~>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.
~> Plagiarism of any part of this, or any other story without the author's consent is immoral and not to mention unlawful.
~> Inquiries and opinions are encouraged. Send your thoughts to email@example.com and put something related to the story on the subject line so the author does not overlook it.
He is momentarily sightless because of the bright flashes of lights emanating from numerous cameras as he steps out of the Escalade in front of the 40/40 Club. The superstar rapper talks to a few reporters and takes a couple more pictures before making his way inside the sports club that is owned by fellow rapper Jay-Z. The music is blasting and the place is full of people dancing, drinking, and having a good time. He walks to the V.I.P. section upstairs and settles himself in as he orders something to drink. Caleb and Danny smile and disappear quickly when their boss lets them off duty. They go back downstairs and start to mingle with the crowd on the dance floor. 50 knows he is safe up here so that is why he lets them go and enjoy themselves. It doesn't have to be about work all the time and he wants them to have fun too. A fun idea enters his head. He wants to do a performance. It would hype the people below him up and give him something to do beside sit in the V.I.P. section and just relax.
Jay-Z's second in command comes up to his section and personally greets him. 50 tells him of his spontaneous, impromptu performance idea and the assistant manager is all for it, the excitement visible on his face. Appropriately enough, he chooses In Da Club for his surprise show as the manager disappears to get the stage set up and talk to the DJ. He sips his drink and looks out at the unaware people below him. It doesn't take long for someone to come and inform him that they are ready whenever he is. His mind is shut the last few minutes before he goes out on stage, thinking about the performance. The curtains open and everyone stares at him with excitement in their eyes and an eagerness to get the club jumping. The rapper does his thing. He shows the crowd what he is made of and they embrace him for it. Adrenaline rushes through every single blood vessel of his body and as he steps off stage; he contemplates doing it all over again. He is addicted. The fans mingle with him, asking for autographs and dances.
Once he signs a few autographs and takes a million pictures with the massive crowd he just performed for, the adrenaline-filled rapper makes his way to the bar to get a drink and catch his breath for a short while. He sees a woman coming up to him out of the corner of his eye and decides to accept her offer of a dance when she approaches him. They all know that he is here now so there is no need to stay in the V.I.P. section anymore. She boldly grabs his hand and leads him away from the bar and onto the dance scene. Many club goers are too much into their own reality to worry about him and what he was doing. It is the closest he can come to feeling like a normal person so he takes all he can get of it. The woman he dances with is aggressive as she grinds her slender body against his massive, muscular one. He enjoys himself and dances with her for two more songs before making his way back up to the V.I.P. section. He is not surprised that his bodyguards aren't back but is shocked when he sees Lloyd Banks sitting there.
"Nice performance nigga," he says to 50, who takes a seat next to his friend.
They shake hands as he looks at his fellow G-Unit member, "What you doing here Banks man? Thought you was in LA."
"I was, this morning," he laughs. "Just wanted to come back to NY for a minute."
"You got business out here?"
"Naw. Just chillin'. Just wonderin' when we gonna go in the studio again."
"Sometime soon. I wanna get it out already."
"You? Imagine me nigga. Feels like I've been working on this shit forever."
"Don't worry C man. Don't rush it."
"Yea. You leaving?" the younger rapper asks.
"Yea. You just got here?"
"When you was on stage. I'm not gonna stay though."
"Come chill at the hotel with me."
Caleb and Danny return to the V.I.P. section a short while later and all four men leave the 40/40 Club and head back to the hotel. The two bodyguards trade stories with each other of the women they danced with at the club and compare how many phone numbers they've each collected. 50 does not know why but he is happy to see his friend. Something inside him just manages to feel safe and calm whenever he is around Lloyd Banks. They talk silently amongst themselves while on the ride back to the buff rapper's hotel suite. Banks informs him that Young Buck is down in Atlanta with Dr. Dré . They are working in the studio together on not only his album but sampling beats and lyrics for G-Unit as well. He figures he'll join them eventually because he has to work on beats for Buck as well. It is about one in the morning when the group arrives at their destination. The two bodyguards say goodnight and disappear into their rooms, leaving the two New York rappers by themselves. 50 Cent fishes for his keycard and they enter his room.
"Make yourself at home Chris," he says, referring to his friend by his real name.
"Was planning on doing that anyway," Banks replies with a smirk.
"I can kick your ass out nigga."
"Aight. What you mad for?"
"Keep smirkin' like that and see what happens."
"Nigga please," he says as he sits on the sofa and watches his friend walk into the bedroom.
"Why you messin' with me for?" 50 asks like an innocent little boy from the bedroom.
"You make it so easy."
