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My parents have known each other since they were kids; they grew up two doors down from each other in Cherry Hill. Cherry Hill is located in South Baltimore. My parents did not start dating until their junior year at Baltimore City College High School and they have been together every since then. My mother got pregnant with me two years after they passed the bar. She was 29 and they were living in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Baltimore. Once both of their careers kicked off, they purchased this house which was ten years ago and have lived here every since. My parents made so much money over the past ten years from their careers and investments, that they only have five more years left and our house will be paid for. My parents do not visit my family in Cherry Hill very often. They usually only visit when someone may be sick or on some holidays. Most of the holidays we may be on vacation or celebrating at home but we are always together. Both of my parents, parents are alive and I will say that they do talk to them on a daily basis. My father even offered to move my grand parents out of Cherry Hill into a two bedroom condo of their choice. Of course they declined the offer, my grandmother said that she has lived in Cherry Hill all of life and she refuse to leave. She always says the only way she will leave Cherry Hill is in a box and she meant that. My mother parents are pretty much the same, my mother didn't even waste her time asking them if they wanted a condo, either she didn't care or she knew they would say no. According to my mother when they first brought the house they asked my grandparents if they wanted to move in and both of them refused. They said they will not be a burden on anyone and they love there house. There are not as many houses that you can buy out Cherry Hill, but both of my grandparent's houses are paid for and they have been living in those houses for over forty years.
Now back to the reason why they don't visit. The reason they say, they don't is because no one in Cherry Hill will amount to anything and they refuse to allow me to be surrounded by them. They always say that if they didn't study hard and stay focus they would probably be like half of the bums out there. I am nothing like my parents; I do visit my relatives, but only doing the summer when I am home from school and I have to damn near beg my mother to let me go out their. I go to New Town High School, when I got put out of McDonough during my middle school years. I will say that my parents don't mind me talking to them on the phone, that's how I keep in touch with everyone but as far as going to see them on a regular is a hell no, they think I am going to get hurt or something. They will allow me to visit them as long as my aunt Karen is going to be out there. Aunt Karen is my father sister and she supposedly is the other one that made it out (whatever that bull shit means). Aunt Karen is a school teacher at Carver Vocational Technical High School in West Baltimore. She has been teaching there for about seven years. Before then she was an elementary school teacher. Aunt Karen lives in Towson, MD but she said she travels to the city to because she rather teach at the city schools because it gives her a challenge. My Aunt Karen has a daughter name Tracy who is sixteen and we are very close, but she is wild as hell and my aunt doesn't even know it. Tracy is one of my cousins that I am very close with, but we are completely different. She is allowed to date and she has been dating since she was thirteen. Aunt Karen said that she doesn't mind Tracy dating because she trust her and as long as she meets the guy and his parents then she is allowed to date. Of course Aunt Karen put Tracy on birth control, she said that she refused to raise anymore babies Tracy was her first and only. Okay enough about my parents; let's talk about how I got pregnant.
Once I get dressed I sit in my room and wait on Tracy, she takes so long to get to my house. Tracy has her own car but it is not something that I would drive. I ride in it because that is my only transportation out Cherry Hill but if my parents brought me a Honda Civic I would be insulted and it's not even new. Bullshit if anybody buys me a used car, it will remain on the street where it belongs, I am to fly for that shit. I end up in a daze until I hear a horn blowing. Oh I gotta go, Tracy is outside, blowing her horn and my parents hate it when she does that. Hey mom I am leaving to go to Granny house, I will call you when I get there and when I am on my way back. Monique you just make sure you are in the house my midnight and be careful. Ok mom I love you. Also Monique please don't be out there eating all of that greasy food, it is not good for you. Ok mom, I am leaving.
