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As I Am


Kendrick walked around knocking his fist. He couldn't believe what had just happened. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. The sisters felt like it was best not to confront Tray yet, before it was discussed Tonetta. They were all scared how to tell Tonetta.

Fuck the Suwoos and the East siders.

Kendrick couldn't believe they were just going to try to sweep it under the rug like that.

Kendrick just kept thinking what he would do to someone who had forced themselves on Anna. He would kill them...three or four times...slowly...

"Yo bro...what's the matter."
He was at the gas station. The other members of his gang were pacing around him. They were getting just as rowdy as he was. He had been so upset but he wasn't letting them know what was the matter. They all followed him closely, waiting for him to say something.

Louis was the first to crack him, "Come on yo. If you don't talk now we can't do nothing. Don't try to play us."

"That boy Tray," Kendrick stated, "He needs to go...You hear me..."

"Oh damn, hell yeah," Louis said putting his hand on Kendrick's arm, "I knew I didn't lose my soldier. That's what I'm talking about. "

"What happened to set you off?" Louis's little brother asked.

Kendrick shook his head, "Man, just time. He's talking shit about us. He's popping off. And he's a grimy individual."

"Ain't he fucking with that east side girl you like?"

"Priscilla?" Kendrick asked, "No he fucks with her sister Bonnie>"

"So what's the issue."

"It ain't about pussy," Kendrick shook his head, "It's about respect! He don't respect us. We take him down...son we can take down the whole set of them."

"You talking about killing him?" Louis asked.

Kendrick hesitated. He hesitated until he remembered how Nelly's face looked like when he came that day. He hesitated until he remembered how fucked up Nelly looked.

"It is what it is."

He could see how excited Louis was getting. The Suwoos weren't really led by Tray but he was a top member in the crew among with Tonetta Harsh a couple other cats around the east side.

"When?" a member of the gang asked, "You know we all down."

"Let's wait a while," Louis started out, "I'll plan it out. You guys just go about your business. No one beef with him. You hear me? No one! Ignore him. Act like nothing happened. I don't want him expecting anything."




Kendrick had taken his sister and I to the beach. We helped Anna build a sand castle. It was times like this that I wished would last forever. I felt an ease with Anna and Kendrick that I didn't feel at home. I couldn't explain the connection I had with them. It was like we all wanted to always be around each other and there was no expectations. I didn't have to be masculine or tough. I didn't have to be smart or smooth. I just had to be simple old Corny and that was just fine with Anna. That was just fine with Kendrick.

"Anna, don't go too far in," Kendrick called out to his younger sister.

I had noticed his mother hadn't even noticed Anna's existence. His mother was much like mine. She had walked in the house one day and didn't even question who I was. She had asked me for a dollar and when I gave it to her, she asked me for another one. When I told Kendrick's mother I didn't have another dollar she said something in Spanish to me. I believe it was a curse word and then she disappeared again.

"Relax, you were a kid once," I stated.

"I wish I had someone to tell me not to go too far in when I was a kid," Kendrick continued, shaking his head nervously and taking a few steps closer to the water where Anna was.

Anna had stopped going deep and started to draw figures in the sand. Kendrick still watched her, kind of like a hawk. He was being extra protective, but then I realized he wasn't really paying attention to what Anna was drawing.

"She means the world to me," Kendrick started.

His face was serious and sober. It had been like that since he'd come home from school and decided to take us out. It was like he had something on his mind. I knew the type of person he was though so I didn't push. I still wanted to know what it was however.

"You mean the world to her," I continued smiling

"You are lucky to have a sister that loves you like that," I smiled walking closer to him in the moonlight, "She thinks you are so special."

I wanted to tell him, I thought he was so special too. It would be gay though. I didn't want to ruin this moment. The moment where I saw Kendrick's silhouette against the sun was so important. I saw his caramel skin almost melt under the heat. He looked golden. His pink full lips naturally perched out as though he was about to blow a kiss or something. He was beautiful.