"Just don't say anything when I kick your scrawny ass aight?"
"Aight. I wanna see that."
"Keep at it and you will. You ate?" he asks, returning to the living room in a white tank top and a pair of pajama pants.
"Naw. You buying me food?"
"You got money nigga."
"But you worth all those millions. Can't buy ya boy some food?" Lloyd Banks teases his friend.
"I'll get you. Trust."
"We eating or what?"
"Go get the menu."
The infamous New York skyline is in view from the suite the two men are in as they sit and decide what they want to eat. Even though it is late, 50 Cent is suddenly craving shrimp pasta and waits as his friend continues to rifle through the menu in search of something appetizing. He leaves him alone and goes into the bedroom once again to fetch his wallet to get some cash out. His smallest bill is a hundred so he takes it without a second though and returns back. Banks tells him that he wants quesadillas as he grabs the phone and begins to order it. They talk about music, their upcoming albums, and work in general until the food arrives about twenty minutes later. He gives the blond-haired guy the hundred and he leaves with a huge smile on his face. The men eat in front of the TV while some random show is going on. They just enjoy the other's company, having not seen each other in almost a month. The younger rapper feels something inside him. Something different. It is not the first time he's felt this way before. It's confusing.
"Let me get outta here," Banks says as he gets up.
50 grabs his hand before saying, "Naw nigga. Stay. Chill. Relax."
They stare at each other for a split second before he lets go. "Aight," he sounds nonchalant but he knows that it's not how he truly feels.
"What, you don't like me anymore?" he playfully asks.
"You too into yourself."
"Fuck you nigga! Get outta my room!"
"Aww what happened? I hurt your feelings Fifty Cent?"
"Shut up! Why are we friends?"
"I got mad talent," the G-Unit member boasts.
"Who said that?"
"No I didn't."
Banks smiles. "I heard your interview a couple days ago on the radio. Can't back outta that one boy."
"Oh yea. That," he replies, scratching his head.
"What did you say? I can't remember," he asks coyly, already knowing the answer.
"Me either. You said you heard it anyway. What you playin' for?"
"Because I forgot nigga. For real."
"I said you got mad skills."
"Think you slick? We'll see how slick you are when I boot your ass outta G-Unit."
"You can't. I got skills remember?"
"Don't let it get to your head man. It's already big enough as is."
"G-Unit would be nothing without me."
"Keep thinking that and see what happens."
He decides to concede defeat before things get too crazy. "Aight man. I'm sorry."
"You gonna just take the compliment now?"
"You good then. I mean it too."
"Thanks man. Means a lot coming from you."
"You got talent so it's all good."
They are sitting close together on the sofa and Lloyd Banks feels like he did a few moments ago. The feeling is indescribable and he does not understand it. "I got the rest of my G-Unit tatt finished a couple days ago," he says, in a moment of awkward silence.
"Lemme see," 50 energetically says as he begins lifting up his friend's shirt.
Banks shifts his body so that his back is to the other rapper and slowly lifts up his shirt. His tattooed skin comes into view and 50 looks for the newest addition they were just talking about. He notices that Banks skin is smooth and without any stray markings, with the exception of the tattoos. He slowly browses over every inch of the art in front of him before finally noticing what he is looking for. On the lower portion of his friend's back is his recently finished G-Unit tattoo with the words written in cursive letters and boasting two axes on either side. It is wicked as he touches it and his fingers feel sticky because of the solution that is on it so it wouldn't get infected. Lloyd Banks is startled by this touch and is even more so when he feels 50 Cent's fingers running across it, touching his slightly bleeding and stinging skin. He stays in a state of shock and does nothing as another man touches the sensitive region of his body. Everything he knows is broken and new thoughts and emotions enter the younger rapper's mind.
"Shit's crazy," 50 finally says after examining his friend's back for what seems like hours.
"Just how I wanted it to come out."
"I like that shit nigga."
Lloyd Banks lowers his shirt and turns back to face the other man. He does not know what these new feelings are or how to interpret them. He just lets them slide away from his mind. "It was a pain in the ass but worth it."
"You in competition with me kid?"
"See who has the most tatts."
"Hell naw. I can't win anyway with that big ass fifty you got on yo back."
"Shit blows damn near anybody out the water," he says, happy with himself.
"It's sick. Ay man it's getting late and I got shit to do tomorrow. So I'll catch up with you later?"
"No doubt," he says as Banks gets up. He does the same.
They reach the door. "Aight man."
