~>The story written below is purely fictional. Not a fraction of truth is riddled between these words nor does the author imply that there should be. Most of the events in the pages to follow are created in the author's mind and thus should not be taken as fact in any way. He takes no responsibility for any illegal activity such as underage reading because it is done without his knowledge or sanction. The story's solitary intention is that of entertainment and nothing beyond.
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Everyone go their separate ways, all leading back to the incredibly busy lives. 50 makes sure to talk to the receptionist about booking the studio; she sets it up and everything is ready to go before he leaves the building. He has a few hours to relax before going into the studio tonight so he decides it best to still go and see his little boy. Opportunities like this rarely present themselves to the rapper so he must take full advantage of them when they do come around. The driver hears his plans when he is in the car and they make the drive once again to his son's house. Marquise is so happy to see his father. They talk and laugh and play for those few precious moments 50 Cent has before has to once again leave his son. The buff rapper does something he never thinks he would be able to, because of the constant time constraints in his life, and helps his son with his homework. He cherishes their time together, even for it being so short. The few hours pass by like incomplete seconds of his life and before he knows it, he is back in the SUV.
He is only a couple minutes late to what he hopes is the last recording session for Lloyd Banks' upcoming album. The younger rapper is already in the studio and is talking on his phone when he walks in. After he hangs up, it is down to business for the pair of talented artists. They talk about their earlier meeting and some of the compliments and criticisms the executive teams provided them with and uses that as a foundation to complete the album on the right note. Banks clears his throat and walks into the recording booth before picking up the headphones and holding them to his ear. He is ready to spit. 50 prepares for it by dropping the beats and increasing the volume in his friend's microphone before giving him the go-ahead to flow. The G-Unit member's raspy voice overlaps with the beats and melodies and the song slowly begins to take life. 50 Cent's head is reeling because every take they have sounds perfect to him. They are able to lace down one song from scratch in less than an hour. It will get done. It has to. No more excuses.
The duo continue to work for hours, completely letting the time get away from them because each is so focused on finally putting the ending touches to the long overdue album. They work closely together into the early hours of the morning. 50 Cent even starts teaching the younger rapper how to use and manipulate the intimidating gadgets and equipment to produce sounds and beats. Lloyd Banks sits close to him and listens up as he explains certain buttons and their functions. Something is beginning to stir inside him. Similar feelings from his past that he can never escape. Their hands brush and rub against each other's on many occasions and Banks begins to wonder what it would be like to hold the older rapper's hand in a sensual way. If they would be rough like 50's image or smooth like the man he felt the night they were together. It is becoming increasingly harder for him to concentrate and the G-Unit rapper closes his eyes for a second to fight his thoughts away. After the break, the results are in. It is officially done.
"Oh shit!" the buff rapper proclaims as he gets up and stretches out his body. "We done Chris! We done nigga!"
"Damn! Long time comin'!"
50 hugs his best friend tightly. He is so excited. "Good job man! You gave everything you had and more. I'm proud of you kid."
Lloyd Banks' hands unconsciously wraps around the rapper's muscular body. "Couldn't have done it without you C." The pair eventually releases their bodies from the others. "Thanks man."
"What you thankin' me for? This is all you."
"Forget you. You welcome nigga."
"That's what I thought," the younger rapper says as he smiles. He grabs a nearby stool and sits next to his friend.
"Performing at the VMAs. That's big man."
"Yea. I'm nervous as hell."
"What for? This material's over the top. I like the song we chose for the first single."
"Yea. Gonna be hearing it on the radio starting tomorrow," Banks says excitedly.
"It'll get them hyped up for the VMAs. You good," the muscular rapper consoles his friend.
"I gotta start rehearsing. The show's only a few weeks away."
"You got time. Make the show hot though."
"You know me."
Lloyd Banks thinks for a second. "Sorry about Marquise yo," he then hears himself say.
"Naw. Don't worry `bout that. I'm gonna be in town for the VMAs so I can hang out with him more."
"Yea. It's gonna be busy for me. I got stuff to do out in Miami and Atlanta and now I gotta come back here to rehearse. Gonna by a mad busy couple of weeks. "
"This is what happens when you a superstar."
