Claire left for the hen party later that evening. She’d be gone for the whole weekend, which left Niall to do whatever he wanted. He’d already half-arranged to go for a few beers with Lewis, who was now married with a daughter. Life had most definitely changed for his best friend.
Niall sat on the couch in his flat; staring into space. It was annoying him that, for hours now, all he’d thought about was Chantelle. The thoughts weren’t necessarily amorous ones, though the odd memory of their relations was impossible to repel.
After a while contemplating, Niall opened up Facebook on his phone, went onto his friend requests, and accepted Chantelle as his friend. He then clicked to view her profile. A lot of what he saw didn’t shock him. She was still attractive—perhaps more so than ever—and was still the party animal. There was, however, one extremely big change. She was now a mother. The child was just as beautiful as she was; pretty much her double.
Just as Niall was looking through the photos, his phone pinged and a message came up. It was her! The message was short and simple: “Hey. How’s life treating you?”
Niall was too taken aback to respond immediately. Obviously, his accepting the request triggered her sending a message. He needed a drink! Leaving his phone on the couch, Niall went into the kitchen and got a bottle of wine from the fridge. He poured himself a glass and went back into the lounge; taking a long sip along the way.
He returned to his seat and picked the phone up; quickly typing out a reply: “Wow! I never thought I’d hear from you again! I’m great, thank you. Really, really good actually. How about you?”
She responded quickly. “I’ve been thinking of sending a friend request for a while now after your name popped up somewhere. I just didn’t know how you’d respond if I did. I’m so happy that you’re doing well. I always knew that you’d be okay. I’m a mum now. My little girl turns one next month. Basically, she is my life.”
Niall couldn’t help noticing that her messages were all spelled correctly and the grammar rather good; a far cry from the shorthand she always used to use. “I did notice that you had a daughter. I couldn’t help having a quick look at your photos. She’s stunning, which is to be expected with you as her mum.” Niall went to delete the last comment, but changed his mind and continued. “What made you want to get in touch with me? I would have imagined that I’d be a dim and distant memory for you by now.”
“Thank you for the compliment. I won’t argue that she’s stunning. Me, on the other hand, I’m not so sure. I’m a bit on the chunky, frumpy side these days. Hazards of parenthood! Haha. To be honest, Niall, I’ve never forgotten about you. I’ve always regretted how I left things with you. You deserved to be treated so much better than I did. I suppose I want to apologise.”
“I guess the fact there was never any real closure does come into it. We kind of just… stopped. Then there was nothing after that. Rarely happens that way. By the way, you aren’t frumpy at all. From what I can see, you look fantastic. Your fella is a lucky guy.” If anyone had asked Niall why he felt the need to allude to her having a boyfriend he wouldn’t have been able to answer. The fact that none of her pictures contained any one male above any other suggested she was single. It was a way of asking the question without asking it.
“I regret that I didn’t respond to your message the night we broke up. I was too busy thinking of myself to consider your feelings. If I’d have known better, I would have told you just how amazing a bloke you were and that the breakup was entirely because I was scared of us getting too close. The stupid thing about that is I’ve been craving for a guy to make me feel the way you did since and never found one. To that end, I don’t have a fella. We broke up shortly after I announced I was pregnant. Not because I was pregnant either. He’d been sleeping with somebody else and I found out. I’ve been single since. Thank you for the compliment. It’s honestly just what I need right now. You’re looking good yourself.”
Niall reclined in his chair until he was practically in a lying position. He blew a sigh for what felt like the hundredth time. His head spun and it was nothing to do with the wine. Why now? Why when he was finally comfortable with an amazing woman did a past flame have to reappear? More to the point, why was he so bothered if he was apparently so comfortable?
The word he’d used in his last message jumped straight out at him: closure. They’d never properly achieved it. Did he really need it after all this time? Apparently so. He picked his phone back up.
“I know this might sound a little sudden but are you free to meet for a coffee or something tomorrow?”
Was he really going to do this?
“I can make myself free, sure.”
It looked as though he was! They arranged a time and place to meet. Niall wasn’t sure why, yet somehow he knew that closure was only going to come from a face to face meeting. Nobody had to know. This meeting didn’t have to change a thing in his life.
TO BE CONTINUED
Title image from Shine Aloud.