LLH: Book 3 Chapter 12

Later that day: And the girls decided to spend some time together. They all met up at Britney’s and pigged out on pepperoni pizza, chili cheese fries, and jalapeño poppers. Cheryl glanced at the pizza and gave a tiny smile as she remembered the time she spent with Marcus earlier.

“What are you smiling about?” Riana asked.

“Nothing, just something that happened today.”

“You mind sharing?” Britney asked while grabbing a slice of pizza.

“I spent some time with Marcus.”

Monica dropped her pizza on her plate, while Riana and Britney each raised their eyebrow.

“What?” Britney asked.

“It’s not what you all think. Chris has been talking to him since the incident and he asked me to go by his place to check on him. He’s in a really bad place, so I’ll do what I can to help him.”

Riana stared at her cousin, not sure what to say. “You sure you want to do that?”

“Okay, so it may seemed kind of déjà vu, but I don’t see what the big issue is.”

“It’s not one, but just be careful, Cher.” Riana said.

“Don’t worry cuz, nothing will happen. I can control my hormones.”

She rolled her eyes while Cheryl smiled.

“Besides, I’ve been where he is right now, so I think it will be good for him to have someone in his corner.”

“Hopefully you can convince him to talk to Shawn. I know things are still crazy between them too, but someone needs to get the ball rolling for them to talk again.” Riana said.

“I agree and I’ll try if I can.” Cheryl replied. She realized what Riana said and stared at her.

“Wait, how are you to say about Shawn and Marcus talking when you’re not even speaking to Shawn.”

“That is where you’re wrong, dear cousin. We kind of reconcile today.”

“Wait, back up? Seriously!” Monica exclaimed.

“Yeah. It led to a kiss at the lounge and then an afternoon of hot, sweaty make-up sex.”

“I’m still on the part that you two are even speaking again. I think it’s great, Ri.” Cheryl said.

“I agree. Finally, you two are back together. Just don’t fuck it up again.” Britney added.

“That won’t happen. I love him too much for that.”

The girls smiled at Riana’s happiness.

“I knew something was up; you’re glowing too much. He must had really put it on you good.” Monica said.

“It’s not just that; I just missed being around him. The way he makes me laugh and smile. I can’t see myself without him.”

“Aww.” The girls said.

“There is one thing though. What about Dominique?” Britney asked.

“And Terrance?” Cheryl added.

“Terrance wasn’t really a factor; as for Dominique, that’s another issue.”

“What do you mean?”

“Shawn and I agreed not to go public yet, not until the pledging period is over.”

“Why?” Monica asked.

“Because I need to know if GZG doesn’t haze their pledgees.”

“Ri, I was just making a suggestion about that; I wasn’t being serious.” Cheryl said.

“I know, but in order for me to really know, I have to continue in the pledging process. Now that I received an invite, I can.”

“You are really serious about this?”

“Yeah, I am. Even though Shawn tried to talk me out of it, I convinced him otherwise.”

“I bet.” Cheryl said with a smile.

“Anyway, I asked him to continue dating Dominique until it’s over.”

“Are you crazy?” Monica asked.

“No, just thinking logically. If Shawn breaks up with her, she will definitely come after both Cheryl and me and possibly even Shawn. I can’t risk that.”

“So what will happen after the pledge period is over and he breaks up with her? That can happen then too.” Britney said.

“I know; hopefully we can think up another solution.”

“Hopefully you can think logically about this, because it might backfire on you.” Monica said.

“Believe me, I am.”

Monica looked at Britney, who had an unsure look on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m sleeping with my teacher.”

The three looked at Britney with shock glances.

“What?” Monica asked.

“Technically, he’s the TA, but he’s still part of the staff. He’s taking over for Professor Graves.”

“Oh, Mr. Parker. Damn girl, he’s fine as hell.” Monica said.

“I know.” Britney agreed and smiled. “We had something going on before I knew he was going to teach the class. I tried to end it, but I really like him.”

“I don’t know Britney, I think you should. You know about campus policy.” Riana said.

“I know, and trust me, I’m not trying to get kicked out of school, but what if I can continue with my studies and still be with Jackie? We can keep things under wraps.”

“Yeah, but for how long? Eventually, someone is going to slip up.” Cheryl said.

Britney glanced at everyone and sighed. “I really hope not.”

***
The next day and Cheryl was ready to show Marcus her surprise, but she had to do it quick since the sisters of GZG texted her, informing her she had to be at the lounge in an hour for her first pledge assignment. Whatever it was, she wasn’t looking forward to it, but she wanted to join, so she had to do what she could to make the sisters happy.

Even if Dominique a part of it.She thought as she approached Marcus’ doorstep.

She started to become excited as she ring the doorbell. The door opened, revealing Marcus, who gave a smile.

“Hey.”

“Hi. Are you ready for my surprise?”

“I guess so. How should I be prepared for this?”

“You don’t have to do anything. Just look forward to what I’m going to show you.” She said.

Marcus grinned and locked the door behind him. She grabbed his hand and the two went to her car. After getting in, Cheryl headed to the destination. They ended up near an open field. Marcus glanced at her, not sure to think as she put the car in park.

“Where are we?” he asked.

“You’re see.” She said, giving a huge smile.

The two got out of the car and Marcus followed Cheryl. She led him to a trail which led to a huge boulder. She looked at him before speaking.

“My therapist told me the best way to release stress and aggression is by yelling it out. At first, I thought she was nuts, but it does help. She told me about this place near campus and suggested coming early that way I won’t scare off any joggers or walkers who come up here.”

“There are some people here.” Marcus said while looking around.

“Not as many compared to later. Anyway, I thought maybe you would like to test out that theory and see if it helps you.”

Marcus glanced at her and sighed.

“I don’t know…”

“It wouldn’t hurt. Trust me, you will feel better afterwards.. I know I did.”

Marcus shook his head and sighed.

“In fact, I’ll go first.” She suggested.

She looked ahead and began to scream, which made Marcus laughed.

“It’s your turn.” She said and smiled.

Marcus glanced at her and shook his head again. “Fine.”

He looked ahead and noticed the university in front of him. With everything that has happened to him, from getting with Riana, to the fights he had with Shawn, to the incident at the bar, to even the problems he faced with Dominique, he figured a yell or two couldn’t hurt.

He gave a huge roar from within, which made Cheryl take a step back and stare at him. He continued to yell, releasing all the pain and aggression she sure he had in him. She knew this probably wouldn’t help much, but at least it was a step in the right direction.

He stepped back and smiled. “Wow, that actually did help a little.”

“I told you.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. If you need to release some anger, just come up here to yell, scream, or even look at the view. As you can see, the university is right in front of us.”

“Yeah, I noticed that when we came up here.”

“I wish I could stay longer, but my first pledge assignment starts in 30 minutes, so I need to be prepared for what they have in store.”

“Sure. I really appreciate this, Cheryl.”

“No problem. In fact, I was thinking we could hang out again later? Chris is working later and the girls have plans, so I could come by, maybe share another pizza.”

“Cheryl…”

“I’m not taking no for an answer. And this time, it’ll be my treat.” She winked.

Marcus looked at her. “Sure.”

“I should drop you back off at your place.” Cheryl said.

She was about to walk when she tripped over a branch. Before she almost fell, Marcus caught her. He held her while she stared into his hazel eyes. She never knew how gorgeous they were, especially in the sunlight. A sense of nervousness went through her as his hand touched her shoulder.

“Damn branch, but I’ve always been kind of clumsy.” She whispered while continuing to stare.

“Good thing I was here then.” Marcus replied.

He let go of her and she straightened her shirt. She gave him a nervous smile before walking ahead to her car.

She realized then that Riana was right. She definitely need to be careful.

***
Monica walked out her college algebra class with all smiles. She couldn’t believe she received an A on her assignment. She definitely had to thank Chris for helping her with the assignment.

She was heading to the quad when she saw Chris walking towards her. She quickly went to him and gave him a hug. He was stunned by her reaction as he stared at her.

“What’s with the hug?”

“I had to say thank you for helping me with my assignment. I got an A!”

“Wow, congrats.”

“Thanks. I couldn’t had done it without you.”

“I’m glad I was able to help.”

“Let me take you out? As a thank you, of course.”

“You don’t have to. I was just helping a friend.”

“I know, but it’s not often that I receive an A on a math assignment.”

“Well, if you insist, how about buying me a cup of coffee. I kind of need one right now.”

“Okay. Long night?”

“Sort of. I had to work and then study for a chem. test afterwards.”

“I know that was brutal.”

“Tell me about it. I probably failed it since I was half asleep during the test.”

“Since you working and taking classes, how do you find the time to spend with Cheryl?”

“We sort of find the time. I know now that she’s going to start the pledging process, we’ll probably spend even less time with each other, but she’s really excited over this, so I won’t stand in her way. What about you and Donnell?”

“We’re still trying, but I wonder now should we even try working things out? We have been through so much and trying to see if things will work is starting to become exhausting.”

“If it’s worth fighting for, then you should continue to do it. No one said being in a relationship was easy.”

“I know, but is it worth the trouble if you’re tired of doing it?”

Chris glanced at Monica.

“That’s something you should ask yourself.”

Monica sighed. “You know, there was a time that we were kind of close.”

Chris smiled. “Yeah, I remember. I tried to talk to you, but didn’t realize you were already taken.”

“Yeah. I kind of wondered how things would have been between us. Do you?”

Chris continued to look at her. There were times when he did have thoughts about her. Even though he loves Cheryl, he wondered how things would have been if him and Monica had actually dated.

“Yeah, sometimes I do.”

She smiled. “Let’s go get you that cup of coffee.”

Chris nodded and followed her to the lounge, wondering what the hell he just do.

***
Riana walked into the lounge to start her pledge assignment. She searched around to see if Cheryl arrived when she saw Shawn sitting at a booth near the window. She gave a tiny smile, in which he returned. Before arriving there, the two spent some time going over how they will act in public. They agreed not speak to each other, especially when Dominique is present.

Her phone beeped, which she knew it was a text. She checked the message and saw it was from Shawn. It read “I love you”, which made her smile.

“No cell phones Pledge #4.”

She turned around and saw Dominique standing behind her.

“Sorry, big sister Morris.”

She smirked as she walked over to the pledge group. Cheryl ran over to Riana and gave an apologetic look.

“Where have you been?” Riana whispered.

“I’ll tell you later.”

“And where have you been Pledge #5? You supposed to had been here five minutes ago.” Dominique asked Cheryl.

“Sorry, big sister Morris. I fell behind schedule.”

“That’s not acceptable. Sing the alphabet while doing jumping jacks. And if you mess up, you will have to start over.”

Cheryl looked at Dominique as if she lost her mind.

“You heard me. Would you rather do that, or get on the floor and bark like a dog?”

Several people near the group began to snicker. Cheryl was about to say something when Riana gave her a look that read “don’t do it”. Instead, she gave a forced smile, went to the center of the lounge and began to do what Dominique asked. The sisters and her began to laugh, which made Riana irritated. She glanced over at Shawn who shook his head with disgust.

“Now, while Pledge #5 does her punishment, why do we get down to the assignment, which I believe will be a lot of fun, if I do say so myself. Pledgees, since we are close with Omega Si, we would like for you all to get to know them as well; so we will be pairing you with one of their pledges to do a little experiment with.”

One of the sisters walked to the girls with two bowls of strawberries and whipped cream. Riana glanced at them, wondering what the hell was going on.

“We call this experiment, french kiss.You and the person that you will be paired with have to share a strawberry. Once you are able to do that, you have to test to see how long it will take for you and your partner to kiss. Now, first one up is Pledge #4.”

Riana sighed and walked over to the center. She quickly looked at Cheryl, who was still doing jumping jacks and reciting the alphabet.

“Now, let’s see who #4’s partner is. I know, how about the president himself. Come on, Terrance.” She announced while grinning.

Riana closed her eyes, wondering how this could be happening. She looked over at Shawn, who already had a pissed off expression.

“I know you two had been pretty cozy lately, so this assignment should be a breeze for you.”

“I bet.” Riana muttered.

Terrance smiled. “You ready to show everyone how it’s done?”

Riana gave a nervous expression. She really didn’t want Shawn to witness this, because he would definitely want to punch Terrance and their cover would be blown.

