How about a little more?
So I started to realize if you guys are anywhere as bored as I am from time to time right now maybe I should drop more of Light Eyed Girl, especially since now Nikki is maturing and her story is beginning to move faster than before, besides that, this book is over 500 pages people and at the rate I was going, we still wouldn't be done after my grandson graduated college and he's ten!
So while we are all living our best lives, getting all dressed up to move from the bedroom to the living room and open the curtains I decided to share more maybe two or three times a week what do you guys think? Just let me know.
So, here you all go more of Light Eyed Girl and shout out to my sister Ree-Ree she got her passport and will be traveling internationally for the first time, she's from the nursery to the family room, safe travels and I love you, Sis!
Until next time my Lovelies, Light and Love and wash your damn hands!
Natalie L. Gamble, Author
I met Raunda in the lunchroom a little bit later, we only had one class together this semester so once we sat down with our trays she was going a mile a minute.
“Girl so tell me more about you and Joseph.” She was putting ketchup and mustard on her cheeseburger.
I smiled and shrugged. “There really isn't much to tell he had Matt call me a few weeks after you and Tori went to Georgia. It's kind of weird he admitted he's liked me for a while I guess and asked me to be his girlfriend.”
Her eyes lit up. “He seems to really like you and you both look like you're so happy.”
I blushed. “Yeah, he does make me happy Raunie we seem to be good for each other.”
Joseph walked in and straddled the seat next to me. “Nik-Kay, what's up Baby? Hey Raunda.”
She smiled at us. “Hey Joe, just so you know if you hurt my cousin I will end you.”
He put his arms around my waist and pulled me closer. “Then I guess I better keep my girl happy.”
She shook her head and kept eating her lunch.
I noticed he didn't have a tray. “Aren't you eating?”
He nodded “Yeah I already ate. I wanted to spend some time with you.”
I felt my whole face warm up when I blushed. “You can be so sweet sometimes you know that?”
He kissed me softly on the lips “You're very easy to be sweet to.”
“Peters.” One of the football coaches Coach Brown had walked over to our table.
“Yes, coach?” Joseph asked looking up at Coach Brown.
He raised his eyebrow. “You're in school, take it down a notch.” He turned to me. “And Miss Howell does your father know how you're spending your lunch hour?” Coach Brown was Muslim and knew my Dad. He never missed a chance to tease me. He broke out in a giant smile and sauntered off.
“It's a good thing your Dad likes me so much huh Nik? Otherwise, you would hear about it, you know he’s telling your dad as soon as he can right?”
Joseph had met my father at my house about a month back when he was dropping Rachel off. We were on our way to a movie. We never made it because they ended up talking sports for the next hour.
“Alright, I'm going to leave you two to gaze in each other's eyes,” Raunda said laughing.
“No Raunie you don't have to go, I don't get to see you until we walk home.”
She shook her head. “It's all good Nikki I love to see you so happy but I'm going to meet Will out front.”
I frowned “Who’s Will?”
She stood up with her tray. “Oh I met him when I got back, I never got the chance to tell you with all of your news.” Her eyes bounced from me to Joseph smiling. “We will most definitely have a lot to talk about later Nik.” She emptied her tray and headed outside.
Matthew flopped down in the chair she had just left. “Dang Joe are you going to let her breathe at all today?”
“Seriously Matthew? When you're with Michelle it's hard to see where she starts and you end!” I snapped playfully.
“Yeah but I make love look great you two are just gross.” He teased. Joseph threw a wadded up napkin at him “Whatever man, the only reason you even have anything to say is because Michelle ain't here.”
He blushed and started laughing. “Yeah pretty much.” He stood up shaking his head. “Alright you two I'll see you at practice, Joe, Nik I’ll call you later.” He winked and walked off.
I leaned against Joseph. “Joe thanks for making today easier.”
He kissed me on the tip of my nose. “That's what I'm here for Miss Nik-Kay.” He stood up and grabbed my hand. “Come on let's walk outside for a few before the bell rings.”
The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, Joseph walked me to all the classes he could and after school walked me to the front entrance before he went to practice.
“So what are you going to do with yourself all afternoon?” He asked, pulling me into his arms.
“I'm going to go and do my homework, then probably go see Tori and practice.”
He leaned down and kissed me. “I'll call you when I get home.” I nodded and made my way to my house.
