LLH Book 3; Love Life & Happiness

LLH Book 3 Chapter 27

Happy Sunday!!! I know I took a long time to post, but here is chapter 27!!! Unfortunately, the fourth book was never created, since at the time when I was going to put this version on sale, I began writing In Love With My Best Friend.

Now, I’m not ruling out doing the next installment to this version of the series; especially since the published version of Love, Life, & Happiness is coming to a close in December.

And starting next week, I will begin posting Baker 6. This is the original story that features Camille and Trevor and was the story I was set to published, but instead wrote In Love With My Best Friend.

But for now, enjoy the final chapter of Book 3 🙂

The doctor continued to look at everyone and gave a tiny smile.

“He’s going to be fine.”

“Oh thank God!” Mrs. Walker exclaimed as her husband hugged her.

Riana went to the nearest chair and sat down. She held her stomach and looked up, giving thanks to God for saving Shawn.

“Shawn is a very lucky man. Where the bullet landed, it could had killed him. When he was brought in, his injuries were so severe we immediately operated on him. We knew from the information his brother gave to the nurses’ station, he gave consent to operate if necessary, so we went by that to do so.”

Cheryl began to rub Marcus’ shoulder as he had his eyes closed, still in shock over everything.

“While operating, we were able to repair the damage that was done from the bullet, as well as stop the bleeding. Luckily, he didn’t lose a lot of blood to request a transfusion.”

“Really? That’s amazing.” Marcus said.

“I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. He had a lot of support on his side, including from above.”

“That is so true.” Mr. Walker said.

“Can we see him?” Marcus asked.

“Yes, but I’m only allowing one visitor at a time. He’s still a bit weak, so I don’t want to overwhelm him.”

Everyone glanced at Riana, knowing she should be the one to go in first.

“Are you sure? I would rather for you to go, Mrs. Walker.”

“No, sweetie, you should go.”

She smiled and whispered thank you, before going with the doctor to the double doors. He led her around the corner and to the first room on their left. He opened the door and Riana immediately began to tear up. Shawn was in the hospital bed. He slowly looked over and saw Riana and smiled.

“Hey.” He whispered.

“I’ll leave you two alone. If he needs anything, just push the call on the left side of the bed.” The doctor said.

“Thank you, Dr…”

“Bennett. And you’re welcome.” He said and gave a smile before leaving.

“You gave us quite a scare.” She said as she went over to Shawn.

“Hell, I was scared. I’ve never been shot before, so it was crazy.” He whispered as he tried to sit up, but Riana wouldn’t let him.

“Take it easy. Hopefully, this will be your first and last time.”

“Let’s hope. What happened to…?”

“Don’t worry about her. She’s in custody right now.”

“I’m sorry.” He slowly said.

Riana glanced at him and touched his cheek. “It’s not your fault for what happened. Even if you didn’t cross paths with her, she would had found a way to get to you. She even admitted that.”

“I know, but if I would had done something…”

“Shawn, it’s not your fault, so stop. Just know that everyone is here for you and they can’t wait to see you.”

“My parents are here too?”

Riana nodded. “In fact, your mom insisted I come in first when the doctor said only one visitor.”

“Really? I told you my mom would slowly come around.”

“For now.”

“No, she really is, Ri.”

She nodded and stared at him. “Don’t ever scare me again.”

“You know and I won’t. I love you.”

“I love you too. But right now, I think you need to rest, so I’ll leave.”

“Please don’t.” He whispered.

“No, I don’t want to get too worked up, so I’ll leave. I’ll be in the waiting room.”

Shawn was still trying to convince her to stay, but she wouldn’t hear it. She figured if she did, he wouldn’t want to sleep and he’ll continued to talk. How he was struggling to speak, she didn’t want to stay and have him trying to hold a conversation.

She gave him a smile before heading to the door. Once she did, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. She clutched her stomach, wondering what that was.

Shawn glanced at her as she closed her eyes, trying hard not to become scared.

“Is everything okay?” He asked.

Before she could say anything, she felt it again and kneeled in pain.

“Baby, speak to me.” Shawn said, as he stared at her. He wanted to get out of the bed and go to her, but he could barely stand, so that wasn’t an option. Not waiting for her to say anything, he quickly pressed the call button, hoping someone would come in soon.

Riana clutched her stomach as she looked up to the ceiling. She didn’t want to scare Shawn, but the pain was starting to become unbearable. Once the next wave hit, she wailed, leaning onto the wall.

“Ri, is it the baby? Ri.”

Before she could speak, a nurse walked in and quickly kneeled down to Riana. She tried to get her to stand up, but Riana couldn’t. Riana looked down and noticed she was bleeding, which the nurse immediately went to the nurses’ station.

Riana turned her head and noticed the worried look on Shawn’s face. She knew he wanted to help her, but he couldn’t. At this point, no one could.

“What happened?” A doctor asked while rushing into the room. The nurse came near the hall with a gurney as the doctor slowly lifted Riana from the floor.

“I don’t know. I started to walk and I suddenly felt a sharp pain. I’m only a month pregnant.” Riana said in tears.

“You’re going to be okay. We have to get her into a room immediately.” The doctor said to the nurse.

“Page Dr. Michaels and see if she’s not with a patient. I need her on this.”

“Yes, Dr. Paige.”

Shawn watched helplessly as the doctor slowly put Riana onto the gurney. He wanted to go with them and be by her side. He knew she was scared, that’s why he needed to be with her.

So much as happened with them and the issue with Dominique that he wondered if they could possibly get through this. If anything happened to Riana or the baby, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.

“God, please let Riana and the baby be okay…”

LLH: Book 3 Chapter 24

Hi everyone!! Sorry for the delay with posting new chapters, but I’ve been busy writing The Way We Were. But not to worry, I will post the remaining three chapters this week.

Enjoy chapter 24 🙂

Riana continued to stare at her ring and smiled. She still couldn’t believe Shawn proposed to her. A lot were going through her mind about the pregnancy and the engagement. She had to tell her parents everything, but figured she should do it in person; so she and Shawn agreed to go to both their parents over the weekend to announce the news. Her parents might be happy, but with Shawn’s parents, that might be another story.

She and Cheryl were going to the GZG house to announce their withdrawal from the pledging process when Cheryl stared at her.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, just thinking about telling everyone about the pregnancy and the engagement. I’m a little worried to what Shawn’s parents are going to say.”

“I don’t think you have much to worry about, Ri. I think they’ll embrace you into the family.”
“Maybe Mr. Walker, but Mrs. Walker, I don’t think so. She still doesn’t like me after what happened between Shawn and Marcus.”

“But they made up, so it shouldn’t be a problem now.”

“I’m sure she doesn’t feel that way.”

“It’ll all work out. How about if Marcus and I go with you two; that way it’ll ease the blow when he introduce me as his new girlfriend.”

“I guess that’ll work. Thanks, Cher.”

“Anytime.”

They approached the house and both took a deep breath. They knew this wasn’t going to be easy, especially when talking to Dominique.

“You ready?” Cheryl asked.

Riana nodded and Cheryl pressed the doorbell.

Dominique opened the door and smiled. “What brings you two by?”

