Chapter 337) Big Black Hole

Del Sol Valley
Westwell Mansion
Home to Blake, Mila, Sheridan, Reed and his pregnant wife Cassidy

Click – and she had another Selfie, finally a winner, a few filters quickly applied, a few text edits, done.
The happy chime of a post going live felt as taunting as it felt like a relief to Sheridan, her heart beating fast.

“Yo, my fave Social-Maniacs,” it read.

“Ding-dong the bitch is back! Yeah, that’s right, back from hiatus and fiercer than ever. Missed all my beautiful followers and you too, my male stalkers following a fashion blog for females. LOL. Just kidding, love all my queens and kings. To those of you wondering what happened, life just got a bit heavy, and I needed a break. When some activists, maniacs or whatever kidnapped all those PBP Studio execs – my heart goes out to all their families, BTW, that must be crazy-scary – production on all main projects came to a screeching halt anyway, so I felt I might as well do something real for myself. Anyway, she back. On to bigger and better things. Missed ya all, lotsa luv, Sheri”

She inhaled, then held her breath when the first reactions were announced by dings, first just one here, one there, then suddenly it sounded like a weird melody of dings.

Heart pounding, Sheri started reading, then exhaled. All reactions were totally supportive. Glad you’re back, you do you, love yourself, and the usual.

“Okay, looks like we can do this. I can do this.” she exhaled again, then walked over to the mirror.

“Girl, you need a makeover. THIS is the old Sheridan. We need Sheridan 2.0. Update, upgrade and level up our game.”

The following days Sheridan spent most of her time at the stylists, tossing out most of her wardrobe contents, while going on shopping sprees nearly daily, followed by recording shopping haul and styling videos she then posted to get herself and her name back on the map. Going dark was never a good idea for someone with a career in entertainment. Retail therapy during a reinvention of self, is what she called it to her followers and her videos were more popular than hot cakes.

Every so often she looked at the phone hoping there would be a message from a certain number, but it never came.

Should she call him? He never came to see her in rehab, then again, he didn’t know where she really had been, the official story everyone vowed to go with was that she just needed a break for some serious R & R. In other words, everyone thought she was chillin’ at some luxury spa resort. Nobody beyond a small circle would ever know what really happened to her.

How broken she had been. How damaged, hopeless. Addicted to most substances imaginable, full of hatred, for the world and for herself. Nobody would ever know, unless she decided they should. There would be no official statements, no talk show bookings, no tell-all books nor inner-self-baring autobiographies rehashing and reliving all those moments of terror. Sheri wanted it that way. Strike a match and move on.

Sheridan had actively made the rounds apologizing to everyone she had been mean to, mostly family, and they all had forgiven her because they loved her and could see she meant it, but also Nicks’ friend Rohan Sharma. Seeing him again, now that she was in a better place mentally, she couldn’t’ understand why she had been so mean to him. Such a sweet guy, and crazy-shy. The surprising news of him having a girl pregnant, one of Nick’s cousins on his father’s side, were topped only by Nick and Adrianna’s engagement, while Sheri wanted to be happy for them, it only reminded her of her own broken engagement.

She had sent a few texts to Reggie, which remained unanswered.

Del Sol Valley
Mirage Park Neighborhood

She had even driven by the Section 8 housing in the bad part of town where she knew he lived. She was shocked. She had never been here before and couldn’t help being appalled by the way it differed from all she had ever known, having grown up in luxury and wealth herself.

Maybe they were never meant to be. Maybe it was better this way. But then why did it still hurt so much? If they weren’t meant to be, why was he still her first thought after waking up each morning and his face the last thing on her mind before falling asleep, and every other thought during the day, each day, every day, all day? And why did he not even try anymore?

So, the next morning found her returning to the same place again, on a quest for answers, by taking the ripping-the-Band-Aid-off-approach. Her luxury car looked out of place among the other vehicles where she parked.
Here she was now, knocking on a door, a dirty door, which looked like it had never been cleaned since how many ever decades ago this apartment building had been constructed. Wiping her hand on her clothing, she only had to wait a few moments until the door was opened.

Malik appeared, staring at her as if she had two heads.

To hide her insecurity and discomfort, about Malik’s reaction but also her fear of rejection, Sheridan forced a smile.

“Hi Malik. Sorry to show up unannounced but is your nephew home by any chance?” she wondered, smiling unusually sheepishly.

“Sheri! Wow. Dayum girl. I didn’t recognize you there for a minute … and honestly, never thought you’d ever show up here. Uh, come on in. Reg is sleeping, he worked double shifts at the drive thru last night. Grab some coffee, cups are in the cabinet over the sink, I’ll get his ass up for you.” Malik told her then walked off.

Sheridan walked over to the coffeemaker, old and grimy, just as the cabinets, she frowned then just looked around some, when Reggie appeared.

Seeing him took her breath away, just in his boxers, affording her unobstructed view at his slender, but muscular chest, she saw Reggie staring at her like a mirage, when a shirt hit him in the head.

“Dafuq man?!” he complained at his uncle, after catching it, while Malik play-punched him in the arm.

