I nodded. "It felt good too."

Loraine studied me, a knowing look in her eye. "How are you, Cree?"

That morning I'd been a wreck, but not anymore. "Better."

"Better?"

"Better."

Our relationship was so much healthier than before. It didn't feel as weird at the idea of letting her in. She wasn't my mother, but she was in my life, for guidance and care. Maybe I would confess to her the heartache that was DeAndre and me.

Loraine came and squeezed my shoulder in an attempt for affection. "We'll talk later, okay?"

I smiled. "Definitely."

The front door bell rang and I went over to the foyer to answer it, finding Omari standing on our porch.

"Hey," he said, giving me a big smile. He took in my hair, which I'd washed and blow dried and left in its natural state. He touched it and smiled. "Poufy."

I wanted to smile at his silliness, but then I felt bad at the truth of the matter.

"Can we talk?" I asked.

"Sure," said Omari.

I led him out to our front porch and we sat on our porch swing. I pulled my knees to my chest, thinking deep on the words that I needed to say.

DeAndre kissed me.

Avoiding him and ignoring him hadn't worked, because all it took was one conversation and a kiss to seal what I knew what was already in my heart.

I liked Omari, but it would never work or be.

"So this is hard to say, but... Maybe we should just be friends," I came out and said.

Omari appeared confused as he sat beside me. "We are friends."

"And I think we should stay that way."

Having gotten my meaning, Omari slowly began to nod. "Ah, okay."

"It's definitely not you, it's just that I'm completely—"

"In love with DeAndre," he finished for me. He didn't sound angry, but as if he'd already accepted the fact.

"Yeah," I admitted.

Omari sighed, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I'm not surprised. You were always weird around him since school started. His friends always look at him when I talk about you. I don't think you've been happy for a while now, Cree. It feels like you settled with getting to know me because he had shorty pregnant."

"You're smart, respectable, caring, and you've got a good head on your shoulders. I wanted to get over him, I wanted to move forward." I stopped and shook my head at how stupid I'd been to use Omari in a sense and to think I could replace DeAndre in any way. "It's just not the same. When I'm with you I don't feel my blood boiling, I don't feel ready to argue just to hear your viewpoint, I don't feel like protecting you with all that I've got—I don't feel passion. DeAndre told me we couldn't be friends and I felt like my world ended, I still feel that way. I feel destroyed because of him."

Omari sympathized with me as he wiped at my eyes. "You're too good for him. No one should have you in tears like this."

That was DeAndre Parker. From the moment we first encountered each other he flipped my world upside down. Omari was the perfect gentleman, and DeAndre wasn't afraid to challenge me and call me out on my shit. Omari was great, just not for me.

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