(Hence, Part 1, unless you think it's crap...)
She'd stormed out of the flat. She had no idea where she was going, but she knew she had to do something, she’d go mad otherwise. Clinically mad, not just possessed by a fury so intense that her heart threatened to explode right out of her chest.
She was angry at the entire world, at Stephen, at herself.
He had been really good at getting her mad lately. Now that was usually fine, she was all for annoying people, especially her close circle, and god knew she did that a lot anyway. But there had to be a limit, and flirting very obviously with that girl at the party was evidently where that limit stood with her.
She couldn’t comprehend why she hadn’t talked to him about it. She'd shut up, let it eat at her, all the while smiling until her jaw hurt, talking to other people, faking interest, feigning not to notice the sympathetic looks she'd got from some annoyingly well-meaning do-gooder wifey types... And now the anger was fighting it with a fear so uncontrollable she felt she would have to wail for a long time before either even started to calm down.
On their return home, she’d locked herself in the bathroom to cry hot, silent tears, because she was adamant that Stephen shouldn’t see or hear her. She didn’t know how she’d respond to his questioning if he did. That was how much of a coward she had become; she was so scared of losing him she didn't even dare confront him anymore. Talk about a catch-22. She would lose him eventually. She would lose him because everything would be tainted with all of the unspoken grievances, all the jealousies left unsaid. She would lose him because one day, she wouldn't be able to hold it in anymore and all of it would just spew out of her in one unstoppable torrent of frustrations that would sweep away any hope of salvaging their relationship. She knew that, and yet she was taking that foolish chance. Fear was one powerful bastard when it came to reasoning.
The knot in her stomach tightened even more at the thought.
"You all right? You've been in there for a bloody long time, darlin'..."
Stephen sounded worried. She looked at her watch; she'd been crying for a good ten minutes.
"Nauseous. Something I ate, I guess."
Her voice sounded strangled and choked, but that could easily be explained now.
"Can I get you anything?"
He tried to open the door.
"Babe? You OK?"
"I am hurling, Stephen", she snarled. "Can I do that in peace?"
"Whoa... where did that come from? Fine. Whatever."
Anger was apparently catching quickly. She might not be brave enough to talk, but it was strangely satisfying to think that maybe he'd be as angry as she was. God she was sick.
She flushed the loo and ran the tap for credibility's sake. What exactly was she playing at?
When she got out of the bathroom, she walked straight to the car keys and grabbed her bag.
"Going out to find a quieter place to puke, are you?"
She glared at him. She felt her eyes start to burn again, quickly turned away and replied very quietly.
"We're out of antacids."
"Maybe you should lie down, and I'll go get some?"
"Thanks. The fresh air will do me good." It was an effort not to scream. How could she love him that much and want to claw his eyes out at the same time?
"I'll drive you then, shall I? Maybe you shouldn't take the car if you're not feeling well."
"Stephen, give me a break. I'm not at death's door yet."
"Oh for fuck's sake, will you tell me what's wrong?!"
There was something about travelling at night that she had always found soothing, for as long as she remembered. Something about the headlights of other cars, the darkness around, the asphalt unfurling in front of her... The connection between strangers who happened on the same train, the same plane, or at the same rest areas... Something was at play at night between people who weren't in their homes, and she had always felt it was a good something. She had never been able to express or explain it properly but she loved the feeling that world peace could probably be achieved if world leaders would take a joint night-time trip. The 1918 armistice had been signed at 5:00 a.m. in a train-car. She had a point.
She smiled to herself. It felt good.
The lights of a convenience store pierced the darkness. She signalled to no one that she was stopping there. Stephen would certainly appreciate the fact that she'd bought Maalox when both had already marvelled at how useless Maalox was against nausea. Oh well.