“If you’re not busy, we would like to speak with you.” Riana said.

“Sure, come on in.” she said.

The two walked in and stopped at the foyer. Dominique closed the door and walked over to them.

“What’s up?”

“Well, we were thinking about the entire pledging process, and we realized that with school and work, maybe it will be best for us to withdraw our invite.” Cheryl said.

Dominique nodded. “I see. So you two decided on this today?”

“Yes. We figured it would be best to do it now since the process is halfway over.”

“This doesn’t have anything to do with what happened with Terrance, is it Riana?”

Riana stared at Dominique as the other sisters walked into the main room.

“Why would you think that?”

“I don’t know; you came on to him and after Shawn came to your rescue, you automatically want to remove yourself from the process. You think we would retaliate because of what happened, do you?”

“No; this has nothing to do with Terrance, even though he came onto me.”

“Oh please, Riana. We all know about you and how you like attention from a man. I mean, you had your ex coming to your rescue; or should I say your latest bed partner.”

Riana glanced at Cheryl, who gave a slight shrug.

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t give me that! I know about you and Shawn. How you two were sneaking around behind my damn back, thinking I’m some damn fool.”

“Dominique, Shawn and I are not together.”

“You have got to be kidding me! I know about the two of you. I know that not only are you back together, but you’re having his baby!”

Several gasps from the sisters were heard throughout the room as Riana gazed at Dominique.

Cheryl gave a surprised look, wondering how she even knew.

“How did you know that?” Riana asked.

“Well, I asked Terrance to plant a listening device into your room. The things I’ve heard in there were truly unbelievable.”

Riana lowered her head, not believing what she was hearing. She heard everything that went on in her room, including her and Shawn having sex. The thought of her listening to them made her completely ill.

“That’s an invasion of privacy. How could you do that?!”

“It was easy; but I did it because I knew what you were after. You thought you could dig up dirt on the sorority to write about for your little news story. Too bad you couldn’t find anything.”

Riana suddenly felt weak as she leaned onto Cheryl. Now that she knew so much about her, what was she going to do to her and Cheryl?

“And to think we were going to accept you and Cheryl into the sorority. I mean, the sisters actually liked the both of you; but after what you pulled, it’s a good thing you’re both withdrawing.”

“I’m glad you feel that way, so we will leave now.” Cheryl said.

She and Riana were going to the door when one of the sisters blocked it.

“No one said you two were leaving. We still have a lot to discuss; for example, how much of a dirty slut your cousin is. Not only was she with Shawn and Marcus, but tried to get with Terrance too; which you know is my stepbrother. For all we know, that baby you’re carrying could be someone else’s child.”

“You wished it was. In fact, everything I have you wish you could have. My man, his child, everything.”

Dominique smirked. “You’re being bold right now.”

She and Cheryl stared at her as she pulled out a 22 revolver and pointed it to her stomach.
“You won’t be so bold after I shoot you and your bastard child.”

Riana stared in fear at Dominique as Cheryl got in front of her.

“There’s no point in protecting your cousin, because I’ll shoot you too. You know, you two are so much alike. You cheated on your boyfriend with Marcus of all people. I mean what is it with him that have you all going crazy?”

“I don’t know; you should ask yourself that since you were with him too.” Cheryl replied.

“Which was a huge mistake. Now, I suggest you two get comfortable, because you’re not going anywhere.”

Riana glanced at Cheryl and sighed. Now they have to wonder how they will get out of this alive.

***
Shawn glanced at his watch and sighed. He paced around the living room wondering when Riana would call him. They agreed once she and Cheryl went to the house and announced their withdrawal, they would leave and she would call him. Now, it has been almost an hour and no word from her.

Marcus stared at him as he continued to pace.

“You’re going to burn a hole into the carpet. It’s only been an hour; they probably stopped off at the lounge for a drink or something.”

“No. Something’s not right. I should had went with them.”

“Why, so Dominique would had been even more pissed. If she doesn’t know about you two, she definitely knows now after what happened with Terrance.”

“I know; that’s why I didn’t want them going alone.”

“I didn’t want them to either, but they assured us they would be okay.”

Shawn shook his head. “I’m following my instincts. I’m going to the house.”

“Shawn, just give it a few more minutes.”

“No! Something is wrong and I have to go there.”

Marcus nodded and grabbed his keys. “Fine; I’m driving.”

And the two headed to the door.

LLH: Book 3 Chapter 23

The next day, and Cheryl and Britney were walking to Baker’s Hall to see Riana, when Britney looked at Cheryl. She had a huge smile on her face.

“You are very chipper this morning. What gives?”

“Nothing, just in a really good mood.”

Britney nodded and continued to walk.

Cheryl wasn’t going to tell Britney that she spent the night with Marcus. It was one thing telling Riana about her feelings for him, but broadcasting it to others is something she wanted to keep to herself for now.

Although the two did spend the night, they didn’t sleep together. Instead, they talked and enjoyed each other’s company. That’s something she wasn’t expecting, especially since that was the plan, but Marcus surprised her, mentioning they should take their time and not rush into that part of their relationship.

“Did you sleep with Marcus?” Britney asked.

Cheryl sighed. “No, but we’re together now; we’re just taking things slow.”

Britney smiled. “You know, this may sound weird, but I’m glad you two are together. After what Chris did, you deserve someone that will treat you right. I know Marcus has done some crazy stuff in the past, but from what you said about him, he has completely changed, and I think you have a part in that.”

“I don’t think I have. I was just there for him when he needed it.”

“Maybe so, but you helped him out of a dark place, and I think that was the motivation he needed to rebuild his life.”

“He helped me too.”

“I know he did. I still can’t believe Monica and Chris, but I guess none of us can really judge each other after what everyone has done.”

“You’re right, but as long as I don’t have to see them again, then my life is good.”

“That would be like me saying the same about Marcus. We will cross paths again, especially since you two are together now.”

“I know, but…”

“Cheryl, I know what Chris did hurt you; all I’m saying is we’re all in the same social circle, so there will be times when we will all be in the same room together. Is it worth being upset all of the time about what they done, especially if you’re happy again?”

Cheryl gave a deep breath. “It’s too soon to think about that, Brit. Right now, let’s just check on Ri.”

Britney nodded and they went to her doorstep. Cheryl knocked on the door and looked at Britney.

“What about you and Jackie? How are things going?”

“It’s okay; I just wish we could actually be seen in public together instead of sneaking around. When you texted me, I wanted to come to the hospital, but Jackie did too, so in order not to risk it, I decided not to come.”

“It’ll work out, Britney.” Cheryl said while putting a hand on her upper back.

The door opened and Riana smiled. Cheryl noticed the glow on her face, which made her smile.

“Hey, I see you’re doing great.” She said while giving her a hug.

“I’m doing better than great, cuz. Hey Brit.”

“Hey.” She said while giving her a hug as well.

They walked into the main room and saw Shawn on the couch. He gave a bright smile to everyone.

“Hey.” Britney and Cheryl said.

“Hey.”

Riana came over to him and put an arm around him. “We have some news to share, but we’ll announce it once Marcus arrives.”

