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Ludacris' eyes open and it takes a few seconds for thoughts to come rushing back into his head telling him where he is and what is going on. Easily, he sits up on the bed and looks down next to him to see the other man sleeping comfortably. The expression on his face is too endearing and innocent. Carefully, he gets out of bed and walks out of the bedroom and to the kitchen in the dark hotel suite. In the refrigerator, the troubled star finds a bottle of water and grabs it as shivers immediately run through his skin because of the cool air meeting it. He turns on the TV in the living room and his eyes do their best to adjust to the illumination as he opens the bottle and drinks the cold liquid. The DTP rapper is troubled and worried and hurt. His future is at stake and he cannot afford to make a mistake this grand only to have it disappoint him down the road. He spreads his tired and still battered body along the leather sofa and tunes in to the television, finally noticing that cartoons are on. Thoughts tell him that he is making a mistake with his life.
It is too hard to accept what his body wants him to believe. It feels like his heart is violently fighting against the rest of his body on the possible outcome of the situation he thought he already solved. His heart is the only part of him that has forgiven Lloyd Banks and accepts him back. Ludacris remembers back on the last serious relationship he had. He was just beginning in the rap game and was with his girlfriend at the time. It was a beautiful relationship and he thought everything was great until he found out that she was cheating on him with one of his friends. The situation now ironically hurts more than that one did. He does not know what to do as he rests on the sofa and looks up at the ceiling, completely ignoring the TV. He thought he was more in love with her but it cannot be true. Banks' betrayal is almost to the point of killing his spirit but he cannot leave the man alone for the life of him. The DJ turned rapper is more confused than ever but he refuses to give up hope that they are going to be fine together. He has to only listen to and follow his heart.
The TV does not hold his attention anymore so he turns it off and finishes his bottle of water in the blank darkness of a room he is not familiar with. Only one thing is certain; he wants this relationship to work more than anything and he figures this as the reason he could not walk away from the G-Unit member earlier tonight like he originally intended to. In the room once again, the Atlanta rapper smoothly sits on the edge of the bed and looks up at the body that is sleeping on it. His eyes roam over every crease and indentation of the quilt until they stop on his face. His cute, lovable, enticing, and sometimes pouting face. He is truly in love with the man he is observing; he cannot give that up. Ludacris tries to fight all the negative thoughts out of his mind and only focuses on his rapidly beating heart now. A soft sigh escapes his lips as he continues to stare at his handsome boyfriend while he slumbers. His mind is psychotic. A deep, passionate hatred for 50 Cent burns in him now. It is scary because he is not the type of person to fatally hate another.
"It hurts like hell Chris," he says weakly. He cannot help himself when it comes to his boyfriend Lloyd Banks. "I hope I'm doing the right thing."
The dawn of morning and the promise of another day arise concurrently as the Sun is out in full force and seeping into every crevice of the still atmosphere of the hotel room. Banks is sleeping with a pillow over his face so he does not notice the bright rays now invading his room. As time passes by, both finally wake up and relax in bed together for a while before getting up and brushing their teeth. Breakfast is ordered and enjoyed before the day gets officially started. It is still weird to him that the older rapper is here right now because he was positive that once he told him the truth about 50 Cent, he would never see him again. The feelings there are overwhelmingly seductive and extremely comforting as the G-Unit member soaks it all up and indulges in it. They are sitting together in the living room and watching TV and just being there for one another. Lloyd Banks knows how hard he will have to work to regain Ludacris' trust but he is more than willing to do it because there is nothing else worth fighting for. His heart will not give up on their pure love.
The southern rapper feels his boyfriend's eyes on him from time to time and with a timed attack, he turns his head so their eyes meet. There is a silence for a moment before, "What you keep lookin' at me for?"
"I don't deserve you."
"You right. I won't disagree."
"Now? Come on babe---" he grins that appealing smile of his.
"I love you. I mean that."
The G-Unit member sighs and looks away. "Why aren't you mad at me? Or yelling at me or anything?"
"I try not to be that person. I'm more hurt and disappointed than angry."
"You dunno what I wanna give to take all this shit back."
"Why? It happened didn't it?"
"Yea but if you were mad at me or yelling at me I can take it. When you say disappointed I just wanna---" Banks stops.
"Do you still have feelings for him?"
"Answer me." There is no emotion in Ludacris' voice. His face does not offer any hints to as what he is feeling at the moment either. His eyes are intense.
"He was my first everything. I can't stop---"
"Do you want to be with him?"
"No," the young rapper is sure about this. "No. He's not for me. You are."
"Why'd you do it Chris? I didn't make you happy?" The question is full of emotion, a complete turnaround from just a few precious moments ago.
"No. No babe. Look at me," he guides the other man's eyes to his own. "I was stupid and fucked up. It's all my fault. The guilt was eating me alive after I did it."
"Why didn't you just tell me? You know how it made me feel after I came to see you that day and didn't have any clue what was going on? You wouldn't even say you love me or touch me---"
"You don't! I wanted you so fuckin' bad and you tell me that you was tired. Which was a lie anyway---"
"I couldn't," Lloyd Banks tries to defend himself but how can he when everything that is being said to him is more than the truth.
"You pushed me away instead of trusting me Chris. I don't know how I'm gonna forgive that."
"Stop sayin' that," the DTP rap star fiercely cuts him off. He is tired of hearing those two words together. "I gotta go."
"I didn't plan on staying in Miami this long."
He pauses before softening his tone and saying, "You my lil' G-Unit solider. I ain't gonna stop loving you because you hurt me."
"I thought you would."
"Well I'm not. Walk me to the door."
Fingers interlace together and their hands melt into each other's as they walk to the door together and prepare themselves to say goodbye. It is silent, with the exception of the TV playing in the suite as they finally reach the door. The slender rapper takes another initiative he has wanted to since cheating on him with 50 Cent and moves in for a kiss he knows will temporarily leave him in heaven. Ludacris obliges and encircles his hands around his boyfriend's narrow waist as he kisses back with all his passion. The next time they are together is unknown to either. He walks down the hall and into the elevator as Banks waves at him for a final time before the doors mutually close. Back in the luxurious suite, he sits on the sofa and turns off the television because he wants and needs to think. As strong as the other rap star is on the outside, it is something different far inside him; his eyes give him away. There is sorrow, hurt, and revulsion riddled in them. Lloyd Banks feels even worse now because he hurt someone he cares about and it is hurting him too.
