“WHAT?” He scrunched up his face. “No! Miss E is your girlfriend. Not mine.”
“Emma’s not my girlfriend.”
“Uh-huh.” He started to recline the seat, and I stabbed at the screen, removing his control ability. “They told me she was.”
“Who told you she was?”
“The lady with the nose ring.”
Dana. My stomach cramped at the idea of her talking to Wes, and how she had found out that Emma was volunteering there. Exactly how much snooping had been done into our lives? “What else did she say?”
“I was supposed to say Miss E slept with me.”
Anger boiled in me, and if I hadn’t already planned on suing MTV, this cemented it. I turned to him. “You lied about that?”
He wouldn’t meet my eyes. “She had a sleepover in my room.”
I touched his arm. “Wes, look at me. Look in my eyes. Where did she sleep?”
“In the closet.”
I let out a breath, relieved. “And you just played? Normal stuff? No undressing?”
“You know I have a girlfriend,” he said indignantly. “A GIRLFRIEND. B-B-Becky.”
“Okay, Wes.” I put my hands back on the wheel. “I’m just watching out for you.”
“Miss E watches out for me too. She likes me.”
I sighed. As much as I would love the idea that Emma liked Wes, I couldn’t buy it. I wouldn’t believe anything that she ever said to me. I had known what Emma was like going into this, I had just allowed myself to forget it, and that was my fault.
I watched mom and dad leave from the window in my bedroom. Mom’s hair was sticking out in all directions, and Dad’s shirt looked like it was ripped at the collar. She was wildly gesturing, ranting away, and I felt a surge of appreciation for her—for them both. Maybe they had told my most embarrassing stories to the press and said all sorts of horrible things. They had still rallied beside me when I needed them. I let out a small laugh, thinking of my mother tackling Jocelyn Mitchell to the ground. God, if we had known, a decade ago, that we would be in the same room as Jocelyn Mitchell, we would have crapped our pants. Now, we’d probably have restraining orders from her.
I don’t know when Cash got back to the house, but the next morning he was there, standing in the kitchen, a coffee cup in hand when I came in. Johno paused, mid-sentence, and glanced at him, then continued his story of a Cuban hooker. Cash sipped his cup and ignored me.
There were four days left of us in the house. One episode and four days and somehow, in the countless interactions that occur when you live with someone—he didn’t say a single word to me during that time.
Oh, Dana tried. At every opportunity, she tried to initiate fights between us. She had Eileen ask me why I would go for a seventeen-year-old boy in front of Cash. Asked how many photos I’d leaked to the press of him when we were playing, but I ignored it all. I knew if I tried to defend myself, everything would be twisted against me on the cutting room floor. She even ordered Cash and me to go back into the confession room together. Cash walked off at that one. Dana had looked at me with the most triumphant, nasty expression on her face, and laughed.
I wanted to ask her why? How? But what was the point? The damage was done. Dana had done exactly what she’d set out to do. She’d created a jaw-dropping season, and leaked enough footage, clips, and quotes to keep House of Fame constantly trending. By the time the season aired, viewers were frantic to see it all play out.
And hey, my plan had worked. Wahoo. All of the drama and press had brought me more money, followers, and fame. Too bad everything hitting browser windows was painting me as a cheating pedophile and Cash—the guy who owned my heart—wouldn’t even look at me.
Maybe I should have been the one to break the silence. I could have begged Cash’s forgiveness and given him my side of the story—even if it wasn’t a very logical or noble one. But I didn’t. I let him stew in silence, and I did nothing.
And four days later, we all moved out.
The media was horrible, and for the first time in two years, I didn’t celebrate the attention.
EMMA BLANTON STALKS CASH MITCHELL’S FAMILY
WHITE TRASH VS CLASS: EMMA AND CASH
SPECIAL NEEDS FACILITY FIRES EMMA BLANTON FOR CONTACT WITH PATIENT
I scrolled down the articles, all posted during the night. Then, I looked at the numbers. Forty-nine million followers. One-hundred and six thousand clicks on yesterday’s mascara post. Three million views on the video of me washing the dog. I tried to muster up joy but felt nothing. I searched for Cash’s profile and—like every day this week—I got the blank white page that indicated I was blocked. It stung just as much as it had ten minutes ago.