Eight years ago…
“Mum, I’m going to Becky’s sixteenth birthday party tonight, then sleeping at Hannah’s,” I remind her as I walk into the kitchen where she’s sat with her head in an interior design magazine, waving her hands around—presumably trying to dry her nail varnish. I pull out a can of Coke from the fridge before continuing. “I’ve taken the litre bottle of vodka from the drinks cabinet, and I’ve got a pack of condoms…you know, just in case.” I lean back against the counter and watch for a reaction. Any reaction.
“I’m pretty sure some of the boys are bringing ecstasy.”
“Hmm…” She hums as she turns a page and studies the room pictured.
“Didn’t you only have a manicure yesterday? Why are you painting your nails already?”
Now, that gets her attention. Her head snaps up the moment the words ‘nails’ and ‘manicure’ leave my mouth. Surprise, surprise; my mother cares more about that than about alcohol, drugs, sex…and me.
“Yes, I did, but I just couldn’t find a thing to wear tonight.”
I doubt that’s actually true, seeing as she’s recently turned my eldest brother’s old room into her personal wardrobe after already filling her own walk-in. “So, I went to that little boutique in town this morning and found the most perfect dress. Your dad will love it, but it didn’t match the colour I chose for my nails yesterday.”
“Wow, what a disaster,” I mutter as I leave the room. “I’ll be going out in about an hour. Not that you really care.” I say the last bit quieter, but I’m not sure why; when I look back, Mum is once again too engrossed in her magazine to acknowledge me.
I let out a huge breath and head back up to my room to finish packing for the party. I’m getting ready with my best friend Hannah and her twin Emma, who live next door. We’ve all been friends for as long as I can remember. Being twins, Hannah and Emma are really close, but Hannah and I are not far behind. The three of us do almost everything together; their parents have often joked that they have triplets, really.
I always laugh along.
Even though they know what my life is like, I don’t think any of them really appreciate how much I wish that were true.
I’m just shoving my fourth outfit choice for the night into my bag when I hear my brother downstairs, greeting Mum. She instantly responds to him, which makes me laugh to myself, although it’s anything but funny. One of her golden boys has come to visit. I bet if he needed something, she’d ruin that new nail varnish in an instant. God, I can’t wait to get out of this hellhole I call home.
“Is Molly still here?” Daniel asks.
Her reply sounds suspiciously like, “I have no idea.”
Walking to the other side of the room, I rest my hands on the windowsill and blow out a long breath as I gaze out over the countryside, trying to calm myself down. I keep telling myself not to get worked up by their actions, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
“Hey sis, I’m glad you’re still here,” Daniel says as he enters my room a few minutes later. My brothers are a lot older than me; I was an unplanned accident fifteen and a half years ago. Daniel is my youngest older brother and, at thirty years old, he’s crazy protective of me. Steven is, too, but he now has a serious girlfriend so I’m seeing less of him these days. Daniel is my idol—always has been. He doesn’t take life too seriously, does exactly as he pleases, works bloody hard, but always has fun. That’s exactly what I want my life to be like, and I plan on making it so—once I get out on my own.
“Hey.” I only manage one word because, as soon as I see him, I burst into tears. He pulls me into a tight hug. I hate that Mum and Dad can do this to me. Can make me feel so worthless. It makes me angry every time a tear falls for their actions. I wish I could be stronger.
“What have they done now?” Daniel asks. Both he and Steven know how our parents treat me. Hell, I couldn’t count the number of arguments I’ve overheard about it on both hands and feet, but nothing ever changes. I’m just grateful that I have two amazing older brothers to turn to if I need to. Plus, I have my adopted family next door, who I’m pretty sure would do just about anything for me if I needed it.
“Nothing. I’m fine,” I say, pulling away from him and wiping my eyes. I look at him and see the questions in his. “No, really; I’m just being a silly, hormonal teenager.”
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