She stepped closer to him, who already had a strawberry dripped with cream in his hand. She glanced from him to Shawn when an idea popped into her head.

She began coughing, which made Dominique annoyed.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do this. I must have choked on my gum or something.” She began to cough again.

“Seriously?” Dominique inquired.

Riana covered her mouth. She glanced at Shawn from the corner of her eye, who had a huge grin on his face.

“Fine, since #5 can’t do it, let’s move on to the next pledgee.”

She winked at him before going back to the other pledges. Now, if she could get through the next assignments, then she would be home free.

LLH Book 3 Chapter 11

ELEVEN

Cheryl walked up to Marcus’ apartment, not knowing if she should. Since Chris had a class, he asked her to go by and check on him. As much as she didn’t want to, she figured besides Chris, he didn’t have anyone else, so she agreed.

She knocked on the door, waiting on him to answer. She looked around the complex when the door opened.

“Cheryl?” Marcus surprisedly asked.

“Hey. Is it okay if I come in?”

He glanced at her, not knowing what to say.

“Sure, I guess.”

She smiled and walked in. She waited until he closed the door before going further.

“This is a surprise. Let me guess, Chris asked you to come?”

“Yeah. He wanted me to check on you.”

“So you know what happened?”

“Yeah. Before you say anything, just know I’m not going to judge you.”

Marcus continued to look surprise at Cheryl’s statement.

“Thanks.”

“No problem. Believe me, I’ve been in your shoes, so I can relate.”

“Would you like anything to drink?”

“If it’s a soda or water, sure.”

“You thought I was going to offer vodka or rum?”

“Well, I heard that’s been your drink of choice lately.”

“I promise, I’m trying to lay off of that, especially since I have an arrest charge against me.”

Cheryl sat down on the couch. “Water is fine.”

He nodded and went to the kitchen. He came back with two bottles of water and handed one to Cheryl.

“Thank you.”

Marcus sat down beside her.

“You know you don’t have to check on me.”

“I want to, even though this is probably a shock to you, considering we don’t really know each other that
well.”

“Yeah, it is. Can I ask how Riana is doing?”

Cheryl gave an uncomfortable glance and took a sip of water.

“I know, I shouldn’t ask, but…”

“She’s doing fine. It took awhile for her to get through everything, but she’s focusing on school now.”

“That’s good. I never meant to hurt her or Shawn.”

“Then why did you?”

Marcus lowered his head and sighed. “I don’t know; I guess it was just my selfish ways. I’ve always kind of been like that though.”

“I’m not putting all the blame on you; Riana had her part in it too, but you two done a lot of damage on Shawn.”

“I know, and I’m regretting it every single day.”

“It shows.” Cheryl agreed.

“I know I’ve been making a lot of poor choices lately, and I’m grateful that Chris still has my back. He’s the only one I can really talk to right now.”

“You know, you probably can also talk to Shawn if you want to.”

“You know I can’t. There’s too much damage between us now.”

“You two are family; you can overcome anything if you both just try.”

“There are days when I want to, especially now since he’s with Dominique.”

“I guess Chris told you.”

“I should warn him about her. She almost destroyed me, so I know she’ll do the same to him if he pisses her off in anyway.”

“Are you saying she’s capable of doing something far worse than what she did to you?”

Marcus sighed. “Maybe.”

Cheryl stared at him. “Riana and I are interested in joining GZG and she is the president. I’ve received an invite to pledge, in which Chris doesn’t want me to do.”

“What do you want to do?”

“Joining GZG is a dream of mine. I don’t want the opportunity to slip by, but I don’t know if I should since she’s president.”

“I say do what’s best for you, but just watch your back doing it.”

Cheryl nodded. “I was thinking the same thing.”

“I was about to order a pizza. Would you like to stay and help me eat it? I would really like the company.”

She smiled. “Sure.”

Marcus smiled and picked up his phone to order. Cheryl sighed. She couldn’t imagine not being able to talk to anyone. She realized then she will try to do her part as well to help him.

***
An hour later and half of a pepperoni pizza gone, the two were on the floor watching TV. The two talked about everything from their favorite TV shows to movies. Cheryl was really enjoying her conversation with Marcus and realized that it was good she came by.

“Thank you, again. I don’t remember the last time I actually had a conversation with someone.”

“No problem. I really enjoyed it.”

“When you mentioned about relating to what I’m going through, what did you mean by that?”

Cheryl put her napkin on the coffee table and sighed.

“I was under a lot of pressure last semester. I had a full course load and working long hours to pay for school. I was tired all of the time and needed some sort of escape, so when I found out my lab partner sold drugs, I took advantage of the situation and got energy pills from him. It worked for a while and I was able to go about my day fully energized, but I got hooked on them. Later, I was doing what I could to get more pills, including using the guy who supplied them.

“At Riana’s party, I collapsed and Chris took me to the hospital. Turns out I almost had an overdose since I was abusing them. I had to cut back on my classes, quit my job and now I’m staying with my dad. I’m even going to therapy sessions, which I didn’t want to do, but they have helped me out a lot. I still have resolved issues with my family and trying to be independent, which almost took my life.”

“Wow.” Marcus said.

“That’s why I understand about using something to ease the pain, but it’s not always helpful. I had to learn the hard way and I don’t want that happening to you.”

Marcus glanced at her, knowing that she was being sincere with him. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Just know that you have someone else in your corner. If you need anything; someone to talk to, hang out with, or even share a pizza with, just give me a call.”

Marcus smiled and Cheryl placed her hand in his.

“This won’t cause a problem with Riana, will it?”

Cheryl shook her head. “Don’t worry about Ri; she has her own issues to sought out. Besides, I think she will be fine with us hanging out. With that being said, I have a surprise for you, but it won’t be until tomorrow.”

“Surprise?”

“Yeah. Just be ready at 8A.M. There’s somewhere I want to take you.”

Marcus smiled and Cheryl got up from the floor.

“Did you need help cleaning up?”

“No, I got it; but thanks again Cheryl.”

She smiled and picked up her purse.

“I have to go. I told the girls I’ll meet up with them. But remember, 8A.M.”

“Sure.”

She smiled again and went to the door. She closed it and looked to the sky. In just the short time she’d spent with him, she can see why Riana fell for him.

Hopefully, she doesn’t do the same thing.

***
Monica stared at her college algebra assignment in frustration. She couldn’t believe she was taking this course, but since she couldn’t find any other math class to take, she signed up for it.

Now I’m regretting it. She thought as she threw her pencil on the table.

She looked around the lounge, thinking if she should call Donnell, but figured he was probably getting ready for work. She’s trying really hard to keep their relationship going, but with him working nonstop and her schedule, she don’t know if it’s even possible.

“Hey.”

Monica looked up and saw Chris in front of her. “Hey. How are you?”

“I’m good. You seemed kind of out of it though. What’s wrong?” he asked while sitting down.

“It’s just this assignment for college algebra. I feel like throwing it out the lounge’s window.”

“It’s that bad?”

“For me, yeah, since math is not my best subject.”

“Let me take a look.” He said.

“Feel free.” She said and handed him the assignment.

He looked at it and smiled. “This is pretty easy. I can help you with it, if you have time right now.”

Monica’s eyes lit up. “Of course. Thanks, Chris.”

He smiled. “No problem.”

Chris moved a little closer to her and began to show her how to work one of the problems. Monica stared at him before working on the problem with him.

***
After the two reconciled their relationship, Riana and Shawn went to her room where they continued their make-up session. The two enjoyed each other, taking their time with each other, enjoying the feeling they were experiencing with each other. Now, they were in Riana’s bed as Shawn kissed the back of her neck.

She smiled, still not believing this was happening between them.

“I missed this so much.” She softly said.

“I missed this too. I missed everything about you. Your touch, your scent, your lips; both pairs.” Shawn whispered.

She could feel him grinning against her as she turned around.

“Is that the only thing you missed about me?”

“Of course not. I missed all of you, baby. I thought I proved that several times earlier.”

Riana blushed. “Which I enjoyed.”

“That you did.” He said and kissed her.

“There is something I want to ask.” Riana said.

“What?”

“Did you sleep with Dominique? If you did, then I don’t care, it just…”

“We never slept together.” Shawn interrupted.

“Why not? I mean, she maybe a little devious, but she’s beautiful.”

“Because she’s not you. I couldn’t see myself being with another woman when all I could think about was you.”

A tear felled down Riana’s cheek. “Even though I did the complete opposite when I slept with Marcus.”

Shawn sighed. “Baby, what happened between you and Marcus still hurts, but I love you too much to let you go. When I saw you two at the party, that what really made me believe that we couldn’t be together; but after everything we went through, I realized that in order to be with the woman I love, I had to forget about everything that happened. We both done our share of dirt during that time, so now, we can just start back with a clean slate.”

“You didn’t sleep with Britney, though.”

“No, I didn’t, but I thought about it. I was close to, so just say that we both suffered the consequences and are now back on track.”

“Can we really do that?”

“If we try hard enough, then yes, we can.”

Riana smiled. “I’m definitely willing to.”

“I knew you would.” Shawn said.

He leaned down and kissed her. She lay down on her back while Shawn got on top of her.

“Just know that I will never hurt you again. The time we’ve been apart was too much for me.” Riana said.

“You better not; I don’t know if I can go through that again.” Shawn agreed.

“Oh baby, you don’t have anything to worry about. I will definitely make it up to you.” Riana said. She pulled Shawn on his back and she straddled him.

“I’m loving this already.”

Riana smiled and bent down to kiss him.

She knew she will definitely love it too.

LLH Book 3 Chapters 7- 10

Hi everyone!! I’m in such of a good mood today that I decided to post 4 chapters! Enjoy :-)

Seven

Cheryl was looking at her reflection in the hall mirror of her father’s condo when her cell phone started to ring. She automatically knew who the person was from the ringtone. She goes to her phone and answered it.

“Hey baby.”

“Hey. I didn’t get you at a bad time, did I?”

“No, just about to grab some dinner.”

“Perfect. You mind if I tagged along?”

“Not at all.”

“Cool. If you’re at home, I can come and pick you up.”

“Sound good. I’ll be waiting.” she said and hung up.

Chris hung up his phone and sighed. After everything that was going on, he had to talk to someone about the issues surrounding Marcus, Shawn, and Dominique.

After picking up Cheryl at her place, the two was seated at Chili’s, waiting on their drinks to arrive. She noticed from the expression on Chris’ face that something was wrong. She looked at him while putting her hand on top of his.

“What’s wrong?”

Chris sighed and began to move the menu around on the table.

“Where should I begin?”

“From the beginning.”

Chris smirked and stared at Cheryl.

“I had to bail Marcus from jail today. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and assault.”

“What! What happened?”

“He choked out a bartender because he wouldn’t serve him anymore drinks.”

“Wow. That doesn’t sound like Marcus.”

“Well, a lot can happen to a person when they’re going through something. In fact, Marcus hasn’t been
the same since what happened.”

“And you know this how?”

“Because I haven’t stopped talking to him. Cheryl, I’ve known Shawn and Marcus for years, and even
though what he done was wrong, I couldn’t walk away from him, especially when he needed someone
to talk to.”

“Chris, you know if Shawn ever found out about this, he will be hurt.”

“You don’t think I know that? Marcus is in a really bad place right now. Since the incident, he’s been
drinking heavily, he’s been suspended from the department and with his arrest, he might not even have
a job. If things don’t change with him soon, I will tell Shawn everything. I know he may not like him
right now, but I know Shawn; he would want to help his brother, no matter the circumstances. But right now, I just need to keep him on track so he doesn’t get into even more trouble.”

“I think it’s pretty noble what you’re doing. At least someone is still in his corner.”

“You’re not mad that I kept this from you?”

Cheryl shook her head.

“No, I’m just glad you’re there for him.”

Chris squeezed Cheryl’s hand and smiled.

“Thank you. I really glad I’m there for him, especially now that Dominique is with Shawn.”

“What does she have to do with anything?”

“Let’s just say that Riana is not the only woman the Walker brothers have shared.”

Cheryl gave a smirk regarding the comment.

“Dominique and Marcus had a relationship?”

“It’s not what you think. Dominique nearly destroyed Marcus’ life. She accused him of rape at a party
two years ago.”

Cheryl gave Chris a bewildered look.

“Why would she do that?”

