Rich

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

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29. Twenty nine

When I get home that following Thursday, I can smell my Dad cooking something that isn't pizza or pasta so I know something's up. When I wander into the kitchen, he grins at me. 

"Does Alex like home made Chinese food?" he asks. 

"Oh damn." I mutter. 

Dad frowns at me. "Did you invite him?" 

"No. We're not exactly on speaking terms." I sigh, sitting at the kitchen table. "Don't ask questions, we just got into a stupid fight."

"So he's not coming?" Dad says, seeming a little disappointed.

"Well he can come and have dinner with you if you'd like but I'll stay in my room." 

"Ha ha." Dad pulls a face and then grins again. "Well, Chinese for two it is then."

It feels so good to just sit there and talk with my Dad like usual. Why did I ever want to bother with a boyfriend anyway? It's only when you get your heartbroken like this that you realise how lucky you are to just have friends and family and how important they really are. 

The next morning, I text Johanna:

Any revenge plans for today?

She replies a minute later saying:

No but there's a party tonight if you want to go. By the way, I'm outside so hurry up.

I grab my bag, climb into her car and ask "Whose party?" 

"Sophia's." she says and I nod. Sophia is a girl in my class who we're sort of friends with and we went to her party last year and it was pretty fun. It's gonna be nice to just have fun and not worry about any of the revenge stuff to be honest. 

Johanna seems to be making a pretty big deal out of getting ready that night. They all are to be honest, but not even getting themselves ready. They all got ready together before they come over to my house and now they spend their time telling me what makeup to do and what dress to wear. I really have no idea why and I just get more confused when we don't turn the corner at Sophia's street. I frown at Johanna. 

"You missed the turn." I tell her. Nobody says anything. I'm silent for a little while longer too until it's concerning how far away from her house we're driving. "Guys seriously, what is happening?" 

And then Johanna takes a left and I realise where we are. We're on the private little lane that leads into Alex's driveway. As we get a little closer to his house, it's clear there is a party going on and even though it can't have been going on for very long as it's still early, it's already packed and some people already look drunk.

"Guys no." I say firmly. "There's no way we're crashing his party and getting some kind of revenge while everybody's here."

"The revenge is that we're crashing the party!" Johanna insists. "Come on, it's just enough to piss him off and ruin his night."

"Still, no." I say. Spilling our lunch on him and trashing his car was fun and everything but I kind of feel like we've taken it a bit far. I just want to leave it all behind me now. "Can we just leave the whole Alex thing alone now? He was really angry about the cars-"

"Why do you care?" Carrie asks. "He completely screwed you over."

"I know that and we've gotten back at him, let's just leave it now." I insist, getting nervous. I can already tell they won't listen to me. 

"Well you might not be angry still but we are so we're going in." Carrie says. 

"I agree." Johanna says.

"Guys, maybe if she says to leave it we should, it's her business." Alice suggests but she ends up following them into the party anyway. 

I just sit there in the car. However angry I was at Alex, I'm not all that angry anymore even if I am disappointed. I just don't want him to be angry with me either and surely he can't be mad at me for my friends going in there without me. But half an hour passes and I start to get worried about what they're doing so I make my way inside to try and find them. 

I don't know why I feel like everybody's looking at me because of course they're not but I just really want to find my friends and leave. It's nice that they care this much but I wish they'd have listened to me. I end up finding Johanna in one of the lounges and she's sat with Alex's girlfriend, Sarah. My stomach clenches and I force myself to walk up to them. 

"What are you doing?" I hiss as if Sarah won't be able to hear me. 

"I'm just telling Sarah all the jokes you made about the size of Alex's-"

"Shut up." I glare at her and then smile at Sarah. "She's drunk."

Sarah laughs a genuine laugh. "Oh it's fine, don't worry about it."

And then I feel awful because I've been angry at Sarah this whole time when really, she's just a really nice person and she believes that I didn't sleep with Alex when I did, even if I technically wasn't doing anything wrong. And then I feel bad about being so mean to Alex. It was wrong for him to do what he did but it occurs to me that this whole time my motive has kind of been to break him and Sarah up which is wrong because maybe he deserves to be with somebody so nice and kind like she is and maybe somebody so nice deserves to be happy with a boy like him. 

