~>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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The harsh days of winter are almost a thing of the past as the uncounted hours go by in a hurry. Banks is too busy to keep track of it all. His album is now three times platinum and more and more people are starting to notice him outside of G-Unit. It is a double-edged sword because he does not want to disrespect 50 or Buck in any way but he admits that having people know him for his own self and not just a member of the hip-hop group is refreshing. A photo shoot takes the entire morning with it and after grabbing a quick bite to eat for the energy, the young rapper is off to the gym to keep his body up. Ludacris runs through his mind all day as well as the constant argument of wanting to say those three magic words back to him. He will know when the time is right and there is no way he will ever say it over the phone. He wants to look into the southern rapper's brown eyes when he finally says it. A follow-up meeting with T-Mobile to formalize his endorsement contracts happens in the afternoon and before all is said and done, it is nightfall once again.
Lloyd Banks quickly wraps a towel around his naked waist as he rushes out the bathroom because his phone is going off on his bed. He looks at the name and remains silent for a minute. "What up?" he answers.
"What's good with ya Chris?" 50 Cent's masculine voice answers him back.
"Just relaxin' at the crib."
"Oh you gettin' ready?"
"Ready? For what?"
"The G-Unit party nigga. That shit's tonight. I told you a while back remember?" the buff rapper informs him.
"Oh fuck! It completely slipped my mind. Been too damn busy."
"What? Your ass forgot this shit?" He sounds offended. "I told you `bout it nigga."
"Well look, I'm just gettin' out the shower now so lemme go get ready and I'll be out there," Banks says to him. He is not sure where the two of them stand with each other. It seems so much harder to talk to him. "Ten right?"
"You remembered the time?" the older man's tone is dripping with satire.
"My b. I ain't late though. I got an hour."
"You wanna hop a ride in the limo with us?"
"We'll come get yo diva ass last since you gotta get all pretty and shit."
"Fuck you! But yea, come at me last," the G-Unit star reinforces what his boss says.
"Call me when y'all out there."
As much as he wants to simply stay in and try to see what his boyfriend is up to, plans have once again changed but he does not mind it as much because a night to relax is something that is much needed. The G-Unit member thoroughly dries his slim body with the towel before finding something to wear to his new plans for the night. Things between him and 50 Cent are still indifferent and, in retrospect, it is better this way. Banks does not know what he was thinking trying to go after a relationship with someone he works so closly with. Their relationship never should have left that professional level and he knows that now. It took the younger rapper getting burned by it all to finally realize that it was not something he could ever have. It is better this way, he thinks as he gets dressed and tries to find a pair of shoes to match the outfit. Ludacris is on his mind; he wants to talk to his man badly. Even if it is just to hear his smooth and sexy southern voice; it always manages to send shivers down Lloyd Banks' spine. Especially when he is whispering.
Opting to not place a hat on his head, Banks checks himself out in the mirror and sees something that has been missing for a long time; his own happiness. It is there in his eyes, in his body language. His life is in a good place right now and a big part of that is because of Ludacris. Just think of sexy Atlanta rapper brings a smile to his face. He has him hooked. The phone rings in the background and he picks it up, taking his cue to leave. The elevator ride is quick and he exits the hotel and is ushered into a long, slick black limo. The first person he sees is 50 Cent. He looks good. Young Buck is also there and so is Olivia. The whole family is together. Lloyd Banks greets all of his colleagues and the conversations are light and playful as the limo makes its way to its destination. He and 50 are seated next to each other and their arms rub against one another's on numerous occasions. It is distracting but the slender rapper leaves it alone. It is not worth it anymore. The group finally arrives to a packed club in the heart of New York City. Fans are everywhere.
"Time for you freeloaders to get outta my ride," Young Buck says as he opens the door and hops out.
"Forget you nigga," 50 says as he gets out also.
"And what if I refuse boy?" Banks teases his friend. He also takes notice of how quiet Olivia is tonight. She barely speaks two words in the car.
"I'll have to kick your ass negro."