50 Cent is still on the edge with Lloyd Banks. Their relationship is definitely not the same anymore and he is starting to lose hope that they will ever be together. They have barely spoken since that night, only doing so at events and photo shoots they are forced to be together at. And even then, every aspect of the conversation is imposed and feels too unnatural. As much as he tries to lock it away in the back of his mind and concentrate on pushing his career forward, it still bothers him every waking second of the day. The buff rapper does not understand this because he knows how he felt when they were making love and he knows Banks felt the very same way as well; it is confusing. His plan of getting together with the other man after their night of pure passion never comes true. It never will. 50 enters his room after a long day to see the time being just past ten. A shower and late dinner settles his body's cravings and he simply heads into his bedroom. 50 stays awake lying on his bed for an eternity before he is finally able to drift away to a slumber.
Out in Los Angeles, the Sun touches his ebony skin as he exits the charter plane and makes his way away from the airport all without stepping inside. For the most part, his day is clear because he has an appearance to make at an industry party tonight so he can do whatever he pleases until then. 50 utilizes his time wisely by going to the gym to work out his muscles and relaxing in his suite in the afternoon, trying to catch a catnap because the previous night did not offer him sufficient sleep. Later, the G-Unit member calls his son to catch up with him and they talk for hours until the little boy reluctantly has to go to finish the rest of his homework. As bad as things always manage to get in his life, Marquise's young voice will forever manage to pull him back from the edge of reason. Completely involved in his thoughts for the rest of the evening, 50 Cent is only startled back to reality by the ringing of his cell phone; the loathsome device that dictates his life. His body becomes whole once again and he starts getting ready to make his appearance later tonight.
As expected, the massive mansion in the Hollywood Hills is storming with paparazzi, fans that are not supposed to be there, and celebrities. A black Escalade pulls up and once the superstar rapper steps out, the masses erupt with screams, shrills, and autograph requests. The G-Unit founder obliges a few of them with his signature and candid photographs before stepping onto the red carpet to give the official photographers what they want. The house is elegantly decorated with vases and rugs as he walks in and is greeted by a waitress who immediately takes his drink order. Networking begins and 50 talks and poses for pictures with fellow rappers such as Busta Rhymes, to one of the NBA's finest, Kobe Bryant, to supermodel extraordinaire Tyra Banks. Another drink adorns his hand as he simply walks around and notices everyone partying and leaving all their issues elsewhere. Why can he not do the same? Lloyd Banks is on his mind. The fight and his media image are on his mind. His young son Marquise is on his mind. Peace will not be his.
Away from the blearing music and countless women asking him for dances, 50 Cent steps outside onto the upstairs balcony of the house and sees a couple of partygoers at one corner. They look up at him and smile before getting back to their own business. That is his kind of fans; the ones who do not want to stalk him. The crisp Hollywood air clears his clouded mind as he looks out to the other large mansions as far as his eyes can go. Both the rap star's hands are clutching on to the protective railing as he peers out into the exclusive area for the rich and famous. He is seriously considering buying a house here because of the serene, panoramic view and the effects it is having on his jaded soul. Thoughts are trying to steal him away again but he catches them before they can go any further and faces away from the beautiful scene so it does not tempt him anymore. 50 stares into the house through the large glass sliding doors and sees a familiar face he instantly recognizes. He clears his throat before leaving the scenic balcony and walking back into the house.
He follows the man, whose body frame is almost built as his, before he speaks up over the music. "What you doin' here homeboy?"
The Game turns around and looks at him. "What up nigga? Chillin'. Tryin' to meet some people ya know?" Their fists smash together in mutual respect.
"Straight. When'd you get here?"
"Just now. You?"
"A while ago. This gonna be your first industry party huh?"
"I guess so---" he makes the realization himself now too. The newest member of the team is wearing all black and it looks nice on him.
"You'll get used to it. Just another part of the job."
"The hoes out in full force huh?"
They laugh. "Yea, but that's everywhere. They smell money from miles away."
"Shit. Let me grab a drink then."
"Ay ay. Watch it nigga," 50 Cent almost warns. He knows what it's like to have a bevy of women throwing themselves at him. It is all good at first but becomes extremely lame after that.
"Don't worry bossman. I ain't tryin' to pick up any hoes. Just here to chill."
"That's what I wanna hear. Let's go get that drink. I could use another one. Why you ain't tell me you was rolling out here? We could've came together."
"Didn't know until last minute. And they said you was in New York."
"I was. Yesterday."
"When we going in the studio?" the new G-Unit member asks. He is more than eager to get his debut album started. "Ay lemme get a coke and rum. No ice," he gives his order to the bartender.
"And you?" the blonde-haired guy asks the other rapper.
"Vodka and cranberry juice."
"What you got for me?'
"I dunno yet. Dré hasn't told me anything. We haven't talked lately."
"I'm ready man." Both sit on stools by the bar.
"I got no doubt but shit's crazy right about now. Olivia's album's in the works. And a G-Unit one. You definitely gonna be on both of those."
"Sound good to me."
"The execs won't wait long to start production. Just give them a couple of weeks to get everything in order. You did just sign," the buff superstar offers. He knows exactly how the man sitting next to him feels. The waiting is the absolute worst part for emerging artists.
"You right. I wanna get out there already." he smiles. It is sexy and subtle at the same time.
"In time nigga. Chill out."
"This a nice ass house. Whose is it?"
"Dunno. Sometimes they just rent out these places for these parties."
"I gotta buy me one of these," The Game muses more to himself than anyone else.
"You gettin' a lil' ahead."
"Watch out kid. I'm coming for you."
