Here’s chapter 3!

 

After going to another store to purchase roses and went to Rachel’s favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s, I was back at my parents’ getting ready for the night. I watched as they were preparing to head out. This charity event was a huge deal for them since Mom was running for a position on the city council. All the big wigs were going to be there, so of course the two had to put on a show to impress everyone. That’s what they did best.

“So, I see you’re doing something special for Rachel. You know, I actually like her.” My mom said while putting on her diamond necklace.

“I guess that’s good to know.” I muttered while walking into the kitchen.

“She reminds me so much of me at her age. She’s focused and driven; something I didn’t see in that other girl. The one your cousin married.”

“I know who you’re talking about and her name’s Riana. She was very driven, Mom. She still is.”

“Whatever; I’m just glad you dodged a bullet with her. She was bad news. Bad enough she didn’t learn her lesson from high school that she winded up pregnant again.”

I sighed, wondering when this conversation would be over. I was tired of her bad mouthing people that weren’t up to her standards.

“As I recalled, Mother, you and Riana were very much alike, were you?”

My mom turned away from the mirror and gave me an evil glance.

“What did you say?”

“I think you heard me loud and clear. If not, I can repeat it again.”

“Son, all I’m saying is that your life could have been much worse if you and Riana carried on like a married couple. You two were too young to be playing parenthood.”

“Well, that’s over now, especially since I caused her to miscarry.”

“You didn’t do no such thing. She couldn’t handle the pressure from what was happening around her. She was weak and didn’t have a backbone. Besides, for all you know, those things that were said about her were true.”

“None of it was.” I whispered.

“Why are we still talking about her? Evidently, Shawn got your sloppy seconds; so just be happy with Rachel and move on.”

“Are you sure you’re not going to run her away too?”

“Why would I do that? As I said, I like her. In fact, during our last conversation, she was asking me questions about an office position with the city. I was going to put in a good word for her once she made the decision on which position she wanted to apply for.”

“Of course,” I said. At least my mom liked Rachel, so that’s was one good thing she had going for her.

“I need to ask a question about what happened with Ri?”

A frown went across her face as she gave me a stern look. “What?”

“Do you feel proud of yourself after spreading those rumors about her?”

Her eyes widen at what I said. “What? Why would you…”

“Stop it! You and Dad were the ones who told me to do what I had to do to end my relationship with her, so when I didn’t want to do it, you stepped in to do it. Your lies and deceit led her to lose our child. Now, how do you feel about killing your grandchild?”

My mom laughed at my remark. “You have got to be kidding me! You didn’t have a problem with us spreading those rumors, did you?”

“Because I didn’t have a choice, remember? You knew I loved her.”

“But you loved football more. Now, look where it got you.” She said. She gave me a smirk before heading to the stairs.

I shook my head and stared at the window. The sun was setting, as it reflected off on the water. Normally, I wouldn’t stare at the sun setting, but it was relaxing. I leaned my head back on the sofa cushion and took a deep breath. What I did to Riana still haunted me. Although I played it off to everyone around me, I had to hold a certain persona because of what I was up against.

Now, I wished I had the balls then and stood up for her and for myself…

 

January, 2012

“Are you okay, Ri?”

She looked over at me and gave me a tiny smile. It has been almost two months since we first made love and we’ve been going at it ever since. It was like we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other, which I loved.

Although Ri and I were at a good place, I still was lying behind her back. I was still seeing the girl I met at the Williams Morris party and now, I was talking to another female, which I met at the mall. Honestly, I don’t know why I was doing the things I was doing. I don’t know why when I was in love with Riana.  But a tiny part of me was thinking that since Ri was my first girlfriend, maybe I really wasn’t in love; but instead, I was infatuated with the idea of wanting to be. Whatever the reason, I was slowly hurting her and she didn’t even know it.

Or maybe the issue I’m facing is because of my parents. They have put so much pressure on me that I’m finding other ways to lash out. When I’m with other girls, I feel as if it’s an escape from everything and everyone. Also, since my parents wanted me to date other girls, I put up this front for them to show that I am, but really, I’m still with Riana.

For some reason, my parents didn’t like Riana. They felt she was an opportunist and wanted to be with me since as my mom puts it, I was “going places.” To be honest, I think they see a part of Riana and me in them when they were dating. Call me crazy, but it seemed as if they were trying to shield me away from something that happened to them.