"Aight boys," the buff rapper says as he comes in the middle of them and rests each of his massive arms around the two rappers' shoulders. "Play nice or else." A picture is taken. Olivia is the last to emerge from the limo and rounds of pictures begin.
Once every member of G-Unit is seeing stars because of the constant bombardment of light being thrown toward them, they finally leave and enter the club. There is a slight knot in 50's stomach and every time he looks at Olivia it worsens because he knows he hurt an innocent woman for no reason. The guilt will not leave him alone but he is careful not to let anything show to anyone, especially her. The club is crowded with people already drinking, partying, and having a great time. Different musicians, actors, and sports players are already relaxing and enjoying a free night as the three rappers walk around to greet and mingle with as many people as they can. They are not together and Olivia heads to the restroom to powder her nose. Dr. Dré arrives shortly after them and Eminem is hours late, as usual. Everyone laughs and is genuinely enjoying themselves as Lloyd Banks retrieves a drink and comes back to the table he is sharing with the super producer, Slim Shady, and the buff rapper. They are all catching up with each other on life.
The slim rapper looks out onto the floor to see the first lady of G-Unit and Young Buck dancing together. It seems like she is loosening up and enjoying herself. He is glad for this because although her role was undefined within the group in the beginning, she has grown on him. Lloyd Banks is starting to see her as a little sister that he must protect. He is able to be this open and receptive to her now because he finally admits that he was jealous of her getting so close to 50. It is Ludacris; their relationship makes him go face to face with every insecurity he has had in the past months. And he knows something is wrong with her but he will not ask because it is not his place. His relationship with 50 Cent is now more a professional one than anything else. Everything seems to be going his way at the moment. He does wonder what the rap superstar is thinking when he sees him staring off at times; many times. It is still hard; he will not deny the fact. Banks sips his drink slowly; he really does not want to get drunk tonight, as he watches the two dance together.
The party is mainly for the group to come together, hang out, and relax themselves because everyone has been working so hard. Young Buck's album will be released within the end of the month and he is very excited about it. The whole group is and they are scheduled to all appear in the video for his first single, which will begin shooting by the week's end. When the two finally rejoins the group, both grab a drink enter into the conversation easily. 50 is a little uneasy because she sits next to him. This is exactly what he did not want. Why can he not control his hormones? Things are so awkward between them because of their failed relationship. Because of him. Olivia tries to take it in stride but it still bothers her the way her former boyfriend broke up with her when she thought everything was going so well. It cannot though because it will affect her performance and she will not let that happen. It all shoots to the back of her mind and stays there. The entire family is there, with their differences aside and having a good time, like it is meant to be.
"Let's dance," Lloyd Banks finishes his drink and asks Olivia. He extends his hand out.
"Okay," she says after taking another sip of her soda.
50 Cent watches the pair intently as they walk out onto the dance floor and begin to dance together. He is not jealous; he just wants things to go back to how they used to be with both of them. The two members from the G-Unit crew who he had, and one of them who he still wants. He listens to Eminem crack jokes on him and notices Young Buck busily talking away on his phone and Dré chatting with a female at the bar. The superstar rap artist suddenly feels alone. Something is eating away at him and it has been ever since Lloyd Banks stepped into the limo earlier. Something is different about him but he does not know what. 50 does not want a professional relationship with his best friend. He wants more; so much more with him. Why did he not he see it sooner? Why is he always so selfish? It cannot show. The G-Unit rapper forces it all out of his mind and starts clowning around with Slim Shady, who is next to him. He will not make himself obvious but his eyes do wander to the duo on the dance floor from time to time. Banks looks so good tonight.
"I think you've only said two words this whole night you know that?" Lloyd Banks relays to his dancing partner.
"What do you mean?" she nervously responds.
"Is something up with you?"
"No. Everything's good Chris. Why?"
"Just something I thought I noticed I guess."
"Maybe I'm a little stressed out. I have a lot on my plate these days," she tries to rationalize with herself.
"I know the feeling. Just hang in there. You good. You got all us watching your back and Fifty as your boyfriend. You real good," Banks says as he smiles. Something still feels off.
She physically cannot produce the words to correct him. "Yea---" she trails off. "Thanks for the dance Chris. I have to use the restroom really quick before we get going."
