‘I cannot believe you would be so stupid!’
‘Why on earth would you go and egg your teacher’s house, especially at a time like this? You know full well, a place in this house is a privilege, you do not get many chances to screw up here! There are so many children out there who’d give anything to be in this house, yet you go out of your way to jeopardise your place here! You’re just lucky that he’s not getting the police involved! He could, you know, what you did was vandalism.’
‘But it wasn’t me, I swear it!’
‘Oh, give over, you can’t deny it!’
The noisy screams of a toddler pierced the air, followed by another.
‘Oh jesus, I need to go see to those two. We’re not finished here!’
‘Fine.’ She sat back sulkily, crossing her arms.
Yeah right. I’m always pushed to the bottom of the pile. No-one gives a damn. Oh, screw it!
Angrily, she stormed into her room and ripped open the drawer on her dresser.
Rooting through, she finally found what she was looking for. Her fake ID.
Sod everything, sod everyone! I need a drink.
* * *
I know I’ll probably see you again before you receive this note, but I’m just writing to thank you officially for your wedding present. Matthew and I are so grateful! The set of pictures is beautiful, we’ve hung them in the living room, and the stone sculpture is out the front. You have a good eye!
Congratulations on passing your driving test! I knew you could do it, especially given the quality of teaching you received. I’m so proud of you! When I first met you as a delightfully annoying toddler I never dreamed that I’d one day see you terrorising the streets of Sunset Valley in a sleek convertible. Just you be careful!
Matthew and I have been in touch with your dad, and we’ve got tickets for your graduation. Best of luck with your final exams, you’ll do brilliantly! I’m already looking forward to the celebratory party! I’m so proud of you, Maria.
See you soon!
Love, Cassie x
Carefully reading over what she had written, Cassie folded up the letter and sealed it in an envelope, quickly addressing before placing it atop the small pile on her desk.
She knew that thank you notes were perhaps a bit unnecessary, especially as the people who came to the wedding had already been thanked for their presents, but she just felt it was polite. It was the one thing her mother had always insisted on, and she liked to keep traditions alive. After all, they were the only thing she had left.
Making sure that the stamps were all fixed to the letters properly, she gathered up her laundry bags and called goodbye to Matthew who was upgrading the shower in the bathroom. Sue was back in the Valley, and they were having a much needed catch up in the laundrette!
* * *
‘Oh Cassie, it looks like it was a beautiful ceremony!’ Sue gazed at the photographs Cassie had brought with her for the umpteeth time.’I’m so gutted I wasn’t there!’
‘Me too, Sue. It wasn’t the same without you!’
‘Yes, well, I have been told that I do make a wedding,’ Sue joked, handing the pictures back over to Cassie. ‘You looked totally gorgeous as well! I knew that dress would be the one!’
‘Be careful Sue, if you keep reminding me that you’re the one who found the dress I’ll make you my personal shopper!’ Cassie laughed, popping the photos back into her bag before checking on her machine. ‘Honestly, these things take forever! I can’t wait for the new laundrette to open on Skyborough Boulevard. It’ll be just round the corner for both of us!’
‘Yeah, I can pop and do my washing after the lunchtime rush! Oh, that reminds me! I meant to tell you before, but you distracted me with wedding stuff. I was serving behind the bar this lunchtime when some girl comes in, can’t have been older than fifteen, sixteen? Anyway, she orders a pint and when I asked her for ID she whips out some pathetic fake, says she was born on the 31st of February. Honestly, kids today! I saw her about half an hour later through the window, staggering down the street drinking a can of cider with a carrier bag from Everfresh Delights full of them. Felt like going down there and complaining! Their ID checks are clearly underpar!’
Cassie shook her head. ‘Honestly, I can’t believe it! I hope I won’t have to deal with this when Tristan gets to that age!’
‘I’m sure you won’t Cass, he’s a good kid. Where is he today, anyway?’
‘He’s on a scouting trip, they’ve gone up to Summer Hill Springs to learn fishing. He’s been excited about it for weeks, bless him!’
* * *
Uunf. Ow. Why is my bed so uncomfortable? Why are the curtains open? What’s going on?! Ouch, my head…
She decided to keep her eyes closed for a while longer. Maybe she would just drift off back to sleep if she did. That was what she needed. Sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.
And water. And some painkillers. Why on earth was her head hurting this much!
Grumbling quietly, she opened her eyes slowly, feebily shielding the light from them with a weak movement of her hand. Through the blur, the park slowly came into focus. Looking down, she saw a carrier bag full of empty cans on the floor. She hiccuped, and the taste of stale cider flooded her mouth. A wave of nausea flowed through her.
Paying no attention to her protesting limbs, she dragged herself upright and tried not to gag as the smell from a half finished can wafted under her nose. Trying to focus, she dragged a hand through her matted hair. Oh, how rough she felt. How very, very rough.
Blearily looking around, she realised what had woken her up from her blissful sleep on the bench.
A boy, in a scouting uniform. Crying. Each sob pierced her pounding head.
‘Hey. Kid.’ Her voice slurred; she was still a little drunk and her words were catching in her throat. The boy didn’t respond.
Sniffling and wiping a tear away from behind his glasses, the boy finally looked up. Making an effort, which was difficult under the circumstances, Ivy just about managed to focus on his face.
‘Do you mind not making such a bloody racket? I’m trying to sleep here!’