That's life.

This is story about a girl, a boy, and the person that stands between them. It's about a brother, a useless aunt and a missing dad. It's about an overworked Mum, a twin and 7 year old that grew up too quickly. But most of all, it's a story about love, in all its forms, and the damage it can do.

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1. Prologue

 

Just as snow is starting to fall on the ground, a girl saunters up the steps of a house. Her hands, numb from the freezing February air, dig inside her bag for her keys, and she lets herself in the front door, relieved to be out of the bitter cold at last. Dumping her much loved, battered school bag, she walks into the kitchen, where a boy of about 11 is sitting at a table, frowning at a crumpled, ink stained worksheet.

 

‘Hey, Sam.’ the girl says, leaning over his shoulder. ‘Watcha doing?’ The boy sighs and shoves the worksheet in her face.

 ‘Physics. Due in tomorrow. I don’t get what the hell it’s on about.’ The boy, who went into secondary school in September, is still getting used the homework overload and complicated time table that is thrust upon every year 7. The girl glances at the homework, which is on friction. She’s done it millions of times before, but for some reason her brain’s not working, so she hands the worksheet back to her younger sibling.

‘I’ll help you in a minute; just let me have a drink first.’ Whilst the girl is filling a glass with apple juice, a middle aged man enters the room, and starts getting ingredients out the fridge.

 

‘Hi, how was school?’ The man gives the girl a quick glance then goes back to his chicken fillets.

 ‘The usual. Boring.’ She simply replies, before taking a sip of juice.

‘Hey Dad, can you help me with this physics?’ the boy asks, watching his father put the chicken in a frying pan. The girl wonders why her brother bothers asking. It’s always the same answer, every time.

 

‘Sorry son, I’m useless at that. Anyway, not to worry, we don’t use any of that rubbish in the business.’ The girl shoots her father a dirty look.

‘And who says Sam’s gonna join your dodgy, lying, cheating, -‘

‘You watch your mouth, young lady!’ The man says, his voice rising as he fiercely throws red peppers into the frying chicken. ‘It may not be entirely legal, but it put that phone in your hand and that juice that you’re happily gulping down in the fridge, so if I were you I’d keep your mouth shut. We’re lucky, Stella. We’ve got enough money.’

The girl sneers.

 

‘Yeah, alright for us. Not so good for the people whose lives your ruining, the people who are spending all the money they have cos they’re so desperate for-‘

‘Shut up!’ The two have forgotten the boy, who is still sat in the corner struggling over his physics. ‘I’m sick of all your arguments! So please, just shut up!’

The man and the girl shut up.

 

The atmosphere in the kitchen is tense and awkward, so when the doorbell rings the girl gets it, desperate to be out of the room for a moment. She opens the door, and a cold blast of air hits her. Waiting in the snow are two policemen, complete with hats and bright yellow jackets, rubbing their hands together to get warm. They don’t smile at her.

‘Is your father Daniel Morgan?’ the older policeman asks. The girl nods, biting her lip. She can’t believe this is actually happening. Could it be that after 6 years, her worst nightmare was finally coming true?

 

‘Do you mind getting him for a moment, please?’

The girl nods again and runs down the corridor, almost tripping over her stupid, tatty school bag. Her heart is racing as she shakily calls for her father.

‘What is it now?’ the man replies, and when he sees her face, he drops his wooden spoon and walks briskly to the door. The girl follows, desperately trying not to throw up. When the man sees the police, he unsuccessfully tries to hide the fear in his face.

‘Mr Morgan?’ the older guy says. The man nods.

‘You are arrested for being involved in the smuggling and dealing of class A drugs. You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’

 

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