“If I would have known Marcus was coming, we could have all came together.” Cheryl said.

“I just texted him.” Shawn said.

“Okay, I’m curious, what is this big news that you have all of us here for?” Britney asked.

“It’s pretty big.” Riana said.

“You didn’t ask Chris and Monica to come, did you?” Cheryl asked.

Riana shook her head. “And have an all-out altercation here, no way.”

“It won’t get to that, but I’m glad you didn’t.”

“No problem.”

There was a knock, which meant Marcus has arrived. Shawn went to the door and opened it.

“So, what happened last night? Terrance attacked you?” Britney asked.

“Yeah; I was able to hold him off for a little bit.”

Britney touched Riana’s left cheek, which had a tiny bruise. “I really hope Shawn kicked his ass.”

“Of course.”

“It really is good to see you two together again.”

“I know. I wish we could erase all of the problems we had from the last couple of months.”

“Me too, but that’s what it is; the past; so let’s keep it there.”

Riana nodded when Shawn walked back in with Marcus. He went to Cheryl and kissed her before sitting down beside her on the couch.

“Well, I see things have progressed between you two.” Shawn said.

“Yeah, it has.” Marcus said while smiling.

Britney looked at the two and smiled.

“Okay, now that everyone is here, Riana and I would like to make an announcement.” Shawn declared.

Riana smiled. “At the hospital, Shawn and I received some shocking, but good news.”

“Riana is pregnant.” Shawn added.

Cheryl and Britney both gave shocked expression as they went up to hug her.

“Wow, how far along are you?” Cheryl asked.

“About a month. We were able to have an appointment with an OBGYN that the ER doctor suggested.”

“Who would have thought you would be the one to have a child first.” Cheryl said.

“I surely didn’t.” Riana said.

Marcus looked at Shawn. “Congrats, bro.”

“Thanks.”

Marcus went up to him and gave him a hug. “Just know whatever you need, let me know, okay.”

Shawn nodded. “Sure.”

Riana looked at the two and started to cry.

“Aww, the hormones already starting.” Britney said.

“It’s not that; it just really good that you two are talking again.”

The two looked at Riana and nodded.

“Have you told Mom and Dad yet?” Marcus asked.

Shawn shook his head. “I don’t know if I should. Mom really doesn’t like Riana after what happened between us, so it’s going to be a shock to her that we’re back together and about to have a baby.”

“I think she will change her mind once she knows. Wow, I can’t believe my little bro is going to be a father.”

“I still can’t believe it, but I’m looking forward to it. Yes, it’s going to be a little difficult with us still in school and with our financial situations, but we’ll make it work.”

“Like I said, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I won’t, Uncle Marcus.”

He smiled. “I kind of like the sound of that.”

Cheryl looked at the two, then at Riana.

“Who would have thought we would be dating brothers?” Riana asked.

“I never thought, but anything is possible. So that now you’re with child, are you going to stop with investigating GZG?”

Riana nodded. “Yeah. Before I knew that I was, I was going to continue, but I think it’s best if I stop.”

“I couldn’t agree more.” Shawn jumped in.

“I think I will too. I was only doing it so you could continue with your search; so now, there’s nothing holding me back.”

“I’m really sorry Cheryl. I know how much you wanted to be a part of GZG.”

“I know, but I noticed the real side of them and that’s not something I want to be a part of.”

“Are you considering rushing another sorority?” Britney asked.

“Maybe I will, but right now, I just want to forget about anything associating with the Greek system for awhile.”

“I think this deserves a toast. You have anything in your fridge, Ri?” Britney asked while walking into the kitchen.

“Just water.”

“That’s perfect.”

Shawn looked at her and kissed her. “You really are glowing right now.”

“I am, because everything is perfect.”

“You know, there is one other thing that would make this perfect.”

Riana stared at Shawn, not knowing what he meant. “What is that?”

He took something out of his pocket and bent down on one knee. Cheryl, Britney, and Marcus all looked at him with shocked expressions.

“Riana Robertson, will you marry me?”

Riana looked at Shawn to the ring, which was her promise ring. For days, she was searching everywhere for it and was about to tell him that she lost it, but he had it all along.

“Shawn, please don’t do this because I’m pregnant.”

“Ri, I was going to propose to you even before we found out. Baby, I want us to spend the rest of our lives together. I love you, and I want you to be my wife.”

Riana continued to stare at Shawn. She nodded while she wiped the tears that were on her cheeks.

“Yes.”

Shawn smiled and Riana pulled him up. He slowly placed the ring onto her finger and she smiled.

“I promise I will get you a better ring.”

Riana shook her head. “No. This one will always be perfect for me.”

“I love you.” He said.

“I love you too.”

Cheryl and Britney were in tears as they watched the two.

“Wow, a pregnancy and an engagement within 24 hours.” Cheryl said.

“I know. Life can definitely be unpredictable.” Britney said.

“You said it.” Marcus said.

Riana and Shawn smiled and kissed each other again. They have to agree, life can definitely bring a lot of curve balls, but as long as there is love, nothing else will seem to matter.

***
Dominique was in the parking lot of Baker’s Hall listening to everything that was going on inside Riana’s dorm room. Thanks to Terrance, she was able to plant a recorder inside her dorm, so she was able to hear every conversation she had with, including the times when Riana and Shawn were having sex, which made her angry.

“I can’t believe that bitch is pregnant.” She said.

“Dom, Shawn is not going to leave Riana. He loves her.” Sonya replied.

“Of course he’s not going to leave her now. That’s why he proposed, because he wants to do the right thing.”

Sonya rolled her eyes and stared ahead.

“I think it’s time you put this vendetta to rest, especially after what happened with Terrance.”

“You think I will? You thought wrong. What happened with Terrance gave me even more motivation to carry out my plan.”

“You really need to rethink this. Not only will you be hurting her, but her child as well. As least think about that.”

“That’s not my problem she got knocked up. Now, she will get what she deserved. Since she’s going to quit the process, that will be the time to carry out my plan.”

Sonya shook her head. “I don’t want any part in this.”

“You have no choice. Either you do it or you’re gone from the house and the sorority.”

“I quit then. I’ll walk back to the house and pack.” She said. She got out of the car and walked down the sidewalk.

Dominique shook her head. “Lightweight.”

She continued to listen to the conversation inside of the dorm and smiled.

“Since you decided to take everything from me, I’m going to do the same for you, Riana; and no one will stop me from doing it.”

LLH: Book 3 Chapters 1&2

Hope everyone is having a great day!!!
Well, now books 1 & 2 are officially over, it’s time for part 3. If you thought the second book was crazy, just read what happens to everyone in this installment. A lot will change for everyone, including two becoming parents. So here’s chapters 1 & 2. Enjoy 🙂

ONE

“Can you believe we are juniors now?” Monica Taylor asked Riana Robertson as the two walked up to Shaw University. As Riana looked around the spacious campus, she started to think about everything that went down in the past two semesters. From the time she have step back to Shaw, things have changed dramatically for her and her friends. The most dramatic was her breakup with Shawn Walker.

Which was all my fault.
She thought as she and Monica went up the double steps to Baker’s Hall.

