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The ride back to the house was awkward as hell, for me anyways. Charlotte was having a ball talking to moms in the backseat. I could tell my mom was enjoying the conversation she was having with her, but it didn’t stop her from glancing back at me every few seconds.
"Then I have to make schedule cause I go school now. I also teach Me Joe to sing." I heard my mom chuckle as Charlotte continued talking to her about random things. Hopefully if she talked to Charlotte long enough she wouldn’t be mad by the time it came to talk to me.
"You think you can fit your grandma into that schedule?"
"I put you for Me Joe." I smiled and glanced at Sky through the rear view mirror. She looked like she was in another world. I wanted to figure out whatever was going on inside her head, because she seemed to zone out a lot. She looked up at the mirror and our eyes connected. I stared at her, trying to read any emotion off of her, but she was blank. She gave me a small smile before turning her head back to the window, I did the exact same.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" I asked Chris after he had put his mom’s bags away. Charlie had fallen asleep while talking to his mom and Mijo had put her in one of the guest rooms before leaving with Chris’ mom to go get Rickey.
"Yeah, what’s up?"
"I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t see you trying, because I do, but what’s the point if you’re going to hide her. She’s going to notice after a while that you never publicly take her out as your daughter. Maybe it’s-" I could tell he was getting mad, and when he cut me off it proved it to me.
"I’m not hiding her!"
"Your own mother didn’t even know about her Chris! Weather you want to accept it or not, there’s a reason why she doesn’t feel comfortable calling you dad. You want to act like she’s yours behind closed doors, but always need an entourage to take her out in public, then you treat her like she’s just one of your little cousins or something. I would be confused on what to call you if I was her too."
"It’s not as easy as you think. Do you know who I am? I can’t just go out and say I have a daughter."
"Why? You say everything else without any regards. By now I would think you didn’t care what people thought of you."
"What the hell do you mean by now?"
"I mean that you have a child. When it comes to your child you shouldn’t care about anyone’s thoughts or feelings on it. She’s not everyone else’s child, she’s yours. Your fans and anyone else should understand that." He looked at me weirdly which confused me. What did he think I was going to say? "What did you think I was going to say?" Might as well ask him.
"Nothing, I just thought you were going to bring up something about my past." It was my turn to give him the confused look.
"I don’t know anything about your past. I listen to music and watch movies, that’s all. And you shouldn’t be ashamed about anything that happened in your past if it’s not currently your present."
"That’s some real shit Sky, thanks."
"Well, not to brag or anything, but I do have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. I give advice for a living." He smirked and looked down at his phone. I learned in the past week that this was a habit of his. Even if there was nothing going on with his phone he would check it anyways.
"I still don’t have your cell phone number." He mumbled while scrolling through his phone.
"Is the house phone not enough for you?"
"Nope, because I don’t know your schedule and I need a way to reach you when I have Charlotte or am trying to come get her."
"Why do you call her that?"
"Because it’s her name, why else."
"Call me Chris."
"No, Christopher is your name, so that’s what I will call you."
"Your ass is hella irritating."
"Well so are you, so get used it." I smiled at him and he glared back in return. His glare didn’t scare me at all. I’ve come in contact with twelve year olds who’ve had more intimidating glares.
"Christopher Maurice Brown, why didn’t you tell me you had a child?" We broke contact and turned to look at Chris’ mom. Mijo walked past with a sleeping Rickey and up the stairs.
"I recently found her mom." She turned her glare on me when he said that. Oh boy.
"Why would you keep my grand baby away from my son?"
"I didn’t. I just met Christopher, I adopted Charlie."
"Adopted? Chris explain this to me now."
"When Taylor and I broke up she found out she was pregnant. I didn’t want her to get an abortion so she gave the baby up and we moved on from there." He said it so simply, like he wasn’t standing there talking about a child’s life.
"Why didn’t you come to me? God knows what could have happened to that little girl if she was to enter the system. You need to be thanking this woman." I smiled lightly as she turned to me. At this moment I just want to go home. I don’t want any part of this conversation. So, as usual, I zoned out. My mind quickly flashing back to my first week with Charlie.
"Mommy!" Charlotte screaming at the top of her lungs snapped us all out of confrontation mode. Sky jumped off the chair she was sitting on and took off running and I was right behind her. We ran into the guest room and seen Mijo in there trying to calm her down.
"Mommy! Where you go?" Charlotte jumped out of Mijo’s arms and over to Sky.
"I was just downstairs. We’re over Christopher’s house now." She still stuck on calling me this shit, sounding like one of my middle school teachers.
"I thought you leave me."
"I will never leave you, don’t forget that." She threw her arms around Sky’s neck and put her face into her neck.
"I love you mommy."
"I love you too Charlie. You still want to spend time with Mr. Christopher, or do you want to go home?" She looked up and around the room at everyone, her eyes landing on me.
"I spend time with Grandma." I glanced behind me and seen my mom standing there with a satisfied smile. I guess she wasn’t looking at me after all. Mama wins.
"My chain, my chain! Don’t you like my chain mane?! Young Gucci Mane and I’m poppin off the chain mane. And my Jacob is so fruity. Call me Gucci Mane or you call me Gucci Gucci!" I sung along to the music blasting through the surround sound speakers in my room as I danced around wearing nothing but Bow’s YMCMB crewneck. It went down to the middle of my thighs, and I was in the comfort of my room, so I wasn’t trippin.
