The faint rays of  the sun shone through the closed curtains. Particles of dust looked like glitter as they softly danced in mid air. The bangs and clangs of the weekly bin collection could be heard a short distance away. Nina wondered if she would ever get used to this noisy city ritual. Her head throbbed, every fibre of muscle in her body felt like it was on fire. She was starting to feel her age now.

She slowly lifted the arm that was around her waist and tiptoed quietly towards the door, making sure her steps were soft. She was on a mission. She would not take any chances. Her plan had to work. Loud snores gave her the reassurance she needed. Step one was complete.

A splash of cold water washed away whatever sleep was left hanging on to her eyes. Dan’s black leather jacket was still draped over his sofa, exactly where it had been left only a few hours before. For once, I hope I am wrong. She nervously rummaged through the jacket. Keys, coins, and voila Dan’s phone. Nina took a deep breath. I’m better than this. She had to know the truth. She had been lied to in the past, and she was not going to let it happen again.

Dan was tall, athletic and attractive. Nina had never been one to brood, but she had already envisioned their future, two children, a dog…

If I’m right will I be winning or losing?

Nina caught her reflection in the mirror on the wall. Her furrowed brow and her bloodshot puffy eyes betrayed what she was feeling. She quickly averted them. Her heart began pounding in her chest and her sweaty fingers put in the magic numbers to unlock her prize. She had watched him unlock his phone a million times.

Like a trained sniper she headed straight to her target, buying a one way ticket to her own shit-show. Scrolling all the way to the beginning, she hungrily devoured every text exchanged with ‘Ted.’ She scoffed at the juvenile attempt to deceive, she knew Asha’s number. Every detail was important. Her hunches had been right. Her stomach was churning. Her throat felt hot. Her eyes burned.

She composed a text to ‘Ted’, and she checked to make sure it had been sent. Ted replied.

‘Be there in 10,’ followed by a smiley face.

Step two was complete. It was too late to turn back now.

Another splash of water on her face. Another glance in the bathroom mirror. The snores in the next room irritated Nina. She reached for mouthwash and gurgled to take away the disgusting after taste of vomit in her mouth. If only there was a tablet she could take to cure the pain that she felt in her heart.

Nina wondered what her family would think as tears flowed freely. Dan had no idea that he was going to be a father. She hadn’t told him, and now, he never would know. She was glad that she had not told Asha either. Someone had to pay. She wanted answers.

Asha’s black Mercedes slowly pulled up and parked next to Dan’s white Audi A4. Deep breath, stay calm. Nina’s stomach did backflips. She knew she would regret this, but at this point, she did not care. 

Asha let herself in through the already unlocked door and made a bee-line for Dan’s bedroom, She didn’t even see Nina who had sat down on the sofa next to Dan’s jacket. 

The calm before the storm.