JJ walked downstairs to the living room where she found her mom watching TV. She was still a little shaken up from the dream she had.
JJ sat down on the couch and tucked her feet under her.
“What are you watching?” she asked.
“I don’t really know.”
They sat in silence, JJ not really wanting to speak, Nikki hoping she would talk to her.
“Have you heard from your father?” Nikki asked sneaking a glance her.
“Yeah,” JJ sighed. “He said he was going to pick me up this weekend.”
“I’m not holding my breath,” JJ said.
Nikki wasn’t holding her breath either but she wasn’t going to say that out loud.
“You never know. Be positive,” she finally said.
JJ shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes. She would love to believe that her dad would actually keep his word, but she didn’t want to get her hopes up. That only lead to her locking herself in her room to cry. Uncontrollably.
It was best to not put so much thought into it. That way when he didn’t come through it wouldn’t hurt so much.
That was the theory anyway.
“I’m about to go make something to eat.”
JJ got up from the couch and walked out of the living room and into the kitchen. She quickly made herself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the table to eat.
She felt so foolish for being shook up by her dream. She was almost an adult and it was a topic that she should have gotten over, but the clear image of her dad’s back as he walked away while she begged for him to stay and love her, played through her head.
It left her with an eerie feeling.
Rain stepped out of the shower and wrapped her towel around her body. Her mom and stepdad were both working so she had invited Mark over. She kept telling herself to just get it over with. It couldn’t be that big of a deal. People had sex everyday. She didn’t know what she was being so hesitant for.
She dried herself off and headed up to her room to lotion up and changed. Once she was done she took a deep breath and sat around waiting for Mark to show up. She was starting to get very nervous. Her heart was racing and she had to sit down and try to take a deep breath. Her hands were sweating and she was sure she was going to have to take another shower before he got there.
When Mark knocked on the door, she nearly jumped out of her skin. She got up and opened the door.
“Hey,” she breathed out.
“Hey,” he said walking into the house.
Rain closed the door behind him and walked into the living room. They settled onto the couch and Mark grabbed the remote control.
“Do you want something to drink?” she asked.
“Nah. I’m good.”
She didn’t know what should happen next. Should she tell him why she had invited him over? Should she wait for him to make a move? Should she make a move?
It wasn’t something that she wanted to do. She wasn’t really ready to have sex but he continued to act as if he would break up with her if she didn’t.
She didn’t want to think too much about it so she just sat back and waited to see what would happen next.
It didn’t take long for Mark to wrap his arm around Rain’s shoulder and pulled her close. He slowly started rubbing her hand up and down her arm. Mark took his other hand and tucked it under her chin lifting her head so that he could kiss her. The kiss started out slow but then escalated to a more passionate kiss. He moved his hand down and under her shirt and fondled her breast through her bra.
The kiss felt good. Even his hand on her breast felt nice, but her brain clicked in and Rain suddenly felt like things were escalating too quickly but she couldn’t bring herself to stop it. When Mark felt that he was being given the green light, he broke the kiss apart.
“Let’s go upstairs,” he said.
Rain stood up and reached for his hand. He took it and she led him upstairs to her room. She closed there bedroom door and Mark sat down on the bed and kicked off his shoes. Rain walked over to the bed and sat down next to him. They started kissing again and Mark laid her back onto the bed. He put his hand back up her shirt. She put her hands around his neck and pretended that she was in to it but she just couldn’t shut off her brain.
When Mark removed his hand from under her shirt and started to slide it up the skirt she was wearing she couldn’t take it anymore. Her brain was screaming at her to stop and she couldn’t ignore it any longer.
Rain grabbed his hand and stopped him. Mark broke the kiss and looked down at her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I can’t do this,” she said.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m not ready,” she said sitting up.
Mark sucked his teeth and shook his head.
“I thought you wanted this?”
“No. You want this. I’m not ready.”
“Grow up. It’s just sex,” he said.
“Don’t tell me to grow up. I’m not ready.”
“I’m out.” Mark started putting his shoes back on.
“You don’t have to leave. We can still watch TV.”
“Nah. I got other stuff I can be doing.”
“What other stuff?” she asked.
“Don’t worry about it.”
