9781416979630

The World Is Mine

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781416979630

  • ISBN10:

    1416979638

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-12-01
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
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Summary

Six teens living in the diverse landscape of Washington, D.C., are on the grind at school, home, and work. The first in a trilogy, in which each book showcases 30 pieces of photo-illustrated art meshed within the frenetic, contemporary storyline, this title is sure to connect with fans of hip-hop and popular culture.

Excerpts

Chapter Five

Blue

I've never been afraid
fresh and I'm gettin' paid...
-- Common featuring Pharrell, "Universal Mind Control"

Homecoming night had arrived and the jam-packed SSH gymnasium was proof that the name Blue Reynolds was as reliable as the postal service -- I had delivered. Collin and I were chillin' onstage, sitting on top of one of the deejay's giantzspeakers while Whiteboy leaned against it. We were all bobbing our heads to the music, taking in the room's energy. A fl urry of waves, thumbs-ups, and peace signs from the crowd were being thrown in my direction. Posters with my face covered the gym walls. I felt like royalty.

"Yo, check out that girl in the front row," I said, pointing to a honey-skinned beauty who was barely dancing. "She's amazing. Who is she?" Out of all the girls here, she stood out for some reason. I zeroed in on her, and everything else in the room stopped.

"Look at her smile, and, damn, she's got a body like Rihanna's!"

"She's probably stuck up. C'mon, playboy, this song is bangin' and she's doin' that wack two-step. Yo, you stick with the snobby one. I'm gonna go scoop me a hot one!" Whiteboy said, dashing off to the dance floor.

"I don't know her. I've never seen her at SSH before," Collin said, taking note.

"Well, we should know her and every other bad babe up in here. The honeys came out of the woodwork for this joint. I swear, if this is what fame brings, I want in. I'm diggin' this movement. I've definitely caught the entertainment business bug," I proclaimed.

"You're joking, right?" Collin chuckled.

"Am I laughing? Yo, I've decided I want in. I could start promoting my own parties, but on some new level, shiznit!" Collin gave me a crazy look.

"Dude, please don't tell me this is going to your head. It's just a party. Keep it in perspective," Collin said with skepticism.

"Think I'm playin'? We could be stackin' dollars." I winked.

"We! Where did the plurals come from? Dude, I got college, law school, a career to think about!" Collin said, shaking his head furiously.

"Collin, we got plenty of time to think about college. You could be my partner in this. You know how to put ideas in motion, man. Plus, we're younger and hotter than anybody out here doin' parties in Silver Spring for sure. Hell, DC for that matter. This is just a starting place. Just like cats like Russell Simmons passed the baton to guys like Diddy. Diddy became a household name. Diddy unlocked the door, and I'm gonna kick it in! It's time for somebody else to reign," I said, transfixed by the flashing lights in the room. "I've got it! What do you think about the name Blue Up Productions?" I announced as if I was actually seeing it in big lights. "I'm tryin' to make moves with the likes of people like that guy Rico Tate. We could be throwing parties at his clubs!"

"Slow down, Blue," Collin said, raising his hands in a halt gesture. "These things have to be thought out."

"What's there to think out?" I asked.

"Okay, for one, you can't expect somebody like Rico Tate to just hand over one of his venues. We don't have a track record!"

"Okay, so forget Rico. I'll go to someone else. My point is that you take this," I said referring to the action in the room. "And you flip it into having a record company or something," I said enthusiastically.

"Maybe, but that's passé. What you want is distribution and muscle on the Internet. We've got to own what we do," Collin added.

"Exactly! We could go global. Hold up, you said 'we.' So does that mean you're in?" I eyed him hard. He knew I meant business, and there was no turning back. There was a long silent pause. "Collin, it's all about us making our own way. I don't want to live my life for my father. Maybe I'll be a lawyer. Then again, maybe I won't. What about you?"

"I do want to be a lawyer, but I agree with you. I definitely want to make my own way. I want it on my own terms." Collin stood up and started pacing back and forth. "I could grab hold of my future and not have to have it handed to me on some golden platter for my dad to hang it over my head for the rest of my life!"