The two rappers hug for a short second before Lloyd Banks walks out of the suite and disappears down the elevator. The hallway is quiet as 50 Cent stands out there for a short while before shutting the door behind him. It is almost four in the morning and he does not know where the time went after he left the 40/40 Club. Things happen so fast when he and Banks are spending time together but he never questions it. It resides in the back of his mind. He is tired and makes his way into the bathroom adjacent from the bedroom and squirts some toothpaste on a toothbrush to begin brushing his teeth. While doing so, he washes his hands with soap to get the sticky solution off of his fingers from when he touched his friend's new tattoo. He wonders how much it hurt the rapper, knowing firsthand the pain that comes along with cutting the skin open and putting ink into the body. Once below the covers, his mind runs on the sensations his fingertips feels when he touches the other rapper's tender skin earlier. The smooth texture.
The next few days go by with the ebony rapper busily and running to every conceivable inch of New York to get interviews done, or sign new endorsement deals, or making special appearances. He hasn't talk to Marquise in a while and feels guilty about it because of the promises he makes his son. No matter what happens, he plans to take the coming weekend off to visit his little boy. Though the famed jeweler Jacob Arabo takes one more day than he said he would need, 50 is happy when he finally gets the ID band for his son. It is dripping with the sapphires and diamonds and looks absolutely flawless. He suddenly cannot wait for the weekend to come. It will give him a chance to step away from famed rapper 50 Cent and just be Curtis Jackson, father, for a couple days. As soon as he enters his suite, he drops down on the sofa and begins to relax his tired body. He accomplishes many things today and is proud of himself despite the fact that he barely has energy to walk to his room. With the same clothes on, he falls asleep on the comfortable sofa.
The final days of the extra long week wrap up and 50 finds himself more excited than he's been in a long time. It is Friday night and he is hanging out at the hotel. He does not want to go anywhere and does not want to do anything but relax and gather all his energy because he knows he's going to need it to keep up with his son all weekend. This is his time to correct some mistakes that being a celebrity forces him to make in terms of his child. He has to try and correct as much as he can for not only his little boy but himself as well. He calls his son's mother and tells her of his plan and she is glad to finally see him taking a proactive role in their son's life. Everything is set for his weekend away from himself. He tells her nothing about the ID band because he wants it to be a complete surprise. Stars try their best to illuminate the sky as the rapper eats chicken and wild rice and answers a couple text messages at the same time. He takes a quick shower and comes out with a towel wrapped around his waist when he hears his phone.
He dries his hand on the towel before picking it up. "Yea?" he asks, already knowing who it is.
"Heard you backed out of an appearance tomorrow nigga," he hears Lloyd Banks say.
"What up? You aight?"
"Straight. I gotta chill with Tré this weekend."
"How is the squirt?"
"Good. I'm missing him like crazy."
"He missing you too huh?"
"Yea. He tells me every time we talk."
"Do what you gotta do man."
"Aight. I guess I'll holla at you whenever."
"Did you have fun the last time we hung out?"
"Huh? Where'd that come from?" Banks is curious to know.
"Yea. Did you?"
"Yea. We should do it more."
"Whenever our crazy schedules lets us anyway."
"Right." 50 does not know why that question tumbles out of his mouth. He does not know what to think. "You still in NY?"
"Naw. I'm back in LA doing some promo shit."
"Where you gonna be after you hang with Marquise?"
"Probably go to Detroit to meet up with Em in the studio or something. Or maybe Dré . Dunno yet."
"Gonna work on some beats?"
"Probably." He finds it hard to talk to his friend right now but does not understand why. "That stinging stop?" he grasps for topics to talk about.
"Naw. Still hurts like a bitch. And thanks to someone, the shit's probably infected."
"Oh shit! My bad C. I didn't---"
Lloyd Banks laughs. "Chill Fifty man. I'm just fuckin' around with you."
"Bitch! Shit ain't cool."
"Your ass fell for it. Just admit defeat nigga."
"Fuck that. I ain't admitting shit."
"Forget you then. I'm gonna get up outta here though man. Holla at me later."
Lloyd Banks clicks his phone shut and sits on his bed for a minute. It is nine o'clock at night in Los Angeles and the rapper is lying on his bed, recovering from a long day himself. He hit up a few radio stations and did some interviews before sitting down to write some lyrics because he has been neglecting it for the past weeks because of the lack of time. His lower back stings as warm water hits it because he is taking a shower. He is careful to keep it clean because he does not want it to get an infection. After his shower, he stares at his punctured skin in the mirror and suddenly remember how 50 Cent touch. He remembers the weird feeling going through him at the moment; it was not bad. It was actually comforting on some level and he doesn't know what it means. The rapper proceeds to rub the ointment on his battered skin before walking out of the bathroom and putting on a tank top and some shorts. With his insecurities hidden deep away, he tries to get some sleep. It is a task.
