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Authors: ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Fair-Weather Friends

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Fair-Weather
Friends

Also by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Getting Even

With Friends Like These

Nothing But Drama

Blessings in Disguise

The Pastor's Wife

Everybody Say Amen

I Know I've Been Changed

Let the Church Say Amen

My Brother's Keeper

Have a Little Faith

(with Jacquelin Thomas, Sandra Kitt, and J. D. Mason)

Pocket Books

A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2008 by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

First Pocket Books trade paperback edition September 2008

POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Billingsley, ReShonda Tate.

Fair-weather friends / ReShonda Tate Billingsley. — 1st Pocket Books trade paperback ed.

p. cm.

Summary: When racism separates members of Good Girlz, a church-related community service group, the girls must remember that what is on the inside matters more than the outside, and while they may not be able to remove the world's prejudices, they can change themselves.

[1. Racism—Fiction. 2. Friendship—Fiction. 3. African

Americans—Fiction. 4. Hispanic Americans—Fiction. 5. High schools—Fiction. 6. Schools—Fiction. 7. Christian life—Fiction.] I. Title. PZ7.B4988Fai 2008 [Fic]—dc22

2008012951

ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5876-7
eISBN-13: 978-1-4516-7234-3

For the founders,
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Delta Sigma Theta
Zeta Phi Beta
Sigma Gamma Rho

Contents

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1: Camille

Chapter 2: Camille

Chapter 3: Jasmine

Chapter 4: Jasmine

Chapter 5: Camille

Chapter 6: Camille

Chapter 7: Jasmine

Chapter 8: Camille

Chapter 9: Camille

Chapter 10: Camille

Chapter 11: Jasmine

Chapter 12: Camille

Chapter 13: Camille

Chapter 14: Jasmine

Chapter 15: Jasmine

Chapter 16: Jasmine

Chapter 17: Camille

Chapter 18: Camille

Chapter 19: Camille

Chapter 20: Camille

Chapter 21: Camille

Chapter 22: Jasmine

Chapter 23: Camille

Chapter 24: Jasmine

Chapter 25: Camille

Chapter 26: Camille

Chapter 27: Jasmine

Chapter 28: Camille

Chapter 29: Camille

Chapter 30: Camille

Chapter 31: Camille

Chapter 32: Jasmine

Acknowledgments

As always, I have to say thank you, God, for seeing me through yet another book. I also wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you to all of the people who have made the Good Girlz the success that it is. I never anticipated the books taking off like they did!

Thank you to LaShay Smith, who loves and nurtures the Good Girlz as if they were real. You're just as passionate about them as I am—so thanks so much!

To Tanisha Tate, who stepped up to the plate and helped a sister out (literally) when I needed it most. I can always count on you.

To my daughters, Mya and Morgan, thanks for telling everyone you know about the Good Girlz and sharing your time with “Mommy's other girls.”

To my support system: my dear husband, Miron; Nancy; and Fay. God has blessed me to have such incredible people supporting my dream. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Pat Tucker Wilson and Jaimi Canady, thanks for always being there as I bounce ideas off of you.

To my agent, Sara Camilli; editor, Brigitte Smith; and publicist, Melissa Gramstad—the Good Girlz wouldn't be what they are if it weren't for you!

Much, much love to the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., who made my “real” sorority experience one that I will treasure for life. To the other sororities of the Divine Nine, thank you for giving our young women a sisterhood to be proud of.

As I travel the country, I have encountered some wonderful, wonderful librarians and booksellers, but I have to give a special shout-out to Stephanie Boyd and the Willard Library in Battle Creek, Michigan, the Tulsa City-County Library, the Houston Public Library, and all the other libraries that have had me out to visit.

My biggest thanks of all goes to you—the reader. I may not know you, but I appreciate you so much. Please continue to support the Good Girlz and make sure you check out the next book!

Much love,

ReShonda

1
Camille

T
hese chicks were off the chain!

I couldn't do anything but stare in awe at the twelve girls on the auditorium stage. Not only did they look cute as all get-out in their tight black low-riders and pink satin T-shirts with “Theta Diva” spelled out in rhinestones, but they were doing moves I'd never seen before. We were at my school's step show. The Thetas were the third act, and they were turning the place out.

As a member of my high school's drill team, I can appreciate a good dancer, but these girls were dancing and stepping like they were starring in that
Stomp the Yard
movie. They had the crowd going wild.

One of my best friends, Alexis, must've been thinking the same thing because she leaned in to me and shouted over the thumping rap music, “Girl, what's the name of this group again?”

“They're called the Theta Ladies. It's a sorority at my
school,” I responded as we stood with the crowd and applauded like crazy while they exited the stage.

Although the sorority was on campus at a lot of other high schools here in Houston, the Thetas had just started at my school last year. I'd seen the girls around campus, wearing their pink-and-white T-shirts, but I'd never paid them much attention. Until now.

“Gimme a break. They ain't all that,” my other best friend, Jasmine, said as she turned up her nose. I ignored her. Jasmine always had something negative to say. Not many things impressed her and she always found something wrong with everything.

Jasmine had come a long way from when we first met her a year and a half ago, though. That's when we all joined the Good Girlz, a community service group formed by Rachel Jackson Adams, the first lady of this church in our neighborhood.

I know the name may sound a little hokey, but don't get it twisted. We aren't some Goody Two-shoes group. In fact, Miss Rachel started the group as part of a youth outreach program at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, where her husband was pastor. Even though her daddy was a preacher, Miss Rachel was buck wild as a teenager; and now that she was grown, she wanted to do something to help teens who were headed down the wrong path. And boy, were we headed down the wrong path.

I was actually facing jail time when I hooked up with
the Good Girlz. It's almost unbelievable, since I had never been in any major trouble before that, but the dog who used to be my boyfriend had my nose wide open. Six months after me and Keith started going together, he got arrested for carjacking an old lady. He kept saying he didn't do it. I believed him, but he couldn't wait for justice to prevail so he broke out of jail. (We later found out he really didn't do it. It was his stepbrother.)

After he escaped, Keith had me hide him at my grandma's house. The thing was, I didn't even know he'd broken out. He told me they let him go. Anyway, the police eventually found him at my grandma's house, and that fool took off through a back window and left me to take the rap for hiding him.

So when the judge told me it was either jail or the Good Girlz, well, you can see that was a no-brainer. Let me just tell you, I'm too cute for jail. (People tell me all the time I look like a prettier version of Kyla Pratt, that girl who played on the TV show
One on One
.)

It's a good thing I joined the Good Girlz because the police later found Keith hiding out at his baby mama's house. Did I mention that I didn't know he had a baby? Or a baby mama? So, I probably would've been in prison for real for killing him if it wasn't for the Good Girlz.

BOOK: Fair-Weather Friends
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