You can't decide whether money changes things or not; it does. You can decide, however, whether it changes things for better or worse.


54. Fifty four

"Morning." Jem murmurs as he opens his eyes for a moment and then sighs, rolling onto his stomach and closing his eyes again. 

I laugh gently, lying back down and wrapping an arm around him. "Morning."

"How long have you been up?" he mumbles into the pillow.

"About an hour." I say. "Want breakfast?" 

Suddenly he's wide awake. It's amazing how that works like a charm every time. We sit at the kitchen table, chatting like usual and I've almost forgotten about Alex coming over last night. Or at least I'm not stressed about it right now. I'm sure I'll be worrying as soon as soon as Jem's gone home but right now, I'm pretty happy. 

"When is your dad getting home?" Jem asks, holding my hand across the table.

"Quite late tonight." I tell him.

"Can I take you out for dinner tonight?" he inquires. 

"No." I joke and he pretends to glare at me but then grins, getting up and kissing my cheek. 

"I'll pick you up at eight. Thank you for breakfast." 

"See you later." I smile.

He tells me that where we're going is really fancy so I pick out my prettiest dress and he shows up at my front door in a suit. It's so nice and fun and different to walk into the poshest place I've ever been in the nicest dress I've ever worn with the loveliest boy I've ever met. But as we walk in, we spot Johanna and Alex at dinner in one of the corner tables. 

"Oh for god's sake." Jem mutters. "They are everywhere."

"They don't matter." I remind him, kissing his cheek. "Just ignore them."

"Okay." he agrees, smiling. "Tonight is about you and me and being fancy as hell."

I laugh. "Yes it is."

A waitress leads us to our table and I wish I could say I completely forget that Johanna and Alex are there but I don't because Alex keeps glancing at me. I keep my eyes on Jem, not wanting to give into Alex. What Jem said about Alex always getting everything he wants keeps ringing around my head. I don't want to give into that. I have a good time never the less but then my phone rings with an unknown number. 

"Sorry." I frown at Jem. 

He shakes his head. "No, don't worry, take it."

I pick the phone up. "Hello?" 

With surprises, when they happen you sort of realise it wasn't totally a surprise, you could sort of guess that it would happen or it makes sense that it would. You're still surprised, but you're able to understand it. But with some surprises, you never saw it coming. You never considered it. You can't process it. Maybe that's the difference between surprise and shock. And answering that phone call taught me that shock is always a lot worse. 

"Kaya Wilde?" an unfamiliar voice says.

"Yes." I say, confused. 

"This is the Eastern hospital. Your father has been in a car accident-"

"What?" I demand, my whole body going completely numb within a second. "Is he okay?" 

"I'm afraid he isn't in the best condition. Could you come to the hospital now? We can discuss things further when you're here."

I just hang up the phone and get up to leave. I start to run out of the restaurant and I hear Jem call after me but I barely pay attention to it. Shock is still washing over me and I don't know what to do. I don't know where I'm running to or how I'm going to get to my dad but I just know I have to. I'm not thinking straight. I'm not seeing straight. I'm just running.

"Kaya!" Alex shouts as he catches me in one arm and pulls me back in front of him. I don't know when he got in front of me. I don't care. I try to keep running but he pulls me back again, holding my face and looking at me. 

"Get off me!" I yelp, hitting his chest. I realise I'm sobbing. "Get off!"

"Kaya." he says in a calm voice. "Tell me what's happening."

"Jem." I sob. "I need Jem, he has to take-."

"Jem has to pay, what is going on?" he demands.

"Hospital." is all I say and Alex doesn't question it. He just nods and takes me to his car. I sit there in his car, driving along so fast and I can't think about any of this. I don't want to think about any of this. I don't want it to be happening. I just want to escape.



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