It Never Rains In Southern California
It Never Rains In Southern California
***Author’s note Amarre’s POV takes place after Reagan confronted Martina
I really had no idea Martina and Reagan already knew each other from Starlight. That shocked me and I wondered to myself why Martina never said anything to me about it, especially after she found out my brother was dating Reagan. We didn’t say too much about it last night after Reagan had left, I dropped Martina off at her house and I told her I swing by the next day.
“Hey, baby, what’s up with you?” I asked her, sitting down on the sofa in her living room. “Hey, Papi. Nothing much, just started cooking dinner. Are you going to stay over?” asked Martina. “Yeah, I can post up here for a minute. I wanted to talk to you about last night though, Martina. Why didn’t you ever tell me about your beef with Reagan after you found out she was dating Jay?” I asked her, cutting straight to the chase. “I don’t consider that beef, at least not on my part,” she answered. “Okay, but that still doesn’t answer my question,” I said. Martina grew quiet for a moment.
“I didn’t know at first. Contrary to popular belief, I am not all in Reagan’s business like that. I didn’t even know she moved out here at first until me and Mari Sol had already decided to leave Starlight. What did you want me to say, Amarre? That I screwed your brother’s girlfriend’s ex? I’m not exactly proud of some of the things in my past. I didn’t chase after Ra, he came to me. He told me his relationship was pretty much over with Reagan. I guess I didn’t say anything at first because I didn’t want you judging me. I was afraid you wouldn’t want to see me anymore, “ said Martina.
“I wouldn’t have judged you, but you should have said something from jump. You knew it was going to come out sooner or later. I have gotten to know my brother’s girl a bit and I know she ain’t gonna just shut up and be quiet about this. Now shit is awkward with me and Jay, cause our girls hate each other,” I said, rubbing my eyes in frustration. I was tired and I had a long night. Jay and I had words about Reagan and Martina. I let him know I didn’t appreciate Reagan coming at me sideways and told him he needed to get her in check about that. Jay defended his chick, saying she had a right to be upset. He even tried to blame Martina for not saying anything. I knew Jay and I would be good, but right now, it was a sticky situation.
“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything to you. I don’t want you to think you can’t trust me. Can we get past this or are you trying to break up with me now?” Martina asked, with a worried look on her face. “No, I’m not breaking up with you. I want to be able to trust you, Martina, but you need to keep it one hundred with me. I don’t even care about the situation with you and Ra$hin, it don’t got anything to do with me, but since that’s my brother’s girl, it’s something we gotta deal with. Look, for now I rather y’all just keep your distance. I don’t want everyone in our business and really don’t want things to blow up,” I said.
“That’s fine with me, I don’t want to go around her anyway. I can’t stand her. Wait a minute, does this mean you don’t want me coming to the club?” asked Martina. I hesitated for a minute. “Like I said, for now, y’all just need to keep away from each other. Fortunately, Reagan will be out of town a lot for her job, so when she ain’t in town, I don’t mind you coming through,” I told her, honestly. Martina didn’t seem to like that idea. “Oh, so I have to schedule what me and my friends do around her? I can’t even come to my man’s club unless her ass is out of town? You own that club with your brother. Is that what Jaylen wants? For me to not come to Tomo when his precious Reagan is there too?” she asked, her voice getting higher.
“Martina, calm down. No, my brother ain’t said nothing to me. I just don’t want anything popping off with you two. I’m a club owner, there is a certain atmosphere I have to maintain at my place of business. It wouldn’t look very good if both of the owners girls were throwing blows in the middle of the dance floor,” I said. “Whatever, how long am I banished?” Martina asked, rolling her eyes. “You’re not banished, baby. I just think for now it would be best if neither one of you were there at the same time. Eventually, if you and Reagan are both at Tomo, I want you to stay in your lane and she stays in hers, alright? We good?” I asked her. “Fine,” she said flatly. I could see she wasn’t totally okay with this, but it was the best thing to do for now, so she was going to have to deal with it.
“C’mon here, baby,” I said and pulled her closer to me. My feelings were deep for her, I wasn’t trying to get into a relationship when I first came out here last year and started setting up shop for Tomo. I was about business and relationships could be distracting. It had been at least two years since I was even really serious with anyone and that was back in New York. I felt differently once I met Martina. I liked being with her and I felt protective of her. I wanted things to work out with us. It wasn’t cool she withheld this information from me, but I was willing to overlook it, as long as she kept it one hundred from here on out.
Around the time I moved out to IP, Charlie had started to set in motion a couple of magazine interviews for me. I thought that I had wanted to do them at the time, but the editors kept wanting to switch up the format of the interview and make it about my situation with Ra$hin. I had told Charlie against his protest that I was just not ready to speak on that part of my life. Given that the situation happened several months ago now and I have had to adjust to my new life out here and working again, I think it was about time I finally broke my silence.
Although I had canceled the previous magazine interviews, Taylor and my publicist Brad had worked out with ACC, one of the biggest networks in the country for me to do a sit down interview in prime time with Robyn Robertson. I don’t really know what made me want to do the interview now. It was a gradual thing and I think because I had moved on with my personal life. I was feeling more confident in myself since returning to work and the press and feedback I had been getting on my campaigns and covers were really good. I felt happier too, I was starting to feel a bit like I did when I first moved to Starlight, bright eyed and ready to run the world. No, things were not perfect, I loved where I was currently living. I wasn’t happy with the many arguments I was in a couple of weeks ago. Between running into Martina to my so called “friendship” with Fallion ending, it was stressful for me. I was not sad in the least bit that Fallion was out of the picture, she was just one more toxic person I could do without. Taina knew her sister was a major hater and she and I were still good despite what went down with Fallion and I.
Kennedey encouraged me to talk to Jaylen first about Ra$hin and to get his feedback before I went and spoke to the world about it. She was right, he was my man, we were in a relationship together. Once it became public knowledge, I couldn’t do anything about it. Also, all the BS Ra$hin was putting out there and the vicious lies being told by his family and people made me want to finally have my say. I have said this before, I did not want to become a poster child for domestic violence. I think everyone’s situation was different. I did not want to become defined by this. I refused to be a victim.