Unfortunately, our little world didn't stay happy and carefree, it started as a rumor here and there, then it snowballed until it seemed everywhere I turned me and ‘Big Joe’ were the topic of conversation.
Everything from Joseph was using me for sex to I was suicidal and that’s why he was still with me.
Raunda had almost got suspended for fighting because someone chose to call me a slut when we were walking down the hall together.
“Nikki, did you get any sleep at all?” Raunda asked me one morning looking concerned.
I shrugged. “Maybe an hour or so Raunie, I just wish these idiots would find a new target.”
She rolled her eyes. “I know the next person who calls you out of your name Imma stomp her a mudhole in her ass!”
I slammed my locker. “Raunda, Aunt Bettie and Mom said if either of us gets into another fight it’s them we have to fight next so let it go!”
She waved my words away. “Yeah whatever, these silly bitches got one coming!”
I watched her storm off and shook my head Lord this sucked. I hardly saw Joe anymore with football games, practice, and all the homework our teachers were stacking on us. He tried his best to show me he was still in my corner. It was just so hard to deal with.
“Hi, Nikki.” I was in jewelry class buffing a pin I was making for my mother when Angel walked over to my work station. I turned off the buffer.
“Hi, Angel.” She had been really nice to me since that first day of class and I know it had everything to do with Joseph and nothing to do with me. He was the only thing we ever talked about.
I was starting to hate this phony bitch, as a matter of fact one of her friends Raunda had beat down. “Did you need the buffer?” I asked her.
“No I’m still cutting my project out, so where were you this weekend?” She asked, folding her arms.
I frowned. “I’m sorry what?”
“Well I had a party this weekend and I saw Joseph there but not you as a matter of fact I never see you out with Joe, it's like you’re not dating at all.”
I took a deep breath. “Angel I don't go to parties, I prefer to hang out with my cousins.”
She rolled her eyes. “I'm not trying to be mean but I don't understand what Joe sees in you, I mean you're just so boring, watch yourself I’m sure someone might have their eye on your man girl.”
I wanted to shove her head in the damn buffer, yeah someone like her skanky friend Sylvia, Angel was still doing everything in her power to get them together, sometimes, like now I wondered if Sylvia really did like Joseph or was it really her that did and having him with her best friend was a way to be close to him.
I smiled sweetly at her. “Angel let me ask you something aren't you going out with Eddrick?”
She parked her hand on her hip, and shifted her weight to one leg, “Yes why?” She asked throwing attitude.
“Then why don't you worry about him, let me worry about Joseph, since he is MY MAN after all and stay the fuck out of my relationship!” I flipped the buffers ‘on’ switch and imagined the pin was actually her smug pug-nosed face.
“Nikki baby what did you say to Angel?” Joseph had just sat down next to me in the lunchroom.
I rolled my eyes heavenward. “Why what did she say I said?”
He ran his hand down his face. “She said you were pissed that I went to her party without you but instead of you telling me you went off on her.”
I narrowed my eyes, seeing red. “And do you honestly believe that lying little bitch?!” I snapped.
He held up his hand in surrender, “Whoa baby calm down I didn't say that I was just wondering what you said that's all.”
I pushed my tray away. “Joseph I'm so sick of this.”
He pulled me into his arms. “Baby it's not that serious, nevermind what she said, I'm sorry I even brought it up. I hate to see you so unhappy, you hardly smile anymore.”
I rested my head on his chest. “Baby it's not that serious to you, for me, it's just something else for people to talk about.”
He frowned. “What's that supposed to mean?”
I sat up to look at him. “Everybody at this school loves Big Joe you can do no wrong, me I'm seen as stuck up because I'm shy and quiet and don't go out to parties. Hell according to the rumors I'm all but holding you prisoner in our relationship.”
He looked confused. “What rumors Nikki? Talk to me.”
I shook my head. “You're so sweet but I know you've heard them, You're with me because you feel sorry for me, I'm giving it up that's why you stay, or the one I heard last period was the best one yet, I guess you got drunk at Angel’s party and I guess you screwed another girl.”
He scoffed in disbelief. “What? You're kidding right?”
I shook my head “Nope I'm not Joe, it's getting pretty unbearable, why do you think Raunda almost got suspended?”
He shrugged. “She was fighting, messed Monique up pretty good too.”
