"Would you hurry up and change?" Cassandra's tone rocked Giana from her daydream and she turned to face her fiancee, only to be smacked in the face by the red dress that had been thrown at her.
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing now?" Giana tilted her head, looking back to the mirror at the gown that flowed away from her body like liquid emeralds, the fabric dancing with each movement.
"It looks like something my grandmother would wear. Take that thing back in the morning."
Cassandra's words stung Giana like the sharp crack of a whip and she blinked quickly, refusing to ruin her eyeliner, tugging at the green lace sleeves carefully her fingers tracing the keyhole neckline before finally disrobing. She inhaled deeply, changing into the skintight red dress, more skin showing than was covered with the plunging neckline and busier that forced her breasts almost out of the dress and she shivered as she moved and the thigh-high slit opened, not from the cold but from her own discomfort.
"Much better. Now you almost look like a lady I can take out. Nothing we can do about that mess you call hair though." Cassandra's laugh stirred something in Giana but she bit her tongue, long used to her partner's flavour of humour.
She snatched up her purse, making her way out to the car before Cassandra could say anything else, praying for the best at the dinner.
"I can't believe you"
"You can't believe me? I can't believe you! How could you have kept our engagement a secret from your parents?" Giana's anger boiled over as they stepped into the house and she turned, slamming the door behind her.
Cassandra glare menacingly down at her, her hand reaching out to grip Giana's ear like one would a child, twisting it, forcing her down to her knees.
"I chose not to tell my family that we were engaged. You had no right to open that big mouth of yours." She hissed as Giana gripped her hand, sinking her nails into her wrist, letting go to pull away, losing skin in the process.
Giana sat on the floor, her legs folded beneath her body, muttering beneath her breath, her hand catching Cassandra's foot as it came towards her.
"You lied to me. You lied to your mother. You lied to your father. They were actually happy so you had no reason to hide it! Now you come here and try to kick me and scare me into being silent. No. Not tonight." Giana pushed away the foot in her hand, too tired and upset to even think of fighting her fiancee.
It had been months since Cassandra had dared to get violent, and it was getting harder and harder to make excuses, but Giana couldn't stand to leave all she had built with her. She closed the bedroom door, locking it from the inside.
"Fine. Be a petulant brat. You're lucky I even stay with you after this shit"
Giana tuned out the words coming from the other side of the door, focusing on her breathing, turning on the shower as Cassandra became louder.
The evening had been a shitstorm, even more so than anything they had experienced previously, but Giana still couldn't understand why it had gone so badly or why Cassandra had kept the engagement a secret.
All relationships have ups and downs.
Three weeks later
Giana stared at her phone again, checking to see if she had misread the time Cassandra had told her they would meet for lunch. She had been sitting awkwardly at the table for an hour and a half before Cassandra had finally arrived, offering no apology or explanation for her tardiness.
They sat in awkward silence for several minutes, a waiter coming to take their order breaking the ice and once the waiter left, Giana plucked up the courage to speak.
"So, what's the big important thing you called me over here to tell me?"
Giana smiled cautiously at Cassandra, curious as to why she would want to meet her so suddenly. They sat outside the cafe, watching the rush of the lunch hour.
The waiter returned with their coffee and left, the silence eating at Giana's curiosity.
"I got a reply from a firm in California, and I accepted it," Cassandra said, fiddling with the rim of her cup.
"A reply, as in you sent them an application? I didn't know you were looking for a new job, and it's so far away, I just got settled here."
"I am breaking up with you. I thought it would be easier if I left, so I put in for a few jobs out of state."
"You're breaking up with me? Why Cassandra?"
"I just don't love you anymore."
The words ripped into Giana like a two-edged blade, cutting her heart to pieces.
"That's why you didn't tell your parents about our engagement."
"We both knew this wouldn't work out. You just don't fit into my world. It's time we moved on." Cassandra said the words casually, almost as if she were discussing the weather.
"I get it. You never fit in my world either." Giana replied, forcing a smile, hoping that her eyes didn't betray the pain she felt.
"I am so glad that you do. I really hope we can stay friends."
"Yea, of course," Giana lied, knowing she could never face Cassandra after this. "When are you leaving?"
"My flight leaves tonight."
Cassandra had waited until the last moment to tell her so she wouldn't have to watch Giana suffer, and Giana wouldn't give her the liberty of such a show.
"Okay, I hope all goes well in California."
"I'll keep in touch," Cassandra said, touching Giana's hand gently, and she had to fight not to pull her hand back.
Instead, she smiled sweetly and signalled for the waiter.
"Is that all you had to say?"
Giana rose from her seat, paying the bill and began walking away from the table then stopped.
"I hope you made the right decision because now there is no going back." With those words, she disappeared into the crowd.