19.

"Relax..." I said as I ran my hands along the sides of Sophia's body. I actually gave her that full body massage that she wanted. From the start I didn't really want to give it to her, but hell I figured she deserved it. I put some more oil in my hand and began to knead her back with my thumbs. I don't know what possessed me to do it considering the fact that I've never even done this for my girl. But I'm glad I'm doing it because it's honestly good for both of us. I'm kind of relaxed right now in this setting and she's surrendering to me as I give her body the pleasure she needs.


"That's the spot right there..." She sighed as she turned her head to the other side. I continued to rub the spot that I was rubbing before. Her body was so tense. What kind of stress could she possibly be going through with that sister of hers?


"Sophia?"


"Hmm?" She replied, her eyes still closed.


"What's going on with your sister?"


"What do you mean?"


"What is she doing that's so stressful? I mean, you're really tense. You need to relax sometimes."


She sighed, "She's kind of getting into your lifestyle."


"Is that a bad thing?" I made a face.


"Well she is only sixteen."


"Oh."


"I said she's kind of getting into your lifestyle. She's actually beyond your lifestyle." She sighed, "She's popping pills, giving it up to random people. Guys and girls. I don't mind the partying; she's just doing so much of it. Drinking until she's sloppy as fuck, popping ecstasy pills as though it's candy. It's stressful for me and my dad. Ever since my mom left, she's being so rebellious. No one can tame her."


I listened, continuing to knead her back. Her sister is the real deal. Popping pills though? That shit isn't even cute. "Is it possible she's only following what you do?"


"Maybe... I've never popped pills a day in my life. I never gave it up to random people. I don't even drink that much. I don't know where she's getting all this to be completely honest with you. It's scaring me. What if she overdoses and no one helps her because they don't care? It's really scaring me." Sophia sat up and brought her knees to her chest. "I try to talk to her but she won't listen. It's just a waste of time."


"Maybe I can help."


"How?" She looked up at me.


"I'll talk to her."


Sophia shook her head, "She won't listen to you."


"I'll try my best to get her to listen."


"Michael, don't expose my sister to more drugs."


"Why would I do that?" I made a face.


"I don't know. Because you somewhat live the same lifestyle as her."


"I don't actually. I don't pop pills. I don't have sex with random women. I don't drink as much as her. The only thing I do is smoke. That's it. I'm not about that life your sister is living. Does she do all that injecting stuff too?"


"Unfortunately."


"Yeah, someone really needs to talk to her."


"Michael...to be completely honest with you, if there was any person I wouldn't want to talk to her, it'd be you."


I made a face, "Why? Am I a bad influence now?"


"No. It's just that you're so blunt. I don't know how she's going to take that."


"Being blunt has nothing to do with it. You just don't want me to meet her. Are you afraid I'm going to do something to her? If so, that's pretty fucked up. A 24 year old man fucking with a 16 year old? I don't have the time, patience or the balls to sink that low. You ought to know me well enough to know I wouldn't do that."


"I don't think you're going to do something to her. I just...don't want to expose her to-"


"Sophia, I'm not a bad guy. I don't know why you're trying to make it out as though I am."


"That's not my intention. Look, I just don't want her to meet you because I don't want her to become attached to you and try to do something with you."


"As though I would actually allow it to happen? Ok." I got up and went to put some clothes on.


"I'm sorry, Michael..."


"Don't be sorry if there's nothing to feel sorry about." I hurried to put some sweats on.


"I didn't mean to make you feel bad..." Sophia walked over to me.


"Sophia, feeling bad is the least of my worries." I put a shirt on and slipped on some shoes. "You should get dressed. I'm going to get something to eat. I'd appreciate it if you were gone by the time I got back."


"What?" Her voice shook.


I rolled my eyes, "You confuse the fuck out of me. I can't be friends with someone who's confused. First you want to love me, then you want to be a good friend, then you won't let me help you with your sister who obviously needs all the help she can get. I tried being friends with you again, Sophia. I really did. But your love for me is really getting in the way. You think I'm a bad guy, which I'm not. What have I done that was so bad? Nothing.  You think I'm going to do something bad with your sister? Seriously? You think I'm that fucked up in the head? I'm not. Trust me. Look, I thought it would work out seeing as though we've been friends for a while, but you've still got bad feelings about me." I kissed her forehead. "This isn't the first time I've let someone go. You're actually the second person this month. It's the best for both of us. Trust me." At that, I left and went to my car. If I come back to find shit gone or torn apart, I'll try not to stress about it. I tried to help the girl out. What's so wrong with helping people out? As far as I know, nothing is wrong with helping people out. But I guess if you know life enough and try to counsel a teenager, then you're about as fucked up as them. I've counseled a lot of teenagers actually. I didn't turn any of them out. I'm not dumb.


•                 •                  •


"Jamie, would you consider me a threat or a bad influence?" I asked as soon as she picked up the phone.


"Depends on what you're talking about."


"Have I ever posed a threat to teenagers?"


"The fuck? No! Have you been accused of something? I need to punch a bitch out, don't I?"


"Sophia, you remember her?"


"Isn't that that one chick that's in love with you?"


"Yeah. Her sisters kind of a druggie, so I asked if I could counsel her or something. You know my history." I sighed, "Counseling teenagers, telling them to defeat their inner demons. Shit like that."


"Yeah, I remember. I used to go to those sessions with you."


"Sophie thought I would turn her sister onto drugs or some shit."


"What kind of fuckery...?"


"She's told me this over and over again. Other times I would ignore it, but I couldn't ignore it today. I mean I've been upset for a while now. Of course anything that is meant to offend me would easily push my buttons. I told her we couldn't be friends anymore if she's going to think that of me. Who would even pin that thought on someone?"


"She was never a real friend, Michael..."


"I don't care. It's me we're talking about Jamie. Who would think that of me out of all the people in the world?"


"Well obviously someone crazy."


I rolled my eyes, "I didn't mean to gossip about the situation. She just made me so mad when she said that. And the fact that she's been saying it over and over again has really been upsetting me."


"I understand."


I sighed, "Jamie, I've let go of two people that have meant a lot to me this month."


"Wow... Am I next?"


"I would never cut you off. You've been with me through the thick and thin. I'd be pretty dumb to cut you off."


"Good!"


"Come to think of it, I let go of Ravenna too. Remember her?"


"I thought you let go of her a long time ago."


"I did. But we kept each other's numbers just in case. She came over three weeks ago and I told her to delete my number. We're officially not talking anymore."


"You're just a cuttin' em off. Is Darryl next?"


I laughed, "Nah. That's my main man. Plus what do I look like hanging around women all the time? I'd better have one guy that I consider my friend. He and I have been friends longer than you and I have been friends. Only by seven years though."


"Jeez! That's totally not a lot."


We laughed, "Welp, I've got to go back to the house. I gotta make sure Sophia didn't trash my new place."


"Want me to come over?"


"Nah, I can handle it. Thanks though."

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