|12| - "Who's the girl?" -
He didn't message.
At first, I worried something had happened to him, but I knew that was unlikely. He could look after himself, and I'd have heard by now if he'd got into trouble.
So then I was just pissed off. It was bad enough that we weren't messaging as much recently, but to not send me one simple message, after I'd explicitly asked him to, just demonstrated either a total state of inebriation to the extent where he didn't know what he was doing, or a total lack of consideration for me. I didn't actually know which I'd prefer.
"You alright?" Jasmine asked when I sat down for breakfast. "You look troubled."
I nodded. "Yeah, fine. It's nothing."
"Did Nathan get in touch?" she then asked, correctly assuming this was the source of my distress.
"No, but I'm sure it's fine. His phone probably ran out of battery or something..."
This was the first time that Nathan had gone on a real night out without me, which might have seemed strange had it not been for the reason that all the nights out he'd attended recently had been at my university. His work friends rarely went out—this was the first time—and that was exactly why I needed to be cool about this. I knew he wouldn't have done anything stupid, but I also knew it was unlikely for his phone to run out of battery.
"Have you messaged him?" she asked with a frown.
"Yeah, just to ask if he had a good night...but we're an hour ahead, aren't we? He's probably still in bed."
"Hm," she murmured in contemplation. "I hope he's okay."
My stomach squirmed in discomfort. I'd talked myself out of that particular worry, but of course it was in the back of my mind. I knew they were just natural thoughts, spurred by the strangeness of the situation, but jumping to conclusions wouldn't do me any good. Nathan was sensible. There would be a perfectly logical explanation.
Just after eleven o'clock, as I was scrolling through Facebook in an attempt to distract myself, I came across several photos that Nathan had been tagged in. My curiosity piqued and I clicked on them. Most were pretty bad shots, taken inside where it was dark and not much was visible. It was the ones taken outside that made me feel most uncomfortable.
"Oh, God..." I groaned to myself.
Jasmine's ears pricked up. She'd been painting her nails but looked over when she heard me exhale.
"These photos of Nathan." I twisted my laptop to face her.
She squinted as she looked at the screen and misinterpreted my concern.
"Who's the girl?" she asked.
I twisted the screen back into my vision to see who she was referring to. "Oh, her? I dunno, just a colleague. Think she's called Marie. But I don't really care that he's talking to her or anything. Look what he's holding."
Her eyes widened upon realisation. "Oh."
I sighed and pressed the home button on my phone to wake the screen; there was still no reply from Nathan.
"So...what does that mean?" she asked slowly and carefully.
"I'm not gonna be the girl who freaks out over Facebook photos."
"Izzy," she stated in a matter-of-fact tone. "There's nothing wrong with freaking out, okay? It's a natural reaction. I know you want to be the best girlfriend possible during this year abroad, but that doesn't mean letting him get away with things that upset you. You said you hated doing that with your ex."