It took just a few minutes for Niall to comprehend the potential hole he’d dug for himself once he awoke. He was supposed to be taking a break from Fiona to consider their situation and what he wanted to do. Instead, within hours of calling the break he’d managed to develop a serious crush on somebody else as well as have her develop one on him too. In hindsight, Niall knew that he should have seen it coming. He could see what an attractive girl Chantelle was on her C-MAC photos and she’d made it abundantly clear that she fancied him. Their platonic date had always been destined to end in romantic fashion.
It had happened now and he had a choice to make. Did he pull back from Chantelle so that he could decide what to do about Fiona with a clear head or did he pursue whatever was brewing with Chantelle and let Fiona get on with her life? He knew the latter was the most sensible thing to do, though that meant dismissing the feelings he had for Fiona and putting all his eggs in the basket of somebody he didn’t properly know at all. While Chantelle seemed nice, could she turn out not so great a person the more he got to know her? He just didn’t know.
A realisation suddenly hit Niall square in the face. It was Monday. He was supposed to be in work! He cursed out loud as he checked his phone. The time read 09:10 meaning he was already late. The idea to call in sick again popped into his head, but he knew it wasn’t feasible. A week’s worth of lost shift allowance he could handle. A further week wouldn’t look good in his bank come the end of the month. He shook himself fully awake and used his phone to call the manager and let him know he’d be in soon. A day in work might help bring his mind back into focus, Niall thought.
It turned out he was wrong. All work served to do was frustrate him further. He quelled desires of walking into the manager’s office and quitting, knowing he couldn’t do that.
Coincidentally, he was called into the office about half an hour before dinner by Rob. Niall was expecting him to ask about his week of sickness and readied himself spiel off some lies.
“Brian told me about your altercation the other week.”
“Oh, did he?” Niall asked, caught off guard.
Rob leaned back in his chair and did a poor job of suppressing a grin. Niall could see the smile and it caused him to break out in one too.
“Between us, good on you,” Rob said quietly. “It was about time somebody put the old bastard in his place.”
“There’s only so much shit I can take before I lose my rag.”
“He’s been asking for it, Niall. It’s certainly made him sit up and take notice. Apparently he was nice as pie all last week.”
“I wish I’d been here to see it,” Niall replied.
“What’s up with you anyway?” Rob asked, suddenly changing the subject.
“How do you mean?”
“You’ve had a face like a smacked arse all morning. That’s not like you. Have there been problems at home or something?”
“No, nothing like that. It’s just… nothing.” Niall looked anywhere but at Rob’s face. He was very conscious of the fact he was fiddling with his hands yet unable to stop himself.
Rob leaned forwards on the desk with his elbows; his face sincere. “Woman troubles?”
“I… yes. Yeah,” Niall mumbled.
“What’s the problem? You don’t have to tell me of course. I don’t wanna pry if you’d rather keep it to yourself. I’m prepared to listen though and it won’t go any further.”
“Cheers Rob.” Niall looked at his manager. He was well into his forties with a bald head, sharp, wise eyes and as jovial a man as he looked; always ready to have a laugh with the lads on the shop floor. He also seemed to care about them too so this conversation was no surprise to Niall. “I’m in a bit of a fix. I’ve been seeing this girl who’s awesome on every level and I thought things were going great until I found out she actually has a boyfriend.”
“Shit!” Rob simply reacted.
“I called a break on our fling to think everything over. In the meantime I’ve managed to get deep into another girl and the feeling is mutual. I haven’t a clue what to do.”
“Is this other lass single?”
“Yeah, she’s single,” Niall confirmed.
“Simple then. You forget about the bird who’s cheating with you and crack on with this new one. It’s hardly a conundrum,” Rob said dismissively.
“It’s not really that simple,” Niall defended. “I’ve got serious feelings for the girl in a relationship. It’s hard just to disregard that.”
“Not really. She’s been alright to get banged off you and then get banged off her fella when she sees him. Seems she’s got no qualms in disregarding the feelings of the pair of you.”
“She doesn’t sleep with him,” Niall uttered, knowing how gullible he sounded.
“Is that what she tells you?” Rob asked rhetorically with a chuckle. “You really believe that, do you?”
“I…” Niall couldn’t find the words to say.
“You’re a smart lad, Niall. You’re a good bloke too. I saw how much it hurt you breaking up with Vikki. You’re not the kinda bloke who gets any thrill outta banging a different woman every week like half the cretins downstairs.”
Niall laughed at Rob’s anecdote. He was also genuinely touched by the compliment.
Rob continued. “You don’t have the stomach to be a bird’s bit on the side no matter how fit she is. You could give it a go for a bit, but I know you. You wouldn’t put up with it for long before you gave her the Spanish archer. In the meantime, this other lass could go out and find a better looking bloke than you with more money and a bigger knob; then you’ll be left to wallow in self-pity. Take it from me, Niall, that if you decide to stick at it with the cheating tart then you’ll lose. The only way you can win is by dropping her and giving this other girl a chance.”
Niall contemplated Rob’s words. It was difficult to pick holes in what was very sage advice. He was right. Fiona had no intention of finishing things with her boyfriend so he’d only be able to put up with that for so long and, by that point, Chantelle would very likely have found another man. It wasn’t like he’d be settling for second best with Chantelle either. She was every bit as great as Fiona. Her personality was bright and fun, she was knee-tremblingly attractive and she made him feel special; all traits Fiona had. What Chantelle didn’t have was a boyfriend. It was a no-brainer on the face of things, though Niall knew it wouldn’t be that easy. The feelings were too hard to dismiss and it was far too early for feelings to have developed for Chantelle. He played along though because he did agree with Rob’s advice. “Cheers, Rob. That’s definitely put things into perspective.”
“Good. Does that mean you’ll stop depressing me by looking a miserable twat?”
“I can’t make promises,” Niall joked.
“Crack on!” Rob said with a smile and a gesture towards the door.
TO BE CONTINUED
Title image from Shine Aloud.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the UK mothers reading this today. I hope your sons and daughters have spoiled you rotten.
This is my one hundredth post on WordPress, though unofficially as it counts reblogs too and I don’t. Either way, the milestones are rolling in thick and fast. Thank you for reading!