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I would always dance to Ciara when no one was looking. I could do all her moves. I studied her like she was a god or something. I sat there in the mirror pretending to be her and shit but then all of a sudden my door opened.
"What are you...doing?" Priscilla asked.
"Doesn't anyone in this damn house knock?" I asked.
looked at me and rolled her eyes, "Anyway, I had to talk to you."
This was weird. Priscilla had spent most of her experience wishing that she wasn't related to me because I looked bad on her rep. She looked different today though. She had on this whole silly persona that I wasn't all the way used to.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Have you talked to...you know who..."
She turned her back towards the door and looked at it. It was obvious she was scared that one of our other sisters might hear her talking about it. She walked even closer to me.
"Why are you asking about him?" I asked.
It annoyed me. I felt irritated. Priscilla always got everything she wanted. That is what scared me the most. She crossed her arms and seemed so un-Priscilla-like at that moment. For the first time ever, I thought I felt Priscilla seem vulnerable. This scared me too. She dated a lot of guys for her time. None of them were serious.
"I just want to know. Has he said anything about me?"
"I don't know," I stated wishing she would go away as I turned off my Ciara cd.
There was no way I was going to help her out. She had never been nice to me. She was never extremely mean to me like Bonnie and Tonetta. I just didn't exist for the most part in Priscilla's world. I wasn't `hot' enough to be her brother.
"Help me out. You are the only one that knows him."
should I help you out Priscilla...honestly...why?"
"What do you want...just name it..."
was really pressed for this guy. I
looked at her completely perplexed.
Priscilla was gorgeous. She had
the long beautiful red hair. She had the
skin that made her look mixed. She appealed to all type of guys with her
look. Her mentality was confident and
strong. Why the hell would she need someone like me?
"Nothing you can give me."
"Why don't you...come to the homecoming game with me," Priscilla stated.
"You are inviting me out?"
Priscilla raised her well-manicured hands, "Yeah, no strings attached. You can help me out with Kendrick if you want to. We never had a really good relationship..."
"Priscilla who are you kidding we never had ANY relationship."
She sighed, "Ok...ANY relationship, but it's not too late...how about it?"
this look, it has to go...meet me tonight at 7...we'll work on it."
I didn't know what to think about Priscilla sudden interest in me. It was obvious what she wanted and that was Kendrick. I didn't know what the relationship status between the two of them were yet, but it bothered me. I hated the idea of Kendrick being assumed by her.
I ignored it though. Hopefully this too would pass.
Priscilla was surprisingly acting really nice to me. She was out of the bathroom in just 15 minutes. That was by FAR record time for her. The others noticed too. Bonnie just straight forward asked her, "You ok Priscilla?"
I got ready to go to school, thinking I should wait for Willy, but remembering onThursday afternoons he took the big yellow bus. The next person I would usually walk with was Claudia, but she wasn't feeling well today and had decided to stay home. Of course she could get away with it because Mom didn't care. Mom was still in the house though. She was staring out of the window. It was the same window she used to stare out of and wait for my Dad to come home for work every morning. Now Mom was just staring at nothing at all. It scared me.
I decided I was going to walk home alone when I heard some loud rap music coming from somebody's speakers. I saw Tray pull up to the front of the house all of a sudden. He beeped his horn loud.
"We'll be right out!" I heard Bonnie scream from the house.
I looked over at Tray. He looked back at me. He licked his lips.
"Yo...you like my watch?" he asked.
He dug in his pocket and showed me my father's watch. I looked at and started toward the car to grab it away from him. All of a sudden he dropped it in his lap around his crotch area.
"Oops...you just going to have to bring that fat ass over here," he stated, "Hurry up son, your sister bout to be out. You can give me head for a couple seconds."
"I'm not doing anything for you."
"Lil nigga, who said you had an option. You don't give it to me, I'm taking it. You hear me? Ha."
Tray smiled with a grill full of silver. He laughed. He found himself amusing. I backed away from the car. I didn't know how much was a joke and how much was real. I didn't put it past him though.
Luckily at that moment my sisters Bonnie and Priscilla walked out the house. Priscilla hopped into the side seat of her boyfriend's car and gave him a hard kiss as though they hadn't seen each other in years. Priscilla was walking to the car when all of a sudden she seemed to remember that she was being nice to me again.
She turned around and quickly stated, "Oh, why don't you ride to school with us. Tray always drive s us. You never want to come..."
Bonnie looked over at Priscilla, "Bitch this ain't your car, don't be inviting people in my man's car."
"Yo shut up Bonnie," Tray demanded immediately, "That's your little brother. Of course he's welcome. Corny...come here."
Priscilla seemed so damn consistent. She walked over to me and seemed to make an attempt to try to force me into the car with her.
"You are getting late. You should come. You just got jumped. I don't want you walking around by yourself."
Bonnie interrupted, "He SAID he's good. Let's go. Besides this the east side and you know ain't nobody going to mess with him out this way."
Bullshit...I didn't know which was worse.
