TWENTY-TWO

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I felt my stomach turn as we watched the livestream back for the third time on Wesley's laptop. The boys had just gotten back from the Tokyo Studio Ghibli Museum and were seeing it for the first time since we went live a couple of hours ago.

The internet was completely blowing up. We even had a trending Twitter hashtag.

"This is the complete, honest truth," Nathan said in the video, standing between Wesley and I. "Jade Cortez's baby is mine. I lied about cheating on Lana—I did cheat on her but she knew. I purposely did this to help her break apart the JAWCK boys. This is my apology."

There was so much hate coming our way that I couldn't keep track of it all. We'd already advised Jade to make a public apology, then stay off Twitter. Wesley spoke up in the livestream too.

"On behalf of all my fans, I apologize for lying to you. Jade and I are not dating, and the baby is not mine. We did this to protect her against the attacks coming our way from Lana Fairbanks and her management company."

Wesley took a deep breath, then continued.

"I know we don't deserve your support right now, but if anybody does continue to support us, we have to ask you a massive favor. On behalf of all the JAWCK boys, we need you to believe us and help us over the next coming months. Now that you've heard Nathan's story and Wren's story, and you know what's been going on behind the scenes... you know what will happen when Lana's team lands back in LA. If you're a true fan, we ask that you help us fight to bring LA Beauty down once and for all. We've never needed your help more in our entire lives."

Despite Wesley's sincere words, and us telling our side of the story, we had more hate coming our way than support. It was the most devastating feeling in the world to have angry people tweeting at us, drama channels jumping on to spill the tea, and even news reports going out. As I scrolled through Twitter I could see all the Starbucks scandal articles resurfacing as well.

I completely understood why people were upset. We had lied to them. Our entire channel had been lying for months—people didn't know what to believe anymore, or who to trust. Every channel associated with us was under fire as well, as suspicious fans lashed out at them. We were getting contacted by various YouTubers vowing never to collaborate with us ever again.

The livestream finished playing, and the guys simply stared in shock.

"You guys are fucked," Ralph said finally, shaking his head in disbelief.

"This is a disaster," Brandon added, scrolling through his own phone. He looked up at Wesley from where he was sitting on the bed, his eyes wide with panic. "We're never going to come back from this. All of our careers are sunk—Wren's probably going to be thrown in jail!"

My stomach sank, and I thought back to that night I'd spent in jail after the Couples Party. I cringed.

"Oh God," I mumbled, turning my gaze to the floor, and I noticed Wesley move closer in the corner of my eye.

"Everyone just calm down," he insisted, throwing his hands up in the air. He glanced at Nathan, who had taken up residence in a chair near the door, and added, "Of course we were going to get this reaction. But people will come around—we've got Nathan's confession, which is a good start. We've told the complete and honest truth. Wren's got text messages from LA Beauty as proof. If we need to defend ourselves online, we can do so. But right now, we just need to people vent—give them time to calm down."

"Are you kidding me?" Brandon asked. "Dude, I'm getting death threats. This is a PR disaster—we need to deal with this right now!"

"How?" Kurt butted in. "People aren't ready to listen to us. They're not going to believe us until we prove ourselves worthy—and even if we show them Wren's text messages, they'll assume they've been photoshopped. People don't trust us anymore!"

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