I know I should be telling Riana everything that I was going through, but I didn’t want to put that pressure on her. I didn’t want her blaming herself with the issues I was having with them.

“Nate, there’s something I need to tell you.”

I glanced at Ri and noticed the sad look she had. I immediately knew she needed a hug. I wrapped my arms around her as she gave a huge sigh.

“Whatever it is, you can tell me.”

She looked up at me and a tear rolled down her cheek.

“I’m pregnant.”

I stared at her, wondering if this was a joke. How could she be pregnant? We’ve been using condoms every time.

“How is that possible? We’ve been safe every time.”

“Except for one. Remember what happened the night we first made love?”

I closed my eyes, remembering all too well what happened. While taking off the condom, I noticed a hole. More likely, it tore either when I was putting it on and didn’t notice or while we were in the act. I didn’t think anything would have happened, until now.

“Are you sure?”

“I took a pregnancy test, Nate.”

I took a deep breath and sighed. “Wow.”

“I know you’re probably in shock….”

“Of course I am, but I’m not upset, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“I don’t think having a baby right now will be a great idea. I mean, we have our entire lives ahead of us.”

“Yes, we do, but that doesn’t mean our lives will end. The timing may not be perfect, but we can make it work.”

She stared at me while I smiled. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying we’re going to have this baby and we’re going to continue with our lives. It will be altered a bit, but we can still fulfill our dreams.”

“But Nate, what about our parents? You know they’ll both go through the roof.”

“Maybe so, but we can’t worry about them, can we? Ri, I love you and we’re going to make this work.”

Riana smiled and I kissed her cheek.

“I do want to get it confirmed though; I just need to figure out a way without my mom knowing.”

“I don’t think there’s no avoiding that now.”

She nodded. “I guess not.”

“There is one thing though.”

“What’s that?”

“We should get married after we graduate.”

Riana tilted her head while giving me a puzzled look. “I don’t think that’s…”

“If you think I’m only doing this because you’re pregnant, it’s not. Riana, I really care about you and I’m willing to do all that I can for us and for our child to be together.”

“You really mean that?”

“Why would I lie to you?”

She smiled and touched my chest. “I know you never would.”

The guilty feeling I was having was coming back to me. I was lying to her just by saying I never did.

“I really think we should tell our parents separately, though.”

“Why? To soften the blow, we should do it together.”

“Trust me Ri, I think it would be best if we didn’t.”

She nodded her head while I put her in my arms again.

“Okay, that’s fine.”

I sighed. I knew it would be a disaster if we told my parents together. I rather handle them and take the bulk of the draggers they will be throwing later.

 

I sighed and glanced at the window again before getting up from the couch. I needed to get ready for Rachel to arrive.

 

***

Once my parents finally left, I began to put my plan into action. I wanted for us to sit by the water, which I set-up a candlelight dinner on the patio. I heated up Rachel’s favorite meal from Maggino’s, as I looked at myself in the mirror. I wanted to pick up her from her place, but she insisted on driving herself to the house, so I didn’t object. I was starting to wonder if I should ask Rachel if I could move in with her, especially if things didn’t change with my parents. I don’t know if I could stay here with them too much longer. That was the benefit of going off to college to get away from them.

After a few last-minute changes, the doorbell rang. I went to it and opened the door.

“Hey.”

Rachel smiled as she walked into the foyer. I took in her appearance, from her auburn-colored hair to the crimson colored dress that brought out her pecan skin tone; she was beautiful. She continued to stare at me as I looked at her from head to toe.

“Aren’t you going to close the door?”

“Yeah.” I said, completely forgetting to do that.

“I couldn’t believe you wanted to do this. It’s really sweet of you Nathan.”

“Why wouldn’t I want to? We’ve been together for awhile now, so we should be able to have a romantic evening together.”

“Hopefully your parents are not coming back soon.”

“If they are, we could always go back to your place.”

“True, which is why I didn’t know why you didn’t want to go there?”

“Because I thought you wanted to sit by the water.”

“Your place does have a great view.”

I smiled as I led her to the patio. A huge grin went across her face as she looked at the beautiful scene surrounding her. She gave me a kiss on the cheek as we went over to the table. I pulled out her chair and she slowly sat down. She glanced at me and smiled.

“So are you saying now you want things to progress between us?”

