Predominantly African American Greek organizations were founded on Christian principles. What a wonderful thing! With God in the middle of the groups, they can't go off track. Unfortunately, the devil is real, and he comes to kill, steal, and destroy. So unless the groups stay grounded and remember their purpose, they fall into sin: hazing, hatred, and devilish ways. Unless God is a part of the sorority or fraternity, the members will fail miserably and add up to much less than their founders intended. This book was written to show why God is needed every step of the way.
Writing a novel about what happens when college students sin was tough. Honestly, I wasn't a Goody Two-shoes in college and was far from perfect. However, that's the joy in knowing Christ. With Him, you can fallâbut you can get back up and have an even stronger walk in the end. To truly have it going on doesn't mean you're popular, rich, or smart. It means you know He is the only One who can save your soul. The meaning, purpose, and identity you long for is in Him. Don't get me wrong, being Greek can get you a long way. But being a part of God's family will take you all the way and is all that matters. Here is a big shout-out to those who pray for me and walk with me throughout every step of my writing journey.
For my family: parents Dr. Franklin and Shirley Perry, Sr.; brother Dennis and sister-in-law Leslie; nephew Franklin III; mother-in-law Ms. Ann; and extended family Reverend and Mrs. Kimbrough, Bobby and Sarah Lundy, Antonio and Gloria London, Cedric and Nicole Smith, Harry and Nino Colon, Brett and Loni Perriman, Chandra Dixon, Lakeba Williams, and Michele Clark Jenkinsâthank you for praying for my strength. May every college student feel as secure as your support makes me.
For my publisher, Kensington/Dafina Books, and especially Laurie Parkin, thank you for answering my prayer and having me at this great house. May every person know he or she can be successful after they leave school.
For my writing team: Ciara Roundtree, Ashley Duncan, Chantel Morgan, and Alyx Pinkstonâthank you for praying for my work and coming through to make it better. May all readers learn to surround themselves with hardworking people who believe in their dreams.
For my DST sorors, for whom I care deeply, especially my special sisters: Victoria Christopher Murray, Trevy McDonald, Jenell Clark, Deborah Thomas, Christine Nixon, Myra Brown, Anita Gasden, Kara Wright, Celeste Jordan, Debra Abernathy, Cassandra Brown, Isha Western, Pam Murphy, Dayna Fleming, Yolanda Rogers-Hauser, Anita Shaw, Marcia Butler-Holt, Cynthia Boyd, and in memory of Brenda Haywoodâthank you for praying for me to keep going. May all collegiate Greeks, especially our Deltas, know they can make it and enjoy the climb.
For my children: Dustyn Leon, Sydni Derek, and Sheldyn Ashliâthank you for praying for Mommy's dreams to come true. May every young person know that what he or she does today affects generations to come.
For my hubby, Derrick Moore, thank you for praying for my breakthrough. May every person have a cheerleader like you in his or her corner.
For my readers, thank you for trying this series, as that alone is an answer to my prayers as well. May each of you know the world is waiting on you to do your thing and make this place better.
And for Jesus, thank You for praying for my soul and for dying for my sins. May every person know You are all that matters.
eah, I know I got it going on, and even with all the eyes rolling my way, I'm not gonna feel bad about that. My dark, almond-toned skin is glazed to perfection. My 5'7” body is slim in all the right places. My sassy short do moves the men. I know how to work it. Every guy at this Student Government Association back-to-school party is checking me out, including the fine, commanding SGA president, Al Dutch.
Al Dutchâyes, he wants everyone to use his whole name all the time, saying he plans to run for political office one day and we need to remember him. Al is a lady's man; he looks, walks, and talks like money! You know the type. The one who's confident and cocky and always has a sure smile plastered on his or her face, with a no-worry, got-much-loot look in his or her eyes. Al's that type. His skin glows like he has slept on the best satin sheets and used the finest body oils all his life. All the men wanna be him. All the girls wanna be with himâincluding me. It was game time, and I was flirting hard.
Western Smith is your typical historically black college with even more bells and whistles. We are rich in history in our great state of Arkansas. We have everything at our disposalâa good football team, excellent academics, amazing Greek life, and great cultural campus events. Western Smith even has a first-rate bandâwhich is the place where I fit most.
I was a drum major my sophomore year. Now that I'm a junior, I've switched gears and decided to try something different. Now I'm captain of the dance team. One would think my life is perfect, but my reputation isn't the best. Though I don't care what people think or say about me, I know I want to make the line of Beta Gamma Pi. Three years ago when I first came to college, I was at a probate show where the sisters were stepping, and I remember all the excited oohs and ahhs they received from the crowd. It was then that I knew I really wanted to be a Beta. Plus, their sorors in my hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, helped get me through my high school years and because of their scholarship, I was able to attend Western Smith.
