Fear The Dawn: Chapter 25

He certainly didn't give up on her right away. Aidan returned home to find her belongings gone and her key shoved under his door, and he called her right away, but she wasn't in yet. He called her again the next morning, to no answer, so he went over to her house to see her. It was her mother that answered the door.
I'm sorry Aidan”, she said, “she's always been very sensitive and easily hurt. I'll tell her you came by, but that's all I can do.”
With that she closed the door on him, leaving him to walk home, still completely dumbfounded at what had happened.
He tried calling her a few more times, once more at work, and he visited her house one more time, but she was never willing to talk to him, and eventually he had to accept that forcing her to talk wasn't going to work. “She knows how to find me if she wants to talk”, he accepted begrudgingly.

His performance at work had been slipping terribly since that day, he had been too depressed and unmotivated to get much work done, and if it weren't for the confusion surrounding his boss's transition to his new job he probably would have been fired by now, though at this point he didn't really care. He could scarcely even imagine himself having a future now that she wasn't going to be a part of it. He tried to busy himself with menial chores, but one day he had been cleaning up his apartment and he had come across that picture of the moon over the bay that she had given him that first night and he just couldn't bring himself to go on. When he thought about how he had felt back then all he could do was cry.

Dan was beside himself, he blamed himself for breaking up their relationship, but Aidan knew it was his own fault. He had done so many stupid things, and not a night went by where he didn't curse himself for all of them. Most of all, he couldn't stop thinking about the last conversation they'd had: What should he have said? Should he really have told her about that dream he'd had, in front of Dan and everyone? Would that have changed things? It tore him apart inside, he knew that they were meant to be together, so there must have been something he could have said or done to make it work. How different would his life have been if he had just proposed to her in the park when he had the chance? He screwed everything up and now they were both going to pay for it for the rest of their lives.

Somehow he managed to endure it for a couple months, but the stress was close to breaking him completely. He was sitting in his apartment one evening idly watching TV and feeling sorry for himself, when something caught him completely off-guard. For the first time since they had broken up, his phone rang. His heart leapt into his throat, and he practically pounced on the receiver. He'd gone over this conversation a million times in his head, and he knew exactly how he'd apologize to her and what he'd say for any of a dozen possible responses she might give.

But it wasn't her.
Aidan, it's me, Tina. I heard everything from Dan. Are you all right?”
He didn't even answer. His heart had sunk back into the pit of his stomach, and he felt completely deflated, like a balloon where all the air had gone out.
Sorry, I know you're not”, she continued. “Listen, Aidan, can I come and see you?”
When?”, he asked weakly, though he definitely didn't feel up to it.
Tonight. I'm in town, I could be over at your place in fifteen minutes.”
What?”, he replied, shocked enough to have found his voice. “Tina, don't be ridiculous, you're engaged.”
...Things haven't been going well between Frank and I for a while. I think the wedding is postponed indefinitely. But listen, that's not the point. Aidan, I know what you're going through.”
No you don't”. he responded, bitterly.
How do you think I felt that night when you turned me down? I thought we were meant to be together, it broke my heart.”
And did it make you feel better to just go out and get another guy?”
There was silence on the line. He couldn't believe he had just said that. He hadn't meant to imply that she only got together with Frank to try to get over him, but in that moment he realized it was true, and despite his own heartache he felt terrible for hurting her.
Look, I didn't-” he started to apologize, but she cut him off.
God, you're right, I'm pathetic”, she said, choked up, “after all this time I'm still not over you. I was trying to tell you I think we're meant to be together, but it sounds so stupid now.”
He might have been a broken man, but he knew he couldn't leave things like that. “Listen, Tina, I didn't mean it like that. Stay with Frank. He's a nice guy and you've got a lot in common, he's a much better choice than I ever would have been.”
You're right”, she said, sniffling. “I'm sorry, Aidan, I shouldn't have bothered you with this, especially now. I just hope you're going to be okay.”
I'll pull through somehow, don't worry about me. And I'm glad we talked, it did help me a little. We'll talk again soon, all right?”
Okay”, she said, not sounding at all okay. She hung up the phone, and it was quiet in his apartment once again.
He hoped she was going to be all right, at least now maybe she would stop hoping that they would get back together and get on with her life. He hadn't been lying, either, talking to her had helped him see things much more clearly. He knew what he had to do now, and that night he slept soundly for the first time since Nisha had left him.

In the morning, Aidan got up, had breakfast, showered, brushed his teeth, got dressed, packed his briefcase, and left for work properly prepared for the first time in ages. He took the 7:30 train and read the paper to prepare himself for his day, just like he used to. At work, he got to work on his in pile right away, making good progress, and at lunch he and Dan talked amicably about sports, to the latter's great relief. In the afternoon he made a few calls to the western branch and polished off his stack of papers early enough to pop in and wish his boss luck in his new position and greet his new manager, every bit the model employee he had once been. Nisha was not there on the ride home, so he took a window seat all to himself and watched the train pass over the bay, then he walked home, made himself some dinner, watched a bit of TV, and got ready for bed, and in the morning he'd do it all again.

He was going to get that promotion, and then someday when Nisha decided to take the train again he'd apologize to her for everything and tell her the truth behind it all. It didn't matter how long he had to wait, he would just keep on moving forward with his life until he finally got a chance to see her again.

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