Aiden flopped onto the bed, adjusting the pillows under him. Lydia curled up on a cusion next to him, and Amelia lay on her front at the end of the bed.

'Let's see what's on,' Aiden said, reaching over Lydia for the remote on Mrs Smith's bedside table. He turned on the set and flicked channels.

'What do you guys watch?' Lydia asked. She kicked off the shoes, which were pinching at her ankles.

'I quite like the Vicar of Dibley, stuff like that,' Amelia admitted. 'And I watch the music channels a lot.'


'Yeah, music channels. Sometimes, I just flick through, see what's on.'

Aiden found a channel and sat back, sliding the remote away under a pillow. Lydia fixed her eyes on the screen. There was a girl sitting at a dining room table. Her long dark hair fell over her face as she sat gazing at her knees. A woman came in, holding a magazine and smoking. She took impatient little puffs as she stood glaring at the girl.

'Well,' the woman on screen sniffed, 'I'm glad to see it's growing out at long last.'

'Yes, Mum. Sorry Mum.'

'Well, it's too late for that now. Never mind. Once your roots have come through some more we can cut it short, no-one will know any different.'

'Yes, Mum.'

The woman sat down. She looked through her magazine. The girl just sat there, looking miserable. Lydia's eyes narrowed, and she glanced at Aiden and Amelia. They just watched the screen.

'You've been acting up,' the woman continued eventually,' ever since you met those two weirdos. I don't know WHAT they did to you, but... well. Never mind. Things are going to go smoothly from now on, aren't they?'

'Sure,' the girl mumbled.

'I'm sorry, could you say that again louder, please?'


'Look at me when I'm talking to you!' The woman slapped her magazine on the table. 'For God's Sake...'

The girl looked up, her eyes dark and smudged. 'Yes, Mum.'

'Good.' The woman stood, reaching over to straighten her daughter's collar. 'And wash that stuff off your face. You might think it's only a little bit but you can't fool me.'

The End

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