Like You Did Before

29: I Want You To Want Me There

“Have you got plans for the rest of the day?” Iker asked as he stopped by Matilda’s couch, collecting the jacket that he had left draped over the arm.

He’d spent the night. He and Matilda had cooked dinner together the previous night after Lola had gone to bed, but when he’d offered to duck out so that Matilda could get some sleep, she’d stopped him, persuading him that she was ready for sleepovers to become a part of their relationship. Things were still uncertain. After Micah and Naomi’s wedding and the morning that had followed it, their relationship had become more introverted again, but whilst they hadn’t branched out to share the news with any more friends or family, it had settled down between them again. They were still talking, they were still working on making sure that things were stable and comfortable between the two of them, and it seemed to be working. They both seemed happier.

Matilda, who stood in the kitchen doorway gently rubbing Lola’s back, shrugged. “Coffee with Art” she replied “If he’s got the time this afternoon. And I promised my parents that we’d drop in on them this evening. It’s my mama’s birthday and they want me and the little one to go over and celebrate. It'll probably overrun, but if we're running late, I will text to let you know" she added.

Iker nodded his head slowly. When she had mentioned that it was her mother’s birthday, he’d half been expecting an invitation, and whilst he knew why it hadn’t been forthcoming, it didn’t lessen the sting. They were taking things slowly, figuring them out between themselves before they involved anyone else, but still he had hoped that Matilda would at least offer the invitation, even if she did hope that he’d turn it down. The act of asking would have still meant a lot to him.

Matilda frowned, slightly perturbed by his silence, but before she had a chance to say anything, Iker had fixed a grin onto his face. Moving towards her, he dropped a kiss on the crown of her head before he leant down, kissing Lola’s forehead gently. “Have fun at your parents” he mused “I’ll see you both later” he added, attempting to step away.

Matilda, however, was slightly faster. Adjusting Lola in her arms, she dropped one hand down to his, gently twining their fingers together to stop him moving towards the front door. “Iker” she prodded “Did I say something wrong?” she asked.


“It was all over your face, Iker” Matilda cut in, stopping him from inevitably telling her that it was nothing “I am pretty good at reading it” she added, a slightly boastful smile causing the corner of her mouth to quirk upwards slightly.

Iker’s initial reaction was to point out the many times that she had failed to read his expression before, but he stifled it. He knew if he said it, then an argument that he was trying to avoid would definitely start and things between him and Matilda would fall out of balance again. They were both good at saying the wrong thing. As much as Matilda had a habit of sticking her foot in it, Iker did too, and it was ultimately that which had caused them a lot of problems. Neither one of them was particularly good at thinking things through before they spoke.

Guiding his stare down towards their hands, he took a second to admire the fit of their fingers, a second he used to think, before he let out a soft sigh. “I…uh…I kind of thought that you might invite me to your parents” he admitted.

Matilda’s expression softened. “Iker…”

“I don’t know why I thought that” Iker interrupted her gently “I mean, I know you’ve not told them that we’re trying this again, and I know it’d be so weird if I was to just show up with the two of you like…like nothing had ever happened between us, but I just thought that maybe you’d ask, even if you did want me to say no, and I was kind of disappointed when you didn’t” he explained.

Matilda gently tugged her hand out of his, using it to cup his cheek softly. “Do you really want to go?” she asked.

Iker’s shoulders lifted and fell in a slightly helpless shrug, a bashful smile spread across his features. “Yes?” he replied “No? I don’t really know. I do kind of want you to want me there, though” he admitted shyly.

Matilda’s answering smile was soft and warm, something which caused Iker to turn his head, pressing a gentle kiss against the palm of her hand. “I know it’d be weird” he repeated “And I am not trying to push you into an invite. I can just picture your papa’s face if I was to show up at his front door without prior warning, but I just…”

“Come with us” Matilda interjected.

Iker’s mouth closed, an amused expression passed over his features. “Now I know that you’re just saying that” he quipped.

Matilda shook her head. “I’d love to have you there” she mused “I mean, you’re aren’t wrong about how my papa would react, my mama too, but I’d love to have you there. At least if you’re there, they won’t spend the night trying to marry me off to their friends’ sons” she added impishly.

Iker fixed her with a playful glare, something which made Matilda giggle before she gently pushed herself up onto her toes, touching a light kiss against his lips. “It scares me” she admitted gently “They didn’t exactly warm up to you very quickly the first time around, and now there’s a history to this, but if you want to be there, I’d want you to be there” she added.

“But?” Iker prodded. He knew the tone of her voice to well.

Matilda offered him a slightly sheepish smile. “I want you there, but maybe it would be fairer to…”

“To warn them first” Iker finished for her “Yeah, don’t worry. I am not going to show up tonight” he added.

“Thank you” Matilda replied.

Iker offered her another gentle smile before he leant over, pressing another kiss against Lola’s head and Matilda’s lips. Mumbling a quiet ‘I love you’, he gently backed out of her grasp and made his way towards the front door, turning to offer the two of them one more look before he stepped out. Matilda listened to the door close before she glanced down at Lola, knowing that it was about time she broached the subject of Iker with her parents. She’d studiously avoided it for a while. Iker’s relationship with her parents had never been overly bad, but they hadn’t warmed to him like Matilda would have liked them to, and she knew that the news that they were seeing one another again wasn’t going to go down as well as she hoped it would.