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Authors: ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Rumor Central

BOOK: Rumor Central
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Dafina KTeen Books
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(My Teen Advisory Board that keeps me hip)
A note from the author . . .
I love making up stories (my mom calls it lying), but it's really my imagination at work. But I'll be honest, I have been known to take a little truth here, a few facts there, and use them as the foundation for some pretty awesome stories.
That's why when I decided to do the Rumor Central series, I knew I had to draw on my time as a reporter for
The National Enquirer
. Yes, I used to dig up dirt and gossip on celebrities for a living. Needless to say, that was the most interesting job I ever held. But at the end of the day, I decided being a true Gossip Girl wasn't for me. So I turned in my spy card and walked away—but not before amassing some pretty interesting stories. One day, maybe I'll meet you out and about and can share them with you. But for now, I use that experience to craft what I hope is the page-turning story of a teen who makes a name for herself digging up dirt.
I am so excited that you're holding in your hands the first of what I hope will become a must-read series for you. You'll definitely have to let me know what you think. And if you enjoy, make sure you spread the word!
In the meantime, I have to give a quick shout-out to the people that help me do what I do—my wonderful family, my friends, my hard-working agent, Sara Camilli and my wonderful editor, Selena James (I'm just so thrilled to be working with you again). And to the rest of the staff of Kensington, I look forward to making publishing magic!
Thanks also to the thousands of young people who have read, and will read, my books. Those who emailed, tweeted and sent constant messages looking for more teen reading, I hope you enjoy.
Thank you to the parents, teachers, librarians, and concerned adults who are putting these books in their hands. And finally, thank you to my fabulous teen advisory board, that helps me keep it real.
Well, enough from me. Make sure you hit me up and let me know what you think. Now, get to reading!
Much love,
Chapter 1
in't no party like a Maya Morgan party, 'cuz a Maya Morgan party don't stop!”
The sounds of the screeching crowd filled The Mansion, Miami's hottest club. Usually reserved for the twenty-one and up crowd, tonight it was closed down just for me!
That's because I got it like that. Just ask any one of the fifteen-hundred people crowded into The Mansion to celebrate my birthday.
Forget Sweet Sixteen, my Sweet
party was one for the history books. MTV was here filming, my reality show
Miami Divas
was taping our season finale, and the deejay had the crowd on their feet, leading them with the chant that everyone was singing.
“Ain't no party like a Maya Morgan party, cuz a Maya Morgan party don't stop!”
If I wasn't on top of the world before, I was definitely on it now.
I stood in the VIP box overlooking the dance floor, waving my hands back and forth with the music. My swag was in full force. I was rocking an emerald green Valentino lace tank dress, some five-inch gold Giuseppe Zanotti peep toe pumps and enough jewelry to feed a small village in China. I'd gotten highlights in my jet black, long wavy hair and of course, my makeup was on point.
That's how I roll. My mom says I'm “extra” but I say I'm about that life, that's why when MTV contacted me last year about being on their show “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” I told them I was an extraordinary type of girl and I didn't want to do any ordinary type of show. So, I was going to wait a year and do a Sweet
They weren't feeling me at first, but the way the cameraman was panning the hyped up crowd, and the producer was grinning from ear to ear, I knew they were feeling me now.
“Girl, this party is hot!” my friend, Kennedi, said as she bounced to the music. She was rocking a Versace royal blue jumpsuit and looked almost as tight as me. Almost.
“And you thought it wouldn't be?” I laughed as I took another sip of my drink. “You know how I do it.”
She laughed, then looked around. “Where's your little crew at?”
I knew it was just a matter of time. Kennedi and I have been friends since we were babies because our mothers had been college roommates. But she lived in Orlando now, so we didn't get to hang as much. For some reason, she didn't cut for my new friends, especially the ones from my reality show
Miami Divas.
The show starred me and four of my classmates from our private school, Miami High. Don't get it twisted; we weren't your ordinary high school students. If you looked up fab in the dictionary, it would have our picture right next to it. Shoot, Kimora Lee Simmons named her company—Fabulosity—directly after me. (Well, that's my story anyway.) But when you had more money in your purse than most people made in a year, you had no choice but to be fab. And me and my crew were all that and a bag of jalapeño chips.
There was my BFF, Sheridan Matthews. Her mom is world-renowned singer Glenda Matthews. Then, Shay Turner, who can best be described as my frenemy because she's so ghetto-fabulous (and I don't do ghetto) that we clash like oil and water. But her dad, Jalen Turner, is like the biggest basketball player in the country, so she was rolling in dough. The other crew members included Evian Javid, who had more money than all of us combined because her dad is this Middle Eastern billionaire; Bali Fernandez, who I just adore because he is so over-the-top and doesn't care who knows it—including his uptight daddy who is some kind of Cuban diplomat. And then me—you ever heard of the Morgan Hotel chain? That's right, I'm
Morgan. Don't hate. Although if you did, I'd be used to it. I'm a five-foot-nine, caramel coated princess. When you put us all together, you had fabulousity at its finest.
I don't know if Kennedi just didn't like the crew or if she was jealous that Sheridan had taken her spot (that's what she always said). So she didn't like the others, but she
Sheridan. And the feeling was mutual.
“They're in the back doing some interviews,” I finally said, answering her.
She turned up her nose. “This is about you. Why are they doing interviews?”
