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If I see one more Beta Gamma Pi girl looking down at me because I'm not sporting any of them pitiful letters, I might just kick her tail. Yes, I'm here at their convention, but I am not Greek. I'm not here like other wannabes; I'm here because I have to be.
My mom, Dr. Monica Jenkins Murray, is their National President, and that makes me sick. I can't believe my time with my mom has taken a backseat to the sorority. For real, when it came to my mom doing sorority business versus my mom being a mom, I came last every time. Yeah, she said all the sorority stuff was for the good of the community and one day I'd understand her sacrifice, but when she didn't make any of my piano recitals or, parent-teacher conferences, I started to detest the group she loved.
After my parents divorced and my older brother moved out with my dad, it was just my mom and me. Though we lived in the same house, we were worlds apart. Basically I felt Beta Gamma Pi took everything away from me. I was at the National Convention only because some of the ladies on the executive board were more of a mom to me than my own mother. The First Vice President, Deborah Day, who lived in California, begged me to come support their endeavors. Because she was always there when I needed someone to talk to, I came. Plus, the VIP rooms in the hotel were stocked with alcohol. With no one around to supervise, I was feeling nice.
"You're all smiles. I guess you just finished kissing the National President's butt, huh?" I said to a girl coming out of my mom's presidential suite.
"I'm sorry, do I know you?" the girl said, squinting, trying to figure out who I was.
"You're so full of it," I said, calling her out as I stumbled, trying to get my key to work on the door. "You know who I am. You're just trying to get on my good side to raise your stock with her."
The girl persisted. "I'm sorry, I'm not trying to offend you, but you really do look familiar. Do you need some help with that?"
I snatched my hand away. "I don't need your help."
"What's going on out here?" The door flung open, and my mom came out in the hallway.
"I was, uh trying to get in the room." I fell back a little.
"Girl, you are so embarrassing me. Get your drunk behind in here now," my mom said sternly. Then she sweetly spoke to the other girl. "Hayden, come in, please."
"Wasn't she just leaving?" I said. I was so confused. My mom went over to this Hayden girl and just started explaining my behavior, like she needed to apologize to some college girl about how I was acting. Why couldn't my mom apologize to me that I had to put up with a brownnoser?
"Come here, Malloy, I want to introduce you guys," my mom said. I reluctantly walked over to them. "Hayden Grant, this is my daughter Malloy Murray. Malloy, Hayden is the Chapter President of Beta Gamma Pi on your campus."
"See, I thought I knew you." The girl smiled, and she reached to shake my hand. "I'm going to be a junior. I knew I'd seen you around school, but I didn't know this was your mom."
"Yeah, sure you didn't know this was my mom," I said sarcastically while keeping my arms glued to my sides.
My mom huffed, "Lord, you don't have to be rude."
"Then don't force me to talk to someone I don't want to talk to, and don't apologize for how I'm feeling. I have a right to be angry, okay, Mom? I don't want to embarrass you anymore, so please get this girl out of my face. I don't care what school she goes to. Unlike both of you, I don't think Beta Gamma Pi is God's gift to the world."
"Hayden, I'm so sorry about this again. Let's just keep this between us. My daughter doesn't usually drink. She'll be much more herself when you guys get back to school. Let's just say I do look forward to working more closely with your chapter, particularly when Malloy makes line."
"Yes, ma'am," Hayden said, really getting on my nerves. She could not get out of the suite fast enough for me. Of course, after she left, my mom looked at me like she was disappointed. Shucks, I was the one rightfully upset. The alcohol just allowed me to finally let out how I felt.
"Mom, don't go making no promises to that girl about me being on line. I'm in school to get an education, not to pledge. Plus, their last line was crazy. They haze up there. You want me to have something to do with that? You're the National President. You're supposed to be against any form of hazing. I'm telling you it was all around school that they put a girl from the last line in the hospital."
She looked at me and rolled her eyes. I believed what I was saying. Some of those girls would do anything to wear Greek letters. Not me.
Changing her tone, she said, "Sweetheart, if you're a part of it, they won't do anything like that. I don't have to worry about anybody doing anything you don't want, as tough as you are. Just promise me you'll take this into consideration. This is one of my hopes for you, Malloy. Being a part of this sisterhood can be so fulfilling. You don't even have a best friend, for crying out loud."
"Yeah, for crying out loud, one of your biggest dreams for me is to be in a sorority. Not to fall in love with a man and stay married forever-like you couldn't. Not to graduate from college with honors and get a great job or doctorate-like you did. Instead, you're praying your child gets into a sorority. I might have had a couple drinks, but it's clear to me that's the thing you want most for me." I plopped down on the couch, picked up the remote, clicked on the television, and put the volume on high. "Don't hold your breath on me becoming a Beta. Sweet dreams, Mommy."