“More likely to protect her reputation. Shawn knew about the situation, but never knew who the parties involved. Marcus kind of kept everything under wraps. Anyway, he was doing security work for a party off campus and Dominique and he were flirting. One thing led to another and they had
consensual sex. A couple of days later, she accused him of raping her. I don’t know all the details, but I do know she withdrew her claim, stating that she agreed to have sex with him.”

“So how do you know the entire story?”

“I was at the party and heard several people talking about it. Shawn decided not to go out that night because he had a paper due that Monday. I talked to Marcus about it and he admitted it was him and a girl that he identified as Dominique.”

“Why you never told me about this? Especially now since Riana and I are thinking about pledging GZG.”

“Because it happened before we all knew each other. I didn’t think you two would even pledge, especially knowing Dominique is the president.”

“You do know that Shawn will never forgive you for this. It’s one thing that you’re still associating with Marcus, but knowing his current girlfriend accused his brother of rape is another situation.”

Chris sighed as he leaned back in his chair. He suddenly realized he’s not hungry.

“I know, and that’s what I’m afraid of.”

***
Shawn and Dominique were at The Cheesecake Factory enjoying their night together. As much as Shawn
was trying not to think about his encounter with Riana or the fact that she was on a date, he couldn’t
help but ponder on it every now and then.

Dominique stared at Shawn while placing her hand on his. She gazed into his eyes, wondering what he was thinking.

“Is everything okay?”

Shawn looked at Dominique and smiled.

“Yeah, everything’s cool. Tell me how your classes went?”

“It was great. In fact, I think this semester is going to be great. That wasn’t the interesting part of my
day, though. It was actually Pledge Week and the girls we encountered.”

“Really, how so?” Shawn asked he grabbed his glass of soda.

“There were some we felt had potential to be GZGs, but there were others that we automatically
knew wouldn’t make the cut.”

“Anyone I know came by?”

Dominique gave Shawn a smirk and picked up her glass.

“Don’t play dumb Shawn. I’m pretty sure Chris told you that Cheryl and Riana came by.”

“Why would you think I was referring to Cheryl and Riana?”

“Because you were. To be honest, I don’t think those two are GZG material.”

“Why would you say that? From what I know about the sorority, those two personify the organization’s
stigma.”

“Babe, I think I know who GZG material is and who is not. But with every girl we choose, we will give them a fair shot.”

Shawn looked at Dominique wondering if she was being truthful to what she just said. Shawn knew
Dominique couldn’t stand Riana, so why would she give her a fair shot?

As she continued to discuss Pledge Week, Shawn began to space out. He is still trying to find a reason to continue his relationship with her. The two does not have anything in common besides their Journalism major. But as he looked into Dominique’s hazel eyes, something inside him want to give their
relationship a chance. He needed to see if he can have a relationship with another woman and actually be happy.

Even if it is with Dominique.

With that, he pushed whatever feelings he had aside and decided to have a good time with his date with
someone that wasn’t his ex.

***
Riana and Terrance were walking downtown looking at the beautiful night in front of them. Riana is
having a good time with Terrance and really did not want the night to end. Although she was on a date
with Terrance, she couldn’t help but to think about the encounter she had with Shawn earlier. She still
could feel his touch on her skin, which made her moist just thinking about it.

Stop thinking about your ex, Ri! she thought as she stared at the twinkling stars.

She had to admit, Terrance thought up the perfect first date. From dinner at her favorite restaurant,
Grand Lux, to their evening stroll, Riana loved the fact that Terrance listened to her on the smallest
details and that he is the perfect gentleman throughout the entire night.

Riana quickly focused her attention back on the date as the two stopped walking. She looked over and saw the park in which Shawn gave her promise ring. The ring was a commitment to their love and their relationship. The relationship she ruined with lies and infidelity.

Suddenly, all the memories started to resurfaced, making Riana completely emotional. Terrance looked at her, wondering what was wrong.

“Are you okay? It looks as if you saw a ghost.”

“I’m sorry, it just something I noticed from my past.”

“Does it have to do with you and Shawn?”

Riana quickly looked away and wiped a tear from her eye. She really didn’t want to cry in front of Terrance, especially since it was about her ex.

“It’s always hard to let go of a relationship, especially if the person was truly special.”

Riana wiped another tear. She turned and collided her lips with Terrance’s. She didn’t know why she was kissing him, but at that moment, she needed to feel a sense of comfort.

Terrance pulled apart from Riana, giving her a surprised look. He grabbed her by her waist and drew her close to him, reaching for her lips again. Any thoughts of Shawn were slowly vanishing as she continued to kiss Terrance under the starry moonlight.

Eight

Britney was sitting in bed thinking about what happened earlier between her and Jackie. The thought of
him made her excited, but she knew what she was doing is wrong. Not only will Jackie lose his job, but due
to university policy, she could be kicked out of school for having an inappropriate relationship with a
teacher.

She began to think back to when she first met him four months ago. She was still upset over the
incident between Riana and Marcus and needed a distraction, so she decided to go out to the club with
some of her co-workers. As soon as she walked in, she noticed Jackie by the bar talking to his friends.
The two locked glances, initiating the beginning of their relationship.

After that night at the club, the two went out on a couple of dates. Although Britney was dating again,
she still couldn’t get the thought of Marcus out of her head. She missed him, but she knew in her heart
she couldn’t forgive him. On their fourth date, she realized that not only was Jackie a great guy, but she
was ready to move on intimately with him. The first time they slept together was amazing, leaving
Britney satisfied, physically and emotionally. She was able to put behind the hatred she had for Marcus
and actually move on with her life.

Everything was going perfect until two weeks before the semester started. The two were at dinner when
Jackie asked about her schedule. When she mentioned her classes, he began to talk about the Master’s
program at Shaw and that he only had four classes to go before completion. To Britney, that was
news to her because Jackie never brought up the fact that he was in school, let alone going to Shaw. But
the real kicker was that he applied for a fellowship with the Education department and was chosen to
become a teacher assistant to Professor Graves. Although she was surprised about the news, she
figured she didn’t have too much to worry about since he only taught advanced courses.

Little did she know that Professor Graves also taught Introduction to Education, in which she found out
two days before the semester started.

When she heard the news, she thought she could handle it, and maybe even continue the relationship,
but she didn’t know if she could live a lie and not be able to show her relationship in public. The
thought of sneaking around could be exciting at first, but they both knew it would get old and frustrating.
She tried to tell him that, but instead of coming to an agreement, they winded up having sex.

Just like earlier.

Her thoughts were interrupted when the doorbell rang. She hopped out of bed and went down the
hallway to the front door. She answered it, revealing Jackie on the other end looking extremely sexy.
Dressed in a Carolina blue button down shirt and dark jeans, he gave a smile that showed his white
teeth.

Britney debated on whether she should even let him in, knowing that being with him is nothing but a
flight risk.

“You shouldn’t be here, Jackie.”

“I know. I wanted to see you.”

“I told you after what happened that we can’t be together. I thought I made that clear; and now you’re
making things even more complicated by showing up on my doorstep looking the way you do.”

“I guess I should take that as a compliment.” he said while giving a wide grin.

“I’m being serious, Jackie.”

“Can I come in, please?”

Britney sighed and walked into the living room. Jackie walked in and closed the door. He walked over
to Britney as she gave him an intense stare.

“I agree with what you said earlier. That can’t happen again, especially on campus.”

“It can’t happen again period. You’re my teacher, Jackie! What if someone catches us together, whether
we’re walking in town or out having dinner? We can’t even have a normal relationship because of that
factor.”

“I know and I’m sorry. If I was straightforward with you then things wouldn’t have gotten so out of
hand.”

“I agree. You should have told me the truth from the beginning.”

“But the problem is I can’t just end things. I really like you Britney and I want things between us to work.
I want us to be together.”

“Why are you doing this? After everything we said earlier.”

“I know, but Britney, you can’t deny your feelings for me. You don’t want us to end just as much as I
don’t.”

Britney walked to the sofa and sat down.

“You know I don’t.”

Jackie went over to Britney and began to touch her.

“If we are to be together, we have to be discreet. No more campus hookups, okay. Maybe we could go
out of the city or to our places for dates. Baby, I don’t want to lose you.”

Britney looked at Jackie as he caressed her shoulder. He moved his fingers to her chest, creating a
shiver throughout her body.

“I don’t know if I want to be.”

“You sure.” He said as he tilted his face to Britney’s. He put his hand on her cheek and lightly brushed his lips onto hers.

Britney wasn’t not sure if she wanted to sneak around, but that was something she will have to figure out later.

Without uttering a word, she took Jackie’s hand and the two headed towards her bedroom.

***

Monica was in her dorm room reading a chapter for class, when she heard a knock at the door. She put
a highlighter in her book to hold her place. She opened the door to see Donnell standing in the hallway.

“Can I come in?”

“Should I let you in?”

“You don’t have to. I can say what I have to right here, unless you want everyone on the floor to know
our conversation.”

Monica sighed and let Donnell in.

“What do you want Donnell? I have chapters to read before my next class.”

“It won’t take long. We left a lot of things unsaid earlier.”

“I think we both made ourselves pretty clear earlier.”

“Mon, I want us to repair our relationship and I’m not giving up without a fight.”

“It sounded like you wanted to earlier.”

“By saying I wanted to start over? No, I want us to forget about everything that has happened between
us in the past year and a half. I want us to forget about the infidelity, the insecurity, and start over.”

Donnell went up to Monica and put his hands in hers.

“Are you willing to do that, for us?”

Monica nodded her head as she wrapped her arms around him.

“I’m willing to. To save us,”

Nine

A week later and Riana was getting ready for class. As she was walking to the kitchen, she noticed a small
piece of stationary lying underneath her dorm door. She went to the door and picked it up, noticing no name on the envelope. She wondered if she should even open it. She
tore it open and saw the encrusted writing of the sorority Gamma Zeta Gamma. She smiled, realizing it was a pledge invitation.

Finally, my plan is coming into motion. she thought as she read the invitation before putting it back in
the envelope.

If her theory is true that GZG does haze their pledges, then she will have a story to give to Professor
Caldwell. She already has a story to give for her trial article, but hopefully, she will have a position on the
paper to do the article and expose the sorority.

And to knock Dominique off her pedestal.

She walked to the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee when she thought about the date she had with
Terrance. The two haven’t seen each other since then, but have kept in touch through phone and
text. She missed seeing him, which was odd considering she only known him for a short time.

A knock was at the door, which almost caused her to drop her coffee cup.

“Who could that be?” she asked as she went to the door.

She opened the door and immediately smiled.

Terrance was on the other end holding up a dozen red roses.

“Missed me?” he asked.

“Honestly, yes I have. And the roses are sweet. Thank you.” she said as she took them from him.

“I missed you too. And you’re welcome.” He said stepped into the room.

“How was your brother’s football game? You didn’t tell me if his team won.”

“Of course they won. He pretty much won because of me.”

“And how is that?”

“Because I taught him everything he knows on the field.”

Riana laughed and put the roses into a vase. She set it in the kitchen and smiled.

“Even though it was only a scrimmage, it was important for me to be there. I try to go to my brother’s
games when I have a chance.”

“That’s good. Family is extremely important.”

“Maybe you could come with me one day.”

Riana smiled at the thought.

“I would like that.”

“Not only did I come by to see your beautiful face this morning, but I was hoping you would want to go
to the lounge with me before class.”

“Sure. Just give me a few minutes to grab my things.” Riana said.

As she went into her bedroom, Terrance went over to the deep brown sofa to take a seat. He looked at
the coffee table and noticed a photo album sitting by. He picked it up and began to look through it, as he
saw the picture of Riana and her friends at various events. He turned the page and stared at a picture of
Riana and Shawn taken on the beach. As soon as he heard Riana’s footsteps, he quickly snapped the album shut and set it back on the table.

“Ready to go?” she asked.

“Sure.” Terrance said and grabbed his backpack.

A few minutes later and the two were walking across the quad towards the Student Lounge. Terrance looked at Riana as she stared towards the view in front of her.

“You know, we never really discussed the date nor the kiss.”

Riana turned her head to face Terrance.

“I know. Terrance, there is a lot of things that are going on in my mind right now.”

“Is Shawn one of those thoughts? I wasn’t going to bring up what happened before the date because I
didn’t want to ruin it, but what was going on between you two?”

