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2005: In the Land of Love

Presented by: BonaFideZen




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Contact Page

Chapter 1: Thee Perfect Day
Chapter 2: Building on a Solid Foundation
Chapter 3: Now we say Goodbye

Chapter 4: Reunited never Divided

Chapter 5: Reflection on our Concrete Love

Character List

Also by Dr. Ryte





Until Next Time


Dedicated to: everyone who loves love!


God! My BFZ family! Team Ryte!

Edited by and cover design by: BonaFideZen

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Published by: BonaFideZen & Dr. Ryte


This is a work of fiction but includes inspiration from true events. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously and/or have been changed. Names and identifying details have been changed, therefore BonaFideZen and Dr. Ryte have not violated the privacy of certain individuals.

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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Ryte

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Chapter 1: Thee Perfect Day

It was the Summertime in 2005.. Might as well be labeled the best time of my life! I’m serious! The day that I met him was the first time that I experienced thee perfect day! The day that I met Dontae Grant Soto-Garcia! He goes by Tae though. Here I am rambling… let me introduce myself. Hello all! My name is Riesling Xiomara Chateaux aka O’Mara. Yeah, I know what you’re going to say.. My name… it’s unique- like me. I didn’t know how special I was though until Tae came into my life.

I was 16. I met him at my best friend Chatta Beverly's sweet Sixteenth birthday party that her boyfriend Wayne threw for her. I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was June 4, 2005. I saw her boyfriend walking towards us with some guy. Chatta told me it was Wayne's best friend that she had previously told me about... I said no way! He must have glowed up! In my head I thought to myself- Wayne had a very sexy friend and I wanted to know more about him. My girl Chatta hooked us up. I love her so much for that! Tae is my life now! Here's how it all went down...

Chatta lived in my old hometown a few highways away from Atlanta. I moved away years ago. Now I reside in the ATL in Buckhead but I missed my old town. Strange enough, Tae moved to my old neighborhood less than a year after I left. He and Wayne met in third grade. Chatta had been my bestie since the second grade. Currently it was two months before I started the 11th grade. I moved away before starting 7th grade but I was back in town. I was spending the weekend with Chatta. Before Tae drove over to the party, Chatta showed me her yearbooks so that I could catch up on what all I had missed since 6th grade in my former hometown.

While looking at the yearbooks, I immediately noticed Tae. I asked her who he was and she said he was Wayne’s best friend. She also said that he was on his way. I told her I don't remember him & she said he didn't move to town until 7th grade year. We all looked different as we grew older. I told her that I might need to be introduced to this Tae fella. She said she would set it up. I was jumping for joy in her room. I was so boy crazy back then but now I only have eyes for Tae. She texted Wayne to make sure that I get alone time with Tae.

“O’Mara it would be so cool if you two dated. Double date coming!” I asked her if he was single. “Uhh he’s a player at school.. but I’m sure he wouldn’t play you”. Does he still have the braces and long braids? “You'll see.. I actually haven't seen him since classes let out so I don't know but Wayne said he's almost here”.

My mind was racing. I saw our futures together! Babies and all. I remember thinking to myself: What is wrong with me? I need to calm down! Soon Wayne sent a text saying that Tae was pulling up. I peeked out the curtains to see a red car coming down the hill. I said that can't be him! Chatta said “Yea it is.. I'm going out there. You should hurry”. I told her I would be out soon. He was so gorgeous.

I became so nervous. I went to the bathroom to get myself together. I had on a red dress with a gold butterfly on the front. My hair was in a high messy bun. Let me fix my hair. This bun doesn’t want to stay. Gosh! I gave up on my hair and ran out of the bathroom. I put two sticks of gum in my mouth. Before going back to Chatta’s room, I let my hair down. Yeah that’s the look guys go for. Okay let me put Chatta's heels on & add more lip gloss.

Despite what daddy says I couldn’t help my obsession with Puerto Rican guys. Tae was super cute back in 7th. He is super fine now! Wayne walked in and laughed at me posing in the full length mirror. “You are hilarious O'Mara”! Hater. “He’s outside! I told him you were ugly & to let you down easily”. I stuck up my middle finger. Wayne laughed & went to get some ice.

I got extremely excited again until he said “Real talk though you got a booger”. I checked my nose and frowned. No boogies. Chatta came into the kitchen. “Leave her alone boo. She looks perfect”! I told her- I already told him he was a hater! We all laughed then they left to go back to the porch. I yelled out that I would be out soon.

I take a deep breathe, check my breath.. Good. I look good. Feel good. Now time to meet the love of my life. Ooh real quick… I looked at his Freshman year yearbook picture and took notes. Okay, football team, basketball, class clown, best dressed… I need to hurry & this list is long! Goodness boy! You are popular. Got to make sure my conversation is intriguing & not boring.... Okay I’m ready!

