Choices and SacrificesbyCoCoNiy101©
Hey everyone! I think I'm officially back to writing. It's so weird how much I miss having comments to read on here! I've still been actively reading and rating on lit, but it's different to post your own work. So this is the introduction to my new series! There is an actual plot to this, so that's new for me. But I hope it turns out how I planned and you all enjoy!
Keegan packed up the last of his things. A long, thin brown dread fell into his eyes while he closed up a box. He managed to tuck it behind the others and continue his act of finally moving on. He sighed deeply and stared out the window with a smirk on his lips. It all seemed so surreal. He never thought he'd be old enough to be free from what was his home. The shackles of his extended adolescence had suddenly been undone. He looked around his room and groaned at the hideous green-blue that had made it so difficult to make love to any woman who stepped foot inside that hadn't been his mother. He thrusted the full box up into his arms and strolled the last of his belongings out the front door. His mom stood to the side with her hand shielding her quivering lips. He didn't pay much attention to her though, his excitement was something all consuming. Her tears of sadness were nothing in comparison. He couldn't get himself to feel any sort of empathy for her.
Keegan returned to say his goodbyes after loading the last box into his old Honda Accord. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his cargo shorts and felt the awkwardness pressing itself against the smooth surface of his body. He already knew it's source; his father was watching him. He stood in the kitchen, trying to project his skepticism onto him. But Keegan's inner feelings were a shield from his gaze. His father wouldn't make him feel bad for moving 500 miles away. He wouldn't allow it.
"I should get going." He said quietly, enveloping his mother into a snug embrace. She sniffled onto his black tee-shirt and held onto him tightly. Her arms were strangling his hips, which was as high as her arms could reach. Keegan kissed the top of her curly blonde hair and settled into her hold a little more, sensing their goodbye gesture would be lasting longer than expected.
"Cindy, the boy's gotta' go." His father announced in a sighing quality. His mother finally let him go, reluctantly. He kissed her cheek once more before strolling into the kitchen. His dad's grey eyes bore into his matching pair.
His dad gathered him into a brief, breath taking grip. It was no longer than 2 seconds—maybe Keegan was too accustomed to him mother's versions of a hug. But it didn't seem real. His heart wasn't it in and that hurt Keegan minimally. The sting in his chest was something he'd known all too well and he was habituated. His father cleared his throat and that caused Keegan to meet his eyes. To his surprise, he could spot a glint of sorrow in his face.
His habituation had ceased. The expression on his dad's—Harold's face was something he hadn't ever experienced. So its effects were foreign.
"Dad, I love you." Keegan told him, slapping him hard on his iron hard arm. He nodded and flexed his jaw instinctively.
"I love you too, son." He said in a whisper. Keegan's demeanor was morphing into something he never expected. It was time to get the hell out. He took large steps toward the front door and turned back to embrace his childhood home for the last time in awhile. He scanned over the leather couch and family photos. Those pictures could always make him smile, even during his roughest times. The cigarette smell lingered in the air from when his father would catch the smell on his clothes after going to the deck. He'd learned to love that smell and it often comforted him when he came home.
"I love you mom." Keegan announced once more, walking out the door. He jumped into the driver's seat of his car and started its engine. It came to life and suddenly so did he. He rolled down his windows to let in the Florida air and music played softly in the background. His mother waved with her hazel eyes straining to connect with his. His father stood motionless behind her and Keegan gave a light beep as he pulled down the street.
While he drove, small ranch homes like his turned into massive, luxury styled mansions. The embellishments were growing more extreme in correlation to each mile. The first time he'd visited this part of Florida, he'd been astounded. The lifestyles of those residents was something he could never dream of. But he'd luckily experienced a portion of it and found it wasn't all it'd seemed. He grew appreciative of his own home and family.
Keegan pulled up to Quincy's house. He was looking over the neighborhood from the balcony of his bedroom, three stories high. His toffee colored skin was sprinkled in a deep tan. He smiled and raced down to meet his best friend. He pecked his mom rapidly on the forehead and hugged her snugly when she opened the door for him. She watched him make his way toward the Honda. Keegan waved at his second mother and she gave him a warm smile.
