This is another scenario I wrote for my fantasy lit course, but I don’t want to give away too much about the context or prompt. Read and discover for yourself.
Emilia was still upset by the time Daniel got home from wherever it was he had stormed off to after their fight. She wasn’t sure how he’d decided to deal with his anger—getting plastered at the bar, perhaps? Or maybe just some good ole reckless driving to blow off steam and clear his mind? Whatever it was, she was sure it had been foolish and dangerous. That was just how Daniel behaved under emotional distress.
As for Emilia, nothing she’d done had been able to abate her own ire and distress. Her favorite indie album, which could usually calm her and put her in a more pleasant mood no matter the situation, had failed her. Her yogic meditation, a go-to stress reliever and relaxation technique, had also failed her. She had finally surrendered and gone down to the wine cellar.
It had been months since Emilia had drunk even a drop of alcohol, so resorting to the stuff was no trifle. It wasn’t that she’d ever had a drinking problem—no, quite the opposite—she had previously indulged only rarely but had nevertheless made the decision to abstain completely in order to live more health-consciously. But she knew that tonight a glass of wine was just what she needed.
She poured herself a generous amount and took a seat in the living room, careful not to spill any of the deep red liquid on their pristine white sofa. When she had swallowed the last drops, she thought, why not have another? It wasn’t as if Daniel would be stopping after just one whiskey.
She could feel the tingling effect of the alcohol spreading throughout her body already and had an idea—an idea which led to her swapping her yoga clothes for a swimsuit (one that reminded her of the trip she and Daniel had taken last spring to Hawaii and thus only succeeded in flaring up her anger again), grabbing her wine glass with one hand and the bottle with the other, and settling into the delicious hot bubbles of their outdoor jacuzzi.
As she waited for Daniel to come home, Emilia felt simultaneously more irritated and more detached from the situation. She supposed there were some things even booze couldn’t touch, though it was helping a bit. If anything, she’d gained an understanding and appreciation of Daniel’s methods. The longer he was gone, the longer she waited in the hot tub, and soon the wine bottle was emptied of its contents.
Growing bored, she returned to the house. In her altered state of mind, she had come up with the brilliant idea of giving Daniel the silent treatment. He would certainly be surprised to find her intoxicated, and when he tried to question her about it, she would refuse to give him answers—a taste of his own medicine. If he could leave a fight unfinished and go drink away his troubles (when he knew she couldn’t stand this sort of coping), she would do the same to him in return.
She still had half a glass of the pinot noir left, and she arranged herself and it in the living room, where Daniel would see her upon entering. The sight of Emilia sprawled across the white sofa in that scarlet bikini, the towel beneath her not doing much in the way of keeping the cushions dry and her fingers wrapped around the stem of her wine glass, was sure to send him into a shock. She laughed at the thought of it. He would think she’d gone mad.
Her laughter continued to bubble up and spill out of her until she heard a car door slam outside, when she forced herself into stoic silence. This alert of Daniel’s arrival brought back the sick feeling of anger in her stomach—anger he had caused. Well, no matter; she would show him, and he’d be sorry about their fight, about leaving.
Presently, the door opened, and Daniel stepped through it. He didn’t seem drunk. She wanted to inspect his appearance for anything that betrayed where he’d just been, but she refrained—she wasn’t going to look at him in any way that was obvious.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him remove his shoes and coat and toss his keys on the entry table. When he stepped closer, he sighed faintly but gave no indication that he noticed or cared about the state of her. He continued on into the hall. Emilia was furious.
She stood and walked after him, making sure to bring her glass of wine along.
“What, you don’t have anything to say?”
Her sneering question was met with silence. Daniel reached the end of the hall and started up the stairs without pause.
“Really, Danny?” she asked derisively, following him upstairs. “You’re ignoring me? How mature.”
She didn’t mention, of course, that she had planned to ignore him, and she was keenly aware of how immature she appeared at the moment.
Daniel entered their bedroom and began to undress. Emilia stood in the doorway.
“So you’re just going to go to bed and refuse to acknowledge me.”
He continued to swap his day clothes for pajamas without so much as looking at her. She couldn’t believe his nerve. She stepped into the room and closer to him.
“God, you’re a coward, Danny. You know that?”
At this, he threw his dirty clothes towards the hamper in frustration. Finally she’d gotten a reaction out of him.