Marquise Jackson's eyes open at exactly five in the morning and he lies on his bed staring up at the ceiling of his bedroom. He is overly anxious to be spending time with his father, after not seeing him in a couple months. It is dark in the young boy's room but his eyes are bright and full of hope. He knows his mom is still sleeping so he silently walks to the bathroom and brushes his teeth. Once he is back in his room, he finds some jeans and a shirt to put on before turning on the TV and seeing what is on so early in morning. His eyes cannot contain his excitement as he sits on his bed and watches the TV. Some cartoons manage to hold his interest for a while before he begins flicking through the channels and watching the clock constantly. Some toys grab his attention and he plays with them for a while before jumping to video games in an attempt to kill the rest of the time. He is sure to make his bed and put all his stray toys and clothes away because he doesn't want anything delaying him once his father comes for him.
50 Cent is up at six in the morning on Saturday, not being able to get any sleep the night before because of his anticipation. He shaves his face, showers himself, and sees the Sun already beginning to rise on the eastern horizon upon entering his bedroom again. A new day is here and he plans to take full advantage of it with his son. He plans for them to spend their weekend together in a luxurious house he rents out in the exclusive Hampton community only a couple days ago. This way, they will be alone and not bothered by the press or anyone else for the two days they need together as father and son. He watches as the Sun fully rises and gets a call telling him that his ride is outside. The young rapper slips his sunglasses over his dark brown eyes and puts a black hat on before he makes his way down the busy hotel and quickly checks himself out. The car speeds off through New York traffic to the house he bought for Marquise and his mother. It is a little after eight when he gets there and hesitates a little before finally knocking.
"Hello Curtis. How are you?" his former girlfriend asks as she opens the door.
"I'm doing good. How about you?"
"I'm fine. Come in," she says as she steps aside and allows the rapper access into her home.
"Sorry I didn't call. It's so early and all."
"Is he up yet?"
"Yea. He's been up since five I believe. Just waiting for you."
"Daddy!" he hears his son scream as he blazes down the stairs and jump into his father's awaiting arms. "Hi daddy!"
"Sup Twenty-five Cent?" he affectionately asks his son before kissing his cheeks multiple times. Marquise wraps his arms securely around his father's neck. His mother looks on and smiles slightly at the sight in front of her. "How are you Tré ?"
"Got your stuff packed for the weekend?"
"Yep. It's in my room."
"Go get it and let's go buddy."
"Okay," he says as 50 releases him and he rushes back upstairs to get his stuff.
"Take care of him Curtis."
"I will. I'm as excited as he is about spending time together."
"I hope so."
"I'm sorry I haven't been there for either of you lately," 50 lets his guard down and says.
"This is not about me. It's about him. It always has been."
"Yea. I'll try my best to be in his life more."
"I'm ready," Marquise announces while dragging a suitcase down the stairs.
"Lemme help you with that lil' man."
"Marquise," he hears his mother call him.
"Behave yourself okay son? Listen to your daddy and be a good little boy."
"Okay I will. I love you mommy. I'm gonna miss you," he replies in his innocent voice as he hugs his mother tightly.
"I love you too son," she says, trying hard to fight back tears she knows are behind her eyes. "Be good okay."
"Take care of him Curtis," she says once again to her former boyfriend.
"I will. Come on Twenty-five Cent. Let's go."
"Yes sir," his son replies cutely.
She and 50 exchange quick glances once again before he finally leaves with their son. She never gets used to this feeling but she must deal with it because she knows how much Marquise loves and admires his father and she does want famous rapper to be in his life. The pair jump into the back seat and the car pulls away from Marquise's house. They have a long drive to the house in the Hamptons but neither seems to care because they are with each other. 50 Cent cannot explain the feeling he is experiencing while they are in the car. His son looks exactly like him and he finds himself staring at the youth wondering how he could've helped in creating something so pure and perfect. They talk about everything going on in both of their lives until Marquise falls asleep on the rapper's lap. His index finger strokes the boy's soft hair and smooth face, taking in everything he possibly can from the moment he finds himself in. His father was not there for him when he was growing up and he is not going to repeat his mistake.
The car pulls into the gravel driveway of an overly large salmon-colored house and stops in front of a pair of white doors with brass handles. 50 carefully and effortlessly scoops his sleeping six-year-old son into his arms and makes his way out of the car and toward the house. The driver is busy unloading their suitcases as the rapper fishes through his pocket for the key, being careful not to awake Marquise, who's head is resting his shoulder. Once he gets the door open, he instructs the driver to leave their luggage by the front door and makes his way upstairs to find a room to put his son in. He opens the first door he comes too and it leads him into a large bedroom with many windows and a beautiful view of the ocean. Walking up to the bed, he slowly lowers his little boy onto the king-sized bed and rests his head against one of the fluffy pillows. 50 Cent stands there in awe of the youth for a while until he realizes he has to pay the driver. He walks down and pays him whatever he had in his wallet and closes the door behind him.
