The Love She Needed
We all have that one friend that is always looking for love in all the wrong places. No matter how many times they get their heartbroken by the same type of guy they still date them. That friend in my life is my fabulous best friend Leslie “the bad guy magnet”, her words not mine. Although, no matter the amount of bad guys that have crossed her path, she never stops looking for love. Even if that means settling for a “friend with benefits” relationship for two year’s. She just wanted to be loved.
Leslie and I met our sophomore year of high school. I had just moved to town and she was my school tour guide on my first day. From that day on we have been friends. Being an only child, I have always looked at Leslie as my sister and so did my parents. Leslie lived with her mother and 8 other siblings. She never complained about the struggles happening at home but it showed. As our friendship grew Leslie became an honorary member of our family. Whatever my parents did for me, they would also do for her, with Leslie's mother's permission of course. We made a pact that we would have one another's back through thick and thin. Our pact is the reason I am always her shoulder to cry on when she gets her heart broken by another guy.
Four years ago Leslie and I took a girl's trip to Miami with a couple of our friends from college. We were celebrating my new position as the Director Of Photography for the Chicago Magazine. Leslie rented this nice beach house that came with in-house staff and a chef. I was looking forward to letting loose and enjoying time with my girls. The first night there we decided to attend this beach party. We pulled out our sexiest swim suits, put on a little makeup, styled our hair, and headed down to the party.
The party was filled with liquor, food, and many shirtless hot guys. We decided to post up at the bar. We had one goal in mind, to get completely wasted. As we were drinking, these three guys approached us. One guy asked, “what are you ladies drinking?”. Leslie responded “whatever you’re buying”. The guy smiled at Leslie and said “I'm Johnathan, this is my twin Jackson and my best friend Nick”. Leslie said “I'm Leslie, this is my sister Tia, and our best friends Melissa and Kayla. She went on to say “now that we’ve gotten introductions out the way, let's order those drinks.” She turned to the bartender and said “can I get 7 patron shots, please”.
The bartender lined the shot glasses on the bar and poured the patron. We all picked up our shot glasses and threw the drinks back. That night we partied until the wee hours of the morning. We enjoyed hanging with the guys so much that we decided to hang out with them for the remainder of the trip. This made Leslie very happy because she was so into Johnathan, which was good in my book because he was totally different from any of the other guys she's dated in the past. Pulse he had a twin brother that I was kind of into. After that weekend in Miami, Johnathan and Leslie continued to get to know one another. Johnathan was an architect and was working on a big project in California. For their first date he flew Leslie out to California so they could spend the weekend together. When Leslie returned home after her weekend with Jonathan, she kept repeating “sis he is the one”. As excited as I was for her I also had to remind her about taking her time to get to know him. Like most people who don’t want to hear the reality of things, she quickly agreed so we could change the subject. As mush as I wanted to protect her, at the end of the day it was her life and her decisions.
By the end of the year, Leslie and Jonathan were in a full on relationship. I knew they were serious when she decided to have Sunday dinner at her home and invited my parents. Leslie considered my father as her dad and he considered her his daughter, so Johnathan winning over my father was very important to Leslie. My father is a man who believes in action. Regardless of the promises Jonathan was going to make Leslie and our family, my dad wanted him to back that up in his actions. When we arrived to Leslie’s house for dinner, to my surprise, Jackson, Johnathan’s twin brother, was present. We were dating at the time but weren’t to ready to tell our family and friends, so we did the pretend long time no see greeting.
During dinner everyone was chatting and having a good time, then it happened. Leslie made the announcement that she and Johnathan were moving in together in their new home in California. The table got completely quiet. Johnathan went on say he knows that it might seem like they are moving fast but they are in love. Leslie jumped in to say “you guys know I always wanted move to California and UCLA has a great Education graduate program. I have already received my teaching certification in LA, so I will still be able to teach. Johnathan added on by saying “I promise to take care of Leslie”. My mother took a deep breathe and said “well it seems like you guys have it all mapped out. Leslie if this is what you want to do then sweetie you have our support”. My dad and I sat in a disappointed agreement with my mother. Although I was hurt she didn’t share the news of her moving with me, I was also happy that she was starting a new chapter in her life.