Shortly after we moved here, Kennedey did tell me one night she managed to track down who leaked the information to the press. I was not surprised in the least when she told me it was Barrington. It made perfect sense to me. I wasn’t quite for sure, but I heard through Taina that Ra$hin had found out as well and they were no longer cool. Taina was still dating Ra$hin’s friend, Ramon so she heard the information from him. I had told her at the time, I did not care and don’t even mention anything about Ra$hin to me. Admittedly, it was a bit odd talking to Tai about it now, because of her relationship. She had a right to be with Ramon, but it was a little too close for comfort to me.
After careful consideration and speaking to my father, I decided that I was comfortable enough to speak on it. I wanted to get it out in the open now and finally let it rest for good. I knew people were not going to stop hounding me about what happened and I knew that this interview with ACC wouldn’t put everything to rest. Ra $hin had his say soon after it happened. He got to tell the world from his own mouth what he perceived as going down, his mistakes, how he was getting “help” and how sorry he was. He got to explain that he grew up in a neighborhood and world full of violence, he had suffered through tragedy in his early childhood, he always had anger issues that he never had help with, he was stressed out, boo effing hoo.
During the initial airing of his interview I did not watch it since I could not stand to see his face or hear his voice. I did see transcripts and I eventually watched it on You Tube. I felt more appalled at his ridiculous act and excuses more than anything. Sure, I was angry, I had gotten to know him over the course of a year and I could see right through his lies. Too bad I was too blind to see him for all his bull when we were together, at least until it was too late. My father did know about Jaylen. I told him about Jay soon after we started dating. He was cautious about me being in a new relationship and he told me that he thought I should have taken some time to just be alone for a good while. My answer to that was that I had been single for several months after things ended with Ra. “Well you‘re grown, baby girl. I just want you to be careful. From what you have told me about him, he seems like a stand up guy, but I will have to reserve my judgment until I meet him,” He said. “Don’t worry, Daddy. I am being cautious. He is definitely a good dude and nothing like my ex, trust me,” I told him.
I had not quite opened up to Jay about my family or what exactly happened with Ra$hin. We have touched on it in general, but not directly if that made any sense. We have talked about different exes, but we didn’t focus on the past in that respect. I think Jay would have liked to know more about how I felt in the aftermath of what happened and how I dealt with it, but as a man I don’t believe he wanted exact details. He has said indirectly, that any man who lays their hands on a woman, deserves to get his ass beat. That was Jay’s way of letting me know what he thought of Ra$hin without having to directly speak on it at the time.
Strangely enough, I felt as if I would be more comfortable talking to Jaylen about Ra$hin and the world in general than what my mother did. In many ways, I felt embarrassed by the fact that my mother abandoned me. I haven’t met the rest of Jaylen’s family, but he and Amarre have talked about them enough and I have seen their family pictures to know their upbringing was pretty normal. In a way I envied him in the same way I envied so many other people with mothers who chose to stick around.
Once I got back in town from a shoot in Milan, I went over to Jay’s house to spend the night. He had just returned from New York himself. “Baby, I wanted to talk to you about a couple of things,” I started to say to him. “Is everything okay, Ma?” he asked with concern in his eyes. “Yes, just wanted to let you know about a couple of things I have coming up,” I replied. He nodded his head slowly. “What’s up?” asked Jaylen. “I know you and I haven’t really had a discussion about what happened between me and my ex. We’ve touched on it before, but not in depth. I know how you feel about him and you’ve never been a fan of his. I thought about what you said about me being closed off at times. This was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. It’s not something I like to dwell on. It’s not that I didn’t trust you enough to talk about it, it’s hard for me. I don’t like talking about it at all with anyone, not my father, sister, Briah, no one,” I said.
“I get that, Reagan. I’ve never seen it firsthand before. I can imagine it was tough for you and still is. It’s not something that can be excused. To me, a so called man, no a boy who does that to a woman, is no better than a dirty ass dog. A dude like that, needs his ass whooped plain and simple,” said Jaylen I took a deep breath. “I really don’t even know where to begin. I admit, when I first met Ra$hin, it was more about me being attracted to his celebrity. I would not have been in a relationship with him if I did not develop feelings for him over time. I would be less than truthful if I said I didn’t care about the fact that his star power helped me get into places. He wasn’t responsible for my success, but I probably did see it more quickly because everyone saw us together. I never was in love with him. If anything, I was in love with my own celebrity. That shit can be intoxicating. When you come from nothing like me and all of a sudden you have cars, money, and clothes. You have everything you only imagined growing up, its like a drug,” I said. Jaylen nodded his head quietly.
“I would go to Star Island sometimes with my friends and just look at the houses and wondered what it would be like to live in one. Sure, we had everything we needed. We dressed fine and looked good, but there was always some kids in my school that had more, more than what my father could afford. Sometimes I would guilt-trip him into getting me something that was too expensive. It was hard trying to floss in a city like Miami when many things you wanted, your parent could not afford,” I said. “That must have been hard. Your father seems like a good man,” said Jaylen. “Yeah, he is a good man,” I agreed. “Even in Brooklyn, it was always about getting the latest J’s and dopest gear. My folks could afford that stuff and sometimes they would get it for us. Once we got older we had to get it ourselves. It’s always about trying to keep up with shit and feeling like you gotta be accepted when you’re young,” Jaylen, continued.
“Exactly, so when I graduated college and moved to Starlight, I had it in my head that all those things I wanted as a kid that I could not afford, I was going to get. No one was going to stop me. I signed on with Nu Models, booked my first gig, started making my little money, I was doing well. Then I met my ex. He was the biggest rapper in the game. Being on his arm, I was all of a sudden known. I wasn’t just another pretty face in the crowd. We went to all the big name clubs, award shows, and had expensive vacations. I was living it up. It was intoxicating…” my voice trailed off, as I reflected on what I had told Jaylen, thinking about how I felt at the time, how obsessed I had become with all the things my new found celebrity had afforded me then.”What are you thinking?” I asked Jaylen.
