Hello all, what you are about to read is sort of a passion project for me. I started around 2006, but believe you me that this character has been developing in my brain since I was about 14 years old. In fact I wrote about her in my “Character Crisis” post from a while ago. Anyway, without giving too much away just read the damn story =P
“The Star is Rising” by Hannibal Alexander
Back than I had another reason to be happy though, me and my boyfriend were having our 2 year Anniversary. I was walking the four blocks between my job at Goldmine Video and Xavier’s house, he was going to take me out to eat and then we’d probably end up back at his place just watching TV and making out. I got close to his house finally, and once I got a view of the house I noticed his mother coming out of her car with this tall skinny girl coming out of the passenger door. Then I remembered Xavier told me a couple of times that his cousin was moving in with them in the Fall. Once I thought about that, I was like “WHY TODAY?” I know that when a relative of mine comes in from out of town, my parents always want to go to dinner or have all the family over for a party or something. And when Xavier’s dad came out and hugged this girl so excitedly, I knew that my fears would actually come to life, and me and my man’s Anniversary would have to be postponed.
I almost didn’t go in, but I needed to pee. I was about a block away, so by the time I got to the door, everybody was already inside the house. I knocked. Mrs. Duran opened the door with a big smile on her face, and I could hear Mr. Duran yelling for Xavier and his little sister Michelle to “COME DOWN AND SEE YOUR COUSIN!!”
“Oh… Hi Gina” She said as she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek
“Hello Mrs. Duran, what’s going on?” I asked, still trying to peer over Mrs. Duran to get a better glimpse at this cousin.
“Our niece from California just got here about an hour ago. Come on in”
Mrs. Duran closed the door after I walked in and put my coat on the coat rack, she led me to the living room where Xavier was blocking the entry way.
“Hey baby… Happy Anniversary” he said as he picked me up and kissed me
“Happy Anniversary to you too…” I said, suddenly forgetting what was even going on in the living room. But suddenly remembering that I had to pee.
“… are we still going out tonight?” I had to ask to be sure
“Of course, you know I’m taking my baby out… 2 years, we gotta celebrate THAT” He said, and smiled as he lowered me to the ground.
It looked like Xavier was about to start talking about his cousin, before I cut him off.
“I have to go pee” I said.
“Alright” he said, too quick to get back to all the excitement in the living room.
I walked down the hallway to the downstairs bathroom. While I was taking care of my business, I heard all of the business going on in the house. I couldn’t hear everything, but it sounded like this famous cousin was talking about her flight into New York City. She had kind of a smoky yet peppy voice, and I couldn’t wait to match the face with the voice.
I got out of the bathroom and Xavier’s sister Michelle was walking straight towards me as I closed the bathroom door. She noticed me and said hello.
“Hey Gina… hey, did you get that video for me?” She was asking about ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, she needed to read the book over the summer for her senior English class, but she wanted to watch the movie instead.
“Cool thanks, you came to see Nicki?” she said as she was making her way past me towards the living room.
“Michelle, Regina… Come in here” Mr. Duran yelled.
So I followed Michelle into the living room, where Nicki looked like she just got finished hugging Xavier. She was cute. The first thing I noticed were her big eyes, and her little nose. She had on a grey GAP sweater, and light acid wash jeans on. I think her shoes were brand new Keds because they were so white. She was pretty tall, and pretty slender but with a little bit of curves. I couldn’t stop staring while her and Xavier caught up.
“Oh my god, Xavier. Remember when I used to steal your G.I. Joe’s and hide them from you… it’s been like hella years since I’ve seen you” she said with a huge smile. I’m thinking … “HELLA??? What’s that?” Just than Xavier turns around and sees me in the entry way. He waves me over.
“Hey this is my girlfriend Regina” he said as he motioned for me to grab his open hand next to him.
“This is my cousin Nicole, she’s from California” and I shook her hand.
She looked at my eyes first, and then she started to look me up and down, and when she stopped she smiled and looked at Xavier.
