, stopping her before she had the chance to slip away from him. He touched a kiss to her temple before he dropped his head, his nose gently nuzzling the side of her neck. “Enjoy yourself” he murmured “Don’t spend all your time worrying. I’ll call you first thing, Ok?” he added.

Matilda nodded, allowing Iker to press a gentle kiss against her lips before his hand slipped away from her waist. Offering him a soft smile that, to Iker, felt a little forced, she mumbled a soft goodnight before she shuffled out of the room, leaving Iker behind, feeling like he had done too many times in the past.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)