“What do you mean?”

“He had his arm around you about ready to kiss you.”

“Terrance, whatever you saw was not what you think. Shawn and I are complicated.”

“I know you still have feelings for him, and it’s obvious he still does too. I just need to know is I’m
wasting my time if you two are going to get back together.”

Riana closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She knew Terrance would eventually bring that
moment up, but she wasn’t prepared to talk about it. She doesn’t know where things are between her
and Shawn, especially after that moment they shared before her date. At one point, Shawn didn’t want
to talk to her, now, he wanted to touch her. She doesn’t know what to say to Terrance if she can’t even
figure out her feelings for him or for Shawn.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Shawn and I are done.”

“You sure you are, because it didn’t look like it to me.”

Riana went up to Terrance and kissed him. He put his arms around her as she leaned into him. Once
they pulled apart, Riana smiled at a speechless Terrance.

“Do I have to convince you again?”

“By all means.” He said as he stepped closer to Riana.

Riana put a hand to his chest and smiled.

“Later. Now, shall we go to the lounge?”

“Sure.”

When they arrived inside, the place was packed with students crammed together either getting a quick breakfast or hanging out before their classes. Terrance was able to find a table as him and Riana quickly sat down.

“Since that was settled, how about going on another date with me?”

“I would love to.”

Once Riana replied to Terrance’s question, Shawn walked in. Riana looked up and noticed
him giving her a longing stare. She quickly looked away and gave Terrance her undivided
attention.

I have to move on. For me and for Shawn.

***
Shawn watched the scene between Riana and Terrance with confusion. He didn’t know what to
think about Riana dating someone else. Yes, he’s dating and should be happy, but he just can’t shake the
thought of being with anyone but Riana.

Even if what she did was wrong.

He continued to watch the two, as Terrance put his hand on Riana’s. A twinge of jealousy rose through
him as Riana gave Terrance a dazzling smile.

He rushed over to the table, almost colliding into someone in the process.

“Sorry.” he said to the guy.

He stood by the two, giving Riana a perplexed look.

“Riana, could I talk to you please?”

Riana looked up and was shock to see Shawn standing by her table.

“Shawn, what are you doing?”

“Please, Riana.”

“Why do you need to talk to her?” Terrance asked while giving Shawn a hostile look.

“I don’t think I was talking to you. This isn’t your concern.”

“I’m making it my concern.”

“Listen, why don’t I talk to Shawn, okay.” Riana said to Terrance.

Terrance looked at Riana, then at Shawn and nodded his head.

“Okay, I have to get to class anyway. I’ll call you later.” He said as he grabbed his backpack and went
to the door.

Shawn sat down in the chair Terrance occupied, not sure what he’s getting into.

“What was that about?” Riana asked.

“What are you talking about?”

“I think you know.”

“Are you dating him?”

Riana gave Shawn a sideways glance.

“Why do you care?”

“I just want to know.”

“We only had one date. Happy.”

“Ri, even though we’re not together, I still care about you. Not only do I want you be happy, but to know what you’re getting into with someone new.”

“I think I can take care of myself.” Riana said.

She started to get up when Shawn pulled her back down. He placed his hand on hers, giving it a slight caress.

“What are you doing?” Riana whispered.

“I know you still care about me.” Shawn whispered back.

“You know I do Shawn, but we both know that we will never get back together.”

Shawn looked at Riana and swept some hair from her face. Her body immediately responded to his
touch, causing her to quiver.

“Do you really think that?” he asked.

He moved away from his chair and walked over to her.

“Don’t Shawn.” Riana said.

He pulled her up from her chair and stared into her eyes. Not caring about causing a scene, he tilted his head to hers, giving her a kiss so sensual, it caused the two to become off guard with their pent-up feelings for one another.

Riana grabbed the back of Shawn’s neck as she drew him closer to her, slipping her tongue into his
mouth. Shawn let out a tiny moan as he moved his hands from her shoulders down to her hips.
The two were definitely giving the early crowd a show, as several customers were either whooping or
clapping their hands in approval.

But not everyone was happy, as Dominique captured the entire scene. She gave the two an unsatisfied look before walking out the lounge.

***

Cheryl was walking across the quad smiling from ear to ear. She couldn’t believe she received an invite
from Gamma Zeta Gamma! With the issues surrounding Riana and Dominique, she wasn’t sure if she
should go forward with pledging, but she was determined to get into her prospective sorority, even if
she knew it will be a battle getting in.

And I’m definitely ready for it.

As she walked towards the campus’ garden, she saw Chris coming to her with two cups of coffee.

“How did you know I needed this?” she asked and grabbed one.

“I just knew. So, what’s the good news you wanted to share with me?” he asked while taking a sip from his cup.

“I got an invite from GZG!”

Chris sighed and stared at the clear blue sky.

“I’m not sure if I should congratulate you on that.”

“Why not?”

“Have you forgotten everything I told you last week?”

“No, I haven’t forgotten Chris. I know if I accept this invite that I will be walking into danger, but Dominique is not the deciding factor for the sorority.”

“She’s president, so technically she is.”

“There are other sorority sisters who will make the decision along with her. I really think Riana and I will get a fair shot in joining.”

“Do you know if she got an invite?”

“I haven’t talked to her, but I’m pretty sure she did.”

“Cheryl, I really don’t think this is a good idea. I think you need to decline the invite.”

“Chris, everything will be okay. Nothing will happen to me, I promise.”

“I know, but I also know Dominique. There’s no telling what she’s capable of when put under pressure. Just be careful, okay.”

Cheryl looked at Chris and gave him a kiss on the lips.

“Don’t worry baby, I’ll be able to handle myself, no matter what Dominique throws my way.”

Ten

Riana still couldn’t believe what happened between her and Shawn. She don’t even know how she was
able to walk to class since she didn’t have to capability to move. She wanted to do that since
they’ve been apart and she wasn’t disappointed. The way his lips felt on hers made her body wanting
more. She missed him and she didn’t want another day to go by without them being together.

What about Terrance? She thought.

She touched her lips, still feeling Shawn, which answered her question. She can’t get him off of her
mind and she don’t know if she ever will.

She looked to the entrance and saw Shawn walk in. He went to her with a sense of urgency.

“Can we talk?”

She nodded and the two went to the door. They walked out to the hallway, both not knowing what to say.

“About earlier…” Shawn said.

“Shawn, a lot has happened between us, and I’m not sure if we can go back to how things were.” Riana
interrupted.

“Things are not going to be the same, but Ri, we both know we still have feelings for each other. That
kiss proved it.”

“We’re with other people.”

“So what. You know you’re just wasting time with him, just like I am with Dominique. I’ve tried to move
on, but I can’t. You’re all I think about, even when I know I shouldn’t.”

“I feel the same way.”

“Then why are we fighting it? We can start over; just say the word and I’ll leave Dominique, because
baby, I can’t be apart from you another day.” Shawn said.

Before Riana could say anything, he went over to her and put her back against the wall. She glanced at him
before putting her lips to his. She sighed, realizing this is where she wanted to be.

Shawn kissed her neck, making Riana closed her eyes and moan. She missed his lips on her, his hands on
her body. She just missed him, which had her body aching for him to be inside of her.

But she knew she couldn’t be with him. Not now, anyway.

“Shawn.” She whispered.

He glanced at her.

“What’s wrong?”

“We can’t do this. Not now.”

“What?”

“It’s not like that; I want to be with you, but if you end things with Dominique, it will only cause trouble
with Cheryl and I joining GZG. She will destroy any chance of us joining.”

“You really think so?”

“I know so. I could care less about joining, but this is Cheryl’s dream. It will crush her if she doesn’t get
in.”

“So, what does this mean? We’re just going to pretend we don’t want to be together?”

“It doesn’t have to be like that, if you’re willing to sneak around.”

Shawn smiled.

“Seriously?”

“Why not? I mean, it will be kind of fun, not to mention sort of sexy.” She said, giving him another kiss.

“But what about Dominique and Terrance? We’re just going to continue dating them?”

“For me, I can just end things, but with you and Dominique, you might have to continue dating her.”

“I don’t know, Ri…”

“Just until pledging is over.”

“She can still withdraw the invite even after pledging is over.”

“Not if the majority of sisters vote on it.”

“Are you doing this for another reason?”

Riana sighed and looked down the hall, checking to see if anyone was around.

“It is. Remember I said I was trying to do a trial run with the paper?”

“Yeah, but what does that have to do with GZG?”

“Cheryl gave me this idea about hazing; not that I’m saying they are, but what if they do certain things to
get pledgees to join? I just need to get through the process so I could do a story for the paper.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Come on, Shawn. This probably a long shot, but if they do, I could have a good story on my hands.”

“Baby, I don’t want you to get involved if they are. You already know Dominique doesn’t like you and
you’re putting Cheryl in danger just because she doesn’t.”

“That’s why we shouldn’t be together. Well, publicly, anyway.”

Shawn sighed.

“You’re asking for a lot, but you always been kind of bossy.”

Riana rolled her eyes and smiled.

“Lucky for you, that’s a turn-on for me.” he said. He took her hand and the two went towards an empty
lecture hall. He closed the door and locked it, which had Riana nervous, but also excited.

“We’re supposed to be in class.” She said.

“We can miss a day.” He said. He pulled her up onto a desk and put his arms around her. “I’ll agree to
your plan, but the only place we can meet is your place.”

“What if Terrance comes by?”

“He shouldn’t if you end things.”

“Which I will.”

“We’ll figure out all the details later; right now, I need to make you come.”

A shiver went through Riana as Shawn slowly took off her jeans. She began to
breathe heavily as he kissed her cheek. She pulled down his jeans, touching him as he leaned her body back. She wrapped her legs around his waist and without hesitation, he thrust inside of her.

“Shit.” Shawn whispered. He closed his eyes, realizing he missed being like this with her.

Riana held onto him as he continued to push in her. She clawed his back, spreading herself even more
so she could feel every inch of him. Even though she was slightly uncomfortable on the small space, the
feeling she was receiving from him made up for it.

“I love you so much.” She whispered.

“I love you too, baby.” Shawn moaned.

After months of being apart, their bodies didn’t miss a beat. They were enjoying every kiss, touch and
stroke they were experiencing. Riana couldn’t hold it in any longer as she managed to scream his name.
She knew someone probably heard her, but at that moment, she didn’t care. Before long, Shawn did the
same, saying her name before coming inside of her. He held her and gave her a peck on the lips.

“Welcome home.” she whispered.

“Like I never left.” Shawn agreed and smiled.

The two knew then this is where they needed to be and they will never lose that feeling ever again.

***
Dominique paced across the living room at the sorority house. She couldn’t believe what she witnessed
between her boyfriend and that stank. She knew Shawn wasn’t over Riana, but she was trying her
hardest to get him to leave her alone.

What am I going to do?

The doorbell rang and she went to the door. She opened it and stared at Terrance.

“What’s up? Your message sounded urgent.”

She shook her head and pushed him into the house.

“What the hell…” he said.

“I should be saying the same to you! I gave you a fool-proof plan to keep those two away from each other, but it failed.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about my boyfriend and that whore of an ex! I asked you to date her so she would leave my
man alone, but I saw the two kissing at the student lounge as if they were the only ones there.”

“Damn.” Terrance replied and shrugged.

“Why are you so nonchalant about this? I thought you liked her.”

“I do, but you have to face facts, she’s still in love with her ex. There’s no competition there.”

“There would have been if you didn’t fight hard enough.”

“Sis, you have to realize that there’s no point in working on something that’s not worth saving. Just let them be and find someone that is willing to be with you.”

Dominique stared at her stepbrother and sighed.

“No. I have an agenda and Shawn’s a part of it. I can’t have her in the way.”

“What is this agenda you’re talking about? Does it have to do with his brother?”

She glanced at Terrance before walking to the couch.

“Dom, you have to let the past go. You accused him of rape, but you’re the one holding a grudge towards him.”

“It’s not that; it’s just I’ve had an eye on Shawn for years, but when I saw Marcus, my entire plan
backfired. I didn’t think I would get another chance until I saw him at the station.”

“It’s amazing he still doesn’t know what happened between you and his brother.”

“And hopefully it stays that way if Chris doesn’t open his damn mouth. In fact, have him pledge Omega
Si, that way he’ll be too busy to say anything.”

