SUNSET

I stare at Destiny. I try to work out how she feels about all of this. Her eyes show excitement, yet her hands feel slightly sweaty. Perhaps I am holding her hand too tightly. No. She is just nervous. I know she doesn't want a repeat of last time's meeting (being kicked out of the garden and screamed at). I can tell she is dead scared of Mum. She knows what Mum would do if she got too relaxed with dad, too playful with Sweetie and Ace, or too friendly with me. Even now, Mum still doesn't believe that Destiny has anything to do with our family. Even if Destiny did have nothing to do with us, she would still be the best friend I ever had. Suddenly, I can see Debs hurrying over to us, and I quickly tightened my grasp on Destiny's hand. Something about Debs makes me shudder. Perhaps it is her authority, or her ripped jeans. Yikes! Maybe they aren't fashionably ripped after all! Maybe she likes to fight! Destiny glances at me, looking freaked out that I am holding on to her so tightly, that my knuckles look like they are about to burst through my skin.

Luckily, Debs is beaming from ear to ear, so I don't think she's going to make my jeans be 'fashionably' ripped like hers. "Hi, girls!" she trills, "Well done Destiny, that was fabulous. Seeing you with Danny, well, I practically cried!" Destiny looks a bit surprised by this, but smiles awkwardly. I want to take her straight up to my room to talk, but Debs isn't finished.

"And, dear Sunset, you simply saved the day by showing us that tape! Now, girls, the show is on tomorrow night, so you will have plenty of time to prepare. What will you wear though? I suppose we could have Danny wearing his gothic clothes, and you two wearing those jeans and t-shirts. The gloves are nice, though I better get you new pairs as those are quite worn out now. Which reminds me…" Debs is wandering off, muttering about going grocery shopping later. Destiny lets go of my hand. Her fingers are going blue through her gloves. I think she might be angry, but then she laughs and makes conversation.

"Sunset." She whispers. "Sunset, I owe you big time. You have given me a chance to sing!" she says this like I have just given her a golden mansion.

I shake my head. "I am just glad I can finally be with my sister." Destiny nods. Then I notice that she's got a whole load of luggage with her.

"Gosh! Have you been lugging that around everywhere? Here, we'll take it up to my room. You can sleep there or in the guest bedroom. Which one?"

Destiny looks sad. "I'm sorry," she sighs, "But Debs

has booked Mum and I a room at the Stars hotel. She, I mean, we didn't think that we would be welcome here. You know, with your mum and everything."

I stare at her. I can't believe it. "Who cares about Mum! You have to sleep here, you just have to!" I'm losing it, but I can't let her sleep in a hotel. She's my sister! Mum has ruined everything. This is all going wrong. Out of the corner of my eye I can see Dad. He is talking to Rose May, his manager, but he is the only one that could help. I charge over there, ordering Destiny to wait. I look at Dad. He looks angry until he sees me. He gives me a huge, fake smile and says half heartedly, "Sunset! What a wonderful surprise. What is it sweetie?" I can't help but think he's gone nuts. What is he talking about? I live here, so why is such a surprise to see me? I try to forget about this and tell Dad to invite Destiny and her mum to sleep here tonight. So I gabble to Dad about needing more practice time, and could Destiny please stay with us?

He looks uncertain, but Rose May nods, and says that she doesn't want any mistakes on the night, and that it will be a good idea if we can practice in the evening. Then she tells me to hurry up and get Destiny unpacked so that we can sort everything out. So I whizz off to tell Destiny.

We walk upstairs, Destiny awing at every painting, every piece of furniture and every toy that Sweetie and Ace have left lying around. When she sees my room she goes crazy.

"It's so big!" She squeals. I can see her bouncing on the bed, playing in WardrobeCity and singing all of my songs. But at the moment she's standing stock still and I think she might be about to faint.

"Destiny?" I call, "Destiny? DESTINY!" I am scared now, what is wrong with her?

Suddenly, she blinks. "Huh?" she mumbles, looking bewildered. "Sorry, I was just, mm, mesmerized, yeah?" I frown. Destiny was in a dream world just then, and I know she would need some time to get used to the size of our house, the paparazzi and journalists constantly milling around, but still, she looked like she was dying. I shiver. I run over to the bed, and fumble under there and grab my book of songs. I find In My Black Clothes. Destiny grins.

