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When the sun rises, I throw on one of Oscar's tops, too afraid to face Lissie to go to my room

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When the sun rises, I throw on one of Oscar's tops, too afraid to face Lissie to go to my room. Downstairs, I pick up a pair of sports leggings hanging in the laundry room and throw them on. As I'm lacing my trainers, my father comes into the kitchen. He does a double take at my appearance.

'Bit early for a run, isn't it?'

I shrug. 'I need to get out of here.'

Scratching his head, he yawns and runs eyes over me. 'I heard some raised voices last night,' he says, voice croaky with sleep. 'It doesn't have anything to do with that, does it?'

'Not really,' I lie. I don't need Daddy finding out about my night with Finch, or how quickly he's thrown it back in my face.

'Not really?'

I don't elaborate and he pushes on. 'Does this have anything to do with James and you sneaking off to the lake last night?'

I sit bolt upright. 'How did you know about that?'

'We're old, not dead, Mats,' he chuckles. 'We weren't tucked into bed at 8pm, sipping on hot cocoa! When we got home, the door was unlocked. Like any sensible parent, we checked the house and grounds for any sign of intruders.'

I swallow. What had they found or seen?


'Lucille walked down to the jetty. She saw you two there but didn't want to disturb you.'

His face gives nothing away and I hold my breath.

'Trust you two to skip out on a party to eat junk food and read,' he says, ruffling my hair and kissing me on my head.

I take great interest in tying my laces.


'So what?'

'It has nothing to do with James?' This time, his face is grave. Worried.

'I argued with Lissie last night. That's why James and I came back from the party early.'

He exhales, palpable relief flooding his face. 'Oh good,' he says, before checking himself. 'I mean, not good but-'

'It's ok, Daddy,' I say, raising myself on my tiptoes and kissing him on the cheek.

I grab my headphones from the side and place my phone in my pocket.

Crossing to the fridge, he grabs a carton of orange juice and drinks straight from the carton. With his hair stuck at all angles and sleep in his eyes, he's the spitting image of Oscar. At least we know where his bad habits come from. I smack his hand and grab a glass.

Taking it, he asks, 'So how far this morning?'

'I'm aiming for 10 miles. Up past Norris, through Iris and round the trail on the other side of Starbright.'

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