“I got to head home, kids,” Mackenzie jogged over to his ride and was gone in seconds.
They said their goodbyes. Casey’s parents picked her up on time. Then it was Paige, Danielle, Crystal, and Porsha.
They talked and move around a bit. The resource officer kept his attention on everything.
The security guards began their evening rounds. Paige and Danielle left. Then it was Crystal and Porsha left alone.
“Hey, Crystal, I want to tell you something. I didn’t want to talk in front of them. I want to give you something. I want you to have my charm bracelet. I don’t want it anymore,” Porsha hugged her, giving Crystal her jewelry.
Crystal was stunned. “Porsha, that’s your favorite bracelet. Your grandma gave that to you on her death bed. I can’t take that shit!” Crystal tried to give it back but Porsha insisted.
“No, I don’t want it! I’m not going to need it anymore. There’s my mom, I got to go. Goodbye, Crystal,” Porsha gave her one last look, a sad and longing look before she walked to her mom’s ride.
“Goodbye, Crystal. Porsha never says goodbye to me. She always says ‘see you later,”’ Crystal said aloud.
Crystal felt a sense of dread for some reason. Something didn’t feel right. Porsha acted very strangely. Crystal shook her head as her boyfriend Charlie pulled up. I hope Porsha doesn’t do something crazy, Crystal thought
Thunder boomed and lightning flashed repeatedly. Fat raindrops fell loudly on the rooftop. The wind howled like crazy outside, like a wounded animal.
Porsha look at her phone and placed it on her side table. The chief had informed Porsha and her mother that the police had closed her rape case.
The prosecutor had decided not to pursue the case because of a lack of hard-hitting evidence.
Porsha had cried herself numb. Her mother had gone out on a date but told Porsha that she could cancel her date and stay and comfort her.
Porsha had insisted to her mother that she would be fine. She didn’t want her mother to miss out on her date with a great co-worker that she was falling for.
Porsha didn’t want her mother to feel sorry for her. She wanted her to feel happy with her man on her date after three long years of not having one. Hail continued to knock against the windows and alongside the house.
Porsha looked at her handwritten note that she had left her mother in her chest drawer. It would be the last note that she would ever write. She grabbed a rope and a chair and dragged them to the middle of her room.
Porsha placed the rope over her neck and stepped onto the chair. She placed the rope over a hook in the ceiling next to the ceiling fan. Porsha’s life flashed before her eyes then she jumped out of the chair and kicked it.
Porsha hanged there as the rope tightened around her neck. She fought against the struggle, she allowed the rope, the chair, and the hook above her head to gradually kill her.
A few minutes past and Porsha’s body hung lifelessly. Porsha’s mother came inside the house thirty minutes later.
“Porsha, I’m home! You still upstairs?” She walked upstairs to Porsha’s bedroom. “Honey, I’m home. That date was amazing! I had so much fun! Where are you, Porsha? Are you still here cause I don’t hear you.”
She went inside Porsha’s room and stopped in her tracks. Her hands went to her face as she realized what had happened in front of her.
“Oh my, God! Porsha, baby! Please! Not my only baby, my only child!” She ran to Porsha and started to pull her down. A mother’s rage helped get her daughter down but it was too late. She grabbed the phone and called 911.
Paige and Zack were in the middle of having a conversation about their next date.
“You are so beautiful, Paige,” Zack quickly smooch her.
Paige’s face grew hot. “Thank you. You are handsome too, Zack.”
“Yeah, I know,” he chuckled and went on. “Our next date would be the Crater of Diamonds State Park! I can’t wait to go hunting for diamonds with you, Paigey!”
Paige smiled. “Murfreesboro, here we come!”
Murfreesboro, a mostly white (90%) and a small city with a population of about 1,700, it was the first time that Paige was coming to visit. In contrast, Zack had been there numerous times and had always enjoyed himself and never had a problem with anyone.
“You know, I got a bunch of dates planned for us. Having dinner over my house…”
“Yes, my parents mentioned that you can have dinner with us too, Zack!”
“Cool, I know your dad probably wants to check me out in-depth again,” he laughed.
“Oh, wow, so that’s what you think of my daddy!” she returned a laugh of her own.
“We both know how men are. Anyway, like I was saying about the dates. We can continue to hang out with my friends. Go see Bessie West and the Melanin Beauty Sweethearts in concert!”
“Yay!” Paige was cheesing a mile a minute.
“I know you love that Bessie West and those melanin sweeties, huh!”
“What melanin sweetie doesn’t?” Paige grinned.
“Also, we can check out Nick, Sapphire, and the others. I’m throwing a house party over my place in a few weeks. My boys and their girls are going to be there and all the coolest kids from school gonna show up. You know how it is. When my friends and I throw house parties, we show the hell out!”
“Awesome! All that sounds sweet.”
But what Paige didn’t know was that those same guys that brutally gang rape Porsha—were going to be invited to Zack’s house party too. And what Paige was going to experience will change the course of her life permanently.
“I know I can’t wait to have fun, Paige!”
“Yeah, me too.”
Paige and Zack saw his friends come walking down the hallway. Zack smooch Paige again on the lips.
“Hope, you don’t mind if I steal me another kiss,”
“I don’t. It’s cool, Zack.”
“See ya, I got to talk to my boys about something. I’ll call you tonight for our date at my place.”
Zack walked over to his friends then they left from view. Paige saw Danielle walking alone up ahead.
“What’s up, Danielle?”
“Paige, have you seen Crystal? I can’t find her. She won’t answer her phone or anything,” Danielle sound concerned.
Before Paige could respond to Danielle, they saw Crystal sprinting towards them.
