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.DeAndre takes her at her word and feels free to pursue whatever new business he can find.At bottom, there is no great fear in either child’s heart of an unwanted pregnancy, for the basic reason that a baby is in no way unwanted.Fran had given her son condoms on several occasions and had routinely left extras on the bedroom dresser.But DeAndre doesn’t like sex in a raincoat, nor does he particularly believe in any of the consequences.Half the neighborhood had the Bug, yet DeAndre can’t help but associate the disease with the needle since virtually all of the people falling out and dying were long-time shooters.As for baby-making—that would be almost welcomed as the final proof of manhood.A fatalistic streak in DeAndre and the rest of his crew holds that they’ll soon enough be dead or in prison.Against that notion, the production of a child, a male child in particular, would guarantee some tangible evidence of a brief existence.So DeAndre left the condoms on the dresser, and Tyreeka, too, does nothing to avoid parenthood.The idea of having her own baby, of caring for a being that would love and depend on her without equivocation, is appealing enough.That she is still thirteen, that she has nothing but a child’s love to provide any new life—these things are put aside by the self-meaning that procreation surely promises.Tyreeka, too, is looking for some kind of validation.And DeAndre knows Tyreeka thinks this way.He can sense how needy she is, how she wants to believe that if she gets pregnant, he’ll stay with her—that the child will bring them closer together and keep his eyes off the other girls.If that’s what she believes, so be it; he’ll deal with those expectations down the road.But for now, he’s determined to have his fun with Tyreeka and other girls as well.All through April, Tyreeka gets the bad news about DeAndre from her girlfriends, and all that month, she responds by seeking the boy out and time and again venting her anger and hostility, going out of her way to demonstrate just how betrayed she feels.But to DeAndre, this is only confirmation that the girl is taken with him, that she’ll be there whenever he gets done messing with the rest.Tyreeka knows that holding on to DeAndre will be difficult.If she’s honest with herself, she’ll have to regard as unlikely the possibility of a long-term relationship with any man; her world experience doesn’t include more than one or two situations in which a child is being raised by two parents.But she loves DeAndre the way any girl loves a boy for the first time, and as it is with such things, her feelings could provoke the most absurd kind of optimism.A baby will straighten him out, she tells herself, maybe make him find a job and bring home some straight-world money.They could get an apartment and live together; DeAndre going to work and Reeka staying in school.Not right away maybe, but soon enough.These are inner thoughts, of course.Outwardly, Tyreeka continues to deny the possibility of pregnancy to everyone who asks.As for the clinic appointment, Tyreeka changes the date regularly, advancing it from one week to the next, explaining that her aunt can’t take off from work, or that the clinic is closed, or that she needed to be in school on the day of the appointment.“When Reeka goin’ to the clinic?” Fran asks at one point.“Ma,” says DeAndre.“I don’t know what that girl has in her mind.She half-crazy and shit.”Meanwhile, DeAndre is now haunting the lower strip along Pratt and McHenry Streets almost every night as the weather warms.He’s chasing after Treecee’s cousin, as well as another girl he met at a house party over on Pulaski Street.And then, when he finds the time, he’s back up on Fayette with Tyreeka.She hears about some of it from Treecee and the other neighborhood girls, but DeAndre only gets mad and denies everything when confronted.For a time, she tries to strike back by flirting with the other boys in DeAndre’s crew.It’s Tae, mostly, though she also lets Dewayne know he can holler at her.On one occasion, when Ella’s basketball team takes a trip across town to a tournament at the Flag House projects, Tyreeka engineers it so that she rides not with DeAndre in Ella’s Oldsmobile, but on Dewayne’s lap in the backseat of Marzell Myers’ car.By the time they reach the east side, she has her head nestled on his shoulder and her arms around his neck.She likes both Dewayne and Tae, but more than that, she wants a little of her goings-on to get back to DeAndre, to let him think on the fact that you reap what you sow.But even this doesn’t work the way it should.Soon after her flirtation in the car with Dewayne, DeAndre tells the rest of the Crenshaw Mafia Brothers that regardless of how many other girls he chases, Tyreeka is once and forever his property, that she is proscribed to them under pain of a full-blooded beat-down.Tae shrugs indifferently and moves on to other neighborhood girls, mostly because he’d rather preserve the friendship with DeAndre.And Dewayne, though obviously interested, is frightened away, much to Tyreeka’s contempt.“I don’t know what it is,” she tells Treecee glumly after her flirtations come to little.“Them boys is afraid of Andre.None of ’em got too much heart.”But facts are facts.Only Dinky—DeAndre’s cousin and closest companion—hits as hard or fights as savagely as DeAndre.And though by summer, Dinky will go so far as to walk Tyreeka home a couple nights, he’ll eventually talk himself out of things, telling her it wouldn’t be right messing with his cousin’s girlfriend.Last summer was the best of her life.Last summer all the boys wanted her, fought for her.All she wants now is to get back to those first weeks when DeAndre was all about her, when he would take her places and talk to her and say things to make her feel special.Now, even when they are together, he time and again proves himself incapable of full-grown love.All he offers her is his basic presence, his casual lust, and odd moments of random cruelty.Once, before the juvenile master ended DeAndre’s home detention, Tyreeka found herself with DeAndre and R.C.riding in a hack up to Etting Street.DeAndre wanted her to spend the night, then go home the next morning before school.And Tyreeka was willing enough until the hack crossed the expressway on Gilmor Street and stopped at Mulberry, where R.C.spotted an older girl trussed tightly in a halter and shorts, grinding her well-contoured self down the sidewalk.“AW, THERE IT IS,” shouted R.C., leaning out the front passenger window.“GOT-DAMN, GIRL!”And DeAndre didn’t hesitate before taking up the braying.“Yo, girl, where you goin’ at? Hey … where you headin’ with all dat.I know you know I need a number from you.”“Gracious,” growled R.C.as the hack rolled on.“She made me say, ‘Oooooouuccchhh,’” moaned DeAndre.“Fuck you both,” said Tyreeka bitterly, her eyes tearing as she pulled herself to the far edge of the rear seat.“You all common as shit.”DeAndre laughed.“You make me sick,” she wailed, punching him hard in the shoulder.“I can’t help it if the girl looked phat.”“You don’t have to say something.”“You don’t have to hear it.”“Fuck you, Andre [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]