Natasha and Peter were high school sweethearts who, like most couples, had joined the same campus. They were the perfect couple to the world, but behind closed doors, Natasha was in a toxic relationship that she couldn’t seem to let go of.
During their first and second year, their relationship was amazing. They would engage in different activities, from bowling to movies and picnics. Natasha lived with her parents, and Peter stayed in a hostel, which he shared with his best friend.
At the start of their third year, Natasha’s father got a job in a different city which meant the whole family had to move. Since she was the only one amongst her siblings old enough to live alone, they offered to pay for her a bedsitter and get her a few household items.
To avoid extra costs, Natasha and Peter agreed to live together and split the bills for their necessities. The first few months went well as they slowly adjusted to living together. Along the way, however, Peter started to change. He would come home late at night, answer phone calls in the bathroom and never had time for Natasha, even on weekends.
Natasha was never one to talk about her relationship problems, even with her best friend, Leah. Most people who knew her and Peter were sure they were the “it” couple, and she couldn’t risk ruining that image.
As weeks passed, Peter started sleeping out, which led Natasha to believe that he was hiding something from her. She knew that if she confronted him, he would deny it, so the best course of action was to find solid evidence. Every time Peter came home, he would always take a shower and head straight to bed, and so Natasha waited until he was fast asleep and unlocked his phone.
As she scrolled through his WhatsApp, she realised her fears had come true. Peter had been seeing a woman all along, and all those random nights he spent away, he would always stay at her hostel. Unable to contain her anger, she got up, switched on the lights and woke him up to confront him.
“What is this?” Natasha asked.
“What? Huh?” Peter asked, still half asleep.
“So, you cheat on me and dare to come back here and pretend like nothing’s wrong?” Natasha asked in anger.
“What are you doing with my phone in the first place?” Peter asked as he woke up.
“That’s not the point, Peter!” Natasha snapped.
Peter got out of bed, approached her and grabbed his phone from her hands.
“Who gave you the right to go through my phone?” He asked in an angry tone.
“Who is Daniella?” Natasha asked.
In a split second, Peter slapped her, and she fell to the floor.
“You don’t get to ask me stupid questions after invading my privacy!” He said as he started kicking her.
Natasha curled up into a ball in silence. After a few kicks, Peter realised he had reacted in anger and tried to help her up. She got up, rushed into the bathroom and locked the door.
“Natasha, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean for things to get this far,” He said as he knocked on the door.
Natasha was still shocked at what had happened and couldn’t utter a word. Peter knocked a few more times and finally gave up. The following day, Peter had an early class, he attempted to talk to Natasha, who had slept in the bathroom, but she refused to speak.
Once he left, Natasha took time to get ready. She also had an early class, and being an overachiever, she couldn’t afford to miss it regardless of her feelings. Later that day, Peter came home earlier than usual and found Natasha taking a nap. He didn’t want to disturb her, but he also felt they needed to talk, so he woke her up.
“Hey babe,” He said in a soft tone.
Natasha woke up startled and jumped out of bed.
“I’m not going to hurt you; I just want to talk,” He said.
“I can’t believe you would hit me after I caught you cheating,” Natasha said, trying to compose herself.
“I’m sorry; you know I would never hurt you. Yesterday was just a bad day,” He said.
“Why?” Natasha asked.
“Why were you going through my phone Natasha? I thought we had faith in each other?” Peter asked, brushing off her question.
“You’ve been acting dodgy, and I needed to know why,” She replied.
“Daniella was just a fling, and she’s the one that seduced me, but I swear I’m never going to see her again,” Peter replied.
“Have I ever lied to you in all these years we’ve been together?” Peter asked.
Natasha was still shocked at what had happened, but it was true, Peter had never lied to her, and they had been together for a long time.
“Okay, I believe you,” She said softly.
Peter walked up to her and hugged her. Natasha winced since she was still in pain due to the blows, he had given her.
“If you had just asked me, we wouldn’t be in this situation, Tasha; next time, please don’t go through my phone,” He said.
“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again,” Natasha replied.
Natasha went for a checkup, and luckily, she had no major injuries. In the days that followed, Peter returned to his old self and cared for her as she healed. Her trust in him started to grow again, and things returned to normal.