“Just seems like Ra$hin knew that about you and he played on your vulnerabilities, he was buying you. He knew you didn’t have anything growing up and now he could give it to you. Just from observation, I didn’t know either one of you at the time, but he used you to make himself look better, Ma. Ra$hin didn’t have the best reputation out there, he wanted another kind of respect from high society, outside of hip hop. Dating a high fashion model, a Vogue cover girl gave him a boost to his cred outside of the hip hop community. His ass certainly wasn’t being invited to Met Galas and high end fashion shows before he got with you,” Jaylen answered. Jaylen knew exactly what was going on, along with the rest of the world.
“My self esteem was very low at the time and I was feeling vulnerable. I allowed him to control the way I felt about myself. When I caught him cheating with Martina, that was it for me. Then the thing with Kiyan happened and blew up in my face. I got a lot of backlash for that. Both my father and sister were mad at me, I was lost. Then when his grandmother passed away, I felt sympathetic. He acted like he needed me, and I fell for it. The worst thing I could have done,” I said. “The night Ra$hin hit me, he turned into a cold vicious monster. I had never seen him like that before. I never imagined he would raise his hand to me and hit me. Never. It was so surreal,” I said, letting out a huge sigh.
“Baby, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. That never should have happened to you,” Jaylen said, quietly. He had a look of anger in his eyes, thinking about Ra$hin hitting me. I described the depression I went through right after that, how Kennedey became my rock through it all, and how she even stood up to Ra$hin on more than one occasion. “Kennedey is gangster,” Jaylen said with a slight laugh, after I told him what Kennedey said to Ra$hin on the phone when he tried to call and what she did when he came to the house that night. “Yes, she really can be. She definitely is no punk. I guess if anything good was going to come out of all of this, was that it made my relationship with my sister stronger. We realized that we really had to be there for each other, especially after I told my father and when he had his heart attack. We still fight, but I feel like I have a sister again. We can talk and hang out together sometimes,” I said. “That’s good, Ma. Family is so important and I am glad you two were able to be there for each other,” said Jaylen, looking thoughtful.
“After seeing my father fighting for his life, I decided I wanted to be happy again. Leaving Starlight was a good move for me. Yes, it took me away from the blaring spotlight out there. In a way though, I felt like I was also running. I had a hard time dealing with my father’s heart attack, I didn’t want to face anyone there anymore. I’m still dealing with what my father went through and it’s not easy,” I told Jaylen. I felt a huge sense of relief, getting all these things off my chest to Jaylen. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Jaylen made it easy for me to talk to him, he wasn’t judging me for my past. He had to have known my reputation for all the mess I got into with different females, but he wasn’t judging me for that or why I stuck with Ra$hin for so long. That was one of the many reasons I loved him. He accepted me for who I was. He allowed me to be myself, he wasn’t tripping.
We didn’t talk for too much longer about my ex. Jaylen seemed okay when I told him about my upcoming interview. “Are you sure you’re comfortable talking about it now?” he asked. I nodded my head. “Yes, I believe so. It won’t be easy, but there has been so much speculation to outright lies told about it and about me. I can’t really move on in the way I want unless I deal with it. Ideally, this should be a private matter and should be handled accordingly, but because I am in the public eye, I have to deal with it in the public. My father and Kennedey are supportive and Kennedey is going to come out to L.A. with me when I give my interview,” I replied. “I don’t know how you feel, but if you want me to come along, I can, baby,” said Jaylen. “Yes, I want you there, thank you,” I replied. I was glad Jaylen offered to come to L.A. with me and give me his support. I just needed him to be there for me and it made the prospect of being interviewed a bit less scary to me.
Because we both were out of town so much, I had not been around Jay nor his brother as often. The couple of times I had been at Jaylen’s house, his brother was with Martina. I had not even seen her since our blow up a couple of weeks ago. I told myself at the time that I would make nice with Amarre whenever the chance came up. When I got up the next morning, I found him downstairs in the living room. I took a deep breath and reminded myself I was doing this for Jaylen. I did like Amarre, I thought he was cool, so I didn’t want there to be any animosity between us. “Good morning, Amarre,” I greeted him. He looked over at me, with a slightly surprised look on his face.
“Morning, Reagan,” he answered, flatly. “How are you?” I asked him, feeling a bit hesitant. “I’m good, how are you?” Amarre asked in kind. “Can’t complain,” I replied, nodding my head slowly. “Look, Amarre. I was hoping we could squash all of this. That day when I ran into your girlfriend, that was very unexpected. You’re allowed to be with who you want. She and I obviously have bad history. I called myself trying to look out for you,” I said. “Reagan, I’m a grown man, I can take care of myself. No, I didn’t appreciate you coming at me like that. Martina never told me that she knew you, even after she realized my brother was the same Jaylen Powers that was dating you. She didn’t want it to be a problem for us, so she kept her mouth shut. It’s water under the bridge now,” said Amarre. Uh-huh, so that heffa did know who Jaylen was, maybe not initially when they first met, but she damn sure knew he was dating me, scandalous ass. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t respond to Amarre.
“Well, I love your brother, I know how close you guys are and the last thing I want is for there to be tension between us, okay? I’m not going to lie to you, no I’m not feeling your girl. I’m not trying to be around her all like that. But, as long as she stays in her lane, I’ll stay in mine. We don’t have to talk. That part of my life is over, I’ve moved on. I ain’t gonna start anything with her, you don’t have to worry about that. I can keep it cool, I can keep it classy,” I said. “I know my brother loves you. I don’t want any animosity between is neither, Reagan. I appreciate you at least coming and talking to me about it. You guys ain’t got to be friends and I have already told Martina to keep her distance from you, because I didn’t want any more drama,” said Amarre. “So, are we good, then?” I asked him. “Yeah, we good,” he answered. Another weight lifted off my shoulders.
