Demitri O'Malley was not an ignorant little boy. He knew very well that many people thought he was, and he never bothered to prove them wrong. The seven year old found that his life was better if he just kept his mouth shut, and that was what he was doing at this moment. There was no one to talk to anyway.

"Do not tell me that I don't know about hard work, Jonathan! Don't you dare tell me that!"

"All I was saying is that you don't seem to understand that I know about hard work! That's all I was--"

"I know what you were saying!"

"I don't think you ever will if you keep interrupting me!"

All Demitri could do curl up and wait it out. His bedtime was eight-thirty. This one was a long one.

Finally, the voices died down enough so that Demitri could only hear unintelligible murmurs, tinged with bitterness but none of the malice that the previous shouting match had contained. Still Demitri could only cower until he was sure it was over, his hazel eyes watering with frightened tears. He pulled his pillow over his head to drown out any additional noise.

This had been happening for as long as the little boy could remember. His parents, bitter and overworked, tended to take out their stress on one another unbearable bickering, leading one to believe that the love in their marriage -- if there had been any at all -- had faded away shortly after Demitri was born, an event that had prompted his mother to get a second job and his father to work longer hours.

Despite this, Jonathan and Elizabeth O'Malley gave whatever love and affection they had left in them to their son, and tried to keep their problems to themselves. Demitri hadn't had the heart to tell them they weren't succeeding.

They told him how wonderfully he was growing up, and when he turned seven he was terrified of hearing those comments, not that he would say anything. Growing up, growing up to be like his parents. His parents were so stressed and unhappy, they were angry all the time. And though poor Demitri tried to convince himself otherwise, he knew he was going to end up the same way. Unless, of course, he did something about it.

At that very revelation, it was decided. Demitri O'Malley was never going to end up like his parents, no matter how old he got. He wasn't going to be unhappy anymore, he wasn't going to let any of those arguments get to him, he wasn't going to be bitter for the rest of his life.

He would do as he pleased and have as much fun as he could, and convince himself that he had all the time in the world to enjoy his life.

Demitri O'Malley wasn't, under any circumstances, going to let himself grow up.