Chapter 1 Feelings of Betrayal

For Sabrina Roth, it was an extraordinarily awful morning. Dark clouds hung low, a storm was clearly on its way. She hated this kind of weather. As if to mirror the gloom, she received a gut-wrenching message on her phone while wrapped up in her blanket. The message was from an unknown sender. As she clicked open the message, a few photos popped up on her phone. They were photos of a man and a woman cuddling, being all lovey-dovey and making silly faces. At first glance, the pictures seemed harmless, but then she started to recognize the couple in the photos. It was her boyfriend and her best friend, caught in an intimate moment. Both of the closest friends she had had betrayed her at the same time, which was really hard to believe. They had been secretly seeing each other for a while, it seemed. Just as Sabrina was reeling from the revelation, her phone buzzed again. More photos were sent from the unknown number, showing the treacherous couple wrapped up in each other's arms, their eyes smoldering with desire. The way and angle the photos were taken from below made it all look even worse. Her usually cheerful boyfriend seemed like a totally different person, a stranger of lust. It made her sick to her stomach. Nauseated, she bent over her bed to vomit, but nothing came out. Each snapshot felt like a knife slicing through her fragile emotions. Then thunder rumbled, and Sabrina couldn't take it anymore. She grabbed her coat and dashed outside. Her beauty was eclipsed by the pallor of her face. There was no need to guess who was behind the unknown number anymore. She knew very well who it was. As she ran into the pouring rain and onto the now-emptied streets, onlookers from nearby shops probably thought she had gone crazy. No one in their right mind would run through the rain like this. Finally, she arrived at a hotel room, but couldn't bring herself to knock on the door. Her mind was reeling with all the possible obscene things happening behind the door. That was when she heard them — familiar voices right behind her. "Sabrina, what are you doing here?" When Sabrina's boyfriend, Aaron Fletcher, saw her, he was shocked and instinctively shielded his companion behind him. The sight of his protective stance rattled Sabrina's bones, and she trembled uncontrollably. All this time, Sabrina had always found excuses to defend Aaron for his shortcomings. In her eyes, he was always a noble and dependable guy. He was the kind who would often feed stray cats. Yet here he was, shielding another woman from her. "Sabrina, it's not what you think. Aaron and I are innocent," her so-called friend, Nina Adkins spoke up. Nina had a mocking look in her eyes that Sabrina had never noticed before. At that very moment, Sabrina realized that Nina was never truly her friend. A memory flashed in Sabrina's mind. Just last week, Nina had shown off a sparkling three-carat diamond ring. Sabrina had been genuinely happy for her then. But now, she felt like she'd been slapped by her own naivety. Sabrina could not help but think that Nina must be gloating for having stolen her boyfriend, flaunting it all while she remained clueless. To make it worse, they probably used her credit card to purchase that expensive ring. "Hey, you did nothing wrong. The problem is with her. Strong women like her can't find love. She's just a pathetic loser," Aaron said, shocking Sabrian with words never expected to hear from him. Sabrina's head was spinning, but she clung to her last shred of pride in front of them. "If you're so innocent, I hope you two stay together forever," Sabrina snapped. She thought bitterly that they should be together forever and spare the rest of the world from their deceit. Aaron had betrayed her love, and Nina had taken away what little trust that she willingly gave out. Together, they had robbed her of everything. Sabrina couldn't even remember how she left the hotel or made her way back home. What were the last words they said to her? How had they looked at her? Maybe they mocked her, likening her to a defeated soldier. But once she was back in her apartment, Sabrina shrugged it all off. Fueled by anger, Sabrina gathered every last item in the apartment that belonged to Aaron. She didn't care about the raging storm outside as she hurled it all out into the rain. Looking at the objects lying scattered in the downpour, Sabrina felt strangely exhilarated. If she could, she would have thrown these things right at Aaron himself for an even greater sense of satisfaction. Sabrina stood at the doorway, laughing and crying at the same time. Her chest hurt a lot, but she could not care less. The neighbors' curious stares meant nothing to her. When she was finally done, she realized how much space Aaron had occupied, not just in her apartment, but in her life. She felt sick in her stomach again and dashed into the bathroom to throw up. With an empty stomach, all that came out was a burning bile. Catching her reflection, she saw a ghostly figure with rain-soaked clothes and messy hair. She looked like a mess. Then Aaron and Nina showed up at her door, both looking angry. "Sabrina, have you lost your mind?" "What did you expect? I can't believe I let a terrible guy like you stay in my home. Go away! Get out of my sight!" Aaron had become loathsome to Sabrina, a piece of trash she could not believe she once admired. "How can you treat Aaron this way? He doesn't love you, and you don't own this place. Who are you to kick him out?” Nina chimed in as she stood beside Aaron, wearing a victorious sneer. The neighbors all tuned in to the drama, ready to see what would happen next. Sabrina knew they were in for a show. "Sorry for disappointing you, but this place is mine. I lied about renting it to protect his pathetic ego." Sabrina glared at the couple standing before her. "A guy who needs a woman to protect his ego is a coward, I should have seen the red flags. And you..." Sabrina felt immense pleasure as she savored their shocked faces, "women who use their bodies to keep a man will one day be hurt for the same reason. Just wait, your future will certainly look like my present." With that, she threw the final object at them with all her might and slammed the door. Even though it looked like she had won, Sabrina knew that she was the one who had been hurt and defeated. She could not stop the tears, no matter how vindicated she should have felt. Her phone buzzed. It was her brother again. Wiping away her tears, she had no choice but to pretend like nothing had happened.
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