"What's wrong?" Bonnie asked me.
Priscilla and her exchanged looks. I didn't care if they were suspicious. For a quick minute I thought about telling them. I thought I'd just put crazy ass Tray out there. Then I looked at his face. He winked his eye at me, in this tough...sickening way.
Kendrick walked into the library after school. He was kind of happy to hang out with Cornelius. He was confused on why him and a guy like Cornelius could get along. Cornelius was from the hood, but he was never in the streets. He stuck to himself. He was the guy that you wouldn't even remember when you looked back in your yearbook.
For some reason though, the kid was definitely growing on him.
He walked up to the table grabbing onto Cornelius from the back.
He was surprised when Nelly didn't only jump but dashed forward as though someone was trying to really kill him.
"NO! You can't!"
"I can't what?" Kendrick asked.
Kendrick looked over at Cornelius with a weird look. He felt bad for how pathetic he was sometimes. It was hard not to. This kid was scared of his own shadow. Kendrick shook his head trying to hold back laughter. It was hard though. Cornelius was halfway over the library table at this point and looking back with a blank stare.
"There you go. Mr. Apology. That's what I'm going to call you," Kendrick laughed and took a seat, "Who did you think I was anyway?"
He noticed the way Cornelius didn't look him in his eyes when he answered. It was obvious he was trying to chain the subject. It was obvious he wasn't comfortable talking about...something...
Kendrick just nodded, "You ok? You seem a little down."
Cornelius shook his head, "It's...it's nothing. I'll snap out of it."
"Good, cause you're my little buddy. We can't be dreary and shit. That's not what's up. How about we skip the math and go see that new Freddy movie."
The boy seemed really confused that Kendrick would invite him out. It made Kendrick feel even worse. Why hadn't anyone taken the time to get to know this boy? The way that the boy was shocked just showed the level of ignorance that Cornelius had been facing probably all his life.
son. I have to teach you the art of going out."
"Will we be back before 7?"
"Why, got a date?" Kendrick stating laughing at the thought of someone being attracted to Cornelius.
"No...my sister is taking me to the homecoming basketball game."
be back before then."
He looked at me. Actually we looked at each other.
Truth was I couldn't believe he was taking me out in public.
We were in the bathroom of the movie theaters. Cornelius was throwing up in the garbage can. Kendrick just looked at him. He felt bad because it was his idea to get something to eat before they saw Freddy. He hadn't met a guy with a weak stomach before.
All that dying...all that killing made him think of the past. He thought of all the things he did. He kept thinking about Corny's parents.
"Nelly," he stated, pushing open the bathroom stall, "You ok?"
Corny walked out. His eyes were raised as though trying to maintain stability. He went to the faucet and started to rinse off all the while nodding.
"I'm good. I'm good. I'm so sorry. God, you probably will never go to the movies with me again."
Kendrick smiled a little. He definitely wouldn't be seen dead at a movie theaters with Corenlius again especially not for a scary movie.
"It don't matter. I did have a question though."
He could tell this was a great time if ever to ask him. Cornelius was too busy being embarrassed. He wouldn't even notice how weird the question was probably.
Cornelius was rinsing his shirt out. He had chunks of stuff in his shirt. Nelly looked at him. The kid was cool and Kendrick was amused by the little embarrassing moments that he had all the time. They entertained Kendrick. They made him laugh. What if he lost his new friend before their friendship really even started?
"What if someone did something...something unforgivable but they spent they didn't mean to and they regret it with all their heart. How would they go about trying to get redemption?"
Corny didn't even look up from his shirt.
"Nothing is unforgivable."
Kendrick smiled at the thought. It made him feel better because of how easily Cornelius had told him. He put his arm on Cornelius.
"Why did you ask that?"
"I was just wondering...just wondering."
The hour later he told goodbye to Corny. Corny was going to the homecoming game with his sister. He thought about going as well. Maybe Priscilla was going to be there. Maybe he'd get the chance to see her. He couldn't though. He had to go home. His little sister didn't have anyone to watch her probably. He gave Corny a hard handshake before he left them. Even if he was embarrassed or not, he knew that he would never forget Corny throwing up to Freddy Kreugger. He figured that was all that really mattered.
Kendrick rolled over that night. He was having nightmares again. They were nightmares about that goddamn Cornelius Sr. Why the fuck couldn't he just let it go?
Then he just kept remembering how his feelings for Priscilla were growing.
Why would he feel this way about a girl that he didn't even know like that. Why would he feel this way about Cornelius Sr.'s daughter?
Maybe that was why she wasn't giving him the time of day. He couldn't sleep with the thoughts on his head as he rolled over all night over and over. He couldn't take it.
There were gunshots outside his window. They reminded him of that night. He was in a hot sleep then all of a sudden there was a hard knock on his door.
He was surprised to see Luis standing there.
"What the hell, how you get in the house?" he asked Luis.
Luis rushed into Kendrick's room as soon as the door opened. He sat down on the side table.
"The door was open."
Kendrick should have known. His mom usually came home around this time and left the door wide open.