"Bring it. A lil' competition never hurt me."
They both raise their glasses and they clank together before each drink the rest of the contents left in their glasses. The rest of the evening goes by surprisingly fast for 50 Cent now that he has someone to talk to and hang out with. The pair of rappers spends the rest of the time getting to know each other and builds the foundation of a friendship. Both being a little tipsy, their inhibitions are gone and they can truly get to know each other on a personal level rather than just on a professional one. The Game looks at his new boss weird from time to time but does not know why. He is a funny guy, despite what the media says about his cockiness and arrogance. The night ends and they walk out of the luxurious house waiting for their rides. The newest member of G-Unit leaves first and the buff rapper sits out for a while before he sees his black Escalade. On the ride back, he realizes how comfortable he is starting to feel with the other rapper; it is a good feeling and he relishes it. Back at the suite, 50 strips bare and immediately settles into bed.
It has been bothering him for the longest while now. He cannot get it out of his heat. The thoughts are there and eating away inside. The room is darkened and the lean rapper is staring into oblivion with his heart feeling heavy. There is no other way for it to happen or coexist anymore. This will never come close to being easy but a decision is made. Lloyd Banks rests his chin on the interlaced fingers of his hands and stares at the carpet on the ground. None of his senses seem to be functioning properly because he is thoroughly lost in a world he knows all too well. Houston, Texas is summery warm and dry while he is locked up inside contemplating the future of his existence. The G-Unit rapper is in town for a radio interview as well as to collaborate on another mixtape and he is glad that both sessions end earlier than expected. Banks feels the weight of the world on his shoulders and sees only one solution for him to be able to properly breathe again. His body has been stifled enough now and it is time to give it liberation.
The next day is not so fortunate in the studio because nothing seems to be going right. The right beats are hard to come by and his voice is sounding too scratchy for his satisfaction. Concentration, the key element, is missing from Banks' demeanor. After a strenuous day, the team finally lets him go late in the afternoon and the rest of the day is his. Granted, it is not much but it is time away from the industry. It is also time to ponder his final decision over and over again. The big orange ball of light glows on the western horizon as he is driven back to his hotel for the night. There will be no parties or no clubs or no more work. Not tonight. The rap star takes a relaxing shower and lets the water make love to him as it caresses every part of his wanting body. He only then realizes how long he and his boyfriend have not seen each other. He does not know what part of the world Ludacris is in at the present moment but he plans on finding out when he calls him later on in the night. When the warm water stops pleasing him, he gets out.
A carefully hanging towel hides the young rapper's humility from the bedroom but it does not last long as he removes it to dry up the excess water mingling with his dark skin. Warm breezes blow through the open balcony door of the room and bring the silk curtains to life in the Moon's light. He dries off his hair and face before moving down his back and finally, his legs. Searching through a suitcase, he finds a pair of black Tommy Hilfiger boxers and puts them on before deciding what else to wear. Banks decides on nothing because he is staying in for the night so the boxers alone will do. His bare, smooth stomach and chest wreaks havoc against the silvery light from the heavens and causes a spellbinding effect as he sits on the sofa of the den to watch TV. He needs an escape for his mind because he cannot keep dwelling on the past in attempts of finding answers for his unclear future. Lloyd Banks is indifferent of the television and as soon as he feels his mind drifting away on him, a loud knocking summons him. He looks at the door.
The G-Unit rapper gets up and looks at the time as he walks to the door. It is almost ten. "Damn Chris. Were you expectin' me baby?" Ludacris smirks wickedly and asks as the door swings open, referring to his man's state of undress.
"You ain't that special kid. What you doin' here?" he quickly quips back.
"Tryin' to see my baby. You gonna invite me in or we gonna talk out here?"
Banks takes his hand and they walk in together before he turns around and plants an intense kiss on his boyfriend's lips. Their bodies touch and nothing matters all of a sudden. "Never get tired of you surprisin' me like this."
"Never get tired of doin' it. I like the rewards." Their lips quickly meet once again. "So what's up with the boxers? You ready to jump in bed?" His smile is alluring and innocent at the same time.
"No nigga. Get sex off ya brain."
"I can't. It's too good with you," he whines.
"I love you Chris."
"Where'd that come from?"
"Nowhere. Just felt like sayin' it."
The older rapper eyes him suspiciously, even after they kiss again. "Uhuh."
"You got somethin' to tell me. What's goin' on?"
"Nothin'. I really wanted to see you," the slender star says softly. "Let's go sit."
"I'm not ready to talk `bout it. Not yet."
"Did he do something to you again?"
"No. It ain't `bout him anymore. Gimme space Bri."
"Okay okay. Tell me when you ready."
"You not mad?"
"Naw. Why would I be? As long as it ain't `bout that nigga Fifty then I'm good," the DTP rapper states matter-of-factly. A deep hatred for 50 Cent will forever be within him now.
He changes the topic immediately. "What you doin' out this way?"
"Heard you was out here so ya boy decided to take a few days off. I had to see you."
"Damn you good. You spoilin' me kid."
"I usually do when I love someone."
"Stop. You gettin' too sweet on me," Lloyd Banks says as he laughs.
"You ain't exactly portrayin' the hardcore, thug rapper persona these days either. It's you kid! You don't know the things you make me feel. The things you make me do," he tries to explain it. "I never flew cross country just to chill with someone before."
"I never went to sleep wanting to hear a nigga's voice before."
He smiles. "You gettin' sweet on me too. Don't try to front."
"Only for you. Ain't nobody else ever gonna see this shit."
"Makes it that much more special." The Atlanta superstar admits this honestly and they kiss again. It is addicting to him.
"You feel like that?"
"Wouldn't say it if I didn't. So you gonna tell me what happened or keep me guessin'."
"No. Not now. Let's go to bed. I'm tired."
"You better tell me tomorrow."
"What happens if I don't?" the member of G-Unit perceptively inquires.
"Simple. No sex."
"I can live with that."
"Oh babe. You playin' dirty."
