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Chapter 5

The Stone

I somehow managed to avoid Vince completely for the entire week and a half that it took us to finally make it across the Atlantic. It was kind of easy actually. I had no idea it took so long to travel...even if we were going to Africa.

Patience's strange behavior had continued. She stopped making her little meetings mandatory. That meant...I stopped going. She didn't seem to mind either.

I spent most of my times practicing with Kim...she was actually kind of nice. I thought she was an idiot because she was referred to me by Patience and was helping me work on my voice without any pay.

"I got a horse right here...his name is Paul Revere..." I sang out, looking down at the lyrics.

Class had just let out. I had hoped that I would see Amir again, but he just didn't show up to class that day.

I'd definitely gotten better, but right now my voice wasn't strong at all. The passion wasn't there. I was bored with it honestly.

"I know...I know," she said, taking the notes out my hand, "I can hear you're over it for the day. We've been at this all day...why don't we do something to celebrate. You know we are docking in Liberia today right?"

"How long we staying?"

She held onto her chest, "Two gorgeous weeks."

"Wow," I said.

I was surprised. I never went out of the country. Africa had been somewhere I was always interested. It was the Motherland for Civilization. It was some place that I'd always dreamed of going. I felt like when people were lost, they always went home. Well...my home definitely wasn't in the ghettos of the Grove with my mother. So maybe I would find the answers to these questions in Africa.

"Let's go do something."

Normally I would have said no in a polite way. I wouldn't have wanted Patience ordering me to stop talking to this girl and then doing something rude to her if I didn't stop. She hated when I hung around with what she considered, "The Help." Now Patience was acting all weird though.

"Sure...what do you have in mind?"

"Well lets go to the smoothie bar and then when we are getting close to land, we can go out to the deck and see Africa for the first time."

She seemed more excited than I was. I guess it was because I had learned to subdue my emotions as best that I knew how. We went like she said we did. Kim talked a lot...I didn't mind. She talked a ton about everything.

She was so different from the girls that I normally knew. She didn't wear make up. I never saw my mother or sister or my sister's friends without make up. They just wouldn't allow themselves to come out of their bedrooms without it being on. She sang often too. It was random and loud. Sometimes it was annoying, but sometimes it was the most beautiful sounds in the world.



We made it to the smoothie bar only to see that it was crowded. I guess everyone was thinking about the same thing that we were thinking about. I looked around. There were all these excited faces and excited people. There was this long line for smoothies.


I turned to see a girl. She was standing at the front of the line. She had a friendly smile. She was waving at me. I looked at Kim as though wondering if that was perhaps her friend. Kim had the same confused look as I did.

I walked up to her, trying to see if I could remember her face. It didn't look familiar to me though...but then all of a sudden it made sense.

"Do I know you?" I asked.

"You're Chauncey right? I'm Tosha. I'm Tosha Donaldson," she continued, "I lived downstairs from you for like two years."

I did remember her! It was the little ghetto girl that had a mother who had all these cats. I used to walk downstairs past her house to do my laundry and smell the cats all the time. She would always smile at me with that same...friendly smile.


"You don't remember me?" she asked, "From the Grove."

"No I do...I do," I said and then turned over to Kim, "I'm sorry, I think I left my room key back in class. I'll be right back."

I felt bad for leaving Kim like that, but I just kind of panicked. No one had known about me living in the Grove. I just had to get away from this girl and think about it for a second. What did it mean that the girl knew where I was from?
I walked away faster.

Why did I care so much?
What was I going to do? Should I tell Patience or not?

I started to speed walk through the corridors trying to make my way to the glass elevator that took me to the luxury suites. I still didn't know if I should tell her or not. Patience was too careful about things. I was kind of afraid about what she would do...but still she had the right to know.

"Hey hey hey," I heard a voice say.

I felt an arm reach out and grab me out of no where. I had been so caught up in knowing this girl found out about us that I hadn't even seen him.

"What are you in a rush to do?"

It was Amir. He gave me one of his smiles that let me know that reminded me that he was just THAT boy.

"Oh...nothing," I lied.

I didn't want him to know my secret. For some reason, it seemed to him that I was special BECAUSE I was a down-to-earth rich boy. I didn't want to ruin that image.

