Once they reached their destination, Cheryl smiled.

“This is your favorite place? This is one of my favorites too.”

Marcus smiled. “Really?”

“Yeah. Tommy’s has some of the best hot dogs near campus. Everyone knows that.”

“I used to come here a lot while I was at Shaw. It got me through a lot of midterms exams.” He said.

The two walked up to the counter to place their orders. Once they did, they went to a bench to wait on their food.

“Honestly, I never pegged you for the hot dog type.” Marcus said while looking at the blue sky.

“Seriously?”

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I assumed you don’t like to get your hands dirty with anything.”

Cheryl laughed. “Don’t let the appearance fool you. There’re certain times when I like to.”

Marcus stared at her while Cheryl realized what she just said.

“I’m sure.”

The two continued to stare at each other when their order was called. Marcus got up and went to the counter. Cheryl shook her head, wondering what she was doing. She know she shouldn’t be thinking any type of thoughts, especially when the person she’s spending time with already been with her cousin and friend.

Marcus sat back beside her and handed her hot dog and took a bite of his. He closed his eyes and smiled.

“I see you’re enjoying it.”

“I forgot how good these things are. I remember the first time I brought Shawn here. It was kind of our hangout spot after that.”

“I really hope you two work out your differences. I know how important family is to Shawn, so I know it is for you too.”

“Yeah, I hope so too.”

“Can I ask about Dominique? How did you two hook up?”

Marcus put his food down and gave a long sigh.

“You don’t have to answer it, I just thought…”

“It’s okay. I’m pretty sure Chris told you majority to what happened, but I can fill in the rest.”

Cheryl glanced at him while he began to talk again.

“I was just starting out on the force and I wanted to do some extra work, so I agreed to do security for a party hosted by Omega Si and GZG. When I was there, I wasn’t trying to hook up with anyone, especially since I was on-duty; but when Dominique walked in, I was instantly attracted to her. I don’t know if it was the way she graced the room or just her presence, there was something about her that made me want to talk to her, but of course I didn’t since I was working.

“She was the one who approached me. Even though I told her I’m working, she didn’t care. She figured she was hosting the party, so she could talk to anyone she pleased. We did get to know each other and to me she seemed real cool. She was driven, which I love in a woman. Two hours later, she asked if I wanted to talk privately upstairs. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but my partner told me to go. We went upstairs and talked some more. Next thing I knew, we were pulling each other clothes off and were having sex on the balcony. One of her sorority sisters caught us, which didn’t go well with Dominique, since she’s supposed to be such a ‘good girl’.”

“News did travel about what happened, so to protect herself, she lied on me saying that I raped her, because having sex with a stranger was something she wouldn’t do. I don’t know who put her up to it though; it could had been the president of Omega Si, which is also her stepbrother. I saw him looking at us various times throughout the night, so I’m sure he had something to do with it. Anyway, I’m not sure what changed her mind, but two weeks later, she revoked her claim, saying she agreed to have sex with me.”

Cheryl stared wide- eyed at Marcus.

“Back up for a second. Did you say the president of Omega Si is Dominique’s stepbrother?”

“Yeah. She told me during our conversation; that’s why the two hosted the party together.”

Cheryl closed her eyes and sighed.

“Is something wrong?”

“I’m not sure. Ri was briefly talking to Terrance before she got back with Shawn. For all I know, him and Dominique plotted to try and keep Ri and Shawn apart, which didn’t work.”

“Do they know the two are back together?”

“No. They’re keeping everything a secret since Riana is trying to dig up dirt on GZG. I gave her this notion that they probably haze their pledges.”

“You need to tell her to stop searching. If Dominique is capable of accusing me of rape, then she’ll do something far worse to Riana and Shawn.”

“You need to tell Shawn about Dominique.”

“Why if he’s not with her anymore.”

“He sort of still is. Ri asked him to continue dating Dominique until she can find what she’s looking for. That’s why they’re keeping things a secret.”

“Damn it.” Marcus sighed. “How am I going to tell him if he doesn’t want to talk to me?”

“You have to make him listen to you.”

“As I mentioned, how am I going to do that when he doesn’t even want to be in the same room with me.”

‘”Don’t worry about that. I’ll figure something out.”

Marcus looked at her. “You’re really trying to get me to talk to him.”

“Because you’re family. Family needs to stick together.”

Marcus smiled. “I’m glad you think so.”

Cheryl smiled and looked ahead.

“Instead of eating pizza tonight, how about if we actually go out? We can go into the city if you want.” Cheryl insisted.

“Didn’t Shawn mentioned to Riana about going to the city?” Marcus asked.

“He said now, so they probably won’t be there.Do you like Mediterranean food?”

Marcus glanced at her. “I tried it before, why?”

“Great, because I have a place I want to take you to. But you have to be dressy causal though.”

“Not a problem. Chris doesn’t have a problem with you spending so much time with me, does he?”

“I’m sure he doesn’t mind.”

Marcus noticed the expression Cheryl had once he mentioned Chris. Hopefully the two are not having problems.

“Is everything okay with you and Chris?”

Cheryl gave a tiny smile. “Honestly, I don’t know.”

“What do you mean?”

She sighed. “Lately, I’ve been getting this strange vibe from him. At first, he wanted us to get a place together so we could spend time together. I thought it was because he’s busy with work and now with school that he would want us to be around each other more; but now, he’s busy but is finding time to spend with everyone else but me. Maybe he’s distancing himself since I told him no. I probably should had agreed to move in with him.”

“Why would you if you don’t want to?”

“To save our relationship. I think he’s distancing himself because of my reluctance to move in with him.”