"It's 4 o'clock in the morning bro," Kendrick said shaking his head.
Luis was sweating. He looked real weathered like he just got done doing something. He looked over at Kendrick, "Son, I need to hide out for a little while."
"What you mean?"
"Big Boy had me do something and the cops are on me. I just need to chill somewhere real till shit quiet down. I know they clocking my house man."
"Fuck did you do?"
"Big Bro said not to tell nobody," Luis stated.
"Luis fuck you mean? It's me, Kenny," Kendrick stated.
Luis shook his head, "I know Kenny. Man I can't right now...ok?"
Luis leaned forward, "I shot up the parking lot at that homecoming game."
Kendrick's mouth shot open, "You did what!"
"I shot up the parking lot. The fucked up thing about it is I think one of those bitches from east side saw me. I'm not sure. I had a mask but I took it off for a second. Man...I shot up that place real fucking good."
mouth shot open for a minute. He knew the
homecoming game was just where Cornelius was headed to.
"What the hell? Why did you do that?"
"Man didn't you hear me?"
"Just cause Big boy asks you to do something doesn't mean you have to do it," Kendrick argued, feeling his steam rising up, "What was the point of that? How are we making money from a damn random shooting?"
"He's trying to get them shaken up."
"I don't know. I didn't stick around to find out."
Kendrick reached over his bed grabbing his coat. Florida nights were cold around this time of year. He knew the type of guy Luis was. Luis had been his partner for a long time. He shot first and thought next. He didn't understand that stuff like that had no meaning. It had no purpose.
"Where are you going?"
"Clean up after your mess as usual. Just like before..."
"Kendrick. I still have the money...you remember...from
before," he stated, "Are we still going to use the money and run away
The money. Kendrick had tried over and over to get the money out of his head. It had been one of the secrets that kept Luis and him bonded so closely.
It was his biggest regret.
"I don't want anything to do with that money Luis," Kendrick stated, turning around heavily and trying not to catch Luis's eye contact.
He walked down the street angrily. He was so sick of having to clean up after Luis. He was so sick of having to protect a loose cannon all the time. What would Luis do next that he'd have to clean up for him? It kept digging him deeper and deeper. First the issue with the money and now this! When would it end?
Luis laughed back from the threshold, "The money is ours...you earned it Kendrick. You remember what you did for it."
Kendrick closed his eyes as he walked trying to zone him out.
He'd been trying to zone Luis out for years now.
I held my eyes up, "Priscilla! Priscilla!"
We didn't hear anything. The gun shots had gone off not too long ago. Everyone was scrambling through the cars. Honestly for the first time I could honestly say that I was really worried about my sister. She was there just a minute ago and she just...disappeared.
I looked over at my sister. A car had pulled up. I could tell by the smoke coming out of the car that it was Eastside dudes pulling up. Tray was in the group. He looked over at me as I approached my sister. Even in all this chaos, I could see his eyes still glaring into me with this hard intensity.
I realized Trayvon wasn't the only eastside person in the group I recognized. My other sister Tonetta was also in the group. She walked out of the backseat of the car. She looked over at me and then over at my sister. She seemed pissed to say the least.
"You ok, Corny?" Tonetta asked.
"I'm cool," I stated.
"I'm not," Priscilla jumped in cutting me off immediately, "I almost got hit! I swear, I felt like the matrix in that bitch. The bullets were zooming right past me!"
I could tell Priscilla was clearly upset, but I knew she was lying. I was pretty sure Tonetta knew she was exaggerating too. Everyone who knew Priscilla knew she was good for stretching the truth. The other Eastside bangers that pulled up with Tonetta seemed to be falling for her bogus stuff too.
"It was the west side nigga," Priscilla stated, "I saw his face. He shot up the game up cause he knew that a lot of Barber kids were going to be there. The Emerson kids had no reason to really show up. He was screaming how the west side is taking over."
"You got that all from where?" I asked.
I couldn't take it no more. She was stretching the truth. This was crazy.
Priscilla rolled her eyes, "You didn't see what I saw. I'm telling you. They dudes are coming."
The cops were pulling up. I could see Trayvon and the others getting uneasy. It was clear that they were probably riding dirty.
Tonetta looked at Priscilla wide-eyed, "Can you point him out?"
"I can do better. His name is Luis," Priscilla stated, "He is in my woodworks class but he never shows up."
silently in the background. For a minute
I was kind of upset that Priscilla was telling these gangsters all this stuff. No one got hurt. Luis was probably just trying to get everyone
shaken up. He probably didn't even shoot
at anyone specifically. They were probably just shots in the air. Priscilla was being her usual dramatic self.
"These faggots started a fucking war," Tray said.
I couldn't believe Priscilla. She was really starting shit. This was really about to get so serious.
Just at that moment, almost like a bad movie plot, I saw something that I just didn't want to see.
The bus had pulled up across the street and none other than Kendrick hopped out of it.
Kendrick with all of these pissed off East-side gang bangers all around...