Rich

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

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53. Fifty three

I'm home alone one night and I'm thinking of inviting Jem over to hang out when there's a knock at the door. I glance out of the window before I go to answer it and I just see a black Lamborghini. I brace myself for an argument but when I open the door, Alex looks completely sincere. He kind of looks upset, like he did that night where he came into my room while I was still asleep and said he just wanted to be around me. I don't want to care about him. I don't want to ask what's wrong. But I do care about him and even after everything, seeing him vulnerable like this brings that out in me again. 

"Hey." I say, frowning. 

"Can we talk?" he asks. 

"Of course." I say, stepping inside. "Come in, sit down."

He looks at me, eyes glistening, when I sit down beside him on the couch. "Why the hell are you being so nice?" 

I smile gently. "Why the hell are you so upset?" 

"Because we made a huge mess." he sighs. "I hate us fighting, Kay. I hate us being cold with each other. Do you remember when we watched Moulin Rouge? And when we went paint balling? And when you came car shopping with me? Do you remember how well we used to get on?" 

"Of course I do." I say. My heart pangs remembering those days. I miss that affinity between us more than anything. All of a sudden, remembering what he used to mean to me, I can barely remember what it's like for him to be mean and horrible and cold.

"I miss that." he says. 

"We can't go back to it though." I shrug. "I can't forgive you just like that. And even if I did forgive you eventually, Johanna and I still aren't friends-"

"I don't care about Johanna." he cuts me off. 

"Then why cheat on me with her?" I demand, suddenly hurt all over again. "That's all I've been wondering, okay? Why? Was it really because we only had sex once?"

He pauses. "Kind of. Look, Kay, it's more than that. I've had relationships in the past that are more like that. I just felt like I didn't want to be in a relationship that was a different type to all the others I've been in and I didn't want you to have to be in one either. Johanna was... she was mature enough, she was ready for that kind of thing. And I really like Johanna."

"Okay." I say quietly, looking down. There's a lump in my throat.

"But I'm in love with you." he says gently. "And I realise now that a different type of relationship isn't a bad thing. I miss you."

"What are you trying to say?" 

He pauses. "I guess I want another chance with you."

"You can't just get what you want." I say sadly. "I'm with Jem now. And I really like him, Alex."

Alex looks at the ground. "Do you love him?" 

I sigh, exasperated. "Maybe. I'm not sure."

"Do you love me?" he looks at me. 

"Do I need to answer that?" I look up at him just as fast. 

He looks at me for another moment and then shrugs, standing up. "Fine. Okay. I'm gone."

"Alex." I say, frowning. "I'm sorry."

He shrugs. "So am I." and then he leaves. 

I don't call Jem to hang out after all. There are a million things in my head right now. Do I like Alex? I think part of me always will. I know for sure I still love him. But then it's whether I want to be with him or Jem and I think I want to be with Jem, but what if that changes? Do I do to Johanna what she did to me? And at any point during all of this, do I forgive Johanna? Do I forgive Alex? There's so many decisions to be made and I don't know the answer to any of them. 

I get tired of thinking eventually and decide I just need somebody care free to spend time with. It's too short notice to call Alice or Carrie but it's never too short notice for Jem and he's there within ten minutes. I hug him for a long time when he steps inside and he chuckles, stroking my hair. 

"What's the matter with you?" he asks, sounding amused.

I consider not telling him but there's something about Jem that just makes you want to be so so honest with him. So I explain everything, Alex coming over, how I'm confused about everything, how I even wondered what to do about being with Jem. 

"What do you think then?" I whisper after I've finished explaining everything. 

He pulls away from me and looks at me but keeps his arms around me. "I'm supporting whatever decision you make. If you decide not to forgive them, I'm with you. If you decide to forgive them then I'm with you. If you want to stay with me, then obviously I'm fine with that. If you decide you want to be with him then I'll be sad but it's totally okay. Just don't be afraid of hurting my feelings, do what you want to do."

I hug him tight again. "Thank you."

"Any time my love." he says all happily. I love it when he says my love, he says it kind of ironically but kind of seriously as well. I laugh, letting go of him. 

"My dad's out all night tonight." I explain.

He's gone to visit my grandma, his mom, for the night and I didn't really want to go with him. She doesn't really seem to like me, she told me once that I reminded her too much of my mother and for some reason she never liked my mom.

"Oh, he is?" Jem winks. 

I laugh. "Shut up. I have ten dollars in cash. Whatever you have, we put our money together and order whatever take out food we can."

He grins. "Agreed."

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