Chapter 8: Weekend of Whys

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Can't be a smooth ride forever so buckle up your seatbelts :)) I think I've already hinted at this for a while but now it's all comin' out :')) Hope you'll be able to find out more about Hailey and Matt!

Chapter shoutout to: ElleLeeLove and all the hopeless romantics who have been reading The Exchange and making my day with lovely comments! :) 

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I wake up on Saturday morning to the incessant buzzing of my phone. "Emma" flashes on the screen and with an inward groan, I sit up and stretch out my legs, willing myself to stay awake before picking up. I glance towards the door and hope it hasn't disturbed Matt.

"Hey Em, what's up?" I ask, covering a yawn and sitting back against the bedframe.

"What do you mean what's up," Emma's exasperation rings out. "Did you die or something? I tried to call you and message you, like twenty times this week."

"Ack I know, sorry," I apologize sheepishly. "I was out most of the week with Matt."

"Matt?" In spite of her previous annoyance, Emma's voice piques with interest. I can imagine her wiggling her eyebrows suggestively as me. We always shared guy gossip with each other and she seems to be surprised I haven't shared the news with her sooner.

"The older son. Arthur's brother"

"Ah okay, you had a busy week." She seems to hesitate before continuing. "Ah..."

"Out with it Emma," I sigh, pressing the phone a little closer to my ear. "I think I already know."

"Right," she replies softly. "I did a little digging and it seems like Ben wasn't in Switzerland."

"Mhm," I murmur, picking at the bedsheet absentmindedly.

"His photos seem to show he was in Florida, visiting some girl named Lexi. They seem pretty close, like um, there were a few photos where they were kissing. And even one together from childhood."

"So family friends," I mutter, exhaling sharply. "That's a long freaking time."

 I mentally kick myself for not realizing sooner. How often had Ben mentioned he was visiting Florida? Whenever school was out and there was a long holiday - all the time and I had simply went a long with it. He always came back with some sort of token or souvenir, along with some romantic apology about leaving me. And like an idiot, I had fallen for it.

Why had he done it? Why hadn't I noticed?

And then another horrifying realization dawns on me.

"I wonder why I haven't seen these photos."

"Erm," Emma starts nervously. "I think he might have changed some of his privacy settings."

"Damn it, that son of a bi-"

"Wait Hal, I'd love to talk - we can tomorrow if you want - and I'm so sorry about Ben but I can't stick around. Drew is coming to pick me up soon," she adds hurriedly. I feel a twinge of envy as she names her university freshman boyfriend of three years. 

"Ah that's okay, go and get ready, have fun." And with a click, I'm left to contemplate alone.

At that moment, Matt saunters in, oblivious and smirking.

"Did I hear you almost swear? At your mom?" He pretends to gasp but stops when he sees my blank expression, walking over to perch on the side of the bed. I avoid his eyes, fidgeting under his concerned stare, and bury my face in the blanket before speaking with a muffled voice. 

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