Chapter Twenty Eight

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"Nobody saw the struggle they just saw the reward..." — August Alsina
Jelissa

Emone sat with me all night long on the couch and we weren't really talking much but she was there for me how I needed her to be. I was thinking about a lot of things: Janessa, my parents, the music. I was feeling more stressed than I could possibly explain. My thoughts were interrupted by a soft and sudden knock on the door and Emone and I looked at the clock. It was nearly one in the morning so she looked through the window before opening the door.

"Wassup?" I heard her ask and I laid my head on my hand while closing my eyes. "J it's for you." I kissed my teeth before making my way to the door. When I saw that it was my somewhat estranged brother Jacob Jr. I rolled my eyes, "What are you doing here Jake?" He shrugged, "I heard what happened at the house with you and mommy. I brought you some of your stuff." He handed over my school bag and another backpack.

"How kind of you." I said flatly, "Why you gotta do that? I'm trynna help you out and you got a whole attitude." I shook my head, "My attitude is not the problem. You should get home before Angela finds her perfect little boy is gone." There really wasn't any beef between Jacob and I, we just didn't get along. Our mother forever compared us to each other and after a while our relationship kind of fizzled out. We didn't see each other most days and when we did either of us would bother to speak. We lacked a bond that most siblings share.

"Whatever sis you wildin." He walked down the steps and I closed the door behind me and opened up the bag. I had a school uniform a couple pairs of jeans and a hoodie. Along with my cellphone, my charger and my earbuds. "That was nice of Jake." Mone said as I furrowed my eyebrows, "I know you not feeling my square ass brother."

"Girl no. I just said that was nice of him. I can't understand y'all relationship for the life of me. I always thought twins were supposed be like best friends, ride or die, on some g shit for each other." I started cracking up.

"I don't know maybe in another lifetime sis. Me and him just don't click." I opened my phone up and texted August right away. "Well sis I'm going to bed, I'll see you in the morning. Sleep tiiighht." She chimed on her way up the stairs, "Goodnight." I replied as I got comfortable under the comfortor and laid down on the couch.

Just as I was about to fall asleep I felt my phone start vibrating on my stomach and I answered to see August staring at me like a nut. I chuckled quietly, "Babe what are you doing? I was about to fall asleep," I whined. "Girl you trippin if you thought I was gonna let you go to sleep without talking to me." He rolled his neck and I started laughing, "I know you're not mocking me." I told him.

"I mean maybe I am, you not gone do nothing though. But I wanted to make sure you was alright, see if you was in a good place." I bit down on my bottom lip smiling as I turned on my side trying to get comfortable. "I'm alright I'm just... hurt," I admitted. "My daddy really didn't do anything. He just watched her throw me out into the streets. I always thought my relationship with my dad was special but I don't know what to make of it anymore."

August sighed, "Honestly I don't know what to tell you right now Jelly because I was never close with my father myself. And I know we ain't your dad but like I told you earlier you got me and Emone to lean on. You know Emone got your back and I ain't gone let nothin' happen to you. You like to act like you ain't got no feelings but I want to be the shoulder you cry on and the person you call up when you just need to let your thoughts run out."

I started wiping away stray tears, "I'm not gone lie both of your parents were flat out wrong. But if you want to succeed and show them that you can push through this thing called life all on your own, then you need to get your head straight. Keep doing your schoolwork, keep coming to the studio, you need to work on building yourself up instead of focusing on how your mother is trying to tear you down. I believe in you baby."

I stayed silent for a while and I believe August knew that I was crying because he started to hum that song he'd written for me. I listened to August hum the simple melody until I fell asleep and into a much more peaceful state of mind.

August

I walked out of my house and towards that old abandoned library Mr. Sean had told me about before. When I got there a nigga was winded! I'm skinny but I ain't that fit. But I needed to get out of the house to let my mind escape from my girlfriend's troubles. I needed to blow off some steam because  seeing her sad like that made my heart ache. Jelly was vibrant and full of attitude and these last few days she seemed to be everything but herself.

I started throwing my basketball against the old brick walls of the building as I sang to myself, "Nobody saw the struggle they just saw the reward... They focused on the peace but they never saw the war." I ran around dribbling before throwing the ball again but this time I ain't hear it bounce off the wall. I looked over to see Mr. Sean holding my basketball in his hands and he started dribbling.

"What you doing out here, young? Don't you got school in  few hours?" He offered me his blunt and I took and lit it while leaning beside him on the wall. I nodded as I exhaled, "Yeah just had to get out of the house for a minute." I went to pass him the L. "You good," He started jogging with my basketball and threw it up against the side of the building like I was doing previously.

"How's my niece doing? Haven't seen her in a while." I started shaking my head as I took another pull, "What? Trouble in paradise already?" He stood in front of me with the ball tucked under his arm, "What's going on? I trust you with my niece but you need to be transparent about y'all relationship. I like you August and I don't want to have to do to you what I did to that last nigga."

"It isn't us. I'm just not sure it'd be right to talk about what's going on." Mr. Sean draped his other arm over my shoulders as we started walking slowly across the lot, "I took you under my wing as a protege because I think you're a smart kid who can be very successful. Now in order for this business relationship to work you've gotta trust me as well. So tell me. What's up?" I let out all my breath before starting to speak and divulge the events that had taken place over the past week in regards to Jelissa.

"Where is she staying now?" He questioned, "Her best friend Emone's house. She tore up over there Mr. Sean I ain't even gone lie. I just wish I could help her out some more." He patted my shoulder, "Just keep doing what you're doing, I'm sure she appreciates it," He looked at his wrist watch as I took my last hit from what was now a tiny little roach and then exhaled. He handed my ball back to me, "Get in the house. Don't let me catch you out here this late again.

We shook hands before starting in two different directions, "Aight see you Mr. Sean." I dismissed him before leaving the lot and starting on my journey back to the crib.

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