I sighed hating that I had to bring him down out of his oblivious cloud where if you don’t acknowledge something unpleasant or ignore it long enough it just goes away, then again maybe for him it actually does?
“She fought Monique because she been spreading lies about me and called me a slut during passing period. Before I could even react Raunda beat her ass.”
He looked like I slapped him. “Baby why didn't you tell me? How could you not tell me any of this was going on?”
I shrugged again. “Honestly I thought you knew especially since we seem to be the hottest topic of conversation in this damn school I guess. Besides you keep telling me to ignore it all so that’s what I've been trying to do.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “You are really something you know that? Most people would have snapped by now.”
I looked away from him. “Yeah well, I'm getting pretty close trust me like I said I’m getting tired of this, Angel and her mess, the lies, all of it,”
He held me tighter. “I'm sorry baby I'm so sorry it's been like this for you and I didn't take it more seriously.”
I shook my head sadly. “Joseph you have nothing to be sorry for it's them not you. You are just being your normal happy go lucky self as you should be.”
He looked really angry for a split second. “Naw, you don't deserve to be treated like this, I'm putting an end to all of this shit, starting with Angel’s nosy ass!”
“But guess what Nik-Kay?” He asked grabbing my hand and my uneaten tray of food in the other. His infectious smile had returned.
“What Joseph?” I asked, smiling up at him, letting him lead me to the trash cans and then to the cafeteria doors that lead outside.
“Hey Lady! Let me tell you whyyy…” He started singing ‘I wanna be your man’ super loud and off-key dancing me out the double doors making me laugh.
Two weeks later I was deep in thought walking home from school processing all that was going on, wondering if we should keep fighting to be together or just go back to being friends.
I knew what he would say, but I was at my wits ends. Joseph was going to battle for me on a daily basis and the drama still wasn't letting up.
I was just so afraid one day he would no longer think I was worth the fight.
We still had lunch together every day, I went to the games wearing his jersey to cheer him on but when he had to stop meeting in the mornings because he was tutoring it just seemed like we were drifting further and further apart.
Conversations that were usually so easy to us were becoming strained and forced, we were actually starting to search for things to say when we did talk.
As much as I loved being his girlfriend I was beginning to miss my best friend. I ended up falling asleep thinking about what to do, this was all beginning to be too much.
“Nikki wake up.” Tony was standing over me shaking me awake.
“Hey Tony, what's up.” I sat up and stretched. He frowned
“Nothing you okay?” He was still able to read me better than most people and was always looking out for me.
“I'm okay just a little tired I guess, what time is it anyway ?” I noticed it was dark outside.
“A little after six.”
I jumped up to get started on my homework, walking towards my room. “Tony, thanks for waking me up. Will you call me if Joseph calls?”
He nodded and turned on the TV.
I hadn't heard from Joseph after dinner so I decided to call him, I was actually nervous as I dialed the number like I was expecting bad news.
“Hello?” He answered the phone out of breath.
“Hi Joe, it’s me are you busy?” I heard him close a door.
“Hey, baby I was getting ready to call you, are you okay you don't sound like yourself.”
I sighed. “Are you busy? I mean if you want to you can call me back later.” I don't know why I felt so afraid to talk to him lately.
He chuckled. “No, like I said I was getting ready to call you Nikki, baby what is it? Did something else happen today?”
I shrugged even though he couldn’t see me. “Nothing just tired is all.” I lied, laying back on my bed.
“Are you sure that’s it? You know you can talk to me about anything right?”
“Yep I'm sure, so did you decide are you going to homecoming?” I asked pulling one of my stuffed animals off my pillows to hug.
He sighed. “I'm not sure yet but I will let you know okay? Why do you ask you didn’t hear no crazy shit about that did you?” He asked sounding concerned.
I rolled my eyes heavenward. “Because if you're not going not going that’s why.”
“Come on Nikki you can't miss homecoming because of me, it's your senior year. So if I’m working with my dad that night you still should go.”
I scoffed, shaking my head. “Yeah right, Joe I'm not going to homecoming without you so skip it until you make up your mind ok?”
“So do you miss me?” He asked smiling, I could hear it through the phone.
“Yeah you know I do. I hardly see you anymore besides lunchtime.” I pouted.
“Aww I miss you too Baby, but things will go back to semi-normal after football season I promise.”
“I know, I guess I just got used to seeing you all the time and now I don't so it’s kind of hard.”
