Climbing into the front of my stepdad's truck, I slammed the door shut.
"Let's go," I said as he turned the key in the ignition.
Phil Nisbet, 43, was a truck driver and I loved going out for rides with him.
At only 16, I wasn't yet old enough to drive, but he loved taking me out and showing me the ropes.
He'd been with my mum, Helen, for four years and I thought he was great.
He was fun and caring which was refreshing after the difficult childhood me and my little brother Adam, 13, had.
My dad left when I was four and Mum had brought us up on her own.
Money was tight and it left Mum on edge, making her constantly snappy.
"You never help around the house," she'd moan, slamming doors.
Adam and I tried our best to help out but we were only kids and we found her moods hard to handle alone.
To escape Mum's terrible temper, Adam and I would walk to our grandparents, Anne and Murray's house.
Then she met Phil.
"Maybe Mum will be happier now," Adam said.
Phil was always making us laugh with jokes. We really liked him.
But over the next few years, Mum's moods had worsened.
She was always picking fights over the silliest things.
"I don't like this TV show," she'd say, snatching the remote from us.
It was worse for Phil who was constantly trying to keep her happy during one of her rages.
"Please can we stop fighting Love," he'd beg.
But it was no use.
They got married in a simple service in our backyard, but Mum still wasn't happy.
She was constantly going on at Phil.
I felt sorry for him.
So we used our time in the truck to forget about the troubles at home.
On the road, Mum couldn't be mad at us.
A few days later Phil came home with a surprise.
"Guess what lad," he said with a grin. "I've got you a job."
It was only a mail sorting job at his company, but it was perfect.
Now I could move out and escape the blazing rows.
Mum went mad when I told her.
"I was relying on your rent," she screamed, kicking me out.
I spent the night sleeping in a phone box to escape the cold snow.
Not long after, I moved out but felt awful leaving Adam behind.
Over the next few months, I threw myself into my new job. When I passed my driving test, I was promoted to a driver.
"Thanks so much," I said to Phil at work.
He gave me a pat on the back and smiled.
I'd visit home, but Mum never changed.
She was always angry and bitter about something and we drifted apart over the next few years.Then one day, I was in the area and popped in to say hello.
Mum was visibly chirpy and couldn't stop smiling.
As I left she asked me to move home.
"It's closer to work for you," she said.
I was dubious. But seeing her so happy I hoped she'd turned a corner.
When I moved back, Mum and Phil seemed to be getting on.
They were really affectionate.
"He's in debt," she'd say. "He's bringing me down."
A few days later I sat opposite Mum at the dining table.
"Did you know Phil has a life insurance policy worth $250,000?" she said.
I wasn't really paying attention so I didn't say anything.
"Greg, did you hear me?" she said, sounding annoyed.
I looked at her in confusion. What was she saying?
"If you kill him for me, I'll give you $20,000."
I looked at her and laughed.
"Yeah, right! Good plan, Mum." I said, chuckling.
She grabbed my arm.
"I'm serious. Just imagine how much better all our lives would be."
I blinked at her a few times, stunned into silence.