CHAPTER ONE

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The sound of my roommate's headboard banging against a wall caused me to turn over in my covers. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why they would have sex at this hour. Not knowing the exact time I turned over and reached for my phone and saw that it was eight in the morning. Rage filled me and I wondered if they had a death wish. "Why are they having sex this early?"

They were both aware I had gotten back late from a day trip to Miami. Early yesterday morning, a "daddy" of mine called saying that he wanted me to come for a splurge day. I was more than happy to accompany him for a day of spending money and eating decadent foods. Leaning over the side of my bed I grabbed what felt like a shoe and tossed it towards the nearest wall which ceased the banging followed by angry sighs. If I wasn't so frugal, I would have moved into a place alone but I opted for a roommate in case I lost my streams of income.

Bang! The sound of a fist hitting my door had enough power to rattle the pictures on the wall. She always knocked on my door like the police, which angered me off. Two more knocks rattled my door, causing my blood to come to a boil. Mustering just as much power as she used, I knocked on the door from my end. "You should try that the correct way or leave," I said. A few seconds passed before she knocked again. Opening the door, I looked at her not at all impressed.

"Do we have a problem?" Her hands sat at her hips and her locks tied up in a messy bun as if she had prepared to fight me before leaving Khari, my roommate's bedroom. "I mean y'all are the ones banging on the damn wall." I made a face that showed my annoyance to drive home my point.

"I mean you could always leave," she said but could not finish since I cut her off. "You can tell me where to go when you pay for something in here." She looked at me like she would continue to argue, but I closed the door in her face. I was not one to argue, so I kept the confrontation as short as possible.

Walking into the bathroom knowing that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep, I performed my normal morning routine, now to work up to go back to sleep. Once I prepared for the day, I looked at myself in the mirror. The smoothness of my warm brown skin was something I paid and worked hard to maintain. Playing in my black cropped afro I made a few weird faces to entertain myself. My lips were full and pink, and my teeth were perfectly straight and bright. Staring directly into my brown eyes, I analysed every aspect of myself.

I had to be perfect, because it was my job to look, smell, feel, and sound the best that I could. Being a sugar baby called becoming inviting and agreeable so I did the shaving and the treatments to make sure I abided by the requirements. If I did not I would have no way of paying for school or supporting myself. The degree I was getting in food science was certainly not going to do it. I was shunned from my family so there was no safety net. If I fail, I would fail on my own.

Walking back over to my phone from the bathroom, I checked my messages and notifications not that I had many since I was not too big on people. I moved to the group chat to see what my small group of friends were up too, most of them were morning people and those who were not early birds were probably still up from last night. I informed them I made it back from my day in Miami. They immediately started messaging me back saying that they were coming over shortly. I was the only one who could afford an apartment, so they commonly used my room as the group's relaxation spot which I enjoyed. My friends never judged me as long as I was being safe.

It took them less time to arrive than I assumed as they were knocking on my door just as I finished pulling the waistband of my black sweatpants over my hips."It's open," I yelled out while trying to light a candle in the room made difficult because of the air circulating through the decently sized room that held a bed, couch, and television. It allowed the winds that came with autumn to flow freely through my opened window.

My friends strode right inside saying hello to me and hugged me before Joelle and Nala both went for my closet, grabbing everyone's blankets. Joelle, Nala, Eon, and I all had grown up together and had grown to be more like family than friends hence the reason they were so comfortable going through my things. Sonny, my freshman year roommate, trailed right behind Joelle like a lost puppy with his blond hair hiding most of his cute face. Joelle was smart and kind so it was easy to like her;In fact, most people did.

Caspian took a seat on the couch with his brush in hand, which was common since he was very particular about how his waves looked. He turned on the television then held the remote as if he had forgotten what he was about to do, which was probably the case since he stayed high. After a few moments, the remote got snatched away by Nala who turned on a movie then handed Caspian a blanket. She smiled at his face showing her perfect white teeth that gleamed in contrast with her skin. The best way to describe her was an afro wearing pixie. Everyone sat down and began watching an angst-filled teen drama. The only person who didn't sit was Eon who hovered next to me whilst I gave up lighting the candle.

"So how was Miami?" Eon asked, moving in front of me and placing his hand on my lower back. I looked in his eyes before stepping away. With a space between us, I gave him a warning look.

"It was good Eon. I got you one of those tie-dye tourist shirts you wanted in the closet." He smiled and patted my shoulder before sitting with everyone else. Quickly growing tired of the television, we made our way to the student center. The campus of Cintron University was small and filled with trees amid changing colors.

When we arrived, I broke away from the group to go to the mail center while they went downstairs to the food court laughing and arguing among each other. I was the quiet one of the group. They often treated me like the little brother since I was the youngest at nineteen. Caspian and Eon were the only two who could legally drink. Our ages did not vary much.

I turned the corner going to the mailbox assigned to me and retrieved my envelopes knowing that there was money waiting inside and then my two packages. With my items in tow, I walked downstairs to the food court and purchased some food and went to find where my friends I found sitting in a corner. Walking over and scooted into an open spot at the corner of the booth. Immediately the boxes got taken away from me by the girls who beamed and thanked me for the shoes I purchased them. They wasted no time in trying to peel off the tape from the boxes. We all conversed about nonsense that had happened over the week while eating until the conversation abruptly stopped. I looked over to Eon who had a tenseness on his face shared by Sonny and Caspian.

Nala was the first to react; her bracelet hit the table followed by her earring. I looked at her with confusion until I felt a hand on my shoulder. I hated when strangers touched me without asking or being given permission. I shrugged off the hand on my shoulder and turned to see a face I had hoped to never see again looking down on me with a false apologetic smile. The sight of him being so close turned my stomach.

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