Happy Sunday everyone!!! Here’s the first chapter of book 2 from the original Love, Life, and Happiness series. With this story, there are some similarities with the published versions; one being with Cheryl striving to be independent. But with Riana and Shawn, their story is a complete 180, when she begins to develop feelings for another man.

I will post more chapters throughout the week, so check back to see when the next ones are up.

Now, chapter one:

ONE
A month has passed from their first semester as sophomores at Shaw University, and Riana Robertson knew that things were slowly falling into place for her and for her friends. Now, the new semester has arrived and Riana was excited to see what was in store. As she walked into her new apartment she shared with her best friend Britney Lewis, all she wanted was to take a quick shower before she met her boyfriend Shawn Walker for dinner.

Riana smiled at the thought of her and Shawn together. Although the two have only been a couple for almost five months, the two felt like they been together for years. Throughout the winter break, the two have been inseparable. He even went with her to visit her parents on Christmas. He fitted right in with her family, which was great for Riana, because they never liked her ex-boyfriend, Isaac Harris.

“The boy was a complete ass.” her mother told Riana one day.

She loved Shawn the first day they met and she hoped the two get married one day.

As she passed through the living room, she stopped and looked at the picture that she, Britney, Cheryl , and Monica took while at the university’s annual Christmas party, she thought back on everything they been through the past few months.

After the semester ended, Riana and Britney moved into a two bedroom apartment near campus. The two became close again; so much closer than they were even before the big incident with Isaac. Britney even started to date Shawn’s brother Marcus, and now the two were truly happy. The only time she saw Britney now was for a quick second at home, and that was because she was always at Marcus’ apartment.

As she was heading toward the bathroom, she opened the door to reveal Marcus standing before her completely naked. Riana stood in shock but couldn’t help noticing how tight his body looked. While Riana continued to stare at Marcus’ body, he quickly grabbed a towel that was hanging on the towel rack and covered the lower part of his body.

“Have you heard of locking the door?” Riana asked, finally covering her eyes with her hand.

“I didn’t think you were coming home. Britney said you were going by my place first before coming home.”

“I wanted to come home and freshen up. I probably should let you finish.” she said as she grabbed the door handle and closed it shut. She stood behind it and began to breathe heavily.

What are you thinking girl? That’s your boyfriend’s brother!

But she couldn’t take the vision out of her head. Not even for a second.

***
Cheryl Thompson couldn’t believe how busy things were at the restaurant! As she was taking another table’s order, she looked at the clock hanging on the wall waiting patiently for her shift to end. Since the fall semester ended, and the problems she had with her parents, Cheryl was more determined than ever to stand on her own two feet and do things for herself. The first thing she did was found a job at Patrick’s Restaurant, which was a popular hangout on campus. Not only was she bringing in good money from tips, but she had her first taste of independence.

And it felt pretty good. she thought while filling a glass with water.

After she found a job, she was able to find an apartment on campus that was relatively cheap but very small. The place was so crammed, she had to put majority of her things in storage, which was a problem because of the high storage fees she had to shelf out. She wanted to find something better, but she knew with the paycheck she was receiving from the restaurant, plus school, and other expanses, the apartment was all she could afford.

She also knew that her dad would help her with anything she needed, and she was grateful for it, but she couldn’t accept anything from him. After all she went through with him and her mother (which she still does not talk to), she felt she had an obligation to herself to remain independent. But after she seen her car note for the month, she did asked her dad for money to pay for it. Although she had one slip up, she vowed it wouldn’t happen again. She even told him she will pay him back once she had the money to do so.

As she went over towards the kitchen, she noticed Chris Thomas was sitting at a table in the far corner watching her every move. Cheryl smiled as she looked at her boyfriend admiring her. To this day, she still couldn’t believe Chris was in her life. The two has been going strong and were happier than ever.

When he noticed Cheryl was already having financial problems, he tried to help her as much as he could. He even told her he would move out of the dorms and get an apartment so Cheryl wouldn’t have to worry about rent. But Cheryl didn’t want to live off of Chris, or anyone at that matter.

