After serving my sentence in the detention hall I trudged back home so that I could face another night of surrogate parenting in my mother's absence.

I stopped off at Mrs Beaton's first to pick Jack up. Mrs B was a warm-hearted old woman who always had a fresh batch of cookies ready for the taking when I came over.

Today was no exception; her front door was wide open as if it knew that there was a visitor. I made my way through the neat hallway where all her family were framed, proudly sitting on the antique oak dresser. I followed my nose to the large kitchen where there was a warm smell of cinnamon and chocolate lingered lazily coating the place with an atmosphere of homeliness. I eyed the warm cookies with fervour; not having any willpower to resist I took one and bit into its soft splendour, savouring the way the chocolate melted on my tongue. I was so distracted that I hadn't heard Mrs Beaton come in behind me and almost choked when she spoke.

"Katie love, how are they?" I spun around and when my coughing fit receded managed to say,

"Oh! Better than ever! I wish I could bake. The only thing I can cook is a burnt black mess"

Mrs Beaton let out a hearty chuckle. She enjoyed having children around the house it kept her busy and it kept her from the memories that plagued her mind so often. Mr Beaton was a commander in the air force and along with their son, Daniel. They were both killed in action in Vietnam. She would have liked to have been a grandmother but alas it was not to be.

Jack was perched on Mrs Beaton's plump hip and was drooling on her shoulder leaving a massive wet patch. But Mrs B didn't seem to notice.

"Sorry for leaving him here with you again Mrs B. it's just that mom has such irregular shifts and I hardly see her anymore."

"Nonsense! You just bring him around anytime you like. Your poor mother, what she must be going through. If you need anything just give me a call."

"Thank you very much I really appreciate it. Here I'll take him" I reached out and pried a gurgling Jack who started shrieking once he was parted form his dear Mrs Beaton.

As I struggled to keep him under control Mrs Beaton gathered all of jack's things, she also filled a brown paper bag with cookies and handed everything to me.

I had bid Mrs Beaton goodbye and crossed the road to our 'lovely home' and somehow managed to open the door and put Jack in his playpen. And then promptly collapsed onto the large couch and let out a groan. I reached for the bag of cookies and proceeded to devour the lot.

When my cookie binge was over I fed jack, after all it wasn't fair if I got to eat all the cookies and he was to starve was it?

During my attempt to feed him I was splattered head to toe in half digested baby food,

"Jack! You little twit. Look what you did. You're supposed to eat this crap not dribble it back out! Gah!"

And to make matters worse the doorbell had just rung. Not giving a damn about what I looked or smelt like I greeted the guest.

"Drew! Oh it's so great you're here, here take this and try to feed jack whist I go have a shower. Because by god I need one!" I hastily shoved the jar into his hand and rushed off towards the bathroom.

I stripped down until I was as naked as the day I was born and sprang into the shower; I am going to savour this moment; who knows when I will get another chance for a long hot shower and not just a quick in-and-out.

I contemplated the situation with Sawyer as the hot water coursed down my body; is this good idea? I mean I've never tutored a person before, what if I mess up horribly and he has to take the whole year all over again? I agonised over this as I washed my hair with one of my mother's designer hair care products it smelt like minty lemons. It was a curious fragrance but as there was nothing else so I used it anyway.

I got out of the shower and nearly slipped and broke my neck I grabbed at anything that would break my fall and luckily I got a hold of the towel rail. Phew that could've been disastrous.

I could hear Drew laughing in the kitchen, it made me smile.

"Okay, what are we having today then?" Drew lifted the jar to his nose and sniffed, hmm chocolate pudding; nice.

He found Jack smothered in the brown muck and was continuing to spread it on all the available surfaces he could reach. When he saw Drew he gave him a wide toothless grin.

"Okay little man I think you're done" he gingerly lifted him out of his highchair and put him in the sink. He took all Jack's clothes off and turned the faucet on and sprayed the remnants of his meal off so he looked clean. Jack squealed with excitement and thrashed around getting Drew drenched in the process.

"You like that huh? Hey! Are you trying to tell me that I need a shower too huh?" he joked.

After wrapping jack in a towel and putting him in the living room, he cleaned the kitchen so that it was spotless. Drew was just putting the last of the cleaning products back when Kate came into the kitchen fresh from her shower. He could smell her light citrus shampoo.

She looked surprised at the cleanliness of the kitchen, "Erm, thanks for cleaning the place up. You didn't have to do it, I would have, eventually" she said sheepishly.

Drew just scoffed and gave her a look that said; you wouldn't know one end of a mop to another.

"It's fine really. So what shall we do?" he made his way through to the living room and sat on the couch with Jack on his lap.