Tracy is one of the worst drivers I have ever seen. She drives so fast and wreckless that I am surprised that she has not been in an accident or has gotten a ticket. So now we are at the cookout and as soon as I step out of the car, I spotted him. This tall fine chocolate nigga, standing on the corner damn I thought my panties got wet for a moment there when I first saw him. He is about 6 feet, corn rolls, goatee, and you can tell his body is tight. This is why I love coming out here. I immediately ask Tracy, who is he and of course she say that he is off limits and that I need to keep it moving. Sometimes I think she is such a hater, it's like she wants to be the only person that has a boyfriend. Monique don't even think about it, I am not trying to have your parents cussing me out because you wanted to take a walk on the wild side and caught up in some bullshit. Don't even look over there at him, he is nothing but trouble, Tracy was saying as I was tuning her out. Tracy just kept going on and on about how much trouble the boy was that I was no longer was interested in him, she just turned me the hell off. So I kept it moving and went into the house to say hi to everyone. I don't have a lot of cousins because my father and Aunt Karen were the only children and my mother has an older brother but he has been locked up all of my life. He was charged with murder when someone broke into his house and tried to rob them. My uncle wife Donna was downstairs in the kitchen cleaning up when the intruder came in. My aunt was 8 months pregnant. Per my mother my uncle said that the only thing he heard was his wife screaming and one gun shot. He said that he ran to his closet and got his gun and ran downstairs to find a man trying to rob the place. They figured that the man didn't know that my uncle was in the house. As soon as my uncle saw the man he fired one single shot to the head and it killed him instantly. They rushed my aunt to the hospital with a gun shot wound to the back. They tried to save her and the baby but she lost so much blood that she died on the operating table. They were able to save the baby which is my older cousin Donna (as you can see she was named after her mother). Even though my uncle claimed that he was defending his family he got twenty years for murder. He has done fifteen so far and if you can do the math he has five years left. My grand parents raised Donna on their own and with the help of my mother. I will say that my mother stuck by her brother and promised him that she would help out the best way she could. Donna is now fifteen and pregnant by some dude that suppose to be trouble per my mother, but if you leave it up to my mother every guy is trouble unless she hand pick them. Donna is wild and loose, she blames herself for her mother's death. She believes that they tried so hard to save her that they forgot about her mother. As much as everyone has told her that was not true she never believed it. My mother even offered to let Donna come live with us a couple of years ago but Donna said that she wanted to be free and my parents were to up tight. Being free to Donna means doing whatever she wants to do. At this point my grandparents gave up and said that Donna would have to learn the hard way, they are true believers of tough love. Finally she did learn the hard way. This is the second time she has been pregnant, the first time around six months ago she had a miscarriage and two months later she got pregnant again by a different boy. This boy that she is pregnant by now is locked up for selling drugs and he may not be out anytime soon. I like a thug and I would love to live on the edge but I will never end up like her, I have too much sense. Andre is Donna brother he was only two when his mother died. Andre has always proved everyone wrong, they all thought that he would never amount to anything because at around ten he started showing out in school and ended up getting sent to juvenile hall for a couple of months on assault charges. They say he stabbed a boy in his class that was talking about his mother. But Andre has proved them all wrong. He ended up going to Poly Tech and has a full academic scholarship to Howard University and he received a full athletic scholarship to Georgetown University for basketball. Andre decided to take the basketball scholarship and go to Georgetown; he wants to play in the NBA one day.
After I greeted everyone I went outside to get some food and I noticed that the guy Tracy warned me about was walking over towards my grandparent's house. What you have to understand, out Cherry Hill no cookout is off limits. If you are having a gathering outside any and everybody will be there and you can't even get mad. He came over and asked who I was and you know I had to tell him, I introduced myself as Mo and he introduced his self as D. So what is Mo short for? Monique is my name but my family calls me Mo, I said. Me being me, I said what is D. He said D is short for Devin and of course he kicked a corny line on me (since you are so sexy, I will allow you to call me Devin). My response to him was a big ass laugh, even though my panties were getting wet, just from looking at him. He was so fine I just wanted to kiss him right there but I couldn't I didn't even know the boy and if he is as much trouble as Tracy says he is then I don't need to be having these fantasies of ripping off his clothes and having him just make love to me all night long, damn I am getting horny. I eventually snap out of my day dream when I hear someone saying hello, are you ok. I look up and Devin is sitting there with a huge smile on his face. We were just sitting there not saying nothing until Tracy walked up.
Excuse me D what are you doing over here.
Tracy how are you, you know you grandmother is my peeps she invited me over.
Well let me un-invite your ass, get the hell off of my property you bastard.
"Tracy stop it" my grandmother said. Tracy was so busy fussing she didn't even realize that my grandmother was standing there. Tracy leave that boy alone he is not bothering anyone, baby go on and fix yourself a plate, we have plenty of food so don't be shy my grandmother said and then she walked away. See I told you Tracy we were cool, Devin said. Fuck you Devin I am watching your punk ass and leave my damn cousin alone, Tracy said as she walked away. Wow what was that all about Devin, I asked him. Tracy she is crazy me and her are always going at it for no reason, I think she has a secret crush on me but I don't pay her no mind half of time. After the introduction and the cat fighting between Tracy and Devin we pretty much talked for the rest of the night, danced, ate, and you know we had to exchange numbers. We talked about everything you could think off, he was so honest and up front with me about his life, that everything Tracy said about him seemed like a damn lie.
So around 10 that night Devin asked me if I wanted to take a walk with him, so we could talk a little more and where there was a little more privacy. I wanted to say no because I was scared. Despite how I was feeling I said yes. While we were walking he asked if he could hold my hand and I said why I don't even know you like that but knowing in my head I was saying "YES, YES you can hold my hand do you have to ask". His response is I feel like I have known you all my life. When he said that my heart melted and I thought I wet my pants because my panties were soaked at this moment. I have never been this close to a boy and I didn't know what to do or to say. So of course I let him hold my hand and then I asked him where were we going and he said don't worry I wont hurt you it's a surprise. I am thinking in my mind Monique are you crazy you don't know anything about his boy except for the fact that his name is Devin, and what he previously told me about him earlier that day but I still didn't know him but he is sexy as hell. But despite what I was thinking in my head I was really curious about where he was taking me and truthfully I was hoping he was taking me somewhere to rip my clothes off because at this point I was horny and I have never been this horny before in my life.
Excerpted from Forbidden Fruit by Leslie Crawford Copyright © 2010 by Leslie Crawford. Excerpted by permission.
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