Imani gets a C on her next paper. She also starts wearing big sweaters and doesn’t comb her hair. Finally, Fabiola asks what’s going on. Imani insists that she “wasn’t feeling” the paper and refuses Fabiola’s invitation to come over later. Once they’re alone in the bathroom, Imani swears Fabiola to secrecy. Then, she pulls a tight, shiny dress from her book bag. It’s from Dray—he sent it to her house with flowers. Imani explains that it came before Dray’s stunt at the basketball game. She figured he’d leave her alone after he got back with Donna, but he’s still texting her. Imani snaps that she doesn’t need help, but Fabiola promises to make Dray stop bothering her.
Between Donna and Dray, Imani doesn’t feel like she can do anything about Dray’s advances. And because she’s already so angry at Dray and at the world, Fabiola takes it upon herself to help Imani and hopefully do something good for the people she loves. While it’s unclear exactly what Fabiola plans to do, it’s possible that she feels like she might have to use violence if she wants to protect herself and her family. This, the novel suggests, is just part of life in Detroit.
Fabiola sticks close to Imani and her friends as they walk to the bus stop. She texts Pri to let her know where she is and looks for Pri when she hears a voice calling her name. It’s not Pri—it’s Tonesha, with five other girls in tow. Tonesha introduces her cousin, Raquel, and they call Fabiola a bitch and hurl insults. Fabiola insults them in return. Tonesha and Raquel get close to Fabiola, so Fabiola puts a hand up in Raquel’s face. When Raquel slaps the hand away, Fabiola feels out of control. She punches Raquel and keeps punching, even when Tonesha joins the fight. Eventually, Fabiola sees dark red and wants to destroy everything. Suddenly, she can’t breathe.
Tonesha and Raquel seem to want to ruin Fabiola’s relationship, the one nice thing in her life right now. This is the final straw for Fabiola—and when pushed to the breaking point, she turns to violence. With this, Fabiola gives in to Detroit’s pull and aligns herself even more with people like Pri and Dray, who fight others as a matter of course. Fabiola feels like she’s fighting for her dignity and her ability to live and breathe—and this may make her more sympathetic to others who fight.