Hi everyone!! The Love, Life, & Happiness series is an important series to me because the two books that are currently released, Love Unbroken and Trust Me, are not the original books from the series. When I first wrote the series, it was back in 2004 and it was about four young women who went to college together and shared a two-bedroom apartment. The four had their shares of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, they were there for each other. As time went on, I changed some elements to the story, and eventually, just used the characters from the first book and expanded the series to have a book dedicated to a couple who goes through their journey with love.

So now, I decided to upload the first chapters of the original story, titled, Love, Life & Happiness. There are a lot of differences between the original and the current stories; for example, Riana and Isaac were actually dating before she met Shawn, and Cheryl and Marcus were never together (And if I had continued with the original story, Riana would have cheated on Shawn with Marcus- imagine that!).

Here are the first three chapters of the story. I will be uploading additional chapters throughout the week, so everyone will have a chance to read them before the book discussion this coming Saturday. Enjoy 🙂

ONE

As the summer was coming to a close, a new school year was approaching at Shaw University. It was only a few days before the fall semester but many students were rushing to find their new living quarters while others were hanging out on the lawn socializing and enjoying the beautiful scenery around them.

As Riana Robertson approached the quad of the university with an armful of luggage, she looked around to see where she was. She pulled out a hair tie from her bag and put her long dark brown hair into a ponytail. She looked at her caramel skin wondering if she could stand in the Texas heat much longer.

“I’ve been here for a year and still don’t know my way around.”

She picked up her luggage and started to move her long legs again towards the apartment living section of the university. After a few minutes of searching, she noticed the apartment she was looking for and headed toward the entrance. She loudly knocked on the door so someone could hear her. When her friend opened the door, Riana noticed her and her other friend busily putting things into their new living room.

“Hey roomies.” Riana said as she strolled into the apartment.

“Hey. How was your flight?” Britney Lewis, Riana’s friend asked while putting a vase on the coffee table.

Britney was always the exotic one of the girls. With smooth and creamy complexion, and bright brown eyes, she could pass off as a fashion model. As she pushed her medium length black hair from her face, she glanced over at Riana who dropped her bags by the doorway.

“It was great. I had a lot of fun in New York. Cheryl should be coming in soon. She went back to her house with her parents.”

“Oh joy. Tell me again why we are all living together? Why we couldn’t find someone else instead of your cousin?” Riana’s other friend Monica Taylor asked. She goes over to the mirror placed in the hallway to check out her chocolate-colored features and to brush off some lint from her lean legs.

“Listen Monica, I know you don’t like Cheryl but could you please try to like her since we’re all living together? Besides, we needed another person to help pay rent and Cheryl wanted to move out, so I didn’t see what the problem was.”

“I don’t either.” Britney chimed in.

“You supposed to be on my side Britney.” Monica said.

Britney grin as she continued to move things around.

“How was everyone’s vacation?” Riana asked.

“It was cool. I had fun relaxing.” Monica said.

“And how is Donnell?”

“He’s fine. Lately I’ve been thinking about breaking up with him. I mean, he’s nice and all but the chemistry is not there anymore.”

“Monica, you and Donnell has been together for so long. Not to mention you two been through so much. Why end it now?” Britney asked.

“I don’t know. I guess I want something new.”

Britney shook her head while Riana gave Monica a disappointed look.

“Hopefully things will work out for you two. I’m just glad I don’t have those issues with Isaac and me. Even though we were apart for the summer, our relationship is stronger than ever.” Riana said, smiling.

Monica smiled while Britney stared nervously at the plain white walls.

“You’re lucky Riana. You have it all. In our freshman year you were the only one to achieve a 4.0 GPA and you have Isaac, the most perfect man there is.”

“Or close to it.” Britney faintly said.

“I know, I know.”

The three started to laugh when the doorbell rang. Riana went to the door and open it. Cheryl
Thompson walked in with a several pieces of luggage. As soon as she entered the apartment,
half of her suitcases fell on the ground, causing a loud thud on the hard wooden floor.

“Wow Cheryl, it seem like you brought your whole room.” Riana said.

“No. Just half. Hey Britney, Monica.”

“Hey.” Britney said.

“Hey.” Monica whispered.

“What took you so long at your parents?”

“Nothing, just them being parents. They didn’t want me to leave.”

“Maybe you should have stayed at home.” Monica said.

“Are you really going to go there? I don’t like this as much as you do but I’m here to help out my cousin. So if you don’t like it why don’t you get your own place?”

“Why don’t you? It would make me happy.”

“Will you two stop? Now we all agreed after last semester that we were going to move off campus and get an apartment together. We all know we cannot afford a place on our own so this was the best solution. So just deal with it.” Riana said.

“Can you two please tell us why you don’t like each other? We still don’t have a clue why.” Britney wondered.

“We just don’t, so just leave it at that.” Monica said. She threw the dust towel she had in her hand on the table and went to her room. She slammed the door, causing a vibration to erupt from the impact.

“I’ll go talk to her.” Britney said as she went into the room she shared with Monica.

Riana exhaled while Cheryl picked up two of her suitcases.

“Where’s our room?”

“Down the hall across from the bathroom.”

Cheryl went towards the hallway and into hers and Riana’s room.

Riana watched the door close to their bedroom when the doorbell rang. She headed to the door and answered it.

Isaac Harris was standing on the other side of the door with a dozen red roses in his hand.

“Hey baby. I missed you.” he said.

