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I was my own villain.

I killed my mother at birth. Then my father died while taking me to school. I was taken in by my aunt, his sister, who then felt I was too much responsibility and ran off with her boyfriend. At this point, I was 13 and alone. So I ended up in a children's home. With no clues as to who else could take me in. In all honesty I didn't want anyone to. But it was the Law. So I stayed in the home.

I made friends with everyone, they all loved me. I wasn't particularly attached to anyone in particular, and we all had our sob story, so keeping to myself was easy. My room mate's name was Chloe. She was mixed race.

Her Dad white, her mum black. She'd been in the home since she was 7 and she was fifteen this month. The month I came in. The month she died. Chloe's parents had met when they were in University. Her mum got pregnant for her Dad and Chloe was born. Ghaninan Mariam, gave birth to a beautiful curly haired, freckled girl named Chloe for half Polish, quarter Spanish and quarter British Matthew. It was an 'odd' match Chloe had described.

'It's usually white and mixed girls that got pregnant for black boys. Not the other way round. Like Lauren, the youngest social worker, she got pregnant in high school for a black boy. Jamal is her kid. They live here though. So she treats him like one of us.' Chloe babbled

'Does he know?' I asked

'Yeah, he knows now. But he didn't at first.'

'Huh? How does that work?'

'Basically, Lauren was here in the home when she got pregnant. Her parents died when she was 7 and she came here. Apparently she was a rebel. She always snuck out, came in drunk, got into fights. But she was super smart. I mean, even while she was pregnant she got 14 A's at GCSE's.. who does that?' Chloe shrilled.

'Lauren I guess..' I replied.

'Yeah, well she gave birth and the home wanted to kick her out, they don't do babies, but Lauren was in no state to be a mum on the streets. Besides, this place was able to apply for more funding because of the baby. So they let her stay, and they helped out take care of Jamal when she went to school. They basically gave her three years to fix up her life and pack out. By the time she had to go, Lauren ran away and left Jamal.'

'What?' I shouted

'Shhhh.. she wasn't really that far, she was in Uni in Durham.'

'Is that even legal?' I asked.

'I'm no lawyer, so I dunno, but apparently Scottie was Jamal's legal guardian as she signed when she let Lauren stay.'

'Oh.' I nodded in understanding.

'So yeah, Lauren graduated from Uni, then got a job in London so she left Jamal here. Two years later she comes to take him away. She's been fired from her job so she wants to come back here.'

'That's fair.' I suggested.

'No it's not, Lauren abandoned him. Anyway, Scottie gives Lauren a job here as she has no concrete plan and it gives her time to bond with Jamal. They decide to tell Jamal when he's 16'

'But he's still 15? How did he find out.'

'I told him.' She replied

'HUH? How did YOU know?'

So basically, I came here the year Scottie gave Lauren a job. It wasn't an instant fix, they had an arrangement in place and even then, it was like a year long fight. I remember on my 10th birthday, , I was sitting in the office, and Lauren and Scottie were arguing and she was crying and she was like 'but he's MY child.' I had no clue what she was on about, so I didn't think anything of it. Chloe narrated.

'Then one time, I went into Lauren's room, she had a teddy in her room and it had Jamal on the paw. So I just took it and gave it to him. Thought it was his, besides, it's in his baby picture with him.' she continued

'He was like, 'where did you find this?' and I told him. No one could be mad at me. It was innocent.' she shrugged.

Chloe died four days before my 16th birthday.  Three weeks and four days after knowing her. I knew at that point I wasn't allowed to be close to anyone. Anyone who tried to befriend me was on a suicide mission. And so on my 16th birthday, I went up to Lauren and told her I was leaving the home on my 18th. Just as she had done. I had no obligations, no kids nothing. I'd just spend the following years studying and working. I was a lone ranger in the home. I did my chores, I showed up, but I had no friends. I stayed in my room - all the time. It was different without Lauren, but they couldn't move anyone else in, and I sure as hell wasn't moving out of it. 

It was February, I had just gotten an offer from Warwick University. I walked down to tell Lauren the good news and to find out if I could go up and visit the town. I walked into Lauren's office and Jamal stood there towering over her. I hadn't seen him since well... since he left really. He and Lauren we're super close after she had revealed his truth. As she never did it maliciously, he saw truth in her. He was mad at Scottie though and on his 16th birthday he told Scottie he was going to live with his Dad. Lauren died on his birthday and he never came back. I was mad at him, but he didn't owe me anything. He'd only just met and had his own personal problems, but I couldn't help be mad at him because somehow I felt like he could've saved Lauren. 

'I'll come back' I muttered. 

'Stay' he whispered. 


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