Because he was up and over at his son's house so early in the morning, he didn't get a chance to eat breakfast. His stomach grumbles as he finds his way to the kitchen and opens the refrigerator to find something to eat. Eggs are the first thing he sees so he decides to make some scrambled eggs and toast. It's simple enough for him because he does not know how to cook at all plus he knows Marquise will be hungry once he gets up. The house's kitchen is huge as 50 rummages through numerous cabinets looking for a pot to cook the eggs in. After he gathers everything he needs for his simple breakfast, he starts making the food. He reminisces of how good his son felt in his arms when he bought him into the house. He wonders how many moments like that he's sacrificed so far to go off and be 50 Cent. It sticks to the back of his mind but he concentrates on not burning the house down. The aroma of food soon fills the kitchen and he must admit that it doesn't smell bad. He slides bread into the toaster before going back to the eggs.
"You're cooking daddy?" he hears his son ask and he turns around. "You don't cook," Marquise says as he sits on a chair by the kitchen table.
"Okay smart guy. If you don't want anything to eat then fine."
"Hey! I didn't say that. I'm hungry."
"How does eggs and toast sound?"
"It'll be done in a few minutes buddy. Go get the orange juice from the fridge."
"You want one piece of toast or two?"
"Two. And a lot of eggs."
"A lot huh? You sure?"
"Yep. I'm really hungry."
50 turns off the stove and mixes his egg concoction a couple times before getting a plate to serve his son. "Here Tré."
"Yum," his little boy says as he takes the plate from his father and returns to his seat.
The rapper sits next to him and pours them both orange juice. "You like it?"
"It's good. You can cook daddy."
He smiles. "Don't get carried away lil' man. I got lucky."
"Okay. What are we gonna do today?"
"Finish your breakfast and we'll figure out something. We have the whole weekend together."
"You mean it?"
"Nope. It's just you and me this weekend Twenty-five Cent."
Both guys finish their breakfast around the same time and 50 tells his son to go explore the house but he stays and helps his father clean up the kitchen instead. He picks up all the dishes and puts the orange juice back in the refrigerator as the rapper is quickly washing up the dishes. Again, they finish together and the kitchen is as spotless as they found it. He tells his father that they should walk around the house together and he agrees. Marquise asks him for a piggyback ride so he kneels down waits for his son to hop onto his back and place his hands securely around his neck. The pair slowly walk around the house, going into every room and exploring everything they can. Once they finish the downstairs portion of the house, 50 Cent walks upstairs with his son still riding his back and they begin discovering the rest of the house. The master bedroom is overwhelming when he walks into it and walks up to the bed before playfully slamming his son on it. In a frenzy, he starts tickling every inch of the smaller body under him.
Marquise screams out in laughter as his father's fingers tickle him in all the spots he is vulnerable to and more. It's like he knows exactly where to touch his son to get laughter out of him. This is the 50 Cent the public very rarely sees. The normal guy who is just wants to make his son and himself happy rather than carrying on beefs with other rappers or trying to endorse everything he can get his hands on. It's the best feeling in the world to be who he knows he is and not have to put on a façade to impress the public. His son is laughing so much that he sees tears escaping his eyes so he decided to let up because he doesn't want to ware him out so early. Marquise notices that his dad stopped tickling him and uses the opportunity to crawl away from him and grab a pillow to use as a shield to protect himself from the rapper. He hides behind it as best he can but 50 can still hear his giggles and feel his movements on the bed.
"You can come out now Tré. I won't tickle you anymore," he tries to reason with the boy.
"You promise?" his son asks in a low voice.
The little boy tosses the pillow aside and crawls over to rapper. "That was fun," he says as he hugs his dad from behind. His small arms eventually drape down from above 50's massive shoulders.
"You having fun?"
"Yep!" he doesn't hesitate to say.
He turns his son around so that they are facing each other. "Why do I love you so much lil' boy?"
He kisses his son briefly on the cheek. "Because you're perfect Tré. You're my perfect son."
"I'm not perfect daddy."
"I think so. Come here."
They hug as 50 turns him around and pins him to the bed before kissing his neck, causing the youth to cry out in laughter. "You promised you wouldn't tickle me," he says when the assault on his neck stops.
"Did I? I must've forgotten."