“I missed you too.” Riana said. She went to him and gave him a hug. The two looked at each other as they gave a passionate kiss.

“This is a nice place.” Isaac said once he walked into the living room.

“Thanks, but we have a lot more work to do. How was your summer away from me?”

“Pure torture. I missed every moment being with you.”

Riana beamed as she kissed Isaac. Monica and Britney walked into the living room. The two stood motionless while watching Riana and Isaac kiss. Monica started to clear her throat to get the two attention. The two noticed they had an audience and pulled apart from each other.

“Nice to see you Isaac.” Monica said while smiling.

“Hey Monica. Britney.”

“Hey.” Britney muttered.

Britney gazed at Isaac while Isaac glared at Britney in a longingly trance. Riana looked at the two strangely.

“Since everyone is back from vacation and school starts back in a couple of days I was hoping maybe we could go out tonight? I heard the Tunnel is going to be poppin tonight.” Isaac said.

“Sounds like fun. I’m down.” Monica said.

“Me too.” Britney mentioned.

Riana gave a confused look at Isaac.

“That sounds fun, but baby we haven’t seen each other for two months. You think that maybe we should spend some time alone tonight?”

Isaac gave Riana a sympathetic glance as he put an arm around her.

“Baby, we have a few days before summer vacation is over. You know we are going to be spending time together but I thought it would be great for all of us to have a club night. Besides I already told the boys we’ll be coming up there.”

Riana folded her arms across her chest as she looked at Isaac angrily.

“Fine.”

“Good. I’ll come back around nine to scoop you up. And everyone better be ready when I come.” Isaac said while staring at Monica.

Monica rolled her eyes at Isaac.

“Please, like I take a long time to get ready. “

“Whatever. Bye.” Isaac said. He walked over to Riana and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“Bye baby.”

“Bye.” Riana softly replied.

Isaac glanced over at Britney as he walked to the door. Britney watched Isaac as he closed the door. She turned around to face Riana and Monica.

“I’ll be right back. I need to get something from my car.”

She went to the door and hurriedly walked outside.

Riana went over the couch and threw herself on it.

“What’s wrong?” Monica asked.

“You don’t find it strange that Isaac rather spend my first night back with the whole gang at the club?”

“Maybe, but he did say that you two will spend a lot of time together before classes start.”

“Something doesn’t seem right. You know I haven’t heard from him but three times since I was away.”

Monica sat beside Riana on the couch and put an arm around her.

“You worry too much. That has always been your weakness.”

“So you think I’m overacting?”

“Yeah. The whole situation is kind of weird but Isaac is a busy person so it could be possible that he didn’t have the chance to talk to you like he wanted to. But he does have a point. We haven’t seen each other all summer so it’s good that we’re spending time together tonight.”

Riana smiled. “I guess you’re right.”

“Good. Now I have to pick out something to wear.” Monica uttered as she got up from the couch and went towards her room.

Riana looked at the door close and sighed.

“You’re wrong Monica. Something is wrong. I know it.”

***
Britney walked outside to the parking lot and went to her car. She opened the door and looked inside for a CD. When she closed the door; Isaac was standing next to her. She jumped,causing the CD to fall out of her hand.

“Sorry I scared you.”

Britney smiled and picked up the CD from the ground.

“It’s cool. I thought you left?”

“I did but I couldn’t without doing this.” He said. He grabbed Britney by her waist and kissed her seductively on the lips. The two stood by Britney’s car kissing, not realizing that anyone could see; in particular Riana.

Britney pulled away from Isaac and wiped her lips with the back of her hand.

“You shouldn’t have done that. Someone can easily see us out here.”

“Like who? I was thinking since Riana is back we have to change the way we see each other.”

“I can’t believe how calm you are about this. Riana is my best friend. I can’t believe I’m doing this to her. And now you telling me we should sneak around?”

“It only temporary until I figure out what to do about Riana. Britney, the time we spent together over the summer was great and I don’t regret it at all. I want to be with you and I know you feel the same way.”

Britney looked at Isaac and shook her head. She walked away from her car in a daze. Isaac goes up to her and turned her around to face him.

“Britney, just think about all this and what have change between us. I think I’m falling in love with you.”

Britney looked shock at Isaac’s confession. She doesn’t know whether to be happy or disturbed.

“I have to go. See you tonight.”

She headed to the apartment and opened the door. She closed the door and leaned against it.

“What have I done?”

Isaac watched the door close and sighed.

“I know you want me, just like I want you.”

TWO

Several hours later and the girls were getting ready to go out. Riana was in her closet searching for an outfit when Cheryl walked in from the bathroom. Dressed in a sleeveless, low cut black shirt and black pants, she impatiently looked at Riana pulling shirts out of her closet.

“You still haven’t found anything to wear?”

“No. What about this?” Riana asked, holding up a black halter dress.

“That’s cute.”

“No it’s not.” Riana groaned. She threw the outfit back into the closet and flop down on the bed.

“I’m not going.”

“Why not. It’ll be fun.” Cheryl said. She went over to Riana and sat down beside her.

“What’s wrong?”

“I guess I’m just tired from the flight.”

“We were on the same flight and I’m not tired.”

“Maybe you’re don’t get jetlagged.”

“Come on Riana. I know when something is wrong. I know you better than anyone, so don’t give me that I’m tired crap because I’m not buying it.”

Riana looked at Cheryl and smiled.

“Nothing gets pass you, does it?”

“You damn right. Now what’s really going on?”