"You never called my room phone," he explained and laughed, "I was kind disappointed."
I shrugged, "I'm sure you got over it."
"How do you know?" he laughed and kept on his cute little joke, "I was in my room crying all day. I thought I had made a friend. Why? Oh why?"

I sneered a little, "Real funny."

He smiled back at me and then said, "I really was upset though. I like being around you."

I noticed he was still holding my arm. I looked at my arm and looked back at him. He was looking down at my arm too and then looked back at me. He STILL didn't move his arm. If it was anyone else, I would have thought they were hitting on me...but this was Amir.

God...Vince was right, he was a play boy. I'd seen him do it to other girls and everything. He could charm someone without even noticing.

All of a sudden I heard these footsteps of a chorus of dramatic heels. Almost immediately I knew who was coming down the hall. I pulled my arm away from Amir just in time to see Patience strutting around the corner.

I wasn't sure, but around this day the only thing that was open down the hallway we were in was the smoothie bar. She had this angry look on her face. She wasn't alone. Someone was walking a step or two behind her.

That person was Vince.

"Patience, I have to talk to you," I said as I saw her.

She stopped walking when she got to me. She leaned close into me all of a sudden in this real private way.

"I know about the girl...I'll take care of it."

How did she know? I didn't get it.

How did Patience know that I had just talked to the girl?

How did she know the girl was from the Grove?
So many questions I wanted to ask but I didn't get the chance. After what she told me what she told me, she walked away. I saw Vince staring at me as he followed behind her. I smiled at him, but he didn't smile in return. He just kept staring at me in this real creepy way. It could tell there was still pain there.

He kept staring at me even as they walked past. He wasn't even trying to hide that fact that he was. He started walking backwards for god sakes, just to stare.

"Damn...are you going to go get your face back?" Amir joked, looking down at Vince as he disappeared into another hallway, "I don't think it's possible for him to stare at you any harder."
"It's complicated...but hey...you want to do anything?"


Amir had took me back to his room again that day. He introduced me to some of his friends that he had met on the boat. There were three of them. They weren't really all that attractive. They weren't anywhere near Amir's attractiveness. At least I could tell he wasn't shallow with choosing his friends. He introduced me to the first two. They really were some tough looking guys. They wore all black. There names were Pony and Desmond. The last friend gave me this real suspicious look like I was here trying to steal something when I walked in.

"What's good nigga?" the friend had said.

I shrugged, "Nothing."

"Oh you sure about that?"
I just gave him this weird look. It felt like I was being put under the radar or something. They were all guys and all seemingly real hood guys.

"That's Jr," Amir explained and turned to me, "He's cool. Ya'll probably got some stuff in common. Ain't that right Jr.?"

"I don't know dat nigga," Jr. said, "I don't really want to either."

Amir gave me this half smile of embarrassment. I could tell that is what it had to be. I watched as he grabbed Jr. up and pushed him aside away. Honestly I could tell that it wasn't enough.

"You said you was going to be cool," Amir muttered to him, making a strong attempt for us not to hear it, but those rooms were so damn small it didn't matter.

"That is HER brother. Fuck that!"

The boy was loud. He was obviously trying to make me feel uncomfortable and he was succeeding. Shit...we were from two completely different lives. I knew Amir wouldn't feel comfortable around my friends too...shit, I didn't feel comfortable around my friends.

"I think its best I just leave," I finally said, making an attempt to run.

Amir walked up to me and grabbed me by my arm pulling me back. God...I loved how he kept stopping me when I was about to leave.

"No...it's nothing personal, bro," he explained to me, "Your sister has just been rubbing people the wrong way on the ship."

Pony, one of the quiet ones up against the wall came up and looked all of a sudden real pissed, "Rubbing people the wrong way? That is giving some one a bad look. That BITCH said me and Jr. sold drugs."
I was confused, "Do you?"

He looked offended. I hadn't meant to be offensive. He just rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. I could tell he was pretty irked with the whole situation. He seemed to be calming down and I hoped he would. He seemed like he was about to take all his frustration out on me.

Jr. got up off the bed, "I never sold any drugs in my life. I had a little weed...a little bit that I brought from home. She paid some girl to come in my room and said I was the local drug dealer!"
"Oh my god..." I said.

