Like You Did Before

04: We Get There Eventually

Gently running his fingers through Lola’s hair, Iker quirked a rueful smile, his stare drifting over his shoulder towards the living room where he knew that Matilda was, waiting to guide him towards the front door like she had done every night since Lola had been born. She had been quieter than usual. They didn’t usually talk much anyway. Matilda had retreated back into the shell that Iker thought he’d broken her out of when they’d been together, and it meant that his visits were usually punctuated by awkward silences, but since Arthur had departed, it’d been even quieter, something Iker guessed was on him and his reaction to the other man. He didn’t know why he bothered him so much. Matilda had never hidden the fact that her closest friend was a man, and he’d seen enough of her and Arthur together to know that he probably wasn’t a real threat, but still he bothered him and he knew that his reaction to him was something Matilda hated about their relationship. They’d fought about it more times than Iker could count.

Slowly turning back towards Lola, he leant over the side of her crib and touched a kiss to her forehead. “Sweet dreams, little one” he murmured “I’ll see you in the morning” he added. Lola stirred a little, letting out a soft whimper, but she didn’t wake up, causing Iker to let out a sigh in relief before he pushed himself off of Matilda’s bed. Hesitating for a beat, he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans before he wandered out of the room, clearing his throat lightly.

Matilda, who’d been quietly reading, lifted her head, her usual put-on smile sliding into place. “You were in there for a while” she mused.

“She fell asleep a while ago” Iker replied with a little shrug “I was just watching her. If I’ve been here for too long…”

“It’s fine” Matilda cut him off gently.

Iker smiled bashfully, allowing the silence to sneak back in for a few beats, before he cleared his throat again. “I’m sorry if I scared Art off earlier” he mused “I didn’t know I’d bump into him” he added.

Matilda folded down the page in her book, settling it on the couch next to her. “Iker” she warned.

Iker held his hands up. “I’m not trying to start anything” he mused.

Matilda looked at him dubiously before she let out a soft sigh, her fingers gently twisting the necklace she wore around. “He’s been my best friend since I can remember” she said “And the only reason he was here today was that he wanted to meet the little girl you and I made, Iker. I know you never warmed to him, but he’s important to me and he’s probably going to be around a lot. I need you to be Ok with that” she added.

Iker’s stare was on his feet by the time he offered her a reluctant nod of his head. “I know he is” he confirmed “Are you going to ask him to be the god father?” he asked.

“I was thinking about it” Matilda answered “But I was going to ask you, first. It’s one of those decisions we ought to make together” she added, her lips quirking upwards slightly.

“Because we’re so good at making decisions together” Iker played along, his smile more rueful than her playful one.

“We get there eventually” Matilda replied “I mean, we chose a name” she added.

Iker nodded his head, shifting slightly on the spot, before he looked up at her again. “You can ask Arthur” he said “You said it yourself. You’ve been close forever, and he’d be good for Lola if it came to it. He’s a good guy” he added.

Matilda’s smile was one of relief. “Thank you” she mused.

“Can I just ask you one thing?” Iker asked after another moment of quiet.

“You can ask” Matilda replied, her voice caught between hesitant and impish.

“Tell me” Iker mused “When someone else does come along, because someone else will come along. Whether it is Arthur or someone else. Just tell me first” he clarified.

Matilda opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, allowing the question to hang in the air between the two of them, before she shook her head, her fingers still twisting her necklace. “I really don’t think that that is something we need to be talking about right now, Iker” she replied slowly.


“Iker, we’re not talking about this” Matilda cut in “I’ve just had a baby. Do you really think I am going to go out any time soon and start looking for a boyfriend? Do you really think that I’d want to complicate this even more?” she pressed, gesturing between the two of them.

Iker shook his head. “I don’t think it was an out of order question” he shot back “I’m just asking for you to be honest with me, Mattie. I saw the look between you and Art earlier and…”

Matilda’s scoff cut him off before she shook her head. “There isn’t anything between me and Art, Iker” she spoke flatly “There never has been and there won’t be. That look you saw between me and him was about me talking to you, but I told him it was pointless. We’ve been going in the same circle for more than two years now, and this conversation…it’s all the proof I need that we’re still stuck in it. I’ll tell you if there is something to tell you, Iker, but right now, I am not even remotely interested in starting something with anyone” she added, her tone wavering in annoyance.

Iker’s eyes surveyed Matilda’s face, searching for any trace of a lie, something which made her shake her head. “Goodnight, Iker” she muttered.


“I’ll see you tomorrow” Matilda cut him off as she stood up, ushering him towards the front door.

Iker followed after her, stepping out of the door, but before Matilda had the chance to close the door after him, he put his hand on it. “I am not trying to make this weird” he said softly “It just is weird and I am trying to figure out how we make it less so. I know I am not doing a great job, and I know…I know that trying to stick my nose into things that probably have nothing to do with me, but I am trying, Mattie. We need to figure out a way to be…to be Ok around each other now that Lola’s here. She needs us to try and figure this out” he added.

Matilda met his eyes before she exhaled softly. “I know” she replied “I want us to be OK around each other too, but it’s not so simple. We’ve got baggage, Iker, and we can’t ignore it but confronting it…that’s hard too. It’s going to be slow” she mused.

Iker’s mouth lifted into a soft smile. “Slow is OK” he mused “I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon” he added.

Matilda smiled back at him weakly. “Goodnight, Iker” she said.

Iker lowered his hand, allowing Matilda to close the door before he spoke again. “Goodnight, Mattie” he murmured.