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


45. Forty five

I do end up falling asleep at some point in the night. I'm woken in the morning by Alice and Carrie, both of them looking a bit nervous. I frown, rubbing my eyes. 

"What's wrong?" I ask them. 

"Jem's here." Alice says, nibbling her lip. "He wants to talk to you."

"We can tell him to piss off if you want." Carrie suggests.

"Please tell him to piss off."

They both go downstairs to get rid of him and I just stay in Carrie's room. I don't want to talk to Jem. Maybe what he did wasn't as bad as what Johanna and Alex did, but he should have told me. I figure Carrie and Alice have gotten him to leave but a few minutes later, he bursts into the room, the two of them following him. 

"Get out!" Carrie exclaims. 

"Can you please just give me a minute with her?" he asks. 

"You should go, Jem." Alice says. 

"I'm not going anywhere." he says definitely. "You can try and drag me out but I'm not sure how far you'll get."

They both sigh and take a seat on Carrie's bed. Jem raises an eyebrow at me. I raise an eyebrow back. 

"What's your problem?" I ask. 

"Can you ask them to leave us alone for a minute?" he pleads.

I stare at him for a moment and then realise the quicker he gets what he wants, the quicker he'll leave. I nod at the others and the reluctantly leave the room. I stand up and look at Jem, my arms crossed. 

"What?" I ask. 

"I'm really sorry." he says and I know that he's telling the truth. "I am so sorry, Kaya."

I sigh, tears in my eyes. "Why didn't you tell me, Jem?" 

"I wanted to." he insists. "I promise I wanted to but Johanna's my cousin and I love her. I couldn't just get her into shit like that. I figured it wasn't my business to get into."

"I thought we were friends!" I tell him. 

"We are friends." he promises. "We are. I just... I couldn't tell you. What kind of person would that make me when it comes to Johanna? And I tried to make you realise by yourself."

Realisation dawns on me. "That's why you were always acting so weird about Alex."

He nods. "But then once we became friends, half of me didn't want you to find out. Part of me just wanted you to stay oblivious to it and not get hurt. That's why I didn't want you to go upstairs last night at the party." he pauses and then looks at me, expectantly. "Please forgive me, Kaya."

"I already have."

He smiles. "Really?" 

I nod, managing a weak smile. He steps towards me and hugs me for a moment before letting go.

"I'm mad with Johanna." he says. "But I still love her. You know that, right?"

I nod. "I know."

"But we can still be friends, can't we?" 

"Of course."

He smiles. "Good."

I smile back and even though something went right there, everything else just seems so wrong.

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