“Baker’s Hall is a really nice dorm. You practically have everything you need. You have a private bedroom, bathroom, and even a kitchen. I think this is the best move for you Ri.”

Riana looked at the dull building in annoyance. She knew Monica was trying to help, but she was only making things worse. Before the summer started, everything has fallen apart for Riana. Not only did Shawn catch her and his brother Marcus cheating, but he practically forced Marcus out of the apartment they shared.

As for her friendship with Britney Lewis, things were definitely not the same between the two. Even though Riana’s first boyfriend Isaac cheated on her with Britney, she was still torn over the fact that Riana pursued a relationship with Marcus. Now the two haven’t talked since the incident and Riana moved out of their apartment as well.

Now she’s living at the university in one of the most elaborate dorms on campus. The fact that she couldn’t afford her own place, she had to use majority of her financial aid to move in. But since she’s a junior, she was able to swing a private suite.

Monica looked at Riana and sighed.

“You know I always wanted to ask this but I didn’t know whether you would be offended by it.”

“What is it Monica?” Riana asked as she went over to bench that was nearby the front entrance.

“Was it worth it? I mean to be with Marcus? Was it worth losing your relationship because of someone who you had just a physical attraction to?”

Riana looked at Monica with tears in her eyes.

“I know I shouldn’t have brought it up. I mean, I’m the last person to talk, but Ri, you had something people would crave for. You and Shawn tried to make things work, but it was all wasted because of a lie.”

Riana looked ahead to the quad, wishing Monica would stop talking about what happened. She already felt bad enough. After Britney lied about her and Shawn sleeping together, the person she ran to was Marcus, which she regretted every single day. Maybe Shawn was right about her needing an excuse to be with Marcus; but no matter if she was with him sexually, her heart was always with Shawn.

“I don’t know. I ask myself that every day and I still cannot find the answer. I thought maybe I needed to feel some sort of comfort since Shawn wasn’t around.”

“You knew Shawn was trying to pursue his dream. He wanted to share that dream with you.”

“You don’t think I know that? I think about what could have been if we stayed together all of the time. But I can’t go back in time and change things. If I could, I would.”

“I know you would. Believe me; I know where you’re coming from. There’s time when I’m still struggling with myself over what happened between Donnell and me. If I wasn’t so stupid with what happened last year, I would have been able to have a solid relationship with him. With the miscarriage and rushing into moving in him with only made things worse between us and it made us distant. Although we’re trying to work our way back to each other, I know our relationship will never be the same.”

“Yeah, but Monica, you two are trying to work things out. You’re trying to salvage what you two have built in your relationship. Shawn won’t even look at me, let alone talk to me.”

“Well, what do you expect Ri? You slept with his brother. I think that cause for blockage of communication.”

Riana wiped away a tear that was falling down her cheek. She looked around the university’s campus and noticed the happy students greeting each other for another year of fun and learning. For Riana, it felt like the many days she experienced since her break up with Shawn: Cold and alone.

“Come on girl. Let’s find your room so we can start unpacking.” Monica said as she got up from the bench. Riana started to get up when she saw Britney walking towards the building. As she was approaching the steps, she saw Monica and Riana by the entrance. She looked at Monica and smiled.

“Hey, Monica. Are you coming by my new place later? I’m throwing a party tonight to celebrate my independence from everyone that is toxic in my life.” she said while looking at Riana.

Riana nodded and went to the entrance.

“I’ll look for my room myself. Thanks Mon. I’ll talk to you later.” she said as she went to the door.

Monica turned around and looked at Britney angrily.

“That was really low Britney.”

“Oh please. After what that bitch did. She better be glad I didn’t beat her ass.”

“Control yourself. Remember last year when you were sleeping with her boyfriend? You didn’t care about anyone but yourself then. And then you tried to push yourself on Shawn. Riana made a mistake and she feels horrible about it. So why don’t you forgive her like she did with you.”

“When I was with Isaac, I wanted a relationship. Yeah, I was stupid and naïve at the time, but I didn’t sleep with him because I wanted to know what it felt like. I was in love with Isaac. Riana just wanted something she couldn’t have and it killed her that she couldn’t be the center of every man’s universe.”

“Listen to yourself. What happened to us? We were all so close. Now it’s like I don’t even know anyone anymore.”

“We all grew up Monica. We all realize who we really are.”

Monica sighed and went to the door. She turned to stare at Britney.

“I know you’re hurting and you’re using this hard persona to cover up your pain, but sweetie one of these days that persona is going to break down and who will be there to help you?”

Britney rolled her eyes and walked past Monica. Monica shook her head.

What happened to my friends? She thought as she opened the door to Baker’s Hall.

***
“This is ridiculous!” Chris Thomas said as he walked out of the college bookstore in disgust. Shawn Walker was right behind him carrying a bag full of textbooks.

“This is only the first week of classes and I’m already broke.”

“Join the club.” Shawn said as the two walked down the sidewalk towards the Student Union. The two have been in the bookstore for nearly two hours finding books for two classes. After they seen the prices for those books, the two realized they could find books elsewhere.

“Don’t students supposed to wait until classes start to get books?”

“I guess people want to be prepared.” Shawn said as he took the steps two at a time to the Student Union.

Chris looked at Shawn and sighed.

“I know you’re still hurting Shawn. After all this time and I still can’t believe Riana did that to you. And Marcus, he knew better than to pursue your girl.”

“It’s over Chris. There’s no point in talking about it.”

“I know it’s not but you had real feelings for her. Anyone who had real feelings for someone will not let go so easily.”

Shawn looked at a group of Gamma Zeta Gammas walk toward them. Shawn looked at one in particular and smiled.

“Hey Shawn, Chris.”

“Hey, Dominique. How are you?” Shawn replied.

Chris looked at Dominique and rolled his eyes.

“Good. How are things going with you?” Dominique asked.

“Fine, thanks.”

“Are you going to say anything, Chris?”

“Why?” he retorted.

Shawn glanced at his friend, wondering why he was being so rude.

“Sorry about Chris; he’s not being himself right now.”

Chris looked to the student lounge and rolled his eyes again.

“I’ll see you later, okay.” She said. She leaned into Shawn and gave him a kiss.

Chris looked at the two in shock.

“Bye, baby.” Shawn said.

She smiled and went to catch up with her sisters.

“What the hell was that?” Chris asked.

“Oh, I didn’t’ tell you. Dominique and I are together now.” he said while walking to the lounge.

Chris didn’t know what to say.

This can not be happening!

***
Cheryl Thompson looked at her class schedule for the twentieth time, wondering what she was thinking. Taking a full course load and working full time landed her in the hospital last semester.

Am I trying to kill myself again?

After claiming her independence to everyone, she decided to take on more than she could handle. During the last semester, she was working double shifts at Patrick’s Restaurant and taking 15 hours, she didn’t have much time for anything. She barely had time for Chris, which almost cost them their relationship. With early acceptance applications to medical school and keeping her GPA at a reasonable mark, she didn’t care too much about anything, let alone anyone. She didn’t even have time for her cousin, who needed her more than anything.