I finally went outside... To my surprise, my homegirl had left with Wayne in his car. I watched the Jeep leaving as I felt the warm breeze on my skin. It was still early so the other guests had not arrived yet. So it was only he and I... I slowly looked over to him standing by the trampoline wearing a blue shirt and black jeans. I stayed on the stairs. Our eyes locked and it felt like the whole world stopped. Love at first sight.

His mouth was hanging open. I was beaming. I had to lick my lips. He almost made me drool. I became nervous again. Flutterbys. I started to twirl my thick red hair. I had a fresh dye job. Wonder if he likes it? I looked at my feet then after what felt like hours.. he walked to me and introduced himself. I slowly looked up as he stood next to me on the steps. Oh no! I’m not ready! I'ma mess this up! My heart was beating so fast that the butterfly on my chest looked as if it was flying.

“Hello miss, my name is Dontae but I go by Tae”. We exchanged a polite handshake. Gosh, no guy has ever been so nice to me before... “And you are”? I gave a goofy smile then said- Hi! My name is Riesling Xiomara but I go by O’mara. “O’mara, that is such a beautiful name.. so is Riesling. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl”. I smiled & said- It is very nice to meet you sir... & thank you. I like your name too. Tae.. “I like the way you say my name”. I blushed then asked if he wanted to go to the party area.

We walked over to the pool and talked.. “So I hear you used to live here in town”. Yeah. I grew up around here then moved to Atlanta. What all did Wayne tell you? "He just said you were Chatta's friend who used to live here and you two been tight since the 2nd grade". Yeah that’s my bestie for life. So he didn’t say anything else? "Na". Okay good. "Do I need to know something else though"? No.. You just know how he is. Just making sure he didn’t mess up my chance. "No.. Not a chance. I wouldn’t let someone convince me that another person was not worth giving a chance to.. I prefer to make my own decisions based off of facts- not gossip and so far so good". Smart man. I really love that. So how do you like the neighborhood?

We talked for a full hour then Chatta & Wayne got back. Wayne was buttoning up his shirt as soon as they hopped out of the car. They kissed then Chatta asked me to come to her room with her. She looked as if she had been crying so I turned to Tae & said- Will you please excuse me? “Oh, sure. Just make sure you come back shawty”. Oh I will! I blushed & followed my bestie to her room.

“He's cheating”! Whaaatt?! “We went to the store to get some games because I want to camp out tonight & I left for a few minutes to ask where Uno was right”? Okay… “and I come back & he’s in his exes arms. Tell me why the bitch looks like me? Nobody got purple tips on their locs around here but me”. Damn I'm sorry Chat. What did you do? “I told him right in front of her; it’s either me or her & he said he only smashed once while we were together. She swung on me and we got kicked out of the store after I beat her ass so I didn't even get the games but what threw me is he just stood there”. I stood up. Ready to cuss him out & tell him to leave but then she said- “I love him though O'Mara. So I gave him the one thing that will make him stay faithful to me”. You freaked him in the car. “I gave him head. He said that's the only thing she didn't give him. He's choosing me Mara”. Girl, if he is going to cheat he is just going to cheat. You deserve better. As always, she changed the subject... “I'm inviting my cousins over tonight. We can have a girl’s night! Thank you so much for coming back to the ‘hood to spend time with me for my bday girl”. Anything for my best friend.

Eventually party guests began to arrive to Chatta's home. She convinced her Mom to stay away that weekend so we could have the house to ourselves. Her granny lived behind them but she slept most of the time so we had no parental supervision. We partied so hard. Drinks and smoke were plenty. I don't remember the half of it! I had so much fun catching up with old friends. I missed my old town because I could be more free there. In my new home everything was stuffy- I couldn’t breathe.

I danced with Tae most of the night. We let each other know we liked each other. “I'd like to get to know you better”. Me too. Chatta was so happy, she immediately started to plan double date nights. Tae gave me his number on a party napkin. His cell phone was dead and I didn’t have a phone yet. He wrote his number in red ink. Eventually, he had to leave. He had to get his little sister Ava from her friend’s slumber party. “My big sis Liz couldn't do it so I’m coming to the rescue again but yea hit me up. I’ll be counting down the seconds until I hear that sweet voice again. Don’t make me wait too long”. I won't. Be safe driving. We hugged then he kissed me on the cheek & just like that he was out of my life.

Once everyone was gone, we went to the garage where Chatta and her big bro's 4-wheelers were. Chatta, me & her two younger cousins hopped on the 4-wheelers & rode up the hill to “the top of the world”. I held on tightly to her as she drove and vented about her man. I enjoyed the breeze and leaves lightly kissing my cheeks as we rode through the woods. I smiled as I thought of Tae's warm embrace physically emotionally lovely- all over me.

Soon we got to the location and got our tents ready- embracing the moon that was providing enough light for us to play games that her cousin's brought over & indulge in girl talk about love, sex and boys. Chatta asked me when I was going to call Tae. “I don't know. You know if daddy finds out”… She quickly replied- Forget ya Dad! I don't see how he can discriminate so much. He feels if it isn't White then it isn't right. I mean no offense girl.. but no! Fuck him and you more Black than he is anyway. They all laughed & I replied- “I don’t get it either”. I kept my response short because I didn’t want to think of the harsh reality of going back to being the princess of the family the next day. So for the rest of the night all I thought of, heard, spoke or breathed was Tae Tae Tae!

