Like You Did Before

03: What Would Be The Point Of That?

“She looks like him”

Matilda nodded her head gently, the tip of her finger gently brushing across the bottom of baby’s foot, before she looked up, offering a rueful smile to her friend who held the baby in her arms. He wasn’t the first one to notice it. In the couple of weeks that had passed since the baby had arrived, all of the friends and family that had visited had pointed out the similarities between her and Iker, and Matilda didn’t quite know what to make of it. The resemblance seemed to grow each time she looked at her daughter.

“She does” Matilda confirmed “Everyone that has come over to meet her has said the same thing. I thought it was in my head at first” she added.

Arthur offered her a sympathetic smile, but his attention quickly fell back on the baby. “What did you say you’d chosen to call her again?” he asked.

“We finally settled on Lola” Matilda replied “It took us almost a week, but we got there eventually” she added, rolling her eyes slightly. It’d been more difficult than either she or Iker had thought it would be. They’d both had names that they liked, and ones they very much didn’t, and finding a common ground had taken them days, but they found one eventually, culminating in the decision to name the little girl Lola.

Arthur didn’t see Matilda roll her eyes, but something in the tone of her voice made him shake his head, a soft sigh falling out of his mouth. He knew that tone in her voice. It was a frustrated one that she had used frequently when she and Iker were together, but Arthur wasn’t surprised to hear it in her voice again. They’d ended things badly. A combination of Matilda not quite being ready for what Iker had to offer and Iker not quite understanding that Arthur, who’d been Matilda’s best friend since she was a child, was just a friend had caused friction between them, and when it’d finally fallen apart, everyone had expected that it would be permanent.

They hadn’t looked like they could figure things out. Neither one of them had made a move to try and fix the cracks, but when Matilda had found out that she was pregnant, she had gone to Iker without hesitation, meaning the two of them had spent months dancing around the elephant in the room.

Lifting his head up, he stared at Matilda for a moment before he shook his head. “How’s it going?” he prodded “You and Iker” he clarified.

Matilda had busied herself with taking Lola back so that she could settle her into her Moses basket, allowing her a few seconds to think before she sat back, shrugging her shoulders lightly. “There isn’t really a…me and Iker” she said “He’s…he’s wonderful with her. He lights up whenever he sees her and he’s here all of the time, just to see her, but we don’t…unless it’s a question about where I keep the nappies, or if he’s staying until she’s asleep, we don’t talk, not really. We make do with pleasantries, but that’s about the extent of it” she explained.

“In nearly nine months, you’ve made do with pleasantries?” Arthur asked.

“We don’t really have a lot to talk about outside of Lola, Art” Matilda replied “You know how things ended. It’s not like we could just take a few months off to cool down and try and figure things out. I still don’t know that I am looking to get married, but he knows that he is. You’ve not suddenly disappeared from my life, either. I can’t keep having the same fight with him. So yeah, we make do with pleasantries and conversations about Lola. It’s going OK” she added, her voice slightly more flustered than she would have liked it to be.

Arthur didn’t say anything for a long moment. He just stared at Matilda until she pushed herself up to her feet, mumbling something as she wandered across the apartment and busied herself in the bedroom. Arthur glanced at Lola, making sure that she was sleeping soundly, before followed after Matilda, leaning his shoulder against the bedroom door frame. “You love him” he announced.

Matilda didn’t turn and look at him, but she did still enough to make Arthur nod. “Tell him” he noted.

Matilda scoffed, still busily folding Lola’s clothes. “What would be the point of that?” she muttered “I told him countless times for two years and he still thought I would run off with you at the drop of a hat. It didn’t work last time, Art” she added.

Arthur opened his mouth to say something, but was stopped when the doorbell rung, causing Lola to let out a soft cry. Matilda let out a soft sigh before she looked up at Arthur. “You get the door and I will check on Lola” she mused.

Arthur nodded his head dutifully and made his way out of the bedroom. Reaching the front door, he pulled it open, his prepared greeting faltering a little as his eyes met Iker’s. They had never warmed to one another. Iker had always been suspicious that Arthur had more feelings for Matilda than he had let on, and Arthur resented the distance that Iker had put between him and Matilda, and it meant that they chose to avoid each other as best they could. Blinking a couple of times, he tried to force something out of his mouth, but failed, eventually choosing to just step out of the goalkeeper’s way and nod towards the living room.

Iker stared at the other man for a moment, his eyes narrowing slightly, before he progressed through towards the living room.

“Art?” Matilda called “Who was at the door?” she added before she turned around.

Iker lifted a hand in a lazy wave. “Just me” he mused.

Matilda’s smile was small, and, if Iker had to guess, forced. “I didn’t expect you back for a few hours yet” she mused.

Iker shrugged. “I got through things quickly” he noted “And I thought…I really should have texted or something first, shouldn’t I?” he prodded, letting out an awkward laugh.

Matilda’s expression softened, allowing Iker to see a genuine smile. “It’s OK” she mused “I mean, I don’t know that I’d be able to stay away for too long, either” she added.

Iker let out another soft, bashful laugh before he spared a look back over at Arthur who lingered a small distance away. “I’m not intruding on something, am I?” he asked.

Matilda tensed, but didn’t say anything, allowing Arthur to shake his head, a placating smile on his face. “Not at all” he mused “This was just the first chance I’d had to come over and meet Lola. I was just about to get going, actually” he added.


“I’ll see you soon, Mattie” Arthur cut Matilda off “Iker” he added.

The keeper tipped his head in reply before he turned, swooping Lola out of Matilda’s arms and progressing towards the couch with her. Matilda sent a glance to Arthur which was greeted with a firm look from the other man towards the goalkeeper.

Matilda shook her head sharply, something Iker caught out of the corner of his eye before he sighed, feeling his stomach drop despite itself.