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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20. Twenty

"Hey, remember when you were totally rebellious and snuck out of your house?" Alex says on our way to school one morning. 

"I totally do and I hope I never have to do it again." 

"You're a wimp."

"No, I respect my father's rules." I say and he bursts out laughing.

We laugh about how I'm a wimp and way too much of a good girl and how he's way too rebellious and he's a bad influence on me as we walk through the gates to school and we joke about it all the way until we both separate to go to our different friends. My friends are are smiling knowingly at me. I roll my eyes. 

"You ship it, I get it it."

They all laugh and scream "I ship it" anyway. 

"I seriously do though." Alice says as we start walking to class. "You two are so cute."

"We aren't cute." I protest. 

"Yes, you are." she says. "Guys, how cute were they laughing together just now?"

"So cute." Carrie agrees. "He was laughing like you said the funniest thing in the world."

"That's because I did." I joke. 

We're queuing outside of our classroom waiting for our teacher when Alex and all of his friends walk past. Alex meets my eye and I see a mischievous glint in his eyes. 

"Carlisle!" he squeals, mimicking me and pretending to wipe his eyes. 

I glare at him and he grins at me and all of my friends give me that same knowing look. 

*

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, on the phone to Alex while Dad prepares dinner. 

"You are such a dick for making fun of me earlier in the hallway, my friends won't let it go." I tell him. 

"Kaya, don't swear." Dad says. 

"Sorry." I say. 

Alex laughs on the other end of the line. "I'm glad your friends won't let it go, it's hilarious."

"I wouldn't go as far as to say 'hilarious'. " I say. "It was mildly amusing at the most."

"I wanna hang out with you and your friends at some point." he says out of the blue. 

"Why?"

"Because, I know they're still kind of iffy with me." 

"They're not iffy with you."

"They are so iffy with me. We need to stop saying iffy, it doesn't sound like a real word anymore. Anyway, I know they're still iffy with me and I think it will be good if we all spend a bit of time together. Maybe then they won't mind so much when we hang out together."

"They don't mind anyway." I insist.

"No, Kaya, they say they don't mind because they don't want to upset you again but somewhere within them, they mind."

I sigh. "Whatever you say. What do you suggest?"

"Well just give me like an hour to work some of my genius magic and I'll let you know and we'll all hang out this weekend."

"Dinner's ready Kaya." Dad says

"One minute, Dad." I say and then to Alex I say "Do you even know what they like?"

"Fun things?" he suggests.

I laugh. "Yeah, but-"

"Kaya." Dad presses. "Dinner."

"Okay Dad." I roll my eyes. "I've gotta go Alex, just call me in an hour."

"Alright." he says. "Speak to you in a bit when I have a genius plan."

I laugh. "Okay."

I hang up the phone and pick up a slice of homemade pizza. Dad said he wanted to stop ordering so much take out and somehow thought that homemade pizza was way healthier. I'm still smiling to myself. I glance up and my dad is raising an eyebrow at me. I raise an eyebrow back. 

"Yes?" I say, expectantly.

"You're glowing." he observes.

"I'm not pregnant."

This actually makes him laugh a little and I'm relieved that it breaks the tension. "I didn't think that."

"What do you think then?" I ask, chewing on my pizza.

"I think you have a very big crush on Alex." 

I laugh. "I don't. We're just friends."

"Look at you!" he waves his pizza at me. "You're smiling to yourself and giggling and everything."

"I smile to myself and giggle when I talk to Johanna as well, does that mean I have a crush on her?" I raise an eyebrow, smiling at him. 

He rolls his eyes. "I'm just saying maybe you should invite him over for dinner."

I sigh. "Dad, not this again. You've met him before anyway!"

"Yeah, but not really. I didn't get a good chance to check him out."

"I don't think I'm the one with a crush on Alex." I murmur. 

He ignores me. "Just invite him over for next Thursday."

I know there's no way I'm getting out of this so I just agree and after dinner, I get a text from Alex:

I have something so cool planned. All I can say is Saturday 1 pm. 

I smile, replying:

Can I know?

He replies:

What don't you understand about 'All I can say'? I'm going out with my friends now but I'll see you tomorrow morning. 

 

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