He chuckled. “ Just know you ain't the only one suffering, I promise you. I miss when it was just the two of us too. So are you coming to the game Saturday?” He sounded hopeful.
“Yes, I will be there like always cheering my heart out for you.” He smiled again.
“Ok, so I will bring you my jacket tomorrow. I want you to wear it because it's homecoming week.”
I smiled “Whatever you say, Big Joe.”
I wore his jacket all week and tried to remain upbeat even after he told me Skanky Sylvia would be wearing his jersey because she was a cheerleader and all the players were doing it because it was tradition.
He told me he decided to skip the dance to go to a party instead so true to my word I decided to skip it too.
I went to Raunda and Tori’s house instead. We were just finishing dinner when Aunt Bettie walked in with a pretty pink party dress. “Nik do me a favor and try this on.”
I frowned and took the dress, “Yes ma'am.”
It fit perfectly, I walked out of the bathroom to find my Aunt still looking confused. She was holding shoes and stockings, Raunda was plugging in curling irons.
It was then that I noticed that Raunda’s hair and makeup were done. “Alright, you guys what's going on?”
“Nikki we are going with Will to homecoming, Tony is going to meet us there so you can still dance.”
I started to protest “You guys no, I told Joseph I wasn't going, I think he would be hurt if I went without him.”
My aunt put her hands on her hips. “Nikki you listen to me, I have watched you miss out on dances, and activities for whatever reason or excuse you could come up with, you are not going to miss homecoming this year! This is your senior year and you’re going!” The look she gave me could stop hearts.
I shrugged and sat down in one of the dining room chairs. “Yes ma'am, alright I’ll go what time are we leaving?”
My Aunt and Raunda exchanged a look of triumph and started fussing over my hair and even put on a little makeup.
We got to homecoming about an hour after it started, I found a table in a dark corner and sat down watching everyone dance. I was idly tearing up a napkin when Raunda ran over to me and she looked pissed.
“Raunie what's wrong?” I asked sitting up straighter in my chair.
“Girl Joseph is here!” I stood up to see him, maybe he called the house and heard I was here.
“Nikki, he's not alone,” Raunda said sadly.
I felt like I had been gut-punched. “Are you sure Raunie?” I sat back down in my chair, my eyes filling with tears. Damn him!
She sat down next to me. “Yeah, I'm sure, Im so sorry we dragged you here.”
I tried to smile. “It’s okay Raunie it was actually more fun than I thought it would and believe me I would have heard about it Monday anyway.”
She looked ready to kill Joseph. “So what are we going to do?”
I shrugged. “Nothing Raunie let him enjoy his night, I will deal with it later.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Are you sure?”
I nodded. “Yep, go find Will and enjoy homecoming, it's our senior year girl, I will be ok.”
I sat for a few more seconds to get my head right and went to find Tony, I danced with my brother for a few dances and decided it just wasn't working and went back to our table.
I couldn't believe it when Joseph and Sylvia sat at the table right behind me.
He didn't even see me, every time I heard his voice the knife twisted in my heart a little deeper.
When the DJ announced the last song was playing I watched Raunda and Will dancing looking like they were in a world of their own, wishing for one pitiful moment it was me and Joseph.
When the lights came up I stood up and waited for Antony to bring me my coat. I heard Joseph’s intake of breath in surprise. “Oh Shit Nikki!”
I shot him a dirty look over my shoulder and started down the stairs that lead outside, as I descended I heard Raunda, “Yeah asshole you know you fucked up right?!” The door closed behind me before I heard his response.
When I got back to Raunda’s I thanked my aunt for my pretty dress, hugged her goodnight and shut myself in the guest room aka my room and managed to get my pajamas on before the tears I had been holding back began to fall.
When my head hit the pillow as I climbed into bed the floodgate opened and I cried until I didn't have any tears left, I wasn't just crying because he lied to me, or that he was with Sylvia I was crying because he had known what I endured and after promising me to never hurt me, he had still thrown me to the wolves of Bellevue High School.
Monday morning Joseph was waiting at the main entrance, I wasn't surprised considering he had tried to call me all day the day before, I’m talking, then hanging up and calling again, I finally just unplugged my phone.
I turned and went through the side entrance, I just couldn't deal with him at the moment. Matthew was waiting at my locker when I got there. Well played Joseph, well played.