I met up with Amarre and the boys at Winners to shoot some pool. Other than at the club, I had not seen too much of Amarre these days. He was staying over his girl’s house a lot. I’m glad he and Reagan had squashed their beef. I knew Reagan wasn’t trying to be cool with Martina, but at least she was making an effort to get along with my brother and I could appreciate that. Man, that was wild that day when Reagan and Martina got into it at the house. We really had no idea that those two had a history. I looked at Martina sideways after that because she knew who my girl was and didn’t say jack. Amarre was digging her, so I wasn’t going to make it an issue with him. The rest of our crew wasn’t really rockin‘ with Amarre on this one.
“So, what’s up, Jay and A? Has the civil war at your house ended?” Apollo asked with a smirk on his face. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Amarre said plainly, I could tell he was irritated by what Apollo said. “Awwwhh, c’mon dog. Bri told me, Reagan was ready to swing on your girl. I was wondering if y’all managed to get your women under control,” Apollo said, laughing. Amarre shrugged his shoulders. “It ain’t about them being under control. Like I told Reagan, that has nothing to do with me. They basically will just stay out of each others way. I’m good with that,” said Amarre.
“Personally, I am wondering why Martina never said anything to you once she found out Jay was dating Reagan. She had to have known that shit would come up eventually,” Aubrey spoke up. I remained quiet, observing the conversation around me. I knew before long Amarre wasn’t going to want to discuss this anymore. He was usually good about keeping his cool, but I could see he was growing annoyed by Apollo and Aubrey’s questions.
“Who cares, Aubrey? How does this even pertain to you? Martina and I have already talked about it, everything is good. Worry about you and not my work, damn,” said Amarre. “I don’t see why you getting mad, dog. I was just asking a simple question,” said Aubrey. “Yes, and I gave you a simple answer. So freeze with that and worry about your own shit,” said Amarre. Apollo let out a low whistle. It was rare to see Amarre losing his cool so fast. He didn’t always react just because someone was provoking him, it usually took a lot more than that for Amarre to start wylin.
“Damn, don’t get your panties in a twist, cuz,” said Aubrey. “Don’t call me your fuckin‘ cuz‘. You need to quit bumpin‘ your gums, before you say something you’ll regret, homeboy,” Amarre said with added base in his voice. “Bumpin‘ my gums? What you gonna do? You gonna shut ‘em up for me?” Aubrey challenged Amarre. I could see things were getting tense and we really didn’t need that right now. “Man, c’mon y’all, let’s just finish playing. Aubrey, freeze with all of that, yo. Amarre, why you even listening to him?” I asked. I might as well have been talking to the wall. Aubrey wasn’t about to let it go and Amarre was determined to shut him up. “Yeah, I’m gonna shut you up if I have to, keep trying me, Aubrey,” Amarre said. “Well, here I am, dog. What’s up?” Aubrey said. I knew my twin, he had enough.
Before things went too far, Apollo and I got in between them. “C’mon, A, let’s go to the bar and get a drink, you need to chill,” I said, trying to guide him away from Aubrey. “Let go of me, I don’t want no damn drink,” he said snatching away. “Aiight, man, whatever. I don’t know why you gettin‘ an attitude with me,” I said to him. “Forget this,” Amarre said and stormed out. I turned toward Aubrey. “Really, Aubrey, why you even have to go there, yo? Always got to be starting something, damn,” I said. “He was the one getting buck, acting like he was gonna shut me up and shit. He really didn’t want me calling his girl out though. Mad, cause the Shore had Martina. I call it like I see it. A spade is a spade, ain’t my fault he done snagged that hoe up,” said Aubrey. I shook my head. I didn’t know the full scale of Martina’s background. After I found out about her history with Reagan, I knew a little more about her, but as long as she wasn’t trying to play my brother, they could go on about their business. I was headed out to L.A. in a couple of days with Reagan to support my girl. Hopefully Amarre and Aubrey could squash it by the time I got back.
I had a few major events planned while I was here in L.A. for work. I had the Essence Fashion cover to shoot and a short interview with the magazine. Robyn Robertson was conducting television interview and we were shooting that the same day I arrived in town. I had met her earlier and she seemed very warm and smart. She was the only one I really watched on ACC News and Good Morning, USA. The broadcast wouldn’t be airing until next week, but it was receiving a lot of press, which is what my publicist Brad Wallace and Taylor wanted.
I was a bit nervous about going on television and I was glad I had Kennedey and Jaylen there to support me. “You feel okay, Ma?” Jaylen asked me while we waited in the green room. “Yeah, just a little nervous,” I replied, nodding my head quickly. “You’ll do fine, Rea. At least it isn’t live, so don’t worry about that,” said Kennedey.
“Reagan, I will be right there when you’re filming, we’ve gone over the questions and your answers several times. You’re going to be fine,” said Brad. “Reagan, can I get you anything?” Taylor asked. I shook my head. “No, I’m fine,” I answered her. A few minutes later, one of the producers came in and took us out to the set.
“I wanted to say thank you again for agreeing to speak with us, Reagan,” she greeted me as I tried to make myself comfortable on the set. “It’s no problem,” I said, hurriedly, not really thinking of anything better to say. My mind went blank for a moment, but once the cameras started rolling, I snapped back to attention. “We’re speaking with supermodel, Reagan Leeds tonight. Most of you know that last summer, Reagan was physically assaulted by her then boyfriend, rap mogul, Ra$hin Dodge. Reagan has never spoken publicly about the night, millions of people around the world have speculated about until now,” Robyn Robertson spoke into the camera. She then turned to me and started to fire off a series of questions about my relationship with Ra$hin and the night he hit me. The whole interview was all too surreal:
Robyn: Reagan, how did you meet Ra$hin?
Me: We met in Starlight Shores at an industry event we were both at.
Robyn: Did you approach him, or did he approach you?
Me: He came up to me. I was there with a few of my girlfriends and he was there with several people.
Robyn: Did you know who he was right away?
Robyn: Did it shock you that someone as big as Ra$hin would approach you?
Me: Not necessarily.
Robyn: How do you feel about people who have said you went out of your way to get his attention that night, that you wanted to date a big star like him?