He laughs. "I'm no superstar."
"Says who?" 50 asks as he questions his friend.
"Well not like you."
"Look Chris. We not in competition or anything man. We got our solo albums and shit but we a group. You, me, and Buck. Oh and Olivia now. We a family."
"I feel ya."
"She killed it in the studio."
"Yea. She gonna sell us records."
The G-Unit rapper looks away. He does not want to talk about the newest member of their family. "She's relatable. Shouldn't be too hard to market her."
"I know. We went to dinner. You know, for her doing so good and all."
"You took her to dinner?"
"Yea man. Don't worry," he smiles. "It was professional."
"I didn't mean that kid," Banks desperately lies. His own stubbornness will not allow him to admit his jealousy but he also takes notice the buff rapper's tone. He likes her. "That was nice though," he keeps up with the façade.
"I'm a nice guy. Sometimes," 50 Cent laughs.
"Right. So you two getting close?"
"I want her to feel comfortable around me. Us. She's still kinda shy."
"I've noticed. But it's all new to her."
"She'll be good with you, me, and Buck lookin' out for her."
The superstar rappers talk a while longer about Banks' upcoming performance and the future; both near and far. It is way past midnight when they finally leave the studio. 50 hugs his friend and commends him again for all his effort before jumping into an Escalade and disappearing into the night. The remaining G-Unit member sits on a nearby bench and looks out at the dark. His thoughts are overrun with how emotionally unstable his life has become, within such a short span of time. His insides are screaming because he wants more. The feelings become unbearable to repress once he is close to 50 Cent. Lloyd Banks rests his head within his hands and tries to cope and understand it all. The buff rapper cannot get it out of his system. As hard as he tries, his feelings conquer him in the end. His ride finally shows up and he is off to his room, exhaustion almost taking over his body. In the younger rapper's hotel room, he quickly changes out of his clothes and gets into bed, sleep carrying him an eternity from New York.
Lloyd Banks busily rehearses for his Video Music Awards debut while steadily promoting his new single and album. He does talk shows, radio interviews, and every other form of publicity to get himself out there and to the masses of people. It is both exhilarating and exhausting but he keeps his head up high and gets done what he needs to get done. Days go by and he does not hear from, nor have the time to call, 50 Cent. It is better this way because he knows hearing the older rapper's voice might throw him off his game and he cannot afford for that to happen. He, Buck, and Olivia meets in the studio to lace a song together and it is done within a matter of hours. Because his recording session lasts shorter then expected, Banks returns to his room for the night and enjoys his time alone. While he is in the shower, thoughts of the southern rapper Ludacris and his vivid dream come back to him. The confused rapper tries to make sense of what it all means, if anything, but comes up empty-handed. The thoughts make him feel insecure and unstable.
The crescent Moon hangs high in the air and numerous stars dance around it as 50 Cent is out to dinner with his newest colleague and friend, Olivia. The dimly lit, exquisite restaurant sets a serene and romantic ambiance that both notice but does not care to admit. The rapper cannot help but feel special, as he increasingly does every time he is around the female member of his G-Unit group. He does not know these new feelings but agrees that their touch does feel good on him. The pair eat and talk, getting to know each other better in the process. He tells her about getting shot, the true nature of the rap game, and more personally, his fear of failing his son Marquise as a father. 50 does not know why he is able to open up to Olivia the way he is able to but it is so relieving to him to get those things off his chest. She encourages him with words of support and he takes it all in, his mind racing a million miles an hour. After their evening, he walks with her to the suite. His nerves are crashed because he doesn't know what to expect.
"You know, this is the second dinner you've treated to. I wouldn't want you to lose that tough guy image you have going on," she smiles.
"Oh never that. It'll never happen. I'm a thug for life baby girl," 50 replies in a sexy, low voice. He is flirting with her; his thoughts are still very much all over the place.
"So you are. I like this side of you more."
"Not many people get to see this side so consider yourself lucky," he winks at her.
"Ugh! You and your ego."
"Comes with the territory."
"Can't argue with you there."
Olivia looks at him. "Thank you. Again. For a wonderful evening."
"I told you you'd have to get used to it didn't I?"
"Yea. You're a special man Curtis," she says as she leans against the door to her room.
