She gave it three months. If he was lucky. Her mother’s boyfriends never lasted longer than that. Even Patto, who wasn’t bad. This new bloke seemed alright. Three months. Maybe she should just tell him straight out, so he wouldn’t sweat on anything lasting. Nuh—let her mother have her fun then duck for cover at the end.

But it wasn’t the same. Not this one—Pete. He was nice. Treated her a bit like a daughter. Not too much. Not like she was his. But respectful. They shared jokes behind her mothers back. They watched the same bad TV shows. He helped her with her homework. Until the day she got home from school to find her mother drunk on the couch and his stuff all gone.

‘What have you done,’ she screamed. ‘What have you done.’ But her mother was too out of it to care.

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