"We could make so much money you'd have enough to pay your own way through law school!" I said, giving him a pound. Suddenly we heard a building chant from the crowd. "Blue! Blue! Blue! Blue!"

"Dude, they're calling for you out there," he said as we both looked over the crowd.

"This is serious power. Seriously, I need to get at that guy Rico Tate immediately!" I said, jumping off the speaker. "It's time to kick this party into overdrive!"

I dashed toward center stage and started waving my hands in the air back and forth, and the crowd followed my direction. "Ho, hay, ho, hay!" I chanted, starting a call-and-response. "When I say 'Get it,' you say 'Money!' Get it!"

"Money!" the crowd shouted back.

I repeated it a few more times before signaling to the deejay. "DJ Nice, drop that Lil Wayne nice and low! First off, respect and love to all! And before I go any further I wanna give a special shout-out to the honey right here in the front row! What's up, mami? You are gorgeous!" I pointed and waved to the mystery girl I had my eye on earlier and winked. All the girls started screaming.

Unfortunately, I guess she didn't find my shout-out very amusing. She curled up her lips, shook her head, gave me the hand, and pushed her way to the back of the crowd. Damn! Where did she go? I scanned the room to no avail. "Okay, okay, back to the business at hand. Let's bring out our newly crowned king and queen!" As the king and queen and their court gathered on the stage, my eyes kept searching for my mystery girl. No luck.

I rejoined Collin, who was now standing with Whiteboy.

"So, C says you're gonna be a businessman!" Whiteboy teased. "Oh, snap. You're really tryin' to make moves like ya boy Rico Tate.

"That's what I'm talkin' about. By the way, how about a shot to be Blue Up's creative go-to guy? You can be in charge of creating our logo, and all the flyers and club promotional materials," I said, extending my hand.

"Word up! Let's get it poppin'!" Whiteboy said.

"I want you to do some of those Coming Soon posters and flyers. We gotta blow up Blue Up Productions! I think this is our time, for real!"

"First thing I gotta do is find us the right venue. Not too big, but definitely where we could get a good starting crowd." Now the wheels were churning in Collin's brain too.

"I wanna do a monthly joint, then maybe when things start building up, move to bimonthly," I said.

"Unfortunately, we're going to need some start-up cash flow," Collin reminded.

"Yo, y'all are my boys and I ain't got much after getting my new ride, but I got five hundred if you need it," Whiteboy said.

"Thanks, man. Everything will help. You know I'll get it back to you as soon as I can," I said, putting my fist out. "We could use it to get the promotional hype going. I want to put up those posters and flyers around school, especially as kids enter the Cyber Café."

"Blue, my only fear is that we got nothing right now. Why not wait until we book a venue?" Collin asked skeptically.

"Look, the entertainment game is ninety percent smoke and mirrors. It's okay that we don't even have our first party yet. It's about generating the energy, setting the tone for what's coming. I'm talking an all-out assault on Facebook and every social networking site we can think of. I want us passing out business cards to everyone we meet. Money attracts money. Hype attracts hype. We make our plans while we put our plan in action. We've gotta blow up Blue Up Productions! And we need a logo ASAP too! We want Blue Up to be the first name in teen entertainment."

"Yo, that's whassup! You got it, baby! The logo will take time. I want it to be right, but I can definitely get some cool graphics going for the Net and all the other stuff you need for print." Whiteboy stuck his fist out, next to mine. "The world is yours, baby!" he proclaimed.

"I'm down even though I think this is, with all due respect, ass backward, but to hell with it. Let's make it happen!" Collin added his fist to the circle and we sealed our fate.

I guess sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and go for what you know in your heart. I know there are going to be haters trying to bring us down, but you have to put the blinders on and just come hard. When it's your shot, you gotta take it! Copyright © 2009 by Lyah B. LeFlore

Chapter Six

Jade

I'm sick and tired of the loose rap
-- Aaliyah, "Loose Rap"

"So what's up, chickie!" my girl Mamie screeched midbite into her double cheeseburger, during our girlfriend chow-down in the food court at the City Place Mall, in downtown Silver Spring.

"Well, I think I need to get a job," I said, stuffing another french fry into my mouth.