On June 8th, 2019, I helped my sister load her last box into the moving truck. It was a very emotional moment for the both of us because this was the first time in our 20 year sistership that we would be worlds apart. As we hugged I said “please take care of yourself and if you need anything don’t hesitate to call me”. She said “you know I will”. She hopped into the front seat of the truck with Johnathan and they drove off. When Leslie first moved to California we would talk everyday or multiple times throughout the day. But as the months went on our conversations got shorter and shorter. I would call her and she would reject my calls and text me “I’ll call you back later”. Whenever we did, talk she didn’t sound like herself. When I asked her if everything was okay. She would just say that she was tired. Not wanting to pry I just changed the subject.
That August I had to go to California for work. As soon as I got the news I called Leslie to let her know. She was so excited. When I landed in town Leslie came to pick me up from the airport. She got out of the car to help me with my bags and she looked completely different. She was so thin, I almost didn’t recognize who she was. We greeted one another with a hug and got into her car. The ride was very awkward we really didn’t speak much. When we arrived to her house I was blown away, it was absolutely beautiful. When we entered the house, everything was spotless. I was so shocked because Leslie wasn’t the most organized person in the world. She took me on a tour of the house and showed me where I would be staying for the week.
After the tour we decided to sit by the pool and have a glass of wine to catch up. I jumped right in and said “girl! so you’re living the complete California lifestyle?. What are you now a size 2?”.She laughed and said “I knew you were going to say something about my weight”. I said “girl, you know I had to, you out here looking like a bobblehead”. We both laughed so hard that tears came to our eyes.
We sat by the pool for hours catching up on life. We didn’t know how much time had passed until Jonathan came home yelling Leslie’s name through the house. When he finally came outside Leslie quickly popped up. She nervously said “hey babe look who’s here”. He turned and looked at me with a smile on to his face and said hey “T you finally made it out to the West Coast”. I got up and greeted him with a hug. I said “of course I had to come see this beautiful house my sis kept raving about”. He walked over to Leslie, put his arm around her shoulder, kissed her the cheek and said “she has definitely made it a home”. As I stood there listening to Johnathan rave about Leslie I couldn’t help but notice the fearful nervousness in her eyes. I could tell something was wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
That night Jackson wanted to take me out to dinner. After 6 months of dating we had finally decided to tell our family and friends we were together. When Leslie heard the news she was so excited. As I was getting ready for my date with Jackson, Leslie walks into my room smiling. She said “you and Jackson are so cute together”. I said “who would’ve thought that we would be dating twin brothers”. She said “our sister vision board. I put that I wanted our husbands to be best friends so we could spend time together everyday”. I said “well I guess you spoke things into existence”. She took a deep breathe and said “I really missed you sis”. I turned away from the mirror to face her. I looked at her and she looked so sad. I hugged her and said “I missed you sis”. We hugged for a moment and then separated. She said “well let me go down here and make dinner. Have fun on your date with Jackson”.
That night at dinner with Jackson was magical. After we finished eating, we went back to his place. I said “I wish we could have dinner like that together every night”. He said “that might be happening sooner than you think”. Completely caught off guard, I asked “how?” He picks his phone up from the cocktail table, clicked a few buttons and handed it to me. He told me to push play on the voice message. I pushed play and the recording said that he had received the position as Attending Physician in Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care at the Children’s Hospital of Chicago. When I heard the message I screamed and jumped on him. He laughed and said “I figured that would make you happy”. I was overjoyed. He said “very soon we will get to be together everyday”. I said “yeah”, with a little less excitement. He asked me what was wrong. I took a deep breathe and said “I want to make sure you’re doing this for you and not just so you can be closer to me”. He said “I’m doing it for the both of us I always planned on leaving Cali. Chicago has always been a place I enjoyed visiting so when the opportunity for this job came along I applied. You are just the added bonus”. I smiled and said “whatever sweet talker”.