Out of the group, I would have to say that Bow and I have the fun relationship. Our relationship is full of not giving any fucks, but there is always a downside to being all games. To me it seemed like our relationship was more of a friends with benefits type of thing, but apparently it was more than that since we live together and sleep in the same bed.
Anyways, back to the subject at hand, Bow is a cheater. A hardcore cheater, but I don’t really care. Like I said, I didn’t really give a fuck, nor do I take anything seriously because that’s how you stress yourself out. As long as I don’t physically see him cheating on me then I’m good, just like he’s never seen my random hookups. We’re both young, and we need to have fun. Settling down is for boring and old people.
"Now this is what I like to come home to." I smiled at Bow and danced over to him, shoving my tongue into his mouth. He instantly reacted by wrapping his arms around my waist and attacking my tongue with his. The kiss lasted for about two minutes, but it was well worth the blood rush.
"How was your show last night?" I walked over to the stereo and turned it off.
"It was live. You should come to the next show."
"I’m going to pass on that. Your groupies are way too aggressive for me." He smirked and sat down on the bed. Whenever Bow had a show he never came home that night. I knew why, and that’s another reason why I don’t go to his shows. My biggest fear is rejection, and I am not trying to watch him go home with another woman.
"You can’t help but love the fans, but at the end of the day you’re my girl. not them."
"Is that what you go around telling people? That I’m your girl?"
"Nope. I tell them you’re my soul mate, best friend, love of my life, woman of my dreams." I walked over to the bed and plopped down on his lap.
"You don’t tell me none of that shit."
"I don’t need too. That’s all you need is to get cocky on a nigga. I love you, my family love you, and my friends love you. You’re everything girl." Believe it or not, in all four years that I’ve been with Bow, this is the first time I’ve ever heard him say he loves me. Not like I tell him. I feel like if he doesn’t say it then why should I? I don’t know… we’re complicated… everything is complicated.
"I love you too baby."
"Mijo please stop singing!" I begged as I ran my hand through my hair. We had been waiting outside the airport for thirty minutes now, and Mijo felt the need to sing along to every song that played on the R&B Love Songs station on Pandora. Chris was in his own world, leaving Charlie and I back here suffering.
"Are you not entertained!?"
"Not in the least." I boredly began tapping my fingers to the Ray J song that was playing.
"I teach you to sing Me Joe!" That seemed to catch Chris’ attention. He broke out of his little bubble as him and Mijo both turned around.
"Let me hear you sing." She huffed and paused as she listened to the song, most likely waiting for the chorus to come in. It was usually the only part of the song she knew.
"If I have one wish, we would be best friends. Wuv would never end." She stopped and smiled shyly, covering her face. I smiled and leaned over to kiss her cheek. Seeing her shy was a very rare and adorable moment.
"Listen to my mini Breezy sing. You better sign up for some lessons Mijo, she can teach you a few things." Charlie removed her hands and smiled at them.
"I told you I teach you Me Joe."
"Who’s your favorite singer Charlie?" Chris asked, most likely expecting to hear his name.
"Who’s your favorite guy singer?"
"Omarion? That nigga weak."
"No he not! He dance!" Chris’ eyes widened and I could tell this had turned serious for him, it was serious for Charlie too. She loved her some Omarion.
"I dance too!"
"Not like Marion!"
"That’s cause he weak, and my moves are ten times better than his!"
"I’m ya daddy, not him! Your last name is Brown, therefore you will support me!" I had to hold my stomach because of how hard I was laughing. They were seriously arguing and it was way too funny for Mijo and I to even attempt to break it up. It got silent and I opened my eyes to see them both glaring at each other.
"You do good on Wall 2 Wall." Charlie said, breaking the silence. Chris was trying his hardest to hide his smile, but as hard as he tried he couldn’t hold it back. Charlie loved the Wall 2 Wall video, and she was always trying to learn the choreography to it.
"Thank you. I’ll accept that compliment." I smiled and ran my hand through my hair.
"You should see her trying to dance along to the video."
"Mommy! You not tell him!" I laughed as she she covered her face, obviously embarrassed.
"I can teach you the dance Charlie." She removed her hands and looked at Mijo.
"I teach you to sing."
My smile faded when I seen my mom walking out of the airport. I still didn’t have a plan on how to tell her about Charlie. No matter how I brake the news, I know someone was going to be mad.
"I see my mom, I’m about to go get her bags." I noted as I hopped out of Mijo’s truck and jogged over to her. I threw my arms around her and kissed her cheek.
"I missed you too Chris."
"How was your flight mom?" I pulled away from her and grabbed her bags, leading her over to Mijo’s truck.
"It was okay, I’m just ready to spend some time with my baby Rickey."
"I thought I was your baby?"
"Talk to me once you’ve settled down and have me some grandbabies." I got quiet when she said that, maybe this whole I have a four damn near five year old daughter thing might not be so hard to break to her. I put her bags into the trunk for her then opened the back door. She slid in next to Charlotte’s booster seat and smiled at her.
"Hi, I Charlie." She leaned over and wrapped her small arms around my mom’s neck. I smiled and closed the back door, getting into the passenger seat.
"How did you meet these boys?"
"They showed up at my door like a week and a half ago, I haven’t really been able to shake them since." Sky replied. Conversation seemed to be going good so far.
"I know me and my sister raised them better then to be stalking people."
