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I quickly regretted saying what I said. She didn't need to know. I didn't want her to know. There was no purpose in her knowing that I felt this way for her. I intended for this feeling to fade away. Damn!

She was quiet on the other end; I looked at my phone to see that she had not hung up. Maybe she's contemplating on what to say. I don't really want her to say anything to that. I don't want to hear, "I love you too." I don't want her asking me anything about what I just said. I hung up and turned my phone off. My nerves were getting this best of me. Confessing my love to her was surprising as hell. I'll try not to talk to her until Thursday so by then we'll probably forget about it. Fuck. She won't forget about it. Women always remember stuff. I'm screwed.

"I'm so proud of you, Michael." Sophia smiled as we walked out of the studio to our cars. "People are going to love this mix tape. They'll be in love with your voice, the songs, you! Michael, you're gonna be so big after this. I'm so proud of you." She pulled me in for a much needed hug. At the moment, I didn't really know how to feel. I kept replaying that scene in my head. "I love you." I got nothing in return. This is why I try not to fall in love. You never know what the other person is feeling. Like, Sophia. She's in love with me, but I'm not in love with her. What if my girl does that to me? What if she has a long ass talk with me about why I shouldn't love her? I don't know how to take this. "For a pre-release celebration, do you want to go get drinks? It's on me." Sophia looked up at me. "What's wrong? You look horrible. You were happy before. Was it something I said?"

"No." I took her hands from around me. "Sophia, I just need to be alone tonight." I kissed her on the forehead. "I'll see you later, okay?"

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive. I'll see you soon." I completely ignored the fact that I should have opened her car door. Instead I walked over to my car got in, and quickly drove home.

I lay in bed, a bottle of Alizé in my hand as I stared up at the ceiling. Whenever I don't want to know something I try my best to ignore anything that could possibly tell me what I don't want to know. She's probably calling and texting me nonstop. Those three words could have ruined everything. Why did I catch feelings? Why? Out of all the people in the world, why did it have to be me? If she loves me back, I don't know how I would respond to it. I've been in love before. Like every other broken nigga. But that was long ago. The fact that she didn't say anything immediately makes me feel even worse about saying it. I turned over on my side and stared at the bathroom door. No one would understand how I'm feeling. If I told Darryl that I told her I loved her he would be proud that I actually told her how I felt. But it's all a mistake in my mind. Usually someone would feel happy that they told the person they loved that they loved them. But not me. I've been in love way too many times with the wrong women. They've all played me, so it's only right that I give up on love and not expect anything in return. I opened the bottle and took a long swig. I winced as the burning liquid made its way down my throat. She is my burning liquid. She made her way into my heart; burning her way through the whole time which is only destroying me as time goes by. Perhaps I could come to terms with myself that this is actually a good thing. Maybe I need someone to love and if she happens to love me back then I obviously need her to love me. Maybe I need for her to tell me that she loves me back. My heart, my nerves, I will then be put at ease.

I woke up with the absolute worst hangover. I had drunk so much that I passed out right in bed. I looked around the room to make sure I hadn't done anything destructive. I honestly couldn't remember what I did. All I remember was lying in bed drinking. That's probably all I did. I sat up, a migraine just a bangin' at my head and fresh vomit on the carpet. So, apparently I did do something destructive. At least it's fresh. Despite my migraine, I went to the kitchen to get vomit powder and hurried to sprinkle it on the carpet that was covered with my vomit. As I let that sit, I went to go check my phone. I waited as it boot up and looked at my reflection in the mirror. Sophia was right. I do look horrible. But I look worse now than I did earlier. My hair was all matted and shit. This isn't a good look.

She probably sent me tons of messages and left even more voicemails. I should probably be prepared for this boatload. I sat in the love seat and put in the password to my phone. I expected tons of messages and missed call signs, but instead I got nothing. My heart began to race. All this time I thought she would have said something. I was actually hoping that she cared enough to text or call me to tell me what she felt about what I said. Fuck! I bent over resting my elbows on my knees. I haven't felt this way in a while. I hate falling in love so much. I hate being in love especially when the person you love doesn't love you back. I hate that I warn so many women not to fall in love with me to protect themselves and when they do I shut them down and the same thing happens to me when I fall in love. My heart is so heavy. I don't know what to feel right now. I don't know what to think. You would think that women would learn from their ways. You would think that women actually understood that once they dog a man out they make a man so cold hearted. I suppose it's the same way for women though. As soon as a man treats her wrong she becomes bitter and treats every man like she has been treated, which just makes the man falling for her hurt. Then he hurts the next woman that comes into his life all because of that one bitter woman. The cycle continues and has been continuing for centuries.

I looked through my phone and immediately called Jamie.

"What's up?" She answered.

"Jamie, we need to go out tonight." I breathed.

"...what's wrong, Michael? You sound horrible."

"I'll tell you when we meet up. I can't be alone right now. I might do something I'll regret."

"Okay, okay. Calm down, Michael. Where do you want to meet up?"

"Can you meet me at Gilly's?"

"The club? You don't seem like you're in a club mood right now."

"It's a chill place, Jamie. I'm sure I can do it. Just meet me there in thirty minutes. Please?"

"I'll be there in ten. I'm right around the corner."

"Thank you." I hung up and threw my phone onto my bed. I hurried to sweep up the soaked up vomit and went to the shower. I don't want to go to a club smelling like vomit. I don't want to go anyplace smelling like I don't take care of myself. One thing is for sure, once I get hurt I might stop caring about everything around me, but I'll never stop caring about myself.

"Michael! Oh my god, I was worried you forgot." Jamie ran up to me and hugged me. I hugged her tight. If there was one person that I would let talk to me like I don't have sense, it'd be Jamie. Though she's only two years younger than me she's been through much more shit than I have.

