If Nora knew now what she were soon to learn, she'd run. She'd hide. She'd lock her doors, thus locking out reality, but like most in her situation, Nora carried on her day as though nothing was different.

It was a Friday morning, with a cold, sharp wind blowing in through the window of her room which must have given way under the pressure of the storm last night.

Nora reluctantly got out of bed to shut the window, wiping the sleep out of her eyes as she went. She examined the window frame to check for any signs of damage but found none. Nora found this strange, though to Nora, this whole town was strange so why should her window be an exception?

Her alarm clock read at it was merely 6am, she had a good hour or so left before she had to get ready for school but she decided, what's the point? I'll never get up twice.

Heading down the hall way, Nora could sense something was different. She looked down, and yes, the carpeting was as burgundy and horrible as ever. She looked to her sides, and sure enough, the walls were painted the same tinted magnolia she'd known all her life. The little table by the stairs was the same, with the same draw, slightly ajar because it was handmade, crafted from a smoky mahogany type wood. The same plain china dish a top for little things found here and there. The same lamp, tall and white besides the table ... that's it! The lights and lamps were on.

Come to think of it, there was hushed talking coming from the living room. Obviously someone didn't want her to hear whatever was going on.

An unmistakeable sense of déjà vu almost swept her of her feet as she tiptoed her way to the newly repaired staircase, as silently as humanly possible of course. Last time Nora had needed to spy on her own mother like this was when the police came about her dad. She could remember clearly the chocked whisper of a cry being suppressed by her mum as the police told her the news of that fateful night before. Nora herself, slammed straight into a brick wall of pure black denial. Soon that wall grew and encased Nora until the walls were so high and tight to her body, all she knew was blackening hatred, denial and coldness.

Even on this new path that Nora leads today, she often comes across a few of those black bricks lying on the side lines, never really gone for good. They would taunt the moments Nora would cherish; they would taint the colour of a perfect view. All though these bricks are not always there 24/7, they are never forgotten for good.

A tip Nora's father had told when she was twelve or so, was that when deprived of one sense, the others would heighten. He told her this because they were on a road trip, and all she would ask is, 'are we there yet?' The trick of this information was to stop her talking so she could pick up on things outside to tell where they were. It didn't work.

Nora put this into action, she shut her eyes, depriving her vision, she shut her mouth, depriving her of the taste of acrid stale air, and crossed her arms, depriving her of the ability to trace the wood and cause an extra distraction from her goal. Now, Nora focused all her extra senses on her hearing.

There was a fair distance between her and where her mother sat talking in the Living Room, and the kettle boiled from the fireplace right next to her mum, but Nora could make out bits of what was being said.

Nora was glad to hear it wasn't Detectives Basso and Holstijic, but felt unsettling torment as she could tell clearly from his voice that he was the local warden who used to give talks on drugs and things at school. Why was a warden in her house this early on a Friday morning?

"Blythe, we're going to have to tell her soon." The voice was male, husky with a sense of deep sympathy to it. "I'm going to have to tell my girls soon. Nora can have a couple of little sisters to spend time with, wouldn't she like that?" It wasn't so much of a question but a statement.

Nora most certainly would NOT like a 'couple of little sisters', she thought briskly to herself. Nora had always liked being an only child, not because she got more attention, but because she liked order. She liked knowing where her things were, she liked people leaving her things be, and she liked not having a reputation to live up to in school and, well, basically a reputation in general.

Then the blow finally struck home to her. Why on earth would I have little sisters and what the hell do they need to tell me! They certainly got to explain this!

"I know, I know John, it's just I'm not sure how she will take the news, it hasn't even been two years since her dad, and she still cries."

Nora was beginning to get annoyed. I do not cry ... often, She added to herself, and John? Why is my mum calling my warden by his first name?

Nora's confidence shattered as she heard floorboards creek under sudden new weight. John must be getting up, Nora thought to herself, with a force of spite and anger she wasn't used to. Except for the early days with Patch that was.

Nora's tension eased as she thought of Patch. From here she could see the Kitchen and flashbacks of that night with Patch in the kitchen came swimming back, along with the blood that now brightened her pale cheeks to a warm rosy glow. That'd been a good night, she thought to herself. Had it really only been a few months ago, seems like an entirely different lifetime.

She thought of the first day they'd been properly introduced, that evening down in Bo's arcade, where he'd said his biggest dream was to kiss me, well that dream has certainly come true. More than once.

Nora giggled at the memories; they filled her with a sense of belonging, a reason to be. A reason to stay, not only here, but alive. Nora had sworn to herself, the morning after Jules had died, that she would fight with every inch she had in her to spend every millisecond longer she could spend with Patch.

"Oh, goodness, Nora ... Honey, what are you ... uh doing up this early?" Her mum's voice had chased off what she was thinking and now Nora herself was searching for the answer, completely forgetting everything that she'd just heard for a few seconds, finding the answer that was burning in her throat moments earlier just a few moments too late.

"Huh? What?" Nora asked disoriented "Oh, right, yeah. So what is it that you've got to tell me?" she asked, putting on the bravest face possible and bracing herself for the absolute worst answer ... but she didn't know what that answer was.

Her mum turned to John and quickly ushered him out the front door, apparently it was his turn to be in the dark, Nora thought sourly.

"Honey, how much did you hear?" Her mum was obviously very nervous and began picking at her nails, nervous habit.

"Enough." Nora replied bravely. This always seemed to get people spilling their guts, more than what they heard, in the movies. Nora hoped it worked that way in real.

"Oh honey, I been meaning to tell you for a few days now, but things just kept coming up. I wanted it to be the right moment, but I guess ..." her mum's voice trailed off inaudibly and Nora still didn't have her answers. She'd have to try another way.

"Explain!" Nora demanded, probably with a little too much force, but she wasn't in the mood for caring. "From the beginning."

"Well," her mum began nervously, "it all began about three months ago, you remember, when we had the house fire?" More like when Dabria set the house on fire. Her mum seemed to be waiting for a response, so Nora simply nodded from where she was perched at the top of the stairs. "Ok, well, Joh ... Officer Taylor was one of the detectives that came about it, and he was being so sweet. Then one thing lead to another, and," her mum was beginning to rush, obviously something big was coming up and she just wanted to get it over with, "and well first it was just dating ... but then, remember last week when I went to yoga?"

Her mum was waiting again so she nodded very slightly, "Well, it wasn't yoga, I went out to dinner with John, and he, and now honey, if you have a problem with this, just say. He, well, proposed."

Nora chocked on the breathe she'd been holding and began spluttering. She gripped the banister for support and her mother began racing to her aid.

As her mother drew closer Nora pulled back, she kicked her way back until all that was left behind her was wall, all the while, she clutched one hand to her throat whilst franticly waving one between her and her mother, a warning to keep her distance. Nora was in shock at the moment, she had no idea what she was capable of, and deep down in her subconscious, she screamed that she didn't want to find that out. At least not with her own mother.

"Nora! Baby, are you ok? Let me help. Calm down." All this was just a ringing in Nora's ears, an incoherent babble. "Nora, listen."

Nora really didn't want to listen. She started to kick to prevent her mother advancing on her and scrambled carelessly across the carpet till she found the cold, relieving wooden planks of her bedroom floor. She quickly scrabbled to slam the door behind her.

Engaged. How could she! Selfish!

Nora slumped to the door and slowly slid down until she was sitting, her forehead resting pleadingly on her knees, and her back securely to the door.