"You're an amazing song writer, Sunset." She tells me, and I flush with pride. I quickly mutter my thanks, then hum the tune to her. She picks it up really quickly. Having sung it to the death, we collapse onto my bed. We are quiet for a while, lost for words. I know that neither of us ever believed that this would happen. Suddenly, Destiny jolts forward. I look at her. "Are you ok?" I ask, the same worry shooting through as when Destiny couldn't hear me.

"I'm fine." She splutters, "But are you? That song. It's so sad. It's really good, but, I mean, is it true? Do you really feel so miserable? I mean just look at it! The colour of death? I sob and sigh? No one loves me? I wonder why I carry on drawing breath? Sunset? I know you wrote this when times were tough, but are you still sad? Talk to me, Sunset, tell me…"

I can't believe it. I thought she understood. She knew why I wrote it. When I was with her I felt better. Now I wasn't so sure.

DESTINY

I kept glancing from the music to Sunset. I am scared. Sunset isn't moving. She looks like she's going to be sick. Luckily, I came prepared. I get really car sick, thanks to my lack of experience, so I packed a bunch of paper bags. I whip one out and hold it under Sunset's nose. She pushes it away. My eyes soften like a puppy's. I won't mention her song again. As much as I hurt her feelings, I feel like mine hurt more. There is dead silence in the room. Suddenly, I hear a knock at the door, and, blinking back the tears, I run to answer it. Sunset is still lifeless. Danny is standing there looking as friendly as ever. "Hey kiddo!" he chuckles, "Are ya ready for doin' a duet with ya old man?" I can't help but laugh. I forget all my disappointments and grin. He is trying to do an American accent, but is failing miserably, thanks to his years on TV; he is just a little too posh to manage it. Sunset looks up. "Have fun Destiny." She mutters gloomily. Danny leans towards me and whispers, "What's up with her?" I shrug and say something vague about her feeling queasy, then we leave the room.

By the time we are all set up, and we know which parts we are doing, it is nearly half past four. It has been a long day. I can't believe that just hours ago I was lying in bed waiting for Jack to call around. Suddenly there is music filling the room and I am singing with my Dad. My very own rock star father, Danny Kilman. I don't think I ever really believed that I was his daughter. But now, I know it. I can feel his voice echoing inside my body, I can hear the harmony of our voices through the beating drums and twanging guitars. This isn't the end of my adventure. I know that I will end up somewhere after this. It might be in years, in might be in days. Sunset and I together. One great singer, one great lyricist. But, as the music fades away I remember that Sunset wants nothing to do with me anymore. I have got to sort this out.

The Mercedes is rolling into the driveway. Last night was a rollercoaster. We finished the song and had supper, and Sunset and I made awkward conversation. Then we went to bed and slept until late morning. But now it's the afternoon and we are on our way to the studio to get made up and sorted out. And I tell you, I am dead nervous, without my sister I am nothing. I was nothing before I met her and I am nothing now. Anyway, I think I can see Debs in the Merc speaking to Rose May, probably to make sure that no questions are asked about why Danny went off with Liz, the "actress that got his attention" as Hi! Magazine put it. Debs was shaking her head now, furiously. The chauffer rolled the window down to call us all in, but what really happened was that we all got an earful of the conversation.

"No! I do not have control over the interview!"

"You are the executive producer, of course you have control!"

"What needs to be asked will be asked!"

"No, what is appropriate to be asked will be asked!"

"I tell you, whatever is asked doesn't have to be answered!"

"Listen, this is about the girls, they should be able to answer everything! Any off topic questions and you're being sued!"

The argument is put to a halt by Danny sliding into the car, followed by Sunset and I. Rose May and Debs give us sickly sweet smiles, but Sunset and I can see right through them. I reach for my sister's hand, but received no kind squeeze. I sigh. How am I going to do this without Sunset?