“How did you even know he came by the house?”

“I know everything. Now, we have to step up our game with both of them, that way I can finally have
him away from her.”

Terrance shook his head.

“And what do you want me to do?”

Dominique looked at him and smiled.

“Do whatever it takes.”

LLH: Book 3 Chapters 5 & 6

Five

Britney strolled into her afternoon class full of happiness. Now that she’s a junior, she can start taking her major courses, which meant she was one step closer to her degree.

So I can finally leave Shaw.

Since she started college, her life has been a complete mess, mainly from the incidents she endured last year. She really wanted to get her degree so she could venture out into the real world and start her career as an educator.

She wanted to be an elementary teacher, but not sure what grade to teach. Maybe she will make a decision once she completed her Introduction to Education course.

When she walked into the classroom, she immediately saw the instructor by the whiteboard writing out a few notes. She noticed how particular he was being with the phrases, as he picked up an eraser and begin to erase the words from the board.

Britney stared at the instructor’s tall, lean frame and light honey complexion. The flow of black waves on his close crop fade gave him a distinct, but sexy look. The light stubble on his face made him even more appealing. She studied his lips, realizing they would be a perfect match to hers, among other things, as he licked them.

I’m definitely not going to concentrate in this class.She thought as she went to a seat in the center.

The instructor turned around and gave Britney a sweet smile as he goes over to his desk.

“How are you?”

“I’m good. I guess I’m early, huh?”

“It’s always good to be punctual.” he said and gave her a tantalizing stare.

Before he could say anything else, several more students walked into the class, making Britney uncomfortable. She hoped no one saw him flirting with her.

He looked at his watch, noticing the time as he goes to the whiteboard and spelled out his name.

“Good afternoon everyone, I’m Mr. Parker, but everyone can call me Jackie. I know you were expecting Professor Graves to instruct the class, but unfortunately, he will be out for six weeks to recover from hip surgery. I am the TA, so I will be taking over the class until he is able to return.”

He began to pass out the syllabus, making the first student take one and hand to the next person.

“As you can see, we have a bit to cover this semester, beginning on why you want to become a teacher. Your first assignment is to write a one-page paper explaining your passion for education and what led you into this field. Be honest and from the heart with your perception. Papers are due next class.”

Britney looked at the syllabus and sighed.

He’s sexy, but bossy.

“Now, that’s out of the way, I think it will be fitting to get to know one another since we will be together for an entire semester. I think I’ll go first. As I mentioned, I’m Jackie Parker, I’m 25 years old and I’m going for my Master’s in Education. Although I’m a teacher, I do know how to have a good time.” he said, giving Britney a sensual look.

The look Jackie was giving Britney made her want to jump him right in front of the class. He was truly flirting with her, and didn’t care if anyone noticed.

Why am I even thinking this? Nothing could happen between us.She thought as she gave Jackie a smile.

I can dream though….

***
Monica was at Donnell’s doorstep waiting on him to answer. Since moving out four months ago, the two have tried to salvage what was left of their relationship. The two were already on shaky ground before with her one-night stand from a night out with friends to her becoming pregnant and having a miscarriage. When the two moved in together, she thought it would help bring back the trust and love they had for each other, but it only made things worse.

Mainly because of my selfishness.She thought as she knocked on the door again.

Or maybe because I wasn’t ready.

The door opened, revealing Donnell on the other side. He gave Monica a quick smile before letting her inside.

“Hey. Am I disturbing you?”

“No, I was actually hoping you would stop by.”

She went towards the living room and sat down on the tan sofa. Donnell closed the door and headed to the sofa as well.

“So, how is everything? I know we haven’t talked much lately.”

“Everything is fine. Donnell, I didn’t come by for small talk. We really need to talk about us.”

He sighed and laid the back of his neck on the sofa. He looked at Monica with a sincere look.

“I know. Things have really changed between us.”

“I don’t know how much more I can take of this. We’ve both been distant from each other for quite some time now. I thought when we moved in together that we could repair the damage that was made between us, but the problems just became worse.”

“I know. It’s kind of hard to regain what we had when we can’t let go of the past.”

“You mean you can’t let go. I did.”

“I’ve tried Mon, but the things we’ve been through, it’s hard not to.”

“Donnell, I just need to know if we can fix this. Maybe I wasn’t ready to move in with you, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want our relationship to end. I just think that we need to work on ourselves before we jump into anything serious.”

“So, you’re saying you want us to break up.”

“I’m not saying that. I just want us to get back to where we were before.”

“You know we can’t.”

Monica looked at Donnell as she picked up her purse and headed to the door.

“Why are you walking away? I gave you my honest opinion on the situation.”

“Why you don’t want to fight? You’re simply just giving up.”

“I didn’t say I was. You have to face reality Monica. What we had before is gone. We will never get that back. In order for us to continue with this relationship, we have to start from scratch and get to know each other again. But from what I’m getting, it seems as if you don’t want to do that. You rather just pretend the past year didn’t happen and just continue on.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. You gave that away when you were about to walk out the door.”

Monica sighed and continued to leave.

“You know what Monica, just go. Maybe we should have just ended it when we had the chance.”

She turned around to stare at Donnell.

“I guess that’s one thing we can finally agree on.”

She opened the door and slammed it, causing her to put her hand over her mouth. Hot tears began to spring from her eyes as she stared at the door again and went to her car.

***

Chris was enjoying the events at Pledge Week, as he was getting to know some of the fraternities on campus. Although he would probably rush Omega Si, he wanted to know his other opinions by visiting other fraternities.

As he walked from Fraternity Row and to the sorority houses, he noticed Dominique standing in front of the Gamma Zeta Gamma house giving a cheerily smile to a group of girls. Once they disappeared, Chris went over to her.

“Dominique.”

“Chris. How are you?”

“Cut the crap Dominique.”

“I don’t know what you’re implying, expect for you being so rude towards me.”

“What is going on between you and Shawn?”

“Why is it your concern?”

“Shawn is my best friend. He’s been through enough and I don’t want to see him hurt again, especially by you.”

“That’s sweet and all, but I won’t hurt him like that tramp did.”

“From what I remember, you were far worse than his ex.”

Dominique put her arms across her chest. She gave Chris a foul glance and rolled her eyes at him.

“Now you’re starting to aggravate me. What do you want?”

“All I want to say is don’t hurt Shawn. He doesn’t deserve whatever scheme you’re trying to pull.”

“Who said I was doing a scheme on him? Who are you to even judge me?”

“You know Shawn is Marcus’ brother, so whatever issues you have with him don’t take them out on Shawn.”

“What do you know about me and Marcus?”

“I know enough.”

“Dominique‘s expression changed from angry to hurt as she looked at Chris.

“Please don’t tell Shawn about that. I never meant to hurt anyone that night.”

“But you did. You nearly cost Marcus his career and his life. If you are woman enough, you would tell Shawn the truth.” Chris said.

He headed towards campus, leaving Dominique in a fit of tears.

***

“I cannot believe she is GZG president!” Cheryl exclaimed.

She and Riana were at the student lounge getting iced lattes. Now they were seated at a table discussing what happened earlier.

“Do you think we should pledge if we get an invitation? You know Dominique will be hard on you since you’re Shawn’s ex.”

“You really think she would haze me?”

“Are you that naïve? Dominique looks like the type to do it and she will.”

Riana thought about what she discussed with Professor Caldwell earlier and smiled.

“Technically, she can’t because that will be against college policy, but if she does, then she has a fight on her hands.”

And I will have a story to write.

Cheryl sighed as she sipped her latte.

“Enough about Dominique. What about you and Terrance. I heard you two are going on a date.”

“Yeah, we are?” Riana said while giving a shy smile.

“I’m really happy for you. I’m just glad you’re getting out of your funk.”

“I had to, right? Shawn did.”

“If given the chance, do you see the two of you becoming more?”

“It just one date,”

“It could lead to more though.”

“I don’t know. Maybe if we take things slow, then I could see a relationship in the future. For what I know, Terrance seems like a nice guy, and he’s someone I would like to get to know better.”

Cheryl smiled as she put her hand on Riana’s shoulder.

Riana sipped her latte wondering if she believed what she just said.

Six

Marcus hurriedly walked away from the jail cell of the police department without even looking at anyone. It was bad enough that he was arrested, but was taken in at his place of employment was even worse. He couldn’t even look at his co-workers without feeling a sense of disappointment of being behind the cell instead of in front of it.

Once he was placed in with attempted thieves and assaulters, he had to determine who his one phone call would go to. He couldn’t possibly call his parents, since they were already upset with what happened between him and Shawn, and he definitely couldn’t call Shawn to bail him out.

There is only one other person I can call. He thought and dialed the number.

An hour later and Chris arrived to bail Marcus out. Now, the two were in his car heading to Marcus’ apartment. He gave Marcus a disappointed look before turning back to the road.

“What happened man? Disorderly conduct and assault!” Chris exclaimed.

“Not one of my best days, huh?” Marcus said with a light laugh.

“This is serious Marcus! You’re a detective. I’m pretty sure your arrest didn’t go well with the department.”

“No, it didn’t. I’m not sure what’s going to happen once my suspension is over.”

“You know you could have called anyone else to bail you out.”

“Like who? I couldn’t let my parents see me drunk and I definitely couldn’t have called Shawn.”

“Well, you know I would had helped you no matter what, but Marcus, you need to get help. I know things are kind of crazy lately, but this is not the way to get through it. You need to find a way to either talk about it with someone or try to straighten out your problems with your family.”

“And why would I do that? Chris, I don’t have a problem.”

“You may not think so now, but you will if you continue.”

“Everything is fine Chris. I just had a few drinks and it got out of hand, that’s all.”

“I just bailed you out of jail.”

“I know, and trust me, it won’t happen again.”

“I hope not. But promise me that you will try and get some help.”

“I will if it becomes a problem, but right now it isn’t. I just want to be able to function during the day, that’s all; and if drinking helps me do that, then let me be, okay.”

Chris shook his head and made a right turn towards Marcus’ apartment complex. He wanted to go further into Marcus’ problem, but decided not to. He looked at him with a new topic to discuss.

“I need to talk to you about Dominique.”

Marcus gave a long winded sigh. Just hearing her name made him become slightly agitated.

“Why are you bringing up her name?”

“It’s about her and Shawn, Marcus. They’re dating.”

Marcus gave a bewildered look and stared at the windshield.

“How in the hell did that happen?!”

“While during their internship at Channel 2. Listen, I know what happened, but of course Shawn doesn’t know since you never identified the accused victim.”

“I know. People were already talking about the incident on campus and I didn’t want him to be bombarded by it. I tried to withhold enough information.”

“Which you did; Marcus, I don’t know what Dominique’s angle is by dating Shawn, but you and I know she is bad news. Don’t you owe it to your brother to tell him about what she did to you?”

Marcus looked at Chris wondering if this was a ploy to get him to talk to Shawn again.

“To be honest, I don’t know if I should.”

***
Once the class introduced themselves and Jackie explained the course syllabus, he let the class out early.

While Britney was gathering her belongings, she noticed him was staring at her. The two were the only ones in the room, which was fine with Britney, as she gave him a smile.

He walked over to her and gave her a sensual kiss, causing her to drop her tote bag. Although she loved the way his lips felt on hers, she knew she couldn’t continue. She quickly pushed him away while giving a baffled stare.

“You know we can’t do this. There’s no point in starting something we can’t finish.”

Jackie gave a stimulating smirk at the statement.

“You weren’t saying that two days ago.”

“Listen, what we shared was magnificent and exciting, but you know we can’t go any further than a professional relationship. You are my teacher, Jackie.” she whispered, grabbing her tote bag and putting it on her shoulder.

As she was heading to the door, Jackie went behind her and moved her hair from her neck. He bent down and gently kissed her neck, giving a feeling Britney couldn’t resist. She turned around and pushed him towards his desk. She goes to the door and locked it, making sure they wouldn’t be interrupted. She slowly walked over to him and crashed her lips to his. Jackie threw a couple of paper onto the ground before taking her in his arms and laying her on the desk.

The two knew what they were doing was wrong, but at the moment, the only thing that matter was the feeling they had for each other, and that was pure and uncontrollable lust.