“Nikki, he took Sylvia because the whole team took cheerleaders. I didn't even take Michelle. It was something new they came up with this year, to boost school spirit.” Matt quickly explained when I walked up to my locker.
My eyes were red and swollen from crying for the last 24 hours and I felt like I could cry again.
“Matt that is the dumbest shit I ever heard, let me guess the cheerleaders and booster clubs idea? Nevermind it doesn't matter whose idea it was because he should have told me, especially knowing all I've been through because of our relationship, he flat out lied to Matt.”
He shook his head. “Nikki talk to him, he didn't tell you because he didn't want to hurt you or see you get hurt.”
I looked up at Matthew with tears filling my eyes, shaking my head “ That sounds even dumber that the first thing you said and for the record, it’s a bit late for that now Matt, excuse me I need to get in my locker and to class.” I moved around Matthew grabbed my books and walked away.
I couldn't tell you what happened in any of my morning classes I was in a fog of fatigue and tears. I didn't see Joseph until lunchtime, he was sitting at a table in the back with Raunda, she looked like she was ready to kill him glaring over at him with one eyebrow arching chewing slowly as he talked to her.
He stood up and tried to hug me. “Do Not Touch me, Joseph I cannot deal with you right now,” I said through clenched teeth and tried to move around him, he grabbed me by my arm and dragged me to a vacant table.
“Oh hell naw!” I looked back at Raunda who had stood up ready to go to war when Antony walked over.
“Raunda let them talk, then if she says to then we kill his ass!” In spite of myself, I had to smile at my family, I so loved them!
“Nikki, I’m sorry I lied to you, I didn't know how to tell you.”
I rolled my eyes and just stared at Joseph, I mean what did he want me to say?
“Nikki I didn't mean to hurt you-”
I held up my hand. “Joseph, it’s funny, you have been telling me from day one not to worry about what these people think and look at you, you went right along with them with little to no regard to my feelings or our relationship.” I shook my head. “Well, Joseph I hope it was all worth it, I can't do this anymore.”
I stood to leave and his arm shot out stopping me and sitting me back down. “And that’s another thing, stop manhandling me!” I snapped, folding my arms.
“Well let me finish.” He snapped back.
“Nikki what I did was so stupid, and I'm so sorry when I saw you my heart stopped, I love you so much and I don't want it to end like this. Can you ever forgive me?”
I shrugged and shook my head. “I don't know if I can Joseph, you of all people know what I went through and why until now I stayed to myself, I was really hurt for a long time. Now here I am again and I don't think I can trust you and that hurts me to say it as much as it hurts you to hear it. You were one of my best friends Joe.”
This time when I stood to leave he didn't stop me, I rushed out of the side door and as the crisp fall air swirled around me my tears once again began to fall.
School days continued to fly by and sadly Joseph continued to occupy my thoughts, we broke up and barely even spoke when we saw each other.
It really hurt because ever since second grade we had been good friends. I now see why so many people said they would never get into a relationship with a good friend.
He called me a few times and you could tell we both wanted to say so much more than we were saying. I just didn't know how to get even our friendship back.
“Excuse me are you Nikki Howell?” I was deep in thought one winter afternoon walking home from school. I looked up at the two boys standing on the corner by my house, they were both freshman and went to my school.
“Yes, why? Who wants to know?” I asked, slowing down in front of them.
“I'm Jermaine and this is DeShawn, you're Raunda’s cousin right?” I nodded and fought back a smile, more Raunie admirers, of course.
“Damn girl you have some pretty ass eyes!” The light-skinned curly-haired one named DeShawn gasped.
I looked back down at the ground for a moment. “Um, thanks and yeah Raunda is my cousin why?” I asked the other guy.
He was tall, chocolate brown with green eyes and a thin build. He blushed a little.
“Well I'm sorry to bother you but I have it bad for your cousin and I was just telling DeShawn I had to come up with a better game plan when I saw you walking this way.”
I shook my head smiling ‘Who didn't have it bad for that girl?’ I thought to myself. “So what do you want me to do?” I asked pulling out my house keys.
He shrugged still blushing, “Tell me how to get your cousin to like me.”
I was moving from side to side to stay warm. “Seriously?”
He nodded. “Yeah, plus DeShawn wanted to know why you look so sad.” DeShawn cleared his throat and started to blush too.
