Like You Did Before

27: Too Much Or Not Enough

Letting one of her eyes slide open, Matilda let out a quiet groan, snapping it shut again as she turned over to bury her face in the pillow she laid on. She hadn’t drunk that much. She’d had a glass of champagne during the speeches, a glass of wine with dinner, and another two glasses of champagne as she had spent time with people she’d not seen for a while, but with her tolerance having changed, she found herself with a pounding headache, something she was desperate to hide from for a little longer. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tugged at the duvet, trying to tuck it around herself a little better before she felt it being pulled from her grasp. Huffing, she tossed onto her back and glared up at Iker who stood at the foot of the bed, an amused smirk on his face. “Morning” he chirped.

Matilda just stared up at him, causing Iker to shake his head, laughing quietly. “You do remember where you are, don’t you?” he asked.

Matilda, who’d shuffled up against the headboard, fixed him with an unamused look, something which made Iker laugh a little more as he held his hands up innocently. “I was just checking” he quipped “Do you need me to get you anything?” he asked, the teasing edge fading out of his voice slightly.

“I’m OK” Matilda replied “Where’s Lola?” she asked.

“Still asleep” Iker answered “It’s still pretty early” he added.

Matilda nodded her head, allowing a slightly awkward silence to settle between them. They had made some kind of progress. The conversation that they had had the previous night had been open, they’d both been honest about how their fight had left them feeling and how they felt about one another, but still they couldn’t quite shake their discomfort. Matilda worried that she had said too much. She worried that she had rambled, and had embarrassed herself slightly, and Iker worried that what Matilda had only been so open with him because she had been tipsy. It wasn’t like her to be so straightforward. Matilda tended to try and hide her anxieties from him, and whilst he wanted to believe that things would be different second time around, he didn’t want to put too much faith in the night before being evidence that things between them had changed.

“Do you want us to go?” Matilda’s voice was quiet and uncertain.

Iker’s head snapped up, his eyes slightly wide. “Do you want to go?” he countered.

“If you want me to” Matilda said “I know you didn’t expect me to stay over last night, and if I am overstaying my welcome, then I will go. I’ll just need some time to get Lola ready and we can be out of your hair” she added, swinging her feet to the floor.

Iker opened and closed his mouth, watching as she moved around the room to collect the dress he’d neatly hung up on the door when she’d changed into a t-shirt of his the night before. Letting out a soft sigh, he followed her towards the door before he gently caught her hand in his, preventing her from slipping the dress off of its hanger. “I don’t want you to go” he said softly.

Matilda smiled sadly down at their hands before she looked up at his face. “You don’t have to say that” she said.


“It’s not exactly taking it slowly” Matilda cut in “Staying the night. I don’t want things to become…”

“What?” Iker interrupted, his tone a little sharp “Real? Serious?” he added.

Matilda blinked, caught off guard by his voice, before she turned back to the door, something which caused Iker to sigh, his hand slipping from hers. Shaking his head, he took a few paces away from her before he whirled around. “I don’t know if you meant what you said last night” he announced “I want to. I want to think that you realised that the thing about Art was me trying to help, and that you meant it when you looked at me and told me that you loved me, but I just…I just can’t. You’ve never been that open with me, and I worry that the only reason you were was because you’d had something to drink” he explained.

Matilda’s eyes stayed on the door as she took a deep breath. Letting it slowly slip out, she pushed a hand back through her messy hair before she turned to look at him, her expression uncertain. “I wanted to tell you about Art” she said softly “I wanted to call you after I left the day before and smooth things out. I just…I hate that I am so scared of that. I am so scared that I will say the wrong thing. I am so good at it. I start fights without meaning to, I either overthink or I don’t think enough and I just…I am trying, OK? I know it’s not a lot, and I know it must frustrate the hell out of you, but last night wasn’t just the champagne talking. That was me, trying to be honest, trying to make amends” she explained, each word carefully chosen.

Iker’s eyes searched her face for a few long seconds before his expression softened. “Why are you so scared?” he asked.

“I’m the reason my relationships fail” Matilda replied “I wanted too much from Marcos, I didn’t want enough from Simon and we both know that I was holding back from you. I say the wrong things, so I sometimes choose to say nothing at all, and now that’s not working. I am just not very good at this” she added, shaking her head as a sad laugh fell out of her mouth.

Iker closed his eyes at the sound, allowing it to hang between them for a few seconds, before he stepped towards her, pulling her into a hug. Matilda let out a soft sound in surprise, but it didn’t stop her from wrapping her arms around him, cuddling into the warmth of his body. They didn’t say anything, they just stood there, wrapped in each other’s arms, until Lola’s cries emanated away from the baby monitor which stood on the nightstand.

Matilda unwound her arms first, flashing Iker a bashful smile, before he reached behind her, pulling the bedroom door open. “I’ll get her” he said gently “You know where I keep the tea. Make yourself comfortable, Mattie” he added, offering her a small reassuring smile.

Matilda opened her mouth to object, but she promptly shut it again when he arched a playful eyebrow at her, offering him a thankful smile and a nod. Iker nodded at her, holding the door open as she padded out into the hall, before he watched her down the stairs, hoping that there would come a point where she found herself at ease around him.