Mark opened the door and walked out. Rain followed him and asked him again to stay but he was determined to leave. She plopped down on the couch upset with him and with herself. She didn’t understand why she just couldn’t go through with it. She knew he would leave if he didn’t get what he wanted but try as she might she just couldn’t do it and now she was afraid that he had left to meet up with another girl.
She was also afraid that she probably lost him for good.
The day that Natalie had been dreading had finally arrived. It was the day that she had to get up, get dressed, plaster on a fake smile and go see her father. Her stomach was churning and she was sure that she was going to sweat through her shirt.
It was near the end of the summer and it was a hot day. Natalie stepped outside wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top. She walked over to the car and opened the door. She was about to climb in but her mom stopped her.
“Why? It’s hot out.”
“Because they are not going to let you in dressed like that. Cover your legs, arms and chest.”
“Maybe I just shouldn’t go.”
“Go change,” Maria repeated.
Natalie huffed, rolled her eyes and turned to go back into the house. She changed into a pair of jeans and a old long sleeved shirt. She just knew she was going to die of over heating.
Natalie got into the car and cranked up the A/C. If she was going to have to dress in warm clothes than she was at least going to stay cool in the car. She remained silent the entire ride to the prison her dad called home. It took about an hour to get to their destination.
Maria parked the car and Natalie reluctantly climbed out. She hated everything about the process to get inside to see her dad. Everything was too much and she didn’t like feeling like a criminal. She was a free girl but they made her feel like she was in prison.
They finally settled down at a table to wait for her dad to come down for their visit. Maria excused herself to go to the vending machines. She bought several things and brought them back to the table.
“What is this for?” Natalie asked.
“So your father has something to eat. You can eat some too but wait until he comes down so he can get first pick.”
Natalie crossed her arms and rocked her legs. She was getting really nervous.
“Can you at least act like you are happy to be here?” Maria asked.
“But I’m not,” Natalie said.
She looked around and observed everything going on around her. There were people sitting at other tables waiting for their visits. Some were sitting across from prisons. Several guards were stationed around the visiting room. She didn’t like it. She didn’t want to be there.
“Pretend then. This may be the only time that he gets to see you and it shouldn’t be ruined because you have an attitude.”
Natalie plastered a fake smile on her face but it faltered when a door opened and her father emerged dressed in his prison uniform. He walked to their table and Maria stood up and embraced him. They looked like two young lovers. When they separated Fernando turned to look at her. Natalie didn’t know what to do. If she were being honest with herself, she did miss him. He was was her father after all.
“Can I have a hug?” he asked.
Natalie slowly stood up and Fernando took her in his arms. It felt good to be held by her father but then an image of him hitting her mother flashed through her mind and she pulled away.
They all sat down and Fernando stared at her for a minute.
“What?” Natalie asked after it began to feel uncomfortable.
“I can’t believe how big you’ve gotten. I mean I’ve seen pictures of you but wow. You’re really beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Natalie said. She couldn’t believe that she was blushing.
“You look a lot like your mother when she was your age. Not that she isn’t beautiful now.”
“Oh, stop it,” Maria gushed.
They fell into conversation and to Natalie’s surprise it came naturally. Her father was different than what she remembered. He was a lot gentler. She still didn’t want him to come home because she knew her life would change but she would be lying if she didn’t admit that she liked the new him.
She even contemplated returning to see him again.
Some time down the line.
Lamar was lucky that Black wasn’t expecting him to pay him back for the couple of bags that had been confiscated by the police. He was even luckier that it hadn’t been more. He knew that he wasn’t going to get off easy if all of his stash was confiscated. He had no way of paying him back and that would have ended badly. Which was why he was sitting in his room trying to figure out what he really wanted to do with his life.
Being arrested and then having to deal with Black was probably the scariest moment of his life. He couldn’t keep going on like this. As much as he was tempted by the allure of making easy money, he was not tempted by the idea that he could lose his life at any minute or end up in jail.
Lamar pulled up the internet and searched for lists of jobs. Maybe looking at the number of careers that were out there something would spark an interest in him. Changes needed to be made and his mom may have been right after all. He still wasn’t set on returning to school but if something sparked a fire inside of him, then he was going to do what it took to get to that point.