***
Before heading to the Gamma Zeta Gamma house to pick up Dominique, Shawn decided to go to the student lounge. He was texting Dominique to let her know he was on his way when he ran right into Riana, who was coming out of Baker’s Hall. The two looked at each other, suddenly becoming a bit shy with each other.

“We have to stop doing this.” Shawn jokingly said.

“I know, second time today. That has to be a record.” Riana said, giving a tiny smile.

Shawn smiled back, realizing that he missed her smile.

“Yeah, it is.”

Shawn noticed how beautiful she looked, in a cream colored sleeveless shirt and a blue maxi skirt. Her dark brown hair hung loosely in waves around her shoulders, making her look like an angel. He wanted so badly to kiss her peach colored lips, but he resisted in doing so.

He began to think about the all the times the two has shared, from just being around campus to just hanging out in his apartment. The happy moments they had, which he missed so desperately.

Riana gave Shawn a once over as well, as she stopped to stare at his lips. Out of nowhere, she began to speak.

“How was your first day?”

“It was good. I have an easy schedule this semester, considering this is my last year.”

“That’s good. Mine is pretty easy too. “

“You have any plans for the semester?”

“Yeah; in fact, Cheryl and I are pledging GZG. It was actually her idea, so she kind of dragged me into it.”

Shawn gave her an uneasy glance at the news. He really didn’t want Riana to pledge GZG since Dominique is the president.

“I’m also thinking about joining the campus newspaper. Professor Caldwell is the advisor and decided to put me on a trial basis.”

“That’s great Ri. Congratulations.”

“Thanks. You have any plans for this semester?”

“Yeah. Channel 2 offered me a job working with their production team.”

Riana’s brown eyes lit up with excitement over the news.

“Wow. That’s wonderful Shawn. Congratulations!”

“Thanks. The job is not glamorous; I’m just the assistant to the production manager; but I could get a promotion once I graduate next year.”

“It’s still great news. I’m really happy for you Shawn.”

The two looked at each other with a look of desire in their eyes. They both knew the feelings they had for each other were not completely gone. Shawn went up to Riana and put his hand on her bare shoulder. He pulled her close to him, slowly moving his hand to her back. The feeling he was giving Riana gave her tingles throughout her body. She closed her eyes as she remembered the closeness she felt with him.

“What happened to make us go astray Shawn?” she whispered.

As soon as he was about to speak, the two heard someone clearing their throat. Riana quickly moved from him, which made Shawn turn around. Terrance was standing near the two giving them a questioning glance.

“You ready?” he asked while looking at Riana.

“Yes.” she said softly and looked at Shawn again.

Shawn stared at the two, realizing what was going on.

“It was nice talking to you.” she said.

“See you later Ri.” he said.

He watched as Riana and Terrance walked towards the parking lot, leaving him speechless at the fact that Riana has actually moved on.

LLH: Book 3 Chapters 3 & 4

Chapters 3 & 4 are up!!!

THREE

When Monica arrived at Britney’s apartment, the apartment warming was already going strong. Britney ran over to her and gave her a big hug.

“I’m so glad you’re here. How do you like the apartment?”

“From what I can see, it’s great. Who are all these people?”

“Just some people I know. So where have you been? The party started an hour ago.”

Monica stared at the blank TV without a response. She did not want to tell Britney that she was trying to cheer up Riana at a fraternity party.

“I had some things to do.” She hesitantly said.

“Like what Mon?”

“Does it matter Britney? I’m here aren’t I?”

Britney gave a Monica a little smirk at the last comment. She had an idea where Monica was, which did not sit well with her.

“You were with Riana, were you?”

“What if I was? Britney, you need to let go of this vendetta you have against her. It has been four months since the incident and you still walking around mad at the world.”

“How I’m supposed to act? Take Riana in with open arms and say I’m sorry for being a bitch to you? If you think that, you’re truly delusional to even think I would give that backstabber a second of my time.”

“Why not? She gave you a second chance when you messed up. I can see why Shawn is upset; but you, I don’t see why you are. You started this game where you can do whatever you wanted and not suffer the consequences, but when someone else does something to you that you don’t like, you have a problem with it.”

“So you saying this is payback for what I’ve done?”

“I’m not saying anything. That’s something you have to figure out for yourself. All I’m saying is that it takes two to mess up a relationship, and Marcus was right in there with Riana. So you need to cut her some slack because she been there for you through so much.”

Britney looked at Monica and sighed.

“I get it; I get that we were there for each other, but Monica, they broke my heart. I would not want anyone to feel like I felt.”

“Just think about the day when Riana found out about you and Isaac. That’s how she felt too.”

Britney tried to hold back her tears as she thought about that day. How Riana was furious with her for betraying her with Isaac. That’s the exact feeling she felt when she heard about Marcus and Riana.

“Don’t you think it’s time to let go Britney? You two did your dirt and now you can start off fresh.”

“It’s not that simple Mon.”

“Yes it is if you really want it. I can’t stay long. I promise Donnell I’ll stop by his place before I go home. But promise me you will think about it.”

“I will.”

Monica smiled and gave her friend another hug before going to the door.

While everyone was having fun and dancing to the loud music blazing, Britney felt horrible. She knew what Monica was saying was true, but she couldn’t release the pain she been feeling for so long.

I don’t know if I can ever forgive Riana.

***

“This feels so good.” Cheryl said as she cuddled up to Chris. The two were at Cheryl’s condo laying on her bed. Her dad announced at the last minute that he was going to Dallas for a few days for business, so she had the place to herself. After the long day she had, she needed to see Chris and spend time with him.

“Yes it does.” Chris agreed and kissed her neck.

“I wish we could be like this all the time.”

“We could have if you agreed to get a place together.”

Every time Chris brought up the issue of moving in together, Cheryl started to tense up. She does not understand why he would just drop the subject and let her be. She wanted to be able to have everything for her own and not have to share it with anyone. Including Chris.

Cheryl looked at him and smiled.

“You know I want to remain on my own for a little while. Although I am living with my dad at the moment, I feel this is a setback to my goal.”

“Cheryl, don’t you think it’s time that things between us go to the next level? I mean, we been together for almost two years.”

“Chris, I made a promise to myself to be independent. I don’t want later on in life to feel like I regretted any decision I’ve made in my life.”

“So you are saying that you would regret living with me?”

“I didn’t say that. I want to be able to say that I went out into the world and did things on my own without any help.”

“I get that, but you can still do all of that with me.”

“Can we just drop the subject please?” Cheryl asked in a anxious tone.

“Yeah, whatever. So how was the party tonight?”

“It was good for a moment. Monica and I were able to get Riana to forget about Shawn for a second.”

“That’s an improvement. How did you two do that?”

“She met a guy. He seems pretty cool. He’s president of Omega Si.”

“Terrance Hamilton? Yeah I know him. He’s a good guy.”

“But there was something there that was a little disturbing.”

“What was it?”

“We saw Shawn there with his new girlfriend.”

Chris looked at Cheryl without giving an expression.

“You not at all surprised. You knew?”

“I just found out today. How did you think I felt when I saw the two? I’m Shawn’s best friend and he didn’t even tell me.”

“Well, from what I saw she’s a real bitch. Hopefully I won’t see her around campus.”

“Shawn’s in a bad place right now. Although he’s with someone new, he’s still in love with Riana.”

“Just like Riana is with Shawn. But one life lesson I learned while in college is that everyone has flaws. You just have to overlook them to see the actual person inside.”

“Look at you being all logical.” Chris said as he climbed on top of Cheryl.

“I try every once in awhile.” She said and kissed him.

“Maybe you can give me some more lessons. Maybe in sex education.”

“I think I know a of few of those.” Cheryl said in a seductive tone.

And the two began to kiss each other.

***

Shawn and Dominique walked into his apartment in silence. Since the altercation he had with Riana, he did not feel like talking to anyone, let anyone having company. He tried to tell Dominique he wanted to be alone, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, she drove his car to his apartment so he wouldn’t take her back to the sorority house.

“Shawn, will you please talk to me? You’ve been quiet all the way here.” Dominique said as she set her oversized Coach handbag on Shawn’s black leather couch.

“I don’t feel like talking Dominique.” He said as he went into the kitchen.

“I know it’s about your ex. I need to know one thing. Am I wasting my time with you? Because I feel as if she’s a part of this relationship when it should be me and you.”

Shawn walked back into his living room with a bottled water. He sat down on the matching leather recliner and stared directly at Dominique. She stared back at Shawn with a nasty expression.

“Well am I? Don’t just look at me without saying anything.”

“Why should I? You already said what you wanted to. There are a lot of things I’m trying to process right now and one thing I feel like I shouldn’t have done was rushed into was a relationship.”

“So you saying you don’t want one?”

“I’m not saying I don’t, I’m just saying I rushed into it when I was on the rebound.”

Dominique looked down at the hard wooden floor as she tried to figure out what to say next. She looked at him with a worried expression.

“So what do you want Shawn? How do you want this to progress?”

“I want to be able to get to know you Dominique. I don’t want any type of baggage hanging on to me if I want to pursue a relationship with you or with anyone. I want to be able to start things new and clearer, not with issues every time I want to be near you.”

“But I thought we established all that earlier? I thought over the summer we were able to get through all of that.”

“I thought so too, until I saw Riana tonight. The way she looked at me when I basically called her a bitch in her face.”

“Don’t you think she deserve it?”

“You don’t even know the situation.”

“I know enough. I also know that when you’re in a new relationship, all talks about your ex are off limits.”

“That’s why I feel that maybe we should cool things off for a little bit. Just until I can get myself together.”

She shook her head in disbelief and grabbed her Coach bag and walked past Shawn to the door.

“Take all the time you need Shawn, because I’m done. Don’t bother taking me home. I’ll call a cab.” she said as she opened the door and slammed it.

Shawn threw his head back on the recliner in frustration. He wanted to go after her and tell her he’s sorry for being a jerk, but his legs would not move. Instead, he wondered if he could ever be in another relationship again.

***

After the talk with Monica, Britney decided to give her advice a try. When the last of her guests left for the evening, Britney got into her car and headed towards Baker’s Hall. But when she approached the visitor’s parking lot, she started to rethink her decision. She did not know if she wanted to patch things up Riana, but during the past few months she been apart from her best friend, she wanted more than ever to renew their friendship.

Monica’s right. We’ve been friends far too long for anything to come between us. If Riana can forgive me for Isaac, than I can do the same.

She stepped out of her car and went up the double steps to the front entrance. She opened the door and went down the long corridor. After want seemed like an eternity, she was finally in front of Riana’s door. Before leaving her apartment, she noticed a piece of paper with her name on it sitting on the front table. Turns out it was a note from Monica leaving her Riana’s dorm number.

‘I figure you would be going by Riana’s soon, so I wanted to give you her dorm room number. Good luck :-)

Monica knows me too well. Britney thought as she looked at Riana’s door, wondering whether to knock or walk away. After five minutes of just standing by the door in a complete daze, she took a deep breath and quickly moved her hand. As she started to knock, she turned around to see Riana coming to her with a laundry basket. She looked at Britney in shock, wondering what she was doing at her door.

“Hey.” Riana said softly.

“Hi. I guess you weren’t expecting me to be here.” Britney said nonchalantly.

Riana gave her a weak smile. “To be honest, no. You’re the last person I expected to see.”

“Riana, I think it’s time we talk.”

She nodded and went to the door. She opened and let Britney go in first.

She gave Riana a surprised look.

“This place is magnificent. You must have paid a grip to stay here.”

“Yeah. Mainly financial aid took care of it, but I love it.” She said and put her laundry basket on the floor by her TV.

“You want anything to drink?”

“No thanks.” Britney said as she sat down on the cream colored couch seated next to the entertainment center. Riana sat down on the opposite end of the couch and looked at Britney with a perplexed expression.

The two sat in silence for several minutes before Britney started to talk.

“It took me several minutes to knock on your door.” she blurted out.

“Why?”

“Because I didn’t know whether to talk to you.”

“How did you know where I stayed? Or should I ask.”

“Monica told me. She insisted we talk about what happened.”

“So Monica put you up to it. Are you doing it for her or for yourself?”

“I’m doing it for us. I think we need to clear things up, try to find some common ground on what happened.”