"Why you say that?"
"Because I see it. I feel it."
"If you say so," 50 Cent honestly says. It is hard for him to accept the compliment because of how hard he is on himself.
"I know so. Don't let the small things defeat you okay? You have to remain strong for yourself and your son more importantly." It feels like she is looking directly into his mind and heart simultaneously and reading aloud what she finds there.
"I know. It's hard though you know?"
"I know. But keep thinking about Marquise. Let him be your light," she says before she starts to laugh slightly. "Sorry. I know that sounds really corny."
He does not laugh. "I know where you're coming from. What you're saying. I get it."
"Then I guess that's all that matters then."
"You're going to be fine. You're a very strong man. You have to be."
"Yea," 50 Cent replies in a distracted voice. Strong feelings assault him from every direction and manage to overload his senses.
Olivia slowly moves her body towards the buff rapper's before gently and sweetly kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you Curtis. For everything."
The G-Unit rapper hears himself reply, "Anytime."
On the elevator ride down the hotel, the rapper presses his index and middle fingers on the exact spot where he was just kissed. His fingers gently brush back and forth against it in an attempt to understand what just happened. As much as he tried to fight it in the past, he no longer can deny what he feels. The kiss only manages to solidify it. On the ride back to his hotel, it hits 50 that he is in dangerous territory. He is falling for one of his colleagues. Someone whose budding career he has in the palm of his hands. There is bound to be a conflict of interest and that alone can create uncontrolled tension between him and the rest of the G-Unit crew, as well as Olivia. Dr. Dré and Eminem will not be too happy with him either but he finds it hard to concentrate on any of them or what is expected of him. She makes him feel special and like he's not going insane. 50 Cent would give anything to know Olivia's feelings, to know what she is thinking or feeling about him. His body begs him for rest and he fights it for so long before succumbing.
Lloyd Banks' single is blazing up every radio station and jumping above and beyond on the record charts. All the extra promoting he does for it is really paying off because people are extremely eager to get his album. The feeling validates him and the record company sets up a two-day video shoot for him to shoot the video so it can be released right after he performs at the Video Music Awards, which is now less than a week away. It is coming down to the wire as he struggles to find time to shoot the video, rehearse for his first performance at the live awards show, and trying to find personal time to deal with the conflicting feelings deep within himself. 50 Cent is at the video shoot with him and they hang out after it is completed, which takes an extra day to finish because the unpredictable New York weather halts production for an entire day. It is almost one in the morning when the G-Unit rapper returns to his room and orders himself something to eat, having nothing to eat all day. His body shuts down shortly after.
With less than five hours of sleep, the harassed rapper is awaken by a wake-up call and stretches his fragile body before getting out of bed and ready to go out once again. He is due at another radio station for an early morning interview as his busy day begins. Lloyd Banks' body begs him to get back into bed and sleep while he is showering but he cannot. As tired as he is, his day is far too packed for him to indulge in rest, which he knows he needs. Fighting against his body, he orders a strong cup of coffee from the hotel and is out the door as soon as it comes. New York traffic is a standstill but he gets to his interview with only a couple of minutes to spare. Everything runs smoothly and it is around ten when the G-Unit member is set free. He grabs something to eat while he is on his way to Radio City Music Hall; to a rehearsal. He shakes the production manager's hand and rests his jacket on one of the seats before hopping on stage and grabbing a mic. Banks' and the crew get down to work on running through his breakout performance.
The G-Unit member goes into the second verse of his new single but stops suddenly. He removes his earpiece before saying, "Lower the bass Jonathan man," he addresses the sounds manager. "I can't hear myself."
"This better?" the young man responds.
"Sounds a lil' scratchy still."
"Let me figure it out."
"So you know where you'll be entering from and exiting to right?" the stage manager addresses the rapper.
"Yea. I got it."
"Try it now," the sounds manager interrupts after tinkering with and resetting various audible devices.
Banks spit's a few verses but is still displeased with the way he sounds. "Still soundin' crazy."
"I'll say," he looks back to see 50 Cent and Olivia making their way down the aisle and stopping just short of the stage. "You sound like garbage kid," he teases while flashing his infamous smile.