Banks cannot explain the feeling of having his best friend here with him to hold and kiss and spend the night with him. He cannot tell the other man of his plans yet because he needs to make absolute sure that it is what he wants before he lets anyone know. They walk into the bedroom together and he watches intently as his rapping boyfriend starts to take off his shirt and pants. It is a site he cannot take his eyes off and only stops fantasizing when he feels a pair of lips crush against his own. Bodies effortlessly fall onto the cocoon of the bed below them as tongues tangle into one another and taste the forbidden, tainted passion of love. When the sensual kiss ends, Ludacris climbs off his lover and lies next to him on the large bed. They look at each other for a long with without any words being spoken. No words need to be spoken because the concentrated stares say more than any words could ever be able to. Lloyd Banks feels a warmth coming from inside; it is something he is sure he will never feel with anyone else but his man.
Today is the day he has been wanting and dreading at the very same time. The air of Los Angeles is hot and the streets are busy, as usual, as he stares down at everything from his balcony high up in the endless sky. The Sun is still young in the sky and the rap star is up earlier than he should be; the meeting is exactly at noon and there is no way he is going to be late. Rays touch his dark skin and the air fills his lungs with serenity, something he desperately needs to start his day. When breakfast comes knocking, Banks eats as much of it as he can before he decides to go to the hotel's gym to pass the rest of the morning. Once in there, he sticks to a normal routine of running, crunches, and sit-ups before doing some pull-ups to strengthen his upper body. His boyfriend Ludacris still does not know what he is thinking or what he is about to do. It is the best though. The only thing. After exercising, Lloyd Banks returns to his room to shower and get himself ready for his meeting. His nerves are shot but there is no other way now.
The highways digest numerous cars per second as everyone is in a rush to get to where they have to be; he is no exception. The traffic turns on the celebrity but it buys him time to figure out what he wants to say; it is a blessing in disguise. He runs it over and over in his mind to make sure all the major points are covered but butterflies scratching against his stomach is breaking his concentration. Lloyd Banks steps out of the ride and immediately into the building, making a beeline for the elevators. The floor catches up with him and he steps out to hear the greeting of a receptionist. The G-Unit member waves to acknowledge her presence before walking back to where all the meetings are held. Everything that once resided in his mind is gone when he opens the grand oak doors to see 50 Cent and Young Buck sitting there and quietly talking amongst themselves. There is definitely no turning back now. The pair greets him and he takes a seat across for them, impatiently waiting for the rest of the team to arrive. He wants it over.
Dr. Dré pokes his head into the conference room and says, "Chris. A word."
"Yea." He gets up from the table and walk outside, making sure the door is securely closed behind him.
"Are you sure you wanna do this? You sure this is what you want?"
"Yes." There is a long pause. "I'm positive."
"Okay then. Everyone's here now."
The young rapper's heart starts to beat quicker in his chest. "Okay."
The doors open and Eminem holds it open as Olivia, The Game, and Dré enters before him. Banks is the last to enter and he sits at the head of the table for the first time; it is his meeting. "Anytime you ready Chris," the super producer tries to comfort him as he feels everyone's eyes on him.
"What's going on?" 50 Cent is the one to speak.
"I called this meeting because you all have to hear it from me. You deserve it---"
"Hear what?" Olivia almost interrupts. Her voice is of genuine concern and care.
"I thought about it a lot. And it's best for me and my career if I leave G-Unit."
A pin could literally be heard falling to the ground in the overzealous room if it were to happen because of the pure silence. All eyes are on him and sudden discomfort kicks in. "What the hell you talkin' `bout Banks kid? You one of us---" Buck is the first one to shatter the stillness.
"It's nothing' `bout the team. You guys are my family but I gotta move on."
"Why? Did somethin' happen?" Slim Shady asks.
"Naw. Being a solo artist is my main concern right now. I can't roll with G-Unit anymore." He can bet his life that his former best friend's eyes are glued on him and he does not dare even look in that direction.
"I'm not understanding---" the first lady of G-Unit says, still trying to absorb the news.
Dr. Dré stands up and everyone immediately becomes silent. "He wants a career for his own and not only to be known as a member of G-Unit. Granted, he has a solo album under his belt but it isn't the same and he wants more. He will still be under the label but he won't have anything to do with G-Unit anymore."
The meeting is hard to finish on his own and he is extremely grateful when the producer stands up and explains his position. He is not turning his back in G-Unit but he needs to establish on his own and that will never happen while he is in the rap group. That is only part of the reason though but it is all his colleagues need to know. It will never be known that 50 Cent and their failed relationship is a major driving force in his decision to leave the group. Many questions are asked and Lloyd Banks tries to answer them as honestly as possible but his body is hurting and slightly shaking while he still stands at the head of the table conducting the conference. Eyes will never leave him and he is indebted to Dr. Dré when he wraps up the meeting. Olivia hugs and kisses him on the cheek before she leaves and The Game shakes his hand and they embrace in a half hug as he leaves as well. Young Buck smiles and they hug tightly because regardless of anything, they are brothers. He leaves the room soon after because 50 is there alone.
Blood races through veins and thoughts run a million miles a millisecond as the now former member of G-Unit returns to Dré's office to sign papers terminating his previous contracts with Aftermath and signing fresh contracts; it is a new start for him. They shake hands and he leaves the building as quickly as possible because he does not want to run into 50 Cent and have to explain himself all over again. The Sun is still beating down on the people of the city when he walks out and finds the car waiting for him. The driver takes him to a commercial shoot he has to do for one of his endorsers and this steals away the rest of the afternoon with it. The young star finally finishes filming at around eight and decides to stop at any restaurant downtown that catches his eye for dinner. On the way back to his suite, his cell phone goes off and vibrates in his pocket and when he looks at the number, he ignores it because it is his publicist. Lloyd Banks needs a break tonight. He enters the hotel and walks to elevator, his mind busy in thought.
On his floor, he stops fiddling with his phone and looks up to see 50 Cent sitting next to his door. Their eyes instantly lock together. "What's goin' on?" he asks the older man, who is now getting to his feet.
