Skin deep
Author: Auty

Chapter 1
The Arrival

As the car draws up outside the house, my stomach lurches and I feel like I'm going to throw up. I ate breakfast for the first time in years this morning and I'm scared I'm going to see it again unless I keep my mouth tightly clamped shut.
"Amy? We're here pet", my social worker Claire says, her voice thick with fake sympathy.
I remain silent and pull my hood up so its covering even more of my face. I watch as Claire opens the car door and gets out before coming round to the back and opening the door for me. I have no other choice but to clamber out, grabbing the plastic bag next to me. Claire walks up the path briskly and I trail after her, my heart in my mouth. She gives two short rings on the door bell before stepping back and waiting expectantly. After a few seconds, the door opens to reveal a middle aged woman dressed in a big brown cardigan, plain top and a pair of faded jeans. She has shoulder length light brown hair and deep blue eyes which I notice straight away. I quickly look away realizing I must look rude staring at a stranger.
"Hello, you must be Amy", her voice is smooth and gentle and she gives me a big smile. I hide even further into my hoodie.
"Come in", the woman says nodding at Claire and then at me. I cautiously step into the house and Claire shuts the door behind me. It smells of home baked cooking, not like fags and booze back at the flat. The woman beckons me into the living room and gestures to the sofa which I guess I'm meant to sit down on. I perch on the edge of the sofa, holding my breath and zipping my hoodie up even further so that I disappear into the fabric.
"Would you like a hot drink?" the woman says to me and I quickly shake my head. She looks at Claire who also shakes her head, "Sorry, I've got to be going shortly, last minute call who needs placing", she replies standing up and giving me a big smile.
"Bye Amy" she says brightly giving me a light tap on the shoulder. I flinch and edge away from her, biting my lip. The woman stands up and shows Claire out, closing the door behind her. My heart is beating faster, now that I'm alone in a house with a woman I do not know.
"How are you doing Amy?" she says coming over to me and crouching down to my level.
I nod hoping she'll understand that as 'I'm fine'.
"Do you have your things with you?"
I nod again, gesturing to the plastic bag. I see her eyebrows go up but she doesn't say anything.
"Is Claire bringing the rest of your stuff later?"
I shake my head.
"Ok, well would you like to go up and see your bedroom?"
I don't know what she wants me to say to this so I shrug.
"Ok well it's up to you", she says smiling again.
"What's your name?" I ask quietly, hoping I don't sound to rude.
"Didn't Claire tell you?" she asks bewildered.
I shake my head.
"I'm sorry love, I thought you knew. I'm Laura and I have a daughter about your age called Rebecca. She's looking forward to meeting you when she comes back from school".
I nod shivering inside my hoodie even though its warm in the house.
"Are you cold Amy?" she asks me and I quickly shake my head.
"Sorry", I whisper.
She gives an uncertain laugh, "No need to apologize love. It's coming up for lunch time, is there anything you'd like to eat?"
I'm starving, even though I only had breakfast a few hours ago but I shake my head, not wanting to cause her any hassle.
"Well, I'll put a few things out on the table anyway incase you change your mind. Why don't you pop upstairs and have a look at your bedroom?"
I stand up uncertainly and walk towards the stairs.
"It's the first one on the right", she tells me giving me a reassuring smile.
I walk up the stairs slowly before reaching the landing. It's not a massive house but compared to the flat, it seems like a mansion. I uncertainly open the door on the right and step inside.


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