And I basically neglected her. she thought as she put her schedule into her purse. After the stress from work and school, and the energy pills she was abusing every day, she almost had an overdose. After that scary incident, she had to quit her job and move in with her father. The emotional toll it took on her made her realize that she was not Super Woman and could conquer everything. She had to make a choice on what she wanted in life, and right now, it was to have a future to look forward to. Now she’s living with her father in a two-bedroom condo wondering if she will ever be an independent person instead of running to others with her problems.

One thing that helped her cope was the therapy sessions her father scheduled her for. At first, she didn’t want to do them, but after talking with Dr. Harper about her family, her daily demands, and her life in general, she realized she needed those sessions to help express her thoughts. Now, she was going every Wednesday to talk about her day and if anything was bothering her.

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted when the doorbell rang. She got up from the cream colored couch in the living room and went to the door. To her surprise, she saw Riana standing in front of her looking sad and frustrated. Cheryl opened the door wide for her to walk in. She put an arm around her as they went into the living room.

“This is a surprise.” Cheryl said as she sat back on the couch.

“Why? This is not the first time I’ve been here.”

“I know. But I thought since you have your own place now, you wouldn’t be coming here anymore.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? I know I was here a lot over the summer…”

“I’m playing Ri. Stop being so serious.”

Riana sat down on the matching colored armchair and took a magazine from the ottoman nearby. As she started to flip through the pages without even looking, Cheryl sighed and started to talk in a cheerful tone.

“I know what can get you out of this sad funk.”

“I don’t think anything will help me right now.”

“Ri, it has been four months since you and Shawn broke up. I’m pretty sure he has moved on with his life, and I think you should do the same.”

“Why Cheryl? I practically destroyed so many lives because of my damn hormones. I went against the one man that truly loved me to go sleep with his brother. Not only do I feel cheap but dirty.”

“Riana, people make mistakes. I’m not condoning you for doing it, but you’re human. You felt Shawn was not around anymore since he took the internship at Channel 2. You were lonely and you wanted someone to be there for you. I know Shawn was upset with you for cheating, but I think he was more upset with the fact that you were with his brother. That would put a serious ego blow to anyone.”

“Yeah, but it’s the fact that I went past my beliefs and slept with someone else. I always vowed to myself that I would only be with one man, and that was Shawn. I knew this would happen, that’s why I wanted to wait.”

“Well, why didn’t you? You have a mind of your own. Did Marcus force you? If he did, that’s considered rape.”

“No, Marcus didn’t. He would never do that. In fact, he was really supportive and attentive. He was there for me.”

“I understand, but you supported Shawn through his internship. You told him to pursue his dream and he did. What you wanted him to do? Put everything on hold because you weren’t getting enough attention.”

“I don’t need to hear this. I’m out of here.” Riana said as she grabbed her purse. As she was heading to the door, Cheryl went to the door and blocked it.

“Listen, I’m not trying to lecture you or give you motherly advice, but I will say one thing. In a relationship, you have to think about the other person and his feelings. There’s no ‘me’ to think about. You have to put your feelings to the side and support the person you care about. As for what happened with you and Shawn, why would you do the same thing that Isaac done to you? Although Britney should not be pissed at the situation, you have to realize that Marcus was the one guy that she thought was hers only. I think she’s more upset about that than anything. So if I was you, I would try to refocus my attention on something that is meaningful for you and quit harping on what you could have done to prevent the situation. The damage is done now, so it’s time to pick yourself up and move on.”

Riana looked at Cheryl and smirked.

“Are you done Dr. Phil?”

“Very funny. Yes, I’m done.”

“I understand what you’re saying Cheryl, and I know I can’t keep blaming myself, but a part of me still feel guilty for the pain I’ve caused everyone.”

“And that’s perfectly normal, but sweetie, you got to realize that life is a learning process. Just know that this is something you shouldn’t do again.”

Riana sighed and went back to the living room. She sat down on the couch and put her head in her hands. Cheryl was right. She needed to move on with her life and stop blaming herself for what she’d done.

“You think Shawn moved on with someone else during the summer?”

Cheryl sat down beside Riana and shook her head.

“I don’t know. So what if he did. You have to start doing things for you, and it does not mean pining over Shawn. That is why I think you should pledge a sorority.”

“You have got to be kidding. You know I hate sororities.”

“Come on Ri, do it for me. You know pledging GZG is a lifelong dream of mines and I would really like if you do this with me. Not only will it get your mind off of Shawn but also it will give us time to spend together.”

“I thought you couldn’t handle a lot of stress? You know pledging will bring stress.”

“Trust me, I will be fine. Now, what do you say?”

Riana rolled her eyes and smiled.

“Sure, why not. Yeah, I’ll do it.”

“Yes!” Cheryl exclaimed and gave her a hug that nearly cut off her circulation.

“You’re suffocating me.” Riana whispered.

“Sorry.” Cheryl said and pulled away from Riana.

“When does pledging start?”

“Next week. Sorority Row is having a big mixture on Tuesday to see who is pledging material. I thought we can look at some other sororities, but of course, I would love if I receive an invite from GZG.”

“Aren’t GZG a bunch of snobs? Why can’t we pledge a sorority that is meaningful and productive?”

“GZG are those things and more. Trust me Ri, once this is all over, you will be glad I got you to pledge.”

Riana rolled her eyes again and sighed.

What did I get myself into?

TWO

After the scene with Shawn and Dominique, Chris didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t believe his best friend didn’t tell him he had a girlfriend?

And he wouldn’t have told me if she hadn’t approached us. He thought as he looked at Shawn angrily.

“I thought we were boys? Why you didn’t tell me about Dominique?”

“Why would I? You’re dating Riana’s cousin. You know she would have told her.”

“So what? That doesn’t mean you had to shaft me. I tell you everything.”

“Sorry, okay. I just thought it wasn’t the best time. I didn’t even want to get into another relationship, but things just happened.”

“I guess you two developed a good relationship during your internship?”

“It wasn’t supposed to have happened, but it did. After the break up, we just clicked. She helped me through a lot.”

“Tell me you didn’t sleep with her?”

“No, we have not slept together. Not yet anyway. Besides, what is it your concern if I do or don’t.”

“Because I know Dominique. The girl is a vulture. You think Riana did you wrong; that girl will rip your heart out while it’s still beating.”
“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about her past. She used to date a friend of mines which turned out pretty brutal.”

“Whatever she did, it can’t be as bad as Riana sleeping with my brother.”

“Maybe not; all I’m saying is watch your back Shawn. She may be cool now, but she’ll eventually show her true colors.”

Shawn watched as Chris walked away to his dorm room. He sat down on a bench nearby and watched how beautiful the day was. Everyone was going about their lives as if the world was perfect. He took out his cell phone and pushed the camera application. He went to his photo album and saw a picture of Riana smiling brightly. Shawn smiled at the picture as he went to the next picture of him and Riana together…..

“Where are we?” Riana asked as she walked over to an area full of brightly lit lights.

“This is an area where I love to come to when I want to think.” Shawn said as he put an arm around her.

“This is beautiful. You can easily see the stars from here.” she said as she looked up at the sky.

