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Eighteen year old Amy’s surname may be Hope, but her life contains anything but. She drinks, she sleeps around, she cuts… anything to help her escape the agonising existence growing up between her mother’s drunken wails and her father’s fists. But nothing works. There is no escape. And Amy wants out…
Enter Richard Lewis – the doctor responsible for saving Amy’s life after her drink and drug-fuelled suicide attempt. Thanks to his own hidden demons, Richard is drawn to Amy and her situation, and despite the incessant warnings from both his own mind and his jealous ex-lover Joanna, he feels compelled to help her.
But how will Amy feel when she discovers Richard’s attachment to her is born out of his own guilt? He was her last resort – her last chance at being saved. Can anybody save Amy, or has she finally reached the end of a very long, torturous road?
(Not suitable for under 18’s due to language, scenes of self-harm and sexual content)
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I was awoken by the silence. The lack of raised voices told me it must be morning and my dad must have left for work. He was a lawyer for one of Seattle’s most prestigious law firms so that meant to the outside world he was an upstanding, respected member of the community.
I knew different.
Grudgingly, I swung my legs out of bed and headed to the window. I twisted the cord for the purple blackout blind and let the beams of early morning sunlight flood the room, startling my eyes. Then I glanced towards the small, black travel alarm on my bedside table and realised I was late. Shit. I had thirty minutes before morning registration and Mrs Clarke had already threatened to call my parents if I turned in late again. Good luck with that, I remember thinking.
Thankfully there was only four months left until graduation and then I’d never have to lay eyes on her sour face again.
After stepping out of the shower and running a towel over my damp body I quickly threw on the first clothes I came to – some black boot-cut pants and a cream vest top – before inhaling a deep, preparing breath at the top of the stairs, wondering what state I would find my mom in today.
I found her wallowing in the kitchen, slumped over the round pine table and staring unseeingly into her mug. At first glance it looked like regular black coffee but I could smell the gin from across the room. As usual I threw a brief ‘morning’ her way and also as usual she didn’t bother to look up. It was when I grabbed my satchel off the back of the kitchen door she flipped her unruly black hair from her face, revealing a fresh, marbled bruise on her jaw. Rightly or wrongly, this was such a frequent occurrence I classed it as the norm. She took another sip of her gin disguised as coffee and I grabbed my black jacket from the back of her chair and left without looking back.
The school parking lot was bursting at the seams and I circled it for nearly ten minutes before giving up and parking at the tyre shop across the way. After a quick will-I-do glance in my visor mirror I noticed I still had a faint scar-like indentation down my right cheek from falling asleep on Love Conquers All – a soppy (sickeningly so) book about a girl called Penny whose life only seemed worth living when she was with Neil. He was just a regular guy but the way she banged on about him you’d think he was some kind of superhero.
Still, I have this thing about books – a disease almost – that won’t let me give up until I’ve read to the end. Plus, you never know – Penny might grow herself a set of balls along the way.
My ears pricked up at the low hum of the registration bell across the street so I threw my satchel over my shoulder and ran towards the noise. My feet finally skidded to a halt as I reached classroom A1 and I breathed an exhausted sigh of relief when I noticed Mrs Clarke wasn’t at her desk yet. My best friend Julie waved me over to our table and I hurriedly scuttled in beside her. Julie is stunning; petite, brunette, electric-blue eyes and the kind of body that belongs on a hot beach somewhere – my completely opposite. Don’t get me wrong I’m no howler – just a ‘pass in a crowd’ type.
We met in sixth grade. Julie was the new girl – just moved here from West Virginia. People didn’t exactly flock to be her friend. She might be beautiful now but back then she was the spotty kid with out of control hair and braces on her teeth. Kids are cruel and I guess I pitied her so I let her latch onto me. It was kind of refreshing to feel sorry for someone other than myself.
It was the other way round now of course. Julie had made a ton of friends along the way but she still stuck by me. Whether that was out of pity, gratitude or genuine friendship I wasn’t really sure.
“Jeez, Amy you’re cutting it fine,” Julie said, stating the damn obvious.
“She been in yet?” I asked, pointing towards the empty teacher’s desk.
“Nope. Think you got away with it this time.” In that exact moment Mrs Clarke appeared in the doorway, her stern, wrinkle-framed eyes boring into mine.
“Just in time, Amelia,” she stated, her dull eyes bursting with warning.
I looked down to my desk and rolled my eyes when she turned away. After a run through of everyone’s names the second bell rang and the sound of thirty screeching chairs pulling out from under their desks deafened my ears.