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


48. Forty eight

I wait to get Alex's call or for him to come to my house that evening but he doesn't. My dad has to leave at about eight pm because of an emergency at work so it's even more unbearable sitting by myself, waiting for Alex to make his move. I even almost text him but decide against it. I do end up getting a text from him though:

Are you home alone

I reply hesitantly:


When he knocks on my door, I let him in and ask "Why do I need to be home alone?".

"Because your dad isn't going to let me in here again, he told me to stay away from you." Alex storms past me and then turns around, his arms crossed and his eyes blazing. "Now, tell me Kaya. What the fuck is the matter with you?"

"I guess I was feeling a little vindictive." I shrug, a smile on my face that I know will annoy him.

"Are you not going to take this seriously?" he demands. "Kaya, this isn't a game, that was school work. That was an actual grade you just affected. It's okay for you, you can still come out with a C or a B but I'm not going to do well in the exam! I really needed that performance to be good to at least guarantee me a C in music and now I've failed!"

I stick my bottom lip out, mocking him. "How are you feeling, Alex? Angry?" 

He sighs heavily. "For god's sake, Kaya."

"Upset?" I suggest. 


"Maybe a little betrayed?" I suggest and his eyes burn up with anger. 

"Don't you dare bring that up." he says in a low, angry voice. 

"You can't even say what you did!" I say, laughing a harsh laugh. "You can't even say the word 'cheat'! You are a coward, Alex!"

"Do you not think there's a reason I did it?" he yells. 

"What reason?!" I laugh, bitterly. "Did I not have sex with you enough? That's it, isn't it? You are that shallow!"

"That isn't shallow!" he yells and the front door opens. For a moment, my heart skips thinking it's my dad but it's Jem. He frowns at Alex. 

"What are you doing here?" Jem asks. 

Alex looks straight at me. "So he's your boyfriend now?"

"No." Jem answers for me. "Maybe the fact that you assume that just from me walking through the door suggests you still feel something."

"Jem." I shake my head. 

"Or maybe it suggests you're just a possessive little weirdo." Jem says.

"Can you please just go?" Alex says to him. "I'm trying to have a word with Kaya."

"I could hear you before I came in here, you were screaming at her." Jem says bluntly. 

"She was screaming at me." Alex says defensively. 

"Kaya was screaming back at you." Jem corrects him. "That's only fair."

"Can you go please?" I say to Alex.

He raises his eyebrows. "You want me to go?" 

I nod. 

He sighs heavily. "Whatever." 

He leaves and Jem raises an eyebrow at me as he shuts the front door behind him. 

"You shouldn't have let him in, Kay." he says. 

I laugh. "He wasn't going to murder me."

"Yeah well he yelled at you and he shouldn't have." Jem says to me as he wanders into the kitchen. It's only now that I notice he's holding a couple of bags filled with take out. I smile and follow him into the kitchen. 

"You didn't have to bring me food." I say.

"You said you hadn't had dinner when we were talking on Facebook." he shrugs. "You've gotta eat, Kay."

"Yeah yeah." I say, helping him unpack. 

"I brought some for your dad when he gets home as well." Jem says, serving up the food onto three plates, one for him, one for me and one for Dad. " And if you want me to fix that leak your dad was talking about, I can do that tonight."

"Oh yeah, thanks."

"I also brought that herbal stuff my aunt makes for your headache, it's so good, you'll feel better in no time."

I laugh, shaking my head in wonder. "Where have you been all my life?"

He looks at me and the look is almost indescribable. His eyes are slightly narrowed but wide at the same time. He's looking at me like he's trying to figure me out but like he knows exactly who I am at the same. He also looks like he's considering something. The look only lasts for one second and then he drops the bag he's holding and kisses me, holding my face in his hands. I wonder whether this is a good idea but I decide regret is always for later and I kiss him back. He pulls away, still holding my face.

"Sorry." he says, sounding kind of surprised. 

"It's okay." I say in a similar tone. 

One corner of his mouth quirks upwards. "Good." and he kisses me again.

The front door opens and we spring apart, dishing the food out like we were before. Dad wanders in and sighs happily. 

"Oh Jem, you didn't have to bring us food." he says, clapping Jem on the shoulder. 

"It's no trouble at all." Jem smiles. 

"Jem's going to fix the leak as well." I say and Dad carries on praising Jem about what a lovely young man he is and Jem carries on blushing and I duck my head to hide the fact that I'm blushing as well. That was the kind of kiss that we ignore and don't bring up again but I don't mind that in the slightest.

Later on, Jem's on the roof fixing the leak and I go outside, looking up at him. It's dark out now and my dad got me to come and get him inside. He's got his back to me and I smile. It's pretty nice to see him tonight.

"Hey!" I shout and he jumps, fumbling around and sliding right off the roof. I scream as he grabs onto a tree branch, desperately trying to hold onto it as he slides down it and falls onto the ground. I yelp, rushing over to him. He's lying on the floor, groaning and rolling over.

"Are you okay?" I ask him desperately, stroking his hair out of his face.

He groans, opening his eyes. "I'm brilliant, yeah."

I laugh, relieved. "You're really okay?" 

He shakes his arms and legs a little bit and then nods, laughing. "Yeah, no harm done."

"Holy crap, Jem, you just fell off my roof." I laugh shakily, pulling him into a hug. 

"Kay this is lovely and all but it really freaking hurts." he says and I let go of him suddenly. He falls to the ground again and groans.

"Are you sure you're okay?" I demand and he laughs. 

"I'm fine, but I did just fall off your roof, I'm a little achey." 

I sigh, pushing his hair out of his face again. "You need to come inside."

"I need to fix the leak still."

"Oh my god, don't be stupid." I laugh, helping him up off the ground. "My dad will call somebody in the morning to come and fix it."

"Alright, alright." Jem says, following me. "I should probably be heading home anyway. I'll call you later just to let you know I'm still alive."

He goes inside to say goodbye to Dad and then drives off home. I go back inside and sit with my Dad. He turns at me with a look on his face like he's about to try to be cool and relatable. I groan internally but remain neutral on the outside. 

"So, I like Jem." he says, offhand but I can see the way he's looking at me. He's looking at me like I'm one character in his favourite book and Jem is his other favourite character and he's spent the entire book hoping that we'll get together.

"I like Jem too. He's a good friend." I hint. 

Dad pauses. "Do you think you'll be more than friends?"

I laugh, getting up and ruffling his hair. "Hate to break it to you, but no. I'm going to bed. Night Dad."

He chuckles. "Night sweetheart."

And that's the first night in a while that I've gone to sleep not thinking about Alex or Johanna. I don't even think about Jem, not really. I just don't think about anything and that's so relieving, to not be stressed. It's not quite like being content, but it's kind of better, not knowing what's going to happen.

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