“Brit, I know things got so complicated the past few months. What happened between Marcus and I was really stupid and I regret everyday that we were together. I guess at the time I was lonely and Marcus was there.”

“But why you had to pursue Marcus? Was it because of what you saw at the apartment?”

“No. It was because he’s a genuine person. He was sweet and nice. He helped me get over the loneliness I had toward Shawn.”

“Why you just didn’t talk to Shawn about how you felt? Why did you shut him out to be with his brother?”

“You don’t think I’ve tried? He was so focus on his internship he didn’t care about anything else. Including me.”

“You really think that was true? Shawn loved you too much to not focus on you. It just the fact that he was doing what he could for his future while you was out laying up with his brother.”

“Come on Britney. You know it was more than that.”

“What was it Riana? Tell me because I don’t know.”

“It was the fact that I wanted to do something different for a change. I know it sounds crazy, but I wanted to be sponteous for once in my life. I’m always the one who’s looking out for everyone, but when I ever got the chance to just do what I felt was good or right at the moment?”

“What the hell are you talking about? So you saying that you slept with Marcus for a thrill? Riana, not only what you did hurt people, but you hurt yourself in the process.”

“What about when you were with Isaac? How did you feel when you were with him when you knew he was mines?”

Britney looked at Riana with tears in her eyes.

“Isaac was completely different.”

“How so Britney? He was involved with someone when you were with him. Was it a thrill for you to be with him?”

“No because I was in love with him. I actually thought there was going to a relationship between us.”

“Why would you think that? You knew if he was cheating on me with you, he was going to do the same thing; which he did.”

“Because I was blind. Just how you felt with Marcus.”

Riana looked at Britney and smiled.

“I guess we have something in common.”

“Yeah. We’ll fall for whatever we want to hear.”

“Britney, I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused. If I can go back and change things, I would.”

“I know you would, but unfortunately, you can’t. I thought about that with the things I’ve done. Being with Isaac was one of the biggest mistakes of my life and it hurts me to even think that I had feelings for him, especially after all the things he did to me and to you.”

“How did things get to this point? In high school, we would never even go down that road with messing with each other’s boyfriends.”

“Things change in college. People change.”

“So, what does this means with us?”

Britney took her hand and squeezed it.

“It’s going to take some time for us to get back to where we were. But I know I can’t live my life without my best friend. We been through so much and I don’t know where I would be without you.”

Riana nodded and extended her arms out to Britney.

She moved closer to Riana and the two gave a hug that meant much more than ending a feud. It was about new beginnings.

FOUR

“What a day.” Marcus said to himself as he looked at his fourth shot glass of vodka. Not only did he waste it by lounging around his apartment all day, but he drank so much at Lewis’s Bar that he now might need a cab ride home. As he looked around at the people inside the bar conversing and having fun, he thought about the times when him and Shawn used to hang out.

Every since the fling he had with Riana, things became so out of control, that he did not know how to handle it. He didn’t know whether to fix things between with him or just let things be. He chose the latter option and completely cut all ties with Shawn, which only made things worse. He didn’t know what he was doing when he got involved with Riana. Even though he was always attracted to her, he didn’t think he would pursue any type of relationship. But one day, after getting to know her, it made him want her more.

After the altercations he had with Shawn, Marcus completely shut himself off from everything and everyone. He started to slack off at work, which caused his temporary suspension, and he started to drink, which basically taking a toll on him. From morning to night, he continued to drink, and he doesn’t want to stop.

I don’t like the person I’m becoming. He thought as he looked at the empty glasses in front of him.

Even Chris tried to help him, but Marcus didn’t want to be caught in the middle of his and Shawn’s friendship.

Just the look on his brother’s face the day he saw him and Riana together made Marcus’s heart tightened. He didn’t want to hurt his brother. Sure they had their share of sibling rivalry, but it was never over a woman. That’s a promise they always made and that was to never push up on any of their girlfriends. Now Marcus broke that rule, and he may have lost his brother forever.

“Can I get another drink?” Marcus asked the bartender.

He looked at him with annoyance.

“Man, you already had four. That’s the cutoff.”

“Come on, I only want one more drink and that’s it.”

“I should have cut you off after two. I’m not serving you anymore.”

“Why not? I’m a paying customer. I should be served?”

“Not if you’re drunk, man. I could lose my job if I served you anymore.”

“You know who I am? I work for the police department and if I want service, I’m gonna get it.”

“I don’t care who you work for. I’m not serving you. If you weren’t so busy getting drunk, you could be protecting the city.”

Marcus jumped over the counter and grabbed the bartender by the throat. Several people that were around them either jumped up or moved away. The bartender gasped for air as Marcus tightened his grip.

“Let him go. He can’t breathe!” someone yelled.

As someone tried to get Marcus off of him, he pushed him away with his other arm, causing him to stumble backwards and almost hitting a table nearby.

“Now I told you to serve me again, so you better go do it now before I break your neck.”

Suddenly, two un- uniformed police officers ran towards Marcus and pushed him off of him. One of them threw Marcus on the ground while the other put handcuffs on him.

He couldn’t believe what was happening. All he wanted was a drink and now they’re arresting him!

“What are you doing Marcus?” one of the officers yelled.

“I just wanted a drink.” He said in a drunken tone.

While the officer who put the handcuffs on read him his rights, Marcus looked down on the dirty bar floor and sighed.

Now he can add an arrest to his share of problems.

***

A Few Days Later: And the start of the fall semester. Riana walked out of her dorm suite in a hurry, nearly colliding with someone who was walking the opposite direction.

“Watch where you’re going.” the girl said as she looked at Riana angrily.

“Sorry.” Riana said quickly as she was running down the hallway.

Her day was already starting off wrong. After going out with Britney the other night, she completely lost track of time and ended up coming back to the dorm at two in the morning. Not only did she oversleep for an hour, but she has five minutes to get to her first class.

The start of the semester and I’m already off track.she thought as she jumped over a water puddle that was on the middle of the sidewalk.

Riana was happy that she and Britney were friends again. But the person that was really excited was Monica, as she burst into tears when she heard the news. Everyone, including Cheryl, went out to celebrate with dinner and dancing. Now Riana is paying the price as she rushed down four flights of stairs to Hudson Building of Communications. When she pushed open the front doors, she almost hit them on someone that was behind them.

Riana covered her mouth with her hands in complete shock.

“Dang girl. I almost lost some teeth.” Terrance said as he quickly stepped away from the doors.

“I am so sorry.” Riana said slowly as she looked at Terrance with apologetic eyes.

“It’s cool. It not like you actually hit me. I have good reflexes.”

She smiled as she walked over to the side to let two girls go in.

“Why are you in such of a hurry?”

“I’m late to my first class. I overslept this morning.”

“What class are you taking?”

“Intro to Broadcast Technology with Professor Caldwell.”

“I took that class. He’s real cool. He doesn’t care if you’re late, as long as you show up. Majority of the time he’s late himself. So you can definitely relax.”

“Oh really. Do you know that from experience?”

“Pretty much, but I did learn a lot in that class.”

The two started to look at each other longingly until Terrance interrupted the long silence.

“Why you haven’t called me yet?”

“I’m supposed to call you? I always thought the man did when he’s interested?”

“What year are you living in? So you saying you wouldn’t call me first?”

“I don’t know. If I’m real interested, I will.”

“That’s cold.”

“I’m kidding. I was going to, but a lot has happened in the past couple of days.”

“Like what? If you mind me asking.”

Riana looked at Terrance with a smile. She could not stop staring into his brown eyes. She can definitely say that he has a face for TV.

“My best friend and I patched things up, so everything is slowly going back to normal.”

“That’s good. But what does that have to do with you calling me?”

“You going to keep asking, are you?”

“Until I get a good answer.”

“You know it goes both ways.” Riana said flirtiously.

“I got you. Since we’re conversing now, I was wondering if you had any plans this afternoon?”

“You already asking me out? I thought you would want to do the phone conversations first?”

“What is it with you and making assumptions? I was hoping you would like to see my fraternity in action today. Since this is pledge week, the sororities and fraternities show off their stuff on their respected rows so pledgees can see what we do. We’re doing a step show outside our frat house and I would like to know if you wanted to stop by.”

Riana looked at Terrance and smiled.

“Sure. But you do know that I am thinking about pledging Gamma Zeta Gamma . My cousin and I are going to their open house today.”

Terrance nodded his head in approval over the comment.

“Good choice. So I will definitely see you there at 3 then.”

“3 it is.”

Terrance smiled and went to the brick steps and to the sidewalk. Riana watched as he went to the crowd of people heading to the library.

***
As Riana was walking into Professor Caldwell’s class, she knew she was more than five minutes late. Even though Terrance told her not to worry, she had a feeling that today would be quite different. She slowly opened the classroom door and several students turned around to see who the late person was trying to sneak in. One of the students who turned around was Shawn, who was sitting in the front row. Just the look on his face made Riana wanted to turn around and walk out without hesitation. Professor Caldwell looked up from the projector and noticed Riana walking in. His expression was just the same as Shawn’s: aggravated.

“And you must be Ms. Robertson? You the only one who showed up late to my class this morning.”

“Yes, Professor Caldwell. I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“I’m sure it won’t. Take a seat in the front please.”

Riana’s expression changed from anxious to worried when she noticed where the seat was located. Right next to Shawn. She slowly walked to the tiny aisle, hoping by the time she reached the seat, class might be over.

“Any day now Ms. Robertson. Some of us would like to see tomorrow.”

She walked at a normal pace and went to her seat and put her totebag beside her.

Professor Caldwell shook his head as he focused his attention back to the class.

“As I was saying before I was interrupted…”

She opened her totebag to take out some paper and a pen. She looked out of the corner of her eye and saw Shawn staring at her. She rolled her eyes and began to write the information Professor Caldwell left on the projector.

After the introduction presentation, Professor Caldwell decided to release the class early. Riana was shuffling papers into her totebag while getting out of her seat. When she started to walk to Professor Caldwell’s desk, she bumped into Shawn, who was about to go to the door.

“Sorry.” He said quietly.

“It’s my fault. I should have looked where I was walking.” Riana said as she shifted her totebag from her left shoulder to her right.

“Riana, I want to apologize for what I said at the party. I was way out of line.”

Riana looked at Shawn and sighed. She didn’t know whether to believe him or not for the harsh things he said. But as she looked into his eyes, she knew that he was being sincere.

“It’s okay. You’re still angry over what happened. I understand. I’ll see you around.” She said and quickly went to Professor Caldwell’s desk.

Shawn looked at Riana and without another word went to the door.

Riana couldn’t be around Shawn for long and talk to him. Just being around him was nerve-racking enough. She just needed to cut her ties with him, and he should do the same.

Professor Caldwell was putting away his course materials in his briefcase when Riana approached him urgently. He took off his glasses and gave her a once over before continuing.

“If you’re going to give me an excuse about why you were late Ms. Robertson don’t bother. I heard them all before. If anyone told you that I am laid back with tardiness that was when I was a first-year teacher. As you can see, things have changed. One more tardy and you will be kicked out of my class.”

Riana looked nervously at Professor Caldwell, wondering if she should ask him anything.

“I understand Professor Caldwell, and trust me; I will be on time next class. But that’s not why I wanted to talk to you.”

“I’m listening.”

“I’ve heard from the Communication department that you are the advisor for the Shaw Giliette. I was hoping I could talk to you about landing a position on the paper. Right now I’m trying to decide which area I want to go in Journalism and I just want to test out some ventures before I decide.”

“I think you need to talk to Clerice. She’s the editor of the paper.”

“I know. In fact I went to the paper yesterday to talk to her and she told me to talk to you.”

Professor Caldwell sat down on top of his desk and gave Riana a stern look.

“Have you ever written anything before?”

“I done a bunch of free-writing articles for websites and I was a reporter for my high school newspaper.”

“Why now? Aren’t you a junior?”

”Well yeah, but I thought this would be a good time to weight out my options. Besides, I figure this would be good on my resume if I decide to go the print route. Professor Caldwell, all I’m asking for is a chance. Maybe if I do a trial article, then that can be the deciding factor.”

Professor Caldwell got up from his desk and walked over to his briefcase. He picked it up and went to the door. Riana looked at Professor Caldwell, wondering what he was thinking.

“I like your determination. That’s how reporters usually get their stories. So I’m going to give you a chance.“

“Thank you so much. You will not regret this.” Riana said excitedly.

