Shameless

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Running Up That Hill

"You must get sick of having to think for everybody." The sadness comes back, for a moment, but she tells him the story she tells herself: "Proves I'm wanted." He's amazed by her, the way she thinks this is her life. "Jesus, Fiona. If all you want is to be needed, then congratulations. You've got yourself a job for life with this joker." He's safely up the wooden hill before she starts sobbing.

Eventually she puts her shoulders back, breathes, pulls it together. Fiona tries to wake up snoring Frank, kicking him wherever he is. One little change. He doesn't move, breathing softly, and she screams at him. She sits down. "Good job, Fiona," she says. Putting his deadweight hand up against her face. "I don't know how I could do this without you. Thanks for all your hard work." Crouching by her father's prone body on the floor of the living room while her life goes by outside. "My pleasure," Fiona says, and heads upstairs with Liam's bottle.

But when she's safely gone, Debbie appears with a pillow and places it under his sleeping head. "Goodnight, Daddy," she says with a kiss. And then she's gone again. The things we don't even see them doing, for us. The machine of them, chugging along; Lip worrying at his brother's sex, until he can make sense of it. It runs on love.

But then, there was something. Nothing, and then something. Ian just saying it like that, and all the hope this bastard's stirred up again, fighting inside. Sometimes the work is great because she's so tired at the end of the day, by the time they bring him home, she can't feel anything at all. Sometimes not even that will work. There's a rule that says she can't add somebody else to the list of people to take care of. It's about selfishness and it's about the inevitable crash back down to earth. But there was something.

"If that wasn't bullshit, what was I wearing?" She's standing outside, far away, at the place where the tenements stop and the city starts. Cell minutes ticking away. She couldn't help herself. "First time you saw me? If that wasn't a lie."

He remembers, exquisitely. His smile so wide he can barely see the road. "Black top with gold trim, black shiny jeans. Thin shoes. Straps. Sandals. With your hair pinned high. Dangly gold earrings that made me smile. A big watch. Too big, so it slid up your arm. But it looked great." She's sat, now, on a stone wall, under the weight of him. She remembers that night. It felt like this.

"And you were dancing next to a red-haired girl in a green dress..." Jenna, the hot one. It was Jenna's birthday. He was watching Jenna, she's the pretty one. Fiona was a consolation prize, or a part of a longer memory, who showed up again at CroBar, a month later. The girl who lost her purse and took him home. "So how come you're not stalking Jenna?" She can barely remember to keep the harshness out of her voice. If it's a game he's got good game. But what if?

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Shameless

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