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On The Run | Michael Jackson & Beyoncé

Chapter One

Sacrifice: that’s the first lesson I was taught as a child. And there’s no better teacher than life itself. I gave up the best parts of myself and got shit in return.

How foolish could I be? Yet I continue to do it anyway with hopes that my sacrifices won’t be in vain.

I don’t know how I do it, but somehow, I always find a way to sabotage myself.

I’ll admit, I was doomed from the day I took my first breath and opened my eyes in the Autumn of 1964. My parents tried their best with the little they were given, but it was never enough for me. I had big dreams that were quickly crushed by my mother’s projection. Because my mother never achieved her dreams of owning her own fashion house, I was conditioned to expect nothing but failure.

From a young age, I was referred to as a pessimist. Things went downhill and when nothing’s going right, it’s difficult to find a reason to live, let alone smile.

Due to the loss of my parents, I was in and out of the system until I aged out. Once I was a legal adult, there was no stopping me. I was in juvenile detention centers half of the time so I left for New York as soon as I got the chance. I knew that if I stayed at home, there were only one of two options for me: going to jail or dying there.

Then things began escalating when I got a job and met the love of my life there. Shawn fucking Carter. I should’ve known better than to get with a guy who was a frequent customer at the strip club. This person he is now isn’t the man I fell in love with six years ago.

He gave me a reason to live, and for that, I owe him my life. Sarcastically speaking. If I had the chance, I’d kill him the first chance I get.

I’m in the bedroom that I used to share with my boyfriend, getting ready to leave for work when I hear a familiar noise coming from the living room. The simple beige walls with not much decoration is an easy indication that this place isn’t a home of mine, but I’ve never been one to get too comfortable in one place. I found a home in instability, which should be a contradiction in itself.

After putting on my heels, I shut off the lights leaving the bedroom to head downstairs. Empty picture frames are lined up along the walls of the stairwell and the urge to touch them grows as I reach the bottom of the stairs because deep down, I know that’s all they’ll ever be.

I find him feeling up on another bitch, but I can’t even get mad. It’s something I’ve grown used to. I’d rather it be her than me. Not realizing I’ve been gawking at them until he looks over at me and shoos me away.

The fucking bastard.

I’ve been nothing but good to him and this is how he repays me. Shawn used to be home for me, but now, he’s just a stranger I live with. I’ve been with him for several years and not once have I thought about sleeping with another man because I’m not the person I used to be. Not once have I stepped out of line, but I can’t say the same for him.

I glance at him and this woman once more, deciding that instead of making a sound, I’m just going to go to work. Taking off my clothes for other men takes my mind off of the fact that my own man is at home being unfaithful.

Throughout the drive, the only thing I could think of was my relationship with Shawn. What did I do to deserve this treatment? Better yet, why didn’t I see this shit coming? I’ve never been one to be so optimistic about a relationship, I knew better than this. Good things always come to an end, but I learned too late. Now I’m stuck.

I’m stuck with a man who I lost. He doesn’t belong to me but I’m solely his, that’s his mindset. The man who made me feel like I was on top of the world passed away and he’s not coming back.

Silently singing along to the radio, my focus is on the road until I pull up to the parking lot of Sugar Daddy’s. Parking the car, I helplessly give my attention to the bright lights of the sign.

Shutting off the car, the first step I take towards the place feels heavy. I never dread or feel uncomfortable coming to this place so I’m unsure as to where this unfamiliar feeling is coming from. When I enter the club, all eyes are on me like there’s a spotlight following my every move. The place is damn near packed with lousy, drunk men who probably have women waiting up for them back at home.

I look around the place accustomed to the countless eyes watching me before walking backstage to check the setlist. I get a kick out of seeing that I’m the main act. I’m the bitch that they came to see, but since I’m here a bit early, I shouldn’t be going up anytime soon.

Smiling at the thought, I turn around bumping into another dancer who swiftly apologizes after she realizes who I am. These girls either hate me or fear me, but at the end of the day, they all respect me. They know to tread lightly in my presence because I’m the head bitch in charge.

I nod my head at her continuing my stride to go outside and light the cigar that’s been patiently waiting to be smoked. Making it back outside, I lean against the side of the building looking at the scenery I’ve grown accustomed to.

I reach into the pocket of my trenchcoat to grab my cigar until I’m distracted by the sound of a commotion coming from somewhere not too far away from me.

