Lovers and Friends
“Tell me again, that we’ll be Lovers and Friends”
Ra$hin had told me that his grandmother who helped raise him had passed away. This was his mother’s mother. I knew his family was very close and this was hard for him. Since Juana and Jamar had all their kids so young and didn’t have much money back then they got a lot of help from her mother. They even lived with her before they moved to the projects.
I could tell Ra was very distraught and it seemed like he just needed someone. I was feeling like the black sheep of my family and still very angry with both my father and sister,so at the time I felt I needed someone too, of course I found out later this was a mistake.
My father went back home and Kennedey and I still weren’t speaking. I headed to Ra’s house to talk to him. When I got there all these emotions came fluttering through my body. If I wasn’t confused before I certainly was now.
“Thank you for coming over Reagan, I appreciate it,” Ra$hin said to me as I came into the living room I hesitated. “It’s okay, I am sorry about your grandmother,” I replied.
Ra let out a huge breath. “My family, especially my mother is taking this very hard. She wants me to come back to New York as soon as possible. They’re making the arrangements now for her memorial. Reagan, I know things have been all jacked up between us the last few months, I know I screwed up, but would you please come back to New York with me? I need you there with me,” Ra$hin pleaded.
You screwed up? Wow that was the understatement of the year I thought to myself. I didn’t think I could say no to his request after looking at him, I could tell he was upset although he was putting on a front. What was I supposed to do? So I was off to the NYC again, a place where I did not have the best experiences.
The services for Ra$hin’s grandmother Lupe Rodriguez lasted a few hours, there had been a lot people there. I did not realize that so many people knew and were connected to Ra’s family. We headed back to his parent’s house for the repass.
There I would run into Princess again and I met Ra’s other sisters Consuela and Gypsy. I knew his family wasn’t feeling me but under the circumstances things were a bit more tame this time around. When we arrived in New York the other day and I saw Ra$hin’s parents again I did tell Juana I was sorry about her mother. She seemed rather dismissive which didn’t surprise me. I just kept telling myself I was there for Ra and I would soon be back in Starlight Shores.
Ra’s friend and business partner Stacey stopped by with his girlfriend Yana. I had not seen Stacey since New Year’s. I was also surprised he was still dating that club dancer since he goes through women like water. “Hey man, how are you holding up?” Stacey asked Ra$hin.
“Oh, I’m as good as can be expected, you know. It’s tough. My mom is taking it very hard. Thanks for coming,” Ra$hin answered him. He then looked over at Yana.
“Hey Yana, I haven’t seen you in forever,” said Ra. “Yeah I know. You’ve been out on the road. I’m really sorry for your family’s loss. Were you really close to your grandmother?” She asked.
I continued to remain quite during Ra’s exchange with his friends. I really had nothing to say to this girl, considering my friend had got into it with her friend, I figured she was still brittle. Oh well.
“Yes, she practically helped raise me and my sisters. Yana, did you and Reagan ever formally meet?” Ra asked shifting gears.
Did he not remember what went down at the club? I had no reason to meet this chick, but whatever. Yana and I sort of looked each other up and down.
“No, we didn’t really meet,” she replied. “Oh. Well, Reagan this is Yana. Yana, this is Reagan,” Ra$hin introduced us. What could I say? It was pretty awkward “I’m so sure,” I replied, she sort of kissed her teeth and muttered “Yeah”.
Ra continued to chop it up with his friends for a bit while I excused myself to go the bathroom and check my messages. I had about a million messages from Taina wanting to know how everything was going and if I was okay. I got the feeling that she was concerned for me and wasn’t thrilled that I came out here to be with Ra$hin. Frankly it was really none of her business. Even if she meant well I did not want to hear one more word of criticism from her or anyone else.
We stayed at his parent’s house for a couple more hours. Finally when it was time to leave I had Ra take me back to my hotel. I wasn’t ready to stay the night with him and I didn’t want him to think that just because I came here with him that I was going to jump right back into something with him. There were some things I had to think on and we had a lot to talk about. My feelings were still strong for him and I felt lonely and afraid. No one should enter into a relationship under those circumstances. Of course I did not realize this at the time.
***********************TAINA’S POV *******************************************
Reagan had finally returned my text. I was starting to wonder if she was even going to answer me. I had called her and sent her several messages wanting to know how her trip to New York was going. I wanted to make sure she was okay. I probably didn’t hide my disappointment when she told me that was going out there to be with Ra since his grandmother died.
I felt bad for Ra too, but he had a lot of friends and family that could comfort him. Why was he messing with Reagan? I’ll tell you why because he can’t stand the thought of her trying to move on with her life so he uses something as tragic as this to tug at her heartstrings.