"You get over here and give me a hug—you should know better." She scolded lightheartedly. Keegan chuckled and made his way toward her. He walked up the driveway instead of stomping over the soft deep green grass like Quincy had done. A hand brushed against the Mercedes Benz and Quincy's Jeep Wrangler. He was lucky enough to have all his things be shipped to their new apartment in Maryland along with his new car.
He reached Quincy's mother Denise and she withheld her arms. Keegan leaned in to give her a hug, similar to the one he'd just given his mother. The smell she carried was mouth watering. Her favorite perfume was a her signature scent.
Denise was small and beautiful. She had large breasts and a healthy bottom that Keegan had a hard time prying his eyes away from when he was younger. As time grew on, he'd learned to control himself better. He was almost certain she was the reason for his attraction to black women.
"Take care of each other, okay?" She said, running a smooth hand along the length of his forearm. Her smile forced her full lips to spread and her cheekbones to rise. Keegan nodded in response. She was stealing his breath so speaking wasn't an option.
Denise held back a laugh when Keegan's cheeks flushed a deep red. He was such a sweetheart, he'd always been. His innocence and kind heart was something she admired in him. It was something she wanted Quincy to acquire.
"Jesus Q, how long are you going to keep getting allowances?" Keegan was finding himself irritated. He clenched the stirring wheel a little tighter and took in a stocky breath.
Quincy's spoiled way of life hadn't ever gotten to Keegan. He never felt any sort of jealousy or self-pity when in his company. Quincy was carefree which was sometimes great and refreshing after Keegan had spent a whole night with his parents or in his dorm studying. This summer, they'd hung out in his room, ordering copious amounts of pay-per-view movies and Dominos pizza. They'd throw unlimited amounts of money in strip clubs and got women's attention when they bought the whole club a drink. Life was easy when in Quincy's company. But aside from the money, Quincy was still everything Keegan could ask for in a friend.
"It's fine, only for a few months." Quincy replied, opening a bag of Doritos they'd just picked up. Keegan rolled his eyes at the road.
"The purpose of this move is to become independent." Denise and his mom would be sure to talk within the next few days. If his mom found out Quincy was getting weekly allowances put into his bank account, his dad would never let it go. Especially knowing that Quincy wouldn't think twice about sharing his money with his best friend. Keegan gave Quincy a saddened glance.
"We will be. I'm still getting that job and you'll be writing. Chill out." The sound of crunching chips filled the car and Keegan let the topic go, there was nothing he could do. Quincy was as much of an adult as he was. So he had a right to do as he pleased, regardless of the fact it didn't sit right with Keegan.
"Did you break up with Bethany?" Quincy asked. Keegan exhaled nosily, sharing his feelings on the topic with that one sound. The thought of hearing those hard sobs were spine chilling. He didn't expect her to cry so much, especially considering they'd only been together 2 months. She begged him to stay or even try something long distance. He honestly didn't want to, but he felt compelled to say yes.
"I told her—" Quincy's groan cut his sentence in half.
"Please, do not fucking tell me you agreed to a long distance relationship." His eyes could be felt. Keegan chuckled in disbelief with himself after hearing his situation spoke aloud. Holy shit he was stupid.
"It was like she was mourning my death! I couldn't say I wouldn't try, I couldn't." Keegan replied. A flash of a few days ago when he'd spent his last day with her filled his mind and soon he was ghost driving. He remembered how distant she was the whole night. He was lying in her bed and she was looking him right in his eyes. He told her he was leaving a few weeks before, when he'd finalized his contract with his publishing agent.
He pecked her lightly on her pale lips and her green eyes glimmered. Within an instant she broke out into a loud wail. Her eyelids were wrinkled and a frown was plastered on her lips. Strings of spit connected the two unmoving lips together. Keegan tried to console her as much as he could but it did nothing to put her at ease. After a few more minutes of her tears, she calmed enough to speak.
"I love you Keegan. It'll be hard but I think we can make it." She sniffled. Keegan's heart stopped beating but it could be heard soundly in his ears. Hadn't he been clear about his intentions? He looked around the room where their clothes were scattered over every inch of the floor. He looked down on Bethany and saw her naked body twisted into the mess of sheets. No, he hadn't been clear.
