Like You Did Before

43: But Since You Mention It

Stuffing the keys back into his pocket, Iker nudged the front door closed with his foot before he padded up the hall, making his way through towards the living room. He was still getting used to the layout. The house that Matilda had found was still unfamiliar to him, but when he’d watched her face light up, he’d known that he’d find himself getting used to it, especially when it had fallen within her budget. He had toyed with the idea of trying to talk her out of buying it. Ever since she had mentioned that she was looking to move out of her apartment and into a bigger place, the invitation to have her and Lola move in with him had been lingering on the tip of his tongue, but he had never had the nerve to actually voice it, knowing that it was a step that was probably to big for their relationship. Things still felt fragile, even if it had been a while since they’d really argued, and Iker didn’t want to push it. He already knew what the answer would most likely be and didn’t feel like hearing Matilda say it would do them any good.

Placing the rolls of wallpaper he’d been carrying down in the pile near the doorway, he stared around the empty room for a moment before he heard footsteps padding down the stairs. Smiling, he poked his head out of the room, watching Matilda as she jogged down the stairs. “I was wondering where you’d gotten to” he chirped.

Matilda smiled as she padded towards him, pressing a brisk kiss to his cheek before she wandered towards the kitchen. “I was clearing out one of the rooms upstairs” she called over her shoulder “There was some old furniture that needed to be broken up and tossed out before I can start getting it ready to wallpaper” she added.

Iker, who’d trailed after her, watched her from the kitchen doorway, a fond expression on his face.

Matilda, who’d been sipping on a bottle of water, smiled around the top of it before she sheepishly hid her face. “What’s that look for?” she asked.

Iker lifted his shoulders in a small shrug. “You look like you’re enjoying yourself” he replied “I didn’t think this would be your sort of thing” he added.

“I didn’t know it would be either” Matilda mused “I’ve lived in the same apartment since I moved out of my parents’ house and because I rented, I never really had a chance to decorate, but this place is mine and being able to do whatever I want with paint and wallpaper...I really kind of love that” she added,

“I didn’t know that you’d always had the same apartment” Iker quipped.

Matilda padded towards the island in the middle of the kitchen, taking a seat on one of the stools as she shrugged her shoulders. “It was enough for just me” she mused “I mean, me and Mimi talked about getting a place together, me and Art too, but I found that place, and it worked for me. It was nice, the rent was good, but I need something different now. Lola needs her own room, or she will do soon, and she needs more space for when she starts walking. This place has all of that” she added, smiling a little as she glanced around the room.

Iker kept his eyes on her, admiring the happiness on her face, before he moved towards her. Stopping on the opposite side of the island, he reached over and took her hand in his, squeezing it softly. Matilda’s eyes flicked down towards their hands for a second before she glanced up at his face, the tops of her cheeks slightly pink. “Sorry” she mumbled shyly.

Iker shook his head. “I’m glad that you’re so happy” he mused.

“You’re not disappointed?” Matilda asked.

Iker’s forehead creased, something which made Matilda reached her hand up, her thumb smoothing the small ridge between his eyebrows. “You have to know that I am pretty clever” she teased softly “I mention needing more space for our daughter, you already have a lovely house, with a bedroom already decorated for her, and you seemed to drag your feet when we were looking around. You have to know that I’d be able to put those pieces together” she added.

Iker ducked his head, smiling sheepishly down at their hands. “I didn’t want to say anything” he mumbled “But since you mention it...” he trailed off, gently playing with her fingers.

Matilda’s smile was soft as she used her hand to guide his eyes back up towards her face. Holding his stare, she gently pushed his hair back off of her forehead before she let out a soft sigh. “If this was before” she started “If there’d been no break, and we didn’t know about Lola yet, then this is the question that I would have said yes to” she said.

“It’s the one I didn’t ask” Iker mused ruefully “I jumped straight to proposing. I didn’t even think to ask that” he added, a sad laugh falling out of his mouth.

Matilda squeezed his hand again, looking at him apologetically. “But I just think we need more time” she said.

“I thought you’d say that” Iker quipped “And I know you’re right. It’s why I didn’t say anything. Besides, I saw your face when we found this place. My place has never made you light up like that” he added.

Matilda laughed happily. “Maybe you’ll end up moving in here” she mused.

Iker bent over their hands, kissing the back of hers gently. “When the time is right, I’d be happy too” he mused.

“Really?” Matilda prodded “Your place is bigger. Won’t you miss the space?” she asked.

“If it meant being with you and Lola?” Iker retorted “I don’t think I’d even notice that it was missing” he added.

Matilda grinned. “Smooth answer” she teased.

Iker shrugged, feigning a bashful smile.

Matilda laughed gently before she leant out of the stool, pressing a soft kiss to his lips before she sunk back to her feet. “I really need to get started on Lola’s bedroom” she mused “Are you going to help me with that or tackle something else?” she asked as she walked past him, stopping only to collect the bottle of water that she had left out.

“Who says I am helping you with any of it?” Iker called after her, grinning impishly to himself.

Matilda’s laughter drifted back towards him as her footsteps trailed up the stairs. “You’ll help if you know what’s good for you” she chirped back playfully.

Iker shook his head, smiling to himself briefly, before he pushed himself up to his feet, moving to follow her up the stairs.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 for the comment :)