All Over Again

01

Sinking down onto the end of the mattress, Isabel quirked a lopsided smile, watching the man who padded around their shared bedroom, trying not to show how nervous he was. She knew that he was. Whilst he hadn’t batted an eyelid when she had asked him to move to Madrid with her, he had spent the whole of that afternoon trying to pick out the perfect outfit to wear to his first dinner with her parents and brother, and it made Isabel smile. She had told him that there was nothing to worry about. She had reminded him that, on more than one occasion, he had walked in on video calls with her relatives, and he had already made quite the impression on them, but it hadn’t stopped him fretting, and a small part of Isabel was glad it hadn’t. She liked that he was so determined to make a good impression, and that the thought of not making one scared him.

“What are you smirking at?”

Isabel’s smile widened a little. “You” she quipped.

Parker feigned an offended gasp. “You finding my being nervous about meeting your parents and brother funny?” he accused playfully.

“A little bit” Isabel replied “I don’t think I have ever seen you this nervous before. Actually, I don’t think I have ever seen you nervous at all. It is kind of bizarre, and a little funny” she added.

Parker huffed out another offended noise, but couldn’t keep a small smile from appearing on his face, something that made Isabel smile too before she reached her hand out, gently tugging him closer to her. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she closed her eyes, exhaling a soft contented sigh when she felt Parker touch a soft kiss to the top of her head. “They’re going to love you” she mumbled gently “I do” she added.

Parker smiled against her head. “Everyone always says that” he murmured “I told you that when I introduced you to my mother and stepfather. That didn’t stop you from trying to cancel at least three times after we were in the taxi” he added.

Isabel pulled out of their embrace slightly so that she could grin up at him. “I still went, didn’t I?” she chirped.

“And charmed the crap out of them” Parker quipped “Seriously, you’re pretty much all my mother wants to talk about when she calls” he added.

Isabel just smiled up at him. She had known that he was important from the first time she had met him, but it still surprised her how far they had come in only a few months. He had come out of nowhere. A couple of hours into a friend’s birthday party, she had found herself sat by the bar, trying to figure out which excuse to use to leave early, when Parker had landed in the seat next to her. The rest was history. They had hit it off, made plans for a date the following evening, and only a matter of nine short months later, they were sat in their shared apartment in Isabel’s home city.

“What are you grinning at now?” Parker teased, his thumb tracing her jawline gently.

“Can’t I just want to smile at you?” Isabel prodded “Maybe I like you” she added.

“Only maybe?” Parker played along.

Isabel made a show of rolling her eyes, something which made Parker laugh before he swooped in, stealing a quick kiss. “I’m going to finish getting ready” he quipped “We’ll leave in ten minutes?” he asked.

Isabel just hummed her agreement, her soft smile unmoved. She hadn’t planned for Parker, but she was glad that he had arrived in her life. He had taken up all of her attention, and distracted her from the ache in her chest that had lingered since the last time she had been in Madrid.

~#~
“Run me through the names again”

Isabel, who’d been staring out of the taxi window, taking in the familiar sights of the city, startled slightly before she turned, her lips curving into a soft smile when she saw the nervous grin that Parker sported. “Have you really forgotten them?” she quipped.

Parker shrugged, fiddling with his seatbelt slightly. “It can’t hurt to hear them once more” he said “Just to make sure I don’t get them confused” he added.

Isabel wordlessly reached her hand across the seat, gently twining her fingers through his. “My father’s name is Eric” she said “And my mother’s is Alma. My brother is called Asier” she added.

Parker nodded his head, gently squeezing her fingers. “Eric, Alma and Asier” he repeated “Easy” he added.

Isabel kissed the back of his hand gently, allowing a comfortable silence to settle between them until the taxi slowed to a stop outside of her brother’s restaurant. Offering Parker’s hand another gentle squeeze, she flashed him an encouraging smile before she moved to slide out of the car. Taking a step away from the car, she waited for Parker to pay the driver before she offered her hand out towards him, laughing when he made a show of rolling his eyes before he took it. “This is your brother’s place?” he asked.

“My uncle’s originally” Isabel said “But when he retired, he left it to Asier” she added.

Parker nodded his head slowly, his lips quirking slightly. “Is it too late to cancel?” he quipped.

Isabel laughed, nudging his shoulder slightly. “You didn’t let me cancel” she said “So I am not about to let you” she added.

Parker dropped his head with a laugh.

Isabel pressed a soft kiss to his cheek before she tugged on their linked hands, coaxing him through the front door. Scanning the restaurant quickly, she found her mother and father sat at a table towards the back before she walked towards it, tugging Parker along with her. “Mama” she cooed “Papa” she added.

Alma was the first out of her seat, wrapping Isabel in a soft hug, before she drew back, her stare landing on Parker. “Parker?” she prodded.

Parker stuck a hand out ahead of himself. “It’s good to finally meet you in person” he said “Can I call you Alma?” he asked.

Alma smiled. “I suppose that that would be OK” she said.

Parker smiled shyly, shaking Alma’s hand before he moved to shake Eric’s.

Eric patted his back warmly, something which made Isabel grin before she glanced around, frowning at her brother’s absence. “Where is Asier?” she asked.

“At the bar” Eric quipped “He said he was going to get a bottle of wine, but he’s been gone for ten minutes. Go and get him, will you?” he added.

Isabel nodded, departing the table with a squeeze to Parker’s hand, before she padded towards the bar. Spotting her brother’s back, she sneaked closer to him, but before she could scare him, she froze, her eyes staring over his shoulder into a pair of eyes she had last seen when she had been stood in his bedroom, her ears ringing. Blinking slowly, she took half a step back from Asier’s shoulder, hoping that she could escape before anyone said anything, but before she could escape entirely, Sergio spoke.

“Isabel?” he asked.