75O words, this one. The reading time is about 9O seconds: so if you don't like it, I do apologise for the minute and a half of your life that you won't get back [!] 'KEYBOARD WARRIOR' Her fingers hovered above the keyboard. Her breath seemed stuck in her throat -- maybe it was obstructed by her heart being wedged there, too? Chloe now drummed her fingers on the table. Her coffee -- one of those fancy coffees she always had trouble ordering, considering it too lah-de-dah -- had long gone cold. The rain continued to pelt down, assaulting the refectory windows with a passion that mirrored the potency within Chloe's own soul. She looked about her. She felt the other customers were watching her. Of course they weren't. It wasn't as if they could see her screen. His words: large and plain, in shameless Palatino font, up there on the screen: Chloe, I'm so sorry. I've been a bastard. I was so confused. I've been crying about how I've treated you. Please know that I'm sorry. Please, if you believe in us the same way that I know I do, be at mine at 7pm. If not, I will understand. I love you. Luke. x After all this time? After five long months of his Silent Treatment? Such an intense, vicious, downright evil time? After his professionally consistent refusal to respond to phone calls, texts, e-mails and even hand-written letters? The Silent Treatment. A potent, powerful force for evil -- used by the most heartless of narcissists. And yet? Her heart had been leaping for joy, incandescent with the amore she had for this so confused, sometimes cold, often so warm and sexy and charismatic man. When she'd first read the words, last night, she felt that her life had once again become complete. Now, after 14 hours, very little sleep and a lot of analysis, she typed out the words: OK. I'll be there. I love you too. xx She paused. She looked at her coffee. She looked around her. She selected the text and pressed 'Delete'. She resumed typing, before admiring her handiwork: Dear Twatface, Go fuck yourself. Sincerely, Chloe. She smiled. Plenty of 'zing', there. Good old Jenny would be proud, at least. Then Chloe frowned. It wasn't her, was it? Even she didn't think it looked authentic. Looking about her once more, Chloe tried to bring order to her thoughts, to think on what she really needed to do. She knew. Of course she knew. She'd known for the last 14 hours... deep down. What was the approach that Beverley described? Masterly Inactivity? The faintest trace of the faintest glimmer of a smile became apparent at the left side of Chloe's mouth. She deleted the words. She clicked on Luke's e-mail address. Her heart thumping, she clicked 'Block'. She pulled out her phone, and repeated the blocking process. She noted that her hands were shaking. She remembered helping out Jenny when she went through her drugs detox; the mood changes, the desperation that pounced like a mugger. Maybe the problem of overcoming the temptation of the promise and idea of love was very similar to that of a chemical addiction? Hell, it was chemical, wasn't it? Dopamine and neurotransmitters... or whatever Beverley was blathering on about when Chloe was too busy thinking of other things. However, like the boozer who'd just poured her last bottle of hooch down the sink, Chloe knew that there would soon come times when Temptation would wink at her and beckon her over... just because he looked too good to be true didn't mean she would not respond, after all. She needed to talk to her friends: if they were actively on her side, she knew she would do okay. But for her caution, Chloe felt secure. Perhaps oddly so, but definitely secure. Somewhere, very deep down, a little voice was whispering. A still, small voice: You've got this. In that moment, Chloe felt strongly within her that 'Aspect of Iron' that her mother always told her she'd possessed, inherited from a long line of her foremothers: survivors and thrivers all. Generation after generation, the barricades change shape and intensity: however, our capacity for momentum and survival remains the same. Slowly, Chloe sat back, allowing herself to feel just a little bit proud of what she'd done, quickly and without fuss, this cold and rainy Monday lunchtime. She'd taken the first step. The Silent Treatment. A potent, powerful force for good. Her life was not complete -- but it would be: in her own time, her own way, with herself very much in the Pilot's Seat. Definitely. Taking a deep breath, Chloe looked up and waved the waiter over. Time for more fancy coffee.