“You guys make a cute couple” she said
“Nice to meet you Regina”
“Nice to meet you too” I said, with every word my volume got lower and lower, something people complain about all the time. She looked at me and smiled and started to talk to Xavier again about old time stuff, and I started to look her up and down. Or actually, I just stared at her hair. It was jet black, all the way down the middle of her back, and it was thick enough for someone to climb on like Rapunzel. She was cute and everything, but I kind of ignored her tallness and her body because I was so infatuated with her hair.
“Oh it’s your Anniversary?” she said, excitedly looking at me
“Yeah” I suddenly got happy again “Two Years”
“Wow, how old are you?”
“20” I said, unconfident if that was a good or bad thing in her eyes. And wondering why she asked me
“Cool. That’s cool you guys like, could stick it out for two years. I don’t know anybody that’s had a relationship longer than three months you know…” She said smiling. She was trying to be sweet, but still I was infatuated with her hair so I barely responded.
“Yeah… thanks” I said, probably sounding like I was high.
“Well…” she kinda looked at me sideways and turned her head to Xavier “… where are you guys going?”
“I don’t know, probably Red Lobster?” Xavier responded.
“RED LOBSTER?” she asked, sounding totally disgusted
“You’re not gonna take your woman… of TWO YEARS, out to no place fancy? That’s cold” She looks at me and smiles and winks her eye.
“I mean… Red Lobster’s cool. I’ll go to any restaurant. Don’t try to mess up my chance of going out girl” I said, kind of jokingly, but seriously worried that if I had to wait for Xavier to come up with some place creative to eat, we wouldn’t be going out at all.
She laughs “Ok, Okay I’ll stay out of your Kool-Aid. But why don’t you guys go to the city?”
“Yeah right!” Xavier yelled and started to make his way into the kitchen “I’m not driving on the bridge tonight”
“Really? They have all the best places right?” She asked, almost perplexed at the idea of not wanting to go into New York City.
“Well…” I answered, knowing Xavier didn’t want to talk about this option at all “…if you don’t live in New York City, than you really end up hating going into the city.” I said.
“Why?” she asked
“A lot of reasons. People don’t like driving on the bridge, or taking the subway. It’s kinda dirty out there, it’s too many people…”
“No Parking” Mr. Duran yelled.
I laughed “Yeah, it’s kind of a headache”
“So you never go into the city. What would make you want to go out there” Nicole asked
“Clubs” Michelle chimed in, she was 17 and couldn’t wait for her birthday at the top of 1991 to turn 18.
Me and Nicole laughed at her eagerness and I said “Yeah clubs sometimes, or concerts. But that’s about it. And really, the club thing is something you get tired of”
“Awwww dude, I was hoping you guys would take me to the club out there, but you’re already burned out” She says as she flops back down on the couch.
“No, we’ll go with you” I said, as I sat down on the chair that was opposite the couch.
“Okay Yes! I was like… don’t ruin my dreams!!” Nicole said, too excited.
Mrs. Duran came back into the living room, without me even realizing she had left, with some photo albums. So I knew it was family time now, so I went into the kitchen to talk to Xavier about dinner.
We ended up actually fulfilling our Anniversary duties that night. He took me to a nice little Italian restaurant kind of close to the bridge, but not the City. It wasn’t until we were on our way back home that I started to talk about Nicole.
“Nicole, she’s nice.” I said
“Yeah, and smart, she’s going to Columbia” he said, taking a break from singing along to his Bell Biv Devoe cassette.
“REALLY? What’s her major?”
“Linguist…ic… something? I don’t know… English?” he was really eager to get back to singing, but I was still curious.
“So she’s gonna be commuting all the way every day?”
“You met her before right?”
“Yeah, we used to go out there every year when my uncle first moved from the east coast… but we haven’t gone since I was maybe 15”
“Okay… is she… “ He cut me off
“Damn baby, just ask her… she’s gonna be here for a while”
“Alright” I left it at that, and joined in on him singing ‘When Will I See You Smile Again’.
I was rarely actually ever around Nicole to really ask her all my questions though. Normally I came to Xavier’s house during the week and he came by my house most of the time during the weekends. She was always in the city registering for classes and stuff during the week, and trying to get a head start on her reading over the weekends. When I was there during the week, Michelle was always asking Nicole questions about how it was in California. It was about two weeks when I was over Xavier’s house on a Friday night trying to figure out what movie we wanted to see, and Nicole came in his room while we were talking about it.