I’m going to do this on my own. That’s the promise I’ve made to myself and I’m going to stick with it.

As she walked over to the computer register, she held four fingers in the air to let him know her shift was over in four minutes. Chris smiled and started to pick up his phone. Cheryl turned toward the computer and smiled. She couldn’t wait to end her shift and spend the rest of the day with her man.

Things were definitely great in her life.

***
Britney Lewis waited in her bedroom wondering what was taking Marcus so long in the bathroom.

He has been in there for awhile now. she thought as she went towards her closet.

The two were going to Shawn’s apartment, but ended up at her place. After two weeks of dating, the two ended up sleeping together without any regrets. Britney knew that was way too fast, but she couldn’t resist. Marcus was a great guy and she knew he wouldn’t hurt her.

Like Isaac did. Britney thought as she looked through her clothes.

There’s not a day that goes by that Britney wondered what she saw in Isaac. Not only did he hurt her, but hurt her best friend in the process.

I hurt her too. But I’m glad things are better for us now.

As she pulled out a purple turtleneck dress from her closet, she looked at the door, wondering if she should check on Marcus, when her bedroom door opened. He walked in looking as if he was in a daze.

“Are you okay? You’ve been in the bathroom for a minute.”

“Yeah. I didn’t know whether to come out or not since Riana is here.”

“So. What does Riana have to do with you staying in the bathroom?”

“Because I thought we were the only ones here. I was in the bathroom buck naked.”

“And Ri saw you? I’m so sorry Marcus. I really thought Ri was going to see Shawn first.”

“It’s not your fault. It was just really awkward.”

“Well, what can I do to make you feel better?” Britney asked while putting her arms on Marcus’ shoulders. She began to give him a massage as he tilted his head from side to side.

“I’m good. I’ll just remember next time to wear something even when we’re alone.”

Britney laughed while Marcus looked at her in shock.

“You think this is funny?”

“Well yeah. This is minor.”

Marcus smiled. “Maybe so, but you don’t care if your best friend saw every part of me.” He asked. He turned around, giving Britney a kiss on her neck.

Britney moaned while Marcus continued to seduce her.

“I don’t know, but after what we’ve been through, this incident is only an oversight.”

She got off the bed and wrapped her legs around Marcus.

“I don’t want to talk about that anymore. Let’s just focus on us now.”
Marcus smiled. “I like the sound of that.”

And the two began to kiss each other.

***
After the incident with Marcus, Riana decided to grab anything from her closet and went over to Shawn’s. She was so embarrassed by the scene that she didn’t want to stay in the apartment a second longer.

I was forced out of my own apartment. she thought while turning on to the street where Shawn’s apartment was.

As soon as she pulled up to a space near his apartment, she noticed Shawn walking out wearing a dark blue pullover and dark blue jeans. He gave a bright smile as he went down to the sidewalk and to her Dodge Caliber.

“You couldn’t wait until I walked to the door?” she asked when Shawn came up to her.

He gave her a kiss on the cheek and grinned.

“I’m so excited I couldn’t wait for you to come up.”

“Ahh. You’re that happy to see me? Well I’m happy to see you too baby.”

Shawn laughed as he took Riana’s hand.

“You know I’m always happy to see you, but I just received some really great news.”

“Really? Tell me.”

“Remember the piece we did for our journalism class? Well Professor Williams liked it so much that she sent it in to a friend of hers at channel 2 news. They’re looking for a couple of interns for their program coming up in the spring and she thought that I would be perfect for it.”

“That’s great baby. Congratulations.” Riana said as she gave Shawn a big hug.

“ Thanks. I wish you could get a spot on the program, but turns out that the program only accepts junior and seniors applicants. Professor Williams mentioned if you up for it next year then she will definitely give you a recommendation for the program.”

“That’s wonderful. Tell Professor Williams yes. But how are you going to balance school, work and the internship?”