That sure did sound like the Patience that I knew.

Amir crossed his arms and turned to him, "Let's not drag him into this. He doesn't have anything to do with this."
"No...I want to hear about it," I explained.

Jr. seemed willing to talk about it. It seemed almost like he had all this frustration. I could tell he had been talking about it for a while.

"I don't know what I did to Patience," Jr. explained, "I made a couple jokes in class and she started staring at me. Then all of a sudden she's threatening me to beat up this boy for her. When I don't...I get stuck with this."
He was a class clown. Patience hated class clowns.

"I don't even know her," Pony added, shaking in the shadows like some addict, "I never met her in my life."
He was just the casualty of war. When Patience was at war there were sometimes people she dragged into it, just to add that extra kick.

Amir looked at them, "Well I mean you're trial isn't for a whole week. I'm sure her lies are going to surface by then?"

Jr. looked like he was minutes away from crying, "How? She had people who will testify against us. What the fuck did we do to her? God..."
"Stop being a bitch," Desmond told him, "I say smack that bitch around a couple of times. That'll get the message through to her."
I was surprised that they weren't even wondering why I didn't stand up for my sister or anything. I didn't mind him calling her a bitch. Hell I didn't mind him even threatening her.

"No..." Amir explained, "That's what she wants. Isn't that right Chauncey?"

I nodded, "Yeah...it's a bad idea."

Plus they wouldn't even get close enough with Vince and Ethan watching her back. These guys were tough looking, but there bodies were small and skinny underneath all those baggy clothes. They could probably give Vince a run for his money, but Ethan was like the modern day Goliath.

"I can't go back home!" Jr. explained, "My mother would kill me, especially when she found out what they send me back home for."
I felt bad for him because just at that moment he had broken out and started to cry. He had these hard wails. I watched as the other guys just got real quiet. I never saw such a tough looking guy cry. Amir walked across the room though and patted him on his back.

"You going to be cool, son," Amir told him, in this strong confident voice, "We'll just think of something."
"I can talk to her."
All of a sudden all eyes were on me.

Had I spoken some kind of Spanish or something. Then all of a sudden I saw Jr. wipe the tear away and look at me.

"Would you do that kid?" he asked me, "Really?"

"Yeah...I can't guarantee she'll listen, but I'll try," I explained.

"Yo...son, I'm sorry about the attitude. It's just...your sister is the devil," he explained to me, "How come you aren't?"

Amir smiled, "I told you yo...he's cool as hell. If she's the devil, then Chauncey is an angel."

He looked me in my eyes as he had said it. Is that what he thought about me? I hadn't thought that I was some great force before. I just was real.

"That sounded real gay," Desmond said.

Jr.'s face soured at Desmond, "Shut up son...you're not helping,"

Amir laughed, "You sure aren't. And oh well! He can be my fucking boyfriend if he's going to help!"

They all started to laugh at Amir's little joke, except me. I had opened my mouth to laugh but nothing came out. I just stood there. This boy had no fucking idea what he did to me. My heart was doing loops right now.

Desmond finally pointed out, "Ok...when ya'll stop being butt buddies, lets go upstairs...the ship is going to dock soon. We need to go find you guys some African pussy...there is way too much dick in this little room."




Africa was beautiful. We had landed in the late afternoon. Kim had finally caught back up with me. She was a little sour I left her like that but it didn't matter. I knew Patience wouldn't be out here because she didn't want to seem excited about Africa. That wasn't the Dollhouse thing to do. I did need to speak to her though. She was going too far with this boy. She had no reason not to like him.

I had read some stuff on Liberia when I found out it was going to be on of the places we would dock for a while. It looked beautiful as we finally made it to the dock. They told us that our curfew was 8:00 pm and we couldn't leave off the boat unless someone had a cellular. We also had to sign on and off the boat when we left and re-boarded.

"You going to hang with us on your first day in Africa?" Amir asked me.

I looked over at Kim. I figured it would only be polite to tell her that I would have to chill with her at another time.

"I can come along," she said and looked over at Amir, "You're Amir right, you know me? I'm from drama class..."
Amir and his ladies.

