From The Shadows by Line F. Nielsen

A half-hour had passed since my relationship of five years ended. Although I felt sad about it, I had no tears to shed. In fact, if I were being honest, I felt relief more than regret.

The only thing I regretted was that I had no real friends of my own with whom I could seek refuge. My friends were also my boyfrie… I mean, my ex-boyfriend’s friends, and girlfriends were never something I had. To me, guys were just more reliable.

Worse, when we were dating, the one person I could always count on was Mike’s best buddy, Nathan.

I had known Nathan almost as long as Mike, and he always had my back and looked out for me when Mike had been unfair, been drunk out of his mind, or if I just needed somebody to talk to. From the very first moment we met, there had just been this connection of trust and understanding between us. A connection of which Mike had been greatly jealous.

Now, however, standing here alone, packing some of my stuff, trying to figure out where to go, I wasn’t convinced I was allowed to seek help from him.

I picked up my phone five times in the last twenty minutes, then put it down again. Now, exhausted, I was standing with it in my hand once more, finally dialing and letting the call go through.

It rang three times before a deep voice answered.

“Hey, beautiful. What’s up?”

I smiled at the familiarity, then frowned. “Nathan, I… I need to ask you a favor, but I am not quite sure I’m allowed to.”

He was silent for a few seconds, making me wonder if he knew what had gone down. If he did, how much did he know? Had Mike told him not to help me out?

“Sure, Nikki. Anything for you. What do you need?”

I silently let go of the breath I was holding. “I’m not sure if you know, but Mike and I split. I need a place to crash for the night.” I held my breath, anxious to see if he would reveal what he knew. When he kept quiet, I forged on. “I promise to be out of your hair by tomorrow evening.”

With warmth in his voice, he said, “Sure. Don’t sweat it. I’ll pick you up in five minutes.”

Relieved, I thanked him and hung up.

While I waited for him to arrive, I walked around the apartment, picking up the last few things I needed. I put on some music and began singing along with Madilyn Bailey’s cover of David Guetta’s song Titanium.


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