"That's what I need to ask you."
"I have to talk to you."
"Okay---" Banks reluctantly agrees. He knows what this conversation is going to be and he does not want it.
They walk into the lavish room together. "You gonna tell me what happened?"
"With what?" He sets his stuff down and walks into the kitchen to grab a bottle of chilled water.
"You know with what. Don't act like you don't know what I mean." His voice almost snaps back but he fights hard to keep it in check because he does not want a fight on his hands. "What game you gettin' at?"
"Huh? I ain't playin' any games. I'm not you."
"So you leavin' G-Unit is all `bout me."
"Yea right. Yo ego is fuckin' huge kid."
"Tell me I'm lyin' Chris." They are in the living room together and the former G-Unit member is looking out a large window while the other man is sitting on the sofa and looking directly at him.
"I don't wanna be known as that nigga in G-Unit. Had nothin' to do with you."
"You fuckin' told Dré you was leaving the group before me? That's some shit."
"What the fuck? You found out anyway didn't you? What you actin' like a lil' whiny bitch for?"
"Oh I get it," he says as he gets up and walks over to the window too. "That nigga puttin' all these thoughts in yo head."
"Don't talk `bout shit you know nothing' `bout," the younger star looks back and warns.
"Naw. I know that bastard put you up to this. Damn Chris. Never thought you was that weak."
The slender rapper grips his fist tightly before swiftly turning around and hitting his once best friend straight across the jaw. "Fuck you! You don't know what the hell you talkin' bout so shut the fuck up and get out! I don't owe you shit!"
50 stumbles back and rubs his fingers along his jaw. In a weird twist of fate, he looks up and smiles. "You know I'm right," he calmly says. "If I wasn't then you wouldn't be so mad."
"So that bastard Luda tellin' you to stay away from me. Even he knows what we have together. Scared lil' bitch."
"Shut up! Shut the fuck up kid!" Lloyd Banks grabs onto both his arms and roughly pushes him into the wall near the window. He immediately backs up and shakes his head. "No. No. I'm not gonna let you get to me." He is visibly upset.
"Come on baby. You know you want me. I know I want you."
"Not anymore. You ain't worth it. I'm outta G-Unit for good. Nothin' you can do `bout it now."
"You think so?" 50 smirks. In order for this to work, he has to use his best tricks to get deep under his best friend's skin. To get to him.
"Ain't one of yo lil' G-Unit soldiers anymore---"
"You always gonna be my soldier babe."
"Fuck you. Go."
"No. This shit fuckin' hurts Chris. How you gonna do me like this? After all I did for you---"
"Payback's a bitch huh?"
The G-Unit founder looks at him, stunned. He does not let it show though. "That nigga changin' you."
"You right. For the better."
"So he did put you up to this---"
"Not that it matters to you but no. He doesn't even know what I did."
"You not lying are you?" he asks, scared of the response he knows he is going to get. Everything is too far beyond repair now.
Their eyes meet and attempt to gaze past the numerous barriers and shields set in place for protection. "No. He had nothin' to do with me doin' this."
"Why you gonna hurt me like this Chris? I love you."
"No. You don't. Don't say that shit to me. You only love yourself."
The superstar rapper feels his blood flare with the words and grabs on to the slim man's body and tosses him against the wall. He uses all the weight on his body to keep him pinned there. "That's a damn lie. You know I love you. I know you feel it." They are too close now.
"Get off. Back up C man."
"Not until you admit it."
"Stop fuckin' with my brain! Move!"
What happens next sends shockwaves up and down his unaware body and soul. The buff rapper silences the room by crushing their lips together. Just like before in the mansion in Connecticut. It still feels the same way and both their bodies respond to it the same way. It suddenly feels as if there is nothing wrong between the pair and that they are simply sharing a simple kiss together but it is only a false illusion. Lloyd Banks does not resist at first because his body does not know how to; his mind is trapped and his heart cornered. 50 Cent uses his tongue to coax the other man to spread his lips apart and when this happens, the kiss is magnified tenfold. Force is no longer holding the two bodies together; it is something different entirely. He starts to think and realize that it is just another game and test he needs to pass. When the slender rap star figures it out, he gently pushes 50 away from his lips and body and gets the personal space he is so desperate for back. With the resistance, he tries to move in again but it fails him.
"Not gonna make the same mistake twice," Lloyd Banks says when their lips do not connect for the second time. "Get off me Curtis."
"So this is it?" 50 asks, not moving an inch of his body. He physically has to be this close to the man next to him. The man whose body he is forcing himself onto.
"Guess so." He is still looking away and answers sadly.
"But I love you."
"I'm not gonna do this. I don't love you Curtis. Not anymore."
The G-Unit member sighs before slowly withdrawing his body and heart away from his best friend. "This only works out for you."
"I had to start lookin' out for myself sooner or later."
"It won't be worth to try and kiss you again would it?" Their eyes are intense and directly looking into each other's.
"I don't see how."
"I'll see you around Lloyd Banks," his former boss and best friend concedes defeat and extends his hand for a professional handshake.
Banks looks up at him and then down to his hand before looking at him again. The older rapper is hurting. It is plain to see. "Take care 50 Cent." Their hands touch in a handshake.
There is no other physical contact between the two superstars and after a short while, 50 ends the handshake and makes his way to the front door of the suite to leave. It does not fathom to him yet that his best friend is not in the group anymore. They will not be hanging out anymore. They will not be lovers ever again. He tries to hide everything he is feeling and does not look back as he opens the door and walks out of the other rapper's life. It hurts far too much for him to look back now. The former member of G-Unit looks at him as he leaves; he is hurt as well. Despite everything, 50 Cent has been exceptionally good to him but as much as he fought to salvage their relationship, he knows how inevitable it truly was. They have been drifting apart for so long now that getting to the point where neither could physically nor emotionally reach the other was only logical. Lloyd Banks is alone in his room now and he suddenly wants to crawl in bed and lick his wounds. He wants to call Ludacris, to tell him everything that has taken place.
