I decide it's best tell Dad what's going on with me so he doesn't get too worried. On Monday morning I burst into the kitchen and he looks at me, alarmed.
"Alex cheated on me with Johanna and now we aren't speaking and Johanna and I aren't speaking either but I'm still friends with Alice and Carrie and I'm also now friends with Jem." I announce.
Dad stares at me with wide eyes for a moment and then nods. "Okay. Well... okay then. Want some breakfast?"
I get the bus to school and Alice and Carrie meet me at the school gates. They both look worried and keep exchanging nervous glances. I frown as I approach them.
"What's wrong with you two?" I ask them.
"Don't look over by the other gates." Carrie warns so of course I look over by the other gates. There's Alex and all of his friends, as per usual, but then there's Johanna as well. He has his arm around her and she has her arms around his waist and they're both laughing and joking with his friends. My stomach clenches. They're together. They're actually together. I don't know what I was expecting, I suppose I thought they'd feel bad for hurting me and they'd call it all off but instead, it's as if they've gotten me out of the way and now they can be happy. They can be happy because they've pushed me aside and left me heart broken. And there she is, with him and standing with his friends. He's not afraid to tell his friends about the two of them even when we spend the whole time keeping me a secret and that isn't fair.
"Why is it okay for his friends to know about her?" I ask Alice and Carrie, hearing how hurt I sound.
"You know Johanna, she's always gotten along with all of the popular people." Alice shrugs.
"I'm going to say something." I say.
"No, don't." Carrie insists.
"Kaya, think about what you're doing." Alice tries.
I ignore them and start heading over to Alex and Johanna and all of Alex's friends. I twist the ring on my finger around as I walk. I haven't been able to bring myself to take it off yet but now I think I'm ready. Actually, I'm not ready but I'm going to anyway. I take it off as I approach them all.
"Hey Alex." I say, a smile on my face. Everybody goes silent and looks at me. I force myself to keep going.
"Kaya." is all Alex says.
I hold the ring up. "Since you cheated on me, I don't really want this anymore."
"You were together?" one of his friends demands. I carry on.
"I figured you might want it back." I shrug.
He narrows his eyes. "I'm alright, thanks."
I shrug. "Fair enough."
And as I walk away, I drop the ring down a drain and I smile to myself as he yells out in shock. I just keep walking back to Alice and Carrie who are laughing and I grin at them and we go inside. Nothing's healed properly, but god that felt good.
That night, I'm sitting in my room doing my homework and I'm on the phone to Carrie as well when my dad knocks on the door and peeks his head in.
"Visitor." he tells me.
"Okay." I smile and call out "Jem, you will not believe what Carrie just told me. You know in-"
I stop talking immediately when I see that Jem isn't my visitor. Alex is. I tell Carrie I have to go and hang up the phone. Alex and I don't talk for a moment. The atmosphere is horrible and weird. Suddenly, I can't believe I ever loved him. He kind of seems like the enemy and I feel like that's how I seem to him as well. Suddenly we're just two different people who still have some issues between us that we want to get rid of so we can move on with our separate lives.
"Hello." I say eventually.
"Hi." he says, going to sit on my bed.
"Don't." I say and he stands back up. "I can tell you now, you're not staying long enough to need to be sitting down."
"Okay." he shrugs and then sighs, looking at me. "Kaya, that ring cost six hundred dollars."
My eyes widen. "That's why you're here?"
He frowns. "Yes."
I laugh, shocked. "You're here because you're mad about the ring?"
"Yes." he says defensively. "Why else would I be here?"
"Maybe to freaking apologise!" I exclaim.
"I don't need to apologise, you-"
"Get out." I say in a low voice.
He sighs heavily. "Kaya."
"Alex, I think you need to go." my dad says, coming into the room.
Alex sighs again but he leaves and Dad orders us pizza and puts on my favourite shows in a desperate attempt to make me feel better but I feel a hundred times worse than I did this morning. I just don't want any of this to be happening, I want it to all be over. I tell Dad I'm feeling sick and I go to bed. It's the performance for our music project tomorrow. Alex and I will have to perform together. I can't stand the thought of sitting there and singing all those songs with him, all those songs we put together when we were happy and enjoyed each other's company. It's worth twenty percent of our grade but I'll sacrifice that and just stay home, I think. Plus, Alex deserves to miss out on his one chance to do that performance and lose twenty percent of his grade. So the next morning I tell my dad I'm still sick and I stay home and the entire day is like the calm before the storm.