It was because of Tae that I discovered that I’ve been hot all along! Before he entered my life I did not know what true happiness felt like. My life has been mostly downs instead of ups... Let me rewind though. After the party, Chatta's mom came home early in the a.m. We all got into her car. She dropped the cousins off then it was my turn to go home. “I really want you and Tae to work so here is my old cell phone. All you have to do is buy a card for it & put money on it monthly”. Thank you so much! “You should text him now. Wayne said all he talked about last night was you”! I gave her a huge smile & hug. I love you so much! You are the bestest friend ever. Definitely stay in touch! You got the number! She laughed & said “Yea just don’t let ya daddy know. Keep it on vibrate. The manual is in the box”. I know right. He won’t let me have a car, phone, boyfriend- I have no life!

I quickly texted Tae Hey! It’s O’Mara. Just getting home. Call me soon as we pulled up to the Richman's mansion. Yes that mansion from the magazines and that one TV show. Daddy was the wealthiest Black judge in the South. You might think I lucked out but you haven’t lived with Donovan Richman. Let me reintroduce myself real quick- the way that everyone on this side of Atlanta sees me.. Hello my name is O'Mara and I live in a mansion inspired by Greek temples. I am also Greek and I am adopted by one of the richest men in America. He is married to a White woman named Amber and for years everyone thought that I was her birth daughter- she hates that. She hates me. I am daddy's little girl and she is just a trophy wife. I get the attention that she craves. I would gladly give it to her but it wouldn't solve their issues. She wasn't able to give him babies and he was about to leave her so she sent off adoption papers. She felt that a baby would make him love her. She wanted a mixed newborn baby but he found out what she was up to and came to the orphanage home where he saw me.

I was 11 years old. It was December in the year of 1999. I was in the 5th grade. My foster parents were glad to give me to him. Everyone acted like he was the Savior when he came through the doors. I looked at him like he was a normal person. Apparently that's what made him choose me. I knew who he was but I didn't care. He tried talking to me and for whatever reason- my silence made him want to adopt me even more. "What do I have to do to take her home today"? The social worker mentioned how my last foster parents didn't get my citizenship approved and my current parents couldn't afford it. "Oh that isn't a problem! So that's all I have to do"?

I don't know nor do I want to know what he did so that I could gain American citizenship so fast. Daddy is known for being up to no good but 9 months after meeting him- I was officially his daughter. It was September 2000. It was October when I moved from the hometown I grew up in for years and moved to the Greek temple mansion. Daddy swears he's Zeus. I left 6th grade being a Junior high student to becoming a 6th grader in Elementary school in a strange town. Yes I was mad about switching schools and leaving the town that I grew to love. I was used to the hood. I didn't know about this new bougie lifestyle. I turned 12 that November.

I was born in Greece on November 3rd, 1988. My birth parents were too poor to take care of me so my dad's mom took care of me until she grew ill. One good thing about Daddy is he never let me forget where I came from. In 1991 I was given to an American couple and ever since then I have been passed from home to home like a stray cat. The wife died and her husband was a drunk so I was officially placed into the foster system after one too many trips to the hospital. Before that point, no one wanted to deal with making it so that I can legally be in this country.

By age 8 I landed in Georgia and in the 2nd grade I met my best friend Chatta. My Jamaican twin! I never cared about all of that stuff that Daddy obsesses over like skin color, money or fame. He goes on and on about how he fought hard to rub elbows with billionaires. "People that look like me don't become millionaires.. I have outdone all of them now I am striving to be a billionaire.. You have to dress for success & hang around those you want to emulate”. I love him and I appreciate the love and help he has given me.

Unfortunately he only likes rich people with certain shades of skin. The first time he got mad at me was when I uttered the words "sound to me like you have self-hate to the fullest". I was grounded for two weeks. I didn't care. Someone needed to tell him about himself. His famous quote is “I hate when those people come to me for handouts- I'm not the Negro savior” and he is known for being a Black judge with a record of publicly locking up mostly Black men. Maybe some would love this life but don't get me wrong- while I am grateful- I don't give into the hype of tearing others down.

My birth parents said that I get that "attitude" from them. Their names are Aaronya and Silad Chateaux. They always thank him for letting me keep my birth name. I never had the Richman last name. Daddy likes them- strangely… He pays for them to visit every Thanksgiving and a few other holidays and some of my birthdays. We go to the beach for Christmas so that time is just for me, Amber, Daddy and his son Valiant. My big bro is 3 years older than me. Of course I don't get along with Amber and my birth parents are still strangers to me but Val and I are very close.

