Allie is born with a facial disfigurement. She decided from the age of nine she would be single forever. Then Tom comes along.


7. The Past

'Do you remember me telling you that my Dad left us before we moved here?' He asked.


'Well, about three years before we moved, my parents started fighting. A lot. It was all they did. They would fight about anything. Even something as stupid as forgetting to put the trash out. Then, about 8 months later, things started to get more serious. He started to hit Mom. He would come home drunk every night and hit her. This went on for about 6 months. Then he started to hit me and Bex too. My Mom did what every other Mom would do, she told him to leave. She was too scared to tell the police.

We were a happy family, me, Mom and Bex, for a while. Occasionally, a drunken Dad would come round in the evening, pounding on the door, yelling at us to let him in, so he could see his kids. Those were scary times. We had to turn all our lights off, lock all the doors and windows and hide in the kitchen until he was gone. We couldn't make a sound, we just had to pretend that we weren't in. Mom used to jump at every single sound, and I knew she didn't sleep well.

But then, one day, Dad went completely crazy. He came to the house with a can of petrol, an axe and some matches. He threatened that he would set the house on fire if we didn't let him in. Mom didn't believe him, she didn't let him in. So he went at the door with an axe, letting himself in. We were hiding in the kitchen again at the time.

He found us. It was the scariest moment of my life. He threw petrol all over the kitchen and set it on fire. Then he just ran away. I think, in that moment, he realised what he'd done. We did manage to get out of that fire, but, as you can see, Bex was badly burnt. There was a time when we didn't think she'd get through it, but she was ok. It was a miracle, they told us.

Dad ended up handing himself in to the police. He realised he needed help. Then we decided to move to England and make a brand new start.

Before that fire I was vain as hell. I thought the world revolved around looking perfect. But then I saw what happened to my beautiful sister, and I realised she was still beautiful to me. And that's why I hate shallow people. They don't see what's on the inside.'

He finished, then realised he had a tear trickling down his cheek. He wiped it away, embarrassed.

'Oh, Tom...' I breathed. Then, all of a sudden, we were hugging. I was holding him, and he was clinging onto me, and I could smell his hair and his deodorant and feel his deep, warm breathing.

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