New Years Eve was always a disappointment. Over-hyped, collapsing with the weight of expectation and followed by an epic hangover the next day. It had become a tradition that the night would be spent traipsing to a disappointing party and fighting with her current boyfriend, a fight that would quickly descend from a discussion about where they should have gone instead, to a full on slagging match about why he never listened and how she didn’t respect his opinions and how they hated each other’s friends.
On the stroke of midnight five years ago she had found herself sobbing in a bedroom of Brian Mace’s house, surrounded by damp coats as Tim flirted with another girl downstairs. A year later she was in the toilets of a tragic nightclub while Eddie stayed at the bar downing Jack Daniels and coke. Three years ago she was sat on a kerb outside Tina’s waiting for a taxi to take her home (Charlie having driven off in a rage at 11.40) and the year after that she dutifully kissed Dom on the cheek at an elaborate diner at his parents house followed by a further 45 minutes of stony silence before they were permitted to leave the festivities. Last year she and James had decided to avoid the trauma and stay in, just the two of them, a night that ended at 11p.m. with both of them in bed, backs turned, pretending to be asleep. Gemma was still awake and churning with rage at midnight as she watched the fireworks through the window.
This year she vowed it would be different; she was a strong, single, independent woman with good friends and a great job. She was at a bar with friends, a buffet and people to dance with. Two bottles of rose and three tequila shots later she found herself outside, propped up by the wall, sobbing that she no one would ever love her again and she was going to die alone while a man called Petr looked increasingly scared and told her she was ‘too beautiful for cry’.
She had to drag herself across London the next day to see her sister. Her hangover was so intense had to she sit on the stairs of the escalator as it carried her down to the near-deserted tube.