It’s late at night for Marvin and Jaden. They are in their dorm room, relaxing and playing some Mortal Kombat together. They’ve been playing for a few hours now, and they were on their last match of the night. Marvin is using Sub Zero, while Jaden is using Lui Kang. Before the match begins, they go back and forth trash talking to each other. Then, the match begins. Jaden wins the first round, then Marvin wins the second round. In the middle of their final round, Jaden receives a text message. Jaden looks away from the game for a brief moment, and Marvin takes advantage of him being distracted. Marvin hits Jaden’s character Lui Kang with a fatal blow and finishes him with Sub Zero’s fatality.
Marvin yells, “Let’s go! Get wrecked, son! Did you honestly think that this was a game to me?”
Jaden starts laughing and telling him to shut up. Marvin chuckles and continues, “Nah man, I’m enjoying this victory. You were talking all that foolishness for no reason. I earned the right to brag because all I do is win.”
Marvin laughs some more and replies, “Bro, shut up! The only reason you won is because I got distracted by my phone.”
“No excuses, Jaden, that was your fault. It’s not my fault that you weren’t focused. Do you know why?” Marvin asks.
Jaden asks why, and Marvin replies, “Cause all I do is win, win, win, no matter what. I’m the GOAT and King Kong ain’t got nothing on me, and you better not ever forget that. Or I’m gonna have to give you that business again.”
Marvin and Jaden start laughing together and Jaden says, “Whatever man, but that was a good win for you, I’ll give you credit. Just enjoy it cause it ain’t happening again, you know that right?”
Marvin chuckles and says, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll see. But yeah man, good game. So who texted you?”
Jaden takes a deep breath and hopes it’s not a text from his sister or mom. Before Jaden looks, Marvin puts his hand on Jaden’s shoulder and assures him that everything will be alright.
Jaden shakes his head and explains, “It’s just hard being here and not at home, especially with my mom being sick and everything. It’s only getting worse for her, and I’m just worried that any text I receive from my sister is going to shatter and destroy my world. I love my mom, bro. I can’t imagine a world without her.”
Jaden starts to tear up, and Marvin quickly embraces him. Jaden sobs and continues, “I just feel so much guilt being here. I should be at home helping take care of her, too. I’m just leaving it all for my sister to deal with alone.”
Jaden continues to cry and hold onto Marvin. Marvin assures him that it’s okay. He tells Jaden to let it all out and not to hold back. After a few minutes, Jaden starts to calm down and thanks Marvin for being here for him.
Marvin replies, “I got you, bro. You’re my best friend, and I’m always going to be there for you. And remember, your sister and mom want to see you still living and enjoying life. We’re graduating in a few months, and you know they want to see you walking and getting that degree. That’s a blessing for them. You gotta push through the pain and hurt and get that blessing for them. Alright, bro?”
Jaden wipes the tears of his face and nods his head in agreement with Marvin. Jaden thanks Marvin for the encouragement, and Marvin tells him that it’s no problem at all.
Jaden takes another deep breath and looks at his phone. He’s relieved to find that it’s not a text from his sister or mom, but it’s a text from Maria. She’s a girl in Jaden’s chemistry class.
The text read, “Hey I was wondering if you wanted to come over and study for a little bit.”
Before Jaden responds, Marvin asks if everything was alright. Jaden shows Marvin the text he got from Maria, and Marvin gets excited. Jaden does not understand the excitement, and he asks Marvin why he’s so excited.
Marvin responds, “Bro, Maria is trying to get a piece of you.”
“What do you mean?” Jaden wonders.
Marvin lets out a big sigh and says, “Jaden, my clueless friend, she’s trying to get to know you and something else late in the midnight hour.”
Jaden still doesn’t understand, and Marvin groans and says, “Oh my gosh, I really gotta spell this out for you. Bless your precious, innocent heart. Look, she’s trying to have a little bit of the sex with you tonight. She’s trying to smash.”
There’s a shocked face on Jaden’s face, and he tells Marvin that it’s not true.
“She just wants to study because we do have a big test coming up in a few days. The library is closed right now, and we just so happen to live on the same floor. It just makes sense that she would just want me to come over. It’s convenient,” Jaden explains.
Marvin chuckles and says, “Yeah, you’re convenient alright. She is not trying to study with you. It’s almost midnight, and ain’t nobody trying to study at this hour. I know girls bro, and that girl right there is trying to get with you.”
The more Jaden thought about it, the more it was making sense to him that she might want to have sex with him. Then, Marvin asks if he can see a picture of Maria. Jaden quickly went to Maria’s Instagram and showed her profile to Marvin. Marvin looked at a few pictures, and he immediately thought that she was beautiful and gorgeous.
Marvin says, “I see you Jaden! This girl is fine. You need to hurry up and respond because you have a goddess waiting for you.”
Jaden gives a nervous chuckle and tells Marvin that he’s not going over to her place. He asks Jaden why not, and Jaden takes a deep breath and tells Marvin that Maria has a boyfriend.
Marvin gives Jaden a puzzled look and says, “Ok, and?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, are you worried about the boyfriend on campus or something?” Marvin asks.
Jaden replies, “Well, not necessarily, I mean he goes to a school in another state. And—
“Bro, you’re all good. He’s like a couple hundred or thousands of miles away from us, so you’re good to smash,” Marvin interrupts.
“But Marvin, she still has a boyfriend. I don’t know if I’m comfortable being with someone that has a boyfriend. It just feels wrong,” Jaden explains.
“Why does it feel wrong?”
“I don’t know, it just feels like I’m disrespecting the relationship that she has with her boyfriend.”
“Jaden, I promise you her boyfriend is probably smashing some other girl right now in college and that’s why she’s texting you to come over. She needs a distraction right now, and you could use a distraction yourself. You’re doing her a disservice right now by not answering her booty call. Shame on you,” Marvin says.
Jaden doesn’t know what to say, then Marvin continues, “And they probably have little to no respect for their relationship if she’s trying to get with you right now. Why is that your problem? If she’s not respecting her relationship with her boyfriend, why do you feel obligated to respect it?”
Before Jaden can respond, Marvin admits that he’s hungry and needs something to eat. Jaden admits to being hungry, too. Jaden asks if Marvin wants to go to Taco Bell, but Marvin admits that he’s not really feeling Taco Bell at this hour. Then, Marvin remembers something about a new late night diner that recently opened up a couple of weeks ago in the city. Marvin looks it up on his phone and finds it on Google. He sees that it’s still open and suggests going to the diner with Jaden.
Jaden admits that he’s a little hesitant about going to the city late at night. However, Marvin assures him that they’ll be fine, and the food is probably going to be so good.
“Trust me, bro. Let’s get something good to eat and enjoy a little bit of the city at night. Nothing crazy is going to happen,” Marvin explains.
Despite Jaden being unsure about going to the city, he trusts Marvin and is interested in trying something new. Jaden gives the approval about going to the diner in the city.
Marvin smiles and says, “Awesome, let’s go to the city.”
This is the end of part one of “A Familiar Shadow.”
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Part Two of “A Familiar Shadow” will be posted next Thursday.