It's two o'clock in the morning, and I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor of my gran's lounge watching softcore porn on her cable TV.
I'm not meant to be staying up this late watching soft porn. I'm not meant to be watching soft porn at all, of course - I tell my parents I spend a lot of time watching The Box, which realistically I do as well. Viva Forever always makes me cry, and as far as I'm aware, "releases" me from my thrall and send me to bed in tears. I'd much rather stick with the softcore stuff, and only really flick over to The Box when I get bored.
It's 2 am, and I'm considering going to bed. I'm bored with Janeycam by this point, which is the only thing that's on. The problem becomes, now, exactly how to get back upstairs before my parents, and/or my gran, realise that I'm not where I'm meant to be; it's been my usual practice to sneak upstairs and into bed, but that's usually happened at about 10:30 or 11pm, and is probably passable when one considers I could have gone downstairs for a drink of water. The small hours - even if it is a school night - may not be a time which doesn't arouse any suspicion.
I hear my mum cough from upstairs and immediately freeze. I've been spending the past year or so in state of constant paranoia relating to my parents - watching soft porn makes me hard, but it also makes me anxious, and I'm convinced that the most sensitive part of me is my ears - to listen for footsteps.
I snap off the TV, jump to my feet and hit the light. The room is bathed in darkness, a soft warm glow emanating through the windows from the street lamp outside. It's then that it occurs to me that this may not be enough; if she were to open the door, she'd find me in the dark, which may be even more confusing. Time to enact my contingency plan.
For I had a contingency plan. My gran had a preference for large squashy armchairs, but because she had to slide across to them from her wheelchair, they always had to be slightly raised on little legs, to facilitate height. There was one in the far corner of the room - furthest from the door - which was my emergency escape. Should I ever be at risk of discovery, I would scamper across the room to the chair, crawl under and secrete myself in the foetal position. I wouldn't be easily seen in the dark, and in any case, the chair wouldn't be in line of sight when the door was opened.
I didn't have a back-up plan ("escape out of the window and somehow get back into the house" was probably beyond my capabilities), but I needed to have something. This, I decided, was the time.
I skip along to the corner and squeeze myself under the chair. It's a tighter fit than I thought it would be. The air is musty. It's a little too warm. I try not to breathe too loudly, but my heart is beating with such strength that I'm sure it can be heard. I hold my position, my ears pricked, paralysed with fear, the giveaway erection now painfully buried in the folds of my belly. I try to think of something to say should I be discovered. I settle with "it's cooler down here", which isn't true. I have no idea what they'll do to me once they find me.
Five minutes later and I realise that there are no footsteps. My mother may have coughed due to her thyroid problem. It probably isn't in their regular practice to check on my bedroom every ten minutes and go hunting for me with a shotgun in case of my absence. At 14, I don't really know.
I pull myself out of the corner with a rustle of fabric which probably creates more noise than that which I'm trying to avoid. Breathlessly, I slink across the room, open the door, and tiptoe all the way down the hall and up the stairs. I make it to my bedroom, close the door, lock it, and breathe a deep sigh of something between relief and shame.
I hear footsteps about ten seconds after this. But here I'm behind a locked door. I don't need an escape plan. I'm where I'm allowed to be.
I'm still scared, though.