Malik 54

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Seeing Carlos again was way harder than I thought it was going to be, this wasn't the same dude I left right before junior year; that Carlos couldn't be around kids without getting an attitude, but seeing how gentle he was when he was holding his niece showed me that he'd be a great father. The old Carlos wasn't the type of person who held back what he was thinking but this Carlos carefully crafted every single word as to not give away too much information about anything that was going on; his answers were short and to the point and when he was required to answer in more than three words he played a game of verbal chess saying just enough to keep me intrigued but also letting me know that was all he was going to say on the subject. Don't get me wrong he was still the same cocky dude he'd always had been but his growth and maturity showed that he wasn't going to make things as easy as Julian had thought. Speaking of Julian I knew exactly why he wanted to talk and honestly I was ready for this shyt to be over and done with but I knew he wouldn't let this hold he had on me go until he got what he wanted which was Carlos's boyfriend Quinton.

"Did Quinton show up?" Julian asked as I walked into the house that he told me to meet him at and I nodded. "See I know him all too well, Quinton was going to get answers before he jumped off the rail now had Gio not inadvertently came through when he did then his punk ass boyfriend Jeremy would've wanted to come in swinging first and getting answers second." Julian said quietly.

"What was the point of me telling Carlos that you were trying to get Quinton back.... or get them to break up or whatever your plan was." I asked still standing by the door.

"I've known Carlos since he was a kid and I know he's big on trust, so by you divulging that information to him made him trust you just a little bit more than he previously did, he's also vidictive which means he's going to come looking for me and when he can't he'll come to you in which you'll tell him everything you've been wanting to tell him like the real reason why you broke up with him...... from there one domino will fall and a chain reaction will follow."

"Don't you think you're telling this dude a little too much of your plan?" Someone said from the shadows scaring the fuck outta me, the dude turned the light on revealing someone I've only seen a few times but it was hard to forget Ezra Mitchell's face. "Papi is essential to MY plans so he can't get into too much trouble." Ezra said smiling at me.

"Ezra what exactly is your plan because you haven't really told me anything?" Julian asked and Ezra glanced at me. "Malik I'll call you when I need and don't forget you owe me..... 'the sins of the father' and what not." Julian said and I quickly walked out running into someone who I recognized but couldn't place his face, he was related to Gio but his name escaped me. It didn't matter hopefully this shyt would all be over soon.......

The next I was on my lunch break, I loved working on Sundays because they were pretty slow so I could mostly relax. As I bit into my sandwich I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being watched, I looked around nervously but I didn't see anyone that seemed out of place; I was really trippin. I started to get up from the table when two people walked into the hospital cafeteria and I recognized the look of annoyance on Carlos's face even from this distance, he saw me and I knew he wanted to talk. He grabbed Quinton's hand and pulled him over to the table sitting down, looked me in the eyes but never let go of Quinton's hand.

"Please tell him exactly what you told me last night...." Carlos said clearly wanting to be anywhere else but here.

"I told you that Julian wanted me to come to your house and make it seem like we were doing something that we weren't supposed to be doing to cause problems between the two of y'all." I said telling only half the story.

"See Que I told you everything he told me..... now can we please get back to Ann Arbor? Gio is cooking spaghetti and I just got a feeling it's going to be gone when we get back and if I don't get any I'm going to be in a bad mood all week." Carlos said standing up but Quinton sat there like he wasn't completely convinced.

"Carlos there's more that he's not telling us." Quinton said looking me in the eyes and it was like he was seeing my entire life's story. Carlos looked at me and for a split second he seemed uncomfortable looking at me, like if he stared for too long old feelings might come back.

"It doesn't matter Que, let's just get back to the house and whatever Julian is planning will blow up in his face just like everything else he tries." Carlos said pulling Quinton away and as the walked away for one fleeting second Carlos looked back then quickly shook his head. Was Julian right? Was Carlos going to come back looking for answers about why I left him the way I did or was it just my imagination playing tricks on me?

After I long day at the hospital all I wanted to do was go home, get in the tub with a glass of wine and relax but when I pulled up to my apartment there was someone standing on my porch waiting for me and I knew he was here about what happened last night. I got out the car, grabbed my mace and walked over to him.

"Your name is Paul, Gio's cousin right?" I asked and he nodded.

"I'm surprised you remember me, you were always so stuck on Carlos that I wasn't sure you even noticed me." Paul said laughing.

"Let me guess you're here to talk to me about what happened with Julian last night?" I asked and he nodded, normally I wouldn't let strangers into my house but I had a weakness for attractive men plus Paul wasn't a stranger, not exactly. "So how did you get drawn into this whole mess, I thought you Carter boys were close." I asked and the uncomfortable look on his face let me I had missed a lot.

"It doesn't matter I just wanted to know what exactly Julian and Ezra were planning because at the end of the day I'm going to do whatever I can to protect my cousins....." Paul said and the tone of his voice let me know that he was dead serious.

"Really we never discussed Gio, I guess my role is to deal with Carlos." I said and Paul nodded.

"Aight....... but look if you hear they are making a move against my cousin please tell me." Paul said walking towards the door, okay this shyt was getting confusing as fuck. Was Paul working with Julian and Ezra or was he a pawn just like me, or maybe he was the mastermind? I really needed to clear my head so I made a big ass glass of wine and walked up to my bathroom and took a long hot bath. I had been sitting in the tub for about an hour, when I heard a loud knocking on my door. Wrapping a towel around my waist I walked to the door, when I looked through the peephole my heart accelerated.

"Carlos......" I said opening the door, thunder crashed over head and he looked around nervously.

"Man I shouldn't even be here but I felt like we should talk." Carlos said walking in my house like he lived here, I didn't say anything as he made himself comfortable on my sofa and looked up at me as if he just realized I was naked, after staring for a second longer than he should've Carlos shook his head and stared in my eyes. "So I gotta know Malik why'd you leave me?" He asked and I knew it was time to lay all my cards out on the table.......

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