My name is Hadley Fuller-Smith. I was born in 1985 in a town not too far from Sydney, Australia, where I lived for the first few years of my life. When I was around four or five, my parents decided to move to the USA, and set up camp with me and my older brother Cayden in Hollywood, California. I think maybe we were the only people that moved into Hollywood without the urge to chase after fame we’d never get, but that’s not the point.
My relationship with my late brother wasn’t exactly the best, but thankfully we were on better terms when he passed. Oh right, you didn’t know about that, did you? See, Cayden used to sleep around a lot, and he never liked using condoms. One day it caught up with him and he caught HIV from one of his old high school teachers. Which brings me onto Maxxie.
Max Fuller was and still is the love of my life. I married him at nineteen and... And I’d outlived him by the time I was twenty seven. See, he kind of cheated on me with my brother, since they were going out before I even met Maxxie, and he just so happened to cheat on me when Cayden had freshly contracted HIV. He didn’t know about it at the time, don’t get that impression. If there’s anything I know, it’s that Cayden wouldn’t do something as stupid as not using a condom with Maxxie if he knew he had HIV.
And then there’s Danny and Lily. I’m a broody little woman of a man and I’d always wanted a family with lots of kids and hundreds of grandkids and nieces and nephews, you get the idea, so after five years, Maxxie finally gave in and agreed to adopt. And it just so happened that there was this perfect little girl in the hospital I work at with a broken arm who came from the local orphanage. Her name was Lily and I fell in love with her the second I spoke to her. And then there’s her twin Danny. Danny’s... He’s a little different, too say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love him to pieces and I wouldn’t change him for the world, but he has no confidence in himself and he’s happier to just ignore someone til they go away than try and start up a conversation with them. And because of that, he came with a whole load of anger issues, which were made worse by the fact that him and Lily have been bounced around foster homes like a rubber ball. We’d never really talked about it with him but apparently one of the foster parents they had couldn’t cope with him being a little weird and they used to hit him or something like that.
Anyway, thanks to a lot of hard work on mine and Maxxie’s part, Danny had really come out of his shell, and when Maxxie died he just snuck back on in there. He was probably worse than when we adopted him, but that doesn’t mean I love him any less. He’s still my precious little baby and if anyone hurts him they’ll have me to deal with. I got fucking stabbed, okay? I’m hardcore.
I’d had to leave the kids with my parents for the reading of Maxxie’s will, and it was a pretty short reading given that he’d left everything to me. He’d already transferred his money into my bank account so we didn’t have to pay the tax on it, and he’d put a bit into a couple of accounts for the kids, but other than that, it was literally all left to me. I’d felt a bit bad that he hadn’t left anything to his mom or to Alex, his best friend since forever, but I s’pose his mom had the childhood memories and pictures that I’d never had, and Alex had his insane, nymphomaniac, ginger husband who he met through me.
I’ll admit now, I was pretty jealous of Alex. He still had someone. I’d spent a lot of time with Cayden’s childhood sweetheart, John Ocala, since Maxxie died. Don’t think we were giving each other pity sex or anything, it’s just John knew how it felt. Him and Cayden had had a quickie Vegas marriage when they found out Cayden had HIV, and he’d died a couple months later. And as nice as it was having someone to talk to that’d felt how I was feeling, it wasn’t enough for me. Every night once the kids are in bed I just sit there crying. I feel so fucking alone without Maxxie around, and there’s fuck all I can do about it. I’ve been told that fucking some random person will help me feel better because it’ll make me feel wanted and not so alone, even if it’s only for the night, but I don’t want to go down that path. And I don’t want to follow in my brother’s footsteps and choose the alcoholic, agoraphobic path either. I just... I need a hug.