I sat down across from her and smiled. “That’s if you want to?”

“You know I do. When we first got together, it was a little awkward considering you’re Shawn’s cousin, but once I really got to know you, I realized there could be more between us.”

“I feel the same way.”

“Do you really? I was kind of receiving a different type of vibe from you. It’s as if you couldn’t let go of our past.”

I rubbed my hands together as she looked down at her plate. “Listen, I know things were strained after what happened with Riana, but what I never understood was if you cared about her, why did you do the things you did? Why did you belittle her and spread those rumors about her if you loved her? Also, why would you go and enlist Shawn to keep an eye on her when knowing those two could end up together, which they did.”

I sighed as I put my head in my hands. I didn’t think our romantic evening would suddenly turn into 20 Questions, but I guess I owned Rachel an explanation.

When Rachel and I first hooked up, it was under strange circumstances. We knew each other because of Shawn, but we never really talked until we both attended Texas Tech. At first, it was innocent; we hung out and talked about similar interests.  Honestly, I was only trying to be with her to get a rise out of Shawn since he was madly in love with Rachel, but after he became serious with Ri, he let everything go, including his supposed love for his first girlfriend.

But my feelings for her changed as well. I suddenly realized how great she was and I did want to get to know her. Maybe it’s my guilt that’s still eating at me to be with anyone, but I think if I tried hard enough, I could eventually be happy again.

“Are you still in love with Riana?” Rachel asked.

I looked up and saw the sad look she had on her face. She probably thinking I would say yes, but that’s further from the truth.

“Would you believe me if I said no?”

“Honestly, no. I could see the look in your eyes every time someone mentions her name.”

“If you would have asked me that a few years ago, I probably would had said yes; but now, that’s not the case.”
“Then what is it?”

I took a deep breath and stared into her brown eyes.

“I still feel guilty over what I done to her. She didn’t deserve what I put her through.”

“So why did you do it?”

“Because of my parents. They were about to destroy my entire life and I couldn’t do it.”

“What they could have done that would had destroyed your life?”

I sighed. I really didn’t want to talk about this.  The entire situation showed how weak-minded I was.

“I have a feeling you’re going to keep asking.”

“Yes, I am.”

“When I told my parents that Riana was pregnant, they blew a fuse. They already didn’t like her and the idea that she was carrying my child was too much for them, especially my mom. She felt as if her theory was true on Ri that she was only with me because I was about to be a huge football star. But I wasn’t going to let them destroy the one good thing that was going for me and I was going to use it to my advantage.”

“What did you have on your parents?”

I looked ahead at the stars twinkling throughout the sky. I didn’t know if I really wanted to go into details with the information I had on them. It would just make me think about that day and how my life went downhill.

“What did you have on your parents, Nathan?”

I took another deep breath before going into what happened….

 

After still going over the initial shock that I was going to be a father, I went to my house to face my parents. I knew they were going to go ballistic over my news, but they needed to know and there were no point in dragging it on.

I went through the garage and opened the door to the house. I walked into the living room and saw the two of them on the couch. My mom looked up and smiled.

“Hey honey, how was school?”

“It was fine.” I said while going to the armchair and sitting down.

My dad looked up from his newspaper and glanced at me. “Is everything okay?”

“I have something to tell you two.”

My dad put down his paper while my mom gave me a concerned look. “What is it?”

“Before I say it, promise me you won’t get upset.”

“What is going on, Nathan?” My mom asked while giving a concerned look.

I took a deep breath and sighed. “Riana is pregnant.”

My dad looked towards the window while my mom jumped up from the couch.

“What?!”

“I told you not to get upset.”

“Please! How did you let this happened?! And please don’t say because she didn’t want to use protection!”

“Why is it her fault?”

“Because I know her type. She’s an opportunist! She thinks she can get with the next thing smoking and she chose you.”

“Stop it, Mom! How many times do I have to tell you she’s not like that?”

“I thought you weren’t dating her any longer.” My dad added.

“I lied.”

My mom shook her head and sighed. “Well, you better go tell her to get an abortion. We don’t need a baby running around here.”

“Are you being serious?! I will not abort my child.”

“Please, Nathan! You’re 17. You’re don’t know a thing about being a father and we sure in the hell won’t be taking care of it.”

“So that’s how you feel about your grandchild. Just get rid of him or her, huh? What if your parents said the same about me? Would you have done it?”