But instead of blowing up on her like she expected he’d do, Daniel stood abruptly and left the room. She scurried after him back downstairs and through the house to the kitchen, where he poured himself a glass of water. He stopped short when he saw the corkscrew on the counter. She waited for his response. He picked it up and twisted it in his fingers, brows furrowed—in anger or contemplation, Emilia couldn’t be sure—then put it away in a drawer.
He leaned against the island counter on his elbows, head in his hands, and she stood across from him. A long silence elapsed.
“Say something, Danny.”
He raised his head, the look on his face morphing into one of resolve. Once again, he left the room with her trailing behind him.
She was so furious that it didn’t register where he was headed.
“I can’t believe you. You don’t even care, do you?”
Daniel stopped in front of the door to her personal yoga studio, his back to her and his posture tense. He paused.
“Em,” he said finally. His voice sounded strange, and she couldn’t make out his tone. She waited for him to continue. Instead, he pushed open the door.
He stepped in and audibly let out a breath he’d apparently been holding.
Emilia glanced at the state of disarray she’d left her normally immaculate yoga studio in. In her earlier frustration, she hadn’t bothered to tidy up after herself and had even kicked aside her blanket and blocks—which were now strewn across the room.
“Yeah, shit. Even yoga couldn’t repair the state you left me in.”
He ran a hand through his hair and took off again, moving at a brisk pace.
“Would you stop walking away from me?” Emilia rushed down the hall after Daniel, who was headed towards the back of the house. He didn’t stop or turn. “Okay, I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have said that. It wasn’t all your fault. We both—”
“Em?” Daniel asked, a bit too loudly, still striding away from her.
“Danny?” Emilia’s voice was quiet.
Daniel yanked open the sliding glass door.
“Em?” He was shouting now. He stepped out onto the back patio.
“Danny, what—I’m right here. Why are you–?”
She stopped midsentence, unable to comprehend was she was seeing.
Daniel was rushing over to the jacuzzi, frantic. She was sure he was still yelling, but she could no longer make out what he was saying. And there was a girl in the hot tub. Why was there a girl in their hot tub?
Emilia felt suddenly very hot and dizzy.
The girl—whoever she was—lay face down in the water, Emilia noticed as she drew near. That wasn’t right, was it? And Daniel was screaming and crying and getting into the jacuzzi and pulling the girl up by the armpits and still wearing his pajamas and Emilia thought this was absurd and wished he would be quieter he would wake the neighbors they hadn’t liked it very much last month being woken up at two a.m. but that had all been in good fun just laughter and squeals of delight when they’d decided to go skinny dipping and there was a dog barking now Danny’s screams were so loud he was saying her name but she was right there and the water was red the jets were off the timer must’ve run down there was blood and the girl was wearing a red bikini that reminded her of Hawaii and Danny kicked an empty bottle of wine on accident as he drug this girl’s body from the hot tub in his wet pajamas but who was she and why wouldn’t Danny look at her I’m right here why won’t you look at me?
Daniel collapsed in a heap at the edge of the tub, holding the girl in his lap, his back to Emilia. He was sobbing and repeating Emilia’s name.
“Dammit, I’m right here, Danny!”
She circled around to face Daniel, who was pushing the unconscious girl’s hair out of her face—but no, she wasn’t unconscious; she was dead.
And with a shock of recognition that was less shock and more of a confirmation of what she had already known but pushed away, deep down within her, until it was like she’d erased it completely, Emilia saw herself and remembered.
“I’m dead.” Her voice was almost a whisper.
Daniel touched a gash on the dead girl’s forehead, and Emilia brought her fingers up to her own, remembering the heat and the dizziness and her drunkenness and slipping—slipping and falling and that sudden pain in her forehead and then watery blackness.
“Danny, I’m dead,” she half-choked. “I slipped and fell. I was drinking. It’s been so long, and I had so much. I don’t know how—”
And the dizziness was back. The world was spinning, and she couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe. Her vision went dark. The last thing she heard—and she heard it as if she were underwater—was Daniel’s voice—Daniel, who was in so much pain, who was sobbing against that cold, lifeless body he’d pulled from the hot tub—telling her, “Emilia, I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.” And she had wanted him to be sorry, hadn’t she?
But she was the one who was sorry.