ELEVEN

Cheryl walked up to Marcus’ apartment, not knowing if she should. Since Chris had a class, he asked her to go by and check on him. As much as she didn’t want to, she figured besides Chris, he didn’t have anyone else, so she agreed.

She knocked on the door, waiting on him to answer. She looked around the complex when the door opened.

“Cheryl?” Marcus surprisedly asked.

“Hey. Is it okay if I come in?”

He glanced at her, not knowing what to say.

“Sure, I guess.”

She smiled and walked in. She waited until he closed the door before going further.

“This is a surprise. Let me guess, Chris asked you to come?”

“Yeah. He wanted me to check on you.”

“So you know what happened?”

“Yeah. Before you say anything, just know I’m not going to judge you.”

Marcus continued to look surprise at Cheryl’s statement.

“Thanks.”

“No problem. Believe me, I’ve been in your shoes, so I can relate.”

“Would you like anything to drink?”

“If it’s a soda or water, sure.”

“You thought I was going to offer vodka or rum?”

“Well, I heard that’s been your drink of choice lately.”

“I promise, I’m trying to lay off of that, especially since I have an arrest charge against me.”

Cheryl sat down on the couch. “Water is fine.”

He nodded and went to the kitchen. He came back with two bottles of water and handed one to Cheryl.

“Thank you.”

Marcus sat down beside her.

“You know you don’t have to check on me.”

“I want to, even though this is probably a shock to you, considering we don’t really know each other that
well.”

“Yeah, it is. Can I ask how Riana is doing?”

Cheryl gave an uncomfortable glance and took a sip of water.

“I know, I shouldn’t ask, but…”

“She’s doing fine. It took awhile for her to get through everything, but she’s focusing on school now.”

“That’s good. I never meant to hurt her or Shawn.”

“Then why did you?”

Marcus lowered his head and sighed. “I don’t know; I guess it was just my selfish ways. I’ve always kind of been like that though.”

“I’m not putting all the blame on you; Riana had her part in it too, but you two done a lot of damage on Shawn.”

“I know, and I’m regretting it every single day.”

“It shows.” Cheryl agreed.

“I know I’ve been making a lot of poor choices lately, and I’m grateful that Chris still has my back. He’s the only one I can really talk to right now.”

“You know, you probably can also talk to Shawn if you want to.”

“You know I can’t. There’s too much damage between us now.”

“You two are family; you can overcome anything if you both just try.”

“There are days when I want to, especially now since he’s with Dominique.”

“I guess Chris told you.”

“I should warn him about her. She almost destroyed me, so I know she’ll do the same to him if he pisses her off in anyway.”

“Are you saying she’s capable of doing something far worse than what she did to you?”

Marcus sighed. “Maybe.”

Cheryl stared at him. “Riana and I are interested in joining GZG and she is the president. I’ve received an invite to pledge, in which Chris doesn’t want me to do.”

“What do you want to do?”

“Joining GZG is a dream of mine. I don’t want the opportunity to slip by, but I don’t know if I should since she’s president.”

“I say do what’s best for you, but just watch your back doing it.”

Cheryl nodded. “I was thinking the same thing.”

“I was about to order a pizza. Would you like to stay and help me eat it? I would really like the company.”

She smiled. “Sure.”

Marcus smiled and picked up his phone to order. Cheryl sighed. She couldn’t imagine not being able to talk to anyone. She realized then she will try to do her part as well to help him.

***
An hour later and half of a pepperoni pizza gone, the two were on the floor watching TV. The two talked about everything from their favorite TV shows to movies. Cheryl was really enjoying her conversation with Marcus and realized that it was good she came by.

“Thank you, again. I don’t remember the last time I actually had a conversation with someone.”

“No problem. I really enjoyed it.”

“When you mentioned about relating to what I’m going through, what did you mean by that?”

Cheryl put her napkin on the coffee table and sighed.

“I was under a lot of pressure last semester. I had a full course load and working long hours to pay for school. I was tired all of the time and needed some sort of escape, so when I found out my lab partner sold drugs, I took advantage of the situation and got energy pills from him. It worked for a while and I was able to go about my day fully energized, but I got hooked on them. Later, I was doing what I could to get more pills, including using the guy who supplied them.

“At Riana’s party, I collapsed and Chris took me to the hospital. Turns out I almost had an overdose since I was abusing them. I had to cut back on my classes, quit my job and now I’m staying with my dad. I’m even going to therapy sessions, which I didn’t want to do, but they have helped me out a lot. I still have resolved issues with my family and trying to be independent, which almost took my life.”