After meeting some Betas in middle school, I had researched the sorority. I found newspaper clippings about the five founders, and I'd even taken a tour of the National Headquarters about thirty miles from campus. The more I looked into what the Betas were all aboutâleadership, sisterhood, education, Christianity, and public serviceâI knew they were the sorority for me. The whole God thing wasn't really my thing, but I knew to be a Beta, I had to either clean up my act and hope they would vote me in or cancel that dream altogether.
“Oooo, girl, you working it. Making a brothah lose his mind. Let's get outta here,” Al Dutch said as he grabbed my waist after I sashayed my body all around his in a seductive manner.
“Boy, please. I don't even know you like that,” I said.
With the stare of a tiger hungry to eat, Al Dutch said, “Oh, you know exactly who I am. And I know you, Ms. Cassidy Cross. And you want everything I got to give. Don't play. I chose you tonight, baby. Now, you see all the ladies' eyes are focused on me, and if I made the wrong choice you need to let me know now, and I'll be on my way.”
I looked around me, and he was right. There were girls just waiting for the chance to talk to Al Dutch. But even though I wasn't ready to groove with him between the sheets, I could move my body on the dance floor.
“Come here. You can't make up your mind?” he said. Then he pointed in the direction of a girl who was on the dance team with me, Miss Ginger. I didn't know her well, but I knew she didn't like the fact that I was chosen to head up the dance team. She'd thought she would have the honor because of seniorityâshe had been on the team the last two years. However, I'd had the moves in my favor, and I'd ultimately won out. I could see the anger in her face from across the room. She was cute, but Al Dutch was jocking me and obviously thought I was cuter.
“Come on, let's go,” I said, tugging him back to me and wrapping his arm around my waist to piss her off more.
“That's what I'm talking about,” he said to me as he laid a sloppy kiss on my lips in front of the crowd.
I was taken aback by his bold move, but with so many girls after him, I guess he was used to getting what he wanted. I hadn't seen any Betas in the house to use this against me. They didn't like to see prospective members being too sassy in public. So before they came to this jumping party, Al Dutch and I left.
I'd come to the party with my roommate, and she knew the drillâif I didn't meet up with her once the party was over, she knew I'd catch up with her at home. So I didn't sweat looking for herâthough, once I got in his car and he lit a joint and handed it to me, I wondered if I should have told my girl where I was. I wanted to have a good time, but I wasn't into smoking pot.
Although it was a ten-minute ride to his crib, he barely said two words to me. Al Dutch was what most girls at Western Smith dreamed of, but right now, smoking a joint, he wasn't being dreamy, just careless.
When we arrived at his apartment, it was confirmed that the boy was loaded. His crib was huge. The living room area was decked out with a fifty-inch plasma TV. His kitchen had all the finest appliances, from the stainless-steel microwave to the automatic dishwasher. The wall-to-wall carpet was thick and plush and clean. I strolled down the hallway and entered the master bedroom. The green-and-brown color scheme went along with his tasteful style. I was in awe as I enjoyed the view and made my way back to the fine brother I was ready to spend the rest of the evening talking to.
“Don't get me wrong, this is my parents' place, but I'm a business major, and when I learn enough to take over the family business I will own
this,” he said. “My parents own Dutch Cosmetics, one of the most successful African American beauty lines. But as pretty as your beautiful skin is, I don't think we have anything that could make you more gorgeous.”
Dutch then came over to the couch, put his arms around me, and went in for a kiss. Again, we hadn't said much to each other. I needed him to back the heck off, but he was so aggressive. His hands were all over me, and before I knew it, my shirt was off, and he was trying to take off my pants. This wasn't what I wanted, so I shoved him away from me.
With my hands in front of me, I said, “Stop! I'm not ready for this yet; I want to get to know you. Please stop.”
“Girl, please. I hope you didn't think I brought you over here so we could talk,” he said as I tried to cover myself. “Oh, no, ain't no need to hide all that. Tonight you're mine. Look aroundâyou best believe I get what I want.”
With that, he picked me up and took me to his bedroom, where he threw me down on his king-size bed. He wouldn't take no for an answer, no matter how much I tried to stop him. So I just laid there feeling practically dead inside.
“Ugh, what are you looking at?” Al Dutch questioned me twenty minutes later.