She abandons him on the dance floor as the hectic party begins to wind down at around three in the morning. Dr. Dré is the first from the group to leave and Eminem gets a call and heads out as well. Olivia returns from the bathroom and informs everyone that she will be taking a cab home quickly because she has an interview to be at later in the morning. All three men nod and hug her before she rapidly leaves. She cannot take another limo ride being so close to him. She will go mad. The remaining members of G-Unit hang out for a short while more before they finally leave their party. The limo speeds away; Buck wants to be dropped off first because he has some forgotten business to take care of. Once he says goodbye to his rap brothers, the limo takes off once again and 50 and Banks are the only ones left now. Their hotels are somewhat close to each other's as the silent ride continues through another city that never sleeps. Many lights keep the place illuminated as 50 Cent looks at Lloyd Banks as he is staring out the window, thinking.
"Some party huh?" he attempts to break the ice.
"Yea. It was off the hook. As usual."
"That's how we do it."
"I had fun. Glad you reminded me."
The younger rapper looks at him. The question throws him off but he replies, "Yea. Why wouldn't I be?"
"Dunno. Considering how things have been lately---"
"We still friends C man. It's just more professional now."
"Why?" 50 asks, before considering the ramifications of such a powerful question.
"It's better this way."
"For who Chris? You?"
"But me. I want my best friend back," the muscular rapper says shortly.
"Don't. Don't do this. We can't."
"Why? Is this what you really want?"
The G-Unit member looks into the sky outside. "No. It's what you want."
"Who the fuck said that?"
"No one had to."
"So how you know it's what I want?"
"Because it is. You know it." Lloyd Banks wants this ride to be over already. He cannot talk to his former best friend about this.
"So now you fucking know what I want?"
"Don't get upset okay. I don't want that. It's not worth it anymore Curtis."
"Says who?" he shoots back. "You the one who givin' up on our friendship and shit."
"Don't sit there and fuckin' say shit like that to me! You're drunk and don't know what the fuck you talkin' `bout so shut the hell up aight!" He is getting mad. 50 is getting to him, like he has always known how to.
"Why the hell not? It's the truth isn't it?"
"I don't wanna fight with you. This is why we gotta keep shit between us on the business level only."
"Fuck you nigga! You just being a fucking selfish brat. Like always."
"Okay. You right. We done now?" He just agrees to end the conversation. They are both a little tipsy and are not sure of everything they are saying. There is no responsibility.
"Something's different with you. I noticed it when we got you earlier."
"What you talkin' `bout?"
"Something's going on. What happened?"
"Dunno what you talkin' `bout man. You need to go back to the crib and sleep it off."
"I'm not fucking drunk!" 50 Cent snaps loudly.
"Aight! Whatever you say. Shit!"
"I know you not gonna tell me but I know you. And I know something's up. It's like you glowing or some shit."
Lloyd Banks becomes slightly nervous but holds his composure for the sake of his sanity. He will not tell 50 about Ludacris. He does not deserve to know anything personal about him anymore. "Yea I'm glowing nigga. I got hit with radiation the other day."
"Fuck you. All this shit happened because I did that---"
Nothing further is said and those words hang in the air for an eternity as the car keeps moving in the busy metropolis. Lloyd Banks wants more than anything for the ride to reach his destination already because he cannot take much more of it. 50 is still capable of hurting him in so many ways; that will never change. They look at each other for a split second before the slimmer rapper looks away and tries to concentrate on almost anything else. He knows his former best friend's eyes are on him and he does not care nor does he give him the gratification of looking back. It is not worth it. It never was. Why did he not see that before? This was never meant to happen. The G-Unit rapper closes his eyes for a moment and regroups his thoughts before he hears the driver inform him that they are in front of his hotel. He says a very quick and short goodbye to 50 Cent and hops out of the car as quickly as possible to makes his way into the hotel lobby, not daring to look back. The black limo speeds off behind him as the elevator takes him up to his suite.
