Chapter 40

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The drive home with my mum was possibly the most awkward thing I’d had to do since I had left England. There was nothing to be said - and in a small way she reminded me of the woman who had raised me in the first place.

Cold and unforgiving, she didn’t even seem to care about me, and all she wanted was me to spite my dad.

“Asshole” she would momentarily mutter under her breath. “How could I ever have married him?”

Her aggression was almost amplified by her driving – and those around us. I decided that it would be a miracle if I even made it home that night she was swerving around cars so much.

“I’m sorry, Charlotte” she finally said. “I didn’t ever mean for you to have to go through any of this.”

I turned to her cynically. “Well, it didn’t stop you having an affair, did it?” I snapped coldly, showing no emotion on my face.

She laughed.

“Well, I’m not sure you realise, but every time you make that point it is completely irrelevant because your dad did just the same.”

I looked down at my hands in defeat – she had that one on me. The fact that my dad had treated me with more respect was seemingly insignificant at that point. My mum certainly made it feel that way.

“I actually hate that man” she sighed. “You know, I can’t say anything because I was just as bad as him, but for the way he’s treated you – I was to slap him.”

I turned to look at Val with some confusion. How could she even say that? Sure, I’d gotten hurt under his care, but he’d been so much nicer to me. He had actually wanted me.

“Compared to the way you’ve been, I don’t understand-”

“Messing you around the way he did. Toying with your feelings. I mean,” she ranted, getting herself all choked up. So much so that I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a façade or if she was actually feeling the emotions depicted on her face.

“I mean, using you” she sniffed.

“Using me? How? What are you even-”

“Using you as a pawn in the little game of his. Using you and manipulating our circumstances so that he could cover the tracks of his own affair At least I had a little more decency than that!”

I rolled my eyes, tuning out of the situation, but at the same time, rather curious as to what she had actually meant. For the rest of the car ride we sat in complete silence. It wasn’t really that long before we reached our house anyway.

It felt strange not being around Matt as we actually walked inside of the house.

“Do you want something to eat?” she smiled, placing an arm around my shoulder and pulling me slightly in closer to her. “You must be starving.”

I wasn’t hungry, although I didn’t want to verbalise it and waste my breath on her.

“It’s a good thing you’re going to school in a couple of days. It’ll get you away from the mess of the divorce” she continued in conversation as she led me through into the kitchen. I could feel the superficiality of her touch as she continued to talk to me.

Although, what she had said in the car was somewhat startling.

Brushing it to the back of my mind, I tried to think of anything but everything that was happening to me. I tried to concentrate on the fact that I’d be around Midge, and other kids my age by the time Wednesday came around and I could go to school.

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