"You have that too."

I laughed, "What?"

"I'm not joking," he stated turning towards me and showing me the hard expression he was carrying, "I have a lot of fun with you cuz. I'm a whole lot of fun...more than with anyone else, but why we don't get serious sometimes. It seems like you front or something."

Kendrick was burning into me with his hard stare. I felt like I was being targeted. It was clear he had something on his mind.

"Whoa whoa whoa...am I missing something?"

"No but obviously I am," Kendrick continued and crossed his arms, "I had a little talk with your sisters today and you know"

"Wait about me? Please...please tell me you didn't tell them where I was?" I asked.

"...I think it's best if you go home."
"You kicking me out?"

"No..." Kendrick said shaking his head, "You don't get my point. Your sisters care about you. They are there for you. You just have to let them be. You close yourself off. They think you are so weird and different. That is because you don't open up to them. They don't know you...like...like...like I know you."

I felt a sense of betrayal. It kind of stabbed. All of the stuff he was saying wasn't really getting to me because I was still stuck on the fact that he had told my sisters where I was. He had betrayed me.

"I'll pack up and leave today," I explained to him coldly.

"Are you serious? I'm not kicking you out. I'm just telling you home is where you belong..."

"I feel like I am home."
"This can be your home too. This can be your 2nd home, but there's nothing wrong with the one given to you. You just have to open your eyes and be open."

"You have no idea what I've been through over there."

He was silent.

He crossed his arms. It was in a weird way. It was in a suspicious way. I did the same thing crossing my arms but I wasn't silent. I actually went to stand right in front of him so that he can face me.

"Um...which sister did you talk to?" I asked him.

He paused longer and I could see the resistance in his gesture, "I spoke with Bonnie. But before you get upset about it, I want to let you know that Tray isn't going to get away with this. You understand me. I ride for my friends and you are my best friend..."

"You...you know what he did to me..."

"Yeah and I'm letting you know I'll get him back. I already had it out for him but now it's personal," Kendrick stated.

"What's going to happen Kendrick?"

"I can't tell you."

"Don't do anything crazy."

He stayed quiet. He didn't say anything. The embarrassment was running through my head, but then again I looked at it as Kendrick knew I was raped and harassed but he wasn't treating me like some sort of disease. He wasn't blaming me. He wasn't calling me a fag.

He looked at me like I was the victim and it was something I didn't completely expect from anyone.

"Kendrick, I said..."


It was Anna calling us. She seemed excited about something. As we made our way up the beach together, I couldn't help but walk close to Kendrick. I didn't know why. He didn't mind it.

Our arms touched. We were walking that close. I thought he would find it weird because he was obviously noticing. He obviously noticed us bumping into each other several times. I got nervous.

He turned to look at me and whispered something. It was something like, "You big baby..."

Then he smiled and smiled back at him.

As we made it to Anna she was showing us the picture she drew in the stand. It wasn't anything complicated or anything. It was kind of cute, simple and to the point.

She pointed at the three figures in the sand. It was one small figure with two big figures on both ends.

"That's me," she stated pointing at the small figure, "That's mi hermano Ken and that's Nelly. This is our family."

She looked up at me and smiled. It was almost as though she was glad she got her point across. At that moment it seemed like I had a reason to live. I wanted to live to see Anna smile up at me a million times and draw a million pictures of us. I wanted her to think of me as her family forever. I wanted to be in her life forever.
I wanted it almost as much as I wanted to be in Kendrick's life.

"It's a beautiful family portrait Anna," Kendrick stated, "I'll take a picture with my camera phone and save it always."

"Then why Nelly crying? Nelly you don't like?"

Kendrick looked at me. I had been trying to hide it. I had been silently tearing up. When she pointed me out though, I couldn't help it. I broke down.