He is Daddy's biological son with Julissa. Everyone calls her Jules. The reason why Daddy doesn't like Spanish people. She is Spanish but she left him for a Spanish man named Vandell. They divorced and share split custody of Val. She kept his last name though. She is more like my mother than any other woman. She is so dope. Summer 2001 when I was 12 I started my period. I was scared. Amber ridiculed me so I went to Jules. That was the first time she was helpful but now she always helps me. Dad was mad that Jules was around so much. He said he was just looking out for me.

Me getting my period resulted in me getting a 24K promise ring. I had to promise Daddy that I would keep my virginity until marriage. That I did.. Well sort of. Look at me getting ahead of myself again. Let's go back to the time when I first met Tae. The lovely year of 2005. After sending him that text I checked my phone all day but no Tae.. He called me the next day. A Monday. We talked for hours. I found out that we are both born exactly 8 months apart on a Thursday! His birthday is March 3rd and mine is November 3rd, 1988. That has to be a sign right.. "Yeah, a sign that you're going to be my wife". Aww. He sounded so cute on the phone.

"My bad baby. Sunday is family day. I missed talking to you though. I won't ever make you upset with me again. Happy wife happy life right"? So I'm really ya wife? "Yeah". I blushed and asked when I would see him again. "Hmm, when you coming this way again"? I sent a text to Chatta trying to find a spot to link up with my boo. Since I was not driving and Daddy would flip if Tae came to the mansion, we had to go through Chatta. She was fighting with her mom so she told me to hit her up in a few days and we could figure something out. "Damn".

I called him a few days later on his house phone and his grandmother said that he was out of town and won’t be back until school started again. Damn really Tae? You just gonna disappear and not say a word? I sent a quick message of hello but it was a while before I heard from him again. I cried and stressed- wondering if I would ever see him again. My perfect day could have been extended to thee perfect weekend, week, month etc. but that whole Summer Tae was gone…

Chapter 2: Building on a Solid Foundation

The rest of my Summer was full of the usual. Hanging out with my rich friends, ignoring Amber and all of her dramatics, reading, being little miss academia and chilling with my big bro. I didn't see Chatta much but whenever Wayne mistreated her I would get a phone call or multiple texts.

Every Summer Daddy got me the syllabi, books and other material needed for the upcoming school year. By July I already read the books twice and completed the homework assignments ahead of time. So when school started in August, I sat in class bored out of my mind. This led to me writing novels and love stories. By the end of June that year Tae was M.I.A. so I focused on trying to forget him. I wanted to do something different that Summer.

Daddy also provided me with a list of 30 extracurricular activities. I had to pick at least five to do during the summer and five to do during the school year. If I wanted to do something that wasn't on the list then I had to prove to him that it was something that will make me a better person.. I was having a hard time picking out what to do. I asked Val what he was doing and he didn't know either so I called my homegirls Lyra and Unique up.

They always got in trouble but we had fun getting drunk, being ratchet and letting loose. Being with them reminded me of my old town. "No I can't come that day because we're having dinner with Amber's parents in Dunwoody". We were trying to come up with a plan so that I could spend the night over Lyra's. Her and Unique were cousins who lived the rich life about 30 minutes away from the Richman's mansion. "If I say I'm over Unique's then Daddy wouldn't mind". Unique was Val's ex that everyone wanted to become Mrs. Richman. I don't know why they broke up but she was still my good friend.

I went to Lyra's and we drove around that whole weekend. They was chasing dudes all over Atlanta. As much as I tried to forget about Tae I just couldn't. I didn’t tell them about him but I hit Chatta up. You haven't heard from him? Has Wayne heard from him? Oh y'all don't talk much anymore.. Right. I forgot. Damn, I miss him. Why did he just disappear like that? My other friend was Solie. She wasn't as wild as my other friends. She was into books not boys.

"I should've called you. I would've picked out my Summer activities sooner. Thanks girl". I didn't get into many new things that Summer but before I knew it August was here. 11th grade. I had 4 out of the 5 things picked out already. I was most excited about taking a driver's course then Solie suggested that for one of my school year activities I join a program called Higher Reach. Everyone just called it Reach. I became the school's editor for the Reach newsletter.

When I discussed it with Daddy he was excited that the program provided college credit while I was still in high school and letters of recommendation for employment. I didn't know how much joining Reach would change my life. Solie gave me rides to the after school meetings and they talked about a Summer program. Hmm should I go to that? By early 2006 I got a text from a new number. Who is this? The next text said: Oh you don't know your husband anymore? Tae? Yea hey baby. I missed you. I missed you too. Where you been? I called and your grandma said that you would be gone all Summer. I sent you texts and called but no hear from.

He said that at first he was in an area with no cell service then he lost his phone and ended up getting another one. I immediately thought Okay he on some bullshit. Move on to the next. Then he told me he had been trying to talk to Chatta to get my number. He finally caught up with her and that's why he was messaging now. He apologized for making me wait so long to hear from him. Okay I forgive you.