That night Jackson returned me back to Leslie and Johnathan's house at 1am. When we pulled up there was an ambulance and police cars in front of the house. As soon as Jackson stopped the car, I noticed Leslie unconscious on a stretcher being put in the ambulance. I quickly got out the car and ran in the house as Jackson followed. When we got in the house Johnathan was standing their talking to the police with tears in his eyes. Franticly I asked Johnathan “what happened!?”. When he saw me he hugged me and said “I found Leslie laying unconscious in the bathroom. They think she overdosed on her sleeping pills”. I said “what!?”. He said the ambulance was able to revive her but she still wasn’t responding. Jackson asked “what hospital are they taking her to?” One of the cops responded Cedars-Sinai Emergency. Without even asking Johnathan if he was coming, Jackson and I ran to the car and drove to the hospital.
I held onto Jackson hand super tight, trying to hold back tears while he sped to the hospital. When we arrived, Leslie’s ambulance had just pulled up and they were rushing her inside. Jackson and I rushed in behind them. Both of us asking the EMT’s if she would be okay, the doctors rushed in between us and took her to the back. I just broke down crying. No longer able to hold it in, I just screamed “somebody please tell me something!” Jackson just held me in his arms as he escorted me to a seat while he went to check in with front desk. While Jackson was at the front desk Johnathan arrived. He asked “Tia, how is she doing?” Crying through my words I said “I don’t know”. Jackson returned to us and said “the doctor will come out to speak with us soon”. With tears in my eyes I said “that’s not telling us if she’s okay”. Jackson hugged me and said “babe she is going to be okay”. Soon as Jackson said those words the doctor came out looking for Leslie Scott’s family. We rushed to him. Johnathan said to the doctor, “please tell us she’s okay”. The doctor said “she is in stable conditions and resting. I asked “can we please see her?” The doctor said “yes of course, I will have someone escort you to her room”.
When we walked into the room she opened her eyes and looked at us with tears rolling down her face. Johnathan quickly rushed over to Leslie and started kissing and hugging her as she continued to cry. Over and over he continuously said “I’m sorry” and she kept repeating “I know”. The doctors wanted to keep Leslie under 24 hour suicide watch, So Johnathan stayed behind to with her while Jackson and I went home to get some rest. With so much going on, I couldn’t sleep. That moment between Leslie and Johnathan kept running through mind. What would he be apologizing for unless he did something to her? I tossed and turned all night. That morning I woke up to Jackson bringing me breakfast in bed. I said “thank you babe, for everything”. He said “it was not a problem. How are you holding up?” I said “I’m holding on”. He said “yeah me too. Johnathan texted this morning and said they will be discharging her this afternoon”. I loudly let out a big thank God!. Jackson thought it would be a good idea for us to prepare lunch for Leslie and Johnathan. So, we went over to the house, set the table really nicely and made lunch.
When Leslie walked in the door I said “hey sis!”. I ran over and hugged her. Tears instantly came to our eyes. I whispered to her “I love you so much”. She responded “I love you too sis”. Jackson said “Leslie you won’t believe who prepared lunch today”. Leslie and I separated and we walked to the table. She asked “who?”Jackson pointed to me. She laughed and said “Tia didn’t cook this!” I said “yes I did!”. Jackson said and it really good I tired it. Johnathan teased Jackson and said “everything taste good when you’re in love.” Jackson said “at least give it a try”. I said “if it’s not up to your liking, we will order something.” Leslie said okay. She and Johnathan tried a couple of the sweet potato fries and were impressed. After lunch, Leslie and I went up to her room. We laid in the bed and watched movies together. She asked “have you called mom and dad yet”. I said “no, I didn’t want to worry them”. She said “T, I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately so I had my doctor Prescribe me some sleeping pills. The other night I accidentally took a double dose”.?I asked her”are you sure their isn’t anything else you need to tell me?”. She quickly responded “no!”. I knew she was lying but I decided to let it go for the night.