I broke down because it was beautiful. I broke down because it was touching. No one had ever so clearly pointed out that I belonged somewhere. I had lived for so long not knowing where I belonged. It was good to know that someone wanted me around.

I choked on my words, "I love it..."

"Didn't I tell you, a big goddam baby," he stated, laughing a little, "Well come ere big baby. You not too grown for a hug and neither am I. Like Anna said, you are family. You always will be."

He gave me a firm hug. It wasn't a 2 second hug to just show some type of affection. The long lasted. Anna came in and joined in on the hug, jealously squeezing herself in the middle for attention. I laughed as she did it.

I laughed and then smiled. Kendrick was wrong. I never felt so at home.




It had been a week since Cornelius had been staying with him. It had also been a week since Cornelius had went to school. He was beginning to worry and think if Cornelius had plans of dropping out. He had to somehow convince Nelly to at least go back to school.

Honestly he knew that he was having fun with Cornelius staying over there. It made dealing with Louis staying over there a little bit better. Whenever Louis would annoy him, he would just go hang out with Nelly and have a good time talking about cartoons from the early 90s that neither of them should have remembered but did.

Priscilla came up to Kendrick in between classes, "Hey boo."

Her smile was just like Nelly's. The more he thought about it, the more he saw the resemblance between the two. He really was beginning to think that Priscilla and Nelly actually favored each other more than any other of the Harsh siblings.

"I'm boo now?"

She smiled, "Yeah, whenever you ready to make it official."

"And have the Suwoo gang down my throat. Not yet. It will be soon," he stated, nodding his head, "Very soon. Especially after I found out about what they did to your brother."

"You aren't going to do something stupid are you?"

"You and your brother sound just alike," he stated and smiled, "I swear you two should be like twins."
"Are you serious?" Priscilla asked, "Ew...anyway, how is the little scrub. We didn't tell Tonetta where he was but if she finds out it is going to be crazy. You know Tonetta is an east side gang banger. She can't have her little brother in your house. "

"Tell Tonetta to fuck herself," he stated, "No offense."

"Um, yeah that's my sister. I'm just trying end this peaceful. You know. He needs to come back home asap."

"I tried...he's not budging..."

"Why not? You know we've been covering about his disappearance from Mom, but yesterday she asked for him. She is starting to notice he isn't around even though she's already in her room. News that he is missing after my dad passed would probably just kill her. "

"I'll try my best to persuade. I need some motivation though..."

"Motivation...how about a kiss?"

"That's a start."

He pulled her close and then tilted up against his locker. He began to kiss her gently. He thoroughly kissed her deeply. He wanted to make an impression and by the smile on her face after the kiss, it was clear that impression would last for a long time.



He was at the house. He was teaching Anna how to tie her shoe. It was kind of simple but for a little kid about Anna's age, it was taking forever. He wanted Anna to learn though so that by the time Kendrick had come over, she would have tied her shoes in front of him.

Anna was doing really good with the lesson, until she started coughing. I could tell what it was by the heavy scent that was filling the room. I looked around as the heavy weed smell filed the house. I grabbed Anna by her hand and started towards the kitchen. I walked to the other room to see Louis playing his music and smoking weed.

He eyed me as I started walking into the room.

I held on to Anna's hand, "Hey Louis, didn't Kendrick ask you not to smoke in his house?

"And Kendrick and me will deal with it when that time motherfucking comes. Don't come at me sideways papi...I don't fuck with you blacks ass east siders."

"And that's fine, but it's for Anna.

Louis walked up to me. For a moment I thought he was going to push me or something like that. He looked dead in my eyes. He was challenging me. Then he knelt down and he blew smoke into Anna's face.

The little girl started coughing crazy.

"Get the fuck away from her!"

At that moment I didn't even care how many guns Louis had in his arsenal. I let go of Anna's hand and gave him a hard push. He fell onto the kitchen cabinet dropping his blunt on the floor. I used my foot at that moment to crush the hell out of that blunt making damn sure he would never

"Nigga!" he shouted at that moment coming at me hard as if I had just destroyed his most valuable access.