Me: It’s quite laughable. That couldn’t be anything further from the truth. He wasn’t the only celebrity I knew and I definitely did not go out of my way to seek him out.
Robyn: What was your relationship like in the beginning?
Me: It was good in the beginning, or so I thought. He did all the things most girls would want from their boyfriends. He bought me flowers, jewelry, took me out to nice restaurants, the whole nine.
Robyn: So he was pretty much a typical boyfriend in that sense?
Robyn: Did he buy you really nice expensive gifts from the beginning?
Me: Pretty much, not on the first date or anything, but soon after.
Robyn: What kind of things did he get you other than jewelry. Did he buy you a car?
Me: Eventually, yes, but I already had a nice car that I bought myself prior to that. I never asked him to buy a car for me.
Robyn: Did you ever feel as if he were trying to buy you?
Me: Not initially, no. Over time, yes. I think I was blind to a lot of things in the beginning.
Robyn: Were you in love with Ra$hin?
Me: No. I thought I was at the time and I even tried to convince myself I was, but, no.
Robyn: Why did you stay with him if you were not in love?
Me: Hindsight is twenty-twenty. When we were together, I wanted to believe that it was love, but I went back and forth to the end of our relationship, questioning my true feelings for him. There was a part of me that was afraid to be alone, I guess.
Robyn: Were you afraid that if you broke up, you wouldn’t be able to live the high life anymore?
Me: That wasn’t my main concern, because I certainly did make my own money. I got used to him and he became familiar to me. I had other things I was struggling with in my personal life and in a way I thought being in a relationship with him grounded me, so to speak.
Robyn: You broke up with him once before because you found out he was cheating on you, correct?
Me: Yes, that’s correct.
Robyn: And you went back? Why?
Me: Like I said, I had other personal issues I was dealing with and I wanted to believe he was sorry for what he did.
Robyn: Do you regret going back now?
Me: Most definitely, worse mistake of my life.
Robyn: So you consider that the worse thing you could have done, then?
Me: Yes, definitely.
Robyn: Okay, Reagan, I am sure you have heard what Ra$hin has had to say about what happened. Why don’t you tell me exactly what happened that night when Ra$hin assaulted you.
Me: He just got back into town, he was on a break in his tour. I was over at his house, spending the night. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and to check my emails. Well, I saw that his email account was still open, instead of closing it down, I saw some alarming words from some of the emails and this triggered my curiosity.
Robyn: What did the emails say and did you see anything else on his computer that caused you any alarm?
Me: He had emails from other women, which clearly proved that he was indeed cheating on me. I found several videos and pictures of him and other women that proved that he had cheated on me pretty much throughout our entire relationship.
Robyn: What type of images were in those videos and pictures?
Me: They were a bit too X-rated to describe, Robyn.
Robyn: Okay, but now you had proof that he was carrying on multiple affairs while you were together?
Robyn: What happened next?
Me: I was shocked, I woke him up and confronted him.
Robyn: What did he say?
Me: He denied it at first.
Robyn: He denied it even though you had seen proof?
Me: Initially, yes.
Robyn: Did that you make you angry that he was denying it?
Me: Yes, it did, like he thought I was stupid or something.
Robyn: But he finally admitted to the cheating, correct?
Robyn: What did he say?
Me: Well, he wasn’t apologetic about it. He told me that there was nothing I could do about it.
Robyn: Did you tell him that you wanted to break up?
Me: Yes I did. He made it clear that he wasn’t going to accept that. We were both yelling. I told him that I regretted ever being with him.
Robyn: At what point did Ra$hin assault you?
Me: Pretty much at the moment. It was as if I were outside of my body looking at myself. It was very surreal. It seemed like such a blur at the time. One minute I was saying something to him and the next minute, I wasn’t.
Robyn: How many times did he hit you?
Me: Once and that was all it took.
Robyn: Were you shocked? Could you believe that Ra$hin had hit you?
Me: I was very shocked.
Robyn: What did you do next?
Me: Instincts took over, somehow I grabbed my keys, ran out of there, got into my car and drove home.
Robyn: Did you call the police?
Robyn: Why not?
Me: I honestly didn’t feel the need to. I was just relieved I was able to get out.
Robyn: Were you afraid of people finding out about this?
Me: Yes, but that is not why I chose to not call the police.
Robyn: At any time, were you trying to protect him by not going to the authorities or talking about what happened?
Me: No, not once did I ever think about protecting him. I had my own personal reasons for keeping this to myself. I really just wanted to put it behind me. It was embarrassing for me and I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, so I chose to deal with it in private.
Robyn: Have you spoken to Ra$hin at all since that day?
Robyn. He has said in past interviews, he tried reaching out to you, that he was sorry, do you believe him?
Me: I don’t really care at this point. If he is sorry it has no bearing on how I feel about the situation. If he felt the need to apologize, if it made him feel better, then fine. But I am past that. I’m indifferent. I don’t know that person anymore. I’ve moved on with my life and I am the happiest I have been in a very long time.
Robyn: Do you have someone new in your life?
Me: (Giggling) No comment.
Robyn: Reagan, please tell us, what would you like to say to other women out there who is watching this and going through something similar?
Me: Well, first of all, I was fortunate. I was hit once and I was out of there and never looked back. I realize that isn’t the case for many women and girls. People should know that love doesn’t hurt. Whether you love that person or not, you should not have to put up with that. Get out and seek help. You can’t change that person, only they can help themselves. It’s not up to you, you are only responsible for taking care of yourself.
Robyn: Is there anything you would say to Ra$hin if you were to run into him again?
Me: No, there’s nothing to say.
Robyn: Okay. Thank you so much again, Reagan for coming and talking to us tonight.
Me: Thank you for having me.
The interview wasn’t as bad as I thought. Obviously there were things my publicist and I did not want to talk about and ACC respected that and didn’t ask. Because of the delicate situation with Amarre, they didn’t go into who Ra$hin had cheated on me with, nor did I allow them to ask me questions about my father’s heart attack. It was more or less to the point. I wasn’t going into the interview expecting that it would make me feel any freer.
