Here’s chapter 2 of Redemption!

After staring at the ceiling for another hour, it was time to go about my day. I wanted to meet up with my friend Isaac Harris before heading to go look for a job. I had to do something so I wouldn’t be in the house all day.

We were meeting at a sports bar to eat some wings and talk. Isaac and I had been friends since we met at a sports camp four years ago. Riana’s brother, Jayden, was also at the same camp, which is how they became friends.

Back in the day, Jayden and I were really great friends. We met during a teen sports camp when we were thirteen and were friends ever since. That was how I met Ri. Of course Jay was a little hesitant in me talking to her, mainly because of his overprotectiveness; but I guess it was for good reason.

Since their father passed, he was sort of her protector. He done everything for her, so I knew I couldn’t do anything to hurt her, or I would definitely feel his wrath. That was one thing I could say about Jay; he was a hothead and although he had changed somewhat after getting involved with Ri’s friend, Britney Lewis, he still had some anger in him; he just didn’t show it as much.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw Isaac’s Jeep Cherokee. I parked beside him and turned off the ignition.

He got out of the truck and went over to my car.

“What’s up?” I asked as I gave him a brotherly hug.

“You the one who called me, so I should be asking you that.”

“I had to get out. My parents are driving me insane.”

“That’s their personalities; just deal with it.”

I sighed as we went to a booth near the window.  As soon as we sat down, I pulled out my phone, went to my texts and found what I was looking for. I handed the phone over to Isaac who gave me a puzzled look.

“Cute kid. Who is he?”

“My little cousin.  It’s Shawn’s son, Elis.”

Isaac gave me another puzzled look. “Why do you have a picture of him?”

“Porsha sent it today. I guess she wanted to rub it in at the life I could have had.”

“Which by the look on your face, it seemed as if you wanted. Now, I never knew the relationship you and Riana had, except for the times when you called her a slut and a whore.”

I sighed as I rubbed the back of my head.

“And based on that sigh, there’s more to the story, isn’t it?”

I glanced at him and nodded. “That’s definitely a lot more. When I said those things, I didn’t really mean it.”

“Wait, I’m really getting confused.”

“I only did it to make myself feel better about the situation I was in. I wanted it to seem as if she was the problem, when it was me the entire time.”

“Why? If you didn’t want to end things with her, then why did you?”
“Have you seen my parents? They would destroy anyone if they didn’t fit into their perfect world; including their son.”

“I know your parents are a little evil, but I don’t think they would disown you if you chose to be with someone they despised.”

“You really don’t know my parents.” I said as I grabbed a menu off of the table.

Thomas and Selena Bradford were the type of parents no child would want. They were evil and manipulative. They would get you to do anything to fit into their standards. If you didn’t agree to it, they would make your life a living hell. I should know; I’d lived through it since the moment I was born.

“Are you still terrified of them? Could had fooled me?”

“I’m not terrified of them; I just want my life to be in order and having them in it is sort of complicated. I didn’t want to piss them off even more, so I went along with whatever they wanted me to do.”

“Which was…?”

“I’m not telling you, even though it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“I think you need to get over what happened with Riana and start focusing on Rachel. She asked me what was going on with you. She knew you’d been kind of off since you found out about Riana and Shawn.”

“Which my parents had no problem rubbing in my face about. I still can’t believe she married him.”

“Well, you had your chance with her. No matter how you spin it, you blew it with her; so it’s time to move on.”

Isaac was right. I was a dick to her and she found someone else, so I should forget about her.

“You’re right. I need to focus on my relationship with Rachel. We have been together for a while now and I think I need to give her what she deserves. Maybe it’s time for us to move forward in our relationship.”

“You sure you want to? You should do it because you want to and not because you feel obligated to.”

“I know and I do.”

“Cool. Now, can we talk about something else besides women and relationships? This is giving me a damn headache.”

I smirked as Isaac stared at the menu. I knew I had to do something to show Rachel I cared about her. Whatever it is, it has to be good.

***

November, 2011

I looked at the clock above the fireplace mantel as I nervously wringed my hands together. I don’t know why I was so nervous. I guess I was since this was the night Riana and I was going to take things to the next level.  Or there could be another reason why. Knowing me, I would spill it all to Ri and the night would be ruined.

I continued to stare at the clock, wondering when she was going to arrive. Since we agreed to sleep together a couple of weeks ago, there was a piece of information I was withholding from her. When we talked about the issue of having sex, we both admitted that we were virgins, which Riana was surprised about on my end. We later agreed we would lose our virginities together, which was kind of romantic I guess; only I didn’t live up to my end of the agreement.