“You know we wouldn’t had, Nate.” My dad said.

“Really; because from what I recall, that’s what grandma and pa said after they learned that I wasn’t yours.”

My parents stared at me in shock. I stood up and went over to my mom with a look of hatred in my eyes.

“When were you ever going to tell me that I had a different father? That you cheated on Dad and ended up pregnant at 17?”

My mom continued to stare at me while I smirked.

“Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?”

“How did you…”

“I heard you and Dad talking about it when I returned home from a game. I heard how much Grandma Hattie disliked you because you were an ‘opportunist.’ And the fact that you got drunk at a party and didn’t even know who my father was pretty much did it for me. So how can you stand here and talk about Riana like trash when you were being the real whore and sleeping with every damn body.”

My mom went up to me and slapped me across my cheek. Her eyes were filled with rage while her chest was quickly raising and falling.

“The truth hurts, doesn’t it?”

“You little punk! How in the hell are you to stand here and talk to me like I’m not your mother. You better show me some respect, especially while staying in my house.”

“You shouldn’t be throwing stones at a glass house, Mom! How can you look at yourself in the mirror with all the things you have done?”

“I do just fine, Nathan.”

I went over to my dad and shook his head. “And you. How could you still be with someone after what she did? I’m happy you stepped in and became my father, but the stuff she has done only made you look like a punk.”

“You better watch your mouth, Nathan.” My dad retorted.

“Or what? You two have done so much to hurt me, it doesn’t even matter what you do to me now. I am sick and tired of you two and your dictating ways. You both have made my life a living hell; from telling me how to spend my time to whom I should date; all so you could have this certain image for the public. I can’t do it anymore, and I shouldn’t have to. I won’t do it anymore. I will be a father to my child, whether you two like it or not.”

“Oh really?! In that case, you better get a paternity test!” my mom yelled.

“Riana and I both know I’m the father. While she’s been nothing but nice to me, I’m the one who has been a jerk to her, so I’m going to do what I can to not mess up again. No matter what I’ve done, I still love her.”

My mom laughed. “Whatever you say, Nathan, considering the way you have been going with your life. Didn’t think I didn’t know about the countless girls you have been with. Evidently, you don’t love her as much as you say you do. What if I tell your precious Riana all the things you have been doing?”

I shook my head at my mom. I glanced over at my dad, who tried not to smile.

“And you think this is funny? Some father you are.”

“Hey, you put yourself into this situation.”

I looked at my dad in shock. Instead of him being a parent, he’s standing in front of me as if he’s one of my friends out for revenge. What is wrong with these two?

“She wouldn’t believe you.”

“Really? You have to give me much more credit than that, Nate. I knew you were sleeping with other females, so I did what I had to do to protect not only you, but this family. If I have to use that to get that bitch out of our lives, then I will.”

“Do not call her that! I admit, I messed up, but do not punish Riana for this. This is not her fault.”

“You’re right, it’s not; it’s yours for getting into this predicament. I really hope you’re protecting yourself with these other girls, because I don’t need for you to be some damn baby maker. You need to be focusing on school and football and not being a father to countless kids.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed. “This conversation is over. Just stay away from Riana.”

“You don’t have that to worry about. I won’t talk to her.”

I stared at her while she gave me a devious look. When she gave that look that only meant one thing.

“And you won’t be either.”

“I’m not walking away from her or our child.”

“I think you will after what I tell you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“We all know that football is your first love. You live and breathe it. What if all of that was taken away from you?”

“It won’t be. My scholarship to Texas Tech is intact.”

“Is it really? It won’t be after an anonymous tip informs the Athletics department that you’ve been using steroids to get you going before each game.”

I suddenly turned pale after what my mom just said. I knew my mom was vindictive, but even she would never do that to me. She would never step in the way of me going to my first college choice and doing something that meant more to me than anything.

“You wouldn’t do that. You know I don’t use drugs.”

“She will. Remember, one of my friends did attend Texas Tech, so he’s pretty well-known with the committee there.” My dad added.

I closed my eyes knowing what that meant. These two meant business, so I knew I was pretty much screwed.

“I can’t believe you two would do this to me. I’d worked hard to get that scholarship. I had done something that was meaningful to me because I didn’t need any assistance from you two.”

“And you still can live your dream; all we ask of you is to not see Riana anymore. She can raise your child on her own. I’m pretty sure she’ll find some sucker that will help her anyway.”

