“S…sorry.” Willow whispers.
“Morning Hannah.” He says, giving me a hug.
I hug him back tightly. As harsh as my dad can be, I still love him. I can feel Willow glaring at me, I know she is jealous and I can’t blame her. He kisses my head and walks back to his room. Once I am sure he is in his room I quickly take a dustpan and brush out from under the sink and start to clean up the shards from the plate. Willow glares at me angrily.
“I know you’re angry at me.” I say.
“No shit Sherlock.” She hisses angrily. “You get to be daddy’s little girl whilst I’m just the person who killed mum.”
“Willow, you didn’t kill mum.” I say.
She scowls angrily at me. I put the mess in the bin and the dustpan and brush back in the cupboard. I go to help Willow with the cuts on her hands but she moves away from me and storms into her tiny room. I sigh, Willow resents me for being dad’s favourite. Dad resents her because he blames her for mum’s death. I vaguely remember mum. She died when I was four, when she gave birth to Willow.
“Bye Hannah.” Dad says, giving me a hug.
“Bye.” I say, hugging him.
He quickly leaves for work and once the door closes Willow races down into the living room and leaps onto the sofa. I walk into the living room to see Willow curled up on the leather sofa watching the news.
“Why are you watching this?” I ask. “Don’t most kids watch cartoons?”
“Can you at least get dressed?” I ask. “You’re going to Aunt Liane’s later today.”
“Ugh. Do I have to?” Willow asks.
“Willow, dad’s at work and I’m going to the tennis club. You’re twelve, you can’t stay home alone for two hours.” I reply.
“Yes I can.” Willow snaps.
“Well dad doesn’t want you to.” I say. “You know how he is.”
“But Aunt Liane sucks.” Willow groans.
“I know she does but you have to go.” I say. “Now get dressed.”
Willow groans but runs upstairs. I take my water bottle from the previous night out of the fridge and take my tennis racket out from the cupboard. I tie my long, curly blonde hair into a ponytail and put on my lime green cap on. I run upstairs and put on some sun cream. I grab my yellow backpack and pack a baggy tie-dye t-shirt that’s so big it goes down to my knees, blue denim shorts along with some sandals.
“Willow, are you ready?” I ask.
“Hang on!” Willow snaps.
I run downstairs and pace up and down nervously. Someone knocks on my door and I open it.
“Hi Nick.” I say. Nick smiles at me. Nick is someone I met at the tennis club. He moved from Liverpool a few months ago with his dad. He’s wearing a grey t-shirt, and black shorts with his large navy glasses. “You cut your hair.” I say, looking at his curly blonde hair which is short at the sides but long and curly at the top.
“Yes?” He says.
Willow runs down the staircase, her black hair in braids. She’s wearing a short, black denim skirt with a tattered old red t-shirt.
“Hey Nick.” She says.
“Hi Willow.” He says.
“Are we going?” She asks.
Nick nods his head and we all get into his car. I take a breath of relief when I feel the cool a.c. It’s only thirty-one degrees outside but here’s a fact about the UK. When it’s thirty degrees in Spain it feels like thirty degrees, when it’s thirty degrees in the US it feels like thirty degrees, when it’s thirty degrees in the UK it feels like your hanging over a pit of goddamn lava after being cooked alive in the sun!
We drive to Aunt Liane’s, Nick and I have an intense debate about who is worse, Jeremy Corbin or Theresa May.
“Hey, Romeo, you passed the apartment.” Willow says.
“Sorry.” Nick says, quickly parking.
“I’ll see you later.” I say.
“Bye!” Willow says, quickly getting out of the car.
“Adios.” Nick says.
“Ella toma francés.” I say.
Translation: She takes French.
“Close enough.” Nick says as he drives to the tennis club.
“It really isn’t.” I say.
Nick starts playing a song and I sing along. Nick begins singing with me and I have to keep telling him to pay attention to the road. He parks by the club and he takes his racket out. I follow him inside where we’re greeted by our coach.
“You two are late.” He says.
“Sorry coach but it’s only by a few minutes.” Nick says.
“If you two weren’t the best on the team you’d be out by now.” Coach Davies says.
Nick and I grin as we walk out into the tennis courts. Everyone was already warming up with rally’s. Nick and I frown, the only available court is the one with zero shade. But I guess that’s what we get for being late.
***************Two hours later***************
“Fifteen thirteen, we win.” Nick says.
I smile and give him a high five, we would’ve hugged but we had both sweat through our clothes. I grab my water and go to drink it but there’s none left.
“I’m going to die of dehydration.” I moan.
“Drama Queen.” Nick whistles.
“You’re sweating like a heroin addict.” I say.
Nick rolls his eyes but grins as my phone buzzes. I look at it and quickly reply. Aunt Liane’s asking what give Willow for lunch. If you haven’t already guessed, Aunt Liane isn’t very good with kids despite babysitting Willow and I like a thousand times. I quickly type, just a sandwich is good.
“Right! You’ve all done good today!” Our coach bellows. “Great practise for our match in a few weeks!”
We all thank him and pack up.
“You coming back to mine?” I ask.
“Yeah I’m free.” Nick replies.
I smile as we walk into the clubhouse. I go inside the girls’ toilets and change into my tie-dye t-shirt and shorts. I walk back outside to see Nick has also changed.
“Remember, we need to pick up Willow.” I say as we clamber into the car.
Nick’s phone buzzes as we do up our seatbelts. He looks at the message and sighs.
“Never mind, I can’t come ‘round today. My dad needs me to help him with something.” Nick sighs. “But I can still pick up Willow and drop you two off.”
“Thanks.” I say as we drive away. “But is everything ok?”
“Yeah.” Nick says unconvincingly.
We drive to Aunt Liane’s in silence. I’ve learnt one thing about Nick. Don’t question his family life. His mum died when he was two and his dad got in a car accident and was paralyzed from the waist and down so he’s in a wheelchair. Nick has to take care of his dad a lot so most of our conversations, when we’re not at tennis, is spent on the phone.
We stop outside Aunt Liane’s and I quickly get out and knock on the door. Aunt Liane opens it, smelling of cigarettes. Aunt Liane isn’t actually a relative but we see her a lot. She’s about thirty something with long purple hair that’s in a messy bun. She’s wearing tiny shorts and a purple tank top.
“Hi Liane.” I say.
I quickly push past her, I don’t know why dad makes Willow stay with her. Liane is just an alcoholic junkie. I run into the spare room that’s just where Liane keeps her cigarettes and other things. Willow looks up and glares at me angrily.
“I hate you right now.” Willow snaps.
“I’m sorry I’m sorry.” I say.
Willow looks fuming. She walks over to me and we leave the apartment.
“Bye Winnie.” Liane says, closing the door.
“I hate you. I hate her. I hate dad.” Willow snaps as she gets in the back seat of the car.
“What’s wrong?” Nick asks.
“I hate everyone right now.” Willow snaps.
I sigh as Nick drives away. I know Liane shouldn’t be allowed within two miles of children but when Willow complained dad lost his shit. He was yelling, and screaming, and insulting at the top of his lungs. He said that Liane may not be the best but Willow should stop being such an ungrateful bitch. When I suggested not having Liane babysit dad also got mad at me. We no longer complain about Liane.
“Are you two ok?” Nick asks.
“Fine.” Willow snaps.
“I’m ok.” I reply.