"It wasn’t my idea auntie. I was just supporting Chris."
"Snitch." I mumbled as I looked out the window.
"You Mr. Chris mom?"
"Yes I am sweetie."
"He say he name me after you." Fuck.
"What’s your name?" The tone in my mom’s voice had changed and I could tell she was piecing shit together in her head.
"Charlotte Joyce Brown, but I like Charlie." I glanced back and was immediately met with the fiery eyes of my mom. Damn.
It’s been a little over a week since I got my daughter back in my life, and I still haven’t found a way to tell my mom. I knew she would be mad at me, and I wasn’t ready to hear her yelling at me. I needed to think of something, and quick, because my mom was on a plane out to Atlanta and Charlotte wanted to hang out with me today. The only plan I had in my head so far was to show up at the airport with Charlotte already in the car and let things go from there.
My mom always told me one of her fears was that I would get a girl pregnant and ruin everything I worked so hard to achieve. So instead I got some girl pregnant and let her give the child up. I’m not gonna lie and say I was depressed and wanted to go find out where my child was. I was living it up, and as horrible as it sounds, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was partying night and day. I didn’t start thinking about my decision until Mijo announced that Chanel was pregnant with Rickey.
It blew my mind how Mijo can take care of a child, but I couldn’t. He was hella immature and didn’t take anything seriously, we were the same exact person in the same exact situation. But unlike me, Mijo took on his responsibilities instead of walking away from them.
"I want to do what you do Ms. Sky. How the hell I get in your shoes?" I looked across my desk at Nailah and smiled. She was only fifteen years old and so full of life. This is why I loved my job as a counselor. I love being that person the children feel comfortable talking too, because there are a lot of people who don’t release their problems.
"College. I studied Child Development and Psychology. When you turn sixteen I can let you intern for me, but you have stay on top of your grades in school." She pulled out a paper from her backpack and handed it over to me.
"Check me out Ms. Sky." I looked over the progress report and smiled.
"Now this is what I like to see. Grades like this will get you a full ride through college, and that’s what we’re aiming for. Don’t let anything distract you. I’m like a big Nailah cheerleader." She smiled as I handed the paper back to her.
"You’re like the only Nailah cheerleader right now. Like ever actually. I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom. I don’t think there was ever a day I’ve seen her sober. I don’t want to sound horrible, but I was a little happy when she died. This group home is in not glamorous in any way, but I don’t have to worry about weather or not I’m going to eat today or not."
"Some people aren’t fit to have children. They have different ways to why they keep them and in their mind it makes sense, but it’s not in the best interest of the child. You have the drive to push yourself better because you know what it feels like to be in a horrible situation. I believe in you and you believe in you, because you don’t want to become your mother."
"Hell no I don’t."
"You also have to work on cleaning up that language. If I were to walk into an interview and just be cursing. ‘Oh no I don’t do that shit, you betta take that to the next bitch. What you say? Hell naw, not I. What the fuck is a WPM?’ What would you think?" She started laughing as I smacked my lips and started scratching my scalp.
"You right. It’s going to be hard though, because I grew up around so much cussing."
"Look at me Nailah. The only person I’ve ever came in contact with who doesn’t curse is my daughter. You have to choose what’s right or wrong, but think about it like this. You don’t have to completely cut it out, just know what situations you need to be completely uptight and professional in. Got it?" She laughed and nodded her head.
"Got it. I’m about to go tackle this homework. You leaving soon anyways." I looked at the clock and noticed my shift was five minutes to over.
"I love hearing that. School is top priority for you, anything else is up to me. I will handle everything you need so don’t ever feel like you have to stress on anything other than school."
"Speaking of things I need. I need to go on another clothing trip, but I don’t want Ms. Nancy taking me. She has no style whatsoever."
"I can schedule you one, who do you want to take you?"
"You want so much from me, but I’ll see what I can do. Check in with me tomorrow." I said giving her a smile. She nodded and walked out my office. I got up and gathered my things and left my office, locking it up behind me. I walked over to the pre-school next door and signed Charlie out.
"Mommy I draw you a picture." I smiled and grabbed the paper from her. It had a big heart in the middle with two stick figures on one side and like ten on the other side.
"Explain it to me." I crouched down and held the picture up so we could both see it.
"This me and you, and that’s Mr. Chris and his family. Soon we can all get in the heart in become a big family." I gave her a hug and kissed her cheek.
"This is a pretty picture. I’m going to hang it on the refrigerator." She smiled and put it back in her folder.
"This feels like stalking. We gone get arrested."
"Mijo shut the fuck up. I don’t know what time she get off work, and I need to pick up Charlotte before we go get mama." I mumbled as I stared at the door to Sky’s apartment from my car. It did look creepy, but I still don’t have a number to call her at. The only number Bow was able to get for me was the house phone.
"Hide nigga, here she come!" Mijo yelled dramatically as he reclined his seat. I shook my head and got out the big ass Escalade truck Mijo was driving.
"Don’t call her Charlotte either, she hate that name!" Mijo called after me. I glanced back and gave him a what the fuck look.
"That’s her name nigga."
"Okay, I’m not the one she be mad at. She loves her Me Joe." I ignored him and continued walking across the parking lot to Sky’s outdated Lexus.
