Hello, fellow romantics!
I hope you are doing well?
I’m… eh.. A mixed bag. 😉 I’m in good spirits, but physically, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. I hurt my intercostal muscles and it has been extremely painful. I’ll save you all the details, but it’s been hard to walk around and function properly lately.
That means I am behind on work (still, again) and trying to catch up. I plan to have the next episode up by its podcast channel deadline March 22. Early access will not be doable for this episode.
I fully intend to get back onto an early release schedule. I just need my body to heal first…
Nathalie took one last look at her phone before stepping through the door. Raven had not replied to her messages. Nathalie would not send any more. She knew when she wasn’t wanted.
Tears filled her eyes again. Nathalie clenched her jaw and sniffed. She didn’t want to sit behind her desk with red eyes and wet cheeks. She had been crying for most of the morning and enough was enough.
“Good morning,” she mumbled as she entered the open office space.
Only two other people had arrived. The developers barely looked up as they returned her greeting.
Nathalie dropped her bag by her desk and plopped down in the chair. She checked the time on her phone. She hoped she would have at least another fifteen minutes before Bart arrived.
She still hadn’t decided what she would do. Come clean to Bart as soon as he arrived and tell him that she and Raven had been seeing each other? Or pretend she had no idea what was going on when Raven didn’t show up at the office?
Nathalie assumed Raven would stay away. There was no way she would continue this charade after their fallout this morning. Nathalie could feel it in her gut. The only question was if Raven would let Bart know what had happened or not.
This left Nathalie in a difficult position. Part of her was wanted to act surprised when Raven didn’t show. But she knew it would be draining to keep lying to Bart like that. She wasn’t sure if she could muster the energy.
It looked like coming clean was the wiser course of action. At least everything would be over and done with. Maybe Bart would give her a few months to find a new job. It seemed like the most Nathalie could ask for at this point.
She placed her phone on the desk and pushed the computer’s power button. Nathalie knew she would probably not get any work done but she could pretend to be productive.
Nathalie was entering her login credentials when she heard Bart’s voice in the hallway.
“Fuck,” she cursed under her breath.
“Goedemorgen,” her boss said loudly, walking past her desk.
Nathalie’s throat was tight as she replied. There was little enthusiasm in her voice, even though she tried to sound normal. Her hands were shaking. She grabbed the computer mouse more tightly.
“Staat alles klaar?” Bart asked as he unlocked his door.
A cold chill ran down Nathalie’s spine. She had forgotten to prepare the meeting room for Bart’s meeting with Raven. She hadn’t thought of it since there had been no point. But Bart didn’t know that yet.
“Bijna,” she lied and got up.
She told him she still needed to pick up the pastries from the bakery store around the corner. He told her to hurry and Nathalie nodded as she grabbed her coat. She hadn’t placed an order, but she could buy whatever was available.
As soon as she stepped outside, she knew she wouldn’t go back in. Nathalie walked in the direction of the bakery store but then went straight past it. She crossed the bridge over the canal and kept walking.
She had reached the library by the time her phone buzzed. Nathalie ignored it at first. It kept vibrating non-stop, though, and she decided to switch it off. She pulled it from her pocket and saw that all the messages and missed calls were from Bart.
The top message said, ‘Wtf???’ Sweat prickled on her forehead as she scrolled to the bottom of the texts and read what Bart had sent her. Raven had called Bart. She had told him that the deal was off and that she was leaving the country because of a family emergency.
Nathalie stopped walking. She stared at the small screen in her hand, her heart racing. Raven was leaving the country? Had she changed her flight again? Nathalie couldn’t believe it. She looked up at the sky and gasped for air.
Her phone vibrated because Bart was calling again. She rejected the call but didn’t switch off her phone. What if Raven tried to call her? Or text her? Or would she really fly back to the States without another word?
Nathalie couldn’t believe it. She wanted to sit down but it was hard to get her legs to move. There were no tears in her eyes. She was too shocked. After a few moments, as she processed this new information, she got angry.
If this was how Raven dealt with conflict, there had never been a future for them, she thought. Raven clearly wasn’t the person Nathalie had thought she was. She slipped the vibrating phone back into her pocket.
Nathalie bit on the inside of her cheek and then turned around. She had had no idea where she was going before but now she knew exactly where she needed to go. It would only take her ten minutes to get there.
💜 Dear fellow romantic,
I'm on a mission to make people smile. That's why I share my stories freely: so everyone has access to them.
As a crowdfunded and queer creator, I humbly ask for your support to help me keep going in 2022. Every dollar makes a huge difference.