"What! You want to join the land of the working?" Mamie teased. I playfully swatted her.

"I'm desperate for the money." I took a frustrated bite of my burger. "Things are really getting tight around our house. Plus, I have to start thinking about college. Two years isn't that far away. Even with every scholarship known to man, it's gonna take M-O-N-E-Y. Pass the ketchup, please." I reached for my milk shake. Mamie looked at me like I had two heads.

"You really want a job? Humph! Girl, you're Miss Bookworm. How are you gonna maintain that four-point with a job? Plus, you ain't hardly used to hard labor like me!"

"Nothing's going to keep me from being a doctor! I'll dig ditches, whatever! For real, I'm not some scared little girl. My mom is all I have, and I owe it to her. It's time for me to pull my weight at home. Besides, how hard can waiting tables be?"

"Hello! Feisty, aren't we? I wasn't up for all this serious talk. Can we at least just get through the rest of junior year first? I've never heard you sound like this before."

"Whatever, are you going to help me or what?" I asked, looking her squarely in the eyes.

"You're my girl. Of course. I can definitely get my boss to hook you up on a part-time gig. I think we've got an opening for another waitress on my evening shift. Girl, we could kick it! Busboys and Poets is such a chill spot, you could even get some of your studying done between customer flow!" Mamie chomped as she poured a mound of ketchup on a small side plate to dunk her fries.

"Cool. Now all I have to do is convince my mom that I can work and go to school." I let out a sigh.

"Jade, you look so worried. Are you being totally straight with me about what's going on in your life?"

"Look, there's a lot going on, but I don't want to really deal with it today. Just look out for me. Things are complicated, but I can handle it."

"Is it your mom's health again?"

"No, no, she's great, really great. I just need to help out, you know?" I said, uneasily shifting in my seat. Mamie was eyeballing me. "I'm fine, really. I just need a job!" I said.

"Okay. I'll leave it alone," she said, throwing her hands up in a surrendering gesture. "But know I'm here for you," she said, touching my hand. I could feel myself welling up with tears. The last thing I wanted to do was cry. "We're gonna get you that job. In the meantime, here. It ain't much, but I've been saving. This is for you. Put it in the future college fund!" Mamie handed me two twenties and a ten.

"I can't take your money, Mae," I said, fighting back the tears to no avail, as I looked down at the fifty dollars in my hand. I wiped my eyes.

"Aw, damn, you know I'm not into that sensitive stuff. Cut it out!" We both laughed. "I didn't loan you that money. I gave it to you. Considering I'm not shooting for the honor roll or college, it would be a shame for my graduation and college fund to go to waste. And besides, one day, after you finish all that school stuff and become a rich doctor, and I'm the hottest multiplatinum Grammy-winning female music producer in the business, we'll sit around on your yacht wearing fabulous gear, rockin' our ice, laughing about the days when we were broke!"

We both burst into laughter, before gobbling down the rest of our fast-food feast. When we finished, I started clearing the table.

"I'm working from four to eight today at the café, and then I'm going to that club in Adams Morgan. I've been beggin' the promoter to put me on the turntables and give me a night. He at least lets me get five or ten minutes here and there. I gotta keep hustlin'," Mamie said, pulling out her compact and applying fresh lip gloss. Girlfriend's makeup against her flawless cocoa skin always had to be just right. She ran her fingers through her fresh-from-the-salon tresses. "So whassup? You rollin' with me tonight?" she said, carefully brushing mascara onto her eyelashes.

"Mae, c'mon. It's a school night. I love you, but no. I got to stay focused on the books, try to get ahead, especially since I'm going to hopefully get a job. Clubbin' is not one of my subjects," I said.

"I know. I still thought I'd ask. But when I finally book one of those really hot clubs to spin at, or a major gig, I don't care what day of the week it is. You'd betta be there front and center!"

"You know I will." I dumped the trash in a nearby container.

"Damn, you're pretty good at that. I see part-time waitress in your future!" she said, wrapping her colorful scarf around her head like a turban, pretending to be a fortune-teller.

"The only thing is that Busboys and Poets is so far from my house. I live in Pettworth, and Fourteenth and V Streets are in midtown. That's at least twenty minutes away in a car. A car I don't have. Taking the Metro at night -- oh, no. My mom will never go for that."

