Lucy sat on the edge of her bed, the small coloured square of blotting paper softly illuminated in the warm glow of the ceiling bulb as it lay between her fingers. A gust of wind from her bedroom window blew through the room, making her shiver as the noises from downstairs started up again.
"Why are you even here? I told you never to come back!"
"Well excuse me if I just want to pick up my things!"
Lucy let her head drop to her chest, letting out a sigh. It surprised her just a little how used she had gotten to the sound of angered shouting.
They had always had the occasional disagreement like any other couple, but recently it had been getting worse. So often now Lucy would find herself coming home to find her parents locked in a shouting match, so many times their family dinners would end with fierce arguments that had her running upstairs and burying her head under her pillow to avoid.
She slowly raised her hand, lifting the square towards her mouth. The fight began to increase in volume, and Lucy cringed. It was darkly nostalgic situation, so similar to the one that had precipitated this whole thing.
She lay on her bed with her iPod on full volume, but even that wasn't loud enough to drown out the vicious screams that permeated through the closed door. Through the pounding beat and the thudding bass, she clearly heard her mother's ultimatum.
"That's it! Get out of my house, I'm filing for divorce!"
Abruptly she flung herself to her feet, ripping out the earphones and throwing her iPod to the floor. Grabbing a coat slung over the back of a chair, she raced downstairs and out the back door, hurrying away from her house. She walked briskly, with no clear destination in mind, until the hushed voices and muffled laughter of the local park fell on her ears.
"Hey, Lucy! You want some?"
Out of the corner of her eye she recognised a group of her schoolmates.
"Come on, I won't even charge you your first trip."
A hand grabbed her arm, halting her movement, and a tiny square of paper was offered out to her.
"Everyone does it."
She looked down at the square, and for a single fleeting second she found herself ready to say yes, wanting to stop running from the people around her. But then the second was over.
"I don't do drugs," she said tersely, twisting herself free and stalking away.
It was a few more hours before she made her way home, pushing open the door to a thankfully empty foyer. Stepping inside, her foot kicked up against something and she bent down to see. Lying on the ground was her mother's engagement ring, the diamond glinting in the silvery moonlight seeping through the half-open door and the surrounding gold bent and twisted, as if it had been stamped on. It was not an image she would easily forget.
Lucy opened her mouth, gently settling the square onto her tongue. She let her lips fall closed and took a deep, shuddering breath, knowing that just a few months ago she never would have done this.
The taunting started soon after.
"Such a chicken, Lucy."
"Always mummy's perfect girl."
Normally it wouldn't have affected her, but that short moment when the temptation had almost proved too much to resist was suddenly taking on a new light.
"Mum, can I talk to you?"
"Not now, I'm trying to find a lawyer."
"I know, but this is important."
"I said, I'm busy.
"Please mum, I'm just not sure what to do because there are these people at school that-"
"Goddammit, Lucy, I don't have time for this! Do whatever you want!"
She let herself fall backwards onto her bed, tasting the bitterness that was beginning to seep through her mouth. She really had changed these last few months, and her parents didn't even realise how much.
"Finally grew some guts, eh? What will your parents say when they find out what their good little daughter's been up to?"
"Shut up, just give it to me."
Minutes passed and the yelling continued, but gradually the world began to distort. Lucy could feel her heart begin to pound and the blood begin to rush through her temples as the words of the argument morphed into shapes and colours that writhed and danced across her vision. Her last coherent thought was 'They won't find out, they don't care anymore.'
A lazy grin spread across Lucy's face as she let her head fall to the side, her dilated pupils falling on the half opened window and the stars of the night sky splaying across her blurred vision as a mass glittering diamonds.