“Simple. The internship is only for ten hours a week for three months, so it just two hours of my day. The question you really asking is will I have time to see you?”

“Well yeah. Shawn, I really love spending time with you, but I would not want to stand in the way of your dream. This could really jump start your career.”

“I know, but you shouldn’t have to ask that question. You know I will make time for us. I love you too much.”

Riana smiled as Shawn took his hand into hers.

“Always remember that. I love you baby.”

“I love you too.” Riana said as Shawn pulled her closer for another hug.

She put her arms around Shawn and sighed.

I really hope that’s true.

***
Monica Taylor stared at the TV in a delusional glaze. Since the semester ended, things have been slowly coming back in place for her. The incidents she went through the past couple of months were so much that she didn’t know if she would be able to get through it. But with the help of her friends and her boyfriend Donnell Patterson, she was able to find support for everything she went through. She even was able to talk to her parents about everything. She thought they would judge her for her misdeeds, but instead, they took her into their arms and held her for dear life.

“We will never judge you honey. The only person who can is God, and he will forgive you no matter what you’ve done.” Her mother told her.

Things were really looking up for her and Donnell as well. After the incident, the two became closer than ever; and with the two moving in together, Monica thought things were perfect. But now, she thought wrong. Since the time they have moved in, there has been nothing but problems. For Monica, she always has been the type of person who wanted her freedom. She never wanted to rely on anyone for anything, especially a man. But when she and Donnell got together, she felt like she was suffocating. She felt that he was always around and not giving her the space she needed to be herself.

As she started to look at a TV show that appeared on screen, she sighed a breath of relief as she realized that she was the only one at home for the day. Donnell was at work and would not be back until later.

Peace and quiet, she thought as she spread her legs out onto the couch and pulled the blanket she had over her body closer.

Just as soon as she was able to get comfortable, the door opened and Donnell walked in with two bags in his hands. Monica looked at him in surprise.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Hey sweetie. I just went on my lunch break and decided to come home. I thought you might like some company.”

Monica smiled as she took the bags from him. He clutched the bags tightly around him so Monica couldn’t reach them.

“Let me do it. You’re still recovering from the miscarriage.”

“Donnell, it has been a month. I’m fine.”

“I know, but I don’t want anything to reoccur.” He said as he gave her a kiss on the cheek and headed to the kitchen. She turned around and sighed.

Instead of having a boyfriend, she gained another father.

What am I going to do?

***
“This is perfect.” Cheryl said as she sat down in front of Chris. The two were in Chris’s dorm room as they were about to eat dinner.

“Well, I thought since you were serving people all day, it’s only fitting to serve you.”

Cheryl smiled as Chris put a plate of baked chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes in from of her.

My favorite,” She said as she leaned toward Chris to kiss him.

“I know what my baby likes.”

Cheryl picked up her fork and began to dig into her food.

“Did you get your classes in order?” she asked.

“Yeah. I have some business courses lined up. I can’t believe this time next year I will be graduating.”

“I’m proud of you. I know I will be ecstatic when my graduation day arrives.”

“It will come soon.”

“Yeah, but the thought of medical school is what bothering me. Chris, I have so much on my plate and when I do get accepted, how am I going to balance everything? I know school alone will take up all of my time.”

“Why are you worrying about that now? You still have two years to think about that.”

“If I want to do early acceptance to a program, I have to think about that now. Not only that, but I do have to think about the classes I’m going to take now. Programs look at your marks from previous classes.”

“Cher, take one thing at a time. For starters, you’re doing well in school and for the spring you’re taking more courses that are in your major. You are going to do great, so why are you trippin?”

Cheryl put her fork onto her plate and sighed.

“I guess you’re right. I guess with all the stress I’ve been experiencing lately I just started to think about everything else. Thanks for bringing me back down to reality.”

“No problem. Now let’s not think about stress or anything in that matter and just think about us.” Chris said, as he went over to Cheryl. He gave her a kiss on the cheek and went over to his stereo. He pushed the “on” button and the sounds of Jill Scott came into the room. He went over to Cheryl and grabbed her hand.