We still didn't see each other or talk much that school year. I told him about how I was apart of Reach and was thinking of going to the Summer program. He said I should join. "It might change your life". So I started to go with Solie to the meetings on campus at Clark Atlanta University. Before you could join the 6 week Summer component you had to pass certain tests. It was usually for students who come from low income households. The program helps them to afford college as well as other great things. I got in after they found my file and saw that I had been in foster care all of my life.. I am glad they accepted me.

Daddy was of course going to pay for my college education but I didn’t know much about being an adult plus my social skills needed improvement and Reach helps with all of that. Reach helps students to live better lives during high school and after high school is over. Whatever path you choose- whether it's to go to college or go straight into the work field or be a stay at home parent etc.- they help you to succeed. They help us study for standardized tests, fill out college applications, how to build your credit, become a homeowner, be healthy, do taxes, pay bills and so much more..

The program taught us about being near people of every shape, size, color, religion etc. It was a no judgment zone. Everyone was like family. That's something that I appreciated the most about Reach. It started in June. The high school year was flying by and Tae and I were talking less and less. We were both super busy. At one of the meetings I noticed that Tae was there. He was sitting in the auditorium near the exit. I had to wait until the end of the meeting to go talk to him since he was far away.

"Hi stranger". Oh shit! Hey baby! So you decided to join? "Yea. Is this why you told me to join and why you were gone all last Summer"? Yeah. It's a great program. I was shocked and excited to find out that we would be spending the Summer together. We took a picture together then some girl came and hugged him. They left together.. So it begins... I was 17 but still didn't have a car so Solie drove me to Clark Atlanta's campus where we were roommates at the Summer program.

I found out how much everyone loves Tae. We didn't spend a lot of time together one on one that Summer but we did grow closer. We were starting to build on a solid foundation. We would compete a lot- especially academically. We only had math & writing class together. The writing class doubled as one of our jobs. The highest achievers also got to work as teacher's assistants and get paid mucho dinero. Since I was a 4.0 student all through school I got to work alongside the writing and choir teachers. Tae didn't sing. He was on the basketball team. I was on the dance and cheer squad just so I could be closer to him. We would have dance offs in the gym and of course I would always win!

Since I was on my school's newsletter crew I began to write for Reach as well. I wrote poems and such for every special event and was a part of every organizing committee. Me and about 4 other students put together a DVD of the memories from that Summer. It was about 70 kids there. We surely had lots of fun. I loved being so busy. We would go swimming, Tae taught me how to play pool, we went to the movies, arcade, we had birthday parties and took a trip to see historical sites and landmarks around Atlanta. We hit up 6 flags too. My favorite thing about that was getting every flavor of Icee. Tae and I rode the rides but I was terrified. He comforted me with hugs and a kiss on the cheek. Yet I still didn't know if he was serious about me or not. We had a prom. Tae and I went together but as buddies. We wore sea green. It matches his eyes.

My roomie Solie and I didn't talk much and ended up not even being friends anymore. Every time I would mention Tae to her she would get so mad. I found out that it was because she wanted to be more than my friend. I ended the friendship. I felt it was best since I only had eyes for Tae but the Summer was coming to an end and it seemed like Tae only wanted to be my friend.

Our chemistry is undeniable. Everyone noticed that whenever we were near one another there were fireworks. Only of the most explosive kind. When people asked if we were a couple he would say “no that's the fam” while I would just sadly shake my head no. It hurt me that we were not more than friends. He was my super crush. He started to call me his sis once we were both at Reach. I immediately got defensive. He knew I was madly in love with him. "You already got sisters.. I'm ya wife when we're alone but now that you're around ya hoes I'm little sis? Fuck outta here".

He had me big mad. That was the Summer that I learned how much he flirted and entertained basically every female but me. He knew I was feeling him and that I wasn't messing with no other dudes yet he would come to me talking about who all he was freaking. She just gave me her number and told me to meet her on the 7th floor. You think I should hit? "The fuck you think"? We argued so much that Summer it wasn't even funny. He was playing with my emotions. I had to see every girl wear his hoodie. I couldn't say anything though because I was just the buddy. The end of the summer program was very close. One very hot night in August I had a change of heart.

"Tae, you know what? I'm going to say something. I feel like you're disrespecting me. Chatta told me you were a playa but damn. Is this infatuation or is this real love? Am I wrong for flipping out on you? We really need to work this out. Like you got me so confused right now! If I'ma be the buddy for life then let me know now but on the real.. You were there when we first met. There were signs. I saw you in the yearbook before meeting you in person and I felt something deep down inside. Did you not feel the butterflies too? We both said it was love at first sight. We get here and you change.. What is going on? That's all I want to know".

He looked at me with a scared look on his face. "What is it? How do you truly feel about me? Not them. Me. Why do you even mess with them when you can have everything and more with me"? Stop. I can't keep seeing you hurting. That's why I'm playing around with them. "Really? You don't think that hurts me"? Then he said- "Look, I've always been the guy to play around. I'd rather mess with them.. They are the type of girls that won't be hurt by that. They know what it is and they are cool with that. You are a close friend. I wouldn't do you like that, especially because I know how you feel about me. I'm not ready to give up the game". Keep that playa pimp bullshit to ya self. I don't wanna hear that dumb shit. That's not the real you! You know what we have. Tell me who makes you feel better than me? & I ain't even gotta touch you. I satisfy you on every level just by being. Just by existing. What hoe is fucking with me?

