Like You Did Before

30: I Worry It’s Not What You Think It Is

Gently smoothing out the dress that Lola wore, Matilda spared a glance across the room, watching her parents as they conversed with the friends that had dropped in on them unannounced to wish Adrienne a happy birthday. She had been grateful for their arrival. Prior to them knocking on the front door, she had spent most of the evening trying, and failing, to find the right moment to broach the subject of Iker, and the arrival of their friends had distracted them for long enough that they hadn’t been able to question her about how quiet she had been, something Matilda was grateful for. She knew that they had noticed. The looks from her mother had started after only twenty minutes of being in the house, and her father’s worried glances had followed quickly, but they hadn’t had a chance to say anything, something which had afforded Matilda more time to come up with a way to soften the blow of her reconciliation with Iker.

She knew that her parents wouldn’t love it. They hadn’t disliked Iker when he and Matilda had been together before, but they had taken their time to warm up to him, and Matilda knew that any warmth he’d earned from her parents had evaporated when their relationship had reached its conclusion. She had told them that he wasn’t at fault. She’d made it clear that they had both failed and that they both had to take responsibility for their part in what had gone wrong, but her parents had still blamed Iker, meaning that whatever progress Iker had made with them had disappeared a lot quicker than it had arrived.

Carefully lifting Lola up, she adjusted herself against the couch before she heard her parents’ friends start to say goodbye. Blinking a couple of times, she forced a polite smile before the other couple departed, leaving her sat in a room with her parents. Taking in a deep breath, she watched her parents sit down again before she gently shook her head. “We need to get going soon” she said softly “I need to get this little one off to sleep sooner rather than later” she added, tipping forwards to touch a kiss to the top of Lola’s head.

Adrienne and Luis shared a look before the older woman shook her head, her expression soft. “What’s going on, Matilda?” she asked gently.

“You’ve been quiet” Luis pointed out, cutting Matilda off before she had the chance to insist that it was nothing “You never normally shut up unless there’s something on your mind” he added, a faint teasing smile passing over his features.

Matilda normally would have rolled her eyes and quipped something back at her father, but instead, she just let out a quiet sigh, her eyes fixed on the top of Lola’s head. “I...uh...I need to say something” she admitted softly “I ‘ve started date Iker again” she added.

“Why?” Luis’s response was instant, and whilst Matilda was sure he’d not meant it to hurt her, it stung more than a little.

“Luis” Adrienne hissed.

Luis lifted a hand in apology. “I didn’t mean it to come out so...”

“Bluntly?” Matilda prodded, a rueful smile on her face.

“I’m just surprised” Luis replied “I mean, when things ended, it felt pretty final and that’s without mentioning how...turbulent things had been before that. I thought that you were done with him, Mattie, and I am surprised that you’d want to try it again” he explained as carefully as he could.

He didn’t want to upset her. It was clear that whatever was happening between her and Iker meant a lot to her and that she was wary of her parents’ reaction, but whilst he didn’t want to object to the idea outright, he did want to express his concerns. It hadn’t been without its problems the first time around. Whilst they had had their good moments, Iker and Matilda’s relationship had been littered with disagreements and had almost fallen apart a few times before it finally had, and he worried that it wouldn’t be any different the second time around.

Matilda’s stare flitted between her parents for a moment, searching their faces, before she let out a soft sigh, her eyes dropping back towards Lola who was sat in her lap. “I know how it sounds” she said gently “But I...I adore him, and I want it to work with him. I know you must think that I am being naive...”

“Your papa didn’t say that” Adrienne interrupted “He just said that he was surprised. We both are” she added.

“In a bad way?” Matilda prodded.

Adrienne glanced at her husband, something which made Matilda shake her head. “I know you don’t like him” she mumbled.

“We like him just fine” Luis retorted “It’s the two of you together that worries us. You know how many times you two fought, how easily you both managed to say the wrong things, and I worry that you’re just going back to him because...because he’s there. He’s been around you for months, ever since you told him about Lola, and I worry that maybe you don’t really feel what you think you do. You’ve barely got your head around being Lola’s mama, Mattie, and I just worry that’s not what you think it is” he added.

Matilda just stared at him; her blue eyes wide.

“Matilda” Adrienne said softly “We’re not here to make your decisions for you, but maybe it’d be wise to take a step back, just to make sure” she added.

Matilda blinked a couple of times, but still stayed quiet for a few moments. It wasn’t something she had thought about before, the idea that the reason that she and Iker had rediscovered their feelings for one another was something simply born out of being in close proximity to one another, and it caught her off guard slightly. She wanted to refute it. She wanted to snap back and insist that she knew what she was doing, that they knew what they were doing, but for a moment, she couldn’t. Things had changed a lot for her and the only one who really knew how much was Iker because they’d changed for him too.

“Mattie?” Luis prodded tentatively “Sweetheart, I wasn’t trying to...I didn’t mean to put a dampener on anything. I just...I want you to think. That’s all” he added.

“I know” Matilda replied quietly.

“If it’s working for you...” Luis trailed off as Matilda carefully pushed herself up to her feet.

“I need to get home” Matilda mused “Lola needs to go to bed and Iker will be showing up to say goodnight to her soon” she added.

“Matilda” Adrienne protested gently.

“I will speak to you both soon” Matilda replied “Happy birthday, mama” she added before she turned on her heel, making her way towards the front door with Lola in her arms. She needed to get out of there. She needed to think about what her father had said, and she knew that she couldn’t do it with them around. She felt slightly overwhelmed and she was worried that she and Iker were buying into something that wasn’t quite what it appeared to be.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comments :)