“How do we know them again?” I asked for the umpteenth time as I slipped my white pumps on.

“Your dad used to work with the mother, Willow.” Mum told me again, her eyes fixed on my choice of clothes for the apparently very important meal I had to go to.

“Just say it.” I sighed whilst stroking on a tiny bit of mascara, my eyes huge as I watch my reflection.

“You can’t wear jeans to a formal dinner!” Mum exploded.  Personally, I saw nothing wrong with bright green skinny jeans and a Beatles t-shirt for a meal at someone’s house…

“It can’t be that formal if it’s at their house!” I pointed out as I dropped my mascara back into my make up bag and tugged the brush through my hair again before tying it up in a scruffy ponytail.  “They’ll just have to deal with it.” I decided as I leant against the chipped doors of my wardrobe.

“Fine.” Mum snapped.  “Go out looking like a scruff.” And with that, she stormed out of my room.  I didn’t see why I had to go to the meal; mum and dad did their business alone usually.  And usually it meant just going off around the world whilst I was the stopping us getting our things repossessed.


“Ten minutes, Willow!” Dad shouted from the kitchen and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.  He could have whispered from the kitchen and I would have heard him; the walls of the flat were so thin that I could probably throw something through them!  Not that I would have tried, I hasten to add.  If I’d let Pippa stay for much longer, she might have tried just to see if she could.

That’s why I sent her home as soon as I could stand up without clinging onto the wall.

“Fine!” I called back, sliding down and sitting on my hard bedroom floor.  I probably could have tried to make up an excuse as to why I couldn’t go to the dinner, but a small part of me was quite curious about what was so important that I had to attend it.

“Hurry up, Willow!” Mum shouted, jerking me from my thoughts.

“Going!” I scrambled to my feet and grabbed my jacket from the coat hook on the back of my door, hurrying down the damp hall and trying not to feel the cold seeping through my pumps and into my toes before skidding rather gracelessly out of the front door.

I remembered when I was little and we used to have this huge house; it had big spacious rooms and light walls that weren’t splattered with mould.  And then suddenly that house was replaced by a smaller house, and then that with an even smaller house until eventually we ended up in a flat that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Only Fools And Horses.

“You’ve got your head in the clouds, Willow, it’s a miracle you haven’t fallen down those stairs yet!” Mum laughed, her meticulously straightened hair gleaming in the dim light given off by the dust coated bare bulb dangling precariously from the ceiling.

“I have talent?” I tried, walking down the stairs carefully to avoid just sliding down them because of the lack of grip on the soles of my pumps.

“Just get in the car, Willow.” Dad barked, pretty much frog-marching me to the bottom of the stairs and towards his pride and joy: his silver Audi A4.  No joke, he loved that car more than he ever loved me.  Not that that would be hard, I hasten to add, dad never seemed to like me.

But I got used to it.



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