“Oh my God! Y’all, Porsha killed herself last night! Her mother was torn up about this,” Crystal looked horrible.
“What, no!” Danielle looked shocked.
“What happened? We were just talking to her yesterday,” Paige replied.
“I know. She was my girl too,” Crystal sobbed. “I had a funny feeling that something was going to happen. She told me that I could have her favorite charm bracelet that her grandmother gave her on her deathbed. She also told me bye. Porsha never says bye to me.
“It was always ‘see you later’ or ‘catch you tomorrow,”’ Crystal continued to sob. “I was such a horrible friend. I should have done something to help her. Y’all wasn’t any help either! Yeah, I’m talking to you, Paige and Danielle! You two were so caught up in going to only dark-skinned women’s yacht parties, you forgot about me and Porsha! I see y’all getting ready to go to Zack’s house party. Another Go-Getters’ party that excludes girls like me!” she scoffed.
“No, that’s not true, Crystal. You’re upset now,” Paige commented.
Danielle rolled her eyes. “Say what? I have always been nice to you, Crystal, and I was nice to Porsha as well. Don’t come at me like that. I see you mad and trying to start some shit. I’m sorry about your friend Porsha. I didn’t know her well but…”
“Save it! Cut the bullshit, Danielle! Y’all didn’t have my back or Porsha’s back when we needed y’all the most! See, I always had y’all backs, it would be nice if y’all had mine too!” Crystal burst into tears and ran down the hallway.
“What the hell! We have always had your back too, Crystal! You ain’t the only one!” Danielle hollered.
Crystal almost bumped into several students and brushed against a couple that was in her way.
The resource officer looked up from his phone as she passed and then turned his attention back to his phone. Crystal ran past Zack when he was going to the restroom.
“Crystal, you alright? You look sad. Do you need something?” Zack asked, he was genuinely concerned for her.
Crystal looked him straight in the eyes and her chin trembled. She skidded to a stop. “What do you know about hard living? You’re a Summerville and a Go-Getter. People like you live in a different world than people like me!” she swiftly walked off and looked back and saw Paige and Danielle watching her.
Crystal went outside. She hadn’t made up her mind yet if she wanted to go home. She couldn’t wait to leave bougie Emile. Later, she hid inside a restroom until it was time to leave school.
The school bell rang shrilly above her head. She sneaked past Paige, Danielle, Mackenzie, and Casey.
She didn’t want to see or talk to them. Mackenzie didn’t do anything to her, neither than Casey but she wanted to be left alone.
Crystal left the school. Her bookbag was slung across her back. She began to walk home. Charlie’s car was in the shop and she didn’t have her own car yet.
Her mother had promised her that she would buy her a car as a graduation gift.
As Crystal walked alongside the road, cars flew past her. It was a lonely and dry summer day. The sun above shone hot on her head.
She looked up in time to see a beautiful gold Cadillac slowing down near her. Crystal peered at the car, wondering who it was and if it was somebody she knew that may give her a ride.
It was four Go-Getters. They looked older than her, maybe college-age. She recognized Juan and Satin but not their two friends in the backseat. She walked quickly and kept her head down.
“Hey, light-skinned!” Juan hollered as he slowly drove, keeping in pace with her.
“I know you heard him, you mulatto bitch!” Satin yelled out the window, laughing.
“I believe the bitch ass ho is mute, boys!” Juan continued to harass her.
“Let’s call her by a new name. I prefer whore!” Satin remarked.
All four of the Go-Getters laughed.
“That would teach your gutter ass for getting in our business. Where you live at?” Juan looked over at her.
“She mute now. She was talking a lot of shit at Emille. Juan, homie, I think the bitch lives in the projects over there.”
“That’s what I figured. I know I don’t want to date some broke ass, ghetto bitch,” Juan replied.
“Who does? No real man ain’t gonna take care of that ho,” Satin laughed.
“Y’all going to make that bitch cry. She looks so sad. I heard her friend died last night,” another Go-Getter spoke from the backseat.
Crystal looked back over at them.
“You mean the one we fuck at the party, right? Man, I fucked so many bitches, I forgot who’s who!” Juan and the other Go-Getters laughed.
“We’re talking to you bitch! How dare you ignore us as if we’re not here!” Satin growled at Crystal.
“I don’t want any trouble,” Crystal muttered.
“Man, why are we wasting our precious time on this gutter whore!?” Satin remarked.
“I know right. We got better things to do,” Juan replied.
They rode off. Crystal breathed a sigh of relief. Her eyes lingered on their tags that said Go-Getters.
The Go-Getters rode through the hood and to their surprise they saw Mackenzie walking down the road. Mackenzie looked at them and quickly averted his eyes.
“Oh look, brothas! I see a fag over there!” Satin said loud enough for Mackenzie to hear him.
They laughed loudly.
“Hey, fruit cake?” Juan called.
“Faggot!” Satin continued to bully Mackenzie.
“Where you going bitch? You going home to your man, you punk ass bitch!” Juan laughed.
“Who in their right mind wants to fuck that night after night?” Satin laughed.
“That down-low negro that he going with must be high on all kinds of narcotics!” Juan commented.
The rest of the Go-Getters laughed.
“Anyway, we’ll leave the fag to be. We out here taking care of the community but faggot ass niggas like this bring AIDS and other nasty STDs to the community,” Satin remarked.
Satin finished drinking his wine and then he threw the bottle out the window at Mackenzie, barely missing him.
Fear shot through Mackenzie because he thought these Go-Getters were going to jump him to teach him a lesson.
The Go-Getters laughed and sped off. Mackenzie took a deep breath and was almost home when he saw Crystal coming his way. Crystal and Mackenzie didn’t live too far from each other.