"Thanks, I really needed this."

"I know. I see it all over you." She said in my ear as we continued to embrace. She finally let go and led me over to the table she had gotten. "Do you want a drink?"

"No, I'm okay. I had my share of drinks today."

"Well at least get a water, okay?" She waved over a waitress and ordered water for me. "So what's been going on?"

I looked away. I had told myself that I wouldn't tell Jamie about my little affair. But she's the only one that would actually tell me what I should do. Darryl wouldn't understand. Jamie's a female; she'll be able to tell me how my girl took what I said. "I uh, I've been doing some shit, Jamie. If anything, please do not judge me. That's all I ask."

"I would never judge you. I have absolutely no right to judge. You know that." She placed her hand on mine.

I sighed, "I met someone."

"Okay... What happened?"

"She's with someone else. A guy named Drew. She and I met way back at some club. She caught my eye because she was so different from the other women there. She just stood out. We got into it, I must admit to that. Then she told me she had a boyfriend but that he had been abusing her and she needed someone." Jamie listened without making a single gesture. "She was so honest and blunt about it... She said she needed someone that would be willing to be with her when she needed to get away from him. So in other words she needed to have someone to take her pain out on. That person was me. I can say it's unfortunate but then I can also say it's fortunate." Jamie opened her mouth to speak but then covered her mouth and looked away. Her lips tight with anger. "I know you're mad. Hell, I don't know how to take it sometimes either, but I do and I deal with it. Anyway, she never really told me about herself except for her name and that her dad wants her to marry Drew. Other than that I don't know anything else about her. I don't know her birthday, I'm pretty sure she's my age or at least slightly younger. She's a mystery to me. You know how much I love a girl with mystery, Jamie. So naturally I just gave in to her. I fell in love. I know, I know. I'm not one to fall in love anymore. But this girl just makes me feel different. I don't know what it is. But she does."

The waitress came back with my water. I took a sip and continued, "Point is, earlier today we got into it. She told me she hated me. But I wasn't phased at all. She tells me she hates me all the time then she ends up missing me and coming back, so I've learned not to care anymore. But then afterwards when I went back to the studio she apologized to me about what she had said and told me Drew wanted to meet me." Jamie made a face. I smirked, "I know, stupid right? She tried to insist but I told her it wouldn't be a good idea and she tried talking to me like some punk or some shit. I had to give it to her straight and told her she should just leave Drew because all he's going to do is abuse her and if he keeps doing that I'm going to have to do something I'll regret and none of us want that. Anyway, point is. I've been telling myself that I should get rid of this love that I have toward her. But I can't seem to do that and earlier I slipped and told her I loved her. I didn't get a response, but then again I didn't want a response because I didn't want to hear her truth, whatever her truth is. I turned off my phone but I convinced myself that she had left voicemails and all these messages and such. When in fact after I woke up from such a horrible hangover, she hadn't left me anything." My throat tightened up. "I just um," I cleared my throat. "What do you think about all of that? What exactly do you think she meant when she didn't respond to me? I'm kind of heartbroken right now and I'm trying to understand. I really am." I tried clearing the bump in my throat. Damn. This girl has me damn near tears.

"Drink some water, Michael." Jamie pushed the cup toward me. I took a long sip. "First of all, what do you want me to say? You already know I'm going to say something about her using you to get rid of her pain. So what exactly do you want me to say?"

"I really just want to know what you think her message is in not responding to me after I said what I said and her not trying to talk to me about it." I cleared my throat.

"Well, you probably already thought about this...but I don't think she has the same feelings toward you." Jamie sighed.

"Of course not." I looked away. "I'm not good for her."

"Michael, don't say that. She sees you in a totally different light. You're just something..." Jamie inhaled deeply probably thinking of what to say. "I'm not even going to say it because you already know. Is she in love with Drew?"

"So she says."

"She's probably convincing herself that she's in love with him. He abuses her, correct?"


"Oh yeah. She's just convincing herself that she's in love with him. Have you ever met Drew?"

"No. I don't ever intend to. But I have seen him around. In fact, he's right there." I pointed past her to see a tall dark haired man flirting with a group of girls.

She turned around to look and made a face, "That's Drew?"


"How do you know that's him?"

"I've seen him around sometimes. Even saw him with my girl a couple of times even though she acted like she didn't even know me."

"Oh, what an asshole! Is she getting married to that bastard?"

"Her dad wants her to." I shrugged, continuing to stare at him as he kissed one of the girls he was talking to. They look like fucking teenagers. He's a sick shit for that one. Niggas like him will literally do anything for pussy. No matter how old or young, they will do anything. Jamie and many reasons are the only reason why I'm just sitting here observing his bitch ass from a distance. No woman deserves to be cheated on.

"Anyway, she's not really in love with him. Otherwise she wouldn't be cheating on him with you, getting rid of pain or not. She wouldn't be doing it. She's just getting what Drew can't give her and that's through you. I can't really speak for her, so I can't really say if her actions show that she loves you or not. Though her actions obviously don't, but when you told her you loved her, I can say that she was shocked. More than likely a bit too shocked if she hadn't texted you or tried calling you. She may have feelings similar but she doesn't exactly love you, Michael. Do know that until she actually says it herself. I wouldn't even recommend you continue catering to her this way. But you've grown to love her through her inevitable mystery and I know you'll continue to love her until you can finally push the feeling away."

"So, she's just shocked?"

"More than likely. You must treat her way better than the asshole over there don't you?"

"Of course. You should see the way she glows when she's around me."

"That's a reason and more than likely she's never had a guy fall for her like you have."

"So you think she knows?"

"More than likely, she's known for a while, Michael. She just waited for you to admit it."

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