The worn out rapper enters his dark hotel room feeling upset and hurt. Once again, 50 Cent says the precise things to get under his skin and he lets it work. He always does. He quickly changes out of his clothes and puts on a pair of shorts and a tank top to get ready for bed. His body is tired. His mind is bleeding. Banks looks through the various cabinets and refrigerator of the kitchen to find something to quench his slight appetite. Seeing nothing better, he pours cereal and milk into a bowl before walking into the living room and flicking on the TV. 50 and their conversation is on his mind as he munches on the cereal. It worries him that the older rapper noticed that something was different with him. He cannot know about Ludacris. No one can. Lloyd Banks tries desperately to let it all go but he is hurt. No one can hurt him the way his former best friend can. He finishes his midnight snack and walks the bowl back to the kitchen before brushing his teeth and hopping into bed. He is too deep in thought to hear his phone ringing at first. He looks for it in the dark.
The name the phone displays sends a pulse up his spine and causes him to smile. "Bri baby. What up?"
"What's good with ya Banks boy?"
"Nothing. `Bout to hit this bed. I'm tired as hell."
"Just had to hear your voice baby."
"Where you at?"
"In ATL for the moment. At the crib. On the same bed me and you---" Ludacris begins to tease his boyfriend in hopes of getting a rise out of him.
"Stop! Stop teasing me." It works.
"Okay okay. I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"Where were you? I called you earlier."
"Oh," Lloyd Banks says. "I had this G-Unit party to go to."
"Oh yea? Had fun?"
"Right up `til the end anyway."
"Why? What happened at the end?"
He does not want to give 50 Cent the validation of thinking about him anymore. "I don't wanna talk about it."
"What? It's nothing."
"Are you sure babe?" the DJ turned rapper is now concerned.
"Fuck Fifty! Fuck him! I'm tired of his shit."
He sighs. "What happened? What'd he say to you?"
"Talkin' shit like always."
"Why do you let him get to you Chris?"
"I don't know!" he says loudly in hopes it will vent his frustrations. "I don't fucking know!"
"I hate seeing you so upset over his stupid ass."
"You don't know baby. He knows all the shit to say to get me mad. I'm sick of it."
"You worryin' me Chris. Just forget about him," the southern rapper says definitively.
"How can I when we work together? He's everywhere I am."
"Maybe you should leave G-Unit."
"I can't. Can we talk about anything else Bri?" his voice is almost to the point of cracking because of how upset and hurt he is. He wants Ludacris with him right now, to hold him and kiss him.
"Yea. Okay. When am I gonna see you?"
"I dunno but I wish it was right now. I want you here with me right now," Banks says as he tries his hardest to calm himself down and enjoy the conversation with his boyfriend. He lies on his lonely bed and stares up at the dark ceiling with the phone attached to his ear.
"I could try and fly up. I have some business out that way."
"No. I don't want you dropping everything because of me."
"But I want to. I wanna spend time with you Chris."
"Please Bri. It wouldn't feel right. I don't want you sacrificing work for me."
The DTP rapper smiles to himself. "You lookin' out for me kid?"
"Oh yea. I know you lookin' out for me too right?"
"No doubt about it. I gotta because you a crazy ass nigga."
"Ha ha. You funny boy."
"Just tryin' to make you feel better. I know how hard it is for you sometimes."
Lloyd Banks rubs his eyes because he is so tired. "Thank you."
"I got you cutie."
"You think I'm cute?"
"Hell yea Chris! You even gotta ask?"
"Just wanted to hear it I guess."
"Well now you have," the older man responds back. He needs to make his boyfriend feel good after the verbal assault from 50 Cent.
"Damn. You makin' me want you here with me even more now."
"Don't worry. We'll meet up sooner or later."
"Yea. I'm gonna go baby. I gotta get some sleep."
"Aight lil' G-Unit boy. Sleep tight," Ludacris sexily tantalizes him.
"You gonna stop callin' me that Bri."
"Or else what Chris?"
"You'll see Luda."
"Oh it's like that Banks?" he continues with the flow.
"You lucky I'm tired and missin' you."
"I miss you too Chris. A lot."
"I'll try and call you tomorrow okay?" Banks says as he yawns. His eyes are closing on him. "Night."