"You know what man---" he starts to say but cuts himself off. Lloyd Banks jumps off the stage and catches his best friend's hand in a shake. He moves past him and gives Olivia a kiss on the cheek. "What you two doing out here?"
"Wanted to see how you doing Chris man. This set's nice."
"Of course. It's mine. What'd you expect?"
"Whatever. On the real though, how's it going?"
"Straight. My man over there's tryin' to get the sound right."
"I thought you sounded good Chris," Olivia says sincerely and smiles. "You're going to kill it."
He does not like her calling him that but makes it disappear deep within him. The rapper wonders what is really going on between them. "It's gonna be a killer performance."
"Just wanted to show her what its like. Rehearsal and backstage and all," 50 then says. "Since it's gonna be all her real soon."
"It's pretty hectic but you get used to it. And addicted."
"So I hear."
"I heard you on the radio this morning C. You did good."
"Yea." The comment makes him feel special somewhere.
"Excuse me sir," the sounds manager interrupts the threesome. "I should sound crisp now if you wanna try it."
"Good. Thanks man. You gonna stick around?"
"Do ya thing."
The two members of G-Unit sit in the front row of the large auditorium as Lloyd Banks fits back in his earpiece and gets down to business. The sound of his voice is clear as it fills the room. His eyes wander over and rest on 50 Cent from time to time but it does not disturb the flow of his rapping. He wants him. His body wants him. It is hard to understand the young rapper's intense feelings but they are there and only manage to throw him off. They stay while he runs through his performance a few more times before the buff rapper and Olivia leave. He sits on the edge of the stage and watches as the pair walk up the middle aisle of the grand hall and leave. Sweat bathes his face and upper body and he takes off his shirt and tank top and tosses it on a nearby chair before getting back to work. 50 is on his mind though and he finds it hard to concentrate. He will always be on Banks' mind. His toned and tattooed upper body is slick with salty water as he performs it over and over, so it becomes imprinted on his brain. He works hard.
Gleaming light emitted from the waning Moon crashes onto the busy city and mixes with the artificial one found there. 50 Cent is in Olivia's hotel suite and they are talking and watching TV, having eaten dinner together earlier. He enjoys the time they spend with each other but also feels like he sometimes gets mixed signals from the first lady of G-Unit. Whether intentional or not, it confuses him because he does not know how to read or understand them. The buff rapper's own developing feelings does not aide in the situation and only manage to get him more frustrated. It is silent in her room, with the exception of the television, as he is deep in thought. The last time 50 remembers feeling this way is when he and Lloyd Banks found themselves together. He is absolute sure that he has sort out his feelings regarding that night. It is not what he wants. It is not for him. Banks is his best friend but nothing more. Olivia looks at him from time to time and he notices it but does not look back because he fears what he will find in her eyes.
He instead looks at his watch. "It's late. I gotta go."
"A lot of stuff to do tomorrow?"
"You know me. Busy, busy, busy."
She smiles lightly. "I'll walk you out."
His nerves are shot but he goes for it anyway. "You wanna be my date to the VMAs?"
"What?" Olivia looks at him, taken aback.
"Not a date, date. I'll be your escort or something," 50 tries to explain himself.
"I think it's more the other way around."
"No no. I'm your escort. So how `bout it?"
Her mind screams the answer to her and she softly replies, "Yes. I'd like that."
"Of course you would. I am Fifty Cent after all. No woman can resist me," he cockily boasts.
"Ugh! Shut up Curtis! I can still say no."
"Nope. You can't go back on your word now."
"Think you got me huh?"
He smiles as they reach the door. "I know I do."
"Okay. I love when people underestimate me. Just makes it more fun."
"Makes what more fun?"
"Nothing," Olivia teases as she opens the door. "Good night Curtis."
"What you up to?" the rapper eyes her.
"Nothing," she laughs and sports an innocent look. "Good night Mr. Jackson."
"I got you baby girl."
