"You fucking bitch!"
I lunge at my friend but am held back by the arms wrapped around my waist.
"Emilia," Reuben yells, "Calm down!"
"As if," I hiss, jabbing an aggressive finger at the woman I want to pummel. "You think you can kiss my boyfriend and get away with it?"
"Oh, please, Emilia," Sarah laughs patronisingly. "If Reuben has to make out with other girls it's obviously because he isn't getting what he needs from you."
Her words make my blood boil and Reuben, sensing my rage, tightens his hold around my waist.
"You would know all about what a man needs, wouldn't you, Sarah?" I sneer at her. "I suppose as London's Number One Slut you've has a lot of incentive to do your research!"
Sarah's face flushes with anger.
"You take that back," she demands - and now it's my turn to laugh.
"Nope," I say, "Sorry, the truth doesn't give refunds."
"Can both of you just please stop shouting?" My boyfriend's voice barely reaches my ears above the music. "You're going to get us kicked out of the club."
I turn my attention to him, enraged.
"I can't believe you kissed her!"
"I didn't kiss her," he argues defensively. "She kissed me. It was an accident, babe."
"An accident?" Sarah gasps. "That's not what you said last time."
"Last time?! This has happened before?"
"What-? No, of course not." Reuben's voice comes out high-pitched and panicked.
"Have you slept with her?"I demand.
He and Sarah both answer in unison and I feel the betrayal sink its poisonous hooks into my heart.
"Babe, look," Reuben begins in desperation, "I was drunk and it was just the once. It meant nothing. She means nothing. I love yo-"
He is cut off by my hand slapping him hard across the face. Shocked, he gawks at me as I turn on my heel and head for the exit.
My palm burns and so do my eyes but I can't tell whether it's the tears or just the alcohol.
When I finally make it out of the bustling nightclub and onto the street, I feel relieved. But my respite doesn't last long because soon Reuben is by my side, having followed me out.
"Em," he says, grabbing ahold of my wrist. I try to yank my arm away but he tightens his grip.
"Please, babe," he continues, "Just let me explain."
"Let go!" I shove him in the chest with all of my strength and he stumbles back, releasing my wrist.
"You don't have to walk me home," I screech at him, earning a few curious glances from people queuing up outside the club. "Because you're dumped!"
Reuben doesn't try to stop me this time and just watches as I walk away.
When I arrive home almost an hour later, my father is waiting to ambush me.
"Where the hell have you been, young lady?"
He is standing in the kitchen doorway, hands on his hips, and still wearing his suit from work, which I think is hilarious.
"Out," I answer whilst shrugging off my jacket. My dad isn't amused by my smartarse reply.
"It's two o'clock in the morning, Emilia," he barks. "Your mother was worried sick. No phone call, no text. She had no idea where you were and I had to come home early from the office to calm her down."
"Well, that must've been a huge inconvenience for you," I remark snidely. "Although I'm surprised you even bothered. You have never cared about what I get up to before unless it interferes with your precious work."
"How dare you," he says, voice deepening with anger. "My work is important. You will never know how much so."
"Whatever," I retort and turn to trudge up the stairs, but my father isn't finished.
"We're not done talking, young lady," he tells me.
"Yes, we are," I snap, resisting the urge to use the words fuck off, which would only make this confrontational exchange go one for longer than necessary.
"You've been drinking," dad says. It isn't a question. He can probably smell the vodka from here.
"Yeah," I say. "So what?"
"Did you travel home alone tonight?" He asks. "Drunk and dressed like that?"
A sudden flood of tears, hot and heavy, threaten to consume me but I manage to hold it back. I won't give my dad the satisfaction of watching me cry.
"Wow," I respond with venom. "Talk about sexism." I glare at him. "It's the twenty-first century, dad. Women can wear whatever the hell they want!"
"Don't you dare raise your voice at me," he bellows, and in my drunken state I can't help but imagine steam shooting from his ears. Laughter bubbles up inside my chest.
"You think this is funny?" He sounds comically outraged.
"Ugh," I groan. "I'm tired! Please just leave me alone."
"Fine," he seethes. "But your mother and I are going to be having a serious discussion about this tomorrow."
Without responding, I stomp up the stairs and slam my bedroom door shut with more force than necessary.
Kicking off my high-heels, I stumble towards the bed and collapse onto the mattress without bothering to remove my clothes or makeup. Laying there, I stare up at the ceiling and wait for the stabbing pain in my chest to subside, but it only gets worse.
"Don't cry," I whisper to myself seconds before rolling onto my stomach, burying my face in the pillow and sobbing myself to sleep.
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