The next morning I got up and saw a text from Zack saying when he'd pick me up. It was weird getting up early and having nothing to do. I glanced at the newspaper article again and considered asking Zack, I might as well let him know about it now. Especially if the guy is considering going to my mum. I can't decide if the idea would annoy or make me happy for my mum. Truthfully I know it was more than a one-night stand, but I always refused to hear the details of whatever they were from mum. Someone knocked on the door and I got up quickly, wanting to throw my arms around Zack. Only it wasn't him waiting outside.
“Hi,” I said, somewhat stiffly. I regretted the tone the moment I'd heard it.
“We need to talk,” Jasmine said, pushing past me and into the house. Mum had already left so at least I wouldn't have to explain Jasmine to her yet.
“Okay,” I said, suppressing the urge to gulp. Jasmine looked very angry and frustrated. Which made sense, her parents were getting divorced, and worse still it was because her father cheated.
“What kind of dump is this?” Jasmine asked instead.
“It's my home, but thanks for the lovely comment,” I replied, rolling my eyes a little. Jasmine blinked a few times in confusion and moved around, taking in everything. The sunken sofa, the dingy kitchen counters and the table legs breaking away.
“I don't understand. Dad said he looked after you guys,” Jasmine murmured.
“He did when I was younger, but then he stopped. And harassed my mum daily to make sure she didn't tell anyone about me,” I explained. Jasmine seemed a little stunned. Maybe the guy didn't deserve a second chance, not if he sprouted dozens of lies like that.
“Look, I can't hang around. Why didn't you say who you were at Zack's party?” Jasmine asked. I looked at her like she was an idiot, and considering what I’d just said, she was kind of being one.
“Your father harassed my mum everyday. You think I want her to go through more? Besides, you're just a stranger, related or not,” I said, then I held open the door. The biggest “Get out” sign in the world, Jasmine looked hurt by it.
Footsteps approached the open doorway and Zack looked back and froth in confusion.
“What's going on?” he asked. Guess that meant I was explaining everything.
“Sit down,” I said, pointing to the sofa. Jasmine sat next to him after giving the sofa a studied glance. It took a while to explain it all, especially with Jasmine interrupted with questions every five minutes. But eventually both of them knew and understood. Well, Zack did, Jasmine just looked more confused and annoyed.
“I have to go,” she finally said, “Thanks,” she added as she left. Which left me leaning against the wall and glancing at Zack.
“I didn't realise your life was so...” Zack started. By admitting he'd never gave us money, I had to admit the struggles we'd had as a result.
“We're fine now, don't worry,” I cut him off. The last thing I wanted was some big pity party.
“Let's get going, we've already missed our first and second lesson. People will be wondering where we are,” I said. Zack nodded and we got into his car. Not a limo this time, but not a cheap car either.
“When I get my driver's license this is going to be my car,” Zack said, seeing me study the leather interior.
“Guess it'll be nice to drive yourself for once,” I said. Zack nodded, looking uncomfortably. I released a huge sigh because I knew this conversation had to happen.
“Zack, don't feel bad for having what you have. I don't care about it, why should you?” I said. Zack blinked and studied me.
“You don't care?” he asked, I shook my head.
“I didn't blush when you flirted with me because I knew you were rich. I just thought you were a really nice, cute guy,” I pointed out. Zack nodded and I realised there a red tinge to his cheeks.
“You look cute when you blush too,” I pointed out.
“Well, look forward to spending the whole party with this cute guy,” he replied, wrapping his arms round my waist and pulling me close to him. I leaned my head on his shoulder and breathed his scent in.
“You'll make better company than Amber,” I said and Zack laughed.
“That's not hard, are you insulting me?” he joked and I shook my head burrowing into his neck a little.
“Never,” I murmured against his skin. I felt him shiver in response and smiled.
“Least we haven't missed Drama, Rent auditions. Now you'll get to hear me sing,” Zack said.
The car pulled up while people were wondering around for break. We had around two minutes before the bell went so there wasn't much point in searching for the others. I assumed we'd be the first to arrive but a new guy was leaning against the wall and glancing around nervously.
“Hi,” I said, making him jump. Wonder why he was being so jittery.
“Hi,” he murmured back, then after a moments hesitation pulled out his schedule.
“I'm in the right room right?” he asked. I checked the piece of paper.
“Yeah, you are. Don't worry,” I said with a small laugh. It looked like the laugh helped him ease up a little. I studied his schedule more and found myself feeling a little sorry.
“There's a guy called Lewis in a lot of classes, avoid him, and you'll survive the school,” I advised. He barked out a laugh to that.
“I've met him outside of school, I have a good idea of what he's like,” he explained.
“Void of common sense?” Zack suggested dryly. The guy raised an eyebrow at him but didn't say anything. After that others started trudging in.
“Hey, new guy,” Lily said the moment she joined our group.
“Hi, stranger girl,” he threw back. I'm pretty sure Lily just blushed a little. She introduced all of us and the guy nodded, whether he'd actually remember our name's I'm not sure.
“I'm Nick,” he said, sounding weirdly happy introducing himself. Probably just the nerves effecting his voice I decided.