Every member of G-Unit is busy in their own way. 50 Cent is in the studio with Young Buck and Olivia as they continue to work on his album; it is almost whole. The buff rapper decides to put the first female of their group on another of Buck's tracks and they spend a good portion of the time getting the sound down just right. With all her insecurities banished, she does her thing and slowly gains the confidence needed to try things she knows she is capable of pulling off. Lloyd Banks rehearses his routine over and over; it is running as smoothly and perfect as it possibly can and he is excited. It is all about work for the younger rapper since he gets to New York but this is good because it keeps him busy and does not allow his mind to wander. The trio work hard into the night and, at 50's request, Banks joins them in the studio after his day is over to jump on a track with his fellow G-Unit member. They all work extremely hard, and also goof off when they are bored, until the group disbands; Buck and Olivia go their separate ways.
"You wanna chill at the crib Chris?" 50 Cent asks his friend as the gather up their stuff to leave.
"It's late as hell Curtis. I got so much shit to do tomorrow," Banks says as he looks as his watch. "Today." It is already past midnight.
"Come on lil' mixed nigga. We haven't hung out in a good minute."
"Why you blastin' me like that?" he replies, referring to the buff rapper's comment.
"You know I'm just messing Christopher Lloyd."
"Sorry baby," he taunts his friend.
Lloyd Banks looks at him. Why did the superstar rapper just call him that? "You a trip! You'll get yours eventually."
"Yea yea. You down or what?"
50 Cent loves messing with the younger rapper because it tells him in his mind that things are rapidly getting back to where they need to be between them. They talk about their lives in the car but G-Unit rapper is preoccupied. Why is he going back with the buff rapper to his suite? Why is he putting himself through this again? Why can't he say no to the man sitting next to him? Every unanswered question concerning his best friend lingers through his weary mind. It is emotionally exhausting on him but he does nothing to stop it and break the cycle. It is all his fault. Everything. Streetlights flash through the Denali as their journey progresses to 50's hotel room. Banks lets him know how rehearsals are going when he asks and they spend the rest of the time talking about random things that pop into their minds. The older rapper's suite is dark when they enter and he flips on a nearby light switch. A bad feeling suddenly overwhelms and plagues Lloyd Banks' mind. It haunts him along with strong second thoughts.
"Man it's late. I should go C," Lloyd Banks tries to back out at the last minute. His body agrees.
"Chris you just got here. And if you didn't wanna chill then why'd you come?"
"You whining like a bitch at the studio."
"Fuck off mixed boy! What you gotta do tomorrow anyway?"
"You ain't the only busy nigga in the group."
50 Cent pouts his bottom lip and his eyes become saddened. "We never hang out anymore," he says in a hurt tone.
The other G-Unit member gives up. That look will always get him. "Dammit Curtis! Why'd you had to go and do that shit?" He sits on the sofa because he is not going anywhere anytime soon.
"Because it works."
"Don't rub it in."
"I'll be a good boy," the ebony rapper says as he sits on the sofa, close to his friend.
"When are you ever?"
"I'll let that one go. I hear this single setting fire to the charts."
"Already in the top twenty."
"Damn boy! You doing it big," 50 commends him as their hands clap together.
"I'm just glad people liking it."
"It's a tight song."
"Why won't you let me go?" he messes with the buff rapper.
"Who's the one bitching now huh? You don't wanna hang out with me?" 50 Cent seriously asks. Something is wrong.
"Naw. I never---"
"What's happening between us Chris?"
"What? Nothing C. Everything's straight---"
"So why's it so hard to talk to you right now? And I know you feeling it too."
"What you talkin' about?"
Lloyd Banks sighs and his eyes are glued to the floor. "I dunno."
"What is it? Something happen? You mad at me?"
"So what is it?" the superstar rapper continues to probe.
"It's about that isn't it?"
"You know what."
"Please Curtis. I don't wanna think---" he starts to say. He is being defeated.
"I know you think about it."
"How you know that?"
50 Cent swallows his pride and admits it to himself first. "I think about it too."
"Why we talking `bout this?" Banks asks in an uneasy and almost upset tone.
"Because it's coming between us. Don't you see it?"
"I don't see much of anything when it comes to you anymore."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asks defensively.
"One minute you actin' like the shit never happened and the next you say fucked up shit like that to me."
"You are mad. Why?"
"You confusing me. How the hell you think that's gonna make me feel?"
