"I'm good thanks mum, how are you?" I said, sitting up in my bed, yawning and rubbing my eyes, willing the fog in my brain to disappear.

"Do you have a cold?" She replied tentatively, completely avoiding my question.

"Um, yeah. Maybe." I couldn't think of any explanation that was better. I certainly didn't want to say it was because I was crying until some silly hour in the morning—there was no way that would go down well. "How are Carter and the kids?" Phil and Jack were only twelve and eight-years-old, respectively when I left. They really were great kids, but unfortunately they only really knew me as 'the sick girl that got all the attention'—at least until I vanished. I highly doubted they missed me. I imagined they were glad that I was gone. Not only could they can now have some focus, the arguments between their parent's had likely subsided too.

I felt like I didn't really know them anyway, that I was never properly given the chance. Before I got sick, I was never really interested, and afterwards...well, it was too late then.

"Everyone's great." She snapped, hurriedly. She never wanted to talk about them; she always wanted to discuss me and would do anything to turn the conversation back around. I didn't think she understood how good it would feel for the conversation to be more mutual. Maybe she didn't realise that I was actually interested in their lives too. Maybe she figured it would be insensitive to tell me how good things were, without me there. I wouldn't have minded, not one bit. I was perfectly aware that the way things turned out was all my fault. "How's work? What have you been up to?" Her tone was anxious as she spoke, which for some strange reason really aggravated me.

"I heard about Bradley and Daphne." I spat out, wanting to shock her. I was tetchy from my lack of sleep and also annoyed that we always had to talk about me. I was also pretty wound up that mum must have known about the engagement, but she never told me. There was no escape from that sort of big news in a tiny town.

"I...um...oh..." She stuttered, unable to find the right words. I sat in silence, gripping the phone tightly between my fingers. I could physically feel myself seething; I could feel the rage bursting through me as she stumbled over silly little filler words. She should have told me, she should have prepared me. It should have been her that I heard it from.

Although, maybe she thought I would never find out. She must have noticed how little I talked to everyone back home, and she also knew that I never visited. Maybe she'd had my best intentions at heart, but had gone about it in the wrong way. I couldn't blame her for that. After all, I'd made enough mistakes of my own.

As those words flooded through my brain, the hot anger flowing through me subsided. I needed to remember that I'd been so difficult to deal with, and she probably had no idea what to say to me. I had to remember to not always blame the rest of the world for every little thing.

"It's okay, mum." I finally gave in, blowing air out of my mouth. "I don't care." Of course, I was lying, but she didn't need to know that. "I'm fine, works okay—as normal. I haven't been up to much." I paused. "Well, I went out with some friends the other night..."

"Friends?" Mum leapt on that information excitedly, just as I knew she would. This was the first time I'd ever mentioned anything to do with socialising since I'd moved, so it was bound to pique her interest. "Who are these friends?"

"Um, Amy from work, Kimberly, Kai...a few others." It suddenly hit me that I should probably play it down a bit, in case none of them ever wanted to see me again, but it was too late for that. Mum had smelled a story and she was all over it.

"Yeah? Tell me all about them." I could hear the nervy, happiness in her voice and I couldn't help but smile. I was glad that I'd finally said something to make her feel good for the first time in forever. I would just have to hope and pray that it didn't all go to hell, that I didn't jinx it by speaking about them.

"I dunno mum, they're great. Real fun." I started to ramble, wanting desperately to change the subject. One night out didn't warrant enough information to keep my mum satisfied. I didn't even really know if I was in the position to call them friends—it was only a few drinks, after all.

"Okay darling." Mum paused, probably sensing the uncertainty in my voice. "Do you think you might come and visit soon?" She asked this every time we spoke, and it always brought our chats to a rapid close.

"I don't know mum, it's just....awkward. And I'm so busy with work..." I trailed off, unable to even finish my pathetic excuse.

"Well, why don't I come and see you?" She jumped in, for the first time suggesting that she should come here. Oh God, how was I going to get out of this? The thought of mum seeing the pathetic life that I was leading would send her panic into overdrive. She'd never, ever leave. It would be a nightmare.

"Um, no I don't..." My brain shut off, offering me no good answers this time.

"Okay, sure." She interrupted quickly, sounding sad. Fortunately, she gave the subject up instantly, seemingly knowing that she'd pushed me too far. I didn't think she wanted to pile any pressure on me. I sensed that she understood why I was avoiding everyone in the way that I was.

At least, I hoped she did...

I felt bad about our conversation, long after we'd hung up the phone.

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