All Over Again

03

Wiping a smear of toothpaste off of her face, Isabel glanced at her reflection for a moment before she let her head drop, a tired sigh falling out of her mouth. She was exhausted. Dinner with her family would have been a lot on its own, but with Sergio nearby it had threatened to overwhelm her, so when Asier had made his excuses to get back to work, no one had been more relieved that Isabel.

She had tried not to let it bother her. Sergio had made no attempt to intrude. He hadn’t even made an attempt to talk to her, but just seeing him had been enough to remind her of everything that had happened between them, and as hard as she had tried to keep her mind off of it, she had failed. Instead of focussing on Parker, and enjoying seeing her parents face to face for the first time in a long time, she had been distracted by the feeling of Sergio’s stare on the back of her head, and it had left her feeling awful. It had taken what could barely be considered as an interaction to pull her attention back to him after she had tried so hard to get him out of her head, and it had ruined what should have been an important night in her relationship with Parker.

Rubbing her forehead, she let out a soft noise in frustration before she heard a soft knock, something which caused her to look up, catching sight of Parker’s reflection in the mirror. “I’d only have been a couple more minutes” she quipped, faking a soft smile “You couldn’t have waited?” she added.

Parker’s shoulders lifted in a shrug, but his lips didn’t quirk into the lopsided smile that usually followed. “You’ve been in here a while” he said.

“Have I?” Isabel replied.

Parker nodded. “I just wanted to make sure that you were alright” he said “You seemed a little off during dinner, so I thought I would check in. If you want me to leave you to it...” he trailed off when Isabel shook her head.

Quirking a lopsided smile, he made a show of offering her his hand, something that made Isabel roll her eyes before she took it, allowing him to lead her back into their bedroom. Sitting down at the foot of their bed, he guided her into the seat next to him before he huffed out a playful breath. “So” he quipped “What’s up?” he added.

Isabel smiled at him before she shook her head, fiddling with the strap of the watch that sat on his wrist. She had told him about Sergio before. After only a handful of dates, Parker had asked if there was anyone significant that he ought to know about if their relationship was going to go ahead, and the story had come spilling out of Isabel before she could stop it, but it wasn’t a story she was going to repeat. She didn’t want Parker to know that just seeing Sergio had been enough to drag her back into memories of what they had been.

“I was just a little overwhelmed” Isabel answered, determinedly keeping her eyes away from Parker’s “Being back here is strange, and whilst a lot of it is a good kind of strange, it’s still a little overwhelming. I thought I was going to be starting a life in England, and now I am back here, and I am excited about a lot of things, like being able to just go out to dinner with my parents, but there’s also stuff that I thought I had left behind and wouldn’t have to deal with again. I guess it didn’t really hit me until tonight” she added.

“You don’t have to deal with that stuff by yourself, you know” Parker’s voice was playful as he gently twined his fingers through Isabel’s.

Isabel nodded. “I know” she mused “But you’ve got your own things to deal with” she added.

“And you can help me with them, too” Parker replied “How else am I going to know where the best coffee place is?” he added impishly.

Isabel laughed despite herself. “You could always ask my mother” she teased “You seemed to win her over at dinner” she said.

Parker’s answering grin lit up his entire face. “You really think so?” he said.

Isabel nodded. “I know so” she said “My father, too. Asier’s a tougher nut to crack, but that’s just because my last boyfriend was...” she trailed off when she caught herself, a pained smile appearing on her face.

Parker squeezed her hand softly, his face softening in understanding. “I’ll win him over” he quipped “I can be pretty persuasive when I want to be. We’ll be best friends before you know it” he added.

Isabel returned the squeeze he’d given her hand, nodding her head in agreement. “I don’t doubt it” she said.

Parker watched her for a moment before he leant over, hugging her gently. “It’s going to be weird” he said “Coming back to a place with so many memories, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A lot of good things happened here, and we’ve got a chance to make a whole bunch more memories too. I mean, you start your new job in a couple of days, I do too. Just think about that first dinner. Think about the first Christmas we’re going to have here. Think about the house-warming party. Think about anything but the ghosts, eh?” he coaxed, leaning back to smile at her softly.

Isabel’s eyes searched his expression, marvelling at the warmth and reassurance that she found in it, before she nodded her head, smiling at him gently. “I’ll give it a shot” she quipped.

Parker flashed her another soft smile before he stood up, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead. “I’m going to get ready for bed” he murmured before he padded away, pulling the bathroom door closed behind himself.

Isabel stared at the closed door for a long moment before she shook her head, trying to ignore the little voice in her head that was pointing out that she had lied to Parker. Shuffling towards her pillow, she sunk back into it, wordlessly resolving to follow Parker’s advice. Sergio was a part of her past. He was a significant memory, but that didn’t mean she had to allow him to influence what was to come next. What had happened between them had been over the moment she had left his house on the morning she had left the city and it wasn't going to change.
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Thanks to Twisted;;Symphony for the comment :)