This is loosely based on upcoming spoilers, but I've changed the order of the ONS and The Kiss because, basically, I don't want to write about Amira! Also, contrary to the spoiler clip, Christian is not in the Vic to witness it. So this starts just as she has tried to kiss him...


'What do you think you're doing?' cried Syed in horror, and he fled from the Vic, desperate for air. But once he'd bolted through the door and taken a couple of calming gasps, he was struck with the realisation that he had nowhere to go, no-one to turn to. Tam was in hospital, Tanya was sick, Janine was in mourning, Jane and Roxy were definitely off-limits, he no longer worked at the salon and the mosque was miles away. He needed space to think. Could he risk going home? He glanced over at his parents' front door. If he could make it up to his room unseen it would be fine, but what if they were in? The last thing he needed right now was one of his mother's interrogations.

While he was still considering whether to risk it, another door in his eyeline opened. Christian's front door. Great. Christian would see at a glance that something was wrong and he wouldn't be able to lie. Any conversation would inevitably end with a smug and humiliating 'I told you so' - as unhelpful as his mother's 'She is your wife, Syed.'

Just as Syed was beginning to think that heading back inside the pub to face Amira was the least intolerable of his options, he realised it wasn't Christian, but another man, a strange man, leaving the flat.

In an instant, Syed went from trying to escape to being rooted to the spot. His blood pounded in his ears and a wave of nausea rose from his stomach. He found himself unable to tear his eyes away from the smiling stranger that Christian was escorting to the door. A quick peck on the lips, a smile, and the stranger was gone, leaving Christian to close the door and disappear back into the flat. There was absolutely no question what they'd just been up to in there. Inside the flat that Christian had, until very recently, shared with Syed. The flat they had decorated together. The flat they'd discussed wedding plans in. The flat they'd moved to in order to raise a family. It was just wrong.

And suddenly Syed realised that everything - absolutely everything - was wrong. It wasn't just Christian picking up strangers. It wasn't just Amira trying to kiss him. He was launching a souvenir business - what the hell was that all about? And moving to Pakistan - why on earth would he want to do that? He was living back with his parents while Christian, the love of his life, was just yards away sleeping with other men. The whole world was upside down and back to front and he was hopelessly trapped, dazed and confused, in the eye of a storm of total wrongness.

And then, out of the whirl of revelations, arose an unexpected memory. A memory from his childhood of a TV programme about a teenager in Japan who broke the world record for the number of dominoes toppled. This kid spent weeks setting up thousands of dominoes in his school gym. They were all different colours and sizes and were arranged in myriads of incredibly intricate patterns. Some went over bridges, some set off fireworks, some recreated famous paintings as they fell. Tam and Shabs had been amazed and immediately wanted to try it themselves, lining up all kinds of household objects then pushing the first to see how they would fall. But Syed just remembered feeling puzzled. He couldn't see the wonder because he couldn't get over the sheer pointlessness of it all - spending weeks preparing so painstakingly for something that, with one small tap, fell apart in less than three minutes. He just couldn't understand how that young boy could do that, spend all that time building something that he knew wouldn't last, setting things up just to knock them down. Syed wanted to scream at the TV, shake the boy, tell him to stop playing with dominoes and get a life.

And then Syed was back in the present and it had all become ridiculously clear. Of course everything felt wrong - everything in his life was just a line of dominoes, one after another, leading nowhere. Suddenly he could see what a waste of time it had all been, making plans for the sake of making plans. Suddenly he realised it had to stop, and he was the only one who could stop it. He was going to topple every last stupid pointless domino. Starting right now.