Like You Did Before

48: I Guess They Didn’t See You Coming

Tugging her cardigan around herself a little more, Matilda quirked a tired smile, watching as Lola turned over and blinked up at her again, a slightly cheeky smile on her face. She had been trying to settle her for a while. Despite the best efforts of her, Iker and Luis, no one had been able to prevent the little girl from falling asleep for longer than usual in the afternoon, and it meant that convincing her to fall asleep again was harder than usual. Letting out a quiet sigh, she watched Lola turn away again before the door creaked, pulling her attention to Iker who’d poked his head around it, a sheepish smile on his face. “Still awake?” he asked quietly.

“Me or her?” Matilda asked in reply “Actually, it doesn’t matter. The answer is yes to both” she added.

Iker let out a soft laugh as he stepped into the room, gently pushing the door to behind himself. “I figured she’d outlast you” he quipped “You’ve been out of it for most of the day whereas she slept for hours when your papa was here” he added.

Matilda shifted in her seat, trying, and failing, to stifle the yawn that fell out of her mouth.

Iker grinned at her before he stepped towards Lola’s crib, resting his weight against the side of it. Glancing down at Lola, he watched her for a few moments before he turned to look at Matilda, his brown eyes meeting her blues. “You can go and get some sleep, you know” he mused “I can stay and get her to sleep and drop the monitor in with you before I head out. You look like you could use it” he added, his voice softening a little.

“Do I look that rough?” Matilda’s reply was impish, but her hand moved to her head anyway, self-consciously smoothing out her messy hair.

Iker shook his head, huffing out an amused sigh. “You know what I mean” he said “Honestly, it’s fine. I’ll come back first thing tomorrow” he added.

“I’d like you to stay” Matilda said “I mean, if that’s what you want. I’d like that” she added shyly.

Iker, who’d turned back to watching Lola, allowed a slow smile to spread across his features before he nodded his head. “I’d like it, too” he mused.

Matilda admired his smile quietly, curling up into her chair a little more as she tried to hide another yawn.

Iker watched her movement out of the corner of his eye before he shook his head, letting a soft sigh escape him. “Do you think that things with your papa went well?” he prodded.

“He stayed for nearly two hours afterwards” Matilda replied “He wouldn’t have done that if they hadn’t. You can relax, Iker” she added, smiling up at him softly.

She knew how much it meant to him that she was settled. He wanted her to feel as comfortable as she could do in their relationship, and having her parents’ support was a big part of it, and it meant a lot to her that he’d kept pushing for it, even if she had recognised that she couldn’t make everyone happy. The fact that he was prepared to keep defending them, to keep proving that they were more than what they had been before, meant more to her than she could have put into words.

Iker shook his head, a rueful smile on his face. “Did you know that they wanted you to end up with Arthur?” he asked.

Matilda opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, wanting to deny it, before she sighed, shrugging her shoulders slightly. “They didn’t tell me that directly” she mused “But it doesn’t surprise me. He is...he was always around, ever since we were children, and I guess that they just assumed that, if we both stayed single for long enough, we’d settle for each other. I guess they didn’t exactly see you coming” she added, trying to lighten the mood.

Iker didn’t want to smile. The news that Adrienne and Luis had expected Matilda to end up with Arthur was something that irked him more than he had let on at the time, but when Matilda’s eyes met his, he couldn’t stop the goofy grin spreading across his features. “Are you going to tell me that you knew from the moment we met that I was something special?” he played along impishly.

Matilda shook her head, covering her smile with a hand. “Not the moment we met” she mused “Not for a little while, actually” she added.

Iker scoffed playfully. “How long is ‘a little while’?” he asked.

“Our third date” Matilda replied.

“That’s specific” Iker teased “What did I do on our third date that was so special?” he prodded.

“It was the first time you weren’t nervous” Matilda replied “I don’t know why you weren’t, but you weren’t. You’d always been sweet, and I liked the awkwardness, but that night you were just at ease and I adored the idea that you’d gotten comfortable around me. I still rather like the thought now” she added.

Iker’s originally teasing smirked softened into a tender smile as he looked at her. “That was it?” he asked.

Matilda lifted her shoulders in a little shrug. “I can’t explain it better than that” she mused.

Iker rubbed his jaw, trying to hide just how much the thought meant to him, before he cleared his throat. “You’ve made me very happy, Mattie” he said gently “You’ve frustrated me, but mostly, you’ve made me really happy” he added, his voice caught between teasing and soft.

They had both struggled with letting the other know how much they meant to them in the past, and Iker didn’t want to repeat the mistake. He wanted Matilda to know just how much she meant to him, and how much he didn’t want her to slip out of his grasp again.

Matilda laughed, gently shaking her head. “I love you” she mused.

“I love you, too” Iker replied “I am pretty sure I knew it before our third date, too” he added.

“Oh, really?” Matilda teased “You’re not just saying that?” she added.

“It’s pretty hard to prove, Mattie” Iker quipped.

Matilda rolled her eyes before she climbed out of her chair. Smiling at him impishly, she stepped towards him before she leant into his side, leaving a soft kiss on his cheek. “I think she’s out” she whispered softly, planting another soft kiss just below his ear “Are you still thinking about leaving?” she added.

Iker breathed out a little laugh. “No” he quipped “I’m not” he added.

“Thought so” Matilda cooed before she laced her fingers through his, tugging him towards the door.
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Thanks to Jayme112234 and Twisted;;Symphony for the comments :)