He started to wrestle with me and I struggled against him. He was trying to pin me and it was really working even with all the struggling I was doing. He was probably used to fighting. I managed to get a punch or two from him, drawing blood from his lip before he finally managed to pin me on the floor and send a couple blows to my ribs.

I started to squirm in pain. It wasn't the pain of him hitting me really, but I was in pain from hearing Anna break out into tears.

"Stop it. Stop hitting Nelly!" Anna was screaming.

She laid herself over me and his punches blocking him from hitting me any longer. I looked over up at him and saw that he did manage to stop.

"Get the fuck off him you little bitch," he stated, "You going to grow up to be a crackhead just like your fucking mama."

"No! Leave him alone! I'm telling Kenny."

He did get off of me at that moment and started to move to the kitchen trying to pick up all the weed off the floor. He looked pissed at that moment.

"Not before I do," he stated laughing, "What he going to believe a little ass girl and a fag before he believe his blood brother."

"How do you call yourself his blood brother?" I asked, trying to get up and realizing my lungs were collapsing, "You don't even care about the one joy in his life."

I think I was getting to Louis. His face was all screwed up. He had one of those faces that seemed like he was constantly annoyed. He was constantly gritting his teeth. His eyes were constantly crooked. He just seemed like an all together scarred person.

"Nigga, you don't know shit," Louis stated, going to the door and turning back, "I took a bullet for that nigga. You hear me? A fucking bullet. 17 years old, that nigga was chasing older hoodrat bitches like he does and the girl's husband had a problem. He pulled out a gun on my boy. I jumped in front of him. I took the bullet. Top that...fag! Kendrick is always going to be mine. You hear me? Say something...uh huh, I thought so, bitch."

He walked out at that moment.

The way he said "mine" drove a wedge in between me. What the hell did he mean by that?

I brushed it off though. Anna was my only concern...Anna and my aching ribs.



Kendrick had a surprise for Cornelius. He knew Cornelius would be surprised too. He told Cornelius to drop Anna across the street and come down to the gym.

He had been waiting at the gym for a long time now. He looked at his time. It wasn't like Cornelius was late. His stomach turned a little bit hoping that nothing hadn't happened to Nelly. He usually didn't worry about anyone but Anna like that. Anna and maybe Louis at times.

It was crazy how their relationship blossomed over the months they'd known each other.

"Hey you."

Kendrick turned over to see Nelly walking up. He was holding onto his ribs. His face wasn't trying to show pain but his bodily movements definitely showed signs of it.

"You ok?"

"Um...yeah. I'm fine."

"What happened?"

"It's a long story."

"Well I just have this gym for an hour. Are you able to dance? I guess you can tell me the story later if it's not too serious."

"Wait...you got the gym...I don't get it..."

"I know people," Kendrick stated.

"Ok, I promised the basketball coach I would mentor his entire basketball team for a couple months," Kendrick stated and shook his head, "Man it's going to be tough. I guess I won't be able to hide the fact that I'm smart anymore...ha."

He started to laugh. The entire gym was empty. It was usually full of people practicing basketball at all hours. Now no one was even approaching the place.

"Kendrick...you did this for me?"

He put his hand on the back of his head, trying not to blush, "Yeah. I mean, you need space. I don't want ANY excuses on why you didn't win this dance contest. Plus...I believe in you...you're worth it."

The look in Nelly's eyes was definitely worth it to Kendrick. He know how Kendrick felt because he'd been there. He had felt like there wasn't anyone on the world that believed in him. It was so special to hear from someone that he was worth it. If Kendrick had heard it early enough maybe he wouldn't have been in the gang scene.

Nelly was smiling. Kendrick could see that he meant business when he took off his shirt. He had never seen Nelly just straight take off his shirt.