There was a sense of relief that I finally had my say. I am also proud of myself that I stuck to my guns and spoke on the situation when I was ready and not bullied into it. I was ready to put it in the past and go forward, hopefully everyone else could too. I knew I had come a long way since that night. I had always had a temper and all the fights I had been in over the past year all seemed so petty. I was aware that I needed to get a handle on how I reacted to people when they set out to provoke me. I guess I never wanted to look like I was a punk and I damn sure never take mess off anyone. I won’t hesitate to put someone in their place if they disrespect me, but as far as getting into physical fights, I wasn’t trying to be about that life anymore.
I was happy my shoot and the interviews with ACC and Essence Fashion were both over. Now, I could kick back and have a little fun for the rest of my trip out here. Everyone was coming through to meet up with us and go to the club party one of Jay’s friends was giving . Jay knew some of everyone so it didn’t surprise me when he told me that the owner of Amazon Club was one of his friends and had invited us to the club. I had been there a few times in the past before I met Jaylen. Briah and some of Jaylen’s crew flew out to L.A. to attend the party with us. Even though I had squashed things with Amarre, I couldn’t say I wasn’t glad he stayed back in IP.
We headed out to Amazon Club a couple of nights later. The club was owned by one of Jaylen’s acquaintances from New York. Jaylen seemed to know some of everyone from coast to coast. I had asked Kennedey if she wanted to come out tonight, she thought that was pretty hilarious and said she could think of other more amusing things to do with her time, such as watching paint dry.
The club was very nice inside, I felt like I was in the rainforest or something. Briah’s friend, Daisha was from L.A. and she was already in town which surprised me when Bri told me that she was coming out tonight, that was cool with me as long as she stayed in check. Taina and Aoki were in L.A. working on a new Dior Campaign and they wanted to meet up with me.
I was happy to see Tai again, I made sure that she and Briah weren’t going to get into it, that was some drama I wasn’t trying to see tonight. Aoki was less annoying than she used to be. The last few times I have seen her, she didn’t get on my nerves as much. She and Fallion were still tight, but I knew Aoki wanted to come around me because she had been digging on Jaylen’s friend Jax for a minute now. Aoki thought she was slick, but I told her to go for it since Jax didn’t have a girlfriend at the moment.
“Hey, Jax, do you remember my friend, Aoki?” I asked. Jax smiled down at Aoki with an approving look in his eyes. He really was good looking. Jax was a bit more on the preppy side than Jaylen and the rest of his friends, but laid back and chill at the same time. “Yes, I do. Didn’t we meet at Tomo a while back?” asked Jax.
“Yes, the opening night. Glad you remembered,” Aoki said with a giggle. “Cool, it’s nice to see you again. You look really nice, how have you been?” asked Jax. “Thank you, so do you. I’ve been great, just busy working,” replied Aoki. Good, glad I was able to reacquaint these two, now I could go off and have my own fun.
There was a totally different vibe to these L.A. clubs then the ones back in Miami. L.A. was on some other stuff and another level. It was okay to visit, but I definitely would not want to live out here. The VIP lounge wasn’t extremely lavish and the club was a bit smaller than what I was used to.
There were so many people here tonight, it was hard just to maneuver through the crowd. Jayson Tuoua who worked for Jay and Amarre met up with us. I didn’t know him very well, he seemed nice enough. I knew he mostly kicked with Amarre. Some of the girls I knew had been thirstin‘ on him the night we met at Tomo, wanting to know his government status, where he was from and his whole background.
“This is a cool spot, Jay, how do you know the owner?” I asked. “From New York, our mothers used to model together back in the day and Domino came out here a few years ago. Yeah, we all met through Domino,” replied Jaylen referring to Jayson. “I was doing promotions for D back in the day,” said Jayson. “Are you from New York or L.A.?” I asked.
“Originally I was born in Samoa, but I grew up in Brooklyn, same as these cats,” answered Jayson. “I didn’t know you was mixed with Samoan, Jayson, oh you like The Rock then,” said Briah. “Yep, I’m ‘blamoan,” he said, laughing.
“Have you ever thought about opening a club out here on the west coast?” Taylor asked Jaylen. “Nah. IP is one thing, but I ain’t feelin ‘ it out here like that,” he replied. “I told you dog, your next spot need to be in Chi-Town, that’s where it is,” said Apollo. “Whatever, yo. You ain’t lived there since high school, son,” said Jaylen. “So? Chi-Town is still my home, G. That’s wassup,” said Apollo, getting pumped. “BK is where it’s at, B. I’m good,” Jaylen replied dismissively. Apollo rolled his eyes. “Man whatever, y’all always thinking New York is the end all of everything,” said Apollo.
I thought it was pretty funny watching these always going back and forth about whether Chicago or New York was the better city. I didn’t care what either of them said, they didn’t have anything on Miami.
I looked around the club for a moment, looks from both women and men was floating our way. I was weary of the attention Jaylen always seemed to attract from other women. I have never liked the constant stares and the subtle flirtations, he received from females when we were together. Jaylen looked so good, certainly the finest man I had ever dated. He seemed to be nonchalant about it, I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or bad thing.
Considering what I gone through for over a year, I was bit more cautious and sometimes even paranoid when it came to other women being around my man. I knew I needed to get over that because Jaylen has never given me any reason to think he would ever cheat on me. He was constantly surrounded by females at both his clubs. Jay knew people from coast to coast and since I was working so much now, I couldn’t always keep my ear to the ground. Chill with that Reagan or as Jay would say “freeze with that”.
“Why did you want to come to the bar? We got bottle service in VIP,” Briah asked. “Just felt like moving around,” I replied, shrugging. We ordered our drinks and lounged at the bar for moment. “Did you see Daisha skinnin‘ and grinnin‘ in Aubrey’s face?” Briah asked.