"Good night. Sleep tight baby boy."
50 Cent is lying on his bed with his eyes stuck to the ceiling. The buzz from the alcohol is wearing off and every nasty and selfish thing he said to Lloyd Banks earlier in the limo is coming back to him; hard. He truly does not know how the conversation went so wrong but it did, and it is most likely his own fault. His strong insecurities and that carnal desire to always be in control of every situation his life has to throw at him is sacrificing any chance he has at true happiness. The superstar rapper contemplates calling his best friend so many times but the courage is not there. And besides that, what would he say? What could he say? His behavior tonight is unexplainable and blameworthy only to him. Things will never go back to normal now; he does not see any way of it happening. 50 sighs and looks outside a nearby window to try and understand why he is the way he is and why he does the things he does. Outside is still and quiet as the G-Unit member anxiously tries to put his life into perspective. Sleep does not easily accept him into its grasp.
The jaded ebony rapper wakes the next morning with anxiety deep within his stomach. He has a few meeting to attend today but that is not what has him in knots inside. Dr. Dré leaves him a message overnight saying that he set up an appointment for him and Olivia to be at a studio later on tonight. The producer wants them to get together to see if the first lady of G-Unit is ready to start producing her first album or if she needs more time. This throws 50 off the edge and he cannot concentrate on anything. What can he possibly say to her now? His life is such a complicated mess now and he has no one but himself to blame. On top of it all, he has not seen Marquise in what seems like an eternity. He misses the little guy so much and wants to spend time with him but this proves to be impossible. 50 Cent is up and out of his hotel room in no time because he wants to burn some of his stress off at he gym before heading to his meetings lined up for today and then to the recording studio later on. Butterflies live in his stomach throughout, but the busy day proves lucrative.
Twilight serenity greets New York as 50 Cent enters his hotel room and quickly orders himself dinner before heading to the shower to wash the remnants of the day off his muscled body. The water attempting to beat and knead his skin manages to take some of the anxiety away from him but he is still so nervous about being alone with Olivia in the studio later tonight. Dinner gives him a boost of energy and he is out of the door a short while later to make it to the studio on time. The rap superstar takes everything in and tries his absolute hardest to just act as normal and as casual as possible. Things will eventually have to get back to being normal between them because of the fact that they work together. Tonight is the first step in that direction and is what he keeps saying to himself so that he does not lose his nerve. A long drive concludes and 50 enters the studio and finds his way to where he needs to be. The G-Unit rapper stops shortly at the ajar door because his former lover is already there. Another person he has hurt with his selfishness and carelessness.
An awkward greeting ensues between the two members of G-Unit and the small conversation is forced in every way. They get down to business and 50 shifts into business mode and starts utilizing the recording equipment to get the desired effects. He secretly looks at her from time to time, until she disappears out of the room to get a bottle of water to soothe her dry throat, and wonders why he pursued a relationship with her in the first place. Olivia was right from the very beginning and he should have listened to her; a relationship like that was unprofessional and inappropriate for them to get into and now the consequences of that mistake are coming back to haunt them. The producer directs her to where she should be lyrically as they start to test her to see if she is ready. She gives it her all and tries to remain collected throughout the whole trial but 50 Cent being so close to her is having a negative effect on her confidence and her heart. He broke it. Despite it all, she produces melodies that are worthy enough for her to start officially recording.
She exits the studio and sits on the sofa. 50's back is to her. "What do you think?" she tries to gain her confidence back and ask.
"You kiddin' me? You got it down. Dré will definitely wanna hear this."
"Really? Do you think he will like it?"
"I know he will," 50 says as he saves their work and turns around to face her. She is so beautiful.
"I hope so. It did sound pretty good."
"Better than good baby girl. Great. I think you're ready."
She blushes because she does not know how to feel hearing him call her that. "Is that it? Are we done?"
"Yea. He and the execs just wanted a sample before they moved forward."
"Oh. I see. Okay. How's everything going?"
"Crazy as usual. You know how it is with me."
"Yea. And Marquise is okay?"