"Yeah, well, hello. Your girl does have a car, when it works. We'll get on the same shifts, and when you work nights, I'll drive you home or we'll catch the Metro together. C'mon. I've got forty minutes before I have to get ready for work. Let's shop!" Mamie, in true dramatic form, put on her oversize sunglasses and was now wrapping her scarf around her neck like some rich diva.

"Uh, excuse me. With what money? I just had to take a handout from you," I said, with my hands on my hips.

"It's called window-shopping, girlie!" Mamie grabbed my arm and dragged me off to Urban Outfitters.

As soon as we walked into the store, Mamie, aka Miss Fashionista, went straight for the back display. "Oh, my God. I would look crazy in that spinning at the club!" she said, pointing to a micromini jean skirt and cowboy boots. She hurriedly slipped the boots on.

"Girlie, you'd definitely look fabulous deejaying in those!" I said.

"Miss, she'll try a pair on in eight and a half," she called out to the salesperson. There was never a dull moment with Mamie. Before I could say no, I was slipping on a pair of boots. Mamie and I were acting crazy like we had money to spend.

"Jade, those are hot!" Mamie admired.

"You think so, Mae? I think they look better on you," I said, looking in the full-length mirror.

"I think they look great on both of you!" A guy's voice startled us from behind. I turned around quickly to see who it was coming from. The voice belonged to the sweetest pair of brown eyes, sporting a pair of aviators, dressed in preppy-conservative flavor.

"Can we help you?" Mamie said in a flirtatious tone, giving the cute stranger the once-over.

"I'm Collin Andrews," he said, holding out his hand.

"And I'm Mamie." Mamie put one hand on her hip and reciprocated the gesture, extending her other perfectly manicured hand. My girl was such a flirt.

"Errum." I inconspicuously cleared my throat. Mamie was too busy blushing.

"My bad. This is my girl Jade," Mamie said.

"Sorry for the rudeness," Collin said with an embarrassed look. "Here. I wanted to give you ladies some information about a new site introducing you to Silver Spring's finest in nightlife. Coming very soon to a club near you. You all go to school around here?" Collin handed us a colorful postcard with a picture of a cute guy's face on it.

"Yeah, we go to Silver Spring High," Mamie said as I checked out the party postcard.

"Wait, I think I saw you at the homecoming dance. Jade, right?" He eyed me curiously.

"Probably not. I was only there for a bit. Anyway, it's a big school. I'm in honors classes mostly, and I don't socialize much," I said.

"And I don't get to school much," Mamie said, and snickered, eyeing the postcard. "Hey, this is that guy Blue Reynolds, huh? I saw his posters everywhere during homecoming."

"Well, I'm Blue Reynolds's partner in Blue Up."

"Oh, snap. Partner? I heard that. Yeah, yeah, Blue Up Productions, thas whassup! Facebook has been on fire about you guys and how you turned out the blackout party and homecoming." She nodded. "I couldn't make it to either. I was working both nights," Mamie said, looking at the card again.

"You all should join our networking site," Collin encouraged.

"Oh, I don't waste my time with that stuff. Sorry," I added, rolling my eyes.

"It's cool. I do. I'm on Facebook. In fact, if you're looking for the hottest female deejay on the ones and twos in the Silver Spring-DC area, I might be able to hook you up with her," Mamie said, giving two snaps in the air.

"And who would that be?" another curious voice asked from across the room.

"That would be me!" Mamie turned around and said confidently. I followed her lead, and we both looked up and down at the new stranger, who was chomping on a toothpick.

"Sup, C!" He approached coolly, giving Collin a pound. Oh, my God. It was the cute guy on the postcard who was onstage at the dance. "Ladies?"

"Mamie and Jade, this is Blue Reynolds," Collin said. "Coincidentally, they attend SSH. You might remember Jade from the homecoming dance," Collin hinted.

"Front row, right?" He nodded at me. I suddenly felt the weight of this handsome new stranger's eyes all over me like a cheap knockoff outfit.

