Like You Did Before

36: That’s A Good Sign

Being careful not to pull too hard, Iker tucked the duvet back around himself, allowing his head to fall back against his pillow with a soft sigh. He should have been used to it. He and Matilda had fallen into a routine of staying the night at one another’s places, and that meant he’d been around for Lola’s night-time stirring for a while, but he still wasn’t quite used to it. Matilda always offered to take her. Lola’s crib was still at the foot of Matilda’s bed and so when she cried, she disturbed both of them, but Iker always insisted on doing it.

For a while, he’d missed out on the chance to help. He’d seen a lot of Lola when she’d first woken up and he’d always been around to say goodnight to her, but he’d always missed the nights, something he wanted to make up for now that things between him and Matilda had progressed. He knew that it didn’t matter to Matilda. She’d told him more than once that she had coped with it well, but it didn’t stifle his desire to try and make it up. He had missed out on time with his daughter and it was time he wanted to make up for now that things between him and Matilda were good.

Draping his arm over his eyes, he let a soft yawn fall out of his mouth before he felt Matilda’s arm gently drop across his stomach. Slowly lowering his arm, he glanced down at her, a soft smile brightening his features as she blinked up at him sleepily. “I was sure that you’d gone back to sleep” he mumbled “You were making that little snuffly noise when I came through the door” he added.

“Snuffly noise?” Matilda asked, pushing her messy hair back off of her face.

“You don’t quite snore” Iker replied “But you do make a little noise when you’re asleep. It’s cute” he added impishly.

Matilda glared at him through a yawn, something which made Iker laugh as he reached his hand out, gently twisting a piece of her hair around his finger. “Lola’s fine, you know” he whispered softly.

“Of course she is” Matilda replied, her eyes closed “She was with her papa. I know how wonderful you are with her. I wasn’t worried” she added.

Iker’s answering smile was soft as he let her hair slip through his fingers, allowing it to briefly settle against her face before he tucked it behind her ear. “Can I ask you something?” he asked softly “I mean, it can keep until it’s actually light outside, if you’d prefer” he added.

Matilda’s blue eyes fluttered open, glancing up at him amusedly. “You’ve already woken me up” she pointed out “You might as well get it all off of your chest” she added.

Iker rolled his eyes before he shifted a little closer to her, his hand gently pushing the hem of her t-shirt up so that his thumb could trace shapes against her hip. Matilda leant into the touch, tucking herself closer to him. “What did you want to ask me, Iker?” she asked quietly.

“I’m going back to Spain in a couple of weeks” Iker said.

“I know you are” Matilda replied “You and Lola are going to see your parents” she added.

Iker’s lips ticked upwards into a soft smile as his eyes surveyed her face. He knew that she was apprehensive. Despite him having insisted that he was only going to be gone for a few days, he knew that the prospect of being away from Lola for that long was something which had Matilda on edge, and he wanted to try and get rid of that anxiety by offering her an invitation. They had originally agreed that she wouldn’t go. The trip had been planned for a couple of months, and when he’d made the plans, things between them had still been up in the air, leading them both to agree that reintroducing her to his parents probably wasn’t the best idea, but things between them were better, meaning that he didn’t feel like it was too soon for him to offer.

Matilda’s forehead creased as she looked at his grin. “Why are you smiling like that?” she asked.

Iker shrugged. “I’m getting better at reading you” he mused “That’s a good sign” he added.

Matilda let out a soft laugh, shaking her head. “Are we going to get to what you want to ask me?” she asked “Because if we’re going to beat around the bush...”

“Come with us” Iker cut her off.

Matilda blinked.

“Come to Spain with me and our baby” Iker pressed ahead before she had the chance to compose herself “I’d like to reintroduce you to my parents, and reintroduce them to my family. I can see that you’re getting ready to say no, I know that look, Mattie, but I really think that it won’t be as bad as you’re anticipating. They always liked you, didn’t they?” he prodded.

Matilda slowly nodded. “They...They did” she confirmed.

“Then why not?” Iker prodded.

Matilda just opened and closed her mouth, not quite sure what to say. She hadn’t been expecting it. The decision had been made months ago that Iker would take Lola to see his parents and whilst things between them had changed, she hadn’t expected that he’d change his mind about her tagging along with them. It was a big step, one that Matilda had been shying away from making with her own parents, and whilst she knew that Iker’s parents would be happier to see them together again, it didn’t do anything to ease the knot in her stomach.

Iker lifted the hand of his that wasn’t on her hip to her hair, gently weaving his fingers through the strands before he leant her head towards him, allowing him to kiss her forehead softly. “You’re allowed to say no” he murmured “I wouldn’t be upset. I just...I don’t think it’d be as bad as you think it would. Don’t get upset, but sometimes, I think you get into your head and make things worse in there and then you get scared of the thing you’ve created. It would be a little awkward, I can’t deny that, but I really, really don’t think it’d be that bad. I’ve talked to them about you a lot in the last few months and they’re behind us” he fussed softly.

“They are?” Matilda’s voice was curious whisper.

Iker created a little space between them so that he could smile down at her warmly. “They know that I am happy” he replied “And that’s got a lot to do with you” he added.

Matilda’s eyes surveyed his features, studying them in the dark, before she quirked a timid smile. “OK” she breathed.