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from A Test of Loyalty by Laurie Stewart

Part 5

For the last eleven years, school started in September, the day after Labour Day. Starting in August seemed like such a cruel thing to do. Yet here I was, knowing that I had to get up at seven for the first time in two months. I should have been sleeping but my ears were filled with Ashleigh’s mother and her boyfriend’s voices. They’d been drinking, I could tell. They didn’t always make sense, but you couldn’t stop listening. The wall was like cardboard for one thing; it was like they were right in the room with me. Worse, the wall seemed to act like the skin of a drum, amplifying their shouts as if each of them was using a megaphone.
“Ball-busting bitch! I told you never to touch my stash, what the hell you thinking you’re doing, touching my stash? I told you!”
“Screw yourself, asshole, it’s my house!”
I tried to ignore them; I rolled over trying to shove my pillow into my ear, but I could still hear everything. They were arguing over drugs, and occasionally over money. Once they segued into arguing over Ashleigh, but only long enough to recognize her name. Then it was back to drugs and money.
I couldn’t believe the swearing they did. If my mom ever screamed curses like a sailor on leave, I’d die of shock. But enough was enough already, if either one of them swore again, I was going to start screaming myself.

Then my parents started. Great, I thought, fights in stereo. The language was different but the meaning was still the same. Everyone was angry at everyone else and someone had to get the blame. I was just thankful it wasn’t me.
“David, don’t you dare go over there, come back here.&...

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