We arrived at the studio, and hurried back stage. It was about five o'clock now, which gave us two and a half hours to prepare. Once dressed and into our new net gloves, jeans and t-shirts, we all hurry onto the stage for a dress rehearsal. Somehow, I find that I am trembling. There is no one to hug me. I am alone. Mum isn't coming until seven so she gets a front row seat, Sunset hates me and I barely know Dad. Somehow I am managing to stumble through it all. Great, now I had to sing with Danny. I am so not in the mood for this. Danny and I take centre stage. The lights go down and I begin to sing. "Destiny! You are my destiny!" Danny is supposed to sing the next three lines but he isn't moving. Sunset is staring, freaking out. Rose May is backstage with Debs, but surely even they can see something's up. Sunset leaps up, scared now. The colour is draining from Danny's face. "Dad!" screams Sunset, as Danny tumbles to the floor. We kneel by our father, staring at each other. Tears are in Sunset's eyes. I don't know him well enough to be sad, but I am sad for Sunset, and I reach out and grab her hand. Then I jump up and get some water. I dip my fingers in it, and wet Danny's face. Sunset does likewise. Eventually, after lots of tears and lots of dabbing, Danny wakes up. He looks at us, smiling. He attempts the American accent, "Sorry kiddos, I guess I got a bit scared. Ya know, I haven't done a gig in ages. I guess I might do what Rose May says, leave the singing to the stars." He winks at us, scrambles up and starts singing. He's ok. He's ok.

After the rehearsal, Sunset runs over to me. "Thank you, Destiny." She whispers. "Thank you. You saved Dad."

I look at her and say, "I did to be a good friend. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked you about your song."

But she shakes her head and murmurs, "I never hated you, because you are the best friend in the world…"

SUNSET

It has been a week since the Little Darlings TV show. I am still living it though. The crowd screaming, Destiny grinning, lapping it up. Dad has officially retired. I didn't want him to, and neither did Mrs. Williams, obviously. But, Rose May was insistent that it would ruin Dad's career to keep singing. She claimed that the tabloids would turn against us, and that we should finish it off on a good note, quite literally. Dad said that this just meant Rose May had other artists up her sleeve, and wanted to get started on their business plans. Dad got quite mouthy when Rose May told him though, swearing for England. But Rose May and Barkie, Dad's fan club manager, packed up their stuff, and, with a cheery wave, they were gone. But, they weren't the only ones to leave. It wasn't long before Destiny and Mrs. Williams packed up their stuff, with the hoard of cash Dad and Debs gave them, and sadly left. Mum said that it was typical that they left as soon as Dad said he was willing to provide for Destiny, but Dad just snorted and waved the DNA test at her with a smirk. I think he is proud of Destiny. More proud than he ever was of me. When ever someone says "Sunset"he flinches. Perhaps he has something in his eye every time, but I doubt it. Destiny wrote to me yesterday. It was a lovely letter:

Dear Sunset,

Thank you for the best week of my life. If your songs ever get famous, please can I sing them? Your songs are so amazing. When we got home mum touched each and every Danny Kilman poster, as if she had

missed them more than she will miss you guys. Is Sweetie still sore about not being able to be a TV star just yet? In a way she already is one, and you and Ace. I think we all know deep down that one day, she'll be more famous than our dad! Before we left to see you, my arch enemy, Angel Thomas, saw me getting into the Merc. She lives right next door to Jack, one of my friends, so she saw me visiting him when we got back home. She claimed we stole the car, but believe me, she paid dearly for that! She and Jack were totally gob smacked when I told them about dad being famous, it was quite hilarious.

Please write back soon,

Destiny

xxx

I miss Destiny. She helped Dad. Of course I miss her. Mum is being a bit uptight and wants to have the DNA test Destiny and Dad did retaken. I remember Destiny being quite nervous about it. She kept pacing my bedroom. At first I just watched, amused, but soon I got tired of this and questioned her.

"What's wrong?" I asked, trying to sound like I had only just noticed her anxiety.

"I'm nervous about the DNA test." Destiny had replied shortly.

"Why?" I pondered, "If you know that you are Dad's daughter?"

"Because I don't know it, it's just something Mum told me. I didn't think your Mum would want to put it to the test!" she cried, biting her nails.