The first few days are the roughest but it slowly starts becoming exactly like how the last few months of his life has been but there is no 50 Cent to throw him off his game. Not anymore. He continues with work as if nothing has transpired over the past days because he is a professional and there is nothing to hinder him from making a name out of himself any longer. Lloyd Banks wants to desperately to talk to his boyfriend, to tell him of the changes if he does not already know from the insatiable media, but he does not know where the southern rapper is. Since giving up on 50, Ludacris is the only staple in his mind. It is just the way it is meant to be now. The contracts are finished and formalized with Interscope records and the media creates a small spectacle at his alleged abrupt departure from G-Unit. Banks does not care for this because only the people involved know what truly happened and he is more than content with that and the lies the media makes up about him. He wants to get to his man first before they do though.
When interviewers ask, he simply gives them the very generic answer of how things did not work out within the group G-Unit but he still has respect for them all. The answer gets the young rapper off the hook almost always and for this he is grateful. Everything has since died down and he can relax knowing that most of his fan base is not affected by the drastic move from the group setting to a solo artist. In fact, Banks gets much fan mail encouraging him to keep doing what he is doing and some even feel that he was being creatively stifled under the careful watch of 50 Cent. The positive support and respect keeps him going at times. The days are longer for the slender rap star because he is now officially a solo rapper and that means that he does not have anyone to fall back on but himself. It should have been this way from the beginning; he could have avoided every issue concerning 50. Something that bothers Lloyd Banks though is that he will not get to see the six-year-old Marquise as often as he would like. It would be too awkward.
His head is resting on a pillow and it is about three in the morning in Denver, Colorado as he is trying to get some sleep. When the slim rapper feels himself starting to finally drift off into elusiveness, a foreign light invades his room followed shortly by a ringing sound. He phone has just received a text message. Lloyd Banks wants to leave it alone until the morning but something deep inside him is urging him to check it. He gives in and reaches over to the nightstand and grabs the charging gadget to confirm his suspicion. It is a message from Ludacris. He wants him to come down to Atlanta for a few days so they can be together, in the mansion they fell in love in. His home. The rap superstar stares at the message for a while before finally agreeing to do it. A few days away from his career will not hurt and he will get a chance to fill his boyfriend in on everything that is going on. Banks calls his publicist at her office and leaves a message to book him a flight to the southern city as soon as she can before he falls back into bed.
The first thing the following morning, the eager rap superstar finds himself on a flight to the state of Georgia and more specifically, its capital Atlanta. His mind is clearer and more focused now than it has been over the past year as he thinks to himself while in the air. 50 Cent and their tumultuous relationship is over and he can finally completely devote his time and energy into other, more worthy endeavors. Banks will never have to worry about him or their actions together or anything else anymore. His eyes are looking forward and his feet are not stopping to offer him a glimpse into his rough past. A past he wanted so bad but was never able to achieve. Ludacris has come to mean more to him than his former best friend ever can. He truly loves him and his heart has no remnants of 50 lodged in it anymore. The feeling is of vindication and liberation. Lloyd Banks fidgets in his seat because he is impatient and he wants to be on the ground. He is more than anxious to tell his boyfriend of his severance with G-Unit and its founder.
They are on the phone as soon as he trades forms of transportation from the private aircraft to a chauffeured Bentley Continental GT. He honestly cannot remember the last time he has been this excited to see someone but the southern rapper is more than just his colleague and friend. Their relationship has continued to grow and remain intact through the greatest adversity and circumstances. Lloyd Banks knows that this man is for him. No matter how unconventional or ironic the situation is, he knows that they belong together. The phone call is shortened because of the lack of privacy and the ride lasts longer than he remembers it but when he starts seeing the familiar houses surround him, he is less tense and more excited than ever. Once the driver safely pulls off and there is no trace of him left, the once member of G-Unit knocks on the door and waits for its most favorable reply. When Banks' eyes fall on the rapper Ludacris when the door swings open, they do nothing but stare for a short while. A strong hug follows.
"It feels so damn good to see you babe," the Atlanta rap star says when their lips break away from a sensual kiss. Both his hands cups and gently rubs along either side of his man's face as their eyes lock together.
"Back at ya. You gonna keep me at the door?"
"I'll keep you wherever I want. It's my house."
"You'd think so huh?" His smile is slick and carefree. Lloyd Banks loves the harmless flirting and having his boyfriend in his arms.
"I most definitely know so kid. Get in here."
The rest of the afternoon is spent together and giving in to their bodies' cravings for the other. Lloyd Banks is more than at peace with himself now. All the trials and tribulations of the past year have led up to the glorious moment he finds himself in; a moment he is not ready to end or give back. He does not want to ruin it by talking because they are cuddling on the southern rapper's large bed and it is too addicting. A mixture of darkness and light from outside stream into the cool room and touch their skin unwillingly but neither cares because they are together. It is one of those rare times where their busy careers manage to cross paths, even if there was an extra bit of work involved. It just makes the present that much more worth it. He feels Ludacris kiss his forehead and after a long while, he looks up to see his man nodding off. The day has been long for him and as much as his body wants to remain awake, it physically cannot hold out any longer. Banks secretly crushes their lips together before he too closes his eyes for the night.
The unknown magnificence of time effortlessly passes over their resting bodies as the darkest skies of night slowly but surely morph into the bright horizons of a brand new day. The merging of light and dark shadows creates a beautiful scene scattered across the heavens but few in Atlanta notice it because sleep still inhabits their unaware bodies. It is only a few minutes before six o'clock when Ludacris sleepily opens his eyes and takes a moment to fully wake. His eyes immediately meet the ceiling upon opening but they soon wander around his spacious master bedroom until he gazes at the man sleeping next to him. Banks' back is to him and he gets up to get a better look of his sleeping love. His heart. His soul. As easily as possible, the DTP rap star kisses his boyfriend on his cheek and dares steal a kiss from his lips. The lust lights his eyes and ignites his body with passion and as much as he wants to stay and reap all the benefits from it, he has somewhere to be within the next hour. He gets up and walks into the bathroom.
