We ended up talking for the rest of the day, up till the evening, when Danielle returned from visiting with Liam.
"Oh hello Ni. You alright?" Danielle greeted, her eyes glancing back and forth between Jamie and I as she took off her coat.
"Yeah,"I replied, getting on my feet. "I should probably get going," I stated, trying to mask my disappointment.
"Yeah,it's getting dark," Jamie added. Did I detect a hint of reluctance? "Would you like my number? So we could hang out sometime, if you want."
"Yeah, sure," I agreed enthusiastically, passing her my phone, careful it was on the keypad screen so she wouldn't accidentally see my wallpaper or photos...or videos.
Once she keyed her number in, I made sure to save it before keeping my phone. She didn't have her old phone with her anymore, obviously.
"I'll show you to the door," Danielle offered.
"Great. See ya," I told Jamie, who was standing in front of me.
"Yeah. See you."
There was an awkward silence as I deliberated whether I'd leave right then and there or lean in for a hug.
"Can I give ye a hug?"
Jamie laughed nervously, leaning in for a hug nonetheless which I received gratefully as I wrapped my arms around her. We pulled away soon after, her cheeks a rosy pink.
I exhaled, scratching the back of my head, a nervous smile on my face. I REALLY did not want to leave. But there was no use in denying the inevitable.
I waved goodbye as I followed Danielle to the door. Once we were a good distance away such that Jamie couldn't hear us, Danielle looped her arm through mine.
"She's been asking about you a lot lately," Danielle whispered.
She giggled, nodding her head vigorously. "I haven't been much help in terms of your relationship before but she's definitely interested."
I grinned, a genuine feeling of hope and happiness flooding my chest.
We reached the door and I stepped through the threshold after hugging Danielle. "But she's been showing a liking to Harry as well. It's probably nothing but I just wanted you to know," she continued, breaking eye contact.
"Oh." I shifted my eyes to Jamie briefly, who smiled in return. Jamie is a grown woman. She has the right to do anything she wants to. All I want is for her to be safe and happy. Even if that meant I couldn't be with her, like before. Regardless of how much I wish I could. "Goodnight Danielle."
"Yeah, goodnight Niall."
I turned to walk back to my flat. I needed the walk to clear my mind, to think.
I looked behind my shoulder.
"I wish you all the best."
I nodded in acknowledgement. I knew what she meant.
I heard the door close as I walked away, my hat pulled down to cover my eyes, hoping no one would recognize me on the streets of London. Hopefully telling Mike and Adam to leave wasn't such a bad idea. Besides, they had families to go home to as well. I put my hood up to help with my disguise.
That night, when I got back to the flat, I laid down on the couch with the tv switched on to the minimum volume. My eyes were on the screen but my mind was replaying the day I'd spent with Jamie and for the first time in a long time, I was genuinely happy.