I had stared at her - she had a peculiar way of showing fear and worry. She frowned constantly, walked briskly and often muttered to herself. Each was a normal symptom, I suppose, but all together? It was quite weird.

My thoughts are interrupted my mum knocking on the door. "Sunset!" she calls commandingly. "Sunset we are going out!" I sigh. I hate the way she doesn't ask if I want to go out, she just tells me. I clamber down the stairs, and when Mum sees my top she flips.

"Sunset!" she squeals, "What happened? Your top is creased terribly!" I peer down at it. Ok, so I was lying on my stomach, and it looks like I have been on a rollercoaster, but so what? Mum forces me to get changed, and when I come down she sighs and looks flustered. "Come on, Sunset!" she moans, "That t-shirt looks awful with those leggings! Surely you can see that!" I officially give up. I tell her that I'll change, but she tells me that it's too late, and that I will have to buy my Christmas presents online. I have to admit that I am a little disappointed, as I do like Christmas shopping, and I would have hurried up if only I knew that this was where we were are going.

Luckily, Mum's annoyance is not to last. Dad is taking her out to dinner tonight, which she claims will be the first time in years. Meanwhile, I am having to surf the internet looking for presents. I am also having no luck whatsoever. I know all Ace will want is a toy car, or a helicopter. But, sadly, I saw a remote control limo in Mum's shopping bag, so this won't work. Then, Sweetie will want a doll or new dress from Harrods. I have no idea what to get for Mum and Dad.

I decide to search for earrings for Mum. I know if I mess up choosing them, she will never wear them, so I need a master plan to get her to say if she likes them. I eventually find a pretty pair of blue pearl teardrop earrings, so I race down to find her. When I do find her she is wrapping presents. She doesn't look up when I come in. I glance at her posh calendar. It says December 16th. This has got me worried. I know Christmas is soon, but how could it be in nine days? I want to get Destiny a present too. Something really nice. Unfortunately I don't have any more designer leather jackets tucked up my sleeve. I am thinking about this whilst I wait for Mum to look up, and suddenly, I've got it. I'll write her a song! The words come easily and the tune just fits.

The bells are ringing out so clear,

The wreaths are hung on doors.

I can feel my Christmas so near,

Can you feel yours?

Snow is falling, crunching by my feet,

Walking on water cold.

Life is ever so, so sweet,

Let the holiday unfold!

I find myself humming it listlessly, and Mum decides she can't ignore me for much longer, and glowers at me. "I'm busy, Sunset, what is it?" she hisses.

"Mum," I begin, putting my plan to action, "Am I allowed to give a friend from school a present?"

Mum looks doubtful. "You'll have to run it by me first. And it can't be too expensive. Or precious. Just a simple thing. Ok?"

"Sure Mum," I say quickly, "Can I show you one of my ideas?"

"Quickly then." She exclaims, getting impatient.

I run upstairs and bring down my laptop and show her the earrings.

"They are lovely, but I bet none of your friends has their ears pierced." She tells me, then shoos me away. I fish out my credit card and order them.

Two presents down, three to go.

DESTINY

I can't help but miss Sunset and her family. Danny's great when you get to know him, and, despite Sunset's spiteful mother, the rest of the family is great too. I am with Jack now, he has already taught me how to do a back flip, and is now teaching me the less impressive back drop, on the trampolines in the fitness centre where his dad works. I have to admit, it's harder than just falling onto your back. There's a really complicated technique and we are both losing it, me trying to do it, and Jack trying to teach me. I hope Jack will eventually give up so we can go on the treadmills. Finally, I get the hang of it, but Jack's dad's shift ends and he takes us home. We get to the turning which can take you through the estate, or around it. I want to take the safest route - around it. But, Jack is so sure of himself he just laughs and tells me that a Flatboy never backs away from a challenge. Jack's brother is the leader of the Flatboys, which makes Jack one too; otherwise, his life would be torture. Anyway, I am a bit nervous, but I trust Jack so I stroll along casually with him. We are almost at my masionette, when loads of Speedos, probably in year eight, start throwing rocks from the balconies, jeering. Speedos are the Flatboy's rivals, and have massive punch ups all the time. I want to ignore them and move on, but once again Jack refuses. He starts shouting and swearing and throws more rocks up at them. The Speedo boys get really angry, and jump down from the balconies like mini tornadoes. They fight like wolves, glowering, kicking and punching. I am scared stiff. I keep calling to Jack to stop him, but it's like I'm invisible. They manage to pin him down and I see one reach for his pen knife. He's only young, so he doesn't have a flick knife like the older boys, but I am still scared. Luckily he only cuts Jack and tattoos down his arm with a pencil, like they did to his brother. Jack is a marked man. Kicking him, they let him go, and for once Jack doesn't fight back.

