Part 1: Liam and Racquelle

I knew very well that I was the fuck up in my marriage. My wife deserved so much better than me but for some reason, she stuck it out with me. After 5 years of being together. We had been through so much. Women had come to her and accused me of cheating. I had lost jobs, needed to be bailed out of jail and many other things but my wonderful wife had stuck by my side.

Racquelle was a true rider. She had stuck with me through good and bad. She took our vows for better or for worse, for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health very seriously. When we first got together I wanted her because of her beauty but after I got to know the real her I adore the woman that she was. She was so much more than a pretty face which was such a breath of fresh air. Compared to the other girls that threw their sleeves at me. when I brought her to met my family they adore her and that seal the deal for me. She accepted my past and love my family wasn’t much more than I could ask of her. So after weeks of talking, I made her my lady and from my lady, she became my wife and we been inseparable ever since.

But Lately, I had been down on my luck. I had lost my job at the warehouse and had been unemployed for three months now. This was weighing on me so I know this was weighing on my wife. What woman wanted to be married to any man that couldn’t provide. What man could be okay with having to ask his woman for money: that wasn’t me at all. I spent hours every day filling out applications and calling to check on the status of my applications but with my past getting new jobs wasn't that easy.

As I sat playing my Xbox and thinking my phone rang. “Yo!” I answered. “Yo Liam this Shane, whats good my guy,” Shane said. “Nothing in the crib chillin,” I told. “Shit lets go hoop, I’m off today,” Shane said on the phone excited. I know if he was asking me to hoop that meant he trying to hustle up some money real quick like we used to. But I honestly wasn't in the mood for that today.

“Nah, I’m not even in a hooping mood today honestly,” I told him. “What's wrong with you bro? You ain’t never say no shit like that before.” Shane said actually sounding really shocked. Which was true i never turn down an opportunity to ball. Ball was life. But balling didn't help pay the bill like I needed to. “Mani lost my job” I started to say and then Shane interrupted “AGAIN!” I looked at the phone. “Nigga shut up just because you 30 with a part-time job and still living at home with Aunt Tammy and no real responsibilities don't mean you can judge me,”  I said. You could tell what i said made him feel some type of way because Shane voice changed “man i stay with my momma because she don’t want to be alone but i could move out if i wanted. But this conversation not even about me. So let get off my subject” He said. “You right it's not, but i lost my job like three months ago, i been looking for another job but no one is calling a niggas back. And this shit starting to weigh on Racquelle. She working doubles almost everyday at the nursing home and when she comes home she looks like a totally different women. I feel like I'm not being a man I feel like I'm draining her.” Shane listened to me silently and then said: “well dog she is an LPN and working them doubles could be taking a toll on her body” for the first time in a while Shane actually sounded smart and made since. “Yeah I know it is bro but without a job, it's not much I can do to change that,” I said. “Well listen, bro, I don't know much about that marriage life thing but what I can say is you come out and ball with me and we can make some easy and quick money then you can use that money to do something nice for your wife,” Shane said. I looked at the phone again. “You know what? That's not a bad idea. I'll get dress and met you at the courts let's get this money.” I said.

We both agree said our see you later and hung up. I got dress and grabbed a bag with all the stuff in it I needed. I sent Racquelle a text to let her know that I was going to be out at the court. She sent me the side eye emoji which let me know that she was annoyed. She probably was thinking how she's at work slaving to take care of us and it seems like I'm out having fun in her eyes. But that wasn't the case I was honestly trying to do something for her.

I got to the court and Shane was already there warming up. “Whats good bro,” I said as I walked up to him. “Whats up bro, them nigga over there want to bet $300,” Shane said as we slapped each other up. I looked at the guys Shane was pointing to “shit let's get this money then.” I said

Shane and I had been hustling niggas on the court like this since we were about 8. We’d come to the court with our pockets empty and leave with a few hundred. We were good so good that When we were in high school we were both 2 all Americans but like the white man expected we fucked it all up. We lost college scholarships, endorsement deals and the possibility of having a good life.

Both of our moms we single parents working dead-end jobs just to make ends meet. Shanes mom had just him. But my mom had my baby brother Kahlil, my sister Raina and I. Times were hard. Every other month something was getting cut off. But this month the landlord was banging down our door and was ready to put our stuff out.