Nelly's body was more developed then Kendrick had remembered. He found himself noticing Nelly's tight abs and the solid figure. Nelly had a little chest too, kind of developed. And his eyes were noticing Nelly's v-line most of all. He had the deepest v-line that Kendrick had ever seen.

He nodded with approval, "The ladies going to like you..."

"You think?"

Kendrick laughed a little by how happy Nelly seemed. The compliment had made Nelly smile from ear to ear. He had said it to give Nelly some confidence, but he believed it.

He couldn't understand why his eyes were still searching Kendrick's body. His arms weren't that built, but they were still nice. He had a solid neck. His waist was so...grabbable.

"Yeah um...yeah...um...what was I saying?" Kendrick asked.

"You said the ladies will like me. Maybe I should dance to a sexy song...if you think I should..."

Kendrick nodded, "I mean I'll have your swag on point when you are in Miami. We burning all that shy stuff today. You hear me? Have you thought of a song to dance to?"

Nelly looked at him.

"I wanted you to choose."

"Nelly, this is your choice. I want you to dance to something you are comfortable with. "

That was when Nelly had said something that really almost seemed to stab Kendrick in the heart. He didn't expect it. He might have not expected it because they were standing kind of close. He didn't understand why Nelly was looking at him the way he was.

"The only way I can dance is if you are on my mind. So I want you to pick a song."

"Your love..."

Kendrick didn't know why he had said it so quick. It was almost like something had just possessed his eyes. He didn't understand what the fuck was going on.

Why was Nelly looking at him like that?

What the fuck did Nelly want from him?

Why after Kendrick had named the song did Nelly take a step closer to him.

"My love?"

Why was there this spark or magnetism or unspeakable force between them that didn't make sense? Kendrick had only felt this once before. This woman he'd been with a long time ago. The woman was married. Her husband ended up getting upset about that and actually tried to kill him. If it wasn't for Louis, he'd be dead.


Kendrick didn't understand what the fuck was going on.

He was uncomfortable. Nelly was way too close. He took a step back trying to snap himself out of the whole moment.

"No...it's called Your Love. It's by Nicki Minaj . It's hot right now. On the top of the charts."

"Oh...um...I never heard it, do you have it?"

Kendrick put a cd into the boombox and started to play it.

Nelly immediately started dancing as soon as the song came on. It was weird how quickly he caught the beat and was going at it.

Kendrick was pulled right back in. He didn't understand what was going on. All he could do was watch Nelly dancing. Nelly had his eyes on Kendrick at the entire time.

The way Nelly jerked his body back and forth was crazy. He gyrated his hips but in a masculine way. Nelly knew how to pop his muscles out of place and he was managing to do it in a elegant way and not in a nasty way. He made it look cool. He made it look popular again.

Kendrick's heart was beating faster.

Nelly's butt...so fat...damn...his abs so hard. What if...what if grabbed Nelly's waist and pulled him into him while he was dancing.

There was a hard burning sensation in his chest. It was so hard and heavy. It was almost like he was holding something back. If he could grab Nelly...just a little bit...just for a second...what would that mean? Would that mean he was gay?

If he just put his hands around him and held him. They didn't have to kiss. He just wanted him close. He wanted to feel him...

Was that weird? Was it weirder if maybe he did want to give him a kiss? No guys kissed...but what if he wanted to go further. Love...

What if love just happened...would that be gay? Would that be weird?

Would that be gay...

Would that be weird...

Would that be gay...

"So what do you think?" Nelly asked.

His dancing had put Kendrick in a trance. He wondered if Nelly noticed. It was so fucking embarrassing that he was looking at him. He damn near was drooling. What the fuck was going on? This was definitely weird. It was definitely not normal.

Kendrick talked with his mouth barely moving. His eyes were still perched open like a bird, "Yo...um...I thought you didn't know the song..."

"I didn't. I never listen to the radio. But when I hear a song...man...when I hear a song. It's just like your first time making love you know. All of a sudden you know what to do. You know what I mean?"

