Once

5 years later

6th November

Graveyard

Dear Diary,
I'm going to look around Melif university tomorrow. I'd much prefer to go to Oxford but it's not possible. It's very far away and very expensive. I still don't know what I want to do, even though it's only a year until I go for an interview for one of them. I would like to do medicines, or Gramps suggested publishing - which sounds pretty boring if I'm honest. What I'd really like to do is teaching, but I'd like a bit of time for family trees, the Cardingtons and of course there's the small problem of lacking in confidence.

I'm worried what will happen to the Cardingtons when I leave. We've become so close over the past five years. With the money they saved because of me bringing food twice a week, they got some new furniture, clothes and a suit - which helped Dominick Senior get a proper job as a sales assistant. It's not just that I'm worried how they'll cope - I'm sure they'd manage, they had for seventeen years without me - but I'd miss them. Even untrusting Aleksander. Lilyana, the young, playful girl who always wanted lemon biscuits; Danica, the responsible, sweet now twenty three year old; Marisa, the motherly, kind woman who somehow persuaded anyone to do anything - a power which was always used ofr good, not evil. I'd even miss Dominick Senior: the man who could hit his son and not feel sorry. Somehow I understand his ways a little more than I did all those years ago.

But Dominick. I'd miss him most. He....... Uhm......... well..... . When he turned a blind eye on me, after the incident, I felt it then. Alone. Lost. It was a bit like I'd been pounded into the floor - nothing of conern. A crumpled heap of nothingness. I didn't know what to make of this feeling at the time and it still confuses me now. I feel a bit like that now, now I know I'm going to leave him behind - ony, more empty.

When I get back, I must go and see the family imediately. I would come home at half term and such holidays but it isn't really enough.

Now, back to the reason why I'm actually writing today. A few days ago, there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and Dominick was there. I'll record the conversation. I know it pretty much word for word in my head.

" 'Wow, found your house at last.' Dominick mused

'What are you doing here!' I screeched, 'If mum or Dianna were home...... As it is, you're lucky only Gramps is here, asleep as usual!'

'Well, I need to talk to you. May I come in?' He had a look of urgency in his eyes. What else could I do? I let him in and sat at the kitchen table.

'Mum's preganat again and dad just got arrested for theft.' "

I was speechless. Yes, Dominick Senior had done some shocking, outrageaous things - like slapping his son for instance. But theft? No I don't believe it. Even if they are tight for money (meaning they have five pounds at the most) and too many mouths to feed but not theft. Never.

Just then, the front door opened.  Mum and Dianna were home from shopping. If I didn't do something, we were stuffed. I'd be grounded for a year, menaing I couldn't help the Cardingtons for a year and all Dianna's year eight frineds would be laughing at me. Before long, everyone would know that I am friends with the poorest people in Harrington city. It's not a fact I'm ashamed of, it's just the type of things thAt are frowned upon, so best if not everyone knows.

I jumped up, pulling Dominick from his chair and dragged him to the door. Mum was calling me. I ran down the corridor to the stairs. Upstairs, quick, two or even three at a time. mum would be in the kitchen. She would know I'm home because my bag was there. No evading that. Up the next flight of stairs, to Grannie's attic room. Dominick would have to stay there for now. Hide, until they were gone. Out of the house. Then he could go home. Otherwise they'd find out.

Then the truth dawned on me. His mum was pregnant again. He couldn't go back. They didn't have the space or money to look after him. He had to stay here, in grannie's room. He slipped out this morning, to visit his family, and he'll come back late tonight. But he can't go back to stay. I have to sneak food up every morning and night, and during the day. He often goes out to find some work, during the day. He sneaks out while we're all at work or school, avoiding Gramps and trying not to wake him. But he no longer has a home, and no sooner than someone finds him, he'll be on the streets.

The End

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