By the end of the year, their relationship had grown stronger. At the start of their fourth year, Natasha’s father fell ill, which delayed her from starting the semester since she had to stay home for two weeks.
As the two weeks ended, Natasha planned to surprise Peter, so she booked a bus to the city a day early. She planned to cook for him so they could sit and talk about all that had happened over the holidays when he got home. Unfortunately, her plans were cut short when Peter got home, and he didn’t seem excited to see her.
“What’s up, babe?” Natasha asked.
“I’ve been seeing Daniella for some time now, and I like her,” He said.
“So, everything we built was for nothing? You woke up and decided you don’t want me anymore?” Natasha said, trying to hold back her tears.
“No, I still care about you; we’ve been through so much. You’re my better half, but I don’t want to cheat on you,” He said as he grabbed her hands.
“So, what exactly do you want?” Natasha asked.
“You’ll still be my main; we’ll go on dates, live together and do everything just like before,” He said.
“But the difference is you’ll have another woman in your life,” Natasha said.
“Yes, but nothing will change between us; I’ll still spend most of my time with you,” He said.
Natasha took a moment to think about the situation. Allowing him to have a side chick was tricky, even if she would still be the main one. On the other hand, Natasha couldn’t imagine a life without Peter. They had been a team for so long, and this way, she wouldn’t have to worry about him sneaking off.
“Are you sure nothing is going to change between us?” Natasha asked.
“Positive, you will always be my number one,” Peter said confidently.
“Okay,” She said.
In the following weeks, Peter kept his word and spent most of his time with her and with time, Natasha forgot that Daniella was even in the picture since life had gone back to normal. As months went by, Peter’s attention shifted to Daniella, and even though he would spend time with Natasha, his mind was always on her.
Before she knew it, Natasha had gone from being number one to the other woman. Her calls were often missed, and Peter stopped listening to her problems. He would even let Natasha know when she should make herself scarce so he could spend time with Daniella. Natasha never complained since she knew Daniella had a roommate, which made their meetups tricky.
Another reason she didn’t complain was that she knew her birthday was coming up, and Peter always made her day special. On her birthday, however, Peter woke up and went about his day casually. At first, Natasha thought he had forgotten. Later in the day, Peter sent her a text and told her to meet him at her favourite rooftop restaurant.
She was so excited, finally, a day where she would be the centre of attention. After her classes, Natasha rushed home, prepared for her birthday date and got to the restaurant by 6 pm. Peter was already there and was busy scrolling on his phone.
Natasha approached the table and sat down with a smile. Peter looked up, and his facial expression changed.
“Tasha? What are you doing here?” Peter asked surprisingly.
“You texted me and told me to meet you here,” Natasha responded.
“I did?” He asked.
Natasha’s happiness faded when she realised that the text was not meant for her.
“So, you didn’t have anything planned for my birthday?” She said as tears rolled down her eyes.
“Today is your birthday, oh my God! Wait, I can make up for this,” He said.
“By us sitting down and pretending that it’s me you want here and not Daniella?” She responded as she wiped her tears.
“I swear I’m so sorry. I’ll make it up to you, I promise,” He said.
Natasha had taken time to see the truth of what her relationship had become. This incident opened her eyes to the life she would always live as long as she was with Peter. Her once loving boyfriend had become someone else’s man, and she had accepted because she loved him.
She knew that Peter would come up with a way to convince her to stay but him forgetting her birthday was enough to know things would never change. She turned silently and started walking away.
“Natasha, wait!” He yelled as he chased her.
“There’s nothing left to be said, Peter; you can be with Daniella; I give you my blessing,” Natasha said in disappointment.
Natasha returned to their apartment, grabbed a few things and went to her best friend’s house. She had avoided the world knowing what had transpired between her and Peter, but it was the only way to be done with their relationship.
The following day she asked Peter to move out of her apartment and drop his key off at her friend’s place before leaving. He attempted to talk to her, but there was nothing left to say on Natasha’s end. Word of their breakup circled their friendship groups, and curious people took the time to ask what happened.
Natasha knew that her relationship had been rocky but never realised how toxic it was until she started telling the story to other people.
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