Hearing his son's name sends shockwaves of pain and guilt throughout his vulnerable body. "I haven't seen him in a while. Been so busy you know. I'm planning on it real soon though. I miss him."
"I know you do." She forces a smile.
"And how about you? How are you doing?" 50 asks as his eyes rest on her unintentionally.
"I'm good you know. Still trying to adjust to it all but it's what I want so."
"Yea. You'll be fine." Their conversation is definitely forced on every level.
"I miss you Curtis. I can't help it."
"Is it hard to talk to me right now?"
"Yes. All I thought about today was meeting you here. And what to say and how to act. It's all so confusing. I don't know what happened---"
"I want you to be happy. And I know I can't make you happy."
"You did. You did make me happy. I couldn't explain it when we were together."
"You deserve to be happy," is all the rap star can think of to say. He does not want this conversation to happen because seeing her open up to him once again is killing him with guilt and self-hatred.
"You make me happy. Come back to me. Let me prove to you that you're wrong."
"I can't. We can't."
Tears can no longer hold themselves back from falling down Olivia's face. "I'm sorry Curtis. If this is what you want then I'm okay with it," she sits there and blatantly lies to her former lover's face.
The guilt eats him raw now. He cannot stand seeing her hurt this way. "Slap me. Yell at me. Hate me. Do something to me to make yourself feel better."
"I don't hate you. I love you."
The final words linger in the air of the recording studio as Olivia picks up her purse and leaves him alone. Alone so his guilt can tear away at what is left of his battered insides. She does not even look back as she exits the studio and heads off through the city. 50 Cent remains behind to piece his mind back together before finally shutting off the lights and leaving the darkened studio. A clock on the wall displays one in the morning when he returns to his room and begins disrobing for bed. The day is long and exhausting and he just wants to crawl into bed and forget everything. Forget his yearning for Lloyd Banks. Forget his guilt over Olivia. Forget constantly disappointing his one and only small son. His mind is a melting pot of unstable and dangerous thoughts and the exhausted rapper needs a break from it all. If this keeps up then it will only manage to destroy him emotionally. Forgetting the trouble with the two G-Unit members, his mind pinpoints and focuses on one thing. Marquise is the last thing he thinks about before sleep controls him.
Another day is filled to the point of overflowing with appearances, photo shoots, and meetings for the troubled rapper 50 Cent. He and Young Buck get together early in the new day to accomplish a photo shoot for a magazine and then a phone conference finds him shortly after the pair wrap up the shoot. Dr. Dré is interested to hear about Olivia's performance in the studio the other night and based on the older rapper's unbiased review of her voice; the rap producer likes what he hears. A decision on whether to start her album is still on the sidelines because they all have their hands full with Buck's new project and Lloyd Banks' reworked album still. Although it is slipping, the album is still a heavy contender on the charts and keeps earning rave reviews for its original lyrics, harmonious beats and sounds, and the overall ambiance of the entire project. 50 is so proud of his best friend but he cannot tell him to his face because it seems like every time they are together, they end up going after each others' throats. It is a horrible feeling he wants gone.
The packed day drags slowly by after the phone meeting and the ebony rapper finds a couple of hours to hit the gym with his two trusted bodyguards and friends before it is back to work. Having all his muscles pulled, stretched, and worked out hard does manage to give him a boost of energy and puts him in a better mood to tackle the rest of his long day. 50 finds himself in another photo shoot for the cover of a magazine he does not even know and he is glad that he worked the gym into his schedule because the shoot requires him to take his shirt off and flex all the muscles he works so hard to maintain. Most of his pictures are serious because he is not in a happy place at the moment but when the photographer asks him to smile and be goofy for the last few frames, the G-Unit member obliges and smiles a sincere smile. It is fake but it gets him through the day so it must stay on. After a meeting to potentially endorse another company, 50 Cent finally ends his endless day. He hops into a black Denali and is closely followed by his two bodyguards.
"Damn! Thought this fuckin' day was gonna last forever," he says as the car starts moving with traffic. His head automatically rests back on the seat. He needs to catch his breath and gather his thoughts.
