From within the warm bedclothes, the pair peaked together before the young male dropped on top of her, unable to keep himself up any longer from excitement.

Lauren drew in a relaxed sigh, feeling the waves of excitement ripple through her body. She wrapped her arms around Chris's back, letting her hand press into it and push him further into her. At that point in time pleasure was the only thing in helping to dull her pain.

He closed his eyes, his broad chest pressing down onto her more voluptuous one. He didn't know how many times they'd gone or for how long they'd been at it, but he felt very sleepy and that was his cue to go – before he did literally black out. "I should get back."

"Are you sure?"

"With the state Clara was in earlier, I don't really like the idea of going back as late as tomorrow and finding her in an even worse state." He sat up in bed, making some sort of effort to get up, when he felt two hands on the tops of his arms.

"Leave her," she replied softly. "She's at the age where you can afford to leave her to her own devices for one night. As long as she looks after herself by taking her medication when she's meant to, what's there to worry about?"

He peered down at the floor quietly.

"I know there was one time when she disappeared but she didn't plan on upsetting you. Chris, there's got to come a time when enough is enough."

"I can't stop looking after her, Lauren," he slowly stated.

"I'm not asking you to stop looking after her," she answered, "but you've to let her go."

"'Let her go'?" He reiterated, a small frown appearing on his youthful features. He had never intended on letting Clara go. His only daughter – his beautiful little girl.
There was nothing little about her, she was seventeen going on for eighteen. But she'd lacked so much love that he just wanted to keep giving her that – making up for lost time, in a way.

"I know it sounds and feels foreign to you, but she might feel better if you're not on her all the time. Maybe that's why she's behaving the way she is. It could be her way of telling you she doesn't want you there all the time anymore."

"But we've spent so much time apart," he stated. "To let her go now would be…I don't know. To me it'd feel wrong."

Lauren came over a little more pensive when he set about dressing himself. "Is there something you're not telling me about Selena and Clara?"

"Something like what?"

She didn't say anything for some time. "How did she react when you told her that Selena had…"

He pulled his t-shirt back on. "Well, she was upset, of course. Who wouldn't be?"

"Yes, but how upset?"

Chris cast his gaze away in a surprised way. "How much is too much?" Going by his own experiences at the school, he knew that some girls had special relationships with each other. Clara's relationship with Selena was special and it's one she'd probably not forget.

"I need to know," she pressed him, "please, I…don't give me cryptic answers."

"It's not as though Clara forbade me to tell you," he noted, "but it's something she would find very personal."

"My daughter is dead," she stated shakily. "I think I have a right to know what they did."

He lowered an eyebrow at her. "Well they didn't fight, if that's what was bothering you." Prompting no response from her, he continued. "They were very close. That's all I can tell you."

"That's not good enough."

He drew in a small sigh, feeling his defences break down despite him wanting to keep Clara's relationship with her a secret. "They shared everything with each other."

"You don't have to soften the blow," Lauren replied slowly. "They had sex, didn't they?"

He said nothing but zipped up the fly on his trousers.

"They did…didn't they?"

"And you're going to hold it against them for doing it," he assumed, "or are you going to hold it against me as well? Why don't you blame all three of us?"

She shook her head. "I'm not out to blame anyone, I…" She sat up in bed. "It often bothered me how Selena was never interested in the boys at school before she got really sick. I thought it was from the medication she was on, but everything else going on with her was fine. I just didn't suspect anything…how could I have?"

"Lauren, Clara was not attracted to her," Chris replied, "they both wanted to make each other feel better when they had a sleepover at ours. She had feelings for her, sure, but there was no attraction."

"Is that why she didn't want to come over?" She wanted to know.

"No," he softly answered, "she wasn't happy with me and she'd gone off the idea of going anywhere. I may've fibbed about her the last time, but not now." He set about getting his jacket back on. "I should see if she's ok. Given her illness I'm not sure what state I'll find her in."

Clara hated the overpowering scent of the dye she'd used. That was one of the reasons why she was put off using them in the first place, if not for the fact that she'd always liked the way she looked.

Luckily, she didn't have long to wait but unfortunately she didn't expect to have to be confronted about it as her bedroom door opened and a slim figure stood in the doorway. She quickly shoved her towel over her head, hoping that the other person hadn't have noticed.

"You're sitting in the dark," Chris pointed out, "don't you want the light on?"

"No, not really," she rashly stated.

"What exactly are you doing in the dark anyway?" Ignoring her reply he switched the main light on.

"I didn't want it on," she shot at him, "or are you deaf?"

He came further into the room. "What's happened?"

"Nothing," she icily stated, knowing that she was unable to escape from his fixed gaze on her.

"It doesn't look like nothing," he bent down next to her on the floor, looking squarely into her piercing eyes. "You couldn't have stayed here the whole time, not when you were unhappy with me."

"I am unhappy with you," she replied, darting her gaze away from him, "I just hoped you weren't going to come back when you did…"

"So you're hiding something from me, is that was this is?"

Clara said nothing but cast her gaze over to what the time was. It was gone over the duration she should've left the dye on her hair. She got up from where she was sitting so that she could set about washing her hair through.

"And now I'm invisible as well as deaf," he continued, following her into the bathroom and watching her unwrap the towel from around her head. He froze in sheer horror at the state he found her in.

Her hair was no longer the shimmering brown colour he loved. It was a very rich, deeply set red.

Trying to avoid taking in the intoxicating scent of colorants that had soaked into her hair, he swallowed hard and came closer to her. "Why did you do that?"

"Why do you think?" She retorted. "I got fed up with my colour, so I decided to change it."

"No, you didn't," he stated knowingly, "you changed it on purpose and it wasn't 'cause you were fed up with it."

She drew in a small sigh as she made to position her head over the bath to use the shower to rinse the dye out. "Think what you like about it."

"You didn't need to change it," Chris kept on, "and you've never told me you didn't like it anymore."

"If that's what you think."

"Yes, it is," he started to feel a little sick from the scent that lingered in the room. "People don't do things like this impulsively. I know why you did it." He loitered outside the room so he could clear his head.

"I'm just…so annoyed at myself," she dimly admitted. "Everything about me…I hate myself."

"Dyeing your hair doesn't change who you are," he explained, "and it doesn't make you feel better either. I know you've lost someone and I know you were close to them, but…coping like this is not helping."

"Have you got any brighter ideas then?"

On that note, he disappeared out of earshot and all that she could hear was the sound of the flat's front door closing.

Swallowing hard, she hesitantly continued to rinse the dye out of her hair.