"Hi Mr. Chris! Look, I draw a picture." Charlotte greeted me as she excitedly climbed out of her booster seat. If she was going to call me Mr. Chris then I see no problem with calling her Charlotte. She put her backpack on the ground and started searching through it.
"I didn’t know you were coming today." My eyes went to Sky for the first time today and I had to take a second to take her all in.
"Yeah, I told Charlotte I would hang out with her on Wednesday." Sky gave me a weird look when I said Charlotte, and I didn’t understand why everyone made a big deal about me calling her by the name I gave her the day she was born. It was on her damn birth certificate.
"That’s cool. Let’s go inside, you can show him your picture then Charlie."
"I almost find it mommy."
"I was actually planning on taking her to meet my mom."
"Just the two of you?" She said giving me another weird look. I guess I couldn’t take Charlotte anywhere without first submitting a proposal to Sky first.
"Mijo in the car too, but yeah, just us. I mean you’re more than welcomed to come." She bit her bottom lip and looked down at Sky.
"No, it’s cool. I just need to change her out of her school clothes."
"I find it. Look." Charlotte stood up, holding a piece of paper up to me. I picked her up, putting her on my hip so we can both see the picture.
"This me and mommy. This you, Me Joe, Tiger, Bow Wow, and they lady friends."
"Why are you and mommy all the way over here?"
"Cause we working to get here." She said pointing at the big heart in the middle of the paper. This was a deep drawing.
" You know I draw too. We can draw a picture together in my creative room."
"It’s a room in my house that’s for everything art."
"I can’t go without mommy." Damn. This was starting to get irritating. A part of me understood why she never wanted to do anything with just her and I, but another part didn’t. I mean she is my daughter, how long is it going to take for her to see me as her father and not just Mr. Chris, the stranger.
"Can you go with us Sky?"
"If you can wait for us both to change, then yeah." I looked down at her outfit and noted the slacks and heels she was rocking. It was rare that you see a woman dressing professionally.
"No problem. Where do you work at? If you don’t mind me asking."
"I’m a counselor at Hanley St. Group Home. And you?" I nodded and grabbed Charlotte’s backpack off the ground as I followed after Sky towards their front door.
"I’m just an international sensation, don’t mind me." She lightly chuckled as she shook her head at me.
"Tell me what’s wrong with my son Chanel!"
"He’s sick Mijo. He has a cold. Thanks to your smart ass telling him that he could go swimming with you in the middle of the night. Good call daddy." I threw my head back against the headrest as I glanced out the window.
"I can’t say no to him."
"You have to be the bad guy when it comes to what’s good for him. You could have easily told him you would go swimming with him today, but then I’m left with being the evil parent because daddy always says yes."
"I love it when you call me daddy." I said changing the subject. I didn’t want to have this conversation any longer about how bad of a father I am. We already came to the conclusion about how I fail at being a boyfriend/fiance/whatever the hell we were.
"You are so full of shit."
"How? Cause I want some good loving from my girl?"
"You are so corny Mr. Hawkins."
"Corny for you girl." I could already see her rolling her eyes on the other end of the phone.
"After I pick my auntie up from the airport I’m gonna drop Rickey off with her then I’ma come home and beat that shit up."
"How romantic." I smirked and took the phone off speaker when I seen Chris on his way back to the truck with a booster seat in one arm and Charlie in the other.
"Clean that thang up for me baby."
"What you tryna say?"
"It’s just been a while that’s all. See you when I get home." I ended the call and turned to the backseat.
"What’s good Charlie Brown?"
"Hi Me Joe! I draw a picture." Her mispronouncing my name was annoying at first, but now that I was used to it, it was kind of… cute.
"Don’t do that Rickey." I popped his hand, stopping him from digging his fingers into my food. He frowned up his face and turned to Mijo, his saving grace in all situations like this. The main reason why Mijo and I always have problems is because he never backs me up when it comes to Rickey, he was pro Rickey with everything.
"Damn Chanel! He can’t have none of your fucking food." And this is how it starts.
"Yeah, if he asks instead of trying to ram his fingers through my meal." Mijo rolled his eyes and reached over Rickey, ramming his fork into my pasta. He pulled up a large portion and put on Rickey’s still full plate.
"Hey, no fighting in the restaurant." Ty said trying to lighten the mood, but this was past a joking matter for me. There’s only so much I can just laugh off.
"No, fuck him." I pushed my chair back and grabbed my bag, walking off to the bathroom. I locked myself in one of the stalls and began searching through my bag for my pills. I found the small orange bottle and took out two pills. I placed them on the back of my tongue and dry swallowed them. That’s how used to these pills I am.
"Chanel?" Fuck, who the hell decided to follow me to the bathroom. I tossed the pill bottle into my bag and made my way out the stall.
"Sky? What are you doing in here?" She looked down at my bag before looking back up at me.
"I just wanted to come check to see if you were okay. You are okay right?" She didn’t even know me, but yet she was checking up on me. It was a bit creepy.
"If you ever need someone to talk to I’m here. Sometimes it’s better to talk to people you don’t know about stuff they can’t judge you on. Kinda like a fresh palette or whatever. Someone who’s opinion doesn’t matter to you." Really? Who was this girl.
"I said I’m fine. Where did you come from, and why would you choose now to tell Chris about his daughter? You looking for some type of financial support?" Her eyebrows met in confusion before whatever I just said to her finally snapped.
