The Christmas tree was dead, so were half of the lights, no presents lay underneath, Erin's lip curled in disgust as she walked through her freezing cold house. Mam had gone out and he was here. She tip toed into her room and lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling. Mam was home. Screaming and shouting in the kitchen, something smashed, Erin crawled under her bed, like she did when she was young, she drew a blanket and curled up in a ball. Her bedroom door swung open, the smell of drink and cigarettes filled her room, she curled up tighter, she should've stayed with Josh. Why didn't she stay at Josh's? She didn't remember why? Someone grabbed her legs and pulled her out, she screamed and grabbed onto the legs of her bed. Her Mother was laughing, she couldn't see who had grabbed her but she knew who he was, he tugged at her jeans.
"Stop it!", she screamed kicking back.
She woke with a start. She was covered in sweat, she looked towards the voice, it was Josh.
"Are you ok?", he asked, his eyes were wide with fright.
"Yeah, yeah it's fine", Erin murmured.
"Are you sure?", he said studying her.
"It's fine, it was just a nightmare", she replied giving a half hearted smile.
"Ok then, goodnight".
Josh lay back down and turned on his side, within seconds he was lightly snoring. Erin lay back and stared up at Josh's ceiling, she looked at her phone, it was only 1:30am, she had a long night ahead of her.
A Week or so later
Chleo stood nervously at her front door, Dan took her hand and smiled.
"Everything will be fine", he said and kissed her on the head.
She unlocked the door and walked in, she could hear her family in the kitchen, probably playing scrabble or that stupid Monopoly game. She loved her family but her parents old-fashioned, 'wholesome' ideas, she hated. She walked into the kitchen with a big smile on her face, Dan followed her in.
"Hey Chleo, you're just in time for..", her Dad stopped as he saw Dan, "who is your friend?".
Chleo could hear the anger in her Dad's voice already, she swallowed, her mouth went dry. She tried to speak but the words wouldn't come out.
"I'm Dan", Dan said putting his hand out for a handshake.
Her Dad shook his hand and smiled.
"Kids you go on upstairs", her Dad said.
Her siblings ran up the stairs loudly, she knew they would wait at the top and listen to the conversation, in a house with 5 children there was so such thing as privacy.
"I thought we agreed no boys till after the exams Chleo".
He dropped Dan's hand and went to sit beside her Mother, who was already looking disappointed.
"Yes, well, you see", Chleo said, thinking about her words carefully, "Dan and I, have been friends for quite some time, and I felt that there was no time like the present so we have decided to become a couple".
Dan could sense the tension. They had made up a story to tell her parents, they met during the summer when Chleo went to Galway with Erin, they bumped into each other at a Museum and then later on at the Hotel, they had stayed in contact since then, with Dan meeting her in town for coffee every now and again.
"Well, I'm afraid darling that you can't be a couple", her Mother said in a soft voice, she forced a smiled, "I'm sure you are a very nice young man but our daughter is too young for a relationship...".
"I'm pregnant Mam", Chleo blurted out.
Her parents stared at her, as did Dan, he was under the impression they were going to ease her parents into it.
"I know what we said", she said to Dan before he could say anything, "Mam, Dad, there is nothing we can do about it. I'm pregnant. There no use bullshitting, we only know each other a few months, Dan is the baby's Dad".
Her Mother looked to her Father who was speechless. She could hear someone at the top of the stairs gasping and whispering. Dan shifted uncomfortably.
"Well", her father said slowly, "this is quite a shock".
"Mr. Ryan", Dan said suddenly, "I know what you must think, we're too young, but I hold a very high position in my Father's company, and I've just moved down to Dublin, money is not an issue, Chleo can still go to college or whatever she wants to do".
"Money isn't the problem", Chleo's Mother said, "you aren't married. You could split up any day now".
"We're not getting married Mam", Chleo said.
"I understand your worry", Dan smiled, "but my parents were married for 30 years, they recently got divorced, I don't think marriage cements anything. I love your daughter very much and I can promise you I will love this baby just as much".
Another few days later
Josh kissed Erin stomach lightly. She smiled and played with his hair. He kissed a bit lower again and ran his hands up her legs.
"Josh", she giggled, "stop it....ok no thats nice".
She bit her lip and moaned lightly, Josh kissed back up her body to her face.
"Ew you taste horrible", she said making a face.
"That would be you".
She pushed him over on his back and sat up on him, Josh smiled up at her, she had gotten so much more confident in herself, and here she was sitting naked on him.
"Oh somebody wants another go", she said smiling.
She bent forward and kissed him, he ran his hands along her curves and felt himself wanting her again. He rolled her on her back and she wrapped her legs around him, she moaned his name, he buried his head in the crook of her neck and moaned.
The door flung open and Billy stood in the doorway, Erin shrieked and grabbed the blankets over them. Josh lay down on top of her.
"Fuck sake, not again", he muttered.
He rolled off her and looked at Billy.
"Billy what the hell happend to you?", Erin asked, he was covered in dirt, he had a black eye and a burst lip.
He stared ahead, not saying a word. Erin wrapped the blanket around her, leaving Josh naked in the bed.
"Hey!", he exclaimed.
"Billy?", she said ignoring Josh.
"Frank", he said, he looked at her, his eyes were glazed over, "Frank's dead".