Chapter 2: The Things We Don't Say

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Dave | Later that night

It was 6 o'clock now and I pulled up to the address Bernice gave me. It was an apartment 2 blocks from where we grew up. She told me to just call her when I got here and I did just that. I got out of the car leaning up against the passenger side of my BMW. She finally came out. We said our greetings then I opened the door for her.

We got to Red Lobster getting a booth. We ordered our drinks, appetizers, & even our meal. "You know, Bernice, I really missed you."

She smiled, "I missed you too. But.." She trailed off looking away.

"But what?"

"Why did you leave and never talk to me again? What was up with that, David? Just dropped me like I never existed once you left for school."

"You're right and I'm sorry for dat. I went through a lot of shit out there in Baltimore, but that's no excuse. By the time I came back word on the street was you were in Florida. I tried to get in contact with you through ya mother, but she said she didn't know nothing."

"Me and my mother don't talk anymore" She said looking away. I wanted to ask why, but it seemed touchy. "What happened out in Baltimore?" She asked me.

"I messed up again. You know how after I got kicked out of the University of Richmond I came back that summer then left again for Towson. Realized I just didn't wanna do that school shit anymore after two years there, so I dropped out and stayed in Baltimore with my sister. Caught a gun charge and did 6 months in county out there then they dropped the case. After that I came back to NY and started dealing and selling. I felt I had no choice. I was a drop out with a record with no job experience. After my cousin, Malik, got killed I realized fast I couldn't live that life. I needed to do something and finish it. So I started rapping. My manager, Bully, and Nasir's brother hooked me up with Nas and now I'm signed to him. I was in Atlanta for awhile but now I'm back to finish my most recent mixtape."

"Wow!" I nodded agreeing. "You're lucky you didn't catch that charge in NY or you'd still be in jail." It was true. You catch years for dat here. "You know I wanted to call after your grandma, aunt and Malik died, but I didn't have your number. I just-"

"I understand. I should've been a better friend and kept my promise. Now tell me what you've been doing all these years.."

Bernice

I sighed on the inside as soon as he asked that. Do I tell him everything and wait to be judged? I trusted Dave, but we just became friends again. I decided skipping all the ugly bad parts was best. "Well you know how after I graduated I didn't go to school because I couldn't afford it. I was just working minimum wage jobs and I soon got tired of that. I applied to the University of Miami and was accepted in on an academic scholarship. Moved out there all by myself with nobodies help.."

Once I got there I realized I needed a job to pay for what my scholarship didn't, housing, food, and books. Working at Target wasn't enough. I met a girl who worked at the strip club King of Diamonds who said they had an opening for a drink server. I went in to inquire and walked out with a job. Not as a drink server though, a dancer instead. I knew what I was doing, I knew they'd want me to be a dancer with my body type. Sometimes you have to play clueless to get what you want. I had a plan to make some serious money. The owner said I had the body for it. I soon became one of the highest requested girls making the most on a nightly basis. All the girls asked how I got recognized so fast and the answer was strategizing. I knew David knew. Everybody in Harlem knew what I was doing out there. It paid the bills and furthered my education so it is what it is. Skip.

My sophomore year I was making thousands a night. I even had enough money left over to go home to NY for Christmas break to visit my mom. My mom was all I had. I never knew my dad and my mother was shunned by her family for having me so young. Growing up with my mother wasn't the easiest. Everything had to go her way or she was going up side my head with her hand. I just equated that to having a Caribbean strict mother, but to others it'd be considered abuse. Physical and mental. Get A's and nothing less, Bernice. Keep your legs closed, Bernice. Have a strong work ethic, Bernice. She found out I was stripping because one of her friends son's showed her my Facebook page. I should've been more careful. As soon as I got back home she confronted me and beat my ass until I left her house. At 21 she beat me like a bad 5 year old. She kicked me out of her place. I didn't even get to celebrate Christmas with her. I went back to school and I haven't spoken to her since. Skip.

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