"Shit was long as hell boss. I don't get paid enough to follow your ass around," Danny responds with a smile on his face. He nudges Caleb, who is sitting next to him.
"Yea. You gotta give us a damn raise or some shit," the other bodyguard chimes in with his notions of the day. They are teasing their employer.
"Y'all niggas funny. I'm just gonna have to get some new boys then."
"Oh you wrong for that," Caleb retorts.
"It's what being in the industry will do to ya."
"You can't replace us nigga. We the best thing you got going kid." Both men nod in a mutual agreement.
"You would think that wouldn't you?" 50 Cent toys back with them.
"You been in and out of it lately C."
"I noticed that too. What's up with ya man?"
His eyes close and try to find somewhere to begin. The rapper is, of course, selective of what he tells them. It is not because his distrust of them; it is for the simple fact that he has not admitted many things to himself that he knows deep down are true. "The fans and everyone else only see the good side of it. The cool videos and photo shoots and appearances and all that shit."
"Yea," Danny says in a tone that encourages his boss to continue.
Caleb is listening intuitively. "It helps to talk things out Curtis. Don't keep it all bottled in. Shit will drive you mad if you try to."
"I know. But you can't just talk to anyone otherwise all yo shit will be spread on the tabloids the next day."
"Yea," both men respond together.
"It's hard as hell behind the scenes. All the retakes and meetings and events and being away from---"
"Family?" one of his bodyguards finishes his sentence for him.
"My son. Damn I haven't seen him in so long." There is so much more on the G-Unit rapper's mind but this will suffice.
"This industry is crazy. Everyone wanting a piece of you and no privacy and all that," Danny says. He wants to find some words to comfort the rapper and his friend.
"The shit you gotta do to stay on top is too much sometimes. So fuckin' much."
"It's what you want Curtis. What you fought all your life for."
"Yea I know but the price of it is too high Caleb man. I can count the amount of times I see my son for the whole year on my two hands. That shit isn't right. What the hell kinda father am I?"
"Not a bad one. You provide so much for the lil' one. You're just not there all the time and it sucks but this is your job. You can't stop being Fifty Cent."
"Danny's right kid. We know how much you love your son. He knows it too. And you know what, that should be enough for you to know that he knows how much his father loves and wants to be there for him."
"That shit's fucking lame. Tré doesn't deserve any of it. I'm so tired of it all right now." 50 Cent is speaking of more than just being apart from his only son.
"What you gonna do?" Danny asks him.
"Take a vacation Curtis. Take your son and get the hell outta the country and stay for as long as you want."
"Shit. That would be nice but you know it'd be impossible to get away now. Especially with everything that's going on."
"You gonna kill yourself trying to please every one of these niggas out here. Worry `bout yourself and yo son first. Fuck everything else," Caleb says strongly to his boss in the hopes that he is getting through to him.
"He's right C. Fuck Fifty Cent. Be Curtis Jackson for a while and see what happens."
"You boys are crazy as hell," he smiles. They care for him as a person and not just as a boss and it makes the strong rapper feel good inside. "Fifty Cent pays y'all niggas salary."
"He ain't all that," the pair of bodyguards say together once again.
"You fellas watch it."
The three men laugh as the limo almost instantly comes to a stop in front of the buff rapper's hotel. His two loyal bodyguards bid him goodnight after he steps out of the limo and his hands catch both of theirs in a shake before the limo disappears down the slightly darkened street. The diamond encrusted hands of his Audemars Piguet watch show the time to be a couple minutes after nine as he enters the large lobby of the hotel and makes his way up to his room. Once there, he orders a well deserved dinner for himself and takes a quick but extremely satisfying shower before eating and finally finding that time for himself. 50 Cent and all his antics will not crowd his mind anymore for tonight. The G-Unit founder soaks up everything that was talked about on the limo ride with his two bodyguards; he has to take their advice and not let his rap persona control so much of his life. As much as he loves that aspect of his being, and it is what he has wanted since he can remember, Marquise's innocent face probes away at him. He cannot fail his little son.
It is exactly ten o'clock when 50 picks up his cell phone and looks through it before dialing. It rings three times before a woman answers, "Hello?"
