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Luke's life is rudely interrupted when his mum, Pat, collapses at the hospital where she works. Thoughtful Luke, nearly 15, and his accident-prone younger brother Jesse each cope in their own ways. As time goes on it is clear Pat is not going to recover, and Luke's world rearranges itself, while friends and family rally round.
property. It’s nothing to do with Mrs McLafferty.’ ‘Why is she chucking it away?’ asks Jesse. ‘I don’t get it.’ ‘I’m not sure,’ I say. ‘It’s like she’s pretending Mum doesn’t exist any more. She’s been slowly taking over her home and her life. And it’s stealing. We could report her to the police for this . . .’ ‘Bloody old cow.’ Jesse’s nostrils are flaring in a dangerous way. I know that look. It’s a sure sign he’s about to lose it. Next thing I know, he’s flying down the stairs, screaming,
make you feel any better right now. You’re not being punished, you know. It’s not like you deserve this. And it’s not because your mum did some awful things in her life. I only knew Pat a few weeks, but you didn’t have to be a genius to see what a strong, funny, lovely person she was.’ ‘I keep wondering if we could have done more,’ I tell her. ‘If Mum hadn’t come home that weekend, well, maybe she’d still be alive now.’ Polly takes a slow, deep breath. ‘Of course you’ll think that. It’s
white pants I’ve ever seen, and some red platform shoes that raise her up about fifteen centimetres. Whoever stands behind her is going to get a seriously restricted view of the match. ‘Do you like it?’ she says as she comes tottering down the terraces, concentrating hard on not falling off her wedge heels. ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise the ticket stated fancy dress,’ I say. ‘Honestly, Luke, stop being so suburban. It’s football! It’s the final! Loosen up, enjoy!’ cries Freya as she starts
this is a good time for the billion dollar question. ‘I always thought you had a bit of a thing for him?’ ‘Well, to be honest,’ Polly explains, ‘I did have quite a crush initially. Fortunately, I revealed all to your mum one afternoon before I had the chance of making a complete fool of myself. She told me in no uncertain terms that I was barking up the wrong tree, or sniffing round the wrong lamppost as she put it.’ She looks across at Stu and Luiz. They’re having a laugh over some shared joke
run with all the dogged determination of a terrier, others like big cats – panthers – whose spring practically uncoils as they pounce on the ball. But Fabrizzio is like a gazelle. He’s athletic and elegant and oh-so-fast. With those slender legs, he can leap through the air and keep moving forward, landing lightly and then making his pass. ‘If that kid’s not playing for Inter-Milan or Chelsea by the time he’s seventeen, I’ll take up knitting,’ says Andy to Luiz, who nods sagely in agreement.