"I don't think a long distance relationship would work out." He whispered. Her body jerked to life toward the completion of his sentence. The declaration of a breakup had changed her mood. She snuggled closer toward him and put a hand against his jaw. Her powerful eyes were pleading with his. Their faces were inches apart and she shook her head lightly.
"Promise me we'll try. I love you." She repeated again. A hint of indignation bled through her words as she tried to get across her love for him. It amazed him how she was already so comfortable with those 3 letters. Keegan however, was less eager to respond to them. He didn't feel the same way despite the fact that he wanted to. Just so he could understand her slight obsession with him a little better than he did now. But right now, it was creeping him out.
"I love you." She changed her tone fluctuations with intentions that it'd convince him she meant them. It seemed to only back him into a corner further away from an exit.
"I'll try." He whispered. His eyebrows were pushed together into a tight line of freaked out confusion. This wasn't the same girl he'd met at his part time job at a cafe. He had no idea what he'd gotten himself into.
"Keeg." Quincy said, regaining Keegan's attention.
"You know she's crazy as hell, right?" He asked. Keegan couldn't help his smirk. Quincy laughed heftily.
"She isn't crazy... she's in love." Keegan announced, coming to the aid of his absent girlfriend. Love itself could seem like a mental illness to an outsider. But to the host of the 'disease' it was completely normal. They'd downplayed their situation to convince themselves calling someone 20 times an hour was acceptable.
"Same thing." Quincy replied with a mouth full of chips. That, he could agree with. The two words were interchangeable, especially in relation to Bethany.
"Your mom seemed indifferent about you leaving..." Keegan changed the subject off of himself and onto something else after the 5th minute of silence. Quincy sighed deeply. Keegan knew he'd have a hard time being so far away from his mom, as that was who he'd grown the most comfortable with.
"She cried all last night." He sounded so sullen. Keegan felt horrible for bringing the topic up.
"My mom cried too. She cried this morning mostly. It was hard to leave her."
They arrived at their little apartment in Annapolis, Maryland around 9 o'clock at night. Keegan drove the first 6 hours, and Quincy took them to the apartment. The hours flew by while the two grew too immersed with the other's company. They talked about high school experiences the other had forgotten, girlfriends the other dated and their long and adventurous summer nights.
Keegan opened their front door and smiled to himself. The apartment was small, there was no denying it. The living area was the size of his old bedroom and was linked to a tiny kitchenette looking space. It was as small as something you'd get in a hotel. There was hardly any space for cooking and a microwave would have to be purchased if they had any intentions of living.
In face of all of that, Keegan still smiled. His smile was a symbol of his future. It signified the brightened life that was ahead. His emancipation from criticism and judgment was apparent within the walls of this new dwelling. Happiness exuded from his surroundings and he welcomed it all with open arms. Keegan couldn't remember a time where he'd been any more content.
"This is a piece of shit." Quincy complained. Keegan wasn't fazed by his complaints. He had no intentions on spending their first month in this apartment without hearing at least 50 more. For Quincy, it was all a matter of adjusting and settling. Both would take some time for him.
"It's our piece of shit." Keegan said, smiling at him before setting a box on the ground. It was filled with their most important items, including a king size blow up bed for tonight. They'd be living on nothing for awhile.
Writing was becoming so difficult for Keegan lately. He'd sit and sit for hours and sweep his mind of empty ideas. He couldn't flow as effortlessly as he used to. He could think of plenty of emotions for his characters to convey without it straining his imagination. But now, he couldn't write a word without second guessing himself. He sighed and hunched himself over the bulky laptop.
To get his mind off of his realized failure, he picked up his small cell and dialed a number he knew by heart. It rang a few times and he idly played with a loose piece of carpet beside his barefoot. A sweet voice answered the phone which instinctively brought a smile to his lips. Keegan suddenly took in just how much he missed his mother.
"Keegan? How are you honey? Everything okay?" He chuckled on the other end.
"I'm fine mom. We're okay." He said sturdily, putting her worrying to rest. She seemed to exhale nosily and a tiny silence fell between them as the mood changed.