We got off the ship like everyone else. The harbor was busy. When I thought of Africa I always had sights of one huge safari. That is how it is displayed in culture. It was a city though...a bustling one at that.

It seemed like there were tourist attractions everywhere. It was so beautiful. We spent an hour or two just walking around shopping for little things until we found ourselves at this little beach.

The beach was pretty. The water was clear and beautiful. There weren't a lot of people. It seemed like the perfect little place to go. I could hear music playing from a little stand that was selling refreshments.

"It's so fucking hot," Jr. had told me.

It had been Jr. and I walking for most of the time. I guess he really appreciated the fact that I was going to talk to Patience. He was right under me.

"I wish we had bathing suits to go swimming."

"Hell...just go in your shorts."

It was hot too...I thought about it. I wasn't a good swimmer...I wasn't a good swimmer at all. I looked over at Desmond and Pony. They were not too far ahead of us, checking out these tourists girls who were walking around with bikini's on further down the beach.

Then I saw Amir and Kim. They were near the water. He had splashed her a little bit and she was running away, acting all girly. He seemed to like it though because he was chasing after her and splashing her some more.

Amir had a way with the ladies.

I turned back towards the cool water to see that Jr. had his eyes set on mine.

"Damn...you're looking hard as hell, is that your girl? I'll tell Amir to fall back if it is."

I shook my head, "No...no. I don't like her."

"Looks like he got another one," Jr. pointed out, noticing where my eyes were looking, "Asian girl this time. He's been hooking all these girls since we got here. He got one of every race. When are we going to get the love?"

I laughed a little bit. It was forced though. I didn't like the idea of Amir flirting with all these girls. Was he doing more with them? Was he some kind of male whore? I guess that didn't exist. Guys were supposed to be whores...right?

"I don't know," I finally said, "Fuck it though. Let's go swimming."

He started racing me to the water but I ended up in there before he did.

I took off my shirt immediately. I didn't know how to swim too well. I struggled through the current and finally got my stroke when I dove underneath the water. The water was beautiful.

It seemed like the entire world had disappeared. The only things that mattered was underneath that water as I swam deep. The water wasn't every deep where I was at. It did seem to get deep as I kept swimming out. Soon it got so deep that I couldn't even see the floor.

I rose to the top of the water to get some air.

I didn't know where Jr. was. I didn't care. The sun shone down on me and it lit my skin like a firecracker. It felt so good after coming out of that cold water.

Then waded around to see the shore and that is when I saw it. I saw Amir kissing her...he was kissing Kim. How the hell was he already kissing Kim! She was on top of him and giving him this deep kiss like she was going to rip his face off!

I wanted to scream out a little but then I saw Jr. swim up behind me. He seemed obviously to be a way better swimmer than I was.

"Damn...don't scare me like that," I said.

"Hey son, follow me...I want to show yo something."

He dove back underneath the water immediately. I looked back over at Amir. Yep...they were still kissing. Great...

I dove back under the water following Jr. I didn't feel like swimming. I felt like storming off and going right back to the boat. I hated the fact that he was out here kissing her. I know he was straight and it wasn't really my business who he was kissing, but I HATED it. I hated it with everything I had.

Then I saw what Jr. wanted to show me. It was all these stones. They seemed to glimmer underneath the water. They were all beautiful as hell. I didn't know what kind of stones they were but they almost looked like pieces of floating gold underneath the water.

That is when I saw it.

It was a beautiful stone that seemed to have all these beautiful shades of silver in it. It was just floating towards me as though it wanted me to take it. I couldn't help it...I grabbed the stone immediately.

In my excitement I swam back to shore.

This stone HAD to be worth a lot. It looked like a little piece of a meteor or something. It sparkled in my hand. For some reason I knew this had to be worth a fortune. I thought about showing it to Jr., but changed my mind as he came swimming back to shore. Call me greedy...I don't care. This stone was perfect...it was beautiful.

I shoved the stone in my pocket as he approached me.

We both walked up until we saw Kim and Amir. He hadn't even noticed I was walking up to him because they were too busy making out. Amir suddenly looked at me and stopped kissing her for the moment.

"Hey...you guys saw that?" he asked.

"I think the whole beach saw you guys," Jr. explained.