I gripped my books tighter and pushed my keys in my coat pocket again.
“Wow, I didn't realize I looked sad but I'm okay and as for Raunda, be yourself and if she likes you she will notice you, don't be too cocky or pushy and try your best not to piss her off.”
I moved around them both and started walking towards my house. They fell in step on either side of me.
I looked back and forth between them confused. “Do you need something else?”
DeShawn shook his head “Naw but the least we can do is walk you home.”
I laughed and pointed to my house. “Yeah well I live right there so, but thanks anyway.”
They both started laughing. “You're welcome I guess?” DeShawn said shoving his hands in his pockets.
“Well, thanks guys for ‘walking’ me home and Jermaine good luck with Raunda.” I walked up my walkway to the door and went inside.
Imagine my surprise when they met me at my corner the next morning before school. I walked up one eyebrow arched. “Um hi?”
DeShawn was shaking his head. “Jermaine thought maybe Raunda was going to meet you to walk to school and suggested we walk with you guys.” I shook my head and gave Jermaine a maddening look.
“Remember when I said ‘Don't be too pushy?’ This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Besides she has an appointment this morning so she's going to school late.”
They fell into step with me and we headed to school making small talk. Joseph was standing with Matthew at the main entrance. I waved in their direction and walked into the school.
My heart burned, I missed him so much.
“Nikki, you seem to be better than you were yesterday.” Deshawn pulled my attention away from my pitiful thoughts as he walked with me to my locker.
“Oh yeah, I finally got some rest.”
He nodded. “That's good, so Nikki would it be okay if I walked you home this afternoon?” I pulled off my coat and grabbed my books for first period.
“DeShawn that’s sweet of you to ask but please understand I'm not trying to be with anyone right now.”
He shrugged and smiled. “Good because neither am I, I just thought we could be friends that’s all.”
I nodded closing my locker. “If that's the case, sure you can walk me home.”
“Cool, I will see you after school then ok?” He held the door to the English pod open for me before walking off towards the gym.
Since Joseph and I broke up people seemed to go back to ignoring me even a little more than usual so DeShawn's attention was a bit surprising to me.
He met me after school and every morning from that point on, we exchanged numbers and talked about everything. Everything but Joseph that is, Jermaine was still vying for Raunda’s attention and called me from time to time too. They were a welcome distraction from my own problems.
“So Nikki do you think I should just give up?” Me, DeShawn and Jermaine were sitting in my living room, I was helping them with the lyrics of a song they had written the music for.
DeShawn had let it slip that they were going to perform in the talent show in the spring and had a melody but no words.
“I don't know Jay, I mean you have done everything you can to let her know you like her if she was interested you would know.”
He looked crestfallen, “Nikki does she ever even say anything about me?”
I sighed, “Jay she said you're cute but that's about it, I don't know what else to tell you.” I felt so bad for Jermaine he really liked Raunda but she didn't seem to see him in the same light. She wasn't mean to him or anything she was just not interested.
Deshawn cleared his throat and played a few notes on his keyboard to get our attention. “Ok enough about your love life let's get this song finished.” He pushed playing the melody again.
Jermaine rolled his eyes and picked up my notebook “So after this verse then what?” He was trying to decipher my notes in the margin.
I leaned over and pointed to the top of the page “Then back to the chorus, here look at it this way.” I numbered the verses and put stars when he was supposed to sing the chorus. Jermaine and DeShawn could both sing pretty good so I let them decide who was going to sing what.
Working with them really made me miss Tori, she was in college in Boulder now and we only played music when she was home visiting.
While they worked on the changes my mind drifted back to Joseph, the team had made it to the playoffs and I was so proud of him and Matt, I just wish things were different between us. Matthew still called me all the time, he said he refused to let our friendship die just because of what happened.
“Nikki, hello did you hear me?”
I blinked. “Huh? What?” Deshawn was talking to me. “I asked if you were ok, you look like you're getting ready to cry.”
I shook the bad thoughts away. “I’m fine Shawnie just thinking.”
He looked at me for a moment and shook his head. “You should be the smartest girl in school with all the ‘thinking’ you do.”
I made it through winter break a little easier hanging out with Jay and Shawnie when I wasn't with Raunda and once he learned that it just wasn't going to happen between them, Jermaine and Raunda even became pretty good friends too.