Chilly water scars his fingers when he turns on the faucet to brush his teeth and get ready for his day. There is more at stake now and he has to work extra hard, aside from getting physically prepared, to get mentally prepared to navigate his day with Lloyd Banks. It is a mockery because they are in the same state, the same city, the same bedroom and the rap superstar has to push all that to the very back of his mind so he can concentrate on his day and finish it as soon as possible. He takes a second to admire his trim and toned body in the mirror before pulling his boxers away and stepping into the cold bathtub. When warm water finally warms the porcelain tub, he flicks a switch and water starts shooting at him from different directions, making sure no inch of his body is left dry. In the bedroom, Banks shifts his body and grabs a nearby pillow to rest on top of his head before trying to go back to sleep. Ludacris takes a long shower, partly to fully wake him, before getting out and capriciously drying his skin off. It feels good.
He smiles when he sees a pair of eyes looking at him and his naked torso in the rapidly vanishing darkness. "Did I wake you baby?"
"Yes," the young rapper replies, almost crankily. "Where you goin'?"
"Work," Ludacris says as he comes and sits on the edge of the bed, next to his boyfriend. "I got some stuff to do. Sorry. I was tryin' to be quiet." Their lips meet in a quick good morning kiss.
"Come back here. I wasn't done. And you smell so damn good."
"I'm late Chris," he laughs as he pulls away and gets up. He knows if they kiss again then it will be that much harder for him to walk out of his house. "I smell sexy huh?"
Lloyd Banks turns on the light that is on the nightstand and looks at him as he walks into his closet to find clothing to wear. "You smell good."
"What you think? This look good?" he brings a striped blue and white polo shirt and a pair of blue baggy jeans out from his closet and asks.
"Yea. How long you gonna be?"
"Dunno. I'm hoping not too long."
"You just gonna leave me here?"
"You can stay home by yourself. You a big enough boy now."
"Shut up," the former member of G-Unit smiles. "You know what I mean."
"Yea. Why not?"
"Man. Work sucks."
The DJ turned rapper sits next to him on the edge of the bed once again and starts putting on a pair of Nike sneakers. "I know babe. I wanna spend all this time with you. But I gotta do this today. Damn. I'm late. You only here one day and already you messin' with my schedule."
"I'm that good."
He rushes and finishes putting on his shoes before walking into the bathroom again to check himself out and spray cologne over his body. "Whatever nigga."
"I gotta talk to you," Banks says when he emerges from the bathroom.
"Sorry Chris. I really gotta go."
"We'll talk when I get back."
He watches intently as his man scrambles around his room to find a watch and jewelry to adorn himself with before gathering his phone and wallet. After one last look in the mirror to make sure everything looks right, Ludacris walks over to the bed and kisses him goodbye before rushing out of his house and to get his hectic day started. The sooner he starts then the sooner he can come back and be with his boyfriend. The newly solo rapper looks around the massive room, wondering what he is going to do here while he waits. When he notices the time, he plops back onto the bed to try and go back to sleep. It is strange but he feels so much at home here. His body is calm, his mind is clear, and his heart is bursting with joy. Banks turns his body to the side and grabs another pillow to press it into his body so he can fall asleep. It is successful and he feels his eyes shutting close on him. It is only a matter of moments before slumber takes him in its clasp again. Lloyd Banks relaxes his body and lets the needed rest take him away.
The Sun shines brightly into the room and he notices it finally when he awakes again and sits up on the bed. He yawns and rubs his eyes before looking at a nearby clock; it is past eleven. The slender rap star stays in bed a while longer before getting up and trying to find himself something to eat. He is in the huge mansion all by himself and is eagerly awaiting the return of Ludacris so they can be together again. Stepping out of the bathroom, he hears his phone ring by the nightstand but completely ignores it by walking out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen. While there, Lloyd Banks finds fresh croissants and already brewed coffee so he helps himself to it. In the afternoon, he becomes more and more anxious because the Atlanta rapper is still not back. The television is not holding any of his attention and he walks around the house noticing the various things it is decorated with. It is past six in the evening when Lloyd Banks excitedly hears the front door of the house open and the locks click shut once they are closed again.
"I see you makin' yourself at home," his boyfriend says when he walks into the living room.
"Yea. Someone left me here alone all day so I had nothin' else to do."
"Hey babe," Ludacris sits down next to him and says. They share a simple kiss.
"Tired. The day was too long." He rests his head back on the leather cushion of his sofa.
"It's okay. Just chill out."
"I think I want another kiss."
"Fine. Only since this is yo house nigga."
"Shut up and come gimme what I want."
Lloyd Banks moves closer and they kiss once again. It is more sensual and sexy this time. "Aight. Greedy ass."
"Look. I'll kiss you whenever I want."
"No. You won't."
"I'm positve I will," the older rapper forces their lips together again. There is no resistance between the pair.
They sit on the sofa and relax a bit as the Atlanta rap star fills his lover in on the long day he just finished experiencing. Trees rustle in the wind as the Sun completely disappears and darkness creeps over the last specs of light available for the day, drowning them out in murky shadows. The former member of G-Unit listens to his man's day and they talk about nothing in particular until they have to decide what they want to eat for dinner. Ludacris opts to order Chinese and the both agree on it because of hunger. A warm and tranquil feeling is over him simply because he has his boyfriend so close to him. They are eating together, laughing together, and spending important time together to redefine their relationship and what they mean to the other. Banks eats the delicious food and the conversation over dinner light but he knows he has to tell the southern rapper of his radical shift to a now solo artist. He will do it but the time is not right. Dinner is magnificent and both men are more than satisfied with the meal. The time is precious.