She went into her part of the suite and slammed the door. I knew I had disappointed her. However, as much as she had disappointed me in my life, we weren't anywhere close to being even.
"Mikey," I said the next morning as I came out of my side of the large executive suite I was sharing with my family and saw my brother watching the sports channel with his friend.
"Hey, sis," he said, squinting his eyes as he looked at my outfit.
I hadn't realized my silk gown was open, and the little nightie I wore was revealing much more than my brother wanted his friend to see.
"Cover up, girl. Dang," Mickey said.
"Not on account of me," his friend said with a smirk.
The guy was so fine. I could see the outline of his chiseled chest through the T-shirt he wore. When I looked harder I knew exactly who he was. It was Kade Rollins, the starting linebacker for the University of Southeastern Arkansas.
Mikey was a defensive back on the same team. He wasn't that great, but he'd started. On the contrary, this Rollins guy was great. I remembered the sports writers wondering why he didn't go pro last year. Kade was staying for his senior year to graduate and make his stock go even higher. He was predicted to go in the first round of the draft.
Kade's dark mocha eyes were so into me. I was actually loving the glare. It made me feel sexy. Mikey was furious. I turned around and went back into my room as Mikey followed.
"What's up with that? Why are you going to come out and be all disrespectful like that? Fix your clothes."
"Wait a minute. You came into the place where I'm staying at with mom. Dude, you haven't seen her in, what, a year? And I wake up, and you're here with some friend. Now I'm the one being disrespectful because I'm comfortable? Please. I didn't even know you were coming, and the last person I'd expect you to be hanging with would be Kade Rollins. The last few years, you've always dissed the guy. Now y'all hanging out all buddy-buddy and stuff?"
"The guy stayed here for his senior year. Obviously he didn't look out for himself. I misjudged him, okay? Get dressed. The last thing I want him to be doing is looking at my sister. He's a player." Mikey pointed his finger in my face like I had to heed his words or else.
"We haven't lived together in, like, five years. Don't act like you're my dad and stuff. I had to look out for myself. I can do what I want when I want. Move!" I said as I flung open my door and pranced right back out.
"So, Kade, what brings you to the Beta convention? This is a sorority thing. I'm surprised to see you here," I asked, wanting to make my brother madder.
Mikey blurted out, "His girlfriend is here."
"No, no, don't be telling her all that." Kade got up and came toward me. "Mikey, you've been holding out. Your little sister is pretty grown-up to me."
My brother's cell phone rang, and he answered it. Apparently it was my mom. She needed some help setting something up in one of the meeting rooms.
"Why can't she get a bellman to do this stuff? Come on, Kade, will you help me?" my brother said to his boy.
"Oh, man. I'm looking at the game," he said, looking deep into my eyes.
"Malloy, get dressed," Mikey said as he walked out of the suite.
Kade walked over to me. "You don't want to get dressed. What you want to do is get undressed."
"You first," I said to him.
"Oh, you ain't said nothing but a word." He started unbuttoning his shirt.
"Please, I have no interest in looking at a little boy." I turned around and walked back into my bedroom.
"Okay, why are you going to play hard to get with me?"
"Didn't my brother just say you had a girlfriend?" I said through the door as I put on some jeans and a T-shirt.
"Something I'm coming out of, but don't you want to give me something to get into?" he said seductively.
I opened the door, and he almost fell inside the room. "Dang, can a sister get some privacy? What you want to see that bad? You trying to put on your X-ray vision or something?"
"Naw, naw. I just was ... Okay, you caught me."
I don't know what my mom had Mikey doing, but it lasted about thirty-five minutes, and during that time Kade and I just chatted. He was impressed with how much I knew about football, which wasn't a big deal to me. I was brought up on it; my big brother loved the sport, and my dad did, too. The only way I could get any real attention from my father was when we talked about football. I felt so comfortable chatting with Kade that I confessed how angry I was with my dad. My Dad made me feel like he divorced not only my mom but me as well. Yeah, he gave me money, but he never gave me his time. I resented him for that.
I was shocked when Kade revealed, "Yeah, I understand that. My dad left my mom and me when I was little. Then when I started doing well in high school, he started to come around. He hadn't paid my mom a dime in child support before that, but when I had a chance to make it out of the projects, he was the first one trying to show up, acting like he was some real father. I don't know what kind of baller I'm going to be. I just know when I have a chance to become a father, I'm not going to be one that walks away."
"I've seen you play. You come off that corner like no one else I've ever seen. All that anger and passion you channel toward your opponent-I really understand it. I'm angry about a lot of things, too, Kade, but at least you have an outlet. You have a good way of expressing it, and you're successful at it. Don't worry, just keep your head on straight and keep playing with that fire, and nobody will be able to deny you."
Gazing into my brown eyes, he said, "You're denying me now 'cause you won't go out with me."
