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


46. Forty six

I'm lying in my bed one evening. That's all I really do recently, I don't feel like doing anything else right now. I just like lying in my bed and thinking even though once I'm actually doing it, I try not to think about anything. My dad has learned to leave me alone for now, probably just thinking it's another moody phase. I haven't told him what happened, I can't be bothered to explain it all. 

He knocks on my door, peeking in. "Kay?"

"Yeah?" I say, still staring at the ceiling.

"You have a visitor."

"Okay." I say, sitting up. Of course I hope it's going to be Alex or Johanna but it isn't. Jem thanks my dad and wanders in, smiling at me. My dad shuts the door behind him and I can hear him go downstairs. He must be kind of confused right now but I'll explain everything that's been going on eventually. 

"Hey." I say, confused. "What are you doing here?"

"Thought you could use some company." he suggests with a dorky little smile. 

"Why would you think that?" 

"Because Alice and Carrie and I have been trying to call you and text you and you haven't replied, so we figured you were probably lying on your bed in silence."

I smile. "You're not wrong. Are Alice and Carrie coming over?" 

"Nah. I told them it was best to leave you alone and then I came over anyway. I didn't feel like sharing."

I laugh, moving aside and patting the bed beside me. He sits down next to me and as we chat more and more, I lie back on my bed and he lies down too, propping himself up on one elbow. We don't run out of things to talk about even though for a while, it's kind of like we're talking about nothing. 

"So where do you actually live?" I ask him.

"England." he says. 

My eyes widen. "What? Are you serious?" 

He laughs. "Yeah, I live in Leeds in England. I moved there to go to college or university or whatever. That's why I'm staying here for quite a while, it isn't worth it to just come up for a weekend, you know?" 

"Wow." is all I can say. "I've always wanted to go to England."

"You'll have to come and visit some time." he agrees. "I actually work for Leeds festival so I could get you in for free."

"You work for Leeds Festival?" 

"Yeah." he nods. "I'm doing media at university and I have a job, just when the festival is on, as one of the camera men who films the crowd. You know when you watch concerts and stuff on TV and you see the crowd? I do the filming of that."


"Yeah. I used to do Reading festival but I got fired." he chuckles. 

I laugh. "You got fired? How?" 

"Do you want to hear a story about how I met my last girlfriend?" he says out of the blue. 

I hesitate, thrown off. "Yeah, I suppose." 

"So I was filming a crowd at Reading. It was 2008, at the main stage and Biffy Clyro were performing. Before we filmed, our manager told us to film anybody who looked like they were really into it and anyone interesting. I was moving the camera around the crowd a little bit in the first song. By the second song, I'd spotted this girl kinda near the front and she was so into it. She was singing every word, so much expression on her face. She was wearing jeans and this t-shirt that kind of had tassels along the bottom and she looked just like she'd stepped out of an eighty's music festival. She was so interesting and so into it and I really liked her already so I just filmed her for the entire time. When my manager got the footage back, he got so mad and fired me. I found her on her way to the tent the next day and I told her that I'd lost my job because I thought she was beautiful. We were together for four years."

"Wow." I say, processing it all. "Why did you break up?" 

He shrugs. "It just worked until it stopped working out, you know? We just started grating on each other, having enough of each other. It's the same old story, we grew up and we grew apart. We wanted different things. We started believing in different things. You know the whole thing."

I nod. "You still miss her, right?" 

He smiles, narrowing his eyes. "Who said I ever missed her at all?" 

"You don't not miss somebody after you're together for four years."

He laughs. "I guess you're right."

"But you still miss her, don't you?" I press. 

He shakes his head. "No. I did miss her for a long time but it's been two years. I feel like I was already moving on from her towards the end of when we together. What's past is past, you know?" 

I nod. I try to apply that to Alex and I but I don't feel like that is past. I'm still waiting for something to happen with that and I can't really figure out what. Jem and I carry on talking for a while. My dad comes up with a pizza for the two of us at some point and leaves us to it. I take a moment to appreciate my dad. No other father would be fine with their daughter being in her room with some boy for hours and no other father would bring up a pizza for them and leave them alone some more. He's so respectful towards my privacy and I think I forget that sometimes. 

After being there for a few hours, Jem stands up. "I should head home."

"By home do you mean Leeds or Johanna's?" 

He laughs. "Johanna's."

My smile fades a little. "Does she know you're here?"

"Yes." Jem says, nodding. "I'm not going to hide the fact that I'm supporting you as well. She might not like it but she can deal with it."

I smile again. "Thank you, Jem. For coming tonight. It cheered me up."

He smiles. "Good."

He just hovers there for a moment. I frown-smile at him. 

"What?" I ask.

"I didn't know whether this was going to be too forward or creepy or anything but I'm just gonna do it anyway." he says. All he does is lean down and kiss me on the cheek. I close my eyes and my heart aches because he's so sweet and gentle and maybe that's what separates him from Alex. He pulls his head back and smiles at me in a way he hasn't smiled before. It's the most gentle, kind of patronising but in a caring way, smile. 

"I'm here whenever you need me." he says. 

"Thank you." 

He grins and stands up. "See you."

"Bye!" I call as he leaves and I lie back down on my bed and now my head is full of things I'm not terrified of thinking about, things that won't hurt to think about. I replay the entire evening in my mind and then go downstairs and sit with my dad for the first time in a while. I'm starting to feel a little better about everything, even if it's just a phase.

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