CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

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They turned my world upside down in just four days. Wilmer had given her the messages between us. They exposed the money he had given me and the fact that I had other daddies. It mortified me that they had released me that my personal information without my consent. Within hours, the gossip media cycle had theories and opinions on my life. They had insulted me in every way but physical. It was like they forgot that I was a human being with feelings.

If someone asked me to describe the amount of hate I had for Angela and Wilmer, I couldn't. In retaliation, I out the video of Wilmer trying to rape me to everyone who had their email on his corporate website. It was still a hollow act.

Jerry did what he could to prosecute, but the two criminals made their way to Belarus to avoid any form of extradition. They had done something terrible and avoided the consequences. I hated everything about them.

Sitting at my desk, I read over my student email. Rereading Dean Yang's request for a meeting I fidgeted with my hands. He was a stickler for rules and made the campus a hard place to want to be. Standing dressed in a sweater and shirt, I walked out of my room avoiding a conversation with my roommates and began walking to campus. As I walked, I wished I had put on a coat.

The overcast was oppressive, and the wind chilled me to the bone. The journey took sixteen minutes, but it felt like I had started a journey to the arctic. When I got to the office, the receptionist escorted to the dean's office. The portly man sat at his desk and pointed to a chair in front of his desk. "Have a seat."

I took a seat and had to wait for him to type something into his computer. After five minutes, I cleared my throat to get his attention. I was sure that he forgot I was sitting in front of him. It was rude and unprofessional.

"Sorry, forgot about you Mr. Sampson," he said. The light from his screen died before he turned his attention to me.

"It's fine." My words did not match my tone. He looked at me and knew he had displeased me. He sniffed before speaking.

"Well, I called you here to inform you that despite you having good grades and an almost unblemished disciplinary status here we can no longer be part of your educational journey. The attention you have brought has gone against many of the morality codes presented in your student handbook and the contract that you signed. There have also been personal complaints against having you here."

My mind swelled with so many emotions I didn't have the bandwidth to comprehend "Complaints?"

"Yes, we have negative remarks against you both from family and your sociology professor. Also, some students are not comfortable with you being on campus." My anger reached a level that had not been in a while. Hot tears of rage flowed from my eyes and I bit down on my cheek at the mere thought of my family coming after my education. It was unforgivable.

"My credits?" I could hear how thick my voice was with emotion. He pulled out a packet that had lots of papers in it, explaining that it was my exit information and transcript. He ended the meeting by telling me I couldn't live in my apartment. I told him to keep the fees I had paid so that my friends could stay there and I got up and left.

"Fuck you," were the parting words I chose as I excited his office and walked back to my apartment. When I got close, Zion's sleek back car was waiting for me. He held a bag of fries which he handed to me when I got near.

"What are you doing here? Where's Cisco?" My eyes were puffy and

"Nala saw your email and told me to get over here. I hired a sitter and drove over. What happened?"

"My parents told him I had some kind of morality issue and he said the attention the school was receiving was negative. I have to move out by tomorrow, and I got kicked out I do not understand what I will do from here. I'm homeless and living off savings. There isn't a reason for Wilmer to pay me anymore since everything is out in the open."

Zion hugged me and I began sobbing against him. He moved us back into his car, which was warm. In the backseat with me laying on top of him.

"How about you come with me to Seattle? I have a place I have been neglecting and I want to incorporate you into my day-to-day life. I have connections with a few schools back home that will accept you. You can take some time to see if food science is what you truly want to do with your life. Before you say no, what do you have to lose? I know you both hate the cross-country distance, especially with everything going on around us."

"I don't know Zion, leaving all my friends to move in with you after a short amount of time together feels weird. How do you know you will even enjoy having me around every day? How will I find work to pay for school when my money runs out? What happens if we break up?" He kissed the top of my head while I explained my counterpoint. The heat worked its way throughout my body.

"Shawty, I would never bring you to a brand new city and leave you high and dry. I love you and could never hurt you like that." He fed me a fry. I looked up at him. He used the L word.

"I love you too," I replied. He smiled, and we sat in silence. His continuing to feed me fries.

"It's a risk, I know, but I wouldn't ask if I had not already thought this through. Also, I am not going to run out of money anytime soon." I shifted so pressing my back against the row of seats.

"If I do this, I need to pull my weight," I replied.

"I felt like that was a yes," he said. He had a childlike grin on his face.

"You can make the meals, and clean what the maid does not get to. Also, I need someone to watch over Cisco when I get busy again. I hate leaving him with a nanny. You can do this until you find something you love. Is that a deal?" His fingers played at my cheek.

"It's a deal." I smiled. He pulled my face up to his for a soft kiss on the lips. When we parted, I got out of the car telling him too to Cisco, since I would need to have a rough conversation with my friends.

As I got out of the car, I looked at the stairs where Tyreke was standing. He had a bottle of vodka in his hands.

"You messy prostitute hoe." He didn't get to say anything further. Zion strolled over to him and punched him in the mouth. He fell and rolled down the stairs shattering the bottle of vodka. I stepped over my sleeping ex and went to my door. Zion's car pulled off as I entered. When I made it inside, all of my friends were sitting in the living room waiting.

"What did he say?" Eon and Nala both spoke at the same time. I shook my head and felt my eyes fill with tears. Sniffling I took a seat between Caspian and Joelle.

"Cyprus, what are you going to do?" Sonny asked me, he was sitting close to Joelle. I shook my head again and felt Caspian pull me into a side hug.

"Zion asked me to come and live with him and I said yes. I want this to be the new start that I desperately need."

"Isn't that a little fast for the two of you?" Eon asked me.

"I can't live on campus and I don't feel comfortable living here with my family out to get me. I love all of you but I have to do this for me. I'm not happy here and I want to see if it's any different without all the reminders of what has happened to me in this city."

"We all support you," Nala said. My friends all agreed they then began to help me pack the things I wanted to take with me to Seattle. When we finished placing all the things I did not want to donate or give away into five suitcases, we went back to the livingroom and began to play video games.

They had been the people I leaned on, but I would have to rely mostly on myself. I did not want Zion to become my rock. I wanted to become partners who shared in life equally. I always thought that was the purpose of love. I didn't have a great example going up, but they gave me a roadmap on what not to do. I had no plans on making the same mistakes as my parents had.

After hours of playing video games, we watched television. Zion texted asking when I wanted to leave so I told him to be ready in the morning. If I did not leave soon, I never would. Looking over at my friends under the light of the television, I knew it would upset them when I left in the morning without saying a word. It scared me to say goodbye, so I would save it for another time.

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