“Hey what’s up Regina” she said as she stood in the doorway
“What, you guys going to a movie?”
“Yeah… she wants to watch ‘Air America’… but we still haven’t seen ‘Days of Thunder’, and that’s supposed to have been the NEXT movie for two months” he said agitated, sorry I didn’t wanna watch a stupid racing movie.
“Mel Gibson though!” I protested.
“Stupid Movie though” his best come-back
“What happened to us going to the club one day?” Nicole cut off me and Xavier’s back and forth cycle.
“I’m not going to a club tonight” Xavier said before falling back onto the bed and picking up the remote
“Well, let us take your car…” she starts to smile and then comes in the room and pokes Xavier on his belly as he’s still laying down “… come on COUSIN!! I can drive”
“Nah” he sits upright and playfully bats Nicole’s hand away “Nicki you haven’t driven in New York, you’re dealing with a whole different kind of driver… you wouldn’t know how to deal with it”
“Damn X, you keep saying I can’t do nothing ‘cause I’m a California girl… I can handle myself”
“Well, I may not be as worried about you right now… I’m more worried about my car” Xavier kinda smirks to Nicole before he turns his head back to the TV.
“So I’m just stuck in Jersey on the weekends, or I gotta take the subway… by myself? Just to have some fun”
She was seriously obsessed with exploring the city apparently. She had a sad look on her face at first, but then it looked like she was plotting something in her head, then she started to smile.
“You know… I guess I can go by myself” she said
“What stop on the train has all the good clubs?” she asked us while it looked like she was still mapping out something in her head.
“What kinda music do you want to dance to?” Xavier asked her while still paying attention to trying to find a show to watch on TV
“I don’t know… I guess like ‘Groove is in the Heart’…” She said, and started to sing out the chorus while dancing “… or like Neneh Cherry? They play that out here I know”
“Yeah, I think Manhattan has some clubs like that. My homie Marcos hits up the clubs all the time”
“Oh really?” She asked coming back to reality for a minute “Call him, I’ll go with him”
“Yeah right, I’m not sending my little girl cousin anywhere with Marcos” he said and then started to laugh.
“Because…” I started to reply “… Xavier let’s all go, all four of us” he didn’t seem to like the idea
“Is Marcos some kind of ‘Cassanova’ wannabe?” Nicole asked, with a smile, like she figured it out.
“Yeah, major.” I responded
She smacks her lips. “Don’t worry about that. I just need a ride”
“NO! You not going with Marcos” Xavier blurts out
“Well as long as he’s not a rapist… you don’t have a rapist friend do you X?” she said in a smart ass tone. Xavier didn’t respond.
“I just wanna go out”
“Come on let’s go with her Xavier. Let’s just go to the movies out there at least… She’s not from here, she just wants to see the big apple”
“Thank You Regina! That’s all… yeah let’s watch ‘Pretty Woman’” she said enthusiastically “… or… I’ll even watch ‘Days of Thunder’”
“Really?” he puts the remote down “is that cool with you G?”
“Yeah I guess, as long as she doesn’t have to go by herself” I said, trying to compromise.
So we went out, and Xavier was mad that he had to drive across the bridge so he really wasn’t talking to anybody on the way there. Nicole was singing along to the radio pretty much when the car started. Every track was “her song”, unless she hadn’t heard it before than it was “oooh… I LIKE THIS”. Janet Jackson ‘Alright’ came on the radio.
“OH MY GOD! Regina don’t you LOVE this video” she shouted from the backseat of Xavier’s Bronco.
“YEAH” I got a little over-excited with my response, but I REALLY DID like the video “I Love the part when she’s doing the hopscotch with those kids”
“Hey. I think she’s having a show out here soon isn’t she?” Nicole’s tone turning more serious.
“Yeah It’s sold out though. I wanted to go”
“Let’s GO! I saw her in Oakland this summer. It was like, sooo FRESH”
“Go for WHAT?” Xavier piped in.