“Act like you weren’t raised by monkeys, you fool. Put some clothes on when talking to a lady. Lucky, I didn’t toss them jeans at yo head, fool, but I figure the lady likes the view all right! I’ll give you some privacy.” Malik gave his nephew a pat on the back, grabbed the keys off a counter, then left the apartment.

“He didn’t have to leave …” Sheridan said quietly.

“Well, this place is small, walls are paper thin, not really much room for privacy otherwise. Luckily my mom’s at work already, I just got back home 4 hours ago. I have to say I am shocked to see you here. You look good, by the way. Different. I like the going back to the roots look on ya. Unusual, but I get it. Suits you.”

“Thanks. Figured I am part black, trying to embrace that for the first time in my life, I feel like I am a different person now anyway, might as well look the part. I have made so many mistakes, with everyone, but especially you. I want to apologize but don’t even know where to begin, the list is so long.”

“Wow, jumping right in, huh? Coffee?” Reggie offered.

“Oh no! Thank you.” Sheridan said a little too quick to sound as casual as intended.

Reggie smirked, then poured himself a cup, stepped to the table and sat down, Sheridan joined him.

“I am sorry I was such a bitch. So sorry for everything I said to you and for …”

“Sheri – we’re you on something?” he cut her off.

“What?”

“Were you taking something? Sorry, I know that is very forward, but look, I have been thinking too. I have seen it so many times, the sudden changes in behavior and personality, repelling everyone around you so they don’t find out and try to stop you, and so many little signs … you were taking something, weren’t you?”

Sheridan nodded. It was either that or lies. The latter wasn’t an option.

“Yes. I needed to not feel anything anymore. I needed to be numb to make it through the days. Only, the longer I did it, the more I needed and then all the side-effects happened. I was like a zombie, like on the outside, watching myself destroy my entire life and I couldn’t stop it.”

“Sheri … did … I don’t know how to ask you this, but … did someone … hurt you? At the studio? Maybe a colleague or something? Was that why?” Reggie asked, his voice soft and slightly shaky.

Sheridan inhaled her breath sharply, too telltale to deny it, plus, somehow, she didn’t want to lie to Reggie again. If this was going to be a clean slate, if there was any chance they could make it all work again, it had to be 100% honest, not another web of lies. Even this, which she swore to never ever tell anybody outside the small circle who already knew by now.

“Why are you asking that? So random.”

“Like I said, this area can be rough. I know a lot of girls this happened to, some I have known since we all were in diapers … well … lets’ just say I recognized the signs – unfortunately way too late. I know as a man I can’t even begin to understand what that does to a girl, but … Which is after everything went down and I sat down trying to feel sorry for myself, I crashed my own pity party by realizing that you may have turned into a bitch on wheels, but I was probably a shitty boyfriend and fiancé for not even suspecting something deeper. I just knew right then and there we both failed each other. When I saw your posts about needing a timeout, going dark from social media for a couple months … I got my confirmation, cos girl, for as long as I have known you, you had a Smartphone growing out of your hand.”

“Yeah. You are right. Terrible things happened to me, unspeakable stuff at the hands of people I trusted and who had a lot of control over me, nobody knew about it because I didn’t want anyone to know, I spent the past months in therapy working through all this so I can finally start forgetting it and moving on, so please don’t make me talk about it. Just know this, you were an excellent boyfriend and fiancé. This has nothing at all to do with trust, they broke me so bad, I built this wall around all that, for my own sake. NOBODY knew, and nobody would have ever known, had I not collapsed right in front of Aunt Vivien with a total nervous breakdown. She just knew what to ask me and the truth just poured out of me, I couldn’t stop it anymore, all the gory details, everything. Auntie Viv just knew right what to do and I let her help me. I am so much better now, but I still have a long road to recovery and to be the person I would like to be. It’s hard. In therapy they make you face all your demons so you can process them, but also hold the mirror up to yourself and you see a lot of things you don’t like. I realized that am a spoiled bitch. Still, even though I am working on it. You know how terrible I am? Ever since I walked in here, I wished I had Lysol and wipes on me, afraid to touch anything for fear of getting stuck to it, that’s the kind of arrogant and shallow I am. I thought I was grounded now, changed, but I guess I am always gonna be a bitch.”

Reggie burst into laughter, not one bit offended.

“Ha ha ha – shit girl, lemme tell ya, I’ve lived here all my life and I still feel that way, just, that cleaning shit don’t help here no more. It was like that when my great-grandfather moved in here, the place came furnished, the dirt was always part of the furniture. The only thing that could improve this shithole is a giant button to flush it or a wrecking ball. I can see how you are miserable here. Speaking of, I know the awkwardness of feeling like you don’t belong, that was always me in all the fancy places you took me to. I remember the moment I learned what a bidet is at that beach hotel, my dumb ass had been washing the sand off my feet in that shit, till your brother mentioned something to me about the heat pump being broken in his and him feeling like he had icicles on his butthole when he used it. How about I get dressed and we go to a cafe or something to get you more comfortable.”

