Prologue

February, 2009.

In the early nineteen-seventies, Warren Finch had taken it upon his ten-year-old self to burn down a house. It was an empty house, next to the river, and it was an eyesore. He'd suffered from attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder. He was - loosely - the cause of the Finch Family Meltdown. Helen Finch met William Boyd when she started college. They were perfect for each other; she wanted to be a homemaker and find someone smart and fun and wonderful, and he wanted someone nice, who could look after him and make him laugh. In each other, they found those qualities. He went out to work as a big-shot lawyer, came back home a perfect husband, man and a secret gambler. She stayed home, cleaned, cooked, did umpteen loads of laundry a day, watched daytime soaps and occasionally wished that she had fulfilled her dreams of being a country and western singer. A family, specifically one child, followed. Her name was Isabelle. They loved her unconditionally.

And that would be me.

When I was eight, I caught my mother hitting my father on the head with a broken frying pan in our backyard. The actual part used for frying things fell off and landed on his foot, so the handle crashed into his forehead and caused a C-shaped gash. That was when I knew my family were nuts. As soon as I got into high-school, my mother found out about Dad's gambling addiction. It wasn't too serious, maybe my Mom exaggerated it, but for her, to stop the complaining, he quit. Then my Mom began heading out to karaoke bars and my Dad was not happy about her being near so many weird, hairy men that hung out in smoky downtown bars. So she stopped going. To cut a long story short, ever since the night she stopped singing, my parents have been sitting in the same sitting room, idly dancing around these issues as though it were a great, unwieldy elephant right between them. Then I came home fifteen minutes late to find them shouting at each other and stomping around the rooms, my mother trying to pack up all of my Dad's things and cram them into her big purple suitcase. They didn't notice me following them around, so I heard the whole thing.

"Oh, for the love of Christ, Helen, will you stop with this ridiculous singing dream? Honestly, it was ten years ago! And anyway, it's not as if you were what they were looking for...they were just stringing you along!" That's my Dad. He's tall, broad and going slightly grey, but he still looks the same as he did when he was thirty.

"Oh!" My Mom gasped. She's a short, red-haired woman with a predilection for flowery blouses and dangly earrings. She can be intensely dramatic. "Now, just you hold on a moment, Will Boyd! Mr. Williams had a recording session booked for me. Then you came along and screwed everything over for me, giving me all this crap about how we needed to compromise, ha! Compromise, my ass. We could be living in Florida, with a maid, and a cook, or we could actually afford a decent car, but no." She extended the 'o' in no to within an inch of it's life. Sometimes she reminded me of a teenager in her arguments.

"Oh, as if-"

Silence. Oh, lord, no. This is a horrendous sign. In arguments, my Dad usually begins to say something really, inconceivably stupid, but halts himself half-way through. "What? What's the end to this sentence, Will?"

Dad sighed. "Nothing, dear."

Mom folded her arms. "As if anyone would buy my records, huh? Was that it, Will?"

Dad looked down at his feet, ashamedly. At this point, in arguments, he usually starts silently blaming my Uncle Warren for making the family that he married into so strange and dysfunctional. Even though I was hiding behind the door, and he had his back turned to me, I could almost see him muttering yes. At this point, my mother scoffed and dropped the suitcase on the ground. "Get out, Will. Go and buy a damned lottery ticket..." She began walking towards the door, still not noticing my presence. My Dad sighed and flopped down onto the bed.

I meant to say that my parents didn't always argue, the way it seems to come across on paper. They just...bicker. It's very funny, usually, but that one particular argument forced them to separate for a while. Now they talk daily and they still love each other, except we're all living in different houses. Mom lives at one end, Dad lives at the other, and I'm in the middle. I spend four days at Mom's, and three with my Dad. Which is ridiculous- I'm twenty-five. I should be eligible to live on my own, and yet they always manage to coerce me in to staying with them. Don't get me wrong...I adore them both, but really!

So, this is why I'm now living in Sycamore Edge, across town. But none of this really matters...this has, essentially, has nothing to do with my story. It's just an introduction, I guess.

It all happened on a Thursday, quite a few years ago...

XOX

A/N: Howdy, all. Now, I know it's awful, but bless you if you've managed to get this far, LOL! This is my first real fiction - usually I'm over on , but I had this plot bunny which keeps on niggling at me - , and I am super, undeniably nervous, so PLEASE be nice and leave me a review :D

And if you must criticise, please be constructive. Thank you!

I think it's kinda slow...but I do promise it'll get better...hopefully!!

Ooh, and it's probably not all in the first person! And I'm using FAR too many exclamation marks.

Have a great rest of the day

R-L-B