“I will fuck you up!” I hear a random man shout. I glance to my right to see two men ready to knock each other out.

The one who shouted was a bald, muscular guy wearing a wife-beater and looks clumsier than my social worker walking out of the courthouse. He slightly resembles Vin Diesel if he let himself go and sat in front of the television eating nothing but tv dinners.

Then there is the other man, who is slightly shorter and leaner, dressed in all black with matching leather gloves, and his hair tied back in a knot-like ponytail. He had a single curl that stopped directly above his eye and wore a fedora that covered most of his face. Even though the curly-headed man is smaller, he looks as though he is quick on his feet.

“Nobody’s holding you back. Come on,” The lean one says, beckoning for the Vin Diesel lookalike to come towards him.

Shaking my head at the scene, I walk over there not in the mood to see someone hurt over something petty. Plus, fighting in front of the club is bad business. The security guard out front is supposed to do this shit, but he’s just a punk with muscle.

It’s funny that these so-called ‘men’ out here act like wild dogs that broke off of their leash but have the nerve to talk about women being catty. I’m the wrong messenger to preach nonviolence because I’ll smack a bitch if she even looks at me incorrectly. In this world of Martin Luther King Jr’s, I prefer the Malcolm X approach.

“Aye, I don’t know what the hell y’all are fighting about, but I’m trying to smoke in peace so I’m gone need y’all to take this little beef somewhere else,” I announce, letting them know that this fight is over. If hands are put on me, folks are going to be laid out.

The bootleg Vin Diesel makes it obvious that he’s undressing me with his eyes, staring at me like he’s on death row and I’m his last meal. “Maybe I should come over there and check you out, huh?” The bald man steps up to me trying to be cute and I chuckle sarcastically at the nerve he has to even think that he’s on my level. If he thinks he has a chance to even touch me, he is sadly mistaken. I don’t even like the thought of him having the right to look at me.

The nearly bald man looks like he doesn’t have his shit together, which probably means his ass does not have any fucking money. That’s an immediate turn-off. Broke men make my pussy turn into the Sahara desert. I look over at the other guy who’s just staring at me and licking his lips like it’s a bad habit.

I turn towards the bigger guy, sauntering towards him with a seductive smirk on my face. A moment later, I’m shoving him out of my face making him stumble back on his feet.

“If you’re not throwing bands, don’t bring your broke ass in this club. Other than that, have a blessed night.“Not wasting any more time, I make my way back to where I was in the first place before that bullshit distracted me.

Finally, peace at last. I dig in my pocket again, grabbing my cigar before placing it in my mouth. Holding the cigar in between my lips, I rummage through my other pocket searching for my pink lighter.

Once I feel it on the tip of my fingers, I hum in approval wrapping my fingers around it. Holding it up to the end of the cigar, in one swift motion, the cigar’s lit and the smoke is invading my lungs.

Inhaling the smoke, I think of all of those hopes I had as a child, wondering what my future would be like. Exhaling, I realize that all of those hopes were complete bullshit. I’m a little too old for hopes and dreams; a product of my mother’s projection.

Before I know it, my cigar is nearly gone so I drop it on the pavement, putting it out with the bottom of my heel. Twisting my ankle for safe measures, I make my way back inside just to see Elijah, the boss, running around manically until he spots me in his line of sight.

“Honey! I need you on stage ASAP,” He anxiously tells me and I scoff, making a beeline to my dressing room to change into the cowboy costume. I take my time putting on this outfit because it reminds me of home.

I miss how familiar the country feels. The feeling of tranquility and peace in the air was enough to make you feel at ease even though your life could be in complete and utter chaos.

Finally dressed, I tuck my hair underneath my hat and double-check my make-up. After winking at myself, I exit the room walking down the long, dark hallway towards the stage. I barely arrive backstage before the DJ cues the music. As if the crowd knew I was making my way to the stage, they begin hootin’ and hollering as She Knows blasts through the speakers.

“Coming up next to the stage: the baddest chick you all came to see! She’s the one and only, Honey!” The DJ shouts and I take that as my cue to strut my fine ass to the pole as the men howl and whistle at me.

I begin by doing the basic tricks that I learned early on in the game. Then I twerk on the pole just to rile ’em up and give them a reason to throw their cash at me. Once I hit the splits, niggas go bankrupt throwing their paychecks at me.