A month ago, after Dawson played William Morris High, I went to a party thrown by one of the students there. Actually, I should say my friends and I decided to invite ourselves to the party. I started talking to one of the girls that went there, who was extremely sexy. After a couple of drinks in me and a great conversation, we went upstairs and did it in one of the rooms. She didn’t even know I was a virgin, which I thought she would have picked up on, but I guess not. Ever since that night, I have been seeing the girl every now and then, which I felt really guilty about, especially since I love Riana.

I think the situation I was in had more to do with my parents then with Ri. They have constantly told me I shouldn’t be tied down to one person and date other girls. They figured since I had a promising football career that I shouldn’t be involved with anyone, especially if they try to get me into a situation I couldn’t get out of.

But they didn’t know Riana. She would never try to trap me. We are taking all the necessary precautions to practice safe sex by using condoms. I tried to get her to go on the pill, but she didn’t since she’s underage and needed her mom’s permission. She didn’t want her to know what we were doing, so I had to respect her wishes.

I sighed, realizing why I was nervous. It wasn’t because of what we were about to do; I just didn’t want to show my feelings in front of Ri. I was able to get away with it since the two of us haven’t been spending a lot of time together due to my practice schedule, but now, this may be harder then I realized.

The doorbell rang, which quickly led me to take a deep breath and go to the door. I changed my composure from nervous to happy as I opened the door. I gave a slow whistle to the beauty in front of me. She went all out for our night together. She looked absolutely beautiful, wearing a peach-colored minidress, which gave her caramel complexion a nice glow; her hair was up in a nice twist as her red lips gave a sweet smile. All the issues I had earlier were quickly fading as I pulled her into my arms and gave her a passionate kiss. She pulled away from me and smiled.

“I see you like the outfit.”

“It’s sexy, Ri.”

“Thanks. Britney and Monica helped me pick it out at the mall.”

“You actually bought something new for tonight?”

“Why wouldn’t I? This is a very special moment between the two of us.”

“I know.”

She walked into the foyer and I closed the door. I put my hands into my pockets as I stared at her.

“You look tense, Nate. I guess you’re just as nervous as I am.”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Well, why don’t we loosen up a bit?”

“How?”

“I don’t know. We could talk, or just let things go naturally. Let’s see where the night will take us.”

She batted her lashes, which made me smile. She has a certain way of making all of my problems disappear.

“Okay. Are you hungry? I could order Chinese.”

“No. We could watch a movie, if you want.”

“Sure.”

Riana went over to the couch while I went to the TV. I picked out a movie and she looked at me.

“You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I’m great.”

“You seemed as if something is bothering you. If it is, you can tell me.”

I glanced at her and noticed the innocent look she had on her face. I knew the issues I had wasn’t her fault. It was mine because I wasn’t honest with myself. Maybe when I told her that sex wasn’t everything, it kind of was, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She deserved a lot better than what I was giving her.

Once I put the movie into the Blu-Ray player, I stood by the TV, wondering if I should go through with this. Maybe I should just tell her what happened so at least my conscience would be clear.

“Why are you over there? Come sit with me.” Riana said. She patted the space beside her and smiled.

I walked over and sat down. I put my arm around her and she cuddled against me.

“This is what I love the most with you. Just being beside you; you holding me tight.” She whispered.

I lowered my head and looked into her eyes. I placed my hand below her chin and slowly kissed her. Once we pulled apart, she got up from the couch and held her hand out to me.

“Let’s go upstairs.”

I slowly reached for her hand. The guilt I had was fading fast as it was being replaced by full-fledged lust. I wanted her and now, I was going to have my chance.

I swept her up in my arms as I held her against me. I pulled her tighter as we went up the stairs. Once we reached my room, I was ready to be with her.

I gently lay her down on the bed as I continued to stare into her eyes. That was one of the things I loved about her. She had amazing brown eyes.

That’s when I knew I wanted to be with her and only her now and forever….

 

I looked at Elis’ picture again and sighed. I don’t know why I was thinking about the night Ri and I first made love. That night I really did experience love for the first time; it was just my life that was in the way of me having that feeling again.

I also felt terrible to how that night turned into one of the most embarrassing moments for Riana. Really, there were more, but allowing others to see that moment between us made me feel like shit. That was something I never wanted to do to her. In fact, I didn’t even know it was recorded until Peter Connors asked to use my phone. To this day, I still don’t know how my phone recorded us. The only explanation I could think of was that I accidently hit the record button while I was taking it out of my jeans pocket.