They laughed but I just stood there quiet. I couldn't help but to grimace. Why did I get so jealous? Amir was supposed to be MY thing. Those were MY lips that she had been kissing.

"Ey...you ok Chauncey?" Amir asked me.

I looked at him. I wondered if he could see it in my eyes. Why couldn't he see how much I cared for him by how I was looking at him?

"I'm cool," I say...in a very cold and bothered way.

I couldn't hide it. I was trying to. I liked Kim but I felt betrayed for some reason. Its not like she knew that I had feelings for Amir. It's not like I told her, but sometimes I just wondered how people couldn't see how much I liked him. It felt like I gave my secret away whenever I looked into his eyes.

"You sure?" he asked, clearly unconvinced.

"Of course he's ok...look at him," Kim butted in and looked me up and down, "He's all sexy and wet."

She wasn't only one looking me up and down. Amir did too. I noticed him doing it. I felt as though his eyes undressed me. They took off more then my clothes though. They took off my good sense. I knew this boy was just a tease. He just liked to get attention.

"Hey...I'm sexy and wet too," Jr. said.

All of a sudden the two started laughing and I couldn't help but to join in. Jr. didn't find it funny. He started throwing sand at them and they spent the rest of the evening just wrestling around.

I wasn't wrestling around though. I just crossed my arms and went to sit with Pony and Desmond who were trying to score dates for being so cool.





We started to make our way back to the boat when Amir had stopped to talk to someone. I didn't see who the person was because it was dark and I didn't feel like walking back to find out, but by the look on Kim's face as she stomped up to me I could tell that it was another girl.

"Hey Kim...what's wrong?"

The other boys had gone on ahead because they were discussing the whole "drug" trial that was going on. They were walking slow though, obviously waiting for Amir to finish talking to whoever he was talking to.

"I just poured my heart out to that guy and just got played!" She cried out.

"What do you mean?"

"I like Amir," she stated the obvious, "I liked him for a while now. He had everything I wanted. He's half black and Filipino. Did you know that? I let him know and he said he appreciated it. He said he APPRECIATED it!"

He was half black and Filipino.

I try to hold back my laughter, "Are you serious?"
"Yeah," she scorned, "So I put myself out there yet again and start kissing him. He obviously likes it because we kissed the entire time you was out swimming. Then just now he runs into some bitch and the girl hugs him and starts licking in his ear! He let her! She was standing right in front of me."

I rolled my eyes. I was just as pissed off as she was now. What the hell was with Amir and these girls? Why was he just swinging from one to the next like it was some kind of game?

"I'll go talk to him."

She tried to stop me. She even reached out for me, but I ignored her completely. I was kind of mad at that moment. I couldn't believe he was getting on with so many females. I just didn't get that.

She stood there waiting and I walked back down the hill to where Amir was talking to whoever it was he was talking to. It was obvious that he was arguing with the girl. She looked pissed off about it.

"We aren't a couple," he said, "So why are you mad?"

"You weren't saying that when you had sex with me two days ago!"

Damn...he had sex with her?

I got closer trying to see the girls face and then immediately I recognized the face. Twice in one day! It was Tosha standing there. She had always been a decent looking girl. She was a hood rat, but she kept her attitude in check most of the time.

"Look, you just gave me some head!" he explained, "I was drunk. You aren't committed to some one just because they suck your dick!"

"You could've said no!"
All of a sudden I walked up to him. I really thought about turning around. I didn't want Tosha seeing me again and letting everyone know about me being from the Grove.

"Fuck I have to piss...wait for me..." she said.

She ran into the restaurant that was right next to where we were standing. I said a little prayer thanking God that she hadn't seen me.

Amir saw me though. He saw me standing there and he didn't even look at me in my eyes. I could tell he was avoiding eye contact and it was weird because I didn't understand why he was avoiding it.

"You got Kim upset...that girl kind of likes you," I say to him.

He is quiet for a second. He is real quiet as a matter of fact. He looks at me and just shakes his head silently.

He shrugged, "I'm not trying to hurt no one. I didn't tell Tosha to come find me and start touching all over me. She's drunk as fuck."

He kept looking all over the floor as though trying to figure out which girl he wanted more. It was hilarious. He was the biggest playboy. I wanted to say it was turning me off...but I couldn't help but think how beautiful he was.