"I miss you already." She whispered timidly. Keegan grunted in displeasure. It was hard to hear things like that from her, especially when he knew he'd be gone for awhile. He knew she was hurting.
"Mom—"The groaning quality of his voice let off his emotions. He didn't want every phone call to be centered on the fact that he wasn't home. It wasn't healthy for either of them, especially not her.
"Sorry—I'm sorry." She heaved a sigh. "You started writing yet?" She asked. Keegan stole a glance at his screen saver which communicated the dormancy of his writing.
"Not yet. I've been trying for the past couple hours but it just isn't flowing." He admitted. Confiding in his mom always seemed too easy. It was one of the many things he loved most about her. They were connected by the brain and reading the other was effortless.
"Just take a break honey... Where's Quincy?" She asked.
"He went to his training today for the accounting position. He's supposed to be starting officially soon." Keegan announced, happy that he had some promising information to send his mother. Which essentially meant his father would be hearing of it soon.
"That's great. It sounds like you boys are doing okay then..." She trailed off, giving them an awkward moment of silence.
"Yeah, we are. I'll come down as soon as I get settled." He promised.
"You better..." A beeping on the other line caught his attention.
"Mom, it's my other line. I think it might be Quincy. I'll call you back." Keegan said. When she agreed to his promise, he switched over.
"Q?" He asked immediately assuming it was his best friend. But he'd guessed wrong and the voice that rang in his ear caught him off guard.
"No sweetheart." It was Bethany. Keegan's stomach dipped lower in his ribs and he swallowed hard. Her voice was poison to his eardrum.
"Hey. What's up?" He asked it as if she didn't have a right to call whenever for no apparent reason. But she did. Keegan had given her all the rights when he agreed to try a long distance relationship. He internally beat himself up for falling into her pretty helpless eyes—they were a trap. He constantly fell victim to their persuasion.
"Not much... Just calling to see how things are going." She said idly.
"Oh okay. Well I was just trying to get some writing done, but I was having a hard time getting my thoughts down." He explained, trying to fill the phone call with some substance.
"That sucks. But on a better note I'm doing pretty well with my flight ticket money so I might make it up there in a few months." She'd sounded so excited. Keegan felt like such an asshole for not sharing the same emotions. Especially when he knew how tight her money was as a waitress with student loans.
"Beth, don't rush to get the ticket; I want to have more furniture and all that before I start inviting people over." Keegan tried to explain. Bethany huffed out in exasperation.
"You know I don't care. I'm fine with sleeping on the floor... I just want to see you." She went quiet over the receiver. "I miss you." She confessed suddenly.
Keegan looked to the ceiling for some sort of sign on what he should do. He didn't have anything similar to reply and he felt like less of a person because of it. How long would he have to keep this façade up before he was finally freed from his confines? Or would he finally fall in love with her the way this entire situation seemed to require him to. It was the heuristic ending to all his problems but still so hard to achieve.
"Alright... But how are you?" Keegan was now forcing himself to make small talk.
"I'm okay. The first few days after you left were rough but I'm doing better." How'd they end up talking about his absence again? Keegan shook his head in agitation and clenched his jaw.
"In a few more weeks you won't even remember my name." Keegan said. He prayed to God this would happen one day soon.
"That'll never happen, Keegan. I love you; I'd do anything for you." Bethany stated with an undoubted certainty. She was trying to convince him of something he unfortunately already knew.
"I know honey." He said quietly. He suppressed a sigh and closed his eyes momentarily with a hand cradling his forehead.
4 WEEKS LATER
Keegan managed to get a part time job at a library. He didn't mind being around the books; he loved to read. He loved reading almost as much as he enjoyed writing. Although checking out books and running at the sound of anyone's request wasn't his dream job, it was something. Quincy was at his accounting position within a few days of getting into town. Things were panning out nicely—slowly but nicely.
They were still sharing a blow up bed, but Keegan had plans of purchasing his own mattress within a few more paychecks. They shared Keegan's Honda until Quincy's jeep arrived. He had to be awake at 7 AM to escort Keegan to work while he didn't need to be awake until 9. They both were making sacrifices that were so far out of their normal comfort zones.