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so strong it was all he could do not to raise his arms to protect himself. He was sick to his stomach, icy cold, and at least as angry as he was afraid. “Michael,” Charles said. Michael couldn’t speak. He was torn between the need to hide and the desire to hurt. “Yo, man, Harriman told me you were here the other night. Listen...” He struggled for words. “I’m sorry, all right? I’m sorry for what happened.” “It didn’t just ‘happen,’ ” Michael managed to say. Black & White 313 “No. No, you’re right.” He reached out toward Michael’s chin, where the scabs had dried hard and dark. Michael fl inched and pulled away. “Don’t,” he said. Charles withdrew his hand. “Damn, this was wrong. Harriman keeps trying to school me, but I never listen. I’m a hothead, and I screw things up. I can’t seem to help it. My temper comes up and it’s, like, right there, you know what I’m saying?” Michael was not ready to make peace. It was not yet an option. “Anyway,” Charles said, “C’mon, get inside, it’s November out there.” Michael walked past him, trying
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