"I'll get her out of here." I smile apologetically. "We're not really meant to be here."

"Oh no, don't be silly, just stay!" she smiles. "I'm sure Alex wouldn't mind."

"Oh no, it's fine, honestly-"

"Kaya, just stay, have fun." she grins, squeezing my arm before going off to greet somebody else. I glare at Johanna again. 

"You could have got me into so much shit." I say. 

She laughs. "Calm down." 

I want to be mad at her but I decide to just get over it so we can try and have fun here at the party. It's kind of hard at first seeing as I'm kind of surrounded by everything that's Alex's and I'm worried about seeing him here but eventually we're able to just relax into it. Of course Alex spots me eventually though and fights his way through the crowd, tapping me on the shoulder. 

"What are you doing here?" he demands. 

"Your girlfriend said I could stay." I shout over the music.

He sighs heavily. "I don't want you here, can you please go?"

"Sorry, we don't just get what we want and then leave straight afterwards like some people do!" Johanna shouts at him over the music and I burst out laughing as Johanna drags me away. He just finds me again a few minutes later, pulling me aside so Johanna can't get involved. 

"You need to go." he says in a low, angry voice. 

"I didn't even want to come here!" I explain. "I didn't know it was here we were coming-"

"So why don't you just leave?" he hisses. 

"Because you're being such a dick about it, to be honest!" 

"Just because you're a needy, clingy bitch doesn't mean you have to bug me every single day of my life." he says harshly and walks away. 

I just stand there for a moment. It's really weird how we're acting towards each other. We're both being really nasty to each other and I'm wondering when it's going to stop. I wish we could have just stayed friends because it's hard to imagine us getting along now. Actually, it's so easy to imagine us getting along which just makes it so hard to realise how bad it is between us now. 

He comes up to me again later on when I'm away from my friends getting a drink, and I'm waiting for the nasty comment but he just takes my hand and starts leading me out of the kitchen. I'm so confused but I'm also loving holding his hand. I feel like it's a weight off my shoulders, as if I've been holding my breath since we first fought and now he's holding my hand so things must be okay between us. He leads me up a couple of flights of stairs and hides our hands from anybody who might be watching but everybody's drunk so it doesn't matter too much anyway. We go all the way to the top floor of the house and he leads me into a room. It's got a huge bed with white sheets and the walls are green and there's a big TV and a big computer and also a laptop. It's his bedroom. 

I let go of his hand. I've been in most rooms of this house, but this is one that never came into question in my mind. It just seems too personal even if it's just a bedroom. There are so many other rooms, why this one? He chuckles and takes my hand again. 

"I'm not going to try anything if that's what you're worried about." his words are a little slurred but other than that he sounds so normal, so him. 

"So why are we in here?" I ask.

"Because this is the one room that nobody else is allowed in when I have a party here." he says, leading me over to the bed. I believe him when he says he's not going to try anything but it shocks me a little when he sits down on the bed against the wall and pulls me onto his lap. I badly want to leave. I think of Sarah and how nice she was earlier and I just want to get off of Alex and leave but I can't bring myself to do it. Not when he's being okay with me, not when we're finally getting along again. I've missed this too much. 

"You're really drunk." I say.

"I'm not really drunk." he says, smiling a sort of sleepy smile. "I'm drunk but I'm not like extremely drunk."

I laugh gently. "I think I should leave."

"Why?" he asks. 

"Because you're drunk and you're going to say things you don't mean."

"I'm not." 

"Yes you are." I say, laughing at him again because he's closed his eyes now. He's definitely very drunk. 

"I'm not going to say things I don't mean." he says, his eyes still closed. 

"I'm going to go. We can talk tomorrow if you still want to." I say, trying to climb off him but he pulls me back down again. 

"I want to talk now." he says, opening his eyes. 

"Tomorrow." I say, climbing off the bed. 

"Do you promise?" he asks. 

"I promise." I say, stifling laughter as I leave the room and go and find my friends. It is such a relief to know he isn't angry at me anymore, even if he was drunk. 

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