“This is the first place I came to when I first started Shaw. Just looking at it made me stop and relax. It made me not think about any cares in the world. Just being here and looking at the stars was all I thought about.”

“Who knew you was sentimental?”

“I have my soft side.”

“If this place is only for you, why did you bring me here?”

“Because you’re special to me. Riana, I know I said it before, but I really appreciate you in my life. You’re special to me in ways that no one will ever know. I love you so much and I hope that we can share our lives together forever.”

Riana looked at Shawn as he pulled out a black jewelry box. Riana couldn’t believe her eyes as Shawn opened up the box to reveal a beautifully cut diamond ring set on a white gold band. Riana’s eyes started to swell with tears as she looked at the ring in awe.

Shawn smiled and looked at Riana.

“Before you say anything, it’s not what you think. It’s not an engagement ring.”

“Then what is it?” Riana asked in tears.

“It’s a promise ring. I would like for us to get to that point in our relationship, but right now, I want us to be committed to each other in every way possible.”

Riana smiled as Shawn placed the ring on her ring finger.

“So Riana Robertson, do you commit to our relationship and to the love we have for each other?”

Riana nodded her head as the tears started to flow down her cheeks.

“Yes Shawn. Yes, I do.” she said and wrapped her arms around Shawn in a tight embrace.

“I love you Shawn.” she said softly.

“I love you too baby…”

Shawn put his phone down and looked at the sun as it was starting to set.

“What happened between us Ri? What happened?”

***
Chris pulled up into The Gateway Apartments wondering if he should stop. After talking to Shawn about Dominique, he didn’t know whether he should tell Marcus about the whole situation or stay out of it.

But Marcus is Shawn’s brother. I need to tell him about Dominique. He thought as he got out of his Jeep Cherokee.

As he went up to the second floor, he thought for a moment before knocking. What Shawn doesn’t know is that Chris has been talking to Marcus since the incident. Although Shawn is his best friend, Marcus is also his friend and he wasn’t going to break that trust because of a girl. As he touched the door knocker several times, it opened to reveal Marcus looking rough and disoriented. Chris looked at Marcus with a perplexed expression.

“Dude, have you showered today?” he asked as he walked in.

“Hello to you too,” Marcus said as he closed the door behind him.

Chris noticed the mess that Marcus accumulated. Clothes were thrown all over the living room and in the hallway, several dishes were piled on the coffee table and kitchen counter, and papers were scattered all over the room. Chris looked at Marcus with a disgusted look.

“What is going on? I know you’re still not upset over you and Shawn?”

“What is it to you Chris? If I want to live like this, then let me.”

“This is unhealthy. Have you been to work lately?”

“I took a couple of days off. Actually, Chief didn’t like my work performance and decided to schedule some vacation time for me.”

“Basically you on leave?”

“Yeah, but until I’m ready to come back.”

“Marcus, you and Shawn had your falling out back in May. Why are you still upset over it?”

“You don’t understand, Chris. My relationship with him is not the same anymore. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, it just something that happened.”

“Why didn’t you put your feelings in check? You knew Riana was off limits, so why pursued it?”

“Because it something I wanted to do for awhile. She was always at our place and just being around her made me want to know her. I didn’t mean to hurt my brother. That was the farthest thing from my mind.”

“Have you tried talking to Shawn?”

“You know I haven’t Chris.”

“Why not? You know he’s hurting, but if he sees you trying to reach out to him, he will accept it.”

“If he really wants to talk to me, then he can do it himself.” Marcus said as he went to the bathroom. Chris shook his head and looked over in the kitchen. He noticed the empty liquor bottles sitting together on the table. Chris went over and picked up a bottle.

Marcus walked out and went over to Chris. He jerked the bottle from his hand and put it back on the table.

“How long you been drinking Marcus?”

“It’s none of your business.”

“You said you would never touch this stuff. I know things are bad, but drinking is not the answer.”

“Why don’t you leave me alone, alright? I’m a grown man; if I want to drink I’m going to drink.”

“You can do whatever you want, but just think rationally when you do it.” he said and walked out the door. Marcus shook his head in amazement over what just happened.

Marcus needs help in more ways than one. Chris thought as he went back to his car.But who will help him if he doesn’t want to help himself?

***
Britney looked at the black and white striped dress she held in her hands. The party she planned tonight was a little unexpected, given that she barely told people about it until yesterday. The look Riana had on her face when she mentioned it to Monica made Britney’s eyes sparkle. She knew what she was doing was wrong, but what Riana did to her was a hundred times worse. She knew she cared about Marcus and she pranced on him like a lion would to a piece of meat. And Shawn. Britney thought as she shook her head in disbelief. Shawn has been nothing but nice to her and that how she repays him? When she heard about the two, it made her sick to her stomach. Of all people, she couldn’t believe that her best friend and her boyfriend would do that to her.

Puts you in mind of a similar situation. Her conscience said.

“It’s not the same.” Britney replied. She threw the dress on her bed and sat down hard in her armchair. She really needed this party tonight to get her mind off of everything. Although it happened months ago, the wound still remained fresh.

“And it will stay that way for a long time.” She said as she looked towards the ceiling.

***
To get Riana’s mind off of everything, Cheryl and Monica decided to take her out to celebrate the new semester. She didn’t want to go, but since both of them were bugging her about going out, she threw on her best party outfit and went with them. As they were approaching a house on campus, Riana looked at the two wondering where they were.

“Where are we?”

Cheryl looked at her with a huge grin on her face.

“Since we never experienced college life until now, I decided it’s time for us to go to our first fraternity party.”

“Speak for yourself. I’ve been to plenty.” Monica said while laughing.

“We know you have, but for us inexperienced gals, this will be a great way to get to know some people since we are pledging a sorority next week.”

“Really? Wow Riana, I didn’t think you would.” Monica said.

“Someone twisted my arm.” Riana said while looking at Cheryl.

“Anyway, a friend of mines mentioned some girls will be here from GZG, so that’s the real reason I’m going.”

“Who’s hosting the party anyway?” Monica asked while Cheryl parallel parked by the street’s curb.

“Some guys from Omega Si.”

“Hmm, Omega men.” Monica said while smiling.

“Are you trying to patch things up with Donnell?” Riana asked.

“I’m just kidding. Yes I am and trust me, it’s not easy.”

As the girls went towards the huge crowd outside the fraternity house, Riana looked over and noticed someone staring at her. She quickly turned away, hoping the guy wasn’t looking at her anymore. Cheryl noticed the interaction and nodded her head in approval.

“He’s cute.” she said.

“Not interested.” Riana said as she went inside.

As soon as they stepped in, they were almost bombarded by the strong smell of liquor and sweaty bodies dancing everywhere. Riana wiggled her nose in disgust as a guy came by and offered her a drink from a beer bong.

“Are you serious?” she asked him as the guy shrugged his shoulders and walked off.

“This is crazy. I have never seen a party like this.” Monica said as she walked in.

“That’s saying a lot.” Cheryl said.

Monica smiled as she playfully punched Cheryl on the shoulder.

“I’m not feeling this y’all. I think I’m going to go.”