“It’s Isaac. I think something has changed in him while I was away.”

“Like what?”

“Take tonight for example. I would have thought since we haven’t seen each other in two months he would want to spend some time alone; but instead he wants to go out with us and his boys. Don’t you think that’s kind of weird?

“Maybe. If I haven’t seen my boyfriend in months I definitely would want to spend time with him.”

“I told that to Monica and she thought nothing of it. She told me to stop worrying.”

“Don’t listen to her. Her relationships considered to be open so she doesn’t know what a real one is. If you think something is wrong; you need to confront Isaac about this.”

Riana sighed. “At least I’m not crazy to think that something is going on. Maybe I’ll talk to him tonight.”

“Tonight may not be the best time since you’ll be at a club with hundreds of people gawking down your throats. Maybe you should bring it up when you two are alone.”

“You’re right.” Riana agreed. She got up and went back to her closet to look at her clothes once more. Cheryl leaned back on the bed and picked up a magazine nearby.

“So tell me Ri, have you and Isaac done it yet?”

Riana looked back at Cheryl as if she lost her mind.

“Wow, aren’t you bold?”

“I had to ask. I mean, you never talk about sex to anyone.”

“Because I figure it’s not anyone business.”

“Not even me?”

“Especially you.”

“Sorry I asked.”

“Fine. We haven’t had sex yet. I’m waiting for the right moment.”

“And when is that? Ri, it’s never a right moment for anything; especially sex.”

“It can be.”

“Are you still a virgin?”

Riana looked at Cheryl with a twinkle in her eye.

“There’s something no will ever know.” She said. She pulled out a short pink flowing tube dress.

“Perfect.” Cheryl said.

Riana nodded and grinned.

***
Monica and Britney were in their room getting ready when Britney started to talk.

“Have you ever cheated on someone that you knew practically your whole life? “

“No. Why you ask?”

“Just making conversation. So is Donnell coming with us?”

“No. I called him but he have to work tonight. So I guess it just us two lonely girls.”

“Speak for yourself. I’m gonna find me a man tonight.”

“Go head girl.” Monica said, laughing.

Britney also laughed when she heard the door doorbell.

“Is it nine already?” Monica asked as she glanced at the clock.

“You know how Isaac is. He’s always on time.”

“And how would you know that?” Monica asked.

“I remember Riana tell me that one day.”

Monica nodded and went into the bathroom. Britney breathed a sigh of relief and went into the living room.

Riana was already at the door greeting Isaac with a kiss.

“Hey. You look good.” Riana said smiling.

“Thanks. So do you.” Isaac said. He glanced over to see Britney walk in wearing a blue body hugging halter dress that went to her thighs.

As Riana went towards the kitchen, Isaac began to stare intensely at Britney and her outfit. He couldn’t keep his eyes off of her as she seductively bent over to pick up her shoes that was placed near the couch. When Isaac noticed Riana was walking back into the living room, he
started to cough heavily.

Riana looked at Isaac with a worried expression.

“Are you okay, baby?”

“Yeah. Just had something in my throat.”

“I’ll get you some water.” She said as she went towards the kitchen.

Britney gave Isaac a sexy stare and walked back into her room. Riana headed back over to Isaac to hand him a glass of water.

“Thanks.” He said as he swallowed the glass in one gulp.

“So who else is coming tonight?” Cheryl asked while coming into the living room.

“Just the usual. Al, Danny, and Brian.”

Isaac checked his watch and noticed the time. “I should have known Monica was going to make us late. You know The Tunnel is packed on Fridays especially when you get in free before 10.” he yelled.

“I’m coming. Dang!” Monica exclaimed while running into the living room.

“Is everyone ready now?” Isaac asked.

“Yes.” The girls replied.

“Let’s go.” He said, heading to the door.

While Isaac was leaving the apartment, so was Britney. The two lightly bumped into each other. They stared at each other before Isaac quickly turned away. Monica and Cheryl walked out after them while Riana locked the apartment door.

“This is going to be so much fun.” Monica said as she stepped into Isaac’s Nissan Maxima.

“Just remember if you going to drink don’t get drunk. I’m not trying to clean puke out of my car.” Isaac demanded as he started up the car.

“Yeah whatever.” The girls said as Isaac backed out of the parking lot.

***
As they arrived to The Tunnel, the club was already packed as the front of the building was stack

with club goers from the door to the side of the club. The five got out of the car and looked at the line in front of them.

“Dang, I see we’re not the only ones who are cheap.” Monica said.

“Damn right! You know how much it is to get inside after 10?” Isaac asked.

After standing in line for 30 minutes, the five barely made it inside the club as the clock struck 10 on the dot. When they strolled into the club, they was quickly hit with sweaty bodies dancing to the sounds of Big Sean and Chris Brown and waitresses carrying trays of alcohol.

“My, my, my I see some fine guys in here tonight.” Monica excitedly proclaimed.

“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” Cheryl asked.

“What he won’t know won’t hurt him a bit. See you guys later.”

Monica walked away from her friends and disappeared into the huge crowd on the dance floor.

“Well we knew that would happen. You want to dance baby?” Isaac asked Riana.

“Not yet. Why don’t you and Britney dance?”

Isaac watched to see Britney’s reaction, but she shook her head no.

“No; I’m going to go look for the guys.” He replied.

He gave Riana a kiss on the cheek and headed off into the crowd.

Britney sat down beside Riana and Cheryl and sighed.