“Wasn’t nobody talking to you CUZ. But we can go and try to get scalped tickets. That’s what my cousins did in San Jose and they sat closer than me”.
“Who did you go with?” I asked, really interested in her concert story. I hadn’t been to many
“My sister, we had so much fun. I was trying to get a drink, but they wouldn’t let me. That’s before I got my fake ID though” she laughed.
“How old is your sister?”
“She’s a year younger than me… we had on our little ‘Rhythm Nation’ outfits. I think I have pictures here… I’ll show you when we get back”
“But we should go. The scalpers start to sell tickets for cheaper once the show starts. We could get half off tickets and get in before she even starts singing” she said super excited about the idea of going again.
“I’d go” I said impulsively, not even thinking about it “I mean… It’s Janet! She does all her songs from ‘Control’?”
“Oh Hell Yeah… It is so awesome”
She went on to tell me all about the concert and everything. Than we talked about the kind of music she liked, which was just about everything. “I like Roxette, she’s cool” she would say, or “I hella love to dance to like, BBD and MC Hammer”, “oh yeah, and Depeche Mode is awesome”… “I had the biggest crush on Slick Rick, like I wanted to be his female rap partner. I wrote little rap’s to all his song that I could rap as a girl. So stupid”.
Then, once we got to the city we talked all the way through Xavier trying to find a parking spot, and then once we got on the street she started asking me all these questions. Pretty much “have you ever eaten here?” “Ooooh, have you guys ever been to one the big plays?” “Have you been to THIS club? It looks cool”, and unfortunately I hadn’t, and Xavier hated to be out so he thought she was dumb for even asking.
“Aren’t you glad you didn’t come out there alone?” I asked her once Xavier started walking ahead of us in a little boy hissy fit way.
She looked at me and smiled “Yeah… at least for the first time I am.”
“But…” she added, kind of changing her expression into a more serious one “… I’m probably gonna end up coming out here a lot by myself anyway. And not even just for school… because…” she looked at me for a second, smirked, and changed the subject“… but thanks for making Xavier come with us tonight. Thanks for sticking up for me”
“Oh it’s no big deal Nicole”
“You can call me Nicki” she said as her eyes caught some OTHER fascinating New York building.
So we all went to see ‘Days of Thunder’, and it was stupid, but Xavier was happy. And Nicki was happy to see the city. And I was happy to be able to call her Nicki.
From that night on, me and Nicki started to become closer. I would go over to see Xavier and I’d end up being bored with him just wanting to lay down and watch sports, so me and Nicki would watch videos and listen to music once she was done studying. She’d talk about her day in New York City, and I’d talk about my day at the video store down the street.
“And then this pervert tried to grab all these other movies real quick, because he saw that it was a girl behind the counter. Like I wasn’t gonna see the porno underneath all the little kid movies he picked up” I recalled one day
Nicki laughed loud “ARE YOU SERIOUS! What kid movies?”
“‘Cinderella’” I responded, starting to laugh, Nicki bust out laughing louder
“That’s hilarious… well, maybe he has a thing for animated chicks too… you never know”
“Yeah, there are so many crazy guys out here it’s ridiculous…” I started to wonder, since she’d been on the east coast for almost two months at that point I asked “… so have you met any guys worth talking about here?”
She stopped watching MTV long enough to turn around and give me a look. The look of ‘are you kidding?’
“I don’t really see anybody worth looking at really” she said as she began to stand up, she was gonna try to copy the dance moves to the new Paula Abdul video.
“Really?” I was surprised at the comment “You’re in the big city, that’s where all the cuties are”
“Well…” she looks at me for a second before she started mimicking the choreography from ‘Coldhearted’ “… at school, I’m around a bunch of just horny white boys who just want that ‘Latin fling’. And then…” she stopped dancing at this point “… I guess I’m only really at school. I’m like, there all day and then in the library studying. And then I come here…”
“Oh, that’s true. We gotta find you a man!” I said
“Why?” she sits down on the floor
“Well… what?” I was really shocked at her statement, why WOULDN’T she want a man? “You don’t… want… a man??” I asked, perplexed
“No, not really. Boyfriends are too distracting. I gotta focus on school.”
