I was sitting in my corner playing Final Fantasy VII when I heard my mother calling my name from below.
My full name.
She only ever uses it when she's angry. She's angry most of the time, but still, it unnerves me when anyone uses my full name. The staff at my new(ish) job still haven't learned any other form of my name, so they use it all the time. It's like being constantly under fire. Good times.
I slipped off my stool and trembled my way to the top of the stairs. I knew, of course, exactly what had happened. She'd walked into my room, found the hidden VHSs through a random search, decided to watch what was on them even though they were marked Wacky Races, found the grainy soft porn I'd been recording off Channel 5, and was preparing to throw me out of the house or something.
The cogs in my brain were whirring like Billy Whizz on steroids. I'd admit my guilt and fall prostrate on my knees, begging for forgiveness for my sluttitude. I'd promise to tape over the sinful content of my VHSs with the snooker, or something else I'm not interested in, and actually do it, spending the rest of my life in quiet regret, punctuating my schoolwork and whatever came afterwards with periodic screaming, sliding inexorably towards my death, for which I would definitely be alone.
Either that or she'd body-slam me through a brick wall.
I twisted my face into a look of abject sorrow to try and gain any sympathy she may have for this lost boy and half-appeared at the top of the stairs.
"...you called?" I whimpered with the quietest voice I could manage.
"I really hate you and I think you're a horrible person," she bellowed without preamble, "so I bought you this."
And she held out a copy of the geology-related educational software that I'd been wanting for a few weeks.
I staggered down the stairs to accept it with a grateful thanks to her for the gift... and to Fate for giving me, at least, one more chance.