I get home, and Mum is whizzing around making supper. It smells great. I have a peep in the oven and I realize that it's pizza. I decide not to tell Mum about the fight, because she'll get really worried and stop me going to see Jack. When we eat, Mum starts talking about Christmas, and how we want to spend it. I rock back and forth on my chair, considering. I know Sunset would be only too happy to let us stay, but Mum and I always spend Christmas together. I then think about a day out. Maybe Blackpool, St. Ives? We could go to the sea and have ice-creams. But then I love relaxing and being extra slobby when it comes to Christmas, so I decide against that, too. I think it would just be nice to spend Christmas with my mum at home. I sigh and smile.

"Nothing." I say triumphantly.

Mum stares. "Don't you want to see your father; don't you want to do something different?"

"Nope."

"You're sure?"

"Yup."

"100 percent?"

"Yes, Mum, yes! I want to have a Christmas with just you and me!" I cry, annoyed not to be taken seriously. She looks sad, and picks up our dishes and loads them carelessly into the dishwasher. I can hear her muttering.

"What's that?" I quiz.

"I want to see Danny." She says. I am baffled. Why didn't she just say so?

"Right then. We'll do that." I tell her, picking up the phone.

"We can't just ask! We have to be invited!" Mum frets, putting the phone down. I sigh.

I go to bed early. I toss and turn, my mind in a whirl. I keep having visions of being turned away on Christmas day, or being verbally abused by Sunset's mum. I understand why she hates me, I've stepped in just like Liz. She's worried sick that Dad will see Mum and remember that he still loves her. It's crazy, I know, but what can I say? It's the truth. I guess I must have slept at some point, because when I wake up I am exhausted. I pour myself some cereal, before realizing that it is only half past four in the morning. I go back to bed, though I may as well have just got up there and then, because I can't sleep at all, this time. I get up properly at seven. Mum has gone to work. It stinks that she has to work in the holidays, but that's life, I guess. I wonder what I will give to the few most important people in my life, Mum, Sunset, and Danny. I can't ask Mum, because she will just tut and say something cheesy, like a hug. But I can ask Sunset. It's my turn to write to her, as she wrote me a lovely long one. So I will ask what she wants. I can't offer much, seeing as we aren't exactly rolling in cash, but I may as well ask. Once I have written my letter, I put some music on. I search the shelves. I honestly can't find anything other than Danny Kilman tracks. I don't really want to play them, as it is a bit weird now that I know Danny and everything, so I turn the radio on. And guess what comes blasting out? Dad's number one track - Always and Forever. Some times there is just no escape from Danny Kilman.

SUNSET

Mum wants to have a big Christmas this year. I thought that it was a bit crackers get journalists in on the scene as Dad's not a singer anymore, but Mum says we are still famous, and that they would make a bigger deal of it if we did nothing at all. The post has come and I am reading a letter from Destiny, about what to I want for Christmas. This puts me in an awkward position, as most of things I want are quite expensive, and even with Dad's cash she couldn't afford them. So, I decide just to ask if she could visit. I know she would come, and this is the kind of present that she can give me. So, I write,

Dear Destiny,

I would love to see you again. Perhaps this can be my present. I would ask you what you wanted, but I have already got you yours! I hope you like it. I will post it to you if you can't come to Robin Hill at Christmas. How are things in Manchester? You mentioned a fight between Jack and some boys. Is everything ok? Is your Mum still fine? My mum wants to have a really big Christmas, with a huge tree and photographers snap, snap, snapping away. It kind of drives me mad. I thought when Dad retired, we could all just be an ordinary family, but now, I realize that this is not true. No matter what happens, Mum and Dad will still be famous. I must go now though, as Mum is intending on dragging us all to Harrods to buy Christmas outfits. She is having them colour coordinated. I am red, Ace is green and Sweetie is purple. Purple isn't a very Christmassy colour, but it suits her, and as usual, Sweetie has to look the best.