“Yeah, I think I saw them talking. What is up with Aubrey? I don’t know him too much, that’s your man’s brother,” I replied. “I don’t know, Aubrey is cool, I guess. He has a lot of females, so I don’t know if Daisha should be trying to holla at him,” said Briah. Aubrey seemed like a cool enough dude. The Stones were both thugged out, but Apollo was the loudest, he and Bri definitely had that in common.
“Make room for the drunk muthafuckas!” Apollo yelled, coming over to the bar. Jaylen and Jayson started laughing. “You stupid, yo,” said Jaylen. Apollo looked loaded and we hadn’t even been here two hours yet.
“Want another drink, baby?” Jaylen asked me. I shook my head. “No, I’m okay for now,” I replied. “Are you good? You having a good time, Ma?” asked Jaylen. “Yeah, baby. Were you worried I wouldn’t be in a good mood?” I asked. “Nah. You lookin‘ sexy as hell tonight, Ma,” Jaylen flirted.
“So are you, I love that jacket. Tell your brother, Tito I said wassup,” I teased him. Jaylen started to laugh. “Oh you got your clown suit on, I see. Why you wylin? My jacket is fresh to death!” he said. I shrugged my shoulders. “Hey, I just call it like I see it. On the real, I do like it, boo,” I said. Jaylen seemed pleased that I liked his outfit tonight.
I have always liked what he picked out for himself, I especially loved the way he dressed when he was at Tomo. Occasionally, I got into his closet and pick out his clothes, he never fights me on my choices, he is pretty laid back when it comes to that.
For some reason I enjoy fitting men more than myself. I would often dress my dad when I was growing up because I was very passionate about fashion. Of course, my dad drew the line when I tried to make him look too “young and hip hop.” I didn’t know why he was tripping, I saw the way he dressed in the late eighties and early nineties, hip hop style hasn’t changed that much since then.
The club was poppin‘ and I didn’t mind the crowd too much even though it was L.A. and they rolled differently out here. It really gave you the feeling of being in the Amazon rain forest, the spa detail was nice. I teased Jay and told him he should think about getting a spa put in at Tomo, at least for us.
As the music I liked began to play, I started to feel the beat. I headed out to the dance floor with Jaylen in tow. The alcohol had started to relax me and I allowed Jaylen to guide my body to the rhythm. I felt smooth and easy as I rocked back and forth with my man. Jaylen started to grind on me, I dropped it low and popped back up.
I glanced over and saw Briah and Apollo reinventing one of their bedroom scenes, not that Jay and I were too far off. “Smack it, flip it, rub it down, oh no!” Apollo started to yell as he grinded on Briah and smacked her on the ass. I backed my booty up against Jay as he grabbed a hold of my waist. I wasn’t feeling drunk or anything, but that drink was pretty strong. I felt high, even though I’ve never had any experience with that. I gyrated against Jaylen, graining on that wood, as I sang along with the music. We stayed on the dance floor for over an hour.
Our group headed back to VIP and popped a few more bottles, the next thing I knew Briah and I were dancing on the table. Briah definitely brought out the fun loving Miami girl in me, not that I didn’t know how to have a good time, because I certainly knew how to kick it, but Briah reminded me of the fun we had back in the day. I could cut loose in another type of way with her more than anyone else.
Taylor told me shortly after I finished dancing, she had to leave because she had meetings the next day. Aoki and Taina also bounced since they had an early morning flight back to Starlight. That was a perfectly good excuse, although I knew Taina didn’t like being around Briah. Thankfully, they didn’t say anything to each other and there was no drama. I hadn’t had this much fun at a club since the opening of Tomo. I had my man, my cousin, and my friends. I was feeling myself. Party and bullshit, that’s all I wanted to do tonight.
I think we had too much of a good time. Too many bottles were popped and by the time the club was ready to close down we were all pretty busted. Briah was worse off than me. This was the first time I had seen Jaylen this loaded. It was not going to be easy to wake up in the morning. My car service took Jaylen and I back to our rental house and everyone else caught a cab to their hotel.
Jaylen and I didn’t do too much the next day and pretty much lounged around the entire day. Kennedey didn’t seem to mind, we laid around like slugs all day, she found a way to entertain herself by going to the art museum downtown. After posting up yesterday we were ready to leave the house again.
I was waiting for the breakfast we ordered in to come while listening to Kennedey rant about the establishment. Kennedey could act downright strange at times, always talking about her causes and social issues, I was happy that it didn’t seem to bother Jay when she harassed him about “being down for the cause“.
“You see the thing is Jay, the government wants us to look elsewhere for who they want us to think our enemies are. That it’s the people in other countries taking our jobs when its the corporations looking for the highest possible profit. They go over to other countries, exploit those people, pay them next to nothing, also they take advantage of the fact that there is little to no regulation in many of these places. Who are the real criminals now?” Kennedey asked Jay. I rolled my eyes.
“You don’t have to answer her, baby,” I told him. “It’s cool,” said Jaylen, laughing. “Oh be quiet, Reagan. He can think for himself,” said Kennedey. “I get what you’re saying. But, I don’t know how we got on this subject, I was just saying I wanted to get the new J’s when they come out,” said Jaylen. I burst out laughing.
“That’s the whole point, Jay. Nike is one of the main criminals, they make those shoes for so little and mark it up to such a ridiculous amount and sell it to the public. You’re paying for name recognition, period. So many people kill themselves and each other trying to live up to what society tells them they should have or what they should be. I am sorry, but I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars on some shoes or a pair of jeans just because of someone else’s name!” Kennedey exclaimed with passion.
“Yeah, J’s are pricey, not as much as the Zanotti’s I just fitted someone with who shall remain nameless,” said Jaylen with a laugh. “Whatever, you wasn’t saying nothing last night when the only thing I wore to bed were those Zanotti’s,” I replied. Kennedey looked at us with disgust.
“Ugh! I don’t want to hear about that,” she said. “Well, maybe I don’t want to hear all this political mumbo jumbo,” I replied, in kind. “Whatever, like I mentioned earlier Jaylen, I have another rally coming up in about a month, you should think about coming down,” said Kennedey. “And spend the day with a bunch of weirdos in tie dye shirts? How fun,” I said with sarcasm.
