Playing Nice

Episode 2: Irreplaceable

Playing Nice is a short serial fiction series.

Logline: After being snowed in during a birthday party, devastating secrets cause the relationships of lifelong friends to unravel.

Episodes:
Episode 1 Episode 3

Episode 1 Recap

“Come on, we’ve been watching you drink yourself dizzy all damn night. Let’s get you to bed.” She got up and began to walk towards Raven.

“Y-you know what? I’m tired of you treating me like crap….pushing me around…I-I’m sick of it!”

“Raven, come on…”

“If you only knew, I swear to God…if…you know what…I’m tired of keeping this secret in.” She took a deep breath in and spoke straight into the microphone, “I’ve been sleeping with your boyfriend for a long time…and I’m…not…sorry…”

Episode 2: Irreplaceable

10:50 PM

The room went silent. Mahogany looked at Raven, shook her head, and mouthed the word “No” over, over, and over again.

Raven dropped the mic and ran out of the living room, down a long hallway, and into a bedroom. She slammed the door behind her.

“S-she’s lying. Right babe? That makes, like, no sense.” Cherish turned towards Marcus.

He forced himself to smile, “Y-yeah…why would I…you know…get with…”

They blankly stared at each other for a few moments.

Cherish’s face twitched. Something in her mind clicked, “What the hell is wrong with you?! You’re screwing my cousin?!” She got up and threw her wine glass across the living room, shattering against a wall. The champagne splattered onto the carpet.

Mahogany walked towards Cherish, “Let’s go talk about this…somewhere else.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She whimpered, “I want to kill him.”

“C-Cherish let me explain!”

“Explain what? That you’re a loser? That I never should have taken you back the first time you cheated on me? That I’m an…idiot…” She collapsed into Mahogany’s arms, sobbing.

Mahogany rocked Cherish from side to side and rubbed her back. She looked up and asked God why this had to happen right here, right now.

“Come on, let’s go to your room.” Mahogany walked Cherish over to her bedroom. Thankfully, it was on the opposite side of the cabin that Raven was hiding out at.

Mahogany last stepped into Cherish’s bedroom seven years ago. It looked exactly as she remembered.

Posters of The Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber were taped onto the walls. A large silver CD player sat on her bedside table. In the corner of her room, stood a Barbie Dreamhouse with a pool, slide, and elevator.

“Mahogany…why would he do this to me? What does she have that I don’t have?” Cherish sat down on the bed and dramatically fell back.

“Marcus is an asshole. He doesn’t deserve you.” Mahogany sat down next to her.

“You’re damn right he doesn’t.” Cherish got up and grabbed one of the stuffed animals that were sitting on her dresser, a frog, and held it close to her chest.

“Isn’t that the stuffed animal that you got at Build a Bear that one time?”

“Lil’ Hip Hop. He’s totes adorbs. I had to get it.”

“He is a cutie.”

“Why didn’t you get one?”

“Um….I….” Mahogany felt her face getting hot, “Let’s watch some TV. You need a good laugh.”

Cherish smiled and nodded. She changed the channel to Nickelodeon, where an episode of Full House played. Momentarily, Cherish seemed to forget the drama-filled nightmare that lurked outside her bedroom.

“Mahogany?” Cherish said during a commercial.

“Yeah?”

“I love you. You know that right? You’re my best friend. I know we don’t see each other a lot, with you being at college, but I’ll always have your back.”

“I know. I love you too.” They hugged each other.

Mahogany began to hear a commotion coming from the living room. “I’ll go check on that.”

“Only a monster would disturb me during my time with Uncle Jesse. It’s my birthday, after all.”

Mahogany went out into the living room and saw Raven screaming at Marcus. Will was holding her back. Ahmad was relaxing on the couch and eating a bowl of chips. He was watching this disaster like it was an episode of Love and Hip Hop.

“You told me that you loved me. Now, you’re sitting here with your bootleg Supreme shirt saying we were nothing. I know I meant something to you!” She tried to wiggle out of Will’s grasp to no avail.

“Raven, please calm down. We’re all stuck here at least until the morning. Can we please put this on pause until then?” Mahogany stepped in between Marcus and Raven.

“And you — ” Raven looked at Mahogany, “ — after I confided in you, you’re going to be on her side? I told you I slept with Marcus weeks ago and you just let me storm off and cry by myself. I thought we were friends.”

Mahogany heard someone start to laugh behind her.

She turned around and saw Cherish. She heard the whole thing.

“So…how long have I been out here looking like Boo Boo the Fool…huh?” Cherish walked around the living room wrapped in a princess-themed blanket.

“She did tell me a few weeks ago. But, what she also told me was that she was going to tell you on her own. She didn’t tell me that she was going to tell you at your freakin’ birthday party!”

“You should have told me the second you knew.” Cherish’s eyes became teary, “Who else knew?!”

No one spoke.

“WHO?” Cherish screamed.

Will’s hand shot up. Ahmad’s went up soon after.

Mahogany glared at Ahmad, “Are you serious? Why are you saying this now?”

“She scares me.” He shuddered.

Mahogany looked over at Cherish. Her face was flat — emotionless. “So, I’m stuck in a house with a bunch of two-faced snakes…huh?”

She smiled. “Well — since you guys have been playing me it’s only right I get to play too. We’re going to have some fun tonight. Don’t you worry.” Cherish twirled around and walked back to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.

Soundtrack: Irreplaceable — Beyoncé

How’d you like the second episode of Playing Nice? What “fun” do you think Cherish has planned? Let me know your thoughts!

Nia Simone McLeod is a writer, content creator, and pop culture enthusiast from Richmond, Virginia. She’s the creator and editor of the Medium publications oh, write and coiled. In her newsletter, she shares a behind-the-scenes look at her creative process.

Freelance writer covering pop culture, creativity, race + other fun stuff | she/her | Subscribe to my newsletter: https://ohwrite.substack.com/welcome

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