Lots of love,

Sunset

Xxx

I whizz down stairs once I have sealed the envelope, as Mum is calling me. We all clamber into the Merc, and the next thing I know I am in Christmas heaven. Harrods has been done up with tinsel and lights, fake snow and robins darting about between the mistletoe and holly. Icicles hang by wads of ivy, and staff dressed as elves sit around Father Christmas, clutching little children's hands and pointing out various different reindeer. Ace squeals and runs over, asking Father Christmas for his autograph. Mum rushes over to him, whilst I sprint after Sweetie, who thinks that fake snow is icing sugar, and tries to eat some. I too am totally dazzled. I wander around in a trance, wishing we were here just to look around, not to buy boring, old clothes. Unfortunately, Mum pulls Ace away, and takes Sweeties hand, and pulls us up to the clothing floor. We have to wait a while for the lift, but when we get in, it too is decorated with tinsel. Ace gets excited again, and so I have to hold onto him very tightly, just to stop him making an Ace-sized hole in the ceiling. The lift stops and we rush out onto the floor. This is just like the home ware floor downstairs, only there are members of staff dressed up as characters from the nutcracker and the walls are painted with images from the story. I hope they keep it like this forever, because I think it looks absolutely lovely. Mum isn't interested, though, and just sends me off to look in my age category for red clothes, whilst she deals with Sweetie and Ace. Not that Sweetie needs it, though. She has been coordinating her outfits ever since she was four, which was two years ago now. I amble along the isles, finger the silky dresses, and touching each shimmering sequin. I reach the end of the isle, when I see the perfect dress. It is long and flowing, so I look terribly elegant, it has the most perfect crimson colour, with vermillion seams. The neck is lined with scarlet sequins, and the end hangs by my ankles, with maroon netting to give it some more beauty. I love it. I rush to the changing rooms, also decked with holly, and try it on. It fits perfectly. It's the first time I have found a dress that I like, and it fits. I feel like an angel, or a princess, or maybe a charming red devil. I come up with a song for my dress,

I may be a devil, but don't think I'd kill.

The child of Satan, but I'd wish you well.

I might be greedy, selfish and cruel,

But I am a princess, not hateful, but cool.

Some of the words don't rhyme, but I like it anyway. It's quite high pitched, and at the end I drag the line out and fade it off. Then, I change the tune to a more up beat rock song, and its sounds just as cool. I hurry over to Mum, humming my new song. Mum looks up, and gasps. I think for once she is proud of me. "Sunset," she whispers, yes whispers, not yells, "Sunset you look beautiful. Did you choose that by yourself?" My cheeks go as red as my dress. I nod, full of pride. She thrusts some money into my hand. "Go and buy it, I don't care what it costs, just buy it!" she cries, blinking back her tears. I smile and skip to the counter. The woman at their nods at me and says, "My, aren't you a beauty." I practically cry right there on the spot. I know that I am ugly, but it's as if past this dress, no one can see my wonky teeth or frizzy hair. I am being seen for who I am, and it feels great.

DESTINY

I am lying back in bed, tired, but in a way wide awake. Its eight o'clock. I missed Mum leaving this morning, and I wish I could have said hello. I hear the post slide its way through our creaky letter box. I shuffle out of bed and peer at the post we received. A letter from Robin Hill, a bill and some chain mail. I have a peep at the chain mail, to see if it is anything interesting. We get spam all the time, Mum mostly throws it out, but I like to have a look. This time it is a years supply of eggs. You just fill in a form, and write why you deserve the eggs. Oh, and you also have to pay £2.50, which you stick in the envelope. I figure that Mum and I have a better reason than anyone else to get these eggs – we don't have enough money to buy them on a regular basis. Danny is providing for me, but it's not much, only enough to get new shoes and clothes, and a new window for my leaky frame. So I fill in the form and write,

We deserve these eggs because we cannot buy them often enough to enjoy their natural taste, which is one of the worlds greatest wonders.

