Niall went from feeling happy in love to a suspicious and jealous wreck after that night. Every time she went anywhere he’d immediately wonder who she was seeing and where she was going. He frequently checked C-MAC, Facebook, and other places to see when she was last online. She was on C-MAC a worrying amount and that convinced him she was looking for a more attractive replacement. He became obsessed with the fact that she didn’t find him attractive irrespective of her never saying that she didn’t.
Despite all of that, despite the fact that he was dying inside, Niall still didn’t say a word to Chantelle. He hid his worries rather than seeking any kind of reassurance. He acted like there was absolutely nothing amiss when in her company. He didn’t want his irrational behaviour to push her away, so, instead, overcompensated by being extremely kind and affectionate.
The problem Niall had was that Chantelle very well knew something was amiss. Niall was too engrossed in his insecurities to notice that he’d completely changed around her. She rode it for a while; even encouraging his obviously fake extreme niceness.
Soon, however, things started to get too much for her. She began intentionally ignoring messages from him when it became clear he was texting her while he should have been working. It felt like he was keeping tabs on her and she couldn’t have been more accurate.
It led to her seeing him less too, which did nothing to allay his overactive imagination. In her mind, Niall had absolutely no cause not to trust her so it bugged her that he was coming across untrusting. Whatever was wrong with him was beginning to grind her down. He stopped being fun to be around. He became overly clingy. Conversations had grown stale. She wasn’t sure who this version of Niall was. It most definitely wasn’t the Niall she’d grown accustomed to.
Still, nothing was said by either. Niall’s suspicions were reaching critical point and he still refused to say anything of the conversation she’d had with her friend. Chantelle, meanwhile, pushed Niall away further rather than confront him about her problems with him. The lines of communication had broken down and both were working on pure conjecture.
So consumed by the fact she might be looking for other men to replace him, Niall attempted to strike up conversations with other women on C-MAC himself in the hopes of snagging a decent backup option. He didn’t want to. He wanted Chantelle and Chantelle only. Even through all of his irrational behaviour, Niall still loved her. He was desperate for her to love him back. He knew that all of their troubles would go away if she’d just allow herself to fall for him.
He spoke to a few different women, all nice in their own unique way. They all paled in comparison to Chantelle. Every time he went on C-MAC he’d wind up on her profile just to gaze at the photos of her. He wanted to stop the jealousy and distrust; he simply didn’t know how to. His fear was that it was too late now anyway.
The wall was just a wall. It stood there; unchanging from one minute to the next. It wasn’t going to grow wings and fly away. It wasn’t about to transform into a fish. Yet Niall stared and stared and stared at it. It wasn’t, however, the wall at which Niall was staring. It was the images he created in his mind that captivated him. Each image contained something to do with Chantelle. Some were good and some were bad. Some were memories and some were creations.
Snapping back to life, Niall realised in that instant that things couldn’t carry on the way they were. He had to do something to salvage the relationship or risk losing her for good. He excused himself from his work and mumbled something about not feeling well as he waltzed past the manager, Brian, to the toilets.
Once there, he composed a frank message for Chantelle: “Hey sweetheart. I’m really sorry I’ve been such a dick lately. I know you’ve noticed even though you haven’t said anything. The truth is that I’m scared. I get the impression I’m not enough for you; that you want something else that isn’t me. I can’t say why that’s the case. It’s just a feeling I have. You’re a beautiful girl and I’m… well, I’m just me. It stands to reason that there are going to be miles better looking guys out there for you to choose from. I don’t want to lose you, but if losing you is inevitable then I guess I’m just asking for you to end it sooner rather than later. If you don’t want it to end then I promise to work on my insecurities xxx”
Niall read it over and hit send. He hadn’t been honest as regards not being able to say why he’d gotten the impression he wasn’t enough for her, but it would do.
After work had finished he saw that Chantelle had responded and he read it once sat in his car. It read: “I dont get u at all. Y would u even think I want anotha man? If I dint want to be with u then we wudnt be togetha xxx”
“How about the fact you’re always active on C-MAC? How about the conversation with your mate where you said you weren’t sure whether you wanted to be with me? Could that have something to do with why I’d think you might want another man?” Niall groused out loud. He attempted to rein in his emotions before replying again: “I’ve already lost you once. Is it so irrational for me to worry that I might lose you again? I know the kind of blokes you’re attracted to; the kind of blokes you’ve been with before. I’m nothing like them. I guess I just need reassurance xxx”
Once the message was sent, Niall drove home. He felt better for having unleashed some of his demons, though was now waiting for the reassurance he’d requested. She didn’t reply to him immediately. In fact, he’d got home, showered, and eaten by the time she did and he’d returned to his neurotic state.
Her message read: “You lost me cos I made a mistake and I wont make it again. The same way as I wont make the mistake of gettin with idiots just cos theyre hot again. Im with u cos I want to be with u. Ur an amazin guy. How many times do I have to tell u? I want to be with u, end of! So please stop worryin xxx”
He could see from her answer that she was laying her cards out on the table. She was being straight. She hadn’t denied that she was still attracted to the kind of men she used to date, though she had confirmed she was done with them. Most importantly, she said she wanted to be with him. Aesthetically, everything was as Niall had wanted it to be.
Nevertheless, the suspicion, jealousy, and insecurity remained at large.
TO BE CONTINUED
Title image from Shine Aloud.