Like You Did Before

40: Sometimes You Need To Be Selfish

“Do really want to know what I think?”

Matilda, who was wandering around the living room, trying to soothe a grumbling Lola, glanced back towards the couch, her stare settling on Naomi who was sat on the couch, sipping the mug of tea that Matilda had plied her with.

It hadn’t been her first instinct. When she had remembered what had happened the previous night, her first thought had been to call Arthur, but she had quickly talked herself out of it, opting to dial Naomi’s number instead. She had wanted to call Arthur. He was the person who knew her best, who knew what to say and do to make her feel better, but she had opted against it, knowing that if Iker found out that she had gone to Arthur, then it’d only make a situation that had already gotten out of hand worse.

The fight had escalated quickly, too quickly for Matilda to get a hold on it before it blew up in their faces. Matilda’s frustration had rebounded off of Iker’s and had blown what was originally only a slight annoyance into something bigger and worse, and Matilda hated that it’d ended the way it had. She had been frustrated, annoyed that he was keeping his conversation with her mother from her, but she hadn’t envisaged that any conversation that they had about that would end with her asking him to leave and then crying herself to sleep. She had thought that that was a part of their relationship that they had left behind.

“It’s kind of why I asked you here” Matilda replied.

“I know” Naomi replied “I just...I don’t think you’re necessarily love what I have to say and I wanted to make sure that you’re ready for the harsh truth” she added.

Matilda blinked a couple of times, stuck on the word ‘harsh’, but she nodded anyway. “Tell me what you think, Mimi” she mused.

Naomi sat up a little, placing her mug down onto the coffee table, before she let out a soft sigh. “I think he’s got a point” she said carefully “You do worry too much about what people think about your relationship and you do tend to jump at every little chance to put distance between the two of you, especially this time around. OK, he should have been more upfront with you, but if he had told you that your own mother didn’t think you two were capable of making this work, are you seriously suggesting that you would have just taken that in your stride?” she asked.

Matilda wanted to say yes, to insist that she would have dealt with it, but when she saw the knowing look on Naomi’s face, she knew that her own face had betrayed her. She would have panicked and as much as she wanted to deny it, she couldn’t.

“Don’t bite my head off” Naomi said “I have to ask. Are you certain that you really want to be with him?” she asked.

“I am” Matilda replied “I mean, I am unsure about a lot of things, but I know that when we’re together, and it’s working, then there’s very little in this world that could make me happier. I know it’s such a cliché, but with him, it’s’s just different to how it was with Simon and Marcos. Better. I can’t explain it, but I know that I want to be with him” she explained.

“He makes you happy?” Naomi prodded.

“Very happy” Matilda replied, rubbing Lola’s back gently.

“Then why does it matter whether your parents love him?” Naomi asked “If he’s what makes you happy, why does it matter? Mattie, I adore you, but you have to learn that you cannot please everyone. You’re trying to keep everyone happy and as a result, you’re not really making anyone happy. Iker wants to be your priority, your parents want you to be in a more dependable relationship than the one that you and Iker had before, and you’re not really doing either” she added.

Matilda let out a soft sigh, something which caused Naomi to reach for her, gently guiding her into the spot on the couch beside her. “People don’t like things” Naomi mused “My mother-in-law doesn’t think I am good enough for her precious baby boy. She’s never made a secret of it. She’s always giving me these snooty look and making passive aggressive comments, but do you know why I put up with it?” she asked.

“Because you love Micah” Matilda answered, lowering Lola down onto her play mat.

“Exactly” Naomi replied “I could tie myself in knots like you do. I could waste time trying to convince her that I am the perfect wife for her son, but I don’t because it doesn’t matter what she thinks about me. I love her son, Micah loves me, and everything else it irrelevant. It’s OK to be a little selfish sometimes. Yeah, you might upset your parents, maybe it’ll upset other people too, but if it means waking up tomorrow morning, next to the man you love, then won’t it be worth it? I know I’d put up with my mother-in-law as long as I get to keep being around Micah” she added, a warm smile brightening her features.

Matilda stared at her friend, admiring the warmth that had bloomed at the mention of her husband, before she glanced down at Lola.

“You can’t half be in this relationship, Mattie” Naomi said after a moment of quiet “Iker deserves better than that” she added.

“You don’t think I know that?” Matilda replied, her eyes cutting back up towards her friend.

“Then stop trying to spoil it” Naomi shot back “Stop dithering, and doubting and pushing him away every time he gets a little close to being here for the long haul, because we both know that that’s what he wants. It doesn’t matter who else loves you together, all that matters is that you do. He could be everything, Mattie, if you’d just let him be” she added, her voice softening.

Matilda’s slightly defensive expression softened. “Do you think he still wants that now?” she asked “Last night was...” she trailed off as the room filled with someone pounding at the door.

Furrowing her forehead, she tentatively climbed up to her feet before she glanced down at Lola. “Can you keep an eye on her?” she asked.

Naomi, trying to stifle a grin, nodded.

Matilda made her way down the hall and opened the door, her confusion fading to be replaced by surprise when she met Iker’s dark eyes.

Iker stared at her for a few seconds, a stifling silence between them, before he stepped forwards, his hand carefully cupping the back of her head to guide her into him, touching their lips together. Matilda’s eyes closed at the contact, basking in it until Iker backed away ever so slightly, his nose keeping in contact with hers. “I...I should have said something” he whispered “I should have taken my own advice and talked to you. I absolutely shouldn’t have thrown Arthur back at you. I am sorry” he added.

Matilda shook her head. “I should have just asked” she murmured “I wasn’t direct and I got annoyed to easily and everything got blown out of proportion” she added.

Iker smoothed her hair back, keeping her in his embrace until the sound of someone clearing their throat reached them, causing them to back away from each other, glancing at Naomi who grinned between them. “Looks like mama and papa are making amends, Lola” she cooed, adjusting the little girl on her hip.

Matilda ducked her head, smiling sheepishly, whilst Iker let out a slightly bashful laugh, the tops of his cheeks pink. “Naomi” he greeted.

“I’m on my way out, don’t worry” Naomi replied “You two need to talk. Mattie, remember what we talked about” she added, fixing her friend with a pointed glance as she moved to settle Lola into her arms.

Matilda nodded. “I will do” she replied.

Naomi nodded, bidding the couple goodbye, before she stepped out of the door, tugging it closed with a soft thump behind her. For a moment, the silence lingered before Iker gently cleared his throat, pulling Matilda’s eyes up from Lola towards him. “So” he breathed “We...We ought to talk, eh?” he prodded.

Matilda nodded. “Yeah, we should” she replied.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)