During my trip Jackson made it his business to take me on a date every night while I was in California. That Friday, he planned for us to visit a wine Vineyard and stay the night. I was so excited because I always wanted to visit a vineyard in California. The plan was for us to leave after his last appointment. I had decided to work from home because Leslie was going to braid my hair. That morning we all woke up and everything was fine. Leslie and I left the house early to go pickup something for my trip. When we returned back to the house, Johnathan came running down the steps towards us yelling “where the fuck have you been!?” Shocked by his delivery I said “excuse you!?”. He said “Tia I’m not talking to you”. I asked him “who are you speaking to!? because shouldn’t be speaking to her that way either”. Johnathan looked at me with a rage in his eyes that I had never seen before. Leslie broke his eye contact with me and said “Babe, I didn’t mean to worry you. My phone died and I forgot my charger here at the house. Johnathan grabbed the bags from Leslie hands and took them upstairs.
I looked at Leslie and asked “what the hell was that all about?” Embarrassed, she said “he’s just been worried about me that’s all”. I said “that doesn’t give him the right to speak to you like that”. She said “I know, he was worried”. She went on to say that she was going to speak to him for a moment and that she would be back down shortly to do my hair.. I asked “are you sure?”She said “yes, I’ll be fine”. She quickly runs upstairs to their bedroom and closed the door. I walked to the bottom of the stairs and I hear Johnathan’s voice, but it was hard to make out what he was saying because the door was closed. While I was standing there trying to listen, my phone rings and it’s Jackson. I picked up with an annoyed tone and said “hello”. He said “hello to you too!. Are you okay? Quickly understanding that my annoyance wasn’t with him it was with his brother, I changed my tone to something more pleasant and said “yeah just waiting for Leslie to start on my hair”. He said “aww look at you trying to get extra cute for me”. I smiled and said “whatever”. He asked me if I was excited about this weekend and before I could respond, I hear a loud crash and Leslie screaming my name. I dropped the phone and ran up the steps. Before I could get down the hall to the bedroom door, Johnathan rushed passed me down the stairs and out the front door.
When I entered the room, Leslie was sitting in the corner curled up crying with a busted lip, a black eye and one of the end table lamps was broken on the floor. I helped Leslie off the floor and sat her on the bed. Then I rushed in the bathroom and got a cold wet towel for her to place on her lip. I said “stay right here, I’m going to call the police”. She quickly grabbed me by the arm said “No T! no please!. He didn’t mean to do it”. I said “Leslie look at your face! he did mean to do this”. She said “I’m okay I promise. Just don’t call the police please”. At that moment I had to make a decision that was going to change the faith of Leslie’s life forever. So I did. I went down stairs and called the police.
That night Johnathan was arrested for domestic abuse. When I abruptly got off the phone, Jackson rushed over to the house to see if I was okay. When he arrived the cops were leaving. Jackson asked “what’s going on? Leslie said “your girlfriend called the cops your brother”. Jackson looked at me and said “Tia why would you do that?” Out of anger, I screamed “look at her face!” pointing to Leslie. Jackson looked at Leslie and saw the black eye and busted lip. He said “what happened to your face?” I told him “your brother beat the hell out of her because her phone went dead while we were out this morning”. Leslie shouted “Tia shut up! you don’t know what your talking about”. Jackson asked Leslie “did Johnathan do this to you?” She said “yes, we got into a fight and he accidentally hit me”. Out of pure confusion, I asked “he accidentally hit you!?. Leslie have you lost your mind?”. She responded “Tia shut up, I’m talking to Jackson. You should’ve never called the police, you didn’t have that right. I asked “are you serious?” She said “yes, I’m serious. I asked you not to call the police and you did anyway. You’ve always butted in my relationships. I don’t know if it was out of jealousy or what, But now you have finally found a man who can put up with your bougie ass. How about you focus on keeping your relationship together and stay out of my fucking life!”. She grabbed her purse, along with her keys and walked out of the front door slamming it behind her.
That night was the last time Leslie and I saw one another. As much as I loved my sister, I couldn’t force her to understand that Johnathan needed help. Two years after that night Jackson received a phone call in the middle of the night from his mother. Johnathan and Leslie were found dead in their home. He had killed her and then committed suicide. I blamed myself for years for Leslie’s death. We were sisters and we promised to always be there for one another through thick and thin. Sadly I wasn’t there when she needed me. Could I have changed this outcome? We would never know. I miss my sister so very much but I know she’s in a better place.