"No, no, no. Charlie isn’t my biological daughter, I adopted her. Chris came to us." What the hell? I had known something was up since I had never seen this woman before. Then whose baby was that?
"Taylor." I whispered under my breath.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing, thanks for checking on me, I’m going to head back to the table."
I waited until she was completely out of the bathroom before letting out the breath I was holding in. I walked over to the sink and cut on the cold water as I stared at myself in the mirror. I was confused with my emotions. I liked the fact that Charlie was taking to Chris so fast, but he had things to offer her that I couldn’t. Chris had friends, family, and tons of money he could use to give Charlie things. He is also outgoing, the complete opposite of myself.
I’m shy when it comes to being around people my age and older. I had grown up fearing adults, and now I was one of them. When I tried to reach out and make friends, I came off as awkward and weird. I don’t understand it, I was the one who raised Charlie, but her personality was a far cry from mine. The only thing that shows that I raised her are her manners and her big heart.
"Get it together Skylar." I splashed some water on my face and turned off the faucet. I grapped a paper towel and patted my face dry with it. I took one last look in the mirror before making my way back to the table.
"Mommy, I don’t want no more sgetti." I kissed her cheek and took my seat.
"Okay baby. We’ll get a to go box. Did the check come yet?" I asked turning to look at Chris momentarily so he would know the question was for him. I turned back to my bag, pulling my wallet out.
"It’s cool Sky. I paid for yours and Charlotte’s food already." I pulled out two twenty dollar bills and handed it to him.
"Sky it’s cool, it’s handled."
"This is how much our meals usually cost. Just take it, I don’t feel comfortable with anyone paying for our meals."
I felt like the entire table froze when Sky still pulled out money after Chris had clearly stated he already paid for her. This girl was different, I liked that. I was too used to seeing Chris with all these gold diggers and wannabe models, like Taylor for example. That bitch wasn’t shit as a model, and she knew it. Chris took the money from her, but knowing him, he was going to do some slick shit with it.
"Charlotte, you want some money for your piggy bank." I knew it, and the look on Sky’s face said it all. Chris definitely didn’t know how to act around a decent girl. Hoes didn’t care because he was Chris Brown and they would let him do whatever, but Sky wasn’t phased by his fame. I don’t even think she wanted Chris around, and that may turn out to be a problem in the near future.
"No tank you." Aw, she is too adorable.
"Charlie is not aloud to take money from people. Sorry your little slick scheme didn’t work." I laughed and turned to look at Ty, he was staring at me also.
"Baby when you gone let me get you pregnant?"
"Nigga, you are not trapping me. Rappers always want someone to be they baby mama." I joked. Don’t get me wrong, I did want to have kids, but Ty was clearly not ready for them. He’s on the outside looking at his friends with their children, but its much different when the child is your own.
"We’ll talk about this later." I doubt we were, but there wasn’t a point in starting an argument about it. I looked across the table at Janessa and we exchanged looks. Children were definitely not in our future, not with the men we were with. Then I look at Chanel, and I for sure didn’t want my relationship with Ty to turn out like hers and Mijo’s, they barely even spoke to each other anymore without arguing.
"I love you baby boy." I leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"So, this means you giving me a baby?"
"Not this year boo."
"Is it just me or has Beyonce’s ass been frozen on the TV since we got here?" We all turned to the medium sized plasma that was mounted on the wall and started laughing.
"Only your ass would notice that Mijo."
"I’m just saying. You can’t just ignore Beyonce’s ass."
"Are we supposed to leave or just sit here awkwardly?" Bow stated causing everyone to turn to me. We had been sitting here for fifteen minutes and I wasn’t quite sure about that answer either.
"Y’all can head out to the car. I still need to talk to Sky." They got up and headed for the door.
"Don’t keep us waiting for hella long Breezy, and if you don’t cuff her I will." These niggas are crazy.
"Ty you ain’t doing shit with Deja around." Bow said slapping him upside his head as the disappeared out the door. I got up and started to look around at the pictures that decorated the living room. It’s like you can see Charlotte’s entire life in this living room, down to her as a new born. There wasn’t not one picture that she wasn’t smiling in either. I wonder if she would have been this happy if Taylor and I would have kept her. It wouldn’t have been stable since both of our careers were busy, and the fact that we weren’t together. Come to think of it, my mom would have been left to raise her. I turned around when I heard someone clear their throat and seen Sky.
"Is she okay?"
"Yeah, she’s asleep now."
"It seemed like she was warming up to me, but I guess I need to try harder."
"No, she likes you. There’s just a lot she doesn’t understand. She’s going to start trying to push you away until she see’s that you won’t leave her again. Plus that apology you gave her was lame."
"I know, but I didn’t know what else to say."
"You haven’t seen your child in years, and you don’t know what to say to her? How about I’m sorry for not taking care of my sole responsibility for you, there isn’t an excuse for me leaving. How about telling her that was the biggest mistake you ever made and that you promise to be here for here for her now. You’re a sorry ass excuse for a father. Wait, you aren’t even a father, you want to be one." Now this bitch was going to far. She popping off at the wrong nigga.
"You know what, I didn’t make you become a single mother. I didn’t leave you with Charlotte. You chose to take her in. You need talk all that shit to the nigga who left you alone in the first place, with your bitter ass."