"I don't know how to express my feelings but I'm willing to try with you. I never open up to anybody. You make it easier for me to though. The more we're around each other the more comfortable I feel with you". Because you know it's safe with me. Thank you for opening up but I'm still confused. "Look, I do want to be with you and only you but".. Ain't no buts just do it. "Na for real.. I want and need to do you right and I never did that with anybody before. I don't want to fuck up our friendship. I don't want to fuck up period. I'm so used to dealing with a chick for 3 months or less then it's on to the next. You are special to me. You've been my everything since I saw you on the steps twirling your hair. I'm not going to treat you like you're trash. I don't know how to love you right now. I don't even know how to love myself but one day I will and I hope you're around when I figure this shit out".

It isn't supposed to be hard.. Right? You just.. Do it.. They say good things don't come easily though but if the love is too stressful it's not meant to be. I don't know. I just know that I do love you. "All I know is I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt you". I dropped to the floor. He didn't say it back. Was I missing something? Is this what it means when people say girls understand it quicker than guys? I knew he was my happily ever after and I was ready to risk it all right then and there but he was dragging his feet, making excuses and shit... "So let me get this straight. I know we will be together one day.. So I'm supposed to wait for you to figure out how to love me right? I'm supposed to sit back while you deal with other girls and go have fun while I'm love sick over you"?

O'Mara I don't want to waste your time. Do you want me to play games with you? I know this isn't what you want to hear but I wouldn't be a true friend if I didn't save you from heartache. You already broke my heart. "Stop being dramatic". I'm dead ass. I'm hella hurt right now. "You know what. Here. Take this". He gave me his name tag and took mine. He then placed the lanyard around my neck. "I am you and you are me. We are one". I started to cry and tried to run away but he stopped me. "I have to tell you something". Is he going to say it? I know we both feel it. I know I'm not crazy. "I... moved to Buckhead. When we got time off for the 4th of July weekend I moved into my new place. We'll be going to school together for our Senior year... I want to be closer to you".

We only had a few more days until the Summer program was over. It would be most of the group's last Summer with Reach since we would be entering the 12th grade in a week. We had a graduation ceremony on the last day. After he opened up to me I was even more confused. We argued more than ever during those last few days. People's comments were irritating. They argue like a married couple. They act like sister and brother. Na, they need to be a couple already. I don't know why they're not together. I don't know either. We didn't even say goodbye. It was so weird.

When I got home I kept myself busy by focusing on filling out college applications and preparing for life after high school. I got a job at a bookstore. I was heavily focused until... He has a girlfriend Chatta! Some chick from your school. I saw him drive by my house with her so I did my research.. Her name is Winna and she's pregnant! No he hasn't talked to me since we left Reach! He dodged me in the hallways and I saw him at the skating rink last weekend but he didn't even speak. Now I see why.

You would think that this would make the love go away but...

Dear Tae,

I know about your situation. Congrats... I can't even lie- it's hard for me to say that since I was supposed to be the mother of your children. Let me not be petty. Your girl probably reading this.. This letter is to let you know that I still love you. My buddy ol' pal! Always have and always will. This of course means I have to fall back but we will always be friends. I am always here for you. Never feel like you are alone in this world because you will always have me. You don't have to keep avoiding me around town. Say hi! We're better than that. I wish you nothing but the best.

Truly, O'Mara

I wrote it out on a piece of paper first then I saw that he was online so I typed it in his inbox. Weeks went by and I was waiting to see the word read beside the message. Senior year was flying by. Still haven't heard from Tae.. Eventually I didn't even see him around town or at school anymore. Chatta kept me updated on all things Winna. In May she told me that they had broke up so I went straight to the source. Well I tried to.. He blocked me from messaging him! I saw his status saying he got a new number... I'm still on his friend list. I see it says that he is single now. Does he have a kid now? Why block me from talking to you but keep me on ya page? I really need to talk to him. We still on for tomorrow?

The next day she was picking me up so that I could stay with her for the weekend. It was her graduation time. One week before my graduation.. and Tae's. My homegirl graduated with honors! I am so proud of her! Her and Wayne didn't last but she moved on. Actually she became Mrs. Qhaleil Dyer Sr. They call her husband Shot. I don't know why so don't ask. They had my Godson Junior. My friends were all in love and I was chasing a dude who clearly wasn't into me.. You would think that if he wanted me he would come to me.. Right?

