Driving was proving difficult to concentrate on and Niall had to pull over so he could get his head together. He wasn’t sure what had gone so wrong, but it had. On the face of it, the second date with Kelly was a success again. However, he’d left the rendezvous feeling unfulfilled. He racked his brain trying to think of what his problem was. Was he simply scared of getting close to somebody again? No, that couldn’t be it.
Then he recalled something. There’d been a conversation that had turned into something of a debate and got quite heated at one point. She’d turned somewhat abrasive when he didn’t concur with her viewpoint and would then cajole him when he didn’t respond quickly enough. She was doing it in jest, but it caused him to lose his train of thought and he was suspicious that she did it intentionally so he would. He’d quickly brushed it off at the time, but he was reminded of how belittling she’d been when he thought about it.
It was an ugly side of her character that he didn’t much care for. She was obviously very intelligent, but he didn’t feel that necessitated her asserting her intelligence in a way to make him feel stupid. He wondered if he was being asinine procrastinating so much over one isolated incident, but it had really wound him up to the point where she’d become decidedly less attractive to him in one fell swoop.
He beat the steering wheel with frustration before carrying on with the drive home. He was in work the next day, but decided he was going to go for a nice cold pint or several when he got back. Alcohol wouldn’t solve the problem, but it might help him forget for a while.
Niall knew he should have told Kelly straight that he’d had second thoughts about her, but couldn’t bring himself to let her down. Though he knew it was cowardly, Niall decided to go down the path of slowly phasing contact out.
She knew within a couple of days that something was amiss. Her intense attraction towards him had remained and it didn’t take much for her to figure out that he wasn’t reciprocating as enthusiastically as he had been. She asked him straight whether he was having second thoughts about her, but Niall still wouldn’t admit it even though he was given the opportunity.
In the meantime, he continued his exhaustive search on C-MAC. There were a couple more he got talking to that ultimately came to nothing, including one woman who’d agreed to meet up and set a date, time and location only to message him while he was on his way to say that she wasn’t going to be able to make it. He tried to be understanding as she seemed like a nice and genuine person. She was a young mother and the problem as to why she couldn’t meet was because her child wasn’t well, but she would definitely make time for him in the near future. However, what actually transpired was that after a few days she said that she wasn’t in a place to be starting anything with anybody and would be leaving C-MAC altogether. Niall accepted it as a brushoff. His suspicions were confirmed about a week later when he went back and checked her C-MAC profile to see she now had semi-nude photos there in place of the former tasteful ones. He resisted the urge to call her on her bullshit, but quickly realised it would have been rather rich of him to do so given his predicament with Kelly.
After a couple of weeks had passed, Kelly reached the end of her tether with Niall and sent him the message he’d been expecting. It was nothing more than a whole lot of expletives and insults. He’d expected no less. The insults hurt, but how could he have expected her to feel any other way? He toyed with the idea of finally being honest, but instead felt he’d allow her to carry on with the assumption that she was entirely blameless. He knew he’d been a coward so could hardly get upset that she believed him to be one.
“I’m thinking I might fuck it off”.
“Why would you do that? Why not just use it in the same way all the others are and just get yourself some sex off the back of it? Are you really that shocked you haven’t found love on a free fucking dating website,” Niall’s friend, Lewis, asked rhetorically whilst laughing.
“I’m not expecting to find love, you bell! I don’t go in for the whole one night thing anymore though. You know that”.
“And that is exactly your problem. I don’t know of one person who got in a relationship with somebody they met on C-MAC and it last longer than a couple of months. Give up being so naïve”.
Niall was affronted by Lewis’ attitude, but didn’t respond. He knew he was talking to the wrong person. Lewis was addicted to being single and sleeping around. He expected every red-blooded male should think in exactly the same way he did. Though Niall was beginning to second guess the true intentions of the people who used C-MAC. He took a long drink of his lager and emitted a quiet burp.
“Pardon me. I hardly think actually wanting to find somebody to be with is naïve. I’d argue that a thirty year old man still wanting a different port in every storm is somewhat more naïve than a person who wants to find a relationship on C-MAC”.
“Each to their own I suppose. My point, though, is why not use C-MAC in the way everybody’s using it until something decent comes along? Why deprive yourself of the fun of being single?”
There was another silence while Niall chewed over Lewis’ words. Perhaps he had a point. Perhaps he should stop searching so hard for a girlfriend and enjoy the single life; something he hadn’t really had chance to do. He’d had a brief rebound fling with a friend called Carys a few weeks after the breakup from Vikki, but he only saw her a few times before they agreed to keep it strictly platonic. At this juncture, it made little sense to deprive himself further.
“I guess you’re right, mate”.
TO BE CONTINUED
Title image from Shine Aloud.