Todd stayed a respectful distance from Harper as she cried and said nothing to her when she was ready to leave. He simply offered her a tissue and held the car door open as she climbed in. Harper pulled down the mirror and fixed up her make-up. She wasn’t going to let a few tears mess up her night. She was determined to enjoy the party, she knew it would be only too soon before she had to return to Crow Creek.

“Hey Todd,” she said as they passed the coffee shop that he mother used to take her to, the first Sunday of every month. She had a sudden feeling of nostalgia.

“Hmmm?” Todd murmured as he concentrated on his driving.

“Would you mind taking me past my old house on the way to the party?” Harper asked.

Todd sighed, “Urm ok, only if you’re sure,” he said, Harper smiled, poor Todd had probably had is fair share of crying girl for the day.

“I promise I won’t cry,” Harper said, “And it’s not that far out of the way.”

“Ok then.” Todd took the next left on to the street that Harper had grown up on. It was a long street, a good couple of miles long. Harper’s house was the third from last at the other end of the street. So she had plenty of time to stare at the familiar houses. They were all nondescript, pale blue bungalows. Some with garages, some without, some had trees in the front gardens, others were completely tarmacked over. It didn’t look like much, but Harper’s heart felt warm just from being there.

Todd pulled the car over into a space two houses away from Harper’s; he turned to her and tilted his head, silently asking her if she wanted him to accompany her. Harper shook her head and climbed out of the car. Even in the dark she could see the perfect outline of her house. It was the only one on the street with a picket fence. Harper’s mother had insisted on one, she said that any civilised human being should have of two things, a picket fence or a copy of Planet Earth on DVD. Harper let out a spluttered cough cross laugh and the memory of her mother telling her very seriously one diner time that since Harper’s father had neither he was no better than a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. 

Harper pushed open the gate and stepped on to the gravel path. In the short time that she had been away, weeds had begun to creep onto the pathway. Harper kicked them as she headed towards the front door. She didn’t have her key so she just stood there for a moment, she knew how silly she must have looked, staring at a front door of an empty house, but she didn’t give a damn. Sighing, she turned and started down the path once more, that’s when something caught her eye.

It was a ‘For Sale’ sign tacked onto the corner picket of the plot. For a moment Harper thought it was for the house next door but on closer inspection she saw her house number written in the bottom corner. Anger burned through Harper. This was HER house; her mother had left it to her in her will, the only thing of value that she had to give.  There could only one person responsible for this. The house wasn’t legally hers until she hit twenty-one. Until then it was in her father’s hands. He had control of all her assets. This was his fault. Harper kicked open the gate and stormed back towards the car. There was no way she was going to let him get away with this.

“Are you alright?” Todd asked as she slammed the door.

“Fine,” Harper replied, “Just fine.”  

Todd sniffed but decided it wasn’t worth his while. Sighing, he pulled away from the curb and started off towards the party, ignoring the fuming girl sat beside him.

The party was in full swing by the time that Harper walked in. Almost everybody was there; even the freshmen’s had snuck their way in. Harper smiled and greeted each one of them with a smile and a wave. By the time she had reached the kitchen she was in serious need of a drink.

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