“Why you don’t want to dance Ri?”

“I will, but I figure I just got here. I have all night to dance.”

When Estelle’s new single vibrated off the club walls, Britney stood up.

“I have to dance to this. You want to dance, Cheryl?”

“Sure. Why not.”

The two got up leaving Riana alone at the bar.

She looked around at the crowd with a disappointed look on her caramel- colored face.

I didn’t even want to come tonight. I rather have been at home.

She turned her head and noticed several people beside her buying drinks and having a good time.

She looked down at her watch to check the time when someone spilled a drink on her. Riana quickly jumped up with disgust.

“Damn it!” she yelled. She promptly grabbed several napkins from the bar and began to wipe the liquor from her dress.

“This probably won’t even come out.” she said angrily.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for that to happen.” The guy said. He grabbed some more napkins off the bar and tried to help Riana with her dress. Riana glazed at him and snatched the napkins from him.

“I can do it myself. You have done enough.”

“Well excuse me. I was just trying to help.”

“Well I have it. Thanks.”

“You don’t have to have an attitude. It was a mistake.”

“Next time try being a little more careful.” Riana said as she walked away from the bar.

The guy began to walk behind her.

“Listen, if the stain doesn’t come out I’ll pay for it.”

Riana whipped her body around to face the guy while nearly bumping into someone in the process.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“What is your problem? I said I was sorry.”

“Oh, so you think I have a problem because you spilled a drink on me? I didn’t think it was okay for someone to do that.”

“Have I seen you somewhere before? You look really familiar.”

“Now you are trying to hit on me? Really,” Riana said as she turned away.

“I’m not trying to hit on you. You may be fine, but you have a stank attitude. I don’t talk to girls with stick up their asses.”

“Excuse me! Now I have an attitude. You know what now that I think about it; you should pay for this dress. In fact since I’m such a bitch why don’t I charge you double for it?”

The guy looked at Riana with a smirk. Riana looked at the guy with an annoyed expression.

“You know you kind of turning me on with your attitude. I’m Shawn.” He said as he extend his hand to Riana.

Riana rolled her eyes to Shawn’s remark.

“And I’m not interested.” she said. She turned around and headed into the crowd.

Shawn stared as Riana’s body disappears from his view. He took a deep breath at the beauty that was standing before him a second ago.

“ Damn, she’s fine.” He said while walking away.

***
Monica was leaving the dance floor when someone grabbed her arm.

“I know you didn’t!” she shouted. She turned around to stare into the eyes of the most gorgeous man she ever seen.

“Hello.” she said softly.

“Hey. Sorry. I’m just approaching you like this but I’ve been noticing you since you walked in and you I have to say you are beautiful.”

Monica blushed. “Thanks.”

“What’s your name?”

“Monica; and you?”

“Malcolm.”

Monica smiled at Malcolm.

This could be the guy I’ve been looking for.

***
Britney was walking back towards the bar when Isaac stopped her on the dance floor.

“You want to dance?”

“Shouldn’t you be dancing with Riana?”

“She said she didn’t want to, remember.”

“Britney looked around the dance floor and sighed.

“Fine.”

The two went towards a group of people and started to dance to the beat. Isaac put his hand around Britney’s waist pulling her close to him. Britney looked at Isaac while he moved his hand lower down her waist. The two stared at each other with a look of passion in their eyes.

“You want to meet up later?” Isaac whispered.

“I don’t think so.”

“Why not. You know you want me. I want you.”

Britney was hesitant to reply, but she knew Isaac was right.

“I’ll meet you outside the apartments.”

Isaac smiled and the two continued to dance.

While they were engage in their conversation, Cheryl was near the dance floor watching the entire scene.

***
Riana was near the front of the club searching for her friends when she saw Cheryl approaching her.

“You see anyone we came here with?”

“Uh no I haven’t.” Cheryl replied in a hesitate tone.

I can’t tell her I saw her boyfriend and best friend practically having sex on the dance floor.

“Oh well.” Riana said as she went to a nearby table to sit down.

“What happened to your dress?”

“Some jerk spilled his drink on me. I have to get this dry cleaned. Hopefully the stain will come out.”

While Riana was talking, Shawn walked by with a group of guys. He took a look at Riana and smiled. Riana shook her head. He walked over to the table and took her hand. He slipped a piece of paper in between her fingers.

“Here’s my number. You can call me once you find out about the dry cleaning bill.”

Riana looked at the piece of paper. She placed his number back into his hand.

“I don’t need your number. Don’t worry about it; I’ll take care of it.”

“You sure? I really do feel bad about what happened.”

Riana looked taken back by Shawn’s sympathy.

“That’s nice of you but don’t worry about it.”

Shawn smiled. “Okay then; you ladies have a good night.”

Before Shawn walked off, Riana yelled out at him.

“My name’s Riana.”

Shawn turned around. “What.”

“My name. You asked for it earlier. It’s Riana.”

“Riana. I’ll remember that.” he said. He looked at Riana once more before going over to another table where his friends were.

Cheryl gave Riana an approving stare.

“Look at you. Trying to get your game on.”

Riana laughed. “Please girl. I’m not interested in any other man besides Isaac. Besides that’s the guy who spilled the drink on me.”

“Kind of figured. He looks familiar though. I think I had a class with him last semester. In fact I did. His name is Shawn Walker”

“So wonder he said he saw me before.” Riana said.

“He’s sexy. And look at his friends? They all look good.”