“Not so fast.” Cheryl said and pulled Riana back to the front entrance. “We just got here. Besides, you have to watch the fraternity and sorority steppers do their thing.”

“I really don’t care. In fact, I’ll just walk back to the dorms.”

Cheryl and Monica rolled their eyes and sighed.

“Fine, but let me at least drive you back. It’s dark out.” Cheryl said.

“No, I’m okay. I need the fresh air.”

“Alright, but let us walk you out.”

Riana nodded and the three went out. When they did, Riana noticed the same guy she seen earlier near the door. He looked at Riana and smiled.

“Leaving so soon? The party hasn’t even started yet.”

“I think it’s already going strong.” Riana said as she looked back at the wild scene.

“Please, that’s a warm up to our parties. Especially the ones I plan.”

“Oh, so you’re the mastermind to this fantastic party.” Riana said in annoyance.

Cheryl and Monica looked at the two and slowly started to walk away.

Before Riana could say anything else, she turned and saw the two walking over to some girls they knew from school. Riana shook her head in disbelief and turned to look at him.

“I see your friends rather stay at the party.”

“They can. They were the ones who wanted to come anyway.”

“So you’re not a party girl. You’re more of an intellectual chick, right?”

“I don’t think I need you to analyze me.”

“I’m just calling them like I see them.”

Riana looked at the guy and rolled her eyes. He would be cute if he wasn’t so annoying. His complexion was a little lighter than hers and she noticed his curly black hair was cut into a short fade. But she couldn’t stop noticing his light brown eyes. Riana must have been staring a little longer than expected, because the guy gave her an enticing smile.

“So you like what you see, because you’ve been staring for awhile.”

Riana snapped back into reality and sighed.

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

“Can we at least get to first name status? I’m Terrance and welcome to one of the many parties I host for Omega Si.” He said as he extended his hand out to Riana.

Riana looked at his hand and carefully placed hers with his.

“Riana, and nice to meet you. So you’re a frat boy?”

“I’m actually the president.”

“Oh, so this is how you plan a party? Turn your brothers loose to an all-out orgy?”

“No, but it does bring in a lot of people. You want to go outside and talk? It’s pretty loud in here.”

Riana looked at Terrance and smiled.

“Sure.”

Terrance smiled and took Riana’s hand and the two went out to the porch.

Monica and Cheryl looked at the scene and gave impressive looks to each other.

“Who knew she had it in her.” Cheryl said.

Monica laughed as she started to dance to the song that the DJ was playing nearby.

***
“So how long have you been going to Shaw?” Terrance asked as him and Riana walked to the patio, which was in a quieter area by the pool. Although several people were outside admiring the beautiful night, there were fewer people out compared to the mob inside.

“I’m a junior majoring in Journalism.” Riana said and sat down by the pool.

“Cool. That’s my major too. Which area?”

“I haven’t decided. Either print of broadcast. What about you?”

“Definitely broadcast. I’m destined for television.”

“Oh really. Says who?”

Terrance laughed at the remark.

“Since I was little. I always wanted to be the center of attention and entertain, so I figure what’s better than television.”

“Why not become an actor?”

“Too overrated. I wanted to do something that will stimulate my mind.”

Riana smiled at the comment.

“Good reply. So what should I know about you?”

“What do you want to know?”

Riana looked at Terrance and smiled.

***
Monica and Cheryl were having a great time at the party. Not only did Cheryl do some networking for potential sororities, but she also caught up with people that she had past classes with. As Monica was talking to someone she met in class, Cheryl went over to the drinks table to grab a soda. She looked over and noticed Shawn walking in hand in hand with a beautiful woman. As the two went over to the DJ’s booth, he started to nibble on the girl’s ear while she giggled. Cheryl almost dropped her soda as she watched the scene unfold.

“Oh my God.” she said in a slow voice.

Monica walked over to the table and looked at Cheryl.

“What’s your problem?”

Instead of speaking, Cheryl pointed to the surprising couple in front of her. Before Monica could carefully react, she let out a scream.

“Oh shit!”

Several people nearby turned to stare at the two.

“We’ve got to find Riana.” Cheryl said as she took Monica’s hand and sprinted across the floor. When they did, they almost bump into Shawn and the girl.

“Cheryl. Monica, what are you two doing here?” he asked. He started to look around the room to see if Riana was around as well.

“Hey, Shawn. How are you?” Monica asked.

“I’m good. Each day gets better.”

The girl looked at the scene and cleared her throat.

“Oh sorry. Uh girls, this is Dominique, my girlfriend.”

Monica and Cheryl’s eyes popped open as they looked at the girl from head to toe. She was not Riana, that was for sure, but even in bad lighting, she was definitely stunning.

“And who might you two be?” Dominique asked when looking at Cheryl.

“Cheryl and this is Monica. We’re old friends of Shawn’s.”

“Can you simplify ‘old friends’ for me please?” Dominique asked in a serious tone.

Shawn looked at Dominique as if she had lost her mind.

“If you mean we all dated, then no we haven’t.” Cheryl said in a snotty tone.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then how did you mean it?” she asked.

Shawn jumped in front of the two.

“Okay you two, that’s not going down in here.”

“I’ll be right back. I see some friends I want to say hi to. Nice to meet you two.” she said and walked over to the drinks table.

“What the hell was that?” Shawn asked Cheryl.

“What the hell was your girlfriend’s problem? She’s needs to get her attitude in check.”

“Never mind her. We need to tell you something now.” Monica said.

“What?”

“Riana is here Shawn, so I suggest you take your girlfriend and go somewhere so she won’t see either one of you.”

“Why should I do that? We broke up almost four months ago. I’m not going to hide because she is still hung up over what happened. It’s her fault for what happened.”

“Shawn, we all know what happened, but evidentially you’ve moved on. Some people haven’t.”

“And I’m supposed to oblige to your demands? Sorry girls, but Riana needs to get over it.” he said and went over to Dominique.

Cheryl and Monica sighed and went to the door. Before they could go outside, Riana and Terrance were walking back in. Cheryl went to the door to block the two from coming in.

“What are you doing?” Riana asked.

“Trust me, you do not want to go in.” Monica said.

“Why not? Is there something I need to know?” Terrance asked.

“Sorry, but it doesn’t concern you.”

“Well, since this is my frat house, it does concern me.”

“Cheryl, move out the way please.” Riana said as she tried to push through her cousin.

“Ri, just trust us. There’s someone here who I don’t think you want to see.”

Riana expression changed from anxious to sad.

“Thanks for being my girls, but I don’t need your protection.”

Riana pushed past Cheryl and saw the scene she been dreading to see for months. There was her ex dancing with the one person she never thought she would see again. The two seemed so happy and intimate; it was if they were the only two in the room. Riana watched as Shawn pulled her close and started to dance on her in a seductive trance. The girl slid her hand up Shawn’s chest and moved her lips onto his. The two kissed each other passionately while several onlookers watched the scene.

Riana suddenly felt sick as she look at Shawn move on with someone else.

Cheryl and Monica looked at Riana with sympathetic glances. Terrance looked at the three wondering what was going on.

“He actually moved on.” she said softly.