He looked at countless careers from a to z and nothing, absolutely nothing sparked his interest. Lamar couldn’t believe that out of thousands of jobs that he couldn’t find one that he wanted to do. It was unbelievable. There had to be something that he wanted to do with his life. DJ had his music, Niice had the streets, even the girls had goals with their dance and he was almost certain that one of them wanted to be a teacher or something.
Why was he such a loser?
Why did his life suck?
What was he going to do with the rest of his life?
He did not want to live the rest of his life in his mother’s house. He did not want to be known as that guy. He wanted more out of life and now he was feeling like it wasn’t going to happen.
Lamar left his room and went to the living room to watch some TV. His mom walked in and sat down beside him. He had given her a little bit of money so now she was taking it easy on him.
“What you been doing?”
“About what I am going to do with myself,” he admitted.
“I thought the streets was what you wanted to do with yourself.”
“I’m starting to second think that.”
“What happened?” Tammy asked turning to look at him.
“I just don’t think I want to do it anymore,” he said. She didn’t know about him getting arrested and he sure as hell wasn’t going to tell her about it.
“So what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know. I was just looking at a bunch a career ideas but nothing popped out at me.”
Tammy remained silent for a minute.
“Do you want to know what I think?” she finally asked.
“Sure,” he said. It was best to let her say what she wanted to say. It would make the conversation end quickly.
“I think that whatever you decide to do, other than being in the streets, is going to require at least a high school education. Now before you say anything, I know that you are against school and everything that it represents, but it’s the best opportunity that you have to make something of yourself. Looking at a bunch of careers is not going to make figuring out who you are in this world any easier. You have to go out there and live it. Hiding in the hood because you live in it is not the way to go. Go to school, get a real job, possibly go to college. Experience what this life has to offer you and I can assure you that it is more than just the hood.”
Tammy got up and walked out of the living room. Lamar sat there and thought about what she said. Her words hit him hard and he had a lot more thinking to do.
Niice sat across from Black with pure envy in his eyes. Black had brought him along while he conducted some business. Niice was his right hand man and he wanted him along for the ride but all it was doing was fueling Niice’s desire to start his own operation.
One of the guys had decided that it would be a good idea to give away his product on credit. Now two months had passed and the guy hadn’t paid back a dime. Black got up early, picked up Niice, the sloppy dealer (Peanut) and now they were all sitting in the customer’s living room. Niice sat next to the guy with his gun resting on his lap. Black sat in the same manner but across from them and with Peanut to his left.
Black raised his gun and aimed it at Peanut’s head. “You’re gonna make me splatter Peanut’s brain all over your living room if you don’t give me my money.”
Black had decided that if he killed the customer he would never get his money. It was best to kill Peanut as a way to set an example. The level of fear he had stirred up in the two men had Niice salivating.
“How much he owe?” Black asked Peanut.
“$250,” Peanut stammered.
“$250. Two hundred and fucking fifty dollars,” Black said waving his gun around. “Now you don’t want little Peanut to die over $250, do you?”
Up until that moment the guy had been claiming that he had no money to give them. that didn’t satisfy Black and he was determined to remain there until he either got his money or someone ended up dead on the floor. Niice just wanted the guy to pay up. Peanut wasn’t a bad guy and he didn’t want him to end up dead. Niice wasn’t afraid to use a gun but he didn’t relish in the idea of killing anyone and he certainly didn’t want to watch anyone’s brains get blown out.
“I’m going to count to ten and if you don’t have my money, I’m going to shoot Peanut in the head and then I’m going to shoot you in the leg. One.” With each number that Black counted the man beside Niice shook with fear. “Two… Three… Four… Five… Six… Seven… Eight… Nine…” Black aimed the gun back at Peanuts head.
“Okay! Okay!” The man shouted throwing his hands up. “I gotta get it from my room.”
Black signaled for Niice to follow him back to his room. The man grabbed his jacket and then pulled out his wallet. He counted off the money and shoved it into Niice’s hands.
They walked back into the living room and Niice handed the money to Black. Black counted the money an then pocketed it.
“Next time don’t give my shit away for free,” he said to Peanut. He hit Peanut in the face with the butt of his gun and got up from the couch. Blood gushed from Peanut’s nose and he held it in agony. “Walk your ass back and don’t take all day.”