"First off, you don’t know shit about me. I did choose to take Charlie in, by myself, and I had to fight to keep her. I was eighteen years old when I got her, and I’ve fought harder for her then you ever would because I know what it’s like to be in that horrible ass system. People love taking in little girls because they know it’s harder for them to protect themselves. At eighteen I became a mother so there would be one less child falling victim to the system! I was dumped in a trash bin the week after I was born. I can never even imagine what goes through a parents mind when they decide they don’t want their own children anymore. Then you come in here with a sorry ass excuse about you not being ready to be a father! Are you fucking serious right now? So what, now that you’re ready things are just supposed to pick up where they left off? You’re going to have to do better than that. Your daughter deserves better than that.”
"I don’t know how I’m supposed to give her better. What can I do for her? I wish I can go back and change things, but I can’t. You expect me to just have this perfect ass plan of what I need to do when I don’t even know where to take the first step." She took a deep breath and removed her eyes from me. What did I say wrong now?
"Right now all you could do is be there for her. She doesn’t need the glitz and glamour or all of the extra, she’s a simple girl. Just show her that you’re here for good. Look, tonight is restaurant night, we’re going to Olive Garden, you can meet us there."
"Should I come by myself?"
"You can bring your friends. I don’t think Charlie would be comfortable with just you around." I could see that after she ignored me earlier.
"Alright, what time should we come?"
"See you there." I said awkwardly before making my way out the small apartment.
"How did it go?" Bow asked as I slid into the backseat.
"Coo, I guess. We going to Olive Garden tonight, bring the girls."
Charlie and I walked into the restaurant hand in hand and almost immediately I noticed the table Chris was at. He had a real party of people with him. Charlie was going to love it, but I myself was going to feel awkward. I told the hostess that we were with them and she led us over to the table. Chris stood up and pulled out the two chairs next to him for me and Charlie.
"Girls this is Sky, and my daughter Charlotte." Charlie huffed and glared up at Chris, which I knew was hard for her to do. Being mean was not her forte.
"My name Charlie."
"Charlie what did we talk about before we left the car?"
"I sorry for be mean Mr. Chris." He smiled at her, but she ignored it and looked around the table, an instant smile appearing on her face.
"Hi, I Charlie. Hi Me Joe, Tiger and Mr. Wow." I smiled and scooted my chair closer into the table before checking on Charlie.
"Nice to meet you Charlie, I’m Chanel, and this is me and Mijo’s son Ricky." Charlie’s eyes lit up as she smiled at him.
"Me Joe a nice daddy?"
"Best daddy in the world." He smiled showing off his toothless grin. He was too cute. Mijo nodded proudly and gave Rickey a high five.
"Uncle Chris a fun daddy?"
"I only have a mommy." I noticed her look at me from the corner of her eye after she said that, so I put a dramatic frown on my face. She turned fully to face me and frowned also.
"Don’t be sad, I take it back."
"Can I get a hug to make me feel better?" She climbed off her chair and walked over to my chair. I picked her up and she wrapped her arms around my neck.
"I sorry." I kissed her cheek and sat her down in my lap.
"It’s not your fault. Is it okay with you for me to be your daddy? I promise not to leave you again, and I’ll be a better daddy then Mijo."
"Hey, fuck you!"
"Nigga watch your language around my daughter."
"Nigga like you saying nigga is better." Sky put her hand on her forehead and groaned.
"Welcome to the family girl." Deja said with a smirk on her face.
"Please tell me this isn’t normal."
"What you mean? We as normal as they come." I said before looking back down at Charlotte. She still hadn’t answered my question. She sat up and placed her small hands around my ear.
"You can be my daddy. Just don’t leave." She whispered. I smiled and gave her another hug.
"I’m not going anywhere, I promise. I’ll never make that mistake again." She smiled and turned around.
"Rickey, Chris my daddy now."
"Cause I say yes."
"You can do that?"
"Yeah, I do anything." I laughed and shook my head. Kids have the weirdest conversations. Sky looked over at us and smiled.
"Hi, I Charlie!" I turned around and seen Charlie introducing herself to every soul she came in contact with. I smiled and shook my head as I let her go on, but as soon as someone sparked up a conversation with her it was time to pull the plug on her fun.
"Charlotte Brown, what did I tell you about being over friendly with strangers?" She waved to the light skinned guy she was standing in front of before running over to me.
"I sorry mommy. We have same name." She said with the biggest smile on her face.
"It’s okay angel. What do you mean you two have the same name?"
"His name Chris Brown, and I Charlie Brown." I looked back to see if the guy was still there, but he was gone. I quickly shook the thoughts out my head as I turned back to Charlie.
Charlie knows she’s adopted, but she never really asked where her real parents were. I know who they are thanks to the birth certificate that I got when I finalized her adoption, but I never felt the need to go hunting them down. I know she loves me with all her heart, but I also know she has hope that they are going to try and find her. Like how some of the other kids at the orphanage’s parents did. I had faith when I was growing up too, it was the only thing that kept me going, but my parents never came. No one ever came to the door looking for me, and as much as I wanted Charlie to know her real parents, a part of me didn’t for fear that they would take her from me. She is all I have, and I’d be damned if anyone took her away from me.
"It’s probably just a coincidence. Brown is a very common name. Now back to these shoes, do you see anything you want?" She ran over to the wall full of shoes and stared at the variety before picking up the pink and white Retro 13s.
"I like this." I took the shoe from her and looked around for an employee. I grabbed Charlie’s hand and walked over to one of the employees.