“We’re sorry Ri. We just found out a second ago. That’s why we were trying to stop you.”

“It didn’t work.” she said as she pushed past Cheryl and went in.

“What is she doing?” Monica asked as she watched Riana go towards Shawn and Dominique.

“What is going on? And should I get reinforcement?” Terrance asked.

“Long story short, that’s Riana’s ex with someone new.” Cheryl said.

Riana went over to Shawn and smiled.

“Hi Shawn.”

Shawn looked at Riana in a daze. Even though she treated him wrong, she still looked beautiful. She was wearing his favorite outfit, which was a dark purple tunic with black skinny jeans that showed off every curve on her body. There were so many times when he would pleasure her entire body, but now, just the thought of his brother putting his lips or tongue anywhere near her made him become upset again.

“What you want Riana?”

“I just noticed you were here and I just wanted to say hi.”

“I don’t want to talk to you Riana. Besides, I’m here with my girl. I’m pretty sure you noticed since I saw you at the door a second ago.”

Riana folded her arms across her chest.

“So the little performance you gave was staged?”

“No, it was real. As you can see, I’ve moved on, so why don’t you. Or have you, with my brother?”

Shawn knew that was a low blow, but he didn’t know what else to say. He still cannot get over the fact that both Riana and Marcus hurt him in the worst possible way.

Riana looked at Shawn with tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe Shawn would say that to her. Especially since he moved on.

Dominique walked over to Shawn and put an arm around him.

“Nice seeing you again, Riana.” she said while giving a smug smile.

Riana gave her a heated glance as Dominique gave Shawn a kiss. He held onto her as she slipped her tongue in his mouth.

Riana couldn’t contain her emotions any more. As tears started to flow down her face, she quickly turned around and went to the door, almost bumping into people along the way. Shawn pulled away from Dominique. He wanted to go after her and tell her he was sorry. He wanted to grab her in his arms and take all the pain she had away. But he knew he couldn’t do that. Because even though he wanted to be with her, he couldn’t get over the image in his head of her and his brother having sex at her birthday party. Dominique looked at Shawn and sighed.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing; let’s just enjoy our night.” he said almost in a whisper.

I wish I never met Riana.

***
Riana ran out of the Omega Si’s house in complete humiliation. She couldn’t believe the things Shawn was saying to her. At one point, the two were happy and in love, now, Shawn could barely look at her. She stopped by a bench nearby and slid down on the ground. She continued to cry hysterically, wondering when the pain will stop.

“I can’t keep doing this to myself.” she said to herself.

“Then why are you?”

She turned around and saw Terrance standing behind her. He kneeled down to face her. As she looked at him, he took his hand and slowly wiped a tear that was falling on her cheek.

“I don’t know what the deal with your ex is, but I do know that he had no right to say that to you.”

“You heard everything?”

“I think everyone did. I think the music stopped long enough for everyone to hear.”

“Where are my cousin and friend?”

“Monica and Cheryl, right? They’re at Cheryl’s car. I wanted to come out and talk to you, if that’s okay.”

Riana smiled as she sat on the bench. Terrance sat down beside her and looked at the night sky.

“Do you ever wonder how life would be if there was no drama?”

“A lot easier,” Riana said.

“Yeah, but in the case of love, I think it would be artificial. I mean, being in love is a wonderful thing, but when you go through something drastic, you don’t want to experience it again because you don’t want to go through the heartache that’s associated with it. How long you and your ex spilt up?”

“Almost four months.”

“Wow. So you’re the one still pining over him while he’s banging someone else.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Really? From my point of view, it looks like your ex is over you. If he wanted things to work, don’t you think he would have?”

“It’s not that simple. He has every right to be upset with me. I’m the one who cheated.”

Terrance looked taken back by Riana’s statement.

“Really?”

“Yeah. I cheated on him with his brother.”

“Wow. Okay, I see why he’s angry. But it still doesn’t give him the right to bash you like that, especially with his new girl standing there. If I was you, I would say forget it. Just put everything behind you and go on. He’s not worth being upset and sad over.”

“Even if I feel guilty about it?”

“We’re human, so we’re bound to make mistakes every once in awhile. Take me for instance. I remember a time when I was dating this girl. She was everything I wanted in a girlfriend; beautiful, smart, would beat you in a mean game of pool. But there was something missing in her that I couldn’t quite figure out. Then there was this girl from my class in which I had a huge crush on. She was nothing like my girlfriend, which I believe that was the reason why I pursue the other girl. Within months, I basically left my girl for my crush.”

“Did it last?”

“For a couple of months, until she cheated on me with someone else. What I’m trying to say is that stuff happens in life that makes you think. It gives you the strength to learn from it and overcome it to progress into the person you are. So don’t be upset or embarrassed about what you did. It what you take from the lesson that will help you become the person you want to be.”

Riana smiled at what Terrance just said. Everything he was saying made sense. In order to completely understand a situation, you have to go through several experiences to realize what’s there in front of you.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For helping me realize that it’s okay not to be perfect.”

“Well, I only known you for a few hours, but I have to say, you’re pretty nice. And with that, I would like to know if you like to go out with me sometimes. It doesn’t have to be a date; it could be two friends hanging out.”

“I would like that.”

Terrance smiled and pulled out his cell phone. While the two were exchanging numbers, Monica and Cheryl was in Cheryl’s car watching the whole scene.

“It had to take a man to tell her what we’ve been telling her for months.” Cheryl said.

“It’s all about the words of a stranger. Maybe she needed to talk to someone beside her friends.” Monica insisted.

“Well I’m glad Ri is moving on. I guess seeing Shawn with someone made her see things differently.”

“Maybe, but it could be the fact that she’s tired of hurting. I think we’ve all been through that.”

“Well, since that is done, I have to go over to Britney’s. She’s having a big apartment warming party and she would die if I’m not there. Did you want to come?” Monica asked.

“And have her lash out at me as if I’m Riana? No thanks.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Britney doesn’t want anything to do with me because I’m Riana’s cousin. She thinks I have more to do with the cheating than Riana do.”

“Come on Cher, Britney is just angry right now and she will lash out at any one that is listening. I think it would be good to have someone there I know.”

“I can’t do that to my cuz. Besides, where’s Donnell tonight?”

“Working late. We’re not seeing much of each other since we’re working things out.”

“What was the real issue between you two? Was it mostly the fact that you don’t want to be in a committed relationship?”

“And why would I have the problem?”

“I don’t know, let’s see. You cheated on Donnell with some random guy at a club; then when you moved in with him, you felt he was being too clingy. Now if I didn’t know any better, that’s someone who doesn’t want to commit.”

“You don’t know anything about my situation, so you need to stay out of it.”

“I’m only saying, with all your flaws, you have a man who would walk in fire for you. If you say you really love him, don’t you think you need to give him that same feeling?”

Monica gave Cheryl an annoyed look, which only made Cheryl smile in response.

“I’m right, am I?”

“You don’t know anything Cheryl. I don’t want to talk anymore.” Monica said as she looked out the window. Cheryl sighed and turned on the radio to overpower the silence.

You’re wrong Cheryl. I do love Donnell and I would do anything to be with him.