I was stubborn. I just knew what I wanted.. Tae and I forever. When you know you just know.. Here's a chance.. If it's meant to be- we will see each other again. Universe hear my cry. This is what I thought to myself as I accepted the invitation to join the Higher Reach alumni program. It could be my last chance to see Tae. The morning of our graduation, I saw that he had finally read my message/letter. I have to know... Who knows where our lives will take us after high school graduation…

Moments after the ceremony I felt a tap on my shoulder. I slowly turned around to see Tae looking into my eyes. The world around us stopped. We hugged. We need to talk. "Yes we do". Daddy gave me a car as my graduation gift so I drove Tae to the ice cream shoppe and we talked. "I am so sorry. For everything. I had to get my mind right so I cut everybody off. She didn't want me talking to any females but her. I shouldn't have ever blocked you out of my life though. You mean so much to me". Do you have a kid now? "No. We did the test and he isn't even mine. That's why I broke up with her". So you been single for two seconds and now you're talking to me again? Hmm... "Don't think of it like I'm trying to make you a rebound. I'm not. That situation just helped me to see who's real and who's not. Your letter helped even more though".

The Summer of 2007, Tae and I were inseparable. We both were accepted into the Reach Alumni program. It was available to the top 8 highest achievers of our class. Tae and I tied for first place. We were the only students to get 100% in every class. It helped me to network and gain knowledge about the field I wanted to go into after graduating college. I talked to people about doing an internship later on and learned a lot about college and work life. We traveled to New York and got a taste of the fast paced "real life" work experience. Tae was going straight into working for the family business so he learned about being a boss. I love how we help each other grind and shine. We support each other.

One night in late July 2007 while we were in Harlem, Tae took me by the hand and we walked to the rooftop. "O'Mara" Yes Tae. "I love you baby". I love you.. So much... After we hugged and kissed we began to work at being a couple. We wanted to take it slow and make sure before we jumped right in. "Don't want to fuck anything up with you. I want to be with you for the rest of my life but this is new to me". Let's see if we still feel the same way in 90 days then. It just came out of my mouth but he liked that idea so we went with it.

Chapter 3: Now we say Goodbye

At the end of August 2007 I started my freshman year of college at Clark Atlanta University. I loved the campus so much I decided to enroll there. It was less than 20 minutes away from the mansion so Daddy was happy. He threw me a huge going away party, made sure I had everything I needed and his saying goodbye was full of safe sex talk and “please don’t get pregnant”. Amber just mumbled “Glad she’s leaving- now let's get rid of the other one” talking about Val. He was very protective and supportive. “Go kill it Ries and if you need me to fuck somebody up I'm just a phone call away”! Campus life. Living on my own. Scary. Exciting. Scare-cited? No? Okay.

My major was computer science. I was going for my Bachelor’s degree with a minor concentration in information systems. Yea I'm one of those Geeky Greek Gals. I was super busy but still made time for Tae. He was busier than me. He had been training his whole life to take his Dad's place as boss over their family's worldwide chain of grocery stores. His dad is Dan Soto-Garcia, the grocery King. Now that he graduated it was time for him to boss up. This time around was different because he made time for me. When it was family day he picked me up. You're family. I love his fam & they love me. I became close friends with his sister Lizette.

Everything was all good!

We made sure to have date night every weekend. I love how spontaneous Tae can be. We took it slow. We thought things through yet the love came so naturally it felt like we weren’t thinking at all. When we reached 90 days it was the end of October. Neither one of us were counting though. We were enjoying one another and any amount of time we could get together. Even though I was a college girl I wasn't going wild. I was only about my books and my man. Plus I couldn’t do too much because Daddy had eyes on campus.

“So I see you got a little boyfriend now. When were you going to tell me”? Daddy, no I don't. “Is he Spanish? Like from Spain like Vandell”? Daddy stop. He’s Puerto Rican. That's what he calls himself so that's what he is. Him & both of his parents were born and raised there. Then they came to Georgia when he was young- just like me. “Oh he is not just like you”! You don't even know him. “So you're sitting in my face defending this boy but he isn’t your boyfriend? You've never lied to me or kept things from me before O'Mara. He is changing you”. No he's not! I'm not lying! We’re not together yet officially. “Cut him off. He'll only bring you pain”. No…

I watched as Daddy walked off to his room. I've never seen him look so sad before. Things between us haven't been right since. November 2007. My 19th birthday was very close and Val kept asking me how do I want to celebrate. I don’t know. Kick back and read some books? Watch some movies? I’m not feeling it this year. “Na fuck that. We turning up”! I had a feeling he was throwing me a surprise birthday party. Little did I know it was all Tae’s idea.

I didn't know you and Val were cool now. “Hey baby. Happy birthday. Yeah I see him in the neighborhood and at the gym. We linked up. Threw this bomb ass party for you”! Thank you baby! The real surprise was that Daddy was there and of course his shadow- Amber. My birth mother was there, Jules, my friends including Chatta & her family and Tae's huge family. Is this just a birthday party? “O'Mara I have something to ask you”. Yes Tae?