A prolonged shower titillates and gratifies both rappers to no end and continues to consummate their everlasting bond their bodies cannot break. Lloyd Banks loves being kissed by him. He loves the way he touches him and keeps goosebumps under his skin as well as on the exterior. It is something that will always get him drawn into the cozy world they managed to create together. The DTP superstar pecks their lips together one last time before the pleasurable shower comes to its end. The duo emerge from the bathroom together and attempt to find clothes to cover their naked bodies. An unpretentious pair of boxers will have to do and they waste no time crawling into bed because of tiredness and the need to stay close together. A sweet touch on Ludacris' lips leave him yearning for more and cursing the minute his boyfriend pulls away from his once unbreakable grasp. The TV is not on and they are sitting in silence just enjoying the evening around them as Banks' thinks about it all and how close he came to losing this.
"What you thinking' `bout Chris?" the DJ turned rapper asks him.
"Huh? I dunno. Nothin'."
"Babe I love you."
"I know that. Why'd you say it?"
"Because I feel it. And I wanted to." Ludacris tries to run his game. He is tired but he loves sweet talking his boyfriend to get a sensual rise out of him.
"What? I can't say `I love you' to my nigga?"
"You can. It was outta nowhere though."
"Yea well. I like to surprise you. You okay? You said we had to talk this morning," he all of a sudden remembers their conversation this morning.
Banks sighs and moves closer to rest his head on his man's cascading chest. His heart beats are steadily strong but caressingly soft at the same time. "It's over."
"Everythin' with G-Unit."
"What are you talkin' `bout?" he looks down to the top of the younger rapper head while their hands are playing together.
"You haven't heard anything?"
"Anything? Anything `bout what?"
"I left G-Unit. Contracts dissolved."
"What? You did?" the southern rap star does not know how to react. "When did this go down? They let you go?"
"Naw. Nothin' like that. I left the group behind and signed a solo contract with Interscope."
"Word? You not in G-Unit anymore? Why?"
"Because. Things weren't like they once were and I got tired of it. I told Dré that I was leaving the group and he thought it was a good career move too."
"Just like that?"
"After some convincing he saw it my way so I called a meeting and told everyone."
Ludacris asks, "What did Fifty say?"
"All this shit `bout how I changed and that you put me up to doing it and how he's hurt and everything. I don't care anymore. He can't hurt me anymore. Us."
"Damn Chris. So that's it for him then?"
"Yep. No more working with him or seeing him or anything."
He becomes serious and asks, "You did do this for you right? It's what you want?"
"What you think? After all that shit he put me through, this is the only way. I don't need to deal with him anymore."
"As long as you're happy."
"You don't sound as happy as I thought you would," the former member of G-Unit observes as he looks up at his boyfriend.
"I am happy. As long as I know that you made the right decision."
"I know I did."
"So you a solo artist now huh? Guess I can't call you my lil' G-Unit soldier anymore."
"Hell naw. I'm past that."
"Okay okay. Just checkin'. I wanted to see that nigga's face when you told him."
"I didn't care anymore. He ain't gonna get to me anymore."
The older rapper lets out an enormous breath, as if a great amount of pressure was abruptly lifted off of him. "I'm a secure guy Chris but I didn't know how much more of your relationship I could've handled."
"I know. I know."
"I've never did this much for a relationship before."
"Why you think you did it for this one? For me?"
"Love. No frikin' doubt in my mind. It's screwed with me in the past but I can't get enough of you so I keep coming back."
"That'll be the last time I let that happen. I swear---"
"Yea. I know the kinda guy you are. And the kinda guy you make me wanna be. I can't give that up."
The newly solo artist looks up at his everything and their eyes connect. "I love you Chris. Don't care what I rap about or say `bout women. I want you. You my nigga. You my baby. You just mine."
"Yours huh? I'm likin' this."
"You wanna kiss on it?" Banks almost seductively asks.
"I think it's only fair. I wanna kiss you, since I'm startin' to love you more than the game now. Come seal the deal."
"If you can handle it."
"I know I can."
The two men passionately kiss and continue to talk as the night slowly passes them by. The DTP rapper is the first to fall asleep because of his long and draining day and he is unaware when he is being watched. Banks' eyes comb over his silhouetted frame on the bed as he thinks of how fortunate he truly is. He has found love and nothing will take it away from his now. The one major threat to their relationship in the form of 50 Cent is vanquished and there are now no secrets between them. He continues looking at his sleeping boyfriend, taking in every contour of his masculine face. It is pure love between them; it cannot be anything else. A dark stillness blankets the room as the young star yawns and shifts his position on the bed to get more comfortable. He quickly kisses Ludacris on his full lips and lingers there for a moment before resting his head back on the pillow behind him and attempting to coax sleep into his body. Everything will be perfect from this moment forward. All the tribulations have led them to this moment.
Minutes, hours, and days run smoothly by as the two lovers continue to work the industry they love so much to its very core as well as live their secret lives being a rap couple. Of course, no one knows about it and each man is satisfied with that because only they will truly know what the other is like and what they truly mean to one another. Ludacris busily works endless hours promoting new members to his Disturbing The Peace record label and stops every so often to meet up with his boyfriend and best friend. Life is as effortlessly simple now for Lloyd Banks as he manages to convince his management team to let him go on the road by himself. He is industriously planning every aspect of his first headlining tour down to a tee and maintains his distance from the distractions of 50 Cent. Separating himself from G-Unit and the founder he fell so hard for in the past was the best thing for him, both personally and professionally. It takes Banks all this time to finally realize that his decision is right. His future is glowing in every way and it is grand.
The world takes no notice of the secretive relationship they both share because of how careful they choose to be. The world is not ready for rap superstars who are involved with each other and it is a blessing because neither of them is ready for the career suicide that comes along with making their relationship open and for everyone to disparage. In the eyes of the public, they are just colleagues and friends but it is a completely different story when they are together and alone; the fans will never get to see this side of them. The frontage of two hardcore thug rappers is the only thing worth maintaining for the sanity of their lucrative careers as well as the deserved respect of their many peers. It becomes quite difficult at times but the light of knowing that someone loves each man more than life itself is enough to chase and destroy any shadows that may linger and potentially become destructive. Their pure love for each other both keeps them out of trouble as well as grounded firmly on Earth. Its ecstasy is far too alluring to refuse.