“No, thanks, no need and I can’t anyway. I have to lay super-low for a while, avoid paparazzi best I can, because of all the drama … I am sure you heard. The PBP Studio execs who all have gone missing without a trace, weeks ago. Really iffy situation, especially for me at the moment.” ‘…for more reasons that you will ever know…’ she added in her mind, thinking about the glee she felt about their demise at the hand of Caelan, the guilt she felt for being so grateful to him for what he had done for her, how it made her feel infinitely better, but how she felt sorry for their families who would never really know the truth about how and why they had to die.

“Oh yeah. I have my own theories, ranging from some angry wives getting together and hiring some muscle to make the fuckers disappear, cos we read again and again that people like those head honchos like to use their power to cheat left and right, but usually have prenups in place – to some wicked revenge of the starlets for not getting the roles they wanted.” Reggie chuckled, while Sheri forced a smile, thinking ‘you have NO idea’.

“Reggie … I am sorry to be so forward, but I am dying here. I have missed you like crazy; I have hated myself for what I did and said to you, not helpful when I was in therapy to learn to love myself again. Is there even the slightest chance for us?” Sheridan blurted out.

Reggie’s face became serious and unreadable. An uncomfortable silence fell for moments that felt like hours to Sheridan.

“Part of me just wants to say yes, we both agree, you are a handful, but also a tough act to follow, for so many reasons. BUT – to be perfectly honest with you, the way things ended, I was DONE, with you and with the relationship. The way you ended it with me and kicked me out, then I didn’t hear from you in months – just naw. So, I eventually started going out. With girls. Ironically, none of them could hold my attention, all I found myself doing was compare them to you, which just was just not fair to them or to me. I clearly wasn’t ready to move on. When I didn’t hear from you in so long, I assumed you had found someone better.”

“No. I haven’t, I didn’t even look and don’t have to. There is nobody better than you for me.”

“I figured something like that when out of the blue I started getting texts from you again. I was somewhere between shocked, excited, flattered and pissed, all at the same time. Look Sheri, while you took all that time to figure out your life, I did the same and therein lies the problem. I came to the realization that this is as good as it is ever gonna get for me. Look around. With my mom, uncle and myself working two jobs each, we barely make rent, bills and groceries. My cousin Aniyah is the only one who managed to get out, by marrying up. We hate this place too, we would move, but just can’t afford it. That ring I gave you took me ages to save up for and I can’t even count how many side jobs I worked for that. But you weren’t wrong when you called it plain. A girl like you … you need something better, BIGGER, and I will never get there, no matter how hard I work. I don’t think you and I have a better chance this time than last time. We may have changed, but circumstances and the rest hasn’t.”

“Reggie, listen to me, and please hear me when I say this: I need you. I want you. Are you hearing me? You, YOU, not things. I know I am a spoiled bitch, but at least I am a rich bitch, and I am so not above being your sugar momma. I am working on being less bitch, but it needs time. There are just not enough hours in a day, not enough days in a month to fix what someone broke inside of me, while learning to love myself and becoming ‘humble-ish’ at the same time, when shopping has been my hobby since I was able to talk. I am only human too. But I am willing to try. For you. For us. All I need is a chance. A REAL chance. One with the understanding that I will screw up a few times until I get it right.”

“A sugar momma? Oh jeeze, man. My mom – and my uncle – both would beat me into next year if I even suggested that, you realize that right? Vivien has tried SO MANY TIMES to buy us a nicer place elsewhere, but when pride and self-respect is all you got left … I don’t know if I could go that route. I don’t know what to say or do here, Sheri. I really got nothing.”

“Say you love me. I need to hear it so bad.”

“Sheri, why me? You can do so much better, girl. You can have any man you want. The whole world loves you.”

“Cos I love you. I. Love. You. YOU! Reggie, it has always been you. I always needed you. It was one of those things that you don’t know what you got until its gone. Once I lost you, I was done. Crumbled. Completely fell apart. I don’t care about money, who has it … I will talk to your mom and your uncle … I will tell them everything I told you. They’ll understand. If not, I’ll sic aunt Vivien on them. You KNOW she will get her way with anyone, including Malik and Nikki.”

Reggie laughed out loud, then stood up, pulled up Sheridan and into a tight hug, which evolved into a kiss.

“All right, bae, I don’t know dafuq I am doing here, I don’t know if this is right or wrong, I don’t know how this is supposed to end any better than the last time, but I missed the shit out of you too. You killed me, girl, dumping me just like that. Seriously murdered me that afternoon at your place. I need you too. I missed you like hell. And – I love you, Sheridan.”

Categories Cameron LineageTags ,

2 thoughts on “Chapter 337) Big Black Hole

  1. That was intense. Poor Sheridan. What she went through was bad for her to feel like someone needed to die. I like her new look, and I’m sure it helps her move forward. I’m also happy Reggie didn’t refuse to give them a second chance. It might have broken her if he didn’t, she really needs him now. I feel bad for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, heartbroken for Sheridan… I’m so glad Reggie decided to give them a shot.

    Like

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