To How Things End

“Nolan” She screamed as she ran past the hoards of people spilling out the theatre like ants from an ant hill. Emily had to stop Nolan, this time for good.

The thought that she has lost him again, this time to something as mere as a word, made her want to break down and cry. The pull to just sit down on the floor and cry for days was an easy option to take.

An option she couldn’t afford.

Not again.

The last time they parted ways were the most horrifying weeks of her life.

Not only had she lost her job, lost her parents, lost her home.

She had lost Nolan too.

She stopped for as long as a second when she saw him just a few feet away, his head hung low.

She should’ve have called out to him, but she didn’t. Her voice was long gone.

Along with her insecure and selfish needs.

She wanted to apologise and make it all better.

Just like she had 3 years ago. Nolan had forgiven her and never brought it back up, he kept her happy, she returned the favour. They were one of the best three years of her life. They were happy, perhaps a little too happy.

So of course.

Something had to go wrong.

Something always has to go wrong.

A young guy hit her back, she cursed and fell, knees scrapping the rough grey soiled ground, her hands bracing for impact.

“Tina you idiot” A deep, voice, warm hands wrapped around her waist.

She looked up with a hundred watt bulb smile plastered across her face; she let Nolan help her up.

Marvelling at how he has always been there to pick her up whenever she fell.

A hot summer day, a small petite 8 year old, running around the grass lawn, fell.

A lanky 9 year old helps her up.

Their first meet.

The first time Nolan helped her up, made her laugh through her tears, spent the entire afternoon together, instant best friends.

They had come a long way since then.

But in the past 20 years, whenever Tina fell, Nolan had been there to help her up.

And Tina knew she owed him an apology.

From being Tin-Tin to Nolum.

Tinhead to Olum.

They became Tina and Nolan.

Inseparable.

Except for a small fact that, when you know people so well, you even know their weaknesses very well.

And it is only when you know their weaknesses very well, the degree to which you can exploit those increases exponentially.

“Nolan I’m so sorry” Tina said, hurriedly afraid her time with him might be up.

He shook his head, “Of course I know you’re sorry”

“Does that mean I’m forgiven?” she asked.

He smiled back, but something was wrong. His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing” he said, quickly, a little too quickly maybe.

“You look weird” She observed, almost pained, she thought.

“Weird how?”He asked, both of them falling into step.

“Constipated” Tina murmured, Nolan made a pained face.

“See there is it again” She pointed out.

“I have something to tell you” Nolan said,

”Which is?”Tina asked, cautious.

“Let’s get you seated first?”He asked, only it didn’t look like he wanted an answer when he walked her inside a cafe.

“You’re scaring me here” She stated.

“Something to eat?”He asked again, “The croissants are amazing here”

“Get to the point.”Tina ground out, she knew him too well.

Nolan went quiet. For a long time Tina stared at him, going through all the various endless possibilities. He was quiet so long, she thought all the way from ‘I’m going to die of cancer’ to ‘I want to marry you’.

Back and forth.

She thought about their parents, his sister, her brother, their now burnt down home.

Nothing good came up.

“I-“, Nolan started, only to stop and drink water.

“You?”

He cleared his throat.

“I’m going to take up the Japan offer” He said, finally.

There it is, she thought

She nodded, didn’t quite know what to say, she slowly got up, kissed his cheek, tightened her coat around and left the cafe. She also left a stunned Nolan behind.

Quite like what he had done a couple of hours ago.

“Just for a year!”Nolan shouted form behind.

She nodded.

They had discussed this before. He had a huge offer in Japan. A better position, better salary, better exposure, the works.

She was okay with it.

Or not.

One thing was sure.

He won’t come back.

He never does.

The only way they were together now, was because she followed him here.

She was always the one pursued.

And for once, she didn’t want to.

She thought back to her decision to not move away from here when she had the chance in fear distance might wreck them further and complicate things, now felt like a slap to her face.

She knew they would be okay by the next morning.

What she didn’t know was.

How she was going to break out the news that they were going to be parents.

And how she was going to sound unselfish while doing so.

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