Riana looked over at Shawn and smiled.

“Yeah, he is.”

***

Monica was having a great time with Malcolm on the dance floor. As another song came on, she looked at him with an exhausted breath.

“I’m going to sit this one out.”

“Okay, cool. You want some company?”

“Sure.”

The two went off the dance floor to find a place to sit. They went over to bar where Malcolm ordered a drink.

“You want anything?”

“Sure. I’ll take whatever you’re having.”

Malcolm got the attention of the bartender for Monica’s drink. Once he placed the order, he went back to focus on Monica.

“Let me ask you the famous question. Do you have a man?” Malcolm asked while handing the bartender some money.

Monica gave Malcolm a sensual glance as she received her drink from him.

“No, I don’t.”

“That’s hard to believe. I mean you’re beautiful.”

“Beautiful people can be single too.”

“Maybe I should change that then.”

“Oh really. And how are you going to do that?”

“I don’t know. But I can find ways to.”

Monica gave Malcolm a flirtatious stare as she sipped her drink.

“Can I see you again?” Malcolm asked.

Monica had to think whether she should see him again. Although she wants to, she knows she shouldn’t because of Donnell. But as she looked at Malcolm and his ripped body, she couldn’t resist. She leaned over to him and whispered in his ear.

“Who said the night has to be over.”

Malcolm gave Monica a surprise look.

“What are you trying to say?”

“We can go back to your place. We could see where the night takes us.”

“Really? What are you in the mood for?”

“I’m down for whatever.”

Malcolm nodded and got out of his seat.

“Let’s go.”

Monica smiled and got up as well. She took Malcolm’s hand and the two walked toward the exit. While leaving, she noticed Riana and Cheryl at the table nearby talking. She went up to them with a huge grin on her face.

“I’m leaving.”

Riana looked over at Malcolm and then at Monica.

“Are you crazy?”

“I’m just going somewhere to get to know Malcolm better. Malcolm, this is Riana and Cheryl.”

“Hey.” he said.

Riana angrily looked at Monica as she grabbed her arm. The two went over to a corner by the bar.

“What the hell is your problem?” Monica asked.

“I should be asking you the same thing. Why the hell are you going to go somewhere with someone you just met?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because I want some tonight.”

“You know he’s not going to talk to you after this.”

“How do you know? You know what, just leave me alone. And don’t wait up.”

Riana shook her head as Monica turned around and walked over to Malcolm.

“Unbelievable.” Riana said. She goes back to the table where Cheryl is sitting.

“I don’t know why you’re shock. I’m not.”

Riana rolled her eyes at Cheryl as she watched Monica leave with Malcolm.

***
Two hours later and the club were closing for the night. As the last callers were heading towards the parking lot, Riana Cheryl, Isaac, and Britney were going to Isaac’s car. While Isaac was talking to his friends, Riana, Cheryl and Britney were talking about Monica.

“I can’t believe she did that! Not only is she putting herself in danger, but what about Donnell?” Britney asked.

“We should have stopped her.” Riana said.

“And did what? Told her that it’s wrong to leave with a stranger and took her out the club kicking and screaming. I agree that it’s wrong but Monica is a grown woman and can make her own choices. Whatever choice she makes we have to respect it.” Cheryl implied.

“Even if they are irrational?” Riana asked.

“Even irrational choices.”

“I just hope she doesn’t do anything that she will regret the next day.” Britney said.

Like I’m about to do right now.

“Let’s hope she makes the right choice.” Riana said.

Cheryl looked at Riana and Britney and went into Isaac’s car. Isaac walked over to Riana and Britney with a curious look.

“Where’s Monica?”

“She decided to leave early with some guy.” Riana said.

“Typical Monica. Let’s hope Donnell doesn’t find out.”

As the three were getting into the car, Riana glanced over the opposite end of the parking lot and noticed Shawn and his friends getting into a Dodge Charger. He looked over at Riana and gave her a quick smile. He hopped into the driver’s side and closed the door. Riana looked at Shawn vanish into the gathering that was exiting the parking lot. Isaac gave a probing glimpse at Riana.

“Who was that?”

Remembering that she has a boyfriend, Riana turned to Isaac.

“No one.”

“Better not be.” He mentioned under his breath.

Riana rolled her eyes at Isaac as she climbed into the passenger’s seat. Isaac gave Riana another disappointed look as he got into the car and started up the engine.

THREE

Three days later and students were going to their new classes at Shaw University. Riana was in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee when Monica walked into the kitchen. She goes to the refrigerator and took out a gallon of milk. She went over to the cabinet, retrieving a box of Frosted Flakes and a bowl and goes to the table. She looked at Riana and sighed.

“Are you going to give me the silent treatment today too? I think you made your point all weekend about my decision at the club.”

“I don’t get you Monica. Why would you do that? And what about Donnell? You do remember him right.”

“Yes I do. You may not believe me but I love Donnell and I don’t want to do anything to hurt him. When I met Malcolm, something inside of me just changed and I couldn’t control myself.”

“That was your hormones talking. And as far as not hurting Donnell, you should have thought about that before you spread your legs.” Riana said.

She got up from the table and went towards the living room. Monica pushed her bowl away and got up from the table as well.

“Sometimes you can be a real bitch! You come off acting all high and mighty and it makes me sick!”

“I rather be a bitch than a slut.”

Monica went up to Riana and slapped her across her face. After getting over the initial shock of her friend slapping her, Riana pushed Monica onto the couch. Before Monica could do anything, Britney and Cheryl ran into the living room and pulled the two apart.