"No fair," the energetic child says as he jumps up and down on the bed. "Oh! Look at how big the pool is. Let's go in the pool daddy!" he excitedly says, using the bed as a trampoline.
"We'll go later okay? It's too hot now."
The father and son duo play a little while longer on the bed before they are both thirsty once again. They grab a couple of sodas from the kitchen and walk outside to the patio, where the pool is. The bright blue water looks inviting to the youth but he remembers what his father said earlier and instead sits on a lounge chair in the shade. 50 drags a chair from across the pool to where his son is and sits on it, gulping his soda. Marquise seems to be mesmerized by the water and the rapper just sits there and relaxes himself, not thinking about work or the corporation 50 Cent at all. The boy sips his soda as he and his dad talk about anything. He wonders if he should give him the ID band now but decides that he'll do it tonight sometime. He is too comfortable to go back in the house to retrieve it anyway. The day slowly begins to slip away from them because they are too caught up with talking to each other to notice. It is around four in the afternoon when Marquise finally succumbs to the advances of the pool. He wants to go in.
"It's later. Can we go swimming now?" he asks his dad, who is staring off into nothingness.
"Okay lil' man. Let's go get changed."
The Sun is further on the western horizon and looks like a massive orange basketball hanging in the sky as the rapper returns to the patio, followed closely by his son. He is in a pair of black swimming trunks and the muscles of his buff upper body ripple in the waning light of the Sun. Marquise is in a pair of baby blue shorts and his light brown skin contrasts that of his father's drastically. The rapper takes the boy's hand in his and they walk to the shallow side of the pool where the steps are located. Marquise places his feet on the first step of the pool, with his father's guidance, and the water barely covers his toes. It is warm as he moves onto the subsequent step and 50 finally steps into the pool himself. He is careful to take it one step at a time because of how young his son is and he doesn't want to make any mistakes. The six-year-old is now on the fifth step and the water reaches the middle of his chest and 50 Cent sits on the step he is standing on. He carefully watches as his son quickly dips his head underwater and emerges.
"Feels good huh?"
"Yea. I have to stay on the steps don't I?"
"You know the answer to that shorty."
"Okay," he pouts. "Stay here with me?"
"I'm not leaving."
Marquise splashes water toward the rapper. "Better not."
"Hey! You're gonna get it lil' Twenty-five Cent."
"No! No! Okay. I'll be good. Promise."
"I'll take you word this time. But I won't go so easy on you next time."
"You having fun with me buddy?"
"Yea! A whole lot!"
They stay in the water until the Sun completely disappears from the sky and get out when Marquise announces that he is hungry. They ascend the steps of the pool and walk over to the chair where their towels are hanging. The air is made even more chilly because they are wet so they quickly dry themselves off and make their way back into the house because he doesn't want his son to get sick. 50 tells him to go upstairs and get some clean clothes out while he stays downstairs and picks up the phone to order them pizza. He does not know if his son is old enough to take a shower by himself or if he would have to help him but after he orders a pineapple and extra cheese pizza, he climbs the stairs and walks to the room he put his son to sleep in when they first got to the house. He sees a clean pajama set spread out on the bed but the boy is not there. 50 Cent walks out of the room and toward the nearest bathroom, checking a couple doors before finally finding what he's looking for. He knocks before entering.
"Yea dad?" his son answers, still in his swimming trunks.
"You need me to help you buddy?"
"Yea. Mom gives me a bath."
"Okay. Take your shorts off and jump in the shower."
The youth does as he is told as 50 Cent turns on the water to the shower, making sure it is not too cold for him. He flips the nozzle up and water starts sprinkling from up above and Marquise steps into it. Looking in the cabinet under the sink, the rapper finds shampoo and a bar of soap and takes them back to the edge of the bathtub. His son is jumping up and down in the falling water as he removes the package from the soap and shakes up the shampoo bottle. This is only the third time in his son's life that 50 has given him a bath and he tries to remember everything Marquise's mother told him about bathing children. He is extra careful not to get any soap or shampoo into the boy's eyes when he rubs his skin with the soap and shampoos his hair. He meticulously washes every inch of his skin with the bar of soap and tells his son to close his eyes tightly when he begins rinsing off the shampoo and soap from his body. He shuts the water off after his son is clean and fetches a dry towel and drapes it around him.
"Come on, let's go get you dressed."
Marquise haphazardly dries himself as they walk toward his room. "You dry?" 50 asks as they enter the room.
"Hop up on the bed and I'll help you."
"Okay," the boy follows the instruction. The buff rapper wraps the towel around his small body and starts drying those hard to reach places. "Hey! That tickles," Marquise laughs as he tries to get away from his father's grasp.