Black walked out of the house and Niice followed behind him. They climbed into his large black truck and drove away. Black was speaking to him about something but Niice wasn’t paying attention. He was thinking of how he could’ve handled that situation so differently. He was bound to scare Peanut away completely. not to mention the fact that the guy could always contact the police.
Niice didn’t know what was going to happen next, he just knew that he didn’t really care for what he had witnessed and he wanted to be on his own.
Haimi sat on the table in the patient room nervously swinging her legs. She was dressed in the traditional hospital gown and she sat wringing her hands together. She was nervous. Really nervous.
Again, she knew that she was pregnant but now it was about to be confirmed and that scared her. Once the doctor told her how far along she was it would set everything else into motion.
There was a knock at the door and Haimi looked up towards it quickly.
The door opened slightly and a tall blonde woman entered wearing a white lab coat over her clothes.
“Haimi Putnam?” she asked.
“Hi, I’m Doctor Taylor Cole.” She put the clipboard she was carrying down on the counter and grabbed the ultrasound machine that was in the room. “So we’re doing an ultrasound to see how far along you are.”
“Yes,” Haimi said meekly.
“Okay. Lie back.”
Doctor Cole grabbed a sheet and draped it over Haimi’s lower half. She instructed her to scoot her butt down to the bottom of the table.
“This ultrasound in an internal one. I’m assuming you’re still pretty early on in the pregnancy so this will be the best way to determine a possible due date.”
Haimi put her feet up in the stirups and took a deep breath. Doctor Cole turned on the machine and positioned herself on a small stool in between Haimi’s legs.
“This is going to feel a little uncomfortable,” she said before applying a condom to the rod like tool and adding lubricant.
She slowly inserted the rod and Haimi held her breath.
“Breath Haimi,” Doctor Taylor instructed.
Haimi let the breath out.
“There’s your baby.” Dr. Taylor said after a while.
Haimi turned to the screen and looked at the barely visible image that Doctor Taylor pointed at on the screen.
“Based on the measurements, it looks like you’re about four weeks along.”
Doctor Taylor pushed a couple of buttons on the machine and removed the rod from her cervix.
“I’m going to write you a prescription for some prenatal vitamins but you should be sure to make an appointment to see your primary physician. How is everything else? Any nausea?”
“Yeah. I can barely keep anything down,” Haimi said sitting up.
“Okay. I’ll write you a prescription for some nausea medicine. Give it about a week or two to see if they work, if not speak with your doctor to get a prescription for a different one. I’m going to give you some pamphlets to look over so that you can go over your options. If you need to discuss them further you can speak with your doctor or come back here. Do you have any questions for me?”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you,” Haimi said.
“Okay. You can go ahead and get dressed. Everything will be waiting for you at the front desk.” Doctor Cole opened the door to leave. “Congratulations.” She closed the door behind her.
Haimi sat there for a minute before climbing down to put her clothes back on. She used the towel that was provided to wipe between her legs. She left the room and headed to the front. There she collected everything the doctor had stated would be there including her ultrasound photos.
She sat in her car and stared at the photo of her baby. It looked like a dot and if she hadn’t known where to look she would have missed it. She took out her phone and sent a text to David to find out where he was. When she got the message that he was at home, she started the car and drove there. She had to show him the picture so that he would believe that she was pregnant.
“I know I messed up, but he listened to the songs and he wants to talk to you.”
“If he wants to talk to me, call him. I’m not going all the way over there just to be embarrassed again.”
Man-Man sucked his teeth and took out his phone. He pushed a button and put the phone to his ear.
“I’m out. Fill me in?”
JJ got up from the bed and walked out of the room. Man-Man handed the phone to DJ.
“Yo, this Trey, Marcus cousin.”
” I listened to those songs and you got some talent. I want you to come down to the studio so we can talk some business. I’m at the studio till ten. Come through.”
“Okay. I’ll see you then.”
DJ disconnected the call and handed the phone to Man-Man.
“See? I told you. What did he say?”
“He wants me to come down to the studio.”
“Well, let’s go.”
“Give me a minute.”
“Aight I’ll be downstairs. I’m not sitting around a guy’s room.”
Man-Man left the room and DJ turned back to his computer. He saved all of the work that he had been doing. He couldn’t believe that he was getting a second chance. This may actually be something that was going to work out.
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