I was so tired of watching my mom suffer and not one of her baby daddies was helping out. I came up with the idea that I was going to rob the big pawn shop in the neighborhood. It was supposed to be just me but Shane told me he wasn’t going to let me do it alone. He was just like a real brother he was down for whatever. My family was his family in his eyes. The robbery went completely wrong when the owner was still in the shop. Shane got shot in the shoulder when the owner chased us out with his gun. I ended up taking the fall for it all I told the cops that I planned to rob the store and Shane came in to stop me. He got off but both of our futures were fucked from then on. Shane got a settlement check from the store owner and was able to go to college but he couldn’t play ball for a while with his shoulder. he was never the college type and with me being in jail he had no desire to be there. He dropped out came home and been there with his mom ever since.

Shane and I got on the court and whooped ass. Just like old times. We racked up $300 and split it straight down the middle. There were a few others that wanted to play us but I decided not to. “Well, bro you got $150 what are you going to do for Racquelle?” Shane asked. “I was thinking I could get some steaks and put them on the grill. Have dinner waiting for her when she gets home from work. Maybe with some candles. Then maybe a bubble bath.” I said to him.” Oh, nigga you trying to get some tonight.” Shane said laughing. “Shit it will be the first time in six months. If I do get some.” I told Shane. Shane sounded like Smokey from Friday when he said “damn! You haven't gotten any pussy in six months from your own wife.” He said.

I looked at him. “She doesn't even let me eat the pussy no more,” I told him. “So who are you fucking then bro because I know damn well you not just sitting around getting blue balls.” I looked at Shane like he was stupid. “Man this is my wife not just some bitch of the month. I'm not going to cheat on her just because we aren’t having sex.” I told him. “Liam I understand you on your one woman wave. But for six months?” He said to me. “Yes, six months and I will wait for six more. I will do whatever it takes because this woman has every reason to give up on me and she hasn’t.” I told him. I know Shane probably didn't get it but it wasn't for him to understand.

I left the courts and headed to the store. I got home fired up the grill and put everything in order. I knew I had time because Racquelle was working 7am to 11pm shift and it normally took her about 20 mins or so to get home from work. I grilled and then shower showered to get the smell of the grill off me. Then I set up everything else. The last thing I did was run a hot bubble bath for her at 11:15.

When Racquelle walked in greeted her at the door. I took her bags and helped her out her coat and shoes. “What's all this about she asked” looking around. “I wanted to do something for you to show you I appreciated you,” I told her. “Mmhm,” I said. I pulled Racquelle chair out and she sat at the table. During dinner Racquelle was quiet I did most of the talking. “How's the food,” I asked. “Its cool” she replied. “Well, I got one more surprise for you. I told her.

I lead her to the bathroom where I had run the bath and put rose petals along with candles. “Liam this is beautiful,” she said. “Get in,”I told her. “Are you joining me?” she asked. “I can if you like,” I told her. We got in the tub and everything seems perfect. “Liam I need to tell you something,” Racquelle said, “sure baby what's up,” I said to her. “Well... I'm pregnant,” she said. My heart filled with joy all this time I thought I was draining her but in reality, her body was reacting to carrying our baby. “Really we are going to be parents,” I said excitedly. “Well, that's the thing. Umm...” she said and then stopped “umm what Racquelle?” She looked at me “Liam i been cheating on you and the baby father is someone else.” She said.

My heart crumbled “you’ve been cheating on me!” I said. “Liam you stopped being my man and you turned in my child a dependent. Why do you think we haven’t had sex in months because someone else was making me feel like a woman and not his mother. I don’t have to tell him to work. I don’t have to bail him out of jail for stupid shit like getting drunk and fighting.” She said. “You bitch! I loved you and you played me.” I yelled. “Liam love doesn’t pay the bill or make you be a man. I need a man to help me raise this child and you aren’t it so when you get a chance move out.” She said as she grabbed a towel and stepped out of the tub.

I sat in that tub trying to understand what was going on. I knew I had fucked up but I never thought that she would actually leave me.

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