He fell in love with another girl and started spending a lot of his time with her.
Shawnie soon became one of my favorite hang out buddies besides Raunda, he started spending more time at my house than he did as his own, everyone loved him especially my mom and Rachel.
“Ha Ha, I win again.” Shawnie taunted me laying down his final cards, we were playing Gin Rummy.
I threw my own hand down and glared at him. “Dammit, Shawnie there have to be some of the rules you didn't teach me!”
He laughed and started reshuffling the cards. “I taught you everything you just suck at it that's all.”
I rolled my eyes at him and picked up the TV remote and started channel surfing.
“Stop being such a sore loser do you want to play again?” He asked, still shuffling the cards.
I sighed but didn't answer him, and kept right on flipping channels.
“I cannot believe you are pouting over a card game.”
When I still didn't say anything he sat the deck of cards on the coffee table. “Nikki are you serious right now?” He snapped breathing hard in disbelief.
I kept ignoring him, it was funny to see him get frustrated, Shawnie was so easy going.
He reached over and poked me in my sides. “Nikki Howell!”
I jumped about two feet to the left out of his reach and yelped. “Ow! stop!”
His eyebrow shot up. “Hmm, Nikki is ticklish.”
I shook my head “Oh no Shawnie don't even play like that!” I made a move to get off the couch when he pounced on me tickling me everywhere.
“Uh uh ignore me over a silly little game huh?” I was fighting to get him to stop grabbing at his hands and trying to squirm away.
“Shawnie no! STOP!!!” He had me pinned under him tickling me in my ribs “Shawnie get off of me!”
I bucked him and he grabbed both of my hands in one of his looking down at me laughing. “Dang girl you are strong!”
I tried to look mad at him but ended up laughing “Yeah because I don't like being tickled.”
He was still sitting on my legs looking down at me, holding my hands above my head. “Um, Shawnie?” I tried to wriggle my hands and he tightened his grip leaning down until his lips touched mine.
I turned my head away and quickly turned back to explain why I couldn't kiss him, instead our lips met again, he let my hands go and his fingers calmly stroked the side of my face before he held my head tighter to deepen our kiss.
When we pulled apart to catch our breath he let me up and I moved to the other end of the couch and dropped my head in my hands. What in the blue hell was I thinking? Isn't this exactly how things got so messed up with Joseph?! “Shawnie I'm so sorry I shouldn't have done that.”
He sat up looking confused and irritated. “What?! I kissed you and you kissed me back. Why are you apologizing?”
I looked over at him. “ Two reasons, one because I really like having you as a friend and two, I was kissing you but I was thinking of someone else,” I admitted looking from him down at my socked feet.
He shook his head, smiling. “Damn Big Joe doesn't know how lucky he is.”
My eyes grew in surprise. “How did you know it was him?”
He smirked. “I'm not blind Nikki, I see the way your face lights up when you see him.”
I shrugged, “So if you knew that why did you kiss me Shawnie?”
He stared at me for a few moments. “You liking Joseph doesn't make me like you any less, plus you looked like you needed to be kissed.” He said with a wicked grin.
I threw a throw pillow at him. “Oh shut up!”
He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. “Seriously though I would love to be in Joseph’s shoes lucky bastard. If you ever need an outlet for all those emotions don't forget about me I wouldn't mind kissing you again.”
I shook my head, “Nope he's not lucky, I'm just a fool for waiting on him to come to his senses, how crazy is that?”
I thought about homecoming and seeing him with Sylvia and all that hurt came flooding back. How little our friendship seemed to mean so little to him that he could just throw it all away made me mad all over again.
I looked over at Shawnie and he was looking over at me. I could tell he wanted to make sure we were still okay. He was such a good friend and I would hate to lose him but stupid me I still stood up and walked over to his side of the couch anyway and stood in front of him.
I leaned down and kissed him, he was surprised at first then returned my kiss with enthusiasm, he tried to pull me to sit in his lap but I pulled him to his feet instead and dragged him towards my bedroom.
He stopped just inside my bedroom door. “Nikki, what are you doing?”
I pulled him into my room, shut my door and kissed him again. Fueled by anger, frustration, and hurt I gave myself to DeShawn, afterward no words were spoken Shawnie got dressed and left I made my way to my bathroom limping I hurt all over but mainly in my heart. I let my tears fall in the shower spray until the water ran ice cold.