"Can I get these in a size 11 for my daughter." The woman smiled at me and Charlie before making her way to the back.
"Nigga you trippin." Ty blurted out before I could finish my story.
"I promise that was her. I think I would remember my daughter if I seen her."
"Now you really trippin. You don’t know what that girl look like now. You seen her once when she was born. She done grown into her looks and some more shit by now." Mijo cut in. They thought I was crazy, but I know it was her.
"Will y’all just shut the fuck up and listen! She ran up to me and was like her name was Charlie, so I said my name is Chris Brown. Just to see if she recognized me or something, because I have young fans too. She froze, but it wasn’t a fan girl freeze, it was something else. That’s when I heard someone yell out Charlotte Brown. It wasn’t no damn coincidence. I named my child, I know that was her."
"So if that’s ya daughter, like you claim it is, what did you do when you realized it was her?” Bow asked, putting emphasis on the word daughter.
"I left. What the hell was I supposed to do? I would have looked stupid walking up to that woman and telling her she had my daughter. Then the media would have found out and the headlines would be crazy. Deadbeat father Chris Brown finds his long lost daughter, and makes a scene in Footlocker." A smirk appeared on Mijo’s face and I glared at him as a warning to not laugh. This shit isn’t funny to me at all. This is my daughter we’re talking about.
"Nigga, I can find your daughter if you wanna meet her in a more private environment." We all turned to Bow and I gave him a suspicious look.
"How the hell you plan on finding her?"
"Nothing like that! Janessa work at Social Services, she can get an address and shit for you." I wasn’t with the whole popping up at her house option, but I see no other way to do this. Not if I want my daughter in my life.
"Aite, but one of y’all got to come with me in case it’s some niggas there that try and jump bad." I would be mad as fuck if some random person showed up to my door asking to see my four year old daughter.
"We in." They said at the same time. I shook my head as the scene from yesterday replayed in my head. That was my baby girl, and I know that for a fact.
"Aww I need in this wife of kin is me and my mommy, me and my mommy!" I laughed and spun her around.
"Down to ride to til the very end is me and my Charlie, me and my Charlie." I planted a sloppy kiss on her cheek and continued to dance with her. The doorbell rung interrupting our fun. I paused the video that was playing on the television and walked over to the door with Charlie still in my arms.
"We got company mommy." She sang out in my ear. I laughed and started unlocking the door.
"I wonder who it may be." I said in a sing song way back as I opened the door. I froze when I seen my childhood crush standing amongst the group of guys outside my door. Bow Wow. I literally used to carry around a picture of him in my backpack. I finally brought myself to look at the rest of the guys. Chris Brown and Tyga being amoungst the group. What is really going on?
"Can I help you guys?"
"Mommy that’s him from the store. Member we have same name." She pointed to Chris and everything connected in my head, but I didn’t want to believe it. Chris Brown could not be Charlie’s father. I mean I’ve seen the name on the birth certificate plenty of times, but I still refuse to believe that this is the Christopher Brown on my child’s birth certificate. Like I said, Brown is a very common name. Famous people don’t give their kids up for adoption, do they? The way he was staring at Charlie told me otherwise.
"What’s your name cutie?" The guy’s whose name I didn’t know asked as he leaned into Charlie.
"I Charlie, Charlie Brown." She said with a bright smile. Charlie loves meeting new people. I on the other hand dont, but I get along great with children. Especially since it’s my job.
"Is it alright if we came in and talked?" Bow spoke up and I damn near fainted. How would you feel if the guy you completely idolized since you were twelve showed up at your door? Well that’s how I felt.
"Uh sure… Come in." I stepped to the side letting them walk in. I put Charlie down and closed and locked my front door behind them. Charlie, being the friendly person she is, followed after the guys into the living room not even bothering to wait for me.
"Did you get shoes yesterday? Mommy buy me these." Charlie said pointing down at the Retro 13’s on her feet. I glanced over at the guys and they all had a smirk on their faces. They knew she was my child.
"No, I didn’t get anything yesterday. I didn’t see anything I liked."
"Oh man." She frowned and went to say something else when her mom walked in. Shorty was bad, but I wasn’t here to try and cuff, I was here for my daughter.
"Charlie why don’t you get everyone a bottle of water, and don’t try and carry them all at once."
"Yes mommy." She ran out the room and the woman turned to me. She looked a bit young to be raising Charlotte, but who was I to judge.
"Now, how can I help you all?" She said, but I felt like the question was directed to me, so I answered her.
"I’m Charlotte’s father-" I started before she cut me off.
"You can’t take her from me, so if that’s what your intentions are then you might as well leave now."
"No, I’m not trying to take her from you. I just want to meet her." She relaxed a little, but I could see she still didn’t completely believe me. Charlie walked into the room and went over to Mijo.
"What’s yo name?"
"I’m Mijo little mama."
"Okay, this for you Me Joe." She handed him a water and ran back out the room. I laughed and turned back to the woman standing in the middle of the room.
"I’m Sky by the way. I just have a few questions for you."
"Ask away." I said, leaning back into the recliner I was sitting in.
"After you tell her who you are, what are your intentions? You just gonna leave or what?" Charlie walked back in and went over to Bow.
"This yours Mr. Wow." I laughed again as she ran back out the room. The longer I was around her the more I just wanted to take her home with me, but she was happy here.
"I want to get to know her, and be in her life. If its alright with you and your husband."