Reagan does seem all big and bad most of the time but underneath all those layers there lies a very hurt soul just looking for answers and wanting to be loved. I felt bad for that girl. I know that her mother abandoning her had a profound effect on how she views herself and her relationships. I usually kept my opinion to myself but since Reagan and I were close and she often confided in me I had no choice but to offer up some of my thoughts at least some of the time.
I was expecting Reagan to be home within the next day or so. I would be able to tell where her head was once I saw her in person. The day after the services my boyfriend Ramon returned home from New York. He went out there to support Ra$hin and he knew Ra’s grandmother since he was in middle school.
“Hey baby, what are you doing?” he asked me coming into the house. “Nothing too much. I was just looking at this new recipe book I bought at the mall. Trying to decide what to have for dinner,” I replied. “Oh okay,” Ramon said. “How was your trip? How was everyone?” I asked him trying to gain to intel on if anything went down while he was away.
He sort of shrugged his shoulders. “It was fine. I mean I didn’t exactly go for pleasure. But everyone seemed cool,” he answered. “Did you see Reagan and Ra together, what did things seem like with them?” I inquired. “Of course I saw them. It was a memorial for Ra’s grandmother babe. And maybe you should just ask Reagan what the scoop is because I really don’t know nor do I care,” said Ramon.
I rolled my eyes. “Look, I just want to make sure Reagan is okay. I know that is your boy and all, but Reagan is my friend and the last thing she needs to do is get back with Ra$hin,” I said. “Babe, just stay out of it okay? That may be your friend and all but Reagan is a big girl and she can make her own decisions,” he replied. I sighed. Ramon was somewhat right, but I wouldn’t be a friend if I wasn’t concerned.
Fallion was going to be coming over for dinner. She too had broken up with her boyfriend not that long ago. I was surprised Fallion even got into a relationship honestly. She never was one to put labels on herself or want to settle down. She didn’t seem upset by the break up though.
“So what’s up? Have you talked to Reagan?” she asked. “Uh not exactly. Just texting,” I told her. “She’s dumb if she gets back with Ra. Hasn’t that ratchet mess she just got out of taught her a lesson?” said Fallion.
“You’re one to talk about someone being ratchet Fallion. I don’t want her getting back with Ra either though,” I said.
“How the hell am I ratchet? I’m just saying Reagan can be messy when it comes to men, all that bull with Kiyan. She knew what she was doing. Now all of a sudden she wanna be upset and surprised when those two fools got into it over her at the club,” Fallion said shaking her head. I really did not know what Fallion’s issue was.
I knew she felt some kind of way about that situation, but honestly I think was jealous. She always did an envious side to her. She was my sister but I knew she hated on Reagan at times. All I could do was be there for my friend and hope to goodness that she pumped the brakes on this thing with Ra and left him alone for good.
With the passing of his grandmother, Ra decided to cancel some upcoming dates on his tour. I was still in New York when he called me asking to meet him for lunch. I was somewhat weary about us being seen in public together so soon, but they were already talking about me coming out here with him online. It’s not like we could hide that. I was still unsure about so many things.
I knew Ra wanted to get back together, but how do I trust him again after what he did? I knew that we were both vulnerable right now and in a weird sort of way I think we needed each other. I certainly didn’t feel as if I had anyone else in my corner, not even my dad who had been leaving me messages for the last few days. I wasn’t ready to speak with him though.
“Hey did you sleep well? How do you like your hotel?” Ra asked. “I slept fine. The hotel is cool, I’ve stayed there before,” I replied. I was wondering how much more small talk we were going to do. Ra seemed to be thinking heavily. I waited for him to say something.
“Was she the only one? Don’t lie to me Ra, I don’t think I can handle anymore lies,” I suddenly blurted out. When he still has not said anything. “Yes, she was the only one. I know that doesn’t make it better or okay. Trust me the last person I ever wanted to hurt was you baby. I made a mistake, things between you and I had been rough for a long time and during a moment of weakness I messed up. I’ll spend forever and a day trying to make it up to you,” he answered seemingly sincere. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I could trust everything he was saying.
“What about the scores of women who would tweet me or message me saying they had been with you? I didn’t believe it at the time, but I don’t know what to believe now,” I told him.
“Come on baby, you know how females can be. There’s been chicks who have said they were with me at certain times when you and I both know you were with me. So you know girls be lying. They’ll say anything. But believe me, that Martina chick meant absolutely nothing to me,” Ra$hin continued to defend himself with a slight look of desperation in his eyes.
There was a little voice in my head telling me not to trust him, to just run away, unfortunately the voice sounded much like my father so I chose to ignore it. People are allowed to make mistakes I reasoned. I did not know it at the time but giving
him another chance was one of the biggest mistakes I could ever make. Just like that we decided to give it another go.