“Wow.” Marcus said.

“That’s why I understand about using something to ease the pain, but it’s not always helpful. I had to learn the hard way and I don’t want that happening to you.”

Marcus glanced at her, knowing that she was being sincere with him. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Just know that you have someone else in your corner. If you need anything; someone to talk to, hang out with, or even share a pizza with, just give me a call.”

Marcus smiled and Cheryl placed her hand in his.

“This won’t cause a problem with Riana, will it?”

Cheryl shook her head. “Don’t worry about Ri; she has her own issues to sought out. Besides, I think she will be fine with us hanging out. With that being said, I have a surprise for you, but it won’t be until tomorrow.”

“Surprise?”

“Yeah. Just be ready at 8A.M. There’s somewhere I want to take you.”

Marcus smiled and Cheryl got up from the floor.

“Did you need help cleaning up?”

“No, I got it; but thanks again Cheryl.”

She smiled and picked up her purse.

“I have to go. I told the girls I’ll meet up with them. But remember, 8A.M.”

“Sure.”

She smiled again and went to the door. She closed it and looked to the sky. In just the short time she’d spent with him, she can see why Riana fell for him.

Hopefully, she doesn’t do the same thing.

***
Monica stared at her college algebra assignment in frustration. She couldn’t believe she was taking this course, but since she couldn’t find any other math class to take, she signed up for it.

Now I’m regretting it. She thought as she threw her pencil on the table.

She looked around the lounge, thinking if she should call Donnell, but figured he was probably getting ready for work. She’s trying really hard to keep their relationship going, but with him working nonstop and her schedule, she don’t know if it’s even possible.

“Hey.”

Monica looked up and saw Chris in front of her. “Hey. How are you?”

“I’m good. You seemed kind of out of it though. What’s wrong?” he asked while sitting down.

“It’s just this assignment for college algebra. I feel like throwing it out the lounge’s window.”

“It’s that bad?”

“For me, yeah, since math is not my best subject.”

“Let me take a look.” He said.

“Feel free.” She said and handed him the assignment.

He looked at it and smiled. “This is pretty easy. I can help you with it, if you have time right now.”

Monica’s eyes lit up. “Of course. Thanks, Chris.”

He smiled. “No problem.”

Chris moved a little closer to her and began to show her how to work one of the problems. Monica stared at him before working on the problem with him.

***
After the two reconciled their relationship, Riana and Shawn went to her room where they continued their make-up session. The two enjoyed each other, taking their time with each other, enjoying the feeling they were experiencing with each other. Now, they were in Riana’s bed as Shawn kissed the back of her neck.

She smiled, still not believing this was happening between them.

“I missed this so much.” She softly said.

“I missed this too. I missed everything about you. Your touch, your scent, your lips; both pairs.” Shawn whispered.

She could feel him grinning against her as she turned around.

“Is that the only thing you missed about me?”

“Of course not. I missed all of you, baby. I thought I proved that several times earlier.”

Riana blushed. “Which I enjoyed.”

“That you did.” He said and kissed her.

“There is something I want to ask.” Riana said.

“What?”

“Did you sleep with Dominique? If you did, then I don’t care, it just…”

“We never slept together.” Shawn interrupted.

“Why not? I mean, she maybe a little devious, but she’s beautiful.”

“Because she’s not you. I couldn’t see myself being with another woman when all I could think about was you.”

A tear felled down Riana’s cheek. “Even though I did the complete opposite when I slept with Marcus.”

Shawn sighed. “Baby, what happened between you and Marcus still hurts, but I love you too much to let you go. When I saw you two at the party, that what really made me believe that we couldn’t be together; but after everything we went through, I realized that in order to be with the woman I love, I had to forget about everything that happened. We both done our share of dirt during that time, so now, we can just start back with a clean slate.”

“You didn’t sleep with Britney, though.”

“No, I didn’t, but I thought about it. I was close to, so just say that we both suffered the consequences and are now back on track.”

“Can we really do that?”

“If we try hard enough, then yes, we can.”

Riana smiled. “I’m definitely willing to.”

“I knew you would.” Shawn said.

He leaned down and kissed her. She lay down on her back while Shawn got on top of her.

“Just know that I will never hurt you again. The time we’ve been apart was too much for me.” Riana said.

“You better not; I don’t know if I can go through that again.” Shawn agreed.

“Oh baby, you don’t have anything to worry about. I will definitely make it up to you.” Riana said. She pulled Shawn on his back and she straddled him.

“I’m loving this already.”

Riana smiled and bent down to kiss him.

She knew she will definitely love it too.

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