Finally, I go out into the audience and interact with a white man who looks like he has a healthy bank account. I put my leg over his shoulder, jumping onto his lap seeing his eyes widen in shock. Hmm, for being a white guy, he might have something going on in his boxers. If I was single, I wouldn’t hesitate to fuck him.

I grind on him before leaning into his ear, whispering, “You got any money for me, daddy?” Grabbing onto his tie, I loosen it with hopes of getting him to stuff some money into my bra. He grabs my ass and just as I’m getting into it, somebody knocks me over onto the floor. Looking up from the ground, I have the perfect view of my boyfriend pummeling the poor guy I was just grinding on.

Security rushes to grab him, but Shawn doesn’t quit. I stand up, trying to regain my composure as Shawn finishes assaulting the poor guy. He then turns to me and snatches me by my arm, which pisses me off beyond belief. I snatch my arm away from him, marching out of the club and to his car. Another night he’s embarrassed and humiliated me.

I’ll just have to come back and pick up my car tomorrow.

The car ride home is silent and I’m damn near terrified to look over at him because he might hurt me. The tension in the car is so thick, I could’ve pulled out my pocketknife and cut it.

I could barely step foot into the place before he’s pushing me into the wall as if I did him wrong somehow. I don’t understand his twisted ass logic, but I’ve survived 24 long years of this shitty life, might as well continue to endure until something falls into my lap.

I look him dead in his cold eyes, and all of a sudden, my face is throbbing. It only takes one punch for him to have me on my ass, clutching my face against the hardwood floor in our corridor. “Get your ass up,” He demands snatching me up off the floor, grabbing me by my shoulders with a hardened expression, he tells me, “I’m feeling nice tonight. Take your raggedy ass to bed,” before shoving me away from him.

Once I’m steady on my feet, I glare at it, thinking about several ways I could kill him before making my way to the bedroom. The same bedroom we used to share, but ever since I learned of his continuous infidelities, I gave him the cold shoulder. I wanted him out of my life, but as long as he’s forced on me, I’ll keep him as far away as I can.

Can you blame me?

I change out of my costume since I was never given the opportunity to even finish my set before Shawn came into my job and acted like a damn donkey. After slipping into my nightshirt, I lie down in the comfort of my own bed and stare at the ceiling. Once again, I get lost in my thoughts about Shawn and I’s relationship as the swirls in the ceiling lull me into another daydream.

What changed us? Oh, who am I fucking kidding? I did something. I had to have done something to have him acting like this, but trying to recall a moment I betrayed him isn’t going to happen because I never did anything to deceive him.

We’ve been through a lot of shit in our six-year relationship. All of the love I have for him will not save us and it won’t save him. To be quite frank, I feel like a hostage and if I got the opportunity to leave his ass and never see his face again, I would without hesitation. Any opportunity I have to leave, I’ll take it.

I’ll have just as much hesitation to leave him as he does when it comes to swinging on me. For so long, I just wanted the man I loved back and sacrificed myself to try to save our relationship. All of my sacrifices weren’t worth a damn.

I’m a slave to the back of his hand. Now that I want to leave, it’s like a hopeless dream. Staring out of the window patiently waiting and praying for someone to rescue me like a damsel in distress. I always had to be my own Superman because the reality is: no one is coming to save me.

He wants me to depend on him financially and love him as if he’s the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. As if he’s the man who used to take me on dates damn near every weekend. He’s not the man who used to take me on vacations, celebrate holidays with me, and even did simple things like bake cookies or go on walks with me.

He’s the man I have to fight off and shield myself from every night. I have to pray that he doesn’t leave bruises on my body. We barely see each other and when we do, we’re fighting each other verbally, or he’s fighting me physically.

I gave up when it came to fighting back because I learned quickly that it’ll only make him go harder and leave more bruises on my body. If I kept fighting back, one of us would’ve died and I came to New York to prevent myself from going to jail. If something doesn’t change, we’re only heading down a path that will lead to my demise because this man clearly doesn’t love me.

He doesn’t love me, but I still have love for him. I can’t help that, something in me caused him to turn into this person. He’s a shitty person, but he’s the only person that cares about me. Kelly is concerned about what Shawn is doing to me, but it’s not the same. She’s in Houston, Texas living her best life and enjoying her youth. And here I am, ducking and dodging punches.

I’m bound to this man for the rest of my life.

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