“Wow, you’re kind of a nerd huh?” I joked, giggling
“Shut up. No!” she said, smiling back at me
“Well… have you ever had a boyfriend?”
“Sure” she said, but then looked as if she was going to say something else and she started figuring out something in her head.
“Well, I guess not really” she said
“What do you mean?”
“It’s never been… like, a boyfriend really”
“Are you… a virgin?”
“No. but, I never like, have been with a guy for that long. Maybe a month, but then I get bored you know”
“No, explain yourself girl” I said smirking
“Well, when I was 14 I had a crush on this one guy at school, and we hung out for like two weeks. But then this girl, this white girl who lived on the block kind of stole him…”
“Was he white?” I asked
“No he was black”
“Okay” I nodded for her to finish her story
“So yeah… So than, I guess when I was 15 I started hanging out with one of my cousin’s friends. He didn’t go to the same school or anything so it was better. And I had sex with him. But, he got too… He was like wanting me to cut class to be around him all the time you know. And I broke up with him…”
“He was Puerto Rican?”
“Well, he was Mexican”
“Okay, and was that the last one?”
“Well, Okay” she laughs with a devious smile before she continues “This is kinda scandalous. But in high school senior year, there was this Latin dude. He was like Cuban I think. Anyway, he was like a football player and really cute and all the little white girls at my school were just like, in love with him. And the white bitch that took my first boyfriend away from me… I like, talked her into asking him out. And then when they started dating, I got together with him just to piss her off” She started to laugh
“Girl. That’s cold”
“Come one!! It was senior year, I had all easy classes at that point. I was bored” she giggles “besides, It was some sweet revenge. Plus she wouldn’t have wanted him anyway, he was so stupid”
“Well, what kind of guys do you like?” I asked winking my eyes
“Girl… I’m not going to tell you if you’re going to try to set up something. I’m not interested right now”
“I bet you won’t be saying that when you’re in a room with some cute boys at the club or something”
“You might be right” she laughed.
And sure enough. There was the one cute boy that broke her down. Of course, this was several months after that conversation. Me and Nicki spent so much time together in the fall, that people started to think I had dumped Xavier for her. We did start to do the club thing more often, after all the whining so much about it. We would normally drink with Xavier and he would pass out the quickest, and we’d just sneak his car out. She actually didn’t mind the driving. I think she actually got off on speeding.
We went and saw the Janet Jackson show. Which was amazing to me. And still Nicki always would catch my eye. The girl knew ALL the dance moves, and she wasn’t scared of screaming at the top of her lungs and singing louder than Janet herself. She stood on her chair a couple of times to do the dance moves. She was really fun. She was like that at the clubs too. She’d dance and sing along, and since she was so pretty all the guys would be staring at us when we were dancing together.
Me and Xavier shouldn’t have worried about her handling herself amongst all the sweet talkers at the club because she was a shit talker. Any guy who came up with some tired rap, she was always quick to point out any flaws in their game.
“Why do you talk to guys like that? You don’t get scared?” I asked her one night, when we were eating breakfast after club hopping in Brooklyn.
“Why not? Why do they talk to me like that?” She responded scarfing down a cheddar cheese omelet.
“Gina, it’s like… we’re pretty. All they expect from pretty girls is for us to be like… airheads, and boy crazy. It’s good to shock them sometimes… keep them on their toes so they stop using the same lines.”
“Well, you’re pretty” I said, because I always felt a little insecure being around her. She’s 5’8” and less than 100 pounds, me on the other hand. I’m 5’3” and whatever I weigh, it’s all in my hips and my ass. I always assumed when I hung out with her that I was bringing her stock down.
“Girl shut up” she said “don’t even try to act like you’re not pretty”
“Well, I guess I don’t really worry about it anymore since I got Xavier”
“Well, without Xavier. You’re pretty Gina.”
“You’re pretty too”
“I KNOW” she said and started to laugh as soon as she was done.