“Isn’t it because you want to be independent?”

“Yeah, but I tried that and look where it got me.”

“That was just a set back. You can do it again; it just have to take some time.”

“I realize that now, but I think Chris still doesn’t get it. Either he does or trying to find excuses to not be around me.”

“What are you saying, that he’s with someone else?”

“I don’t know; I’m probably being paranoid. Today, he walked into the lounge with Monica and he didn’t even acknowledge me. When I was going to ask if he wanted to hang out, he had already left with her.”

“I’m sure it was nothing.”

“Probably so, but he never done that. In fact, things kind of changed a little since the night you all went bowling. Did anything out of the ordinary happened between those two?”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know since I was a little occupied with Riana.”

Cheryl nodded. “Okay, I probably shouldn’t had brought that up.”

“It’s okay, Cheryl. That’s in the past now.”

“What am I saying? His attitude changed when he saw me with Devin. Even though he said he was cool with everything, he’s still probably feeling some type of way about what happened.”

“I think it would help if you talk to him.”

“I will.”

“If you need to cancel later, then you can.”

“No. Chris is working tonight, remember. Besides, I really want to take you out.”

Marcus smiled. “Okay.”

Cheryl smiled. “Well, I have to get to class, so we probably should head back.”

“Sure.” Marcus said.

“Thank you for showing me your favorite spot. We have to do it again some day.”

“Definitely.”

Cheryl gave him a hug, which she probably shouldn’t had done. He felt really good against her while his cologne gave her trembles throughout her body. His hand slowly caressed her back, which made her deeply sigh.

He quickly pulled away from her and gave a nervous glance.

“We better go.” He said. He walked ahead of her, which made her slightly confused. She sighed again and caught up with him, wondering if she should cancel their plans later.

***
Riana and Shawn was sitting inside of Applebee’s when he began to talk.

“What was that earlier with you, Marcus, and Cheryl?”

Riana glanced at Shawn. She knew he would eventually bring that up. He’s been too quiet since they left campus.

“It was nothing, Shawn.”

“So is he trying to get with Cheryl now? He couldn’t have you so he’s moving on with your cousin.”

“I don’t think it’s that.”

“Does Chris know that Cheryl is talking to him?”

Riana looked at Shawn. “I think Chris asked Cheryl to keep an eye on him.”

Shawn gave Riana a heated expression. “What?”

“I guess you didn’t know.”

“Does it look like I knew? Chris never mentioned he was still talking to Marcus.”

“Maybe it was for a good reason. I’m not trying to defend him, but I’m sure he needed someone to talk to after what happened.”

“You’re defending him.”

“Shawn, I’m sure you put Chris in a tough position since he’s friend with both of you. Just let it go, please.”

“He lied to me. I asked him if he was still speaking to him and he said no. What type of friend is he if he’s lying in my face.”

“Shawn, don’t you think it’s time to let some things go, including this grudge you have against Marcus? The damage is done now, so can you just move on. You did with me, so what makes Marcus so different?”

“Because he’s family! He knew not to cross the line, but he did anyway. How can I forgive someone like that?”

“You forgave me.”

Shawn lowered his head and ran a hand down the back of his neck.

“Because I love you Ri.”

“So you saying you don’t love your brother? It’s been four months, Shawn and I know deep down inside you miss him.”

He looked ahead to the exit and sighed.

“I do. I miss talking to him and hanging out with him; but how do I know it won’t happen again? How do I know that you two won’t give it another go?”

“Because we won’t. I told you my feelings and they are with you. I’m pretty sure Marcus has moved on too. We both want to put that behind us and continue on with our lives.”

“He probably is now; with your cousin. I wonder if Chris knows how close they are now.”

“I don’t think the two has been hanging around each other that long. From what Cheryl said, they just started.”

“I don’t know, Ri. I’ll think about it, but I can’t trust him anymore.”

“Don’t you think you should at least try. I know he’s willing to.”

Shawn sighed, wondering if Riana is right. He wants to talk to Marcus again, but he don’t know if his heart want to. Even though he is his brother, he has to think long and hard if he wants to.

***

Monica had a great time with Chris. The two decided to get some lunch at Patrick’s before he headed to work. Now, he was walking her back to her dorm room when the two were talking about their classes. Monica smiled at Chris. She didn’t realize how at ease she felt with him. He was definitely different from Donnell and his constant clinginess.

“Thank you for lunch. I really had a great time.”

Chris smiled. “No problem.”

“I still feel a little guilty though. You didn’t want to spend time with Cheryl since you two are so busy?”

“I figured she was doing her pledge duties. I’ll make a date with her this week.”

Monica looked at him. “Is everything okay with you two?”

“Yeah, everything’s cool. We’re just busy, that’s all.”

Monica nodded. “I can relate. I’ve barely seen Donnell since classes started, and when we did, we just argue.”

“I see things still hasn’t changed?”

“No. I think it’s just best if we cut ourselves loose. There’s no point in trying to save something that is already damage.”

“Do you believe that?”

Monica shrugged. “Right now, I do.”

Chris glanced at her. He stepped closer to her and stared into her eyes.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

He continued to stare when he leaned forward and kissed her. At first, she didn’t know what he was doing, but her shock quickly vanished as she put her arms around him. His hands moved to her waist, as she back herself against the door. He pulled at her lips, which made her moan.

He backed away from her and smiled. “I’ve been wanting to do that all day today.” He admitted.

He kissed her cheek and began to walk down the hall. Monica watched him walk away, which made her confused, yet intrigued. She leaned the back of her head to the door and sighed.

“What in the hell just happened?”

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