Home > The Hate U Give(13)

The Hate U Give(13)
Author: Angie Thomas

“You said it yourself, he thought Khalil was a drug dealer,” Daddy says. “A thug. Why he assumed that though? What? By looking at Khalil? Explain that, Detective.”

Silence.

“Why was she even in the car with a drug dealer?” Uncle Carlos asks. “Lisa, I keep telling you, you need to move her and Sekani out of this neighborhood. It’s poisonous.”

“I’ve been thinking about it.”

“And we’re not going anywhere,” Daddy says.

“Maverick, she’s seen two of her friends get killed,” Momma says. “Two! And she’s only sixteen.”

“And one was at the hands of a person who was supposed to protect her! What, you think if you live next door to them, they’ll treat you different?”

“Why does it always have to be about race with you?” Uncle Carlos asks. “Other races aren’t killing us nearly as much as we’re killing ourselves.”

“Ne-gro, please. If I kill Tyrone, I’m going to prison. If a cop kills me, he’s getting put on leave. Maybe.”

“You know what? There’s no point having this conversation with you,” Uncle Carlos says. “Will you at least consider letting Starr speak to the detectives handling the case?”

“We should probably get her an attorney first, Carlos,” Momma says.

“That’s not necessary right now,” he says.

“And it wasn’t necessary for that cop to pull the trigger,” says Daddy. “You really think we gon’ let them talk to our daughter and twist her words around because she doesn’t have a lawyer?”

“Nobody’s going to twist her words around! I told you, we want the truth to come out too.”

“Oh, we know the truth, that’s not what we want,” says Daddy. “We want justice.”

Uncle Carlos sighs. “Lisa, the sooner she talks to the detectives, the better. It will be a simple process. All she has to do is answer some questions. That’s it. No need to spend money to get an attorney just yet.”

“Frankly, Carlos, we don’t want anyone to know Starr was there,” Momma says. “She’s scared. I am too. Who knows what’s gonna happen?”

“I get that, but I assure you she’ll be protected. If you don’t trust the system, can you at least trust me?”

“I don’t know,” says Daddy. “Can we?”

“You know what, Maverick? I’ve just about had it with you—”

“You can get out my house then.”

“It wouldn’t even be your house if it wasn’t for me and my mom!”

“Y’all stop!” Momma says.

I shift my weight, and goddamn if the floor doesn’t creak, which is like sounding an alarm. Momma glances around the kitchen doorway and down the hall, straight at me. “Starr baby, what you doing up?”

Now I have no choice but to go to the kitchen. The three of them are sitting around the table, my parents in their pajamas and Uncle Carlos in some sweats and a hoodie.

“Hey, baby girl,” he says. “We didn’t wake you up, did we?”

“No,” I say, sitting next to Momma. “I was already awake. Nightmares.”

All of them look sympathetic even though I didn’t say it for sympathy. I kinda hate sympathy.

“What are you doing here?” I ask Uncle Carlos.

“Sekani has a stomach bug and begged me to bring him home.”

“And your uncle was just getting ready to leave,” Daddy adds.

Uncle Carlos’s jaw twitches. His face has gotten rounder since he made detective. He has Momma’s “high yella” complexion, as Nana calls it, and when he gets mad, his face turns deep red, like it is now.

“I’m sorry about Khalil, baby girl,” he says. “I was just telling your parents how the detectives would like for you to come in and answer a few questions.”

“But you don’t have to do it if you don’t wanna,” Daddy says.

“You know what—” Uncle Carlos begins.

“Stop. Please?” says Momma. She looks at me. “Munch, do you wanna talk to the cops?”

I swallow. I wish I could say yes, but I don’t know. On one hand, it’s the cops. It’s not like I’ll be telling just anybody.

On the other hand, it’s the cops. One of them killed Khalil.

But Uncle Carlos is a cop, and he wouldn’t ask me to do something that would hurt me.

“Will it help Khalil get justice?” I ask.

Uncle Carlos nods. “It will.”

“Will One-Fifteen be there?”

“Who?”

“The officer, that’s his badge number,” I say. “I remember it.”

“Oh. No, he won’t be there. I promise. It’ll be okay.”

Uncle Carlos’s promises are guarantees, sometimes even more than my parents’. He never uses that word unless he absolutely means it.

“Okay,” I say. “I’ll do it.”

“Thank you.” Uncle Carlos comes over and gives me two kisses to my forehead, the way he’s done since he used to tuck me in. “Lisa, just bring her after school on Monday. It shouldn’t take too long.”

Momma gets up and hugs him. “Thank you.” She walks him down the hall, toward the front door. “Be safe, okay? And text me when you get home.”

“Yes, ma’am. Sounding like our momma,” he teases.

   
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