"I'm just trying to get you dry Tré. I dunno what you're talking about," he innocently says.
"Okay you caught me. I like to hear you laugh. To see you smile."
"Then I know you're happy."
"I am happy," the little boy states as he puts on his underwear and then his black pajama bottoms.
"That's my boy," he says as Marquise buttons up his pajama shirt. "You done?"
"Okay. Come and hang out on my bed until daddy finishes taking a shower."
They walk down the hall into the master bedroom where Marquise immediately jumps onto the large bed. "Here's the remote buddy. Watch some TV."
50 searches through his luggage for a pair of boxers and some silk, deep red pajama pants before disappearing into the bathroom to shower himself. He can feel the goosebumps on his skin as he takes off his wet trunks and hangs them on a rack in the shower to dry. Cold water shoots out the faucet until he adjusts it and puts the shower on. He showers as quickly as possible because he doesn't not want to leave his son by himself for a long time. His soap-slick fingers quickly roam throughout his muscular body, lathering wherever they touch while he attempts to shampoo his hair. The warm water washes everything down the drain and he turns it off and grabs a clean towel. After thoroughly drying himself, he slips on his boxers and the dark red pants. He pulls the string tight and ties it; the pair of pants hanging low on his waist. The clean rapper watches himself in the mirror for a brief moment while he dries his hair and then comes out of the bathroom to notice his son watching some cartoons.
"Wow daddy! I wanna be as strong as you when I grow up," Marquise says, admiring his father's naked muscular torso.
"Takes a lot of work baby boy."
"I can do it."
"I know you can," 50 reassures him by patting his head before he searches for a tank top. The doorbell rings once he slips it on. "Pizza's here. Let's go."
"Yay! I'm starving."
He grabs his son from the bed and they walk downstairs to get dinner. He fetches his wallet before walking out the room and looks through it for money, not remembering how much the pizza came up to. Once they are on the first floor of the house, he tells Marquise to sit in the kitchen and wait for him as he makes his way to the door. The pizza deliveryman looks to be in his early fifties when he opens the door. He does not recognize the rap superstar and for this, 50 is grateful. He gives him a fifty dollar bill, stating that the rest is his tip, and closes the door behind him. Marquise is excitingly waiting as the rapper walks into the kitchen and places the pizza box in front of him. After the entire pizza pie is gone the pair clean up and walk into massive family room to watch some TV. 50 Cent sits on the sofa and his son sits next to him and leans on his muscular body. It isn't long before the youth puts his head on his father's lap while they are watching cartoons. He looks over a while later to see if his boy is sleeping on him.
Marquise looks up into his father's eyes. "What?"
"Thought you slept away on me Twenty-five Cent."
"I'm gonna. I'm tired."
"You want me to put you to bed?"
"Are you going to bed?"
"Not yet. Why?"
"I wanna sleep with you. I'll wait up."
He flicks the TV off. "Let's go. I can see how sleepy you are."
The superstar rapper instructs his son to go upstairs and brush his teeth while he walks around the bottom floor of the house and turns off all the lights that are on. After getting a quick drink of water, he walks upstairs and into his bedroom. Marquise is still in the bathroom brushing his teeth as 50 sits on the edge of the bed and waits for him. His mind remembers the last time when he and the boy slept together, when Marquise was about two. He gets sad because of how much he missed his son growing up so far. He is barely there for any of the milestone events in the youth's life and truly begins to wonder if he is capable of being a good and positive parent to his child. All those insecure thoughts hide themselves deep within himself as Marquise enters the room and jump on the bed next to him. 50 Cent playfully tosses a nearby pillow at him before going to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He doesn't want his thoughts about his little boy to defeat him but he can't help it. It is all so overwhelming. He returns to the room.
He sees his son's entire body under the covers. "You sleeping already short stuff?" He sits by the bump on the bed.
Marquise suddenly erupts from beneath the covers and screams, "Grrr! Scared you huh?"
"Not a chance punk!" 50 replies as he tackles his boy onto the bed.
"You're bigger than me so you're always gonna win."
"That's true. Let's go to bed lil' man," he says as he takes off his tank top and crawls under the blanket.
The six-year-old follows his father, going under the covers and moving closer to him. "Okay."
"Night Tré man."
"Are you and mommy ever gonna get back together?"
50 sits up and looks at the little boy next to him, the quarter Moon only managing to light his tiny body slightly. He doesn't know how to answer so it remains quiet for a while. "I'm not sure how to answer you son."
"Do you still love her?" Marquise asks, staring up at the ceiling and not looking at his father.
"It's complicated Tré."
50 Cent moves his body back and leans against the headboard, his eyes never leaving the youth's shadow. "I do love your mother. I'll always love her. But it's not the kind of love that you're thinking about."