“That’s why I’m saying” she finished “these boys aren’t nothing to me. If anything I’ll hang out with guys, but I don’t want to have a boyfriend. I don’t wanna forget I’m pretty”
Nicki was right. At the time I was so in love, still I just thought she was trying to hide the fact that she had a real crush or something. But for a long time we would go to the clubs, and she would just actually ‘hang out’ with guys like she said. Of course, there were guys she would think were hot… but once they approached her she became uninterested. Either it was “he’s so stupid” or “I bet he’s married”, even the occasional “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” to be blunt and direct to the guy. Once she became a regular in the clubbing scene, a lot of the guys that tried to get into her pants and didn’t succeed started to befriend her. They’d follow us to the breakfast spots, and she’d talk to them just like she was one of the boys. And they treated her like one.
And then, I think it was love at first sight. Nicki laid eyes on Bobby. It was at a club, and Nicki and me were double dancing with her friend Franco from the club and his brother Sonny. Bobby came to say hello to the brothers, and Nicki’s jaw literally dropped. To the point where I had to grab her hand and walk away with her because she was staring so much. And rightfully so, Bobby was fine. He was about 6’3”, he had a nice big chest and shoulders, but his body kind of tapered in to his thinner lower body. And he had like smoky brown eyes, though his eye lids were almost shut closed, probably because he was smoking weed. And he had these luscious lips. He was Cuban and Italian, but all Nicki knew was she wanted him.
“Ooooh, I want him Gina” I was surprised she actually admitted it to me, but then again she had a lot of White Russians that night.
“He’s cute. Have Franco introduce you” I offered
“Yeah…” she said, we were sitting down in a small booth in the corner of the club “… but watch, once he opens up his mouth to talk to me, I’m gonna find out he’s a big fucking loser”
She actually didn’t really talk to him that night. Franco introduced him, and they exchanged ‘hello’s’ but they went back to their respective homes that night. But that didn’t mean she stopped talking about him.
“I was totally daydreaming about Bobby all day in class today” she confided in me over pizza slices next door to my video store job, she had met me at the video store on her way home that day.
“Well… he IS your boyfriend right?” this was about two weeks after they met.
“I talked to him, a couple days ago. Franco gave him my number” She said, almost upset about the whole thing. Like she had made a mistake in bringing up the conversation.
“And … do you like him still?” I asked, poking her sides
“Yeah… yeah I do… I hate it” She said as she took the last bite of her pepperoni and bell pepper slice. “I hate that I like him so much” she finished while chewing the pizza.
“Does he like you?”
“I guess, he called me. But, like… I wish I could pretend to not like him. I mean I guess it’s obvious because I’m smiling all in his face and laughing at all his jokes when he comes around here”
“He comes around here?” I asked, not knowing this part of the story
“Well you know Franco lives a block away from us. And… like… okay…” she said, with that devilish grin on her face
“… so don’t think I’m crazy… but I was out on the street pretending I was cleaning up the porch, and I was really checking to see when he was going to stop by, because Franco said he sees him every day. Their kinda like brothers. They are hella close.”
“HELLA close?” I mocked
“Shut up Ms. I-Don’t-Understand-Californian” she jokes “but anyway, so he came by one day… and I walked over to Franco’s house and you know… acted like I was all surprised to see him.”
I laughed “You’re stupid!”
“Bobby’s FINE” she smiled and then started to laugh al little.
“So did you guys talk?”
“Yeah… we smoked weed. And then we were watching some videos.”
“Well no wonder you were laughing at all his jokes… Hey, I remember that night. That night you kept staring at the stars on my name tag huh?”
“I don’t remember!” She huffed “Anyway… help me with this Bobby thing. I don’t want to like him as much as I do”
“Well, I can’t help you there girl. Has he asked you out?”
“Yeah, but you know… I told him because of school I can’t really do anything on the weekdays, so we are supposed to do something this weekend”
“Well, maybe you’ll have a bad first date?”
“No, I think he’s gonna be a good date. And besides, I still can’t get over smiling at him. No matter what he does or says, I’m gonna be like… acting like one of his biggest fans”
“Really? You got it that bad for him?”
“Girl… in class, every time I thought of him I couldn’t help but smile. And he’s like… funny, but smart enough, like… he has opinions about stuff. And he’s so fine. God! I hate this.”