"Hey. It's me."
"How are you Curtis?" Marquise's mother asks him.
"Missin' my son."
"I can see how. You're so busy and everything. I turn on the TV and you're there. I turn on the radio and you're there. I look through magazines and you're there. Is there anything you won't do?" she asks as she laughs a little.
"You know me. Gotta try and get my hands on as much as I can. I gotta make a name for myself."
"Oh you're definitely doing that. I'm proud of you. I knew you were a special man the first time I met you. I really mean that," his former girlfriend says in a sincere and truthful voice.
The rapper's head spins at her words. "Thanks. It means a lot to me coming from you. Even after everything---"
"That's the past right? I know you're trying to be there for Marquise and I see it."
"Speaking of, where's the squirt? He doesn't have school tomorrow. Is he still up?"
"Do you even need to ask? He's a night owl just like his father." She walks to their son's room to give him the phone. He is playing with some toys on his bed.
"Hey Twenty-five Cent! What's up?"
"Hi daddy! I'm just playing with some Legos," the six-year-old replies in a most excited tone.
"Sounds fun lil' man. How was school today?"
"Good. I don't have any homework."
"None? I'm gonna have to call your teacher and have her change that," he teases.
"Daddy!" the little boy exclaims. "I like not having any homework on the weekend. I get to play more."
"Maybe you're right then. You gotta have time to play and just be a kid---" he trails off. He remembers how his childhood was robbed after his mother was killed and he was forced to fend for himself. He wants Marquise to be kid for as long as he can.
"You're not okay? What's wrong?"
"Huh? Nothing buddy---"
"Father!" Marquise says, almost sternly. "I thought you said that lying was bad huh?"
"You know, sometimes I think you're too smart for your own good little boy."
He giggles over the phone. The laughter pierces through 50's skin and he starts to miss his son all over again. "Tell me. Please."
"You have me wrapped around your fingers so tightly Marquise Jackson you know that?"
"Yep! I got skills."
"Your mother's gonna kill you," the rapper laughs.
"It'll be our secret."
"Daddy please tell me why you sound so sad."
"I miss you Tré . I hope you know how much son."
"Just because we're not together doesn't mean that I don't think about you. You're all I think about baby." 50 Cent starts to open up to his son. He wants to tell him everything but restrains because he is not sure if the young child will understand any of it.
"I know how much you love me. I've always known because you always tell me. It's not because of the things you buy me or anything like that." Marquise starts to lose his composure and begins to crack on the phone.
"No. Don't cry Marquise. You gotta be strong for me remember? Be strong for daddy."
"Okay," he tries to sniffle it away.
"I'm gonna go crazy if you start crying baby. I can't handle it," he admits.
"Sorry daddy. I just miss you. So much. I'm gonna be strong okay?"
"Be my lil' soldier Tré . You're a good boy." The buff rapper cannot handle it and he can feel his insides starting to crumble. He is so weak.
"Okay. I don't wanna keep you up too late. I love you son."
"No daddy. I wanna talk some more."
He sighs and tries to clear his head. "There'll be other times baby boy. I promise. But it's late now. You gotta go to bed."
"Marquise---" his fatherly tone overshadows the conversation.
"I love you daddy."
"I love you too Tré ."
He rests the phone on the nightstand and shifts uncomfortably on the bed to try and get himself to fall asleep. As much as he does not want to admit it, it cannot be denied; he needs a vacation and badly. 50 Cent lets his mind escape him and tries to see what he has going on in the near future to see if he can switch and move appointments and meeting around so he can get the time he needs away from it all. The time he needs to be with his son and himself. It is always easier said than done for him though. As the G-Unit founder starts figuring out the way to his freedom, he feels his body shutting down on him. It uses sleep to tantalize him and in his susceptible state, he cannot fend it off. Streetlights do their job and illuminate outside to the best of their ability as 50 lets his body get the rest it deserves. He deserves. A quick thought flashes over Olivia and then Lloyd Banks and finally Marquise. He is most hurt by not being able to be there for the last two. The heavy coverlet drapes over his nearly naked visage as sleep finally wraps around him.