"What kind of love is it?"
"I love her because she gave me you. I dunno if you understand."
"No. I don't get it."
"It's hard to explain."
"I used to love her. And then when we had you, I loved her even more but it didn't work."
He swallows hard. He's never admitted this to anyone. "My head wasn't in it. My goals were not to raise a family at the time. I wanted to get my career going and I didn't have time to invest in both things."
"But that didn't mean that we didn't want you Tré. You are, and will always be what's most important in our lives."
"You mean it?"
"Yes. Even though your mother and I had different goals, our love for you is what binds us together. We grew apart and I realized that I only loved her because she brought you into our lives. That isn't enough to be in a relationship son. You mother knows that and so do I."
"It's not fair to you guys."
"No it's not. We're both doing the best we can to raise you right. She knows more about raising you than I do."
"Why don't I live with you sometimes too?"
50 Cent does not know where all these questions are coming from but he tries his best to answer them as honestly as he possibly can. "Because you mother can provide a more stable life for you than I can Tré. She sets you on the right path and makes sure that you're doing good in school and everything. I can't do that for you buddy. As hard as I try, I can't be the parent she is. The parent you need."
"I need you too daddy," the six-year-old says as moves his head from the pillow and rests it on the rapper's lap. 50 strokes his son's face and hair with his index finger as the boy yawns.
"I know. I need you too. I don't want you growing up the way I did. I don't want that for you. So that's why we decided that you should be with her."
"That doesn't mean that I don't love you baby. I love you more than anything. You're the only right thing I've ever done. I don't wanna mess this up."
"Don't stay away okay daddy? I love you and I want you to teach me everything you know."
"I'm sorry about that. It's never because I don't wanna see you buddy. I always think about you Marquise. I'm always missing you. I just wanna do right by you and the only way I think I can do that is to not show you the world I came from. You don't deserve that son. No one does. I promise I'll be there for you more. I think I need you more than you need me and being with you today proves that," the rapper says as he looks down to see his little boy soundly sleeping on his lap.
The feelings coursing through the rapper's veins as he watches his son sleep on him feel like fire and it takes over his entire body. He silently agrees to keep the promise he just made to the six-year-old before slightly shifting his tranquil body from his lap to the bed. He picks the boy's head up and places a pillow under it before resting his head back on it. The rapper stares at his son through the Moon's light, wondering how something so perfect can possibly come from him. He is in awe of the six-year-old. The only other time 50 ever experienced such strong feelings was when the little boy sleeping next to him was born. That single-handedly is the best day of the rap superstar's life. He sees the box containing the ID band and reminds himself that he has to give it to his boy tomorrow. Marquise's small body goes up and down, breathing life into and out of the sleeping child. His father draws the covers over them and kisses his little boy on the cheek lightly before finally resting his head on the pillow to get some rest.
50 Cent opens his eyes and the light of a new day greets him. He rubs his eyes and cautiously sits up so as not to wake the boy sleeping next to him. Marquise's body is facing the rapper and is still soundly sleeping when he gets up and walks to the bathroom. The clock on the wall says that it is a couple minutes past nine when he begins brushing his teeth. The conversation from last night is still heavy in his mind and he begins to wonder how much his son really understood all that was said. He wants him to understand everything they talked about but doesn't know if he is capable of explaining it any better than he attempted to last night. The situation between him and Marquise's mother is difficult, even to them, so explaining it to a six-year-old could prove to be impossible. 50 knows his son is smart though and hopes he got everything that was said last night. His ebony skin glistens as water touches his face because he is washing it. Downstairs, he finds a bowl and fixes himself some cereal before walking into the den.
He flips open his cell phone after he finishes his breakfast and dials. "Hi. How are you?"
"Curtis? What's wrong?" Marquise's mom asks with concern in her voice.
"Nothing. Everything's good."
"Where is he?"
"Sleeping still. Look, I know I'm supposed to bring him back today but I wanna spend more time with him."
"Okay," his former girlfriend says, completely taken aback by the request. "How much longer do you want?"
"Whatever you think is best. Maybe today and then I can bring him back tomorrow afternoon?"
"Tomorrow's Monday though. He has school."
"Oh," 50 says, the disappointment obvious in his voice. "How many days has he missed?"
"Maybe one or two. I can see how much this means to you though."
"So you'll let me?"
"Yes. I know he'll want to spend more time with you too. Thank you for calling and telling me," she says with relief in her voice. She is happy that the rapper wants to spend more time with their son.
"You have a right to know."
"So I'll see you two tomorrow then?"
"Yea. In the afternoon."