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Chapter 1

I don't know where to start, if I'm trying to tell it. How I ended up here? What happened with my ma? The baby?

Always begin at the beginning, my annoying oul cow of an English teacher used to say. Like you can begin anywhere else. She always used to say as well, Make sure you have a beginning, a middle and an end, but it'll be a long time before there's an end to my story. I've got a bit of a beginning and a bit of a middle, but for any more, tough, I don't know it myself.

Stuff it. I'll do what she calls 'the who what why when where', then say how it all happened from there.

Who: me, obviously, and Nicola, and the night it started our other mates Leanne Paddy and Marie was there as well. There was some other people there too but they don't count, they were just there and they had their own wee groups to hang around in. There was some fellas as well but I'll get to them later.

So, me. I'm called Lisa O'Neill and I'm fourteen and I live with my ma who's called Carol and my stepda who's called Paul. I have two wee brothers who're twins and they're called Anthony and Ryan. Well, they're not my real brothers cos Paul's their da, but if I say they're my half brothers Paul goes mental. I'd be happy if they weren't even my quarter brothers cos they're wee gits as far as I'm concerned. I hate Paul as well, but my ma says I only don't get on with him because I'm a grumpy bad tempered bitch. She's a charmer, my ma.

Anyway, that's me. Nicola's fourteen as well and she's my best mate. We've been best mates since we were in primary school and we stick up for each other no matter what.

Leanne's thirteen and she lives next door to Nicola. She's in the same class as Paddy who's a girl and is Paddy short for Patricia. Marie's her wee sister and she's twelve. We slag her off a lot cos she says dicky things sometimes. It's Paddy who usually starts the slagging but sometimes she sticks up for her if she's feeling sisterly.

The What is what we were doing, and that's sitting under a bridge with about ten other people, drinking. There's loads of bridges where we live cos there's a river runs right through all the estates down to the lakes. The river's brown and small and smells of shit.

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