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Returning to her Merseyside slum home one afternoon, 15-year-old Luci Thompson discovers that her mother, Liz, has committed suicide because of terminal cancer. Before slashing her wrists in a steam-filled bathroom, Liz has left a letter to her former lover, Robert Quayle, now a successful doctor in a London suburb, asking him to take care of her illegitimate daughter Luci. Taking pity on the youngster, Robert and his wife, Amy, bring Luci into their home and treat her as one of the family. Luci's desperate need for love and the shock of going from a poverty-stricken environment to one of wealth, causes her to create havoc in the Quayles' home. She flagrantly flirts with the Quayles' teenaged son, Nicholas, coyly teases Robert by reminding him of her mother, and awakens Amy's latent lesbianism by sleeping with her in order to avoid recurring nightmares. Warned by Nicholas that she may be sent away, Luci offers her naked body to Robert but is rejected. Enraged, she slashes her face with a fork as Nicholas watches from a distance. Later, when the boy tries to wash away the revulsion he feels by taking a shower, Luci enters the bathroom. Associating the steam-filled room with her mother's death, Luci attacks Nicholas, and, as he slips unconscious to the tile floor, she confuses him with her mother and begins to sob. Once Nicholas has been moved to a hospital, the Quayles vow that Luci must leave their house. Luci, however, cunningly exposes the sexual hold she has over Amy and forces Robert to admit that he, too, is attracted to her. Confident that the Quayles lack the courage to evict her, Luci changes into a seductive dress and brazenly flirts with a neighbor, when he and his wife stop by for drinks.