I picked up a bouquet of red roses and went up to the register to pay. I decided I needed to do this right with Rachel by surprising her with a romantic dinner at my place. Since my parents would be out for a charity function, this would be the perfect opportunity to show her how I feel.

I was in line scrolling through my phone when I almost bumped into someone in front of me. I guess I needed to pay more attention.

The person turned around and rolled his eyes.

I shook my head and sighed. “Hello cousin.”

Shawn sighed and looked ahead of him.

“Of course you won’t say anything to me. That’s typical of you.”

He turned around and smirked. “Who the roses for? Please don’t say Rachel.”

“Why; haven’t got over her?”

“Trust me, I’d moved on with my life with an amazing woman. Something you knew about but blew it, like everything else in your life.”

“Whatever.”

“That’s the only thing you can say? That’s a surprise since you’re always running off at the mouth.”

“I’m not going to waste my time with you, Walker. I have more important things to do then to argue with you in a flower shop.”

“That’s something we can actually agree on.” He said and turned back around.

“I do need to ask if you’re coming to Grandma Hattie’s birthday party.”

“Do you really think I would tell you if I was? So you could stalk Riana?”

“Something you know all too well about.”

“What did you say?” Shawn asked as he got into my face. I knew we were about to start swinging any minute now. It wouldn’t be the first time in a public place.

Shawn and I always had a love/hate relationship, mainly because of my parents. My dad and Aunt Carolyn couldn’t stand each other, but still try to interact for Grandma Hattie’s sake. I knew it had something to do with her and Uncle Roland getting married and having Marcus during their senior year of college. My family felt she was making a mistake marrying him, since at the time; he didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Now, he’s laughing all the way to the bank with the success he had as an executive accountant working with some of the city’s best celebrities. Honestly, I admired Roland and his drive. That’s something I always wanted to strive for.

But as far as Shawn and I go, he was still a pompous, arrogant jerk who felt he could get with any female just by reciting a poem or singing a song to her. Well, it did work for Riana.

In honesty, he should not be upset with me about anything that has happened. If it wasn’t for the shit I went through with my parents, him and Riana wouldn’t have been together. He should be thanking me for being with her.

I looked him in the face as his hands were in fists. If he wanted to fight, he fucking got one.

“Still a smug ass bastard,” I said.

He was about to deck me when someone pulled him back. Of course, it was Marcus. I swear, those two doesn’t go anywhere without the other.

“I leave you in here to get flowers for Mom and you’re about to fight. In a flower shop!”

“Let go of me Marcus.” Shawn said through clenched teeth.

“Shawn, not only are you a father, but a public figure with the news. You can’t be going around getting into fights with everyone, even if it is with people like Nathan.” He said while staring at me.

I rolled my eyes and sighed. “I’m leaving.”

I put the roses back into the tin and went out of the door. I was going to my car when Marcus ran outside. I don’t know what the hell he wanted, but I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

“What, you going to hit me since Shawn can’t? Can’t ruin his image, right?” I said while opening the door.

“Listen, I know we all can’t stand each other, but I’m willing to call a trace for Grandma Hattie’s sake. As you know, she’s not doing so well, that’s why the family is throwing her a party.”

I closed the door and leaned against the car. Of course no one told me about Grandma Hattie’s health. That’s one of the things I hated about being the black sheep of the family. Well, it wasn’t me that was the problem; it was my parents no one wanted to be around.

“I didn’t know, Marcus.” I said.

“I thought your parents would have said something.”

That’s if I actually talked to them. I thought as I looked at the clear blue sky.

“They have been pretty busy, so we barely talk.”

Marcus gave a slow nod and stood beside me. He looked at the sky and gave a slow sigh.

“You might not want to hear this, but you and Shawn need to get over this vendetta you two have. Yes, what you did was shitty, but it’s over now.”

“You’re right, I didn’t want to hear this.” I said.

“All I’m saying is Shawn is with Ri now and you have moved on; shouldn’t you two just focus on your lives and your futures instead of trying to be the bigger man around each other.”

“Tell that to your brother.”

“Trust me, I will; but I’m talking to you right now. Also, I don’t want you to start up anything when Riana is present. Don’t pull any shit like you did at Toc Bar.”

“Who said I will? More likely, I will bring Rachel, so you don’t have to worry about me flirting with Riana.”

“Better not.  See you at the party.”

I stared at Marcus as he went back into the shop. I shook my head again, wondering if I really wanted to go. I know it was for Grandma Hattie, but I don’t know if I could face seeing Riana and Elis.

 

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