“What’s going on?” Britney asked in a raised voice.

“That bitch called me a slut!” Monica yelled.

Riana snared at Monica and grabbed her backpack and purse.

“I have a class to go to.”

She goes to the door and opened it. She slammed it, causing everyone to jump.

“Evidently Ri is telling the truth.” Cheryl said. She headed to her room and closed the door.

Monica looked at Britney and sighed.

“I don’t see what the big deal is about what happened at the club. I just wanted to have some fun.”

“Mon, Ri is upset because she cares about you. Just like the rest of us. We don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“I get that, but for someone who cares about me, she sure judged me by calling me a slut. Friends don’t talk about each other like that.”

Britney sighs as Monica goes into their room and closed the door. Britney looked at the door with pure guilt for the recently misdeeds she have done .

“Maybe we’re not the friends we thought we were.”

***
Riana was walking towards the student lounge to her first class when Shawn started to walk beside her. She gave him an annoyed look and began to walk faster.

“Hey girl, hold up. What’s the hurry?”

“I have a class to get to.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I just don’t want to be late to class.”

“I have a feeling you won’t be. Now tell me what’s going on.”

“Listen Troy…”

“It’s Shawn.”

“Shawn, I really don’t want to talk. Anyway, what makes you think I would talk to you about anything?”

“I don’t know. I heard strangers can be the best people to talk to.”

“Says who?”

“I don’t know, but I heard it could be true. I know we just met a few days ago but I can see something is bothering you. I thought you needed someone to talk to.”

Riana looked into Shawn’s dark brown eyes and smiled. Just staring at him and noticing every part of him, including his muscled physique and smooth mocha colored skin, made Riana a little nervous to stand by him.

“That’s nice, but I’m fine. Thanks though.”

Shawn smiled and watched Riana walk away.

Riana looked at the room number near the communications office and realized that was her classroom. As she walked in and sat in nearest seat near the door, Shawn walked in as well and sat next to her.

“Are you following me now?”

“You wish. I’m taking this class too.”

“Journalism. Wow, I would have never guess.”

“Well, there are a lot of things you don’t know about me.” Shawn flirtatiously replied.

Riana gave Shawn an enticing grin from his remark. If she wasn’t taken, she would definitely have given Shawn a chance.

A woman quite older than the students walks into the classroom clutching a black briefcase in her hand. She walked to her desk almost tripping on the desk leg in the process.

Shawn looked at the instructor, giving a little smirk.

“Hello, hello. Sorry I’m late. My name is Sharon Williams and I will be your journalism professor for this semester.” She opened her briefcase and pulled out some papers to pass out.

“This is your syllabus for the term. Please take one and pass it around. Please look at it carefully once you receive one.”

When the syllabuses reached Riana, she took one and read it.

“We already have an assignment?”

“As you can see, yes you already have an assignment. This will consist of the whole semester. I want you to do a story involving the ins and outs of being in college. You can conduct interviews with college students, professors, alumni, as well as yourselves if you prefer. I just want you to become familiar with doing news stories as well as conduct follow ups on the individuals you interview.”

“So we can talk about anything involving college life; like campus life or school work?” Riana asked.

“You can do your story on any topic that involves college life. Of course you won’t be doing this alone. You will be partnered up so you can have the idea of how news reporters work together in the news room. Not only will you be doing the story together but you will also film and edit your piece using the editing equipment provided in the school newsroom. Does anyone have any questions?”

Everyone looked at each other and shook their heads no.

“Good. Why don’t everyone find a partner and then we can introduce ourselves to the class.” Professor Williams suggested.

As she went to her desk, Riana looked over at Shawn.

“I guess we’re partners.”

Shawn smiled. “I guess so. This will be an interesting semester.”

Riana smiled at Shawn. “It definitely will.”

***
Cheryl was going to class upset with the world. Not only did the morning start off wrong with Monica and Riana fighting, but her mother called giving her a lecture on what not to do while in college.

That’s the reason why I moved out.

Out of her, her brother, and sister, her mother was always the hardest on her.

I don’t know why. I guess because I’m the youngest. she thought as she turned the corner to her first class.

She always tried her best to achieve the goals her parents set for her. She majoring in a field she doesn’t want to be in. She made all A’s during her freshmen year and even participated in a few college organizations her mother told her about. She wanted to join a sorority but her mother thought that was one of the “wrong things to do”.

When will she ever let me grow up?

She went into her English Literature class and sat down in the seat close to the back. Someone walked in and looked at Cheryl. He said hello to her and went to the seat in front of her.

Cheryl looked at the guy and smiled.

The guy turned around and began to talk.

“How are you today?”

“I’m good. How about yourself?”

“I’m good. I hope this class is worth it. I really didn’t want to take it, but unfortunately it’s a requirement.” the guy said.

“Oh. So what‘s your major?”

“Business. I want to be able to have my own establishment one day. I don’t really like English too much so I figure I had to take something; so here I am.”

Cheryl tried hard not to stare at the guy sitting in front of her, but she couldn’t help it. With light brown eyes and a honey colored features, he looked like he could be a model steeping off from a runway show in New York or Paris. He was giving Cheryl a strange look, but then started to laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“I’ve been asking you a question for about two minutes.”

“Oh; sorry. What was your question?”

“What’s your major?”

“Psychology. It something I don’t want to do but my parents thought it would be a good career choice.”