"I’m not married, it’s just me and Charlie. I want you to be in her life, I wish all parents were in their children’s lives but some have a tendency to give their responsibilities to someone else. You’ve already left her once, don’t think you’re going to make it a habit." Shit, that hurt, but I’m getting the chance to be in my daughter’s life and that’s all that matters.
"Charlie, you almost done with the waters?" Sky called out.
"Last two mommy! One for Mr. Tiger and one for Mr. Chris." She called back.
"What about her birth mother, is she still around?" Sky asked turning back to me. She had this nervous look in her eyes behind how solid she was attempting to make her voice sound. She must really think we’re planning on stealing Charlotte from her.
"No. I haven’t spoken to or seen her in years." She nodded and turned her head when Charlie came back into the room. She handed Ty a water then walked over to me.
"Y’know, when I not find what I like, mommy take me to nother soar." It was like she tried to pronounce the words, but just went with what sounded easiest to her.
"I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m looking for some shoes. You wanna tell me about your name?" She smiled and climbed up into my lap.
"Okay mommy came up wif Charlie when she got me. My whole wide name Charlotte Joyce Brown." So she knew she was adopted. That was good, so she wouldn’t be confused when I told her I was her dad. I glanced around the room and everyone’s eyes were on Charlie and I. I pushed up the sleeve to my shirt and held out my arm, pointing out one of my tattoos to her. I read the name out to her since I wasn’t sure if she could read or not, but it was her name.
"I named you Charlotte after my grandmother, and Joyce after my mom. Two of the most important women in my life." She scrunched up her face and looked up at me. I guess she was trying to make sense of the situation.
"You my daddy?" I nodded my head and smiled as she placed her hand on my cheek before quickly pulling it away.
"I important too?"
"Of course you are."
"Then why you leave me?" Damn, this is the question I was hoping she wouldn’t ask, at least not this soon. I wasn’t prepared to answer it.
"I wasn’t ready to be a father then." That answer didn’t look like it satisfied her.
"I not ready either." She climbed off my lap and ran over to Sky.
"I take nap mommy." Sky picked her up and whispered something in her ear. Charlie turned to look at the guys and waved.
"Bye Mr. Me Joe, Mr. Tiger, Mr. Wow and Mr. Chris." Not once did she look at me. She laid her head on Sky’s shoulder and within seconds they were out of the room.
"Damn Tay, how are we going to take care of a baby?"
"We’re not." I glanced over at her to make sure she was serious and quickly shook my head. There is no way I’m going to allow her to do any stupid shit like that. We may be young right now, but it was still our decision to have sex.
"You can’t get an abortion."
"I’m not. I’ll just give it up for abortion. Your music is just now kicking off and I have my modeling, a baby is going to mess it up. Look at us, we just turned eighteen and we’re not even together anymore Chris." I nodded slowly as I stared blankly at the empty road ahead of us. Maybe she is right. I just signed my contract and as long as we aren’t killing the baby then we aren’t in the wrong, right?
It’s been five years, yet that shit still bothers me. How can I let her give our child up for adoption. Why the fuck did I agree to something like that. All I know about my daughter is her name, Charlotte Joyce Brown. I named her, that’s the most I can say I did for my only child. Taylor refused to look at her when she was born, all emotion gone from her face, and since that day I haven’t been able to face her. I know if I was to see Taylor I would be reminded of how blank her face looked after our daughter was born, how irritated she got when I asked to hold Charlotte for the first and last time. Shit, I never wanted to see Taylor again.
"She is so adorable. Too bad we don’t have any room for newborns." I looked up from the file cabinet I was searching in to see Mrs. Vern going through her incoming files.
"How old is she?"
"Two weeks, and we already went over this Skylar, you are not able to take in any of the children."
"Why not? I’m eighteen now. I have a job, a car, and I have a stable place to stay. Please Mrs. Vern. I can do this. I’ve been working with newborns and the kids here for almost three years now." I pleaded with her through my eyes. I can tell she was considering it too, that was a step.
"I don’t know Skylar. That’s a big step, you don’t need the responsibility of a child. A newborn at that."
"I’ve been taking care of myself nearly all my life. You don’t understand how big of an impact it would have made on my life if I would have been taken in by anyone. This baby girl deserves the chance I never got." Just thinking about some of the things that happened to me while I was in foster care made me cringe, but I can’t change the past.
"Only temporarily Skylar. The moment we get any room in here you have to bring her here. You still need to focus on school. You just started college, and I’m not letting you get off track by having an extra responsibility on your plate." I nodded, knowing if I played my cards right I won’t ever have to bring her back. I could give her the one thing I always wanted, a family. Even if it is just us two.
"Here’s her file. I’ll call the social worker and set everything up, but it’s up to you to get everything set up in your apartment for this baby. You still need to pass the walk through inspection." Damn, that might be a problem. I guess I would be cleaning out my savings account to prepare for my new little one. I grabbed the file from Mrs. Vern and smiled at the picture of the newborn girl. Charlotte Joyce Brown, my new daughter.
I held my little girl in my arms as I leaned back in my recliner. There was no way I was giving her up now, I would fight to the end to keep this little girl. I was going to give her a life full of love.
"I’m not the richest person in the world, but I promise to give my last for you. I love you Charlie." I kissed her forehead and smiled a true smile for what felt like the first time in my entire like.