“So you’ll just disregard your grandchild just like that? What am I saying? This shouldn’t come as a surprise since you barely wanted to do anything with me but control me.”

“We did what we could to protect you.”

“You did what you could to protect your name! You didn’t give a shit about me and doing this proves to me that you two are conniving and evil. I guess both your roles in politics are really paying off for you.”

“Stay away from her or your scholarship will be revoked. You will be known as the player who dopes up and no one would want to play with you.” My mom said.

I could not believe this was happening. The one good thing besides being with Riana could be taken away from me. I don’t know if I could let that happen.

“Based on the unsure look on your face, I think we had reached an agreement.”

“I need football in my life and you’re willing to destroy that.”

“I’m not doing anything. You’re doing that all by yourself.”

I took a deep breath and walked out of the room. I couldn’t deal with my parents any longer. Now, I have to figure out what to do to keep both Ri and my football career intact…

 

“Wow.”

I glanced at Rachel as she wore a shocked expression. She had that expression from the time I began the story to now. I guess anyone would be with what I just said. My parents were never meant to be parents. I guess something must of happened in my past life because this was a punishment for them to be my mom and dad.

“And you chose football over Riana.”

“I’m not proud of my decision, but I know my parents would have made things worse for me and for Ri. I couldn’t risk it.”

“So why did you go along with the rumors about her?”

“That was an added bonus from my parents. They figured I would try to find some way to still see her, so they found ways to expose my dirt to other people, including the girls that I was sleeping with. More likely, they paid them to talk to Riana.”

“Wow, what kind of parents do you have to do this to you?”

“That’s not all. With the rumors, my phone was hacked into and before I knew it, everything about us was exposed. Even the night we first made love. Some people thought Peter was the one who send the video, but it was actually my mom who did.”

Rachel put her hand over her mouth while I sighed.

“They were the ones who did everything? But they’re political figures! Why would they pull childish antics like that?”

“Because they can. The funny thing about everything is that I played along with it. I’m no better than them, especially with how I acted toward Ri after the incidents.”

“Why you didn’t defend her when everyone was saying those things about her?”

“Because I knew it would go back to my parents. They have eyes and ears everywhere, so if I even tried to say anything good about her, I probably would have been chastised.”

“So that’s why you asked for Shawn to watch over her.”

“Yeah, and see how that turned out.”

“I’m really sorry Nathan. I’m sorry for what your parents did to you, but honestly, you played right into their hands. They knew you would do the things you done because they threatened you. You knew you could have exposed them both for what happened to you.”

“You don’t think I know that? I wanted nothing more than to put out their dirty laundry. I wanted them to see how it felt to be embarrassed and mistreated, but I couldn’t do it. Not only would I had been hurting myself if I exposed what my mom covered up, but I would had been hurting Grandma Hattie. She has done a lot for me growing up. Even though she had her ways towards others, she still had a heart of gold. She treated me like a human, which was something my parents could never do. I would have been putting our personal lives out to the public and that would have hurt her. I couldn’t do it.”

“I just wished there was another way you could had handled everything. She didn’t deserve what you put her through, Nate.”

“I know, and I regret that every single day of my life. I think my career ending was God’s way of punishing me for what I had done to her.”

“Nathan, things happen, plain and simple. It was unfortunate what happened to you, but you can bounce back. You can do something with your major or can find a new passion. Your life doesn’t have to end because you had a minor set-back.”

“I know. Honestly, how do you feel about Riana and Shawn married and having a child?”

Rachel shrugged. “Shawn was the love of my life at one point, but I messed it up. Now, he’s with someone that makes him happy. I’m happy for him and the life that he has.”

“So, no regrets?”

“No. He will always have a piece of my heart, but I have to move on, and I was hoping it would be with you.”

I took her hand into mine and smiled.

“You sure you want to be with me? I have a lot of baggage.”

Rachel smiled. “We all have that, Nate. Just know that there always someone in your corner.”

“Thank you.”

She nodded and put her napkin in her lap. “Now, I think we need to eat before our dinner gets cold.”

I smiled as she lifted her fork to her lips.

After telling my story, I really thought Rachel would had left. I never really told anyone that story, so it must have meant I have genuine feelings for her. I just really hope she meant what she said about sticking with me in the long run.

 

 

 

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