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The distance between Niall and Chantelle grew as the days passed. Every attempt Niall made to reduce the distance was met by Chantelle increasing it again. He asked to meet up and she declined. He sent text messages and the response would always be unnecessarily brief. He called her and she either wouldn’t pick up or claim to be too busy to talk.
Niall’s frustration was further compounded by the fact that she denied she wanted to stop seeing him when he asked. Her actions were suggesting otherwise in his mind.
On the Friday—twelve days since he’d last seen Chantelle—Niall received a text message whilst at work. He knew it was from Chantelle because of the unique tone he’d set for her on his phone and was curious as to what she wanted. It had been a while since she’d text him off her own back as opposed to merely responding to him. However, he couldn’t read it as there was too much going on—typical for a Friday.
When break time came around, Niall wasted no time in taking his phone out to check the message and immediately wished he hadn’t. The message read “Im sorry to do this by text, but I think we should stop seeing each other. Iv got too much goin on in my head. I kno Ive been a bitch lately and u dont deserve it. I hope I havnt upset you much and we can still be friends cos ur a great guy xxx.”. The dark clouds descended upon Niall. He felt like a fool. The memories of how he’d torn himself apart deciding between her and Fiona flooded in. What had even been the point?
He typed out an aggressive and unfriendly message while silently eating his lunch. It pulled no punches and told Chantelle exactly what he thought of her in that moment. The message wasn’t sent though. It was a kneejerk reaction and there was little doubt rationality would kick in once he’d calmed down. Placing his phone back inside his pocket, Niall finished his lunch and got back to work ten minutes prior to lunchbreak finishing.
His idea of unleashing the anger in the heat of the moment worked and Niall felt much more relaxed by the time the working day ended. Ordinarily, he’d send a message once in his car. On this occasion he waited until he got home.
“Hey, Chan. It’s difficult to know how to respond to your text. I suppose it doesn’t matter really as you’ve made your mind up. It’s a shame things had to go like this because I really like you. Everything was going perfectly until after your birthday. I appreciate you have bad things going on with your family, though I suspect this runs deeper than just that. I’m not going to ask you to go into more detail. What I will do is take up your offer of remaining friends. If you need to talk to someone, fancy going for a drink, or something to eat then give me a shout. We don’t even have to talk about shit. I care about you and want to be there for you in whatever way you need me to be. We’ve built up too good a rapport to let things ruin that. While I’m upset that things couldn’t have gone the way I’d hoped, I will at least remain grateful for the fact that we met one another and that you saw me worthy of giving a chance xxx.”
Niall read through the message and was satisfied. It certainly read better than his first effort that afternoon. After hitting send he got straight onto Lewis to find out if he wanted to meet for drinks. He was left crestfallen when Lewis responded to say he was having a night in with Zoe. The ever reliable last minute saving grace was no longer an option. Niall knew he couldn’t just stay in, especially not in light of the events. He didn’t want to go to the local pub alone despite knowing he’d see people he knew. What he needed right now was an ear to bend.
Just as he was racking his brains thinking of an option his phone went off. He was surprised to see it was a text message from his friend, Jenni. Niall hadn’t spoken to her much since their very brief fling after he and Vikki had broken up. A smile spread across his face. How did she always seem to know when there was a time of crisis?
Their conversation was short. It didn’t need to be long. Jenni invited Niall round for a bottle of wine and a good chat like the old days prior to their short-lived fling that made everything awkward. It was true. They were semi-close friends before that and could keep each other’s company without any temptation. They had each been a confidant to the other on numerous occasions.
Niall didn’t hesitate in accepting the invite. The best part about it was that he needn’t dress to impress. It was, after all, only Jenni.
TO BE CONTINUED
Title image from Shine Aloud.