By Sharon Owens

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Emily asked. ‘No, we had a massive fight. He said he couldn’t bear to spend one more Christmas with me. ’ ‘He said that? ’ ‘Oh, I went berserk. I lost my temper and slapped his face. He’s gone to a hotel, but he won’t say which one. And he’s switched off his mobile phone. ’ ‘That man. ’ Emily asked, pushing a strand of hair out of her eyes and trying to see her clock in the dark. She could never remember her phone showed the time. ‘He snaps at me constantly. He has no sympathy for me when my period arrives each month and I cry because I’m not pregnant yet.

Surely she was not going to let a milestone year go by without at least making some changes to her safe (but stuck) life? And was it better to be safe and stuck or vulnerable and free? A life coach would have described Emily as a butterfly. But was she a cowardly butterfly that was going to remain safely in her little glass box for ever? Or was she going to bravely take flight up into the bright blue sky, with all the possibilities – both good and bad – that might await her there? Emily closed the door again and went to bed.

But she definitely hoped she’d be seeing him again, she thought to herself. ‘Nice shoes,’ he laughed. ‘I didn’t pick them myself. They were gifts from a dear friend. Bye for now,’ she blushed. Emily slipped out of the shop and went tripping giddily to her car. She could barely feel the cold wind snapping at her heels. It wasn’t often she felt so attracted to a man. Of course, he was unbelievably good-looking. But there was more to it than that. Clearly he had a strong social conscience, working in a little charity shop in the suburbs when he could have been a model, or something much more ambitious – a stockbroker, or whatever.

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