“Okay; I don’t want to get in your business, but why you never told your parents what you want?”

“It doesn’t matter. Besides, I’m starting to like psychology and what goes into it. So it not a total waste.”

The guy smiled as he extended his hand out to Cheryl.

“Where my manners. I’ve been talking and I haven’t introduced myself. Chris Thomas.”

“Cheryl Thompson. Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. Wait, have we met before? You were with the girl Shawn was talking to at the club.”

“Yeah. That’s my cousin Riana. So you and Shawn are friends?”

“Yeah. From the looks of that night it seems like Shawn was into your cousin.”

“I know, huh. It’s a shame that she has a boyfriend.”

A boyfriend who could be playing her.

Cheryl looked at Chris and smiled.

***
Later that afternoon and Riana and Cheryl were at their apartment eating lunch. The two were discussing their first day of classes.

“How were your classes?” Cheryl asked.

“They were cool. I already have an assignment in my journalism class.”

“I see your instructor didn’t waste any time.”

“I know. We have to do a news story about the ups and downs of college. We have to have a partner too. Guess who my partner is?”

“Who.”

“Shawn, the guy at the club.”

“You don’t say.” Cheryl said suspiciously while taking a bite of her cheeseburger.

“Why you say it like that?”

“I don’t know. I guess because I have a class with his friend. His name is Chris and he is so fine.”

“I see you been checking out the men in your class instead of the lesson.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing. Just don’t let it interfere with your work.”

“You sound like my parents now.”

Riana looked at Cheryl and gave her a smirk.

“Back to Shawn. If you weren’t with Isaac, would you have given him a chance?”

“I don’t know. I mean Shawn is cute.”

“Just cute? From what I’ve saw the boy is fine. You wouldn’t give him a chance?”

“Maybe so. He seems real cool, so yeah I guess so.”

“Say if you and Isaac broke up, would you talk to Shawn?”

“What with all the questions? And why you assume Isaac and I would break up?”

“No reason, just curious.”

Riana gave Cheryl a suspicious glance wondering what her cousin is really up to.

Cheryl looked at Riana and gave her a convincing smile.

Don’t worry cousin, but you and Shawn will be together.

The door opened to reveal Monica walking in, passing by both Riana and Cheryl without uttering a word.

“Monica, wait.” Riana said.

Monica stopped to face Riana.

“What.”

Riana got up from the couch and stepped in front of Monica.

“I want to apologize for what happened today. I was way out of line.”

The expression Monica had before began to soften as she tried to blink back tears.

“What you said today was pretty harsh.”

“I know and I’m sorry for it. If I could take back what I said I would. I was just so furious with you for the decision you made that night. I was concern about you and your safety.”

“I appreciate that Ri, I really do; but I’m grown and I can take care of myself. Whatever actions I make I have to live through them, but I’m glad you were concern. That’s goes to show me that you really care about me.”

“Friends.”

“Always.”

The two extend their arms out for a sisterly hug.

Cheryl watched the entire scene in pure annoyance.

“Where’s Brit? I thought she said she was coming home after class?” Monica asked.

“I don’t know. We been here for awhile now and she hasn’t shown up.” Riana said.

“I have an idea where she’s at.” Cheryl murmured.

“You said something Cheryl?” Riana asked.

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

***
Britney was at Isaac’s apartment lying in bed staring at the ceiling. After seeing Isaac on campus earlier the two decided to go back to his place after class. One thing led to another and the two winded up in bed. Britney turned her head to face Isaac, who was snoring soundly next to her. Britney tried to wake him, but instead of opening his eyes, he started to snore even louder. She sighed while rolling out of bed. She quickly threw on her clothes and began to wake Isaac up again. He looked at Britney with sheepish eyes and began to rub them with his hands.

“What’s wrong?”

“This! I can’t keep doing this Isaac.” Britney said. She sat down beside him and put her head in her hands. He got out of bed and sat beside Britney. He put his arm around her as she put her head on his shoulder.

“Listen, I know this is tearing you up inside. It tearing me up too, but I’m trying to find a way to resolve all of this without anyone getting hurt.”

“Are you crazy, Isaac? This is going to hurt everyone involved. Especially Ri. This will tear her apart.”

“You don’t think I know that? I know this is going to hurt her. I care about Ri too much to cause her any type of pain.”

“To be honest, I don’t think you really care about Ri and what this would do to her.”

“Oh and you do?” Isaac asked. He goes over to his dresser and retrieved a fresh pair of boxers.

“Something has to change. You need to make a choice. I was thinking once Riana finds out about us that we can make our relationship official.”

Isaac glanced at Britney and smiled. “I was thinking the same thing. I do want things to change between us. I want us to actually be together in public and not care about being caught. I want us to be together.”

Just hearing those words made Britney beamed with joy. She goes up to Isaac and planted a huge kiss on his lips.

“I feel the same way. So when will this happen?”

“As soon as I break things off with Riana.”

“And when will that be?”

“I don’t know.”

“Damn it Isaac! You have to make a decision. You can’t have us both.”

“I know that and I will. Just give me a little more time.”

Britney shook her head while picking up her backpack and purse. She doesn’t know what to think right now, but she knew she couldn’t be around Isaac. She went to the door and slammed it, leaving a puzzled Isaac standing in the doorway.

***
Monica was sitting on the couch watching TV when the doorbell rang. She goes to the door and opened it to see her boyfriend Donnell Patterson on the other end.