"For what, so I can be the new girl of the month and then you can ditch me like you supposedly ditched your girlfriend? I don't think so. And anyway, I just met you."
"You're fiercer than any opponent I've ever seen on the field and definitely more intriguing than any girl I've ever met. You're telling me I'm a great player, but you don't want to get with me. Honestly this has never happened to me before."
"What, I'm not feeding your ego? It is what it is. News flash: you're just a guy."
He came over to me and bent down to my ear. "Just a guy that wants to get with this beautiful girl."
"And you're trying too hard," I said to him as I moved away.
Thankfully the door opened. Mikey was back, and he could tell his boy was way into me. Mikey didn't like it at all. I didn't care. Flirting that went nowhere was fun.
Later that evening, I was at the Beta Gamma Pi Collegiate Stepshow Afterparty. I had been coming to these things for years, and it had always been a big part of the convention. Though only Betas participated in the stepshow, all the fraternities and sororities were in the house. I was used to being alone, but for some reason tonight I felt isolated, and it wasn't as cool of a feeling as it had always been. On either side of me there were clusters of people nestled beside me laughing and having a good time.
The whole sisterhood-friendship-bond thing was something I just didn't understand, but maybe I wanted to. I quickly shrugged that off when Mikey and Kade came walking toward me. Kade had on a buttoned up shirt he'd unbuttoned most of the way. His chest was popping out from behind the shirt, and he was looking superfine.
"You seen any of the Betas from your school?" Mikey asked me.
"No, I don't hang out with them girls," I said real salty 'cause he couldn't even say hello.
"Hey, Mikey." Some girl came over to my brother. "Let's dance, baby."
She pulled him out on the dance floor. There I stood with Kade. Why was I so nervous?
"You look gorgeous tonight."
"I see you're still trying hard," I said, trying to sound uninterested.
"Well, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you all day, and even though I know your brother would probably kill me if I mess with you," he said, licking his lips, "that is just a chance I am willing to take. I'm sprung!"
"You're a liar," I said, completely flustered.
"No, I'm serious."
As I tried to walk away, he grabbed my hand. The touch sent chills up my arm straight to my heart. My heart started beating faster. I knew nothing was gonna happen tonight, but I was willing to go along with Kade. Shoot, the brother was hot.
"You want a drink?" he said.
"Sure, why not."
We walked toward the punch table. When we got there, though, he pulled me over to a doorway past the bartender. I was thirsty and confused.
"Where are we going? The punch is right over there."
"I'm not talking about no punch. I've got a little something in my car. Are you down for that?" He held my hand and gave me a serious stare.
Rolling my eyes, I said, "What, so you could slip me a roofie? I don't think so."
"I don't need to take advantage of you. I just need you to warm up to me. See how hot you can be for me."
I'm a cute girl. Five-nine, slim, nice brown skin, fluffy black hair, and my boobs and butt are in the right place. I've never had a problem turning a guy's head. But I certainly have never let them know that I was interested, and I certainly didn't give it up on the first date.
So an hour later when we were parked and Kade was on top of me, I was completely shocked. Though this was fast, something real was going on here, and it wasn't just on his side. I wanted him to make me feel good-to heck with being a good girl. When he kissed me, I didn't fight back. When he slid his hand up under my shirt, I didn't move it off. And when his hands went to other places, I felt better than any man had made me feel before. Though I had been with only two guys, they were nowhere close to Kade.
Just when he wanted to get me acquainted with every part of his body, I said, "You know what? I just can't."
"What-doesn't it feel good?"
"You've got a girlfriend. I can't have sex with you."
"I told you that was handled," he said.
"So what-we do this, and then I never see you again? I want more than a fling."
His answer was a passionate kiss. Though he didn't know me, and all this was going way too fast, the brother put it on like he loved me or something. All my fears subsided. I let him have his way with me, and it felt marvelous. Right after, he wanted to hold me, but I just couldn't. Though I had enjoyed it, deep down, another part of me was not really understanding the type of girl I was becoming.
Chapter Two GOSH
I hadn't done anything so crazy and spontaneous ever, but it sure had felt good being with Kade like that. It had been a while since I'd gotten my groove on, and now I felt like a new woman. Stepping back into the crowded stepshow afterparty, I was confident that I had just started something amazing with a guy who had honestly swept me off my feet. I couldn't say it was love at first sight, but it was certainly something close to it. Or, at least, I thought it was until this girl came rushing over to us and screamed out, "Where have you been, Kade? I told my girls you brought some football players. We were looking all over for you. You tell me you're gonna be here at ten o'clock, I expect you to be here at ten o'clock."
Excerpted from The Way We Roll by Stephanie Perry Moore Copyright © 2009 by Stephanie Perry Moore. Excerpted by permission.
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