“In front of all of our friends and loved ones, I want to know Will you be my girlfriend”? I immediately looked at Daddy who grabbed Amber and stormed out of the room. Then I said Yes baby. The crowd clapped and everyone was happy as we smiled and kissed. Chatta said, “Next is the wedding. I’m the maid of honor of course”! I laughed as Lyra rolled her eyes. “Don’t hate! I hooked them up”! It was a Saturday so I wasn't in any rush to get back to campus so Tae and I went to his place.

The Ring comes off

We made love that night. All night. It was my first time. Once I got a taste I couldn't stop. I knew he was the man that I would marry so it made perfect sense to me. Him asking me to be his girl was like a marriage proposal. Now I wear my promise ring as a necklace. So I'm sure Daddy knows but we never discussed it. The love between Tae and I was growing and growing. Time was flying because we were having so much fun. First semester was gone quickly but everything really came to a halt during my second semester.

"I never told you before because I just wanted to focus on the happy moments". What do you mean you're moving back to Puerto Rico? You mean for good or...? "I'll be back. I'll visit but I have to move there permanently in order to do this job right. I am so sorry baby. I love you. We will make it". So I'll be here on campus and you'll be there working and you want to still be a couple? "Long distance won't keep us apart". Why do you sound like a love song right now? When do you leave? "June". You know it's May right? "I'm sorry. I love you". Love you too.

When he told me it hit me harder then when I thought some other female was carrying his child. I felt like our love story was over. A few days after he told me- I completed my last final exam for my first year of college. I was still an A plus honor student. I couldn't even focus on the accomplishments in my life because my life- my love- was leaving. We decided to have an open relationship. Not open like that. Open to us means we openly communicate about everything and if we find someone that we feel is better than the one we're with then openly let it be known. We trust each other and want what's best for one another but it's so damn hard to let go. "Don't cry baby". Now we say goodbye.

The rest of 2008 flew by. We talked so much during his first 6 months being away. We had video chat sessions every night. We sent gift boxes. We sent text messages and pictures throughout the day- keeping one another updated on every little thing that was going on in our lives. I miss you so much Tae. I miss you too baby. I'll come visit soon. He tried to come in for my birthday but was too busy. It's okay. Your birthday is soon. Maybe we can see each other then.

My sophomore year was the hardest. I was having trouble focusing on my studies. I became a B student for the first time in my life. Not a biggie to most people but I was devastated. March of 2009 came and Tae turned 21. We didn't get to spend time together. I messaged and called him but didn't hear from him until days later. I saw online that he had partied hard though. That's when things started to go downhill.

I moved off of campus in May 2009 and that June Tae had been gone for a full year. I was so lonely. I missed him so much that I started to save up so that I could go see him. I still worked at the bookstore plus I began my internship. I was going to be a computer systems analyst once graduating. Everything was looking up and then...

Who is that? OMG!!! Nooo! "I'ma kill him Ries"! What happened Val? Come to the bathroom. Let me clean you up. My brother came to my house after him and Daddy got into a fight. Val was beat up bad. I heard my phone ringing. Oh gosh who is that? Hold on Val. I picked up my phone then Val said, "I know it's him. I'ma kill you motherfucker". It's Tae. By now Tae is yelling in the phone. KILL WHO? Who the fuck you got over your crib O'Mara? Really that's what we doing?

Calm down! It's Val! He thought Daddy was calling. They got into it. "Na I know what he sound like and that's not your brother. You got me fucked up. I know I been gone awhile but you said you would be open and honest. I've been keeping it real with you but you playing games". The fuck you talking 'bout Tae? I'm trying to console my brother who sounds different because his fucking jaw is damn near on the ground right now and you're calling yelling at me? I don't have time for this dumb shit! You barely call anymore but you want to call now and with this bullshit.. Maybe we need to take a break or something. This is too much for me.

"Don’t you ever let me hear that word come from your mouth again. We're not taking a break but I do know one thing. I am in Puerto Rico. I can have a different beautiful girl each day of the week if I wanted to". Oh really Tae? "But I only want you. I fucking love you. You know what? I'll let you get your mind right.. I'll call you back". How about you don't call me back. Ever. I threw my phone down and walked away.

After I helped my brother I called Chatta. I told her about what happened. "Yeah he'll be okay. He's staying with me for a few days. Our doctor came over and now Val is sleeping. Daddy messaged me saying don't take him any place where the press can see. He is so disgusting. He told me that Tae will only bring me pain. I don't care what he says. Daddy's just mad because Tae's family are not millionaires. I don't care about that shit. A business owner is not a bad job! Tae is my dream guy. We love each other so much. I know he isn't down there cheating on me. He was just talking shit because he was hurt. We will get better". Maybe you should tell him that.

I calmed down and wanted to make things right with my man but luck was not on our side. Long distance was harder than we ever imagined. We didn't talk for 74 days. Well unless you want to count the two seconds we spoke only to text or say: Busy. Sorry. Love you. G2G (got to go). I don't even think he was mad at me that whole time. I feel that we weren't talking anymore because we were just that damn busy. It did hurt my feelings though.

Chapter 4: Reunited never Divided

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