“Hey.”

“Hey. I missed you.” Donnell said. He kissed Monica on the cheek as he walked into the apartment.

“This is a nice place. You and the girls fix it up well.”

“Thanks. You want anything? Water; soda.”

“No. I just want you.” Donnell said. He started to stroke her hair as he kissed her passionately on the lips.

Monica tried to resist Donnell, but she couldn’t. She slipped an arm around him and began to return his kiss.

As the two pull apart, they walk over to the couch to sit down.

“I’m sorry I haven’t come by sooner, but I’ve been busy with work. I barely had time to rest let alone talk to you.”

“It’s cool. I know that you’re trying to save up for your own place. How’s that coming along?”

“I’m almost there. I have the deposit and three month rent saved up. So when I do get my own place, do you want to help me christened it?”

Monica gave Donnell a wicked grin. “Of course.”

“So how was your first day of classes?”

“It was good. It hard to tell whether I will like them or not though.”

“Okay. Sorry I didn’t get to go to the club. I would have loved to gone.”

“I know. I had fun.” Monica said. She turned away from Donnell to watch a video that appear on the TV screen.

“What’s wrong? If you’re tired I can come back.”

“No, I’m fine. I guess I’m just a little restless today.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“Just you being here is enough.”

“Before I forget I have a surprise for you.” Donnell said. He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a jewelry store box.

Monica glared at Donnell in total shock as a tear fell down her cheek.

“Wow. I really hope you don’t think this is a ring because it’s not.” Donnell said.

“No. I just can’t believe you brought me a gift. You should be saving for your place, not buying me things.”

“I saved more than enough. I just wanted to show my appreciation for you and for being so understanding for the times we haven’t spent together over the summer. I love you Monica.”

Monica looked at the box and then at Donnell. She took the box from him and opened it to reveal a beautiful heart shaped diamond pendant. She stared at the necklace in front of her, tears beginning to pour from her brown eyes.

Donnell put an arm around Monica and hugged her.

“Don’t cry Mon. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“It not you. It just that no one ever done this for me before.” Monica said in between tears.

“Baby, you mean everything to me. I want us to be together forever. You know that right?”

Monica nodded.

“So I will do whatever I can to make you happy. I love you so much.”

Monica stared into Donnell’s eyes wondering how she could have cheated on someone as wonderful and caring as Donnell. She knew she could never tell him about Malcolm, no matter how guilty she would feel.

Donnell touched Monica’s face as he gave her another kiss. The two began to kiss even more when he picked her up.

“Where’s your room?”

“Second door to the left.”

Monica leaned onto Donnell as he carried her to her room and closes the door.

***
Cheryl was coming from her room when she heard moaning coming from Monica and Britney’s room.

“I don’t believe her.” She said to herself. She goes into the living room where Riana was watching TV. When the moans started to become louder from both Monica and Donnell, Riana reached for the remote and turned up the volume.

“She’s unbelievable. I bet she didn’t even tell Donnell that she slept with someone else.”

“No. Like she said she’s grown so she needs to figure out her own mess.”

Cheryl sighed as she sat on the couch beside Riana.

Britney strolled into the apartment with a confused look on her beautiful face. Riana looked up and smiled at her.

“Hey. I see you finally made it home. I thought you said you were coming home after your last class?”

“I was, but I got sidetracked.”

Cheryl gave Britney a curious look to her answer.

As Britney was going towards the hall, Cheryl stopped her.

“I wouldn’t go in there just yet. Donnell and Monica in there getting some.”

“Great.” Britney said in an irritated tone.

Cheryl moved from the couch and goes toward the door. She stared at Britney, unsure on
whether she should confront her about her revelation.

“Would you mind coming outside with me? “

Britney looked at Cheryl and nodded. Riana watched as the two went outside.

“What was that about?”

Cheryl closed the apartment door and walked over to her car. Britney followed, standing by Cheryl’s car.

“I know what’s going on Britney. How could you do that to your best friend?” Cheryl angrily asked.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh please. You are sleeping with Isaac, Britney! Don’t try to deny it. I see it every time you two are around each other. How long this been going on? A few weeks, months; tell me?”

“It started when you and Riana went out of town for the summer. We tried not to let it go that far but we couldn’t reject our feelings anymore. So we gave into them.”

“Has it occurred to you that the person you’re messing it is your best friend’s boyfriend and that you shouldn’t be fooling around with him? Do you have any morals?” Cheryl asked as she walked away from Britney. Britney grabbed Cheryl’s arm.

“Get your hand off of me.” Cheryl demanded, jerking her arm away from her.

“What are you doing?”

“What you think I’m doing. I’m going to tell my cousin what whores she has for friends.”

“Please don’t. Isaac and I are trying to find a way for us to tell her. We just haven’t found the best way yet.”

“There’s not a good way to tell your friend that you been screwing around with her man. What made you do it? Was it that good for you to destroy your friendship with someone you known all your life?”

Britney looked down at the ground and started to cry hysterically.

Cheryl rolled her eyes and walked towards the apartment, leaving Britney in the parking lot crying uncontrollably.

“What were you and Britney talking about?” Riana asked as Cheryl stormed into the apartment.

Cheryl turned to look at her cousin who was too innocent for her own good.

“Nothing you have to worry about. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t change.”

She grabbed her purse from the kitchen and goes to the door.

As Cheryl closed the door, Riana turned to stare at the wall wondering why her cousin was acting so weird.

“What is going on today?”