Instantly, I hung my head low. He was a jerk, and I was both angry and saddened.
Did I ask for this?
I wondered, unable to move.
“We're done,” he said in a disgusted voice.
I felt like my insides were ripped apart. He had a satisfied grin on his face, but I felt devastated. Though I was angry, I didn't act on it. I just lay there.
“Cassidy, can you not hear? You ain't getting round two. Put your clothes on,” he said as he threw them in my face. “I got someone else coming through in a few, so I need you to get up outta my space.”
I still couldn't move. He walked over toward me and tried to grab me. I jerked away from him. I didn't want him touching me again, not after what he'd just done to me. The instant he tried to touch me, it was like I unthawed and was on fire. I quickly got up, grabbed my stuff, and headed to the nearest door, not caring where it led to.
Entering the bathroom, I looked in the mirror and said softly, “How did you let this happen, Cass?”
All I wanted was a man to love me. I deeply wanted a family someday. I knew the altercation with Al Dutch was a real indication that I wasn't doing things the proper way. The hours leading up to this quickly zoomed through my memory. The girl he'd left with at the party had seemed up for anything. I had totally sent out the wrong signals.
I so wanted to be a Beta. I was thinking back to the conversation I had had last school year with Alyx Cruz, the new transfer Beta who had it going on and was rumored to be the head of the line. She had told me I shouldn't give people a reason to think I was fast. And with Al Dutch I'd only done what I'd always doneâbeen carefree and not taken things so seriously. But as I looked in the mirror, I realized no sorority was gonna want me if I had let a guy like Al Dutch do what he'd done to me. Replaying the scene over and over, I hated myself.
“For real, you gotta go. You need to leave!” Al Dutch said, interrupting my thoughts. “Your teammate, Meagan, is headed over here. I gotta do her. This ain't nothing like love, and it wasn't even that good, so get out!”
Wow, what was he planning on doing? Getting with all the girls on the dance team? Ginger had been eyeing him down at the party. Now he was talking about getting with Meagan. This guy was nasty.
Dang! I threw water on my face and stared at myself one last time in his bathroom mirror. I knew this was the moment I needed to change. I opened the door, fully dressed, and walked out.
“Are you crying? What, you thought I wanted a relationship? You mean nothing to me. I gave you the night you wanted.”
Finally, I went for the attackâtook my hand and grabbed his neck. “You raped me.”
“What? You're dreaming,” he said. “You asked for it in every way.” He took my arm and twisted it behind my back. “And don't you even think about going to the cops.”
“Stop!” I shouted in agony. “You're hurting me! Let go!”
“Not until you understand that you don't need to be making no remarks like that. Everybody at the party saw you coming on to me and eyeing me down. Don't try to cry rape now. I gave you everything you asked for. You're sorry now, and you just need to deal with it. Now for the last time, get out and leave me out of it.”
I didn't know if I could do that, but I knew I had to leave. I jetted to the front door, hating all that had happened.
When I reached my apartment, I felt worthless. My hands were trembling so badly I could barely open the front door, and eventually my roommate, Samantha Kelly, came to help. She was a cool girl from Alabama who had grandparents in Arkansas. She was really laid back and relaxed, so she was always able to calm me down.
“Cass, what are you doing? Girl, I didn't know who was out here messing with the doorknob,” she said while holding on to the steel bat we kept at the door for protection.
She played softball at our school and, like me, she wanted to pledge Beta Gamma Pi. Without noticing something was wrong with me, she blabbed about an upcoming Beta event.
“I was hoping you'd get here soon. A lot of us who are trying to pledge Beta are getting together to discuss if they've heard word of the Betas having a line. A fall line, that is. Because they didn't have a line last year, this is supposed to be the biggest line to be brought over. Are you listening to me?” she asked when I stared at the bare wall instead of at her face. She finally realized I was in a daze. She reached out to hug me, and I jerked back. “What's wrong? Talk to me, Cass.”
I wanted so badly to blurt out,
“I've been raped! Just help me!”
but my body helplessly fell to the floor.
She was reluctant to hug me again. “Please talk to me, Cassidy, please.” Her phone rang. “It's some of the girls. They wanna talk about the Beta Gamma Pi thing, but I don't wanna leave you alone. Something's not right. Was it Al Dutch? I saw you with him at the party, and you guys were hot and heavy. Then I saw you leave with him. Did he hurt you?”
In a whisper, I uttered, “I wish he'd left me alone and looked in another direction, talked to another girl or something.”
“Did things not go well? Did he reject you?” she asked, now seriously concerned.