“Don’t celebrate too fast; I haven’t given you a topic yet. I want you to create a story that is not only informative, but productive. I want you to dig up whatever you can find that will get me to notice you as a writer. Be gritty, but stay on your standards.” Professor Caldwell suggested, and he went to the door. He turned around and added.

“And I want it on my desk by next week before the first issue is released.”

Riana smiled at the exciting news. Now she has to come up with a juicy topic.

And how am I going to do that?

* * *

Shawn walked down the steps of the communication building in a daze. He still wondered why he cannot forget about Riana after everything she did to him. After the confrontation he had with Dominique, he don’t even know where their relationship stood; and to be honest, he really wasn’t the least bit concerned.

He was heading to his Business and Leadership class and noticed the person he was thinking about standing by his car looking lost and confused. She started to walk to Shawn making him wonder if he should even talk to her.

“Hi Shawn.”

“Hey Dominique. I’m surprised you’re still talking to me.”

She smiled as she went closer to him.

“I’m surprised myself, especially since you didn’t cared how I got home the other night; but I couldn’t help myself. I needed to see you.”

Shawn looked to his car and wondered why he should talk to Dominique. Although Dominique is extremely beautiful and has a great personality, he cannot see himself pursuing a relationship with her. Not now and not ever.

Because I’m still in love with Riana.

He did not want to lead Dominique on in anyway. But how can he tell her this without hurting her feelings?

“Dominique, we really need to talk…”

“I know we do, that’s why I was waiting for you until your class was over. Shawn, I know you still haven’t gotten over your ex and I understand that. When you love someone, it takes awhile to get over them when the relationship ends; but don’t you think you need to really move on since it’s been four months? How do you know if she hasn’t move on already?”

“When I said we talk, I wasn’t referring to my ex. I was talking about us. I didn’t think to get in a relationship so fast with you after I broke up with Riana. In fact, I wasn’t even looking for a relationship; it just happened; and I don’t want to be unfair to you if I’m still haven’t got over my ex.”

“So you’re saying you don’t want to be with me?”

“I’m not saying that. I just want us to take things slow. See where things are heading.”

Dominique smiled and went up to him. She put her arms around him and gave him a hug.

Although Shawn just told Dominique that he wanted to slow things down, why does he have a feeling she did not hear anything he just said.

***

Cheryl walked out of class feeling pretty confident. Her schedule for this semester was not only her easiest but by far the most interesting. As she began to pull out her car keys from her purse, her cell phone started to ring. She looked at the name on the screen and noticed it was Chris calling her. Although she wanted to talk to him, she decided to put the phone on ignore and put it back in her purse.

She still doesn’t know what to do about him pressuring her to move in with him. She loved Chris and wanted things to progress between them, but she does not want to be tied down in a relationship that she might not be able to control. She wanted to be able to provide the life she wanted without having others do it for her. Even though she tried to do the exact thing last semester, which nearly cost her life, she knew she has to think more carefully about her choices and try to pursue them the best and safest way possible.

Once she got to her car, she saw Monica walking to her with a huge smile. Cheryl gave her a little wave as she waited for her to come near her.

“I’m so glad my class is over. Now I can relax all day.” Monica said while leaning on Cheryl’s car.

“I have one more class today before Riana and I head over to Sorority Row. You want to come?”

“No, I’ll pass. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Greek life, but pledging is not for me.”

An idea popped into Cheryl’s head as she looked at Monica.

“Can I ask you something?”

Monica looked shock at Cheryl.

“Cheryl Thompson asking me for advice? This is the first.”

“Well, there’s a first for everything. Anyway, it’s about me and Chris. He wants to get an apartment and he wants me to move in with him. I’m not sure if I’m ready for it, let alone even want to move in with him. I know you went through this with Donnell, so I just need your advice on the issue.”

“And look how that turned out? I ended up moving out and we’re trying to fix our relationship. Cheryl, save the trouble and be honest with Chris. Although he will be upset, he will be glad you were upfront with your feelings. Trust me, I wish I would have done that with Donnell before things went out of control.”

Cheryl gave a huge sigh and looked at the clear blue sky.

“How can I do that without breaking his heart?”

***
Several hours later, and Riana and Cheryl were on Sorority Row for Pledge Week. While Cheryl was excited to meet the sisters of Gamma Zeta Gamma, Riana was more excited to see Terrance. Since their run-in earlier, she couldn’t get her mind off of him. She had a set-back with Shawn in their Broadcast Technology class; she knew she could slowly move on with Terrance if she tried.

Although she still disliked the idea of pledging a sorority, Riana had to admit that the energy on Sorority Row was electrifying. Various sororities were situated in front of their homes decked out in their respective colors luring prospective college girls to pledge their organizations. Riana smiled at the multiple groups, thinking that maybe this experience won’t be so bad after all.

Cheryl noticed the smile and gave her a little push.

“Is that a smile I see?”

“Yeah. I have to admit, this is pretty exciting.”

“I told you.” Let’s go find the GZG house.”

While the two walked further, they noticed the sorority houses were ending and were entering into Fraternity Row. The two stopped to take in the step show, in which Omega Si was beginning. Riana immediately noticed Terrance wearing the fraternity colors of red and blue. Riana couldn’t take her eyes off of him as they begin their routine. Cheryl looked at the group and then at Riana, noticing her eyes was glistening with desire at the sight of the performance in front of them.

“You’re not going to have an orgasmic moment right here are you?” She asked.

“I think I can keep my hormones in check, Cheryl.”

But as she continued to watch the performance and how sexy Terrance looked throughout it, she automatically knew where her feelings were.

“Okay, so I’m attracted to him. So what?”

“No one said anything Ri. I’m just glad you finally deciding to move on.”

“Just because I’m attracted to another man doesn’t mean I’ve moved on.”

Once the show was over, Terrance walked over to Riana. He gave a sexy smile, making Riana suddenly hot.

“I’m glad you came.” He said in a low tone.

“I wouldn’t have missed it.”

“So, have you talked to the sisters at GZG yet?”

“Not yet. Actually, we stopped here first.”

“Well, I’m glad you did.” Terrance said as he took Riana’s hand.

“I know we talked about this earlier, and you completely shot me down…”

“I don’t think I did.” Riana interrupted.

“Well, I’m going to try again. Riana, would you like to go out with me?”

Riana smiled as she looked into Terrance’s eyes.

“I would love to.”

After agreeing to go out later that night, Riana and Cheryl headed back to Sorority Row. Riana quickly became nervous of the thought that she was going out with someone else.

How else will I move on? She thought as they went up to the Gamma Zeta Gamma house. Many of the rush sisters were outside, greeting potential pledgees with hugs and flyers.

When the girls reached the rush sisters, they gave them the same treatment, providing the two a flyer of the sorority’s history.

“This is so exciting. I’m actually getting nervous.” Cheryl said and grabbed Riana’s arm.

“Don’t be too excited. You’re kind of hurting me.” Riana said.

Cheryl let go of Riana’s arm when the two stopped in the doorway, causing them to bump into someone behind them.

“I don’t believe this.” Riana said softly.

Dominique was standing in the foyer wearing a pink empire dress with a gray sweater. She looked at the two with a wide smile as she held out her right hand.

“Welcome to Gamma Zeta Gamma.”

Cheryl and Riana both exchanged worry glances as they slowly stepped into the foyer.

“I’m Dominique Morris, the president of GZG.” She said while shaking Cheryl’s hand first, then Riana’s.

Cheryl and Riana looked at her wondering what her angle was. Why was she pretending she didn’t know them?

The two decided to play along with her game and accepted her handshake.

“Cheryl Thompson and Riana Robertson. I have to admit, joining GZG is a dream of mines.” Cheryl said.

“I’m so glad. We have a rich history at Shaw; not only with our stance with the university, but with the community in general. Please, take a moment to visit the house and get to know the sisters. You never know, you could be a part of this organization soon.”

“We hope so.” Riana said as she gave Dominique a smirk.

Dominique looked at Riana trying hard not to roll her eyes.

“I hope you enjoy your visit.” she said.

The two smiled and ventured into the house, looking at the various pictures taken from several functions and community services.

Someone walked up to Dominique with an evil expression.

“Which one is she?” the girl asked while taking a sip of her punch.

“The one with the dark brown hair,”

“What are you up to?”

Dominique looked at the girl with a mischievous grin.

“Trust me, once I’m through with her, she’ll wish she never set foot at GZG, or messed with me and my man.”

Preview: Unconditional Love

To get everyone ready for the release of Unconditional Love next week, here is a sneak peek from Jayden’s POV. Enjoy :-)

After only getting two hours of sleep, I went back into my suite, showered, changed and headed to Mason’s, a restaurant on campus, to meet up with the fam before going to my sociology class. I knew I should squeeze in some time with them since I’ll be going back to full practice mode soon. Since the season started, the team has been in beast mode, winning 15 in a row; but unfortunately, we recently lost to our rival, Clarkson University, which had Coach Bell completely on edge. If we’re going to the championship, we have to defeat teams like Clarkson to advance, so I know the extra practices we’re about to endure will be tough, but much needed.

I knew some of my teammates would be upset about the extra practices, especially since we all just finished our rounds of late-night practices for the Clarkson game; but I didn’t mind.

Basketball is my life, and I would love to go pro once I’m done with college. If given the chance, I probably would have just gone straight to the NBA after high school, but I knew my mom would have disapproved of the notion. That’s why I tried my hardest to get into a college on a full ride scholarship, which I did at Shaw. Now that my first year is almost over, I’m thinking that getting a degree in political science may not be so bad. I’d taken one class so far in my major, and I’m already learning a lot from it.

I walked into the restaurant, seeing Riana, my cousin, Cheryl Thompson, and Shawn and Marcus Walker sitting at a booth near the window. Even though I would have preferred to meet up at the student lounge since it was closer to the sociology building, I knew that was impossible since Marcus was banned from there for fighting; so of course, we had to meet elsewhere.
“What’s up?” I asked everyone, sitting beside Riana.

“Nothing; just discussing some details for the wedding,” Cheryl piped up, giving a bright smile as Marcus put an arm around her. I still can’t believe those two are engaged.

Considering their pasts, I wouldn’t have thought they would even be in a relationship, but I guess love can change a person’s way of thinking. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been in love.

“Isn’t it a little soon to be thinking about the wedding? You two just got engaged,” I asked.

“We’re not getting married right now, but we can still talk about it,” Cheryl said.

“You know me, I would have married your cousin as soon as she said yes, but we’re waiting until Cheryl finishes her degree,” Marcus added.

“Even though I’ll be starting medical school, too, but I don’t want him to wait any longer,” she said, giving him a kiss. I watched them as Marcus kissed her neck. He whispered in her ear, and Cheryl bit her lip, trying not to moan. With the way they were acting, I wondered if they realized they were in a public place.

“And you always say we’re the ones who need the room,” Riana teased with a smile.

“Oh hush,” Cheryl replied.

“Leave them alone; besides…” Shawn said, then whispered into Riana’s ear. Whatever he said actually caused her to moan, then she trailed her hand down his chest.

“You four are really starting to annoy me,” I told them.

“Come on, we can’t help it; besides, once you and Britney finally admit your feelings to each other, you two will be doing the same thing,” Shawn said.

I looked toward the door and saw Britney Lewis walk in. I became nervous, realizing that maybe Shawn was right. She and I had been tip-toeing around our feelings since we met in high school. While I tried to hide mine by dating other girls, Britney was more obvious with hers, trying to find any chance to be around me. Although I would love for us to date and even have a relationship, I knew we couldn’t, not with my schedule. Between school and basketball, I wouldn’t have time to be with her, which sucked because I really want to every single day.

She looked beautiful, wearing a floral baby doll dress; her hair was hung loosely around her gorgeous face, while her grayish brown eyes stared directly into mine. I couldn’t help but smile as she gave me one in return.

“Hey,” she greeted.

“Hey.”

We continued to gaze at each other when Marcus sarcastically cleared his throat.

“Are you two going to continue staring at each other or finally admit there’s something there?”

Britney blushed, and I sighed. I really wanted to, but with how my life is, including the guilt I’ve been consumed with for years, I knew I couldn’t. Not now, not ever.

SB-UnconditionalLove-Amazon

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.