I didn’t stay in New York much longer. I needed to head back home as there was a lot of business I had to take care of. Ra $hin ended up coming back about a week after I did. I knew several people weren’t going to be happy that we were together again, oh well let them hate. When I got home much to my surprise (and pleasure) Kennedey was gone with the cats. She left me a note saying she was going to be staying over at her friend Maya’s house for a few days to work on a project with her. I knew Kennedey really just felt uncomfortable about the tension that had been in the house since our fight. Frankly, I was surprised she even left me a note. Admittedly, I did not like the tension either and it was nice to have a little breathing room even if it was only for a few days.
I had a spread for Jean Ja Tem lingerie I was shooting that Taina was working on with me. She had been acting a bit strange ever since I got back home. Like I said before I knew she felt some kind of way about Ra and I although she had not said anything to me yet. I spoke too soon.
“Do you want to grab something to eat?” I asked her once we had wrapped up our work. “Uhhh, I don’t know I am not that hungry Reagan,” she answered with hesitation in her voice.
I was growing irritated of her tiptoeing around me. “Taina, if you have something to say, then just say it,” I demanded. Taina looked upset. “Okay, fine. Reagan, I think you are making a big
mistake by getting back with Ra. I wouldn’t be your friend if I did not tell you that,” Taina responded.
“Who the heck asked you?” I said to her. She looked surprised. “You did! Just now when you told me to say something to you,” she replied. She had a point. “Regardless, it is none of your business Taina. Do I try to tell you about your relationship with Ramon and how you
allowed yourself to fall so fast without even thinking about it?” I asked her. “Reagan, I don’t want to fight with you. I only say this because I think you’re going to be hurt again by Ra. I don’t want to see you spiral out of control again,” she pleaded with me. I wasn’t trying to hear it.
“Just stay out of my business Taina! You sound just like my father. I ain’t no kid. You worry about you, and I’ll worry about myself!” I shouted. I did not like fighting with her. To my surprise over the last year we had known each other Taina had become my closet friend and I have said before I never really had girlfriends. It seemed like I was making more enemies now and losing the people I care most about. I turned and left and did not stay to hear
So it had been like that with us over the next few weeks. I saw Taina only at business related functions but I was not ready to really speak with her. By that time Ra had come back home and went out on the road again. I ended up joining him for a few days.
“What’s the matter baby?” Ra$hin asked me one night while we were in his hotel suite. How did I tell him I had been upset still about fighting with my friend? Even Kennedey was back in the house but we said little to each other. Everyone seemed to be pissed with me and most of it was stemming from all the drama my relationship with Ra$hin had caused.
I was quite for a moment, the only sound coming from the song “Lovers & Friends”.
Baby, how ya doin’?
Hope that ‘cha fine, wanna know what you got in mind,
Got me fiendin’ like Jodeci, girl, I can’t leave you alone,
Take a shot of this here Petrone’ and it’s gon’ be on,
V.I.P. done got way too crowded,
I’m about to end up callin‘ it a night,
You should holla at ‘cha girl, tell her you shake it the scene,
Pull off, beep-beep, shotgun in the GT with me
She said, “Ohhh-ohhh, I’m ready to ride, yeah,”
“‘Cause once you get inside, you can’t change your mind,”
“Don’t mean to sound impatient, but you gotta promise, baby, ohh…”
Tell me again (Tell me again, my baby),
That we’ll be Lovers and Friends
Tell me again
That we’ll be Lovers and Friends
Usher sang softly in the background. “It’s just everyone is tripping about us. My family and friends, not to mention the public,” I replied gathering my thoughts together again. Ra$hin got an irritated look on his face.
“Oh well, let ‘em be mad. We don’t need them. We got each other. You know people are just jealous of us and what we have. Everybody wants to be like us Reagan. We’re like the urban Bonnie and Clyde,” he said. I didn’t like being compared to two infamous murderers but I held my tongue.
“I’m just getting sick of fighting with all the people around me. My sister and I are barely speaking which makes it rough considering we live in the same house. My relationship with my father is also tense. You don’t understand Ra, we were always like the Three Musketeers growing up, especially after my mother left us. We were close although Apollonia lived in the house with us, she still wasn’t apart of our little unit, mainly because she didn’t seem like she wanted to be,” I said. My mother had been on my mind lately which was another reason I had been in a funky mood. Ra$hin seemed to be thinking.
“I don’t know why you don’t get your own spot boo. I know that house is both you and your sister’s but if things are so tense at home, why not just move out? Better yet, maybe you should come live with me,” he said. I was truyly shocked.
“Live with you? Are you serious? I don’t know if that is such a good idea Ra$hin,” I said. He really floored me with that. “Just think about it okay baby?” he said. That was something to think about alright, even though I was really leaning toward “ain’t never gonna happen”.
Ra$hin and I fell into silence and we didn’t talk about my issues with my friends and family again for the rest of the night.
Something was nagging me, I could not put my finger on it at the time. I soon found out though what it was, I was once again sleeping with the enemy and I was too blind to see it.