"Why don't you...slow down?" I suddenly ask.

"What you mean?"

I didn't know what I was doing. I was his friend and everything, but I was far from that close to him to give him advice about shit like that.
I shrugged, "I don't know. I was just thinking maybe you are doing a little too much. I know you're attractive. A lot of people know that. The thing is that you also have an attractive heart too. You're a good person. You don't need to be jumping around from girl to girl like you are."

He got quiet for a long while. I could tell he was sitting there thinking and contemplating. He looked so cute when he thought.

"You're right?"

"I am?" I asked completely confused that he didn't even try to defend his actions or anything.

"Yeah...I just...I don't know...I just am looking for that THING. You know what I mean bro? I don't want sex or anything from these girls. I just what to see how some of them are. I am just looking for wifey but all these girls are the same. It's like one after the other."

"What about Kim...isn't she different?" I asked.

"No...I mean she's cool," he explained to me, "but she's not THE ONE. I know you understand what I'm saying, right Chauncey?"

"Yeah...you're looking for your destiny."
His face lit up like a sunbeam, "Exactly! You're so damn deep, that's why I like you. I have to tell you something. You have to keep it just between us."
He took a few steps closer to me and my heart almost stopped. I couldn't keep being real close to this boy without touching him. It was almost physically painful to keep doing this.


"Well I had this dream...I had this dream where I was at home. It was sometime in the future and I had a ring on my hand. I was married. Then I hear this song playing. It's filling the room and it's the most beautiful song I ever heard. Then as I walk downstairs, I realize that my wife is knocking at the door...then..."

"Then what?"

I am all into the dream. He is saying it as though reliving it. His eyes are closed and he seems to almost be seeing the dream as if it were reality.

"I creep to open the door. Then as I open it...my alarm goes off...right before I can see who it is, but it wasn't a dream! I woke up in sweat, Chauncey. Like, I never was a strong believer in God, but I knew he was behind that dream. He was trying to show me who I was going to end up with."

I was getting nervous.

My palms kept sweating and I looked over at the restaurant, "Tosha's taking a long time pissing."
"She's drunk," he excused immediately and looked over at me again, "What do you think of the dream though. Do you think it could have been more then that? I still remember the song. I've been looking everywhere trying to find it. I've been trying to find HER."

"You think you're going about it the right way. Sleeping around till you find her. When you find the person, you won't have to sleep with them to know."

His eyes may be from Filipino, but his lips were smooth full lips that showed his African-American descent. They parted and said, "I know. I don't really sleep around. I might flirt every now and then and fool around, but I try not to. You're right though...you're so right. What should I do?"

"Is Tosha the one?"


"Is Kim the one?"

"Uh uh."

"Well then let them go," I finally say, trying hard not to look at his lips.

"You're right...I'll go talk to Kim," he explained, "Can you go check up on Tosha? You know her right?"

"Yeah. I do."

He started to walk away. God, he was beautiful. I had to stop being so close to him. I bet, I'd been looking at his lips the entire time he was talking. As he walked away, I couldn't help but look at his ass.

That was when he turned around and saw me, before adding, "I just wanted to say thanks a lot. I don't know what I would do without you."

I smiled.

He was the charmer. He could charm the shit out of anyone. I walked over to the restaurant, only thing is she wasn't over there. I could see some dark shadows and then I heard a muffled cry.

That was when I saw her shoe. It was the same shoes she always wore when she used to run across the Grove. It was sitting there, abandoned.


I didn't get it...what the fuck was going on back there!

I ran to the back of the restaurant towards some bushes where I saw her. It sure was her. Two men were grabbing on her! They were dressed in all black sweats and black masks despite the fact that it was 100 degrees out here. They had gagged her, tied her up and were attempting to carry her off.

I raced over there. I punched on in the face, but it was almost like hitting a fucking stone or some shit. He hit me back and I fell to my back. I struggled to get up, but the other one stepped on my chest

"HELP!" I shouted, hoping that Amir was still close enough to come over.

He wasn't though.

The other man took out a spray of gas and he sprayed it in my face. I slowly began to trail off into this sleep. It was an immediate and yet very deep sleep.