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Friday, July 28, 2017. Daily Brit Wit.
A violent quarrel between family members, especially a couple.
“A crash resounds throughout the flat and her bedroom doorframe vibrates as a result. It’s so sudden, violent, and ear-piercing that Arianna jumps in place on her bed. A scream slips through but her hands fly upward, slapping her mouth to muffle the noise. Her heart hammers irregularly. She tries to regulate her erratic inhalations, but with her thundering heart the only noise she can hear she’s not successful.
She just hopes this doesn’t prompt an anxiety attack.
She braces herself. Limbs tense, Arianna forces an extension of her senses, mainly sound, to go beyond her breaths and heart toward the lower floor. The moment she’s conscious of her attempt, her shoulders jerk backward when the silence is broken again. She doesn’t scream.
‘Helen!’ Her mother’s name is roared and Arianna’s upper body slackens before collapsing into her pillows. Her hands cover her face in a childish move to hide.
She absolutely bloody loathes the beast masquerading as her mum’s current boyfriend. And her heart squeezes in agony at the yearning for her dad.
Jared’s hollering shuffles round indistinctly and Arianna pictures him storming through the front door and up the nineteen stairs to the flat’s entrance. Red-hot embarrassment snakes up her torso to claim the ivory hue of her face: no doubt it’s another domestic for the neighbours to overhear. Not that one would have to eavesdrop to stay in-the-know. She’s just glad her younger sister Emmeline isn’t home and shouldn’t be for at least another hour and a half. Perhaps the loser will be gone by then?
Arianna’s rearranging her maths notebook and textbook when Jared’s booming tenor grips all corners of the flat once more. Any release in tension she had moments ago is gone and she’s positive an anxiety attack is imminent. She can decipher hollering on about quid and booze; but she’s surprised to hear her mum’s lilting alto, though she can’t decode the rejoinder.
‘Do you think you’re clever, bitch?’ He snorts, loud and clear. ‘Tell me where it’s at!’
Her heart bangs at the degradation as well as a flicker of fear: had her mother hid something from that psycho? God, she hopes not.
Arianna kicks off the duvet upon hearing the fierce shout of negation. She hates interfering, especially when Emmy’s not home, maybe a tad out of cowardice, though not necessarily due to getting hit herself but more out of incomprehension how Jared will lash out at her mother instead. She’s weighing her choices now.
The shouting crescendos as she contemplates, both voices overlapping and becoming indistinct aside from their acrimonious undertones. She’s chewing the corner of her lower lip when the decision is made for her.
Because the shouting and hitting of furniture, walls, and shattering glass masks the entrance of her little sister. In fact, Arianna isn’t aware the front door’s even opened and closed again or the treads up the stairs before 338c’s door squeaks and she hears a muted soprano call out, ‘Mummy?’
Arianna swears the world freezes. She doesn’t hear a single thing: London’s traffic is absent, her thoughts and heartbeat grinds to a halt, and she cannot even pick up the radio from the next flat over she’s heard all afternoon and evening while studying. It’s so quiet in fact that she can detect her mother shuffling toward her sister and ease the door shut.
‘Why don’t you go upstairs, honey?’ Her mother whispers.
‘But Mummy, why do–‘ Emmeline’s inquisition is interrupted by Jared’s obnoxious chortling.
Fury flirts on the edge of her subconscious. Arianna doesn’t even wonder why her sister’s home early. She’s on high alert, ears straining to hear the little pitter-patter of Emmy doing as she’s told and coming upstairs to Arianna. Perhaps that’s what she’s entirely focussed on because she must miss the next exchange except for her sister’s startled gasp. Arianna doesn’t think: she scrambles atop her bed and leaps off, scurrying from the room, and storming down the stairs.
She does take note of the disasterous surroundings. Her eyes flit round for the trio of tenants and narrows upon discovering them crowding the front entryway. Arianna sees her sister cowering behind their mother’s legs, holding her cheek, and all that background fury explodes as she simply charges.
She rams into Jared, knocking him partially off balance. But she’s not satisfied: so she shoves at his biceps to fully throw off his equilibrium. He topples to the ground with a satisfying thud.
‘Don’t you ever,’ she’s towering over him, furious and vengeful, fighting back the urge to kick the lout, ‘lay a hand on my sister- or mother, for that fact- ever again.’
He has the audacity to laugh! ‘What are you gonna do about it?’
She doesn’t design to answer. She’s spinning round to face her mother and sister when Jared swipes at her left arm. Arianna spins back to face him, swinging the hostage appendage up and away to break the hold. He’s surprised but is nimble to dig his fat digits into the crook of her elbow, refusing to let go. Emmy cries out.
So Arianna twists her left wrist in a way that permits her to grasp his forearm and retaliates by sinking her nails into the skin. She follows up by pivoting her right arm about and slamming down on his forearm like she would in karate class.
Jared howls and releases her.
Arianna turns away, shoves her mother aside, and grabs for her frightened sister. Emmy leaps into her arms, burrowing into her chest and winding lanky arms round her neck. Arianna hefts the nine-years-old like she’s half her age and glares icily at their mother.
‘We’re leaving,’ she hisses and reaches for her purse thrown on the floor, thankful it fell toward the entrance and not the kitchen like the majority of the table contents landed where her purse generally rests.
And she throws open 338c’s door, holds the knob to ensure she slams it closed, and flees the flat.
Emmeline remains buried in her chest, breathing shallowly, until well after Arianna hails a cab. She’d probably stay that way until they reached their destination, Arianna speculates. But she rubs soothing circles on the girl’s back and murmurs in her ear.
‘Emmy, sweetheart, let me see?’
Her sister’s platinum locks shakes once firmly and her nose bumps Arianna’s collarbone.
She kisses the crown of her head and continues rubbing circles.
Eventually, Emmeline shifts back and peeks up at her. ‘Where are we going, Ari?’ Her voice is tentative, barely above a hoarse whisper. Arianna doubts the cabby could pick it up.
‘To see Nan, Emmy.’ She answers first before tilting the chubby cheeks up to get her first good look at her face. She clamps down on the inside of her lips upon noticing the bruise blossoming on the right side. ‘We’re not going home for awhile, okay? But I’m gonna take care of you. And Nan’s gonna take care of us. I’m so sorry, Emmy, so sorry,’ she vows and apologises.
Emmeline’s eyes water and she leans back into her sister’s embrace, squeezing her fiercely.”