Chapter 1

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     The harsh sound of the front door crashing open made me flinch. Autumn smells flittered into the dining room along with the bitter stench of alcohol. My slender hands gripped the mug tighter as the door slammed closed and the sound of uneven footsteps echoed in the silent house. The stench was getting stronger and stronger until finally my mother stumbled into the room. Her dark, brown eyes were bright while her black hair was in a messy bun. A silly smile was plastered on her face as she dropped into the chair in front of me.

     “Alice!” she hiccupped. “Guess what?”

     “What?” I murmured, staring into the mug.

    “There’s going to be a mother and daughter group therapy session this weekend,” she answered, beaming. “I signed us up!”

     “I’m not going,” I argued. “It’s a waste of time and money.”

     “No, it’s not!” she snapped before smiling once more. “It’ll be fun! You know, I heard Sarah and her mum were going. You two were both peas in a pod when you were younger! What happened?”

     “Life happened,” I answered bitterly, gripping the mug tighter, “and I’m still not going.”

     “Alice, what’s wrong?” she inquired, her eyes looking at me sympathetically. “You had so many friends when you were younger! What happened to all of them?”

     “They left.”


     The answer was more than obvious to me. Because they’re backstabbers, I thought angrily. But instead of answering my mother’s question, I shrugged and took a sip of the now cold, hot chocolate. My mother sighed at my silence before continuing to speak. “If you just get out of this slump, maybe you can get them back,” she suggested. “If you would just–”

     “Why can’t you understand that I don’t want to go?” I interrupted, looking up at her with narrowed eyes. “Why can’t you understand that every second we go to ‘family counseling’ is just a waste of time? Besides,” I added, “I’m not the drunk here.”

     “Alice!” she cried, her eyes widening. Her shock quickly turned into outrage at my statement. “You do not speak to me like that! I am your mother and you are most definitely going!”


     “No! I have had enough with this sour attitude of yours!” she screamed. “You are grounded and you are going!” Her face went slack with exhaustion.

     Heat rushed to my face as I slammed the mug down on the table and stood up. Cold, hot chocolate splashed onto the wooden table while silence filled the space between us as our eyes met in the dim lighting of the dining room. Looking into her eyes, I could see how much time had made her into a broken woman. Guilt gnawed at my heart and cautiously, I lowered myself back into my seat.

     “I’m sorry.” The words easily flew out of my mouth yet my eyes couldn’t make contact instead, I focused on the spilled drink.

     A sigh escaped her chapped lips. “It’s fine,” she murmured. “I shouldn’t have sprung this on you.” She ran a hand down her face and sighed once more before rising from her spot. Then quietly, she planted a kiss on my forehead; the scent of the hospital mingled with a bar engulfed me until she broke away and began to take slow steps towards her bedroom.

     “Don’t forget to take your medicine!” she called from upstairs.

As I laid on the couch, my phone vibrated on the table. The annoying buzzing of it was the only sound in the house; quickly, I stared at the caller ID before answering. “Hello, Aunt Carol,” I greeted.

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