“Well… if you like him, and he likes you… than there’s no problem. Once you guys are out together long enough. You’ll get over it”
“You think so?”
“Yeah” I responded as I finished my slice, and we headed out.
She didn’t necessarily get over it, but after that date those two were inseparable. Whenever they were together, Nicki held his hand tight with a big smile on her face, and when he wasn’t around all she did was talk about him. He lived in Brooklyn, and he went to an Aeronautic Academy in the city so they were almost always together. She told me they regularly had lunch together. When she was done studying at the library, they would hang out in the city, going to movies or restaurants or wherever.
She was with him so much that I started seeing less and less of her. We would have the occasional double date, and Bobby would come to Jersey every now and again to hang out with his cousin and his friends. They mainly stayed over the bridge though. She spent the night at him and his brother’s house often. She always would call me though, and we’d compare stories about how happy we were with our men, or how bored depending on the night. Not much had really changed on my end though. I was still with Xavier, and we talked about moving in together every night. He was really comfortable living with his dad though, that was his idol. So I don’t think he was ever really serious about moving in, but it was still fun to dream about it. I guess I wasn’t as serious about it either to be honest, I was really comfortable at home with my mom and my little 12 year old sister. Even though three Puerto Rican women in one house can be crazy.
Like my little sister, Angela, she was a bitch in training. One of those who was always into something, and when she thought she would get into trouble she lied on me. And my mom was still in love with our dad who walked out on us when I was 8. She loved him still even though he didn’t want anything to do with her. My mom always sided with Angela because she favored our dad. So things weren’t always great, for me, at my house. I was comfortable there in the sense that I grew up there, and I paid little to no rent, but my living situation is the reason I always chose to hang out over Xavier’s house rather than go home. I went home when they were all asleep.
Though, when I was at Xavier’s house all we did was watch TV. Xavier was never the outgoing type. He worked as a landscaper for some Country Club out here for sometimes 10 hours, and then he would come home and want to relax. His sister, Michelle, was a little character. She was really funny, but bordered on obnoxious at times. But as she got older, she spent more and more time with her little girlfriends. Xavier’s dad was always at work, and his mom was sweet but all she ever talked about was soap operas. So when Nicki came, I got a girlfriend again. I hadn’t really kept in touch with any of the girls from High School. I mean, most of them were bitches anyway, and I noticed how fake most of my so-called friends were when I got together with Xavier. I guess from my Junior year until the end of High School, I pretty much stayed to myself. I was always glad I had Xavier though, because I could always talk to him about my little High School problems.
Nicki became a girlfriend quickly for me because I hadn’t had a girl I could talk about girl stuff with in a long time. And I think Nicki thought the same of me too, because she didn’t have many girlfriends in California. She said she didn’t get along with any of the girls from her High School, she went to a private school and most of the students were white. She said they would always try to act like they were better than her, so she just focused on being better than them in school. So she didn’t have friends, she just had competitors. She told me most of her good friends back in school were the guys, because boys were the only ones she could even tolerate.
So we both kind of needed each other at that time. She started to come back to Xavier’s house in Jersey around Christmas time. She said that she couldn’t understand how we deal with the snow out here. So we spent a lot of time together during the holidays. And on New Year’s Eve that year, me, her, Xavier and Bobby went to the city to see the ball drop and bring in 1991.
During the spring time, her being a California girl and all, Nicki absolutely could not stand the snow. So she always wanted to be home in front of a good heater, which Bobby didn’t have in his little apartment. So Bobby ended up spending more time in Jersey with us. Him and Xavier got along well, which meant that sometimes they’d be watching sports in Xavier’s room and me and Nicki would be singing Mariah Carey songs or dishing about our boyfriends. All four of us had gotten so tight, that me and Nicki started to dream up the perfect double wedding. With her still doing well in school, Bobby being on the verge of graduating and becoming a pilot, their relationship didn’t seem to interfere with their goals. And with her in Jersey more, I had my girlfriend back. Everything was working like a well-oiled machine. We were all there for each other, and that Spring was one of the best I’d ever had.
© 2014 Hannibal Alexander