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"Sam." my father sighed into the phone. "You just started university. You should spend the weekend making friends and getting to know the place like the other kids."

I clenched my jaw in annoyance, stuffing my wash bag into the backpack I was packing. "I've been doing that for the past two weeks now. Besides, we talked about this and we agreed- if I went to uni I'd get to come home on the weekends to see mum and help you out."

The kettle was boiling in the background and I could make out the sound of dad retrieving cups from the cupboard, porcelain clinking. "I know, Sam. I just- I just wished that you'd let yourself settle in and enjoy it."

I snorted, shoving the bag away in frustration. "My mother is dying." I hissed. "And you have the stomach to ask me to care about mingling?"

He didn't say anything for several seconds. I knew that my words stung. The comment was laced in accusation that he didn't care enough. It was a low blow and also a lie- I knew that. I knew, and that was exactly why I'd chosen to grind down on it, my thumb against the bruise- digging down until soreness turned into fresh, new pain.

"I-" Dad's voice was quiet, barely above a whisper. Then he cleared his throat. "I need to go. I'll see you when you get here."

He hung up and I took my phone from were it'd been balanced between my shoulder and ear. I let it drop onto my bed as I sank down on top of the covers, hunching over to rest my arms against my thighs.

A few months ago I would have been horrified by the acrid tone I'd used against my father but lately I'd found it lacing my words more and more often. It took less time and energy than trying to reason with him- a harsh comment that hurt him just bad enough and he'd cave and back off.

I rested my face in my hands, clenching my eyelids shut as I sighed. When my parents got divorced seven years ago, I'd feared that my family would be ripped apart. Instead, the break had revived my parents' relationship, confirming that they were far better off as friends. I'd figured that if we could go through that and still be close-knit, we could go through anything. Yet now, although we had so little time left to savour, we argued more than ever before. It was my fault.

There was a knock on my door and I looked up, straightening myself. "Yeah?"

The door swung open and Fay came sauntering in, decked out in a bright yellow dress and mismatched jewellery that clinked as she threw her arms in the air. "It's Friday, Sammy boy- let's party!"

I forced a smile, giving her an apologetic look. "I can't, Fay, I'm going home over the weekend."

Fay looked disappointed. "Home? But why?"

Shrugging dismissively, I scrambled for something to say. "Eh, I- mum's repainting, I promised I'd help out." I lied awkwardly.

Fay was either obvious my dithering, or she didn't care to call me out for lying straight to her face. "See you Sunday then?"

"Yeah, have fun at the party though." I said, smiling. I knew she would have a blast without me. Crowds seemed to be her natural habitat- she manoeuvred them with ease, charming people left and right. I liked tagging along; she'd introduce me to silly amounts of people, some which were incredibly nice and interesting, which completely spared from the awkwardness of initiating conversation with strangers.

Fay made a few exaggerated dance moves where she stood, moonwalking towards the doorway. "No worries, I'll drink your share as well. Have a good one!" She chirped, twirling out the door and pulling it shut behind her.

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