Kendrick shook his head. Why was he having these feelings. Why the fuck did Nelly have to smile the way he did. Why did he look so much like Priscilla...

"No. I don't know."

Nelly laughed, "Really? You a virgin."

Kendrick shook his head, once again finding himself just trying not to stare at Nelly, "Can we not talk about sex?"

"Um ok...I wasn't talking about sex though. I was talking about love."

"Can we not talk about love?"

"Huh? Kendrick what's up? I don't get it. The song is about love. How do we not talk about it?"


"What's wrong? Did I say something? I'm sorry yo...I..."

"Nothing. Nelly, nothing. Um. Go again. Ok? I'll be back."

"You not watching again?"

Kendrick shook his head, "Naw...I was um supposed to meet Priscilla for a little bit. Ok. She's probably outside the gym waiting for me right now. I'll be back though. Practice. Practice. Practice. I'll be back."

Nelly nodded before he walked away from him. Kendrick couldn't watch it one more time. His heart felt so heavy. It was a good feeling but then it wasn't. He couldn't describe it. It was butterflies. Yet he felt afraid. It was like the first day of high school. You don't know what to expect. You don't really know who to expect. You realize that this one day will be the beginning to something scary and something unusual.



I had practiced my dances for a complete hour. Kendrick was no where in sight. I didn't know what I had said to him. Maybe my dances were too soft. He probably didn't like them or something. I didn't know what it was. All I knew was I could do better.

And everything I did, I did for him. I felt like he believed in me. I was dedicating everything to him.

Your love...Your love...Hey...

Your...love...your love...Hey...

The simple song was perfect. It was the perfect beat. I wanted to sing it to him. I was falling for him. I kept trying to stop myself, but I couldn't. I was falling for Kendrick.

Just as I thought about Kendrick I managed to flip but didn't go all the way. I ended up doing a perfect headstand and holding it. It was almost like my focus on Kendrick was making my body float. I began to move my legs and then my arms from the headstand.

I began to do the same dance I did on the floor, except I did it on my head.

I fell over not realizing what I had done.

He'd like it.

I had to show him.

I grabbed my shirt and headed for the same door hoping that he was still out there. I couldn't wait to see him. Man I wish he could see it.

Just as got to the gym exit, I did see Kendrick. He wasn't alone. Priscilla was sitting with him. Well, not entirely. Priscilla was sitting ON him. They were hugged up in the empty hallway. He was on the ledge and she was sitting on him.

I watched my sister from the door. I thought about opening the gym door and letting them know I was there. I figured maybe they'd separate already. That was until I heard my name mentioned.

I silently listened to what they were saying.

"You know So you and Corny all close now, I'm going to need my little brother back."

"I'll talk to him. Give him until the end of the week. You can wait. You guys all think he's weird."

"Um...Kendrick you honestly don't think Corny is weird at times?"


"You don't think he acts a little...you know? Gay?"

Kendrick didn't reply to my sister right away. He paused for a moment.

"You want me to be honest? Don't tell Cornelius. Promise you won't."

"I swear..."

"Well I have been feeling kind of weird lately. Like he stares at me all the time. I don't know what all that's about. Like he says weird stuff a lot too. He said he can't dance unless he thinks of me..."

Priscilla laughed, "Oh my god, that is so damn gay. He did not say that."

Kendrick found it funny too.

"I swear to God he did. I was like bro...um...what the hell does that mean? I dunno. He's a cool cat but there is a chance he may be a little too sweet. Ha...I'm just saying I wouldn't be surprised if he came out gay too the world."

"I don't think anyone would really be surprised, especially with the whole situation with Tray..."

Kendrick shook his head almost annoyed, "Yeah...and please believe that's getting handled, but man I hope Corny isn't gay. I can't help but getting shivers when he looks at me that way he does sometimes. It's disgusting."

He called it...he called it disgusting...