I smiled. “Chill, Kennedi. It's all good. My party is going to be part of the season finale.”
“I thought this was supposed to just be for MTV.”
“They worked out something.” I shrugged. I left all those kinds of details to my dad and our attorney.
She finally laughed. “Only you would be able to get MTV to change their whole programming lineup.”
“Hey, hey, hey!” my girl Lauren sang as she approached us. Even though the club was dark, I could tell by the way she was slurring her words that she was high as a kite. Back in the day, me, Kennedi and Lauren were inseparable. But her parents had shipped her off to boarding school and she'd turned into a druggie. Since I don't do druggies, we'd drifted apart. Still, I knew she'd be too through if I didn't invite her to the party, so I'd let her come, but I'd told her to leave all that drug mess alone. Obviously, she didn't listen.
“What's up, girl?” I said, shaking my head at her. She was too pretty to be messing herself up like that. She looked like a younger version of Jada Pinkett Smith and could've been a model or an actress. But now, she stayed too high to do much of anything. “Glad you could make it.”
“Sorry I was late. I was ummm, ah . . .” She started giggling.
“Yeah, we know what you were doing,” Kennedi snapped. We'd both tried talking to Lauren, but any progress we made with her was lost when she went back to school.
I turned my attention back to the crowd that was now jamming to a TI song. Lauren wasn't about to put a damper on my party.
“Where's your boo?” Lauren asked, looking around the VIP section, which held only about twenty people: my executive producer from
Miami Divas
, Tamara Collins, who also happened to be an old family friend; some MTV executives; my other friends from school, Chenoa, Chastity, and Ava; and a couple of my other close friends.
I smiled as my eyes made their way across the crowded dance floor to my baby, my first love, Bryce Logan. The definition of fine, Bryce had it going on—from his hazel brown eyes to his curly brown hair—he looked like he could be Chris Brown's younger (and much cuter) brother. Bryce's dad played for the Miami Dolphins, and it was his dream to do the same and he was definitely on his way as the star running back at Miami High.
“My boo is over there talking to his friends. I can't wait to see what he got me for my birthday.”
“Probably a new BMW,” Kennedi joked.
“All I want to know is how can I find me a baller's son?” Lauren said.
“Try saying crack is whack and you might be able to,” Kennedi replied.
Lauren looked insulted. “I don't do crack.”
“Oh, sorry.” Kennedi shrugged and rolled her eyes. “Ecstasy, dope?”
I finally decided to step in. “Hey, you two don't start. This is all about me today.”
Kennedi laughed and bumped me, almost making me spill my drink. “Girl, when is it
all about you?”
Before I could answer, Sheridan bounced into the VIP area. “Hey, Maya,” she said. “Come on, the producers are waiting on you.”
Kennedi cut her eyes. “Is Maya the only one you see?”
Sheridan stopped, looked at her, looked around, then turned to Kennedi and said, “Yep.” She took my hand and tried to lead me off. “Come on, girl.”
I could see Kennedi about to get worked up.
“Chill,” I mumbled. The last thing I wanted was any drama at my party. “I'll be right back. Go get a drink. You know my mom is watching the punch like a hawk but I think Carl and his crew have some of the good stuff in the back.” I could tell the way Kennedi's nostrils were flaring that she wanted to say something else. But she let it slide.
“Good stuff? I'm coming with you,” Lauren threw in.
“I don't know how you can keep being friends with them,” Sheridan said as we headed to the back.
I stopped to face her. “Okay, I'm going to tell you like I told them. Today is all about me. I'm not trying to do the drama, ya feel me?”
“Fine, fine, fine,” Sheridan said as she draped her arm through mine and giggled. “Girl, this party is sooo tight!”
I was glad she let it drop as we walked into the back room where they were shooting some scenes from the season finale of
Miami Divas
. The show had done well in our first year on the air. We'd been one of the TV station's highest rated shows.
“If it isn't the fabulous Maya Morgan,” Bali said as I walked over to where he and the others stood in a small circle waiting on direction from the producer. Bali was the flamboyant one of the group and today was no exception. He was Versace'd down—from the silk shirt to the skinny jeans. And his Loub-utoins were badder than mine.
“You know I'm sick over the shoes,” I told him as we air-kissed.
He stuck his foot out and wiggled it. “Eat your heart out, honey. One of a kind.” He leaned in closer. “But, missy, I need to talk to you about your guest list.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Ummm, yeah, the two Pillsbury Dough girls that have been following me around the party.”
I laughed. I knew exactly who he was talking about. “You mean Nina and Tina.”
“Nina and Tina, Bina and Kina, whatever. Their names need to be Krispy and Kreme because they look like some fluffy glazed donuts.”
“Boy, stop,” I laughed.
“Unh-unh. Just a hot mess.” He shook his head in disgust.
“Believe me, if I could've left them off, I would have. But they're my cousins.”
“Ugh, don't tell anyone else that,” Evian added.
“Yeah, you need to get your fam off the buffet table,” Shay threw in.
I laughed. Leave it to my crew. You couldn't even tell just 24 hours ago, we were arguing like crazy because they didn't like the idea of filming the season finale at my party because as Shay said, “This show ain't about
” But as we always did, we'd worked through our differences. That's because we were a team, in this thing together. And I wouldn't have it any other way!
BOOK: Rumor Central
6.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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