“This coming from someone who hasn’t even been to a rally since college and even then, you only blogged about it to get hits on your site,” said Kennedey. “What is the rally going to be about?” asked Jaylen. “We’re going to be protesting at City Hall again to speak out against the increases in taxes on wages while big business in IP has continued to get unprecedented tax cuts, but have steadily laid off workers, what kind of mess is that?” she asked incredulously. Jaylen nodded his head, not saying much.
“I guess this all seems rather boring to you though right, Jaylen? These are real issues that effect all of us. Never mind, it’s probably no concern to you. You probably never have been to a rally or done much in your community,” Kennedey continued.
“What? Just cause I didn’t say anything, doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening. For your information, both my parents are involved with community service organizations back in Brooklyn and got my brother and I involved when we were younger. I still volunteer at the youth center, teaching kids how to play ball. Once a month our club, Avenue runs a fundraiser to benefit the center,” Jaylen defended himself. “Okay, Mr. Big Shot, put your money where your mouth is. I challenge you to do the same at Tomo and at least check out my next rally,” Kennedey said. Jaylen looked over at me.
“I think we can do that at Tomo in the near future. As far as your rally, I‘ll go if the queen here comes along as well,” replied Jaylen. “Please, you’re on your own,” I said. Kennedey and I teased each other a lot, but I was glad she came out here with us. I knew she had other things she was tending to back home and she put all that on hold to support me. We both appreciated each other more these days. We argued at times, but now I could sit down and have a regular conversation with her and even hang out sometimes.
After breakfast, we headed into the city. First, we stopped by The Row, which was a series of shops and a winery. The weather was a bit warmer than it had been in IP. We walked around for a bit, I didn’t buy a lot of stuff this time around. I never thought in a million years I would be hanging out with both my man and my sister at the same time. Much like my dad, Kennedey only liked a couple of my past boyfriends, it was a relief she and Jay got along. After my debacle of my last relationship, I knew Kennedey would not hold her tongue if she had an issue with Jaylen.
“This is a 2007 Washington cab. Currently, I prefer the ’07’s, here you guys should try this,” Kennedey said, pouring a few samples of a bottle of cab she just purchased in the wine shop. “Okay, why don’t we drink it outside?” I suggested.
“Did you like the art museum, Kennedey?” Jaylen asked, as we set in the shade outside. “Yes, I went to a couple, actually,” she replied. “Which ones did you go to?” I asked. I wasn’t the biggest art enthusiast, I did like it but admittedly didn’t know too much about it. As Kennedey and I have grown closer I occasionally ask her about projects she was working on. She had such a passion for it and it made her happy. She loved talking about art to anyone that would listen and she didn’t berate me any longer for my lack of knowledge.
“The Hill museum which mostly had works from the classical and post modern period, the exhibits were nice, they weren’t mind blowing. I also went to the Mukanda gallery, they featured African and tribal artwork, paintings and sculptures. Definitely one of the places I want to go for my art tour trip I am planning in the future,” replied Kennedey. “My mother collects a lot of modern art for the house and her office. She has to know about that kind of stuff for her job,” said Jaylen.
We made a few more stops before Jaylen and I dropped Kennedey off back at the house and headed back out to meet up with Briah and Apollo at the movies. It was still pretty light out when Jay and I headed back into the city. Jaylen invited Kennedey to come with us, but if wasn’t an art house flick, Kenney wasn’t there for it. I could honestly say this was the most fun I had with my sister in years.
I could have gone to sleep during the corny action flick Jay and Apollo wanted to see so bad. There weren’t too many other things playing so I didn’t put up much of a fight. “They need their money back, that movie was whack,” I said to Briah. “Girl, I could have took a nap,” she said. We looked over at Jaylen and Apollo, who were both discussing the movie in great detail as if they just saw some masterpiece.
After we left the theater, we headed over to Fame. There weren’t too many people in the lounge tonight. “What did you guys do today?” asked Briah.
“We went to The Row, did a little shopping, swung by the bookstore and a vintage shop,” I replied. “What were you doing at a bookstore?” Briah asked, surprised. “Girl, Kennedey wanted to go, it was just some antique book place, you know I wasn’t trying to read any of that dusty stuff,” I answered.
“Y’all ready to back to the IP tomorrow?” asked Apollo. “For sure, it’s been a cool little trip. Got my business handled, did my cover and interviews. I’m good,” I said. “When does your interview air anyway?” asked Apollo. “Not for a couple of more days,” I replied. I had not even thought about the interview the last couple of days, I wasn’t even sure if I was planning on watching it.
The lounge closed around three in the morning. I wasn’t tired yet even though I had been out for most of the day. Jaylen put his arm around my waist as we headed for our car. I giggled to myself, I liked hanging out in our little group. Briah and Apollo were the only couple Jay and I socialized with, we always had a good time when we hung out together. I was happy for Briah that she met Apollo and had fallen in love. She could be a bit extra when it came to him, but I would definitely let her know when she was doing too much. Apollo was a good dude overall and nothing like her ex.
We stuffed our faces at Fat Burger and headed over the beach. Briah complained she was getting cold and put on her jacket. The chilly air didn’t bother me, thankfully I had worn a sweater. I didn’t realize it was so late, the sun had started to rise once we were ready to leave. I could get in a few hours of sleep before our flight this evening. I had a nice time in L.A. for the most part. Nothing too crazy popped off. I hoped my interview with ACC would put to rest many of the lies and speculation that had been out there for months.
My biggest reward, at least professionally was landing the cover of Essence Fashion. It was such an iconic magazine to me. My mother often read it when I was growing up and I would flip through the pages looking at women who looked like me and my sister and that was really the first time I ever thought I could do this whole modeling thing. It didn’t rain at all during our trip, the skies stayed clear, that wasn’t the case back home because winter was coming on fast and strong.
***The title of this chapter comes from my favorite song when I was in the fifth grade and it still is one of my all time favorites by Tony! Toni! Tone!