“You care to dance?”

“I would love to.” Cheryl said as she took Chris’ hand and the two went towards the stereo. As they started to dance, she lean in closer and touch Chris’ shoulders.

Some things can be left unanswered.

***

“What are you thinking about ?” Shawn asked Riana.

The two were in Shawn’s apartment watching TV. After the big news, the two decided not to go out, but spend some time alone. Now the two were sitting on the couch in perfect bliss.

“Just wondering how things will be when school starts back. I have had so much fun these past few weeks and when classes start back, it will be back to studying mode.”

“Tell me about it. But we can always find some time to relax.” He said as he started to nibble on Riana’s ear.

As he started to kiss Riana’s neck, visions of Marcus started to appear in her head. Since Riana have been dating Shawn, she has come across Marcus a couple of times. But now that he’s dating Britney, he was always around. She never thought about him much, but after seeing him today, she still couldn’t get the thought out of her mind.

Why am I thinking about Marcus? she thought as Shawn looked at her.

“Are you okay? You looked confused about something.”

She looked at Shawn and smiled.

“I’m fine. Besides it nothing you need to worry about.”

The door started to open as Britney and Marcus walked in. Riana looked at the door and turned her head away. Marcus went into the living room and looked at Shawn.

“What’s up?” Marcus asked.

“Hey bro. Hey Brit.” Shawn said.

Britney looked at Riana and smiled. The smile said it all about earlier.

Riana looked at Britney and rolled her eyes.

Marcus went over to Riana with a sincere look on his face.

“Ri, I’m really sorry about today. I know I should have been more responsible since that is your place as well as Brit’s.”

“It’s okay, Marcus. Like you said, you didn’t know I was at home.”

Shawn looked from Riana to Marcus in a confused state.

“Is there something I should know?” he asked.

“It’s nothing major. Riana just saw Marcus in the buff.” Britney said as she went to the kitchen.

“What? Why didn’t you say anything?” Shawn asked in shock.

“It didn’t come up. Besides, it was an accident.”

“Why are we still talking about this? It won’t happen again.” Marcus said.

Shawn looked at the two and laughed.

“What’s so funny?” asked Riana.

“Oh come on, you don’t think it’s funny?”

“No. How would you like it if Britney saw you naked?”

“If it was an accident, it would be something I would laugh off. Riana, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Besides Marcus seen you half naked, remember?

Britney raised one of her eyebrows in curiosity while Riana looked at Shawn as if he had lost his mind.

“Why did you bring that up?”

“To prove a point. Accidents happen, so just move on from it.”

Britney nodded her head in agreement while Marcus looked at Riana with a small smile on his lips.

“I get it now, so let’s forget about it. Now on to a lighter subject, Shawn has some great news to share.”

“What is it, bro?” Marcus asked.

“I got an internship at Channel 2 starting next week. My former teacher gave me a recommendation to the news station and now I’ll be interning in the audio department. I might also get some time inside the studio as a reporter.”

“Wow Shawn, congratulations.” Britney said.

“Yeah bro, congrats.” Marcus said as he went up to Shawn to give him a hug.
“This is what you’ve been working for. I’m proud of you.”

Riana looked at the two with tears in her eyes. It was good to see family sticking together and being happy for each other.

Shawn looked over at Riana and went to her.

“Look at you, being all emotional.”

“It’s good to see you two happy.”

“Yeah, everything is perfect in my life.”

Riana smiled. “Yeah, it is.”

She turned her head toward Marcus and Britney. She noticed how good they were together as he pushed some hair from Britney’s face.

Whatever thoughts you’re have, stop thinking about them. It’s not worth losing everything you have.

Shawn put his arm around Riana and pulled her close to him.

“Is something wrong? You’ve been kind of spacey lately.”

Riana kissed Shawn on the cheek.

“I’m fine. There’s nothing to worry about.”

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