Then I charge up stairs and find Mum's envelope of spare change. It's not very full. I manage to find a pound coin, then, I run up to my piggy bank and fish out the rest. Like Mum's envelope, my piggy bank is practically empty. I don't care. Maybe our fortunes will change, if we get these eggs. I nip to the post box and shove my letter inside. Then, I run home and open the letter from Robin hill. I am truly excited about Christmas now, as I can see my sister. I write back quickly, before relaxing with a bowl of cereal. I turn on the TV which Mum found going cheap in a charity shop. We soon twigged why, though. It only got four channels, BBC one, two, three, and four. The boring channels. Oh well. It feels nice to have some kind of connection with the outside world. I wander about the house, with nothing to do. I eat a banana, and as I am about to throw it in the bin, I see a leaflet. It says – How to Tell Your Kids. At first I think that its just junk mail, but then I start to realize. Mum has something to tell me. She wasn't sent this leaflet, she saw it and picked it up! Well, that's that then. I'll have to be one step ahead of the game. I fish the leaflet out of the bin, and wipe it off the gunk. I begin to read.

By the time Mum gets home, I know every word. And, if I guess right, Mum will too. She'll follow those instructions religiously. All I have to do is do it first. I welcome Mum in with open arms. I ask her to sit down, and she agrees that this is a good idea. She opens her mouth to speak, but I but in with, "We need to talk." Mum bursts out laughing. Ok, retreat! Retreat! I am dead confused. Why is Mum laughing?

"Honey, shall I tell you what we need to talk about?" she asks. I shudder, but nod.

"Sweet heart, I'm, I'm engaged." She whispers.

"What! How? You don't have a boyfriend!" I shriek. I can't believe it. Mum is going to get married, and I didn't even know she was going out.

"Well…" Mum begins, "There's a guy down at the pub. I was serving him, and we got talking. I asked his name, and well, you won't believe this, but it was Steve." Steve was Mum's old boyfriend. He slapped her around a bit, and when he decided Mum had had a fair spanking, he started on me. So, we did a runner. We decided we hated him, and burnt all of his pictures of us together. So why has Mum decided he's nice? "I know you're shocked and all, but he's changed. He's a great guy now and you'll like him a lot." She gabbles, hoping to please me. As if. I disappear into my room and lock the door.

Mum obviously thinks I can't hear her. Steve was right outside the door all the time, and when Mum let him in I got an earful of their conversation.

"Hi, darling. Where's Destiny? I she ok?" Asks Steve. Pah! I didn't think he cared.

"Mmm… Well, she's still getting over it now. Maybe I should have told her we were dating earlier. It was unfair to keep her in the dark." Yes, so why did you do it?

"She will be fine. I just hope she knows that I've changed." Hmm…

"Yes, I told her. I know you'd do anything for her now." I can hear him flinch. Everything goes quiet. I peek through the key hole. I can't see them. I bet they're kissing. Idiots. Can't Mum see that Steve hasn't changed at all?

Steve has started to come round regularly. Mum makes me sit and talk to him. The conversation is quite strained, though. Oh well. I like seeing him squirm. Sunset sent us some money for train tickets. In don't think we can make it anymore, though. Steve wants to move house, into a sweet cottage, miles from here. I don't know what he's thinking of. Certainly not of me. What about Jack? My best friend can't move with us. I decide to write to Sunset, telling her how I feel.

Dear Sunset,

You won't believe this, but my mum's got herself engaged to a prize plum. Steve used to be Mum's boyfriend, but he was quite aggressive, so we left him. But now, Mum is suddenly deeply in love. She thinks the world of him, and thinks that I should, too. As if! He's trouble, I know it. I don't think that we will be able to come to you at Christmas, after all. Steve wants to move, and if he gets his way, we will be so in the depth of packing we won't be able to make it. I've concealed your money in this envelope, in the hope that you will be able to find a better use for it. I'm so sorry. What can I give you for Christmas, to make up for not being able to give you the best thing?

Lots of love,

Destiny

xxx