"Shit! What the fuck you want from me Chris?" 50 starts to get upset himself.
"Nothing! I don't want or need shit from you." Lloyd Banks gets up and walks away. He cannot be close to the other rapper right now. He is hurt.
"I didn't bring you back here to fight with you Banks man. Why can't things go back to the way they were?"
"That's right. Just screw everything that happened because of your insecurities."
"Fuck you nigga! I ain't insecure `bout a damn thing. You just whining like a lil' bitch about it." 50 Cent cannot contain his anger. The younger rapper knows exactly what to say to get him upset.
"Better dealing with it than fucking the first damn hoe you see."
"What the hell you talkin' about?"
Lloyd Banks is near the sliding door leading to the balcony. He needs his space before he makes a mistake once again. "Fuck it! Shit doesn't matter anyway."
"You always do that! Say some whack shit and then take it back. Be a man."
"That bitch Olivia. Her lips feel good around your dick nigga?"
"What the fuck?"
"I ain't as stupid as you thought huh?"
50 Cent immediately calms down and stares his best friend straight in the face. "No. No Chris. It's not like that man," he tries to reason with the upset rapper.
"Why don't you be a man and just admit you boning the bitch C man? She not as good as me?" Burning blood is flowing through the G-Unit member's veins and his mind is completely unaware of what his mouth is saying. Everything is cloudy.
"I don't believe this. We're not having sex kid. We're not."
"Yea. Tell it to someone who cares."
"You're jealous. I don't believe it. You are."
"It's not my fault you felt so guilty about the shit we did that you had to go fuck the first female you came across. You needed her to get your manhood back huh? To prove that you a real man?"
"You're fucking crazy! It was just sex. A mistake remember?"
"That's what you said."
The younger rapper decides it is not worth him getting this angry. Nothing will ever be the same between them anymore. The sooner he accepts that, the sooner he can move on. "Because I wanted to avoid this," he says, calming himself down. "I hate that you see it as a mistake but whatever. I guess it was."
"I dunno Curtis. I don't wanna do this shit anymore."
"Chris you my best friend," 50 states as he gets up from the sofa and walks over to where the other rapper is. He locks his eyes onto his best friend's. "I'm sorry it happened okay?"
"Yea I guess." He looks away.
"I gotta go." Lloyd Banks gets away from 50 Cent and walks through the suite.
"Chris. Chris wait man---" he hollers after the rapper.
"For what? Don't worry about it. You already got everything figured out."
"What's that mean?"
He opens the door. "You got everything figured out man. Good."
The superstar rapper stands out in the corridor as he watches his best friend walk away from him, obviously upset and hurt. Banks does not make eye contact again and he disappears into the elevator and out of 50's sight. He is transfixed in the hallway, not sure of what just happened. Things are such a mess and he is alone. Back in the room, the tired man sits on the sofa with his face in his palms. Serious contemplation and reevaluation conquers his already jumbled mind. Yet another person the infamous 50 Cent manages to hurt. However unintentional or not, the point still remains sharp and dangerous. He finds his cell phone in his room and calls Lloyd Banks. It does not come as a surprise when no one responds to his call. It does hurt though, as much as he tries to deny it. Flashes of faint light dance and illuminate his dark bedroom as he gets into bed and his eyes go straight to the ceiling. How can the younger rapper say the things he did? Why is everything so raw between them? Sleep does not come easily to him in the end.
Lloyd Banks is extremely weak and vulnerable as he walks into his hotel room and slams the door behind him. His instincts are right about the night. He ends up getting hurt badly. Why didn't he listen? The stressed out rapper rests his body and head against the door as he tries to calm himself down. With all the frustration accumulating inside him, he punches the door hard over and over again. It helps him cope but is damaging his knuckles in the process. He only stops when a sharp pain shoots up his arm and blood smears against the door. Energy drains out of the G-Unit member's body as he slides down and lands on the floor. With his back firmly pressed against the door, he wraps his arms around his legs and curls up like a small, wounded, and confused child. He does not cry. As much as his best friend stabs away at him, Banks remains strong for himself because he has to. His knuckles are busted and burning as he rest his head on top of his knees and tries to remain calm. The pain of rejection is surreal; almost inhuman.