Do What I Gotta Do by Cortney Joseph

Cassidy danced around her living room, bopping and picking up the latest dances as she watched the new episode of Soul Train.

A fan of the ever popular New Jack Swing, she was jammin’ to Stone Cold Gentleman as those performing in the Soul Train line showcased their skills. She picked up a few of the moves she’d never seen before, doing them a little until she got them down perfectly. She was certain that by the time she hit up the next big party, she’d have it down.

Her best friend smiled and laughed, shaking her head as she sang along and danced in her seat. “You’re determined to be named the best dancer in the class of ‘91?”

Baby I’m nooooooot no Casanova…. Damn right, Paige. I’ve had my nose buried deep in the books since freshman year, and there is no way I am leaving Grambling without having done something great, that doesn’t have to do with school work.”

“Or Brandon.”

“Shush. Don’t even bring my baby up. Hell, as over protective as my pops was, he had to know I was going to break out and find me a man as soon as I stepped on this damn campus.”

Paige laughed, nodding her head as she turned the TV down and Cassidy finally sat back in her seat. “Yeah, parents are a trip. And speaking Brandon, have you two decided what you’re going to do once graduation and all of the celebrating is over with? Come on, I know that you two have talked about marriage and all that, what’s the 411?”

“The 411, is that things seem so different lately. I mean, he’s the one who brought up marriage first. It wasn’t even on my mind, but of course, we’ve been together for the last three and a half years, and I love him. Of course, I see myself spending my life with him. If he were to ask me, the answer would be yes.”

“But?”

Cassidy sighed, her happy mood fading. “I don’t think we’re heading in that direction anymore. He’s so distant, cold. We barely see one another because of work and classes. When we do see one another, he’s either sleeping, or we’re having little petty arguments.” She pulled her knees to her chest, clearing her throat. “I think we’ve finally hit that rough patch, and I’m only hoping that we get it together.”

Just as Paige was about to say something to make her best friend feel better, Cassidy’s pager went off. “Speaking of him, that’s his code to let me know he’s on his way up.”

“That boy loves paging from his car phone.”

Cassidy chuckled. “He calls it the perks of being a rich kid.”

Paige began gathering her things, saying goodbye and hugging Cassidy. As she was walking out, Brandon was walking in. Instead of the smile Cassidy was used to, he had a weary look on his face. Almost as if he’d done something and now he was regretting it.

“Hey Baby, I’m so happy to see you!”

He smiled when she jumped into his arms, hugging Cassidy tightly as he planted kisses on her lips and cheek. Setting her down, he took a deep breath, quickly announcing the nature of his visit. “I know this is unexpected, and we had no plans to see one another, but there is something that I really need to talk to you about, Cass.”

“Oh, okay.”

She stepped aside, letting him walk in before she closed and locked her door. Walking back into the living room, she pushed her things aside and made room for him to sit. The entire time, Brandon stood silently, fighting with himself.

He was certain that Cassidy had the surprise visit pegged as something good. It was quite the opposite, and he was wrestling with himself, trying to decide if it was truly the right time.

Graduation night wouldn’t be the right time either though, he thought to himself as he finally took a seat. Taking her hand in his, he gave one small smile before getting straight to the point. “You know that you and I have been together for a while now. Three and a half years, and it’s been amazing.”

“Yes, it has.”

“And Baby, you know that I’ve loved you from the very moment that I laid eyes on you.” He took a deep breath. “And because I love you, there’s something that I need to do. Something that I need to tell you so that there’s no confusion and that things aren’t taken the wrong way.”

Cassidy cleared her throat, sensing that this was not the proposal that she and Paige were just about to speak in detail on. Something was troubling Brandon, and as much as she wanted to dive right in with the questions, she allowed him time to get his thoughts together.

“It’s like this Cass; my pops always told me that there is no way that I could make the woman I love happy, if I’m not happy about myself or something in my life. There is so much that I want to do for you, so much that I want to give you, but I can’t. Lately I’ve been going through so much, struggling with trying to cope with losing family and money and all of that. I’ve been struggling with who I am as a person, figuring out what truly defines me.”

“Brandon, are you concerned that I’m only with you because your family had money? I promise, that’s not it at all. I would be here with you, right by your side if you had absolutely nothing. I love you, and I would help to make a way for us, you know that.”

He nodded. “I know Cass, and no, that’s not at all. I’ve just been thinking lately, feeling like I need to go off somewhere and be by myself, find myself.”

Cassidy took one deep breath, nodding her head. “Oh. You’re breaking up with me?”

“I just feel like, with us graduating in two months, we’ve both got different plans for the summer. I don’t know if I’m coming back after the summer. I just feel like it’ll be better if we take some time apart, it’d be best for us to be apart.”

“Okay.”

A single tear fell and he wiped it away, pulling her into a gentle embrace. “I swear, I don’t want to hurt you baby. I don’t wanna make you cry, I don’t want to break your heart, but I feel like I’ve got to do this now, so that there aren’t any problems later on.”

“Doing what you’ve gotta do.” She chuckled as the song played in her head, realizing, finally, why he said he identified so much with the song the first time they’d heard it.

“Cass, if it’s meant to be, we will find our way back to one another. I just don’t want it to get to be years down the line and we’re both faking like we’re still in love with one another, living our lives as if it’s perfect when it wouldn’t be.”

She nodded, giving a small smile. “It’ll all work out for the better, whatever is meant to happen.”

Instead of showing him out, like she normally would, Cassidy excused herself and went to her bedroom. Whether he left right away or not, she didn’t want him to see the rest of her tears fall.

Brandon put his head down, taking a deep breath. The moment he’d wrestled so much with had gone better than he expected, but he just knew nothing between them would be the same. Even if they did reconnect after the summer was over, it would all be different. “I had to do it. I had to be real and honest about the situation. And it’s going to work out, eventually.” That’s what he told himself over and over as he walked out, locking her bottom lock and closing the door behind him.

Hoping he’d made the right decision.

Published by mypenwritesnice

Creative Soul. Artist. Perfectionist. Virgo.

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