Kate stood there nervously shuffling from foot to foot. "Okay spill, I don't think the carpet can take anymore wear and tear."

She let out an excited squeal and landed on the couch next to Drew, "okay you will not believe what just happened to me today!" she wore an expression of joy, Drew looked perplexed waiting for her to continue.

"Come on then tell me, for the sake of your own health!"

"Well I was in Hard Nut's class trying to remember what War and Peace was about when Mr Benetton actually smiled at me! Can you believe it?"

Drew cocked an eyebrow and scoffed, "Is that it? Hard Nut grinned at you? That's what's got you all jittery?"

"No! That is not it, but you have to admit it is a special thing. The only time he moves this mouth is when he's telling people how stupid they are. Anyway what I was going to tell you is that I am going to be tutoring someone" she looked towards him, trying to gauge his reaction.

"Who is it? Is it a guy?" he leaned forward suddenly, surprising Kate. I hope it isn't he secretly thought.

"It's not just any guy! It's only Sawyer McIntosh, the most gorgeous male specimen to grace our school" she sighed and her eyes were glazed over. Drew looked on in disgust he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Kate was going to be spending time with that jerk. He tried not to show his emotions but he knew that his face was finding it hard.

"Erm, that's something all right! When are you starting?"

"Tomorrow after school, at the library"

"What!" he barked so loudly that he startled Jack; who was now bawling at the top of his lungs.

"I mean, isn't that a bit short notice? And who's going to look after Jack? Your mom isn't going to be here" he desperately tried to think of good enough reasons to put her off but Kate had other ideas.

"No, I have it all figured out; I'm going to leave him with Mrs Beaton I'm sure she wouldn't mind. In fact I think she enjoys having him; I don't understand it. And he loves her to bits; she's like the grandma he never had."

Drew had to admit that his argument wasn't faring well, "but he is the star of the football team, he isn't going to have time to show up for these sessions" he was just clutching at straws now.

"Oh don't worry about that, he promised that he was going to try hard. I think we should give him a chance" the faith she had in this guy was unbelievable. He saw how Sawyer treaded the women in his life and it was far from the perfect gentleman persona he projected. Personally Drew wouldn't have trusted him as far as he could throw him but that was just his cynical attitude. But then he saw how excited Kate was and couldn't burst her bubble. He told himself to get over it.

"Okay sounds like you have everything figured out. Good luck trying to tutor him; I have a feeling you'll need it." He chuckled under his breath at his little wise crack and stood up.

"I have to go now and make sure that my mom isn't trawling through any bars or hasn't passed out from her bout of heavy clubbing last night" he dumped Jack into Kate's arms and turned to leave.

"See you later Kate. And don't feed him any of that brown stuff it was a bitch to clean."

He looked at Jack who was shifting around in Kate's arms.

"Okay but you do think that this is a good idea don't you?" Kate looked so hopeful that he realised that he couldn't bring himself to say no.

"Yeah, it's a great idea" he gritted his teeth and offered her a meagre smile and walked through the door.

Drew walked the six blocks back to his house. On the way he thought about how he felt about Kate tutoring Sawyer. Jealous; definitely, he was seething at the thought of him even being near her. He had his hands clenched into fists in his pockets.

He saw the lights were turned off when he reached home. It could only mean one thing; his mom was in a drunken stupor and probably lying facedown on the couch clutching an empty beer bottle. He sighed and rubbed his face. He was tired, sick to death of having to come home only to be faced with another problem. His mother was an alcoholic but she always refused help even after spending 3 months in prison for drunk and disorderly behaviour and assaulting a police officer.

He pushed open the front door only to be hit full on with the stale reek of alcohol, cigarettes and vomit. He had to cover his face to avoid passing out himself.

Jesus, look at the state of the place! I leave her for a couple of hours and already the house is uninhabitable!

He turned on the lights to avoid tripping over several items of clothing and footwear. There was take out containers and bottles of various alcoholic spirits strewn on the wood floor; he had taken out all the carpets a long time ago when he realised that if he was going to be living here it should be sanitary.

Just as he thought his mother was sprawled on the couch still in full make-up and party clothes. He grimaced; his mother was way too old to be dressing like that. The skirt was altogether too short and the top revealed too much cleavage. He tried not to look as he pried off the 6" spiked boots off his mother's feet. He covered her with a blanket and got to work on getting the house in a state of cleanliness in which a person could live without the risk of killing themselves.

Drew had to regularly stock up on cleaning products but paying for them was getting difficult so he took up the job of a waiter at a local restaurant. He worked 5 nights a week. How his mother found the money to buy more booze was beyond him and he honestly didn't want to know.

As he scrubbed and mopped all the thoughts of Kate went out of his head; he simply was just too damned tired to focus.