"He was the obnoxious jerk who shouted me out on the mic," I whispered to Mamie. Honestly, I was both flattered and uncomfortable. I tried to play it off by looking away. This Blue was about five-ten, lean but muscular, and I'm not gonna lie, totally H-O-T. He had almost a boyish charm. And, oh, my God! His big brown eyes and million-dollar Colgate smile almost had a girl hypnotized.

"I hear your game is tight on the mic." Mamie giggled. "Mine is too. Professionally, I'm known as Ill Mama," she said excitedly.

"She's the sickest deejay around," I added, shaking off my obvious instant crush.

"Where do you spin?" Collin asked.

"Um, I do a, um, li'l somethin' somethin' at the Spot in Adams Morgan. I turn it out up in there." I shot Mamie a hard look. She was totally lying.

"That's cool. I'd love to check you out." Collin nodded.

"Yo, Jade, sorry if I embarrassed you at the party. I just thought you were gorgeous and I had to holla at you," Blue butted in. His words dripped with charm.

"Well, some girls might find that appealing, but I don't," I said.

"It doesn't matter now. All that matters is that it's Blue Up's lucky day. Bam!" Mamie passed one of her own promo cards to both Collin and Blue. "You can check me and my beats out on Facebook. By the way, if you have any parties coming up and you want them to really be fly, Mr. Blue Reynolds, you'll hire me to deejay."

"I'll wait for my boy to give me the full report when he checks you out," Blue said cockily, removing the toothpick from his mouth.

"Whatever, dude," Mamie said, giving Blue the hand.

"Mamie, let me get your info," Collin said, pulling her over to the side.

"Can I check you out too, Jade?" Blue eyed me. Okay, he just blew it with that lame line.

"Is that how you meet girls?" I said, rolling my eyes.

"Only the beautiful ones. So can I call you?" he asked.

"No, I don't think so," I said, shaking my head.

"You got a man?"

"What?"

"You married?"

"Of course not!" I smiled, somewhat amused by his crazy line of questioning.

"So, where can I find you at school?" Before I could answer, he did the ultimate jerk move and started texting someone in the middle of our conversation! How disrespectful. No, he was not tryin' to play me out!

"Excuse me? How rude! You want to know where to find me, figure it out!" I said putting my hands on my hips.

"Huh? What did I do?" he asked, as if he had done nothing wrong.

"We were in the middle of talking, and that whole texting move was wack. Whatever! C'mon, Mae," I mumbled, rolling my eyes. Yuck. I was totally turned off by his nonchalant attitude. I couldn't believe the nerve of this guy. On second thought, he wasn't that hot. I grabbed Mamie's arm and pulled her away from her one-on-one with Collin.

"Hey, we gotta bounce, but don't sleep on the Ill Mama, Collin!"

Mamie called out as I dragged her away.

"Let's go before you make up anything else about your so-called set at the Spot!" I said, quickly putting my sneakers back on, and motioning for Mamie to do the same. "Besides, Blue was a total jerk!" I said, pulling Mamie out of the store.

"Ouch! He may be a jerk, but girlie, that was my shot!" Mamie huffed.

"He's arrogant. Forget him. You don't need people like that. You're gonna make it because you've got it! You are much too talented and fly to waste your time. People like that guy make me sick. You don't have to beg anybody for anything!"

"I feel you." I could tell Mamie was a little disappointed.

"I wouldn't be your BFF if I didn't keep it real with you. Just know he's not the only game in town!"

"You're right. It ain't like he's Diddy or somebody!" Mamie was getting amped up again.

"Hello! Plus, those guys are still in high school like us. I would strongly question their credibility. Screw them!" I pumped her up again.

"Screw them!" Mamie checked the clock on her cell phone. "Oh, snap. I gotta jet for work. Oh, and I'm all over that job for you. Keep your head up, mami! Muah!" Mamie gave me an air kiss, grabbed her oversize faux designer tote, and bounced off.

"I'll call you later!" I laughed to myself at how absolutely adorable and funny my girl is. I headed off in the opposite direction. I swear, when it feels like the whole world is sitting on your shoulders, there's nothing like your BFF having your back. Copyright © 2009 by Lyah B. LeFlore

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