17 ; Chapter Seventeen

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song of the chapter is Hayley Kiyoko's Gravel to Tempo

I didn't ask Jake how it happened because quite frankly I didn't want to know. I don't know if he was drunk or if she pounced on him. Jake shouldn't have slept with Pandora, but at the same time, I knew in my heart that he made a mistake and he was suffering because of the consequences every day.

    "Marie still won't answer my calls," he said when I asked him about her. He looked sullen with bags under his eyes. 

    "I'm sorry," I replied as I apologised. It was my fault she had found out.

    "Don't be. I still cheated on her, I deserve to have lost her."

The honesty in his voice cut through me and knocked anything I wanted to say from my lips. I couldn't really say anything. We were both at fault in the situation, but it was Pandora who started the whole thing with the lies. I was just stupid enough to believe her. 

    "I broke her heart and the guilt was eating at me. I was kind of relieved when it was out in the open because I sure as heck didn't know how to tell her. I want to work through it - I want her to forgive me but I know that's asking so much when I don't deserve to ask anything of her, not anymore."

Jake then stood up and put the kettle on as he offered me a cup of tea. I nodded and fidgeted with my hands, still feeling nervous at being in the same room as him. 

    "She loves you, I know that much. Maybe I could talk to her," I offered and he shook his head. 

    "I'm not going to ask you to fix this, Viv. It wasn't your fault in the first place."

    "You didn't ask me, I'm offering."

He shook his head again, "Don't worry about it." He placed the mug in front of me and smiled.

    "I'm trying this thing where I work on one relationship at a time and right now, I think getting my sister back is more important to me. I'm not going to risk losing you again."

Emotion welled up in my throat when I thought of how close we once had been. Jake was my best friend before Pandora and even when I was classified as her best friend I would still hear things at school and sit on edge until I could go home and tell him. If I saw a cute dog it was Jake I wanted to tell, not Pandora. She never liked animals whereas Jake and I had begged our parents for one for years. 

    "I've missed you," I said quietly and he gave me a soft smile.

    "You should have heard Mrs Ying going on in the staffroom the other day," Jake started as he referred to my history teacher. "She was giving off about some foreign politics thing and Mr Evans tried to get involved by saying that he thought Trump would be good at sorting out the problem and she literally flipped her shit. The whole room went quiet and she did that thing - you know the narrowing of her eyes as her cheek muscle twitches with rage?"

I started laughing then, picturing our obtuse PE teacher trying to make a joke and her reaching across the table to throttle him.

    "She really went for him and said he would think that because PE teachers are known to have low IQs. His face just fell as she kept going and then Principal Meyer popped in quietly - 'Linda, I think Mr Evans was trying to make a joke'."

By then Jake and I were in fits laughing. I could imagine it all so well. 

    "She didn't even apologise, just angrily muttered about having a class to get to."

    "That was my class! She came in with seriously red cheeks now that I think about it. She kept tugging on her hair as she called the roll." Jake and I continued to laugh before our hysterics subsided and we fell into that comfortable silence.

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