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


52. Fifty two

I wake up the next morning and expect to see Jem gone but he's still fast asleep next to me. He looks so peaceful so I just let him sleep while I get ready and have breakfast. I come back upstairs when I'm about to leave for school and he's still fast asleep, hugging my pillow. I laugh gently. I don't want to go to school and I don't want to wake him but I know I have to so I kneel down next to the bed and stroke his hair, nudging him. 

"Hey." I say softly. "Jem, wake up."

He slowly opens his eyes and frowns at the pillow then at me and then at the pillow again. "I thought I was hugging you." he mumbles, confused. 

I laugh. "I've gotta go to school. Wait a couple of minutes until my dad's left and then you should probably go too."

"Okay." he says, placing a hand on my cheek and kissing me. "Have a good day."

"You too." I squeeze his hand before I leave.

At school, Carrie, Alice and I are talking about Jem and I. I'm telling her about how different it is to be with him compared to Alex. With Alex it was all kind of exciting and new all the time. I was sort of on edge. But with Jem it's so natural and so... how it should be. I'm comfortable and I'm relaxed.

"I've gotta head to class." Carrie says, hugging us both. "See you later."

"Bye!" we both chorus.

"And he's so sweet." I gush to Alice. "Like, adorable. This morning he was hugging this pillow because he thought it was me. And can I just say, his muscles. Oh my god. I thought Alex was in good shape but he was just kind of lean and stuff. Jem is full on built, like-"

"Wait, he spent the night at your house?" Alice asks. I suddenly realise she's looked a little dismayed this entire time and then I remember that she's always had a huge crush on him. I groan. How could I have forgotten?

"I am so sorry Alice!" I exclaim. "I completely forgot you liked him."

"It's okay." she waves it off. 

"I can..." I hesitate. "I can break up with him."

She laughs gently. "No, don't be stupid. It's not like he ever noticed me anyway-"

"That's not true." I contradict. "He talks about you every now and then. He does like you."

"Yeah, but not in the way he likes you."

I sigh. "I'm sorry, Alice. I really just forgot."

She smiles, shrugging. "It's honestly fine. Just don't make me hang out with the two of you or anything."

I laugh. "Sure."

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