Part 13

Written by: Sword’n’Quill (Susanne Beck)

Disclaimers: The characters in this novel are of my own creation. That’s right, this is an ‘uber’ story. Some may bear a resemblance to characters we know and love who are owned by PacRen and Universal Studios.

Violence and Naughty Language Disclaimer: Yup, both. And quite a lot of each, to be truthful. This takes place in a prison, and where there are criminals, there’s gonna be violence and naughty words.

Subtext Disclaimer: Yup, there’s that too. This piece deals, after a fashion, with the love and physical expression of that love, between two adult females. There are some graphic scenes located within this piece, but I have tried to make them as tasteful as possible so as to not avoid anyone’s sensibilities. Let me know if I’ve succeeded.

Serialization Disclaimer: When I first started writing and posting, I made a promise to myself, and to anyone who read me, that I would never post a work that wasn’t finished. I detest serialization, normally. But . . .this novel, which is one week from being finished, is becoming very long and I’ve had readers write to me stating that they won’t read novels because they just don’t have time to sit down and read such gargantuan works. So, I compromised. This piece is finished (very nearly) and will go up at regular intervals so that the folks who like to read in small chunks can do that and the ones who like to read the whole thing can do that too.

Dedication: As always, I’d like to thank the man who gives up some of his free time every day to read the stuff I send over to him. The best beta-reader on the planet, Mike. I’d also like to thank my other betas: Candace (who read the entire novel in IM and showed her support every night), Rachel, and Alex. A special thank-you goes to Sulli, who made a very bad day a wonderful one with her gift of generosity. I would also like to thank Mary D for reading and housing this at her site. But mostly, I’d like to thank the readers for reading my stuff and giving me such great feedback. It’s what makes sitting in front of this balky computer and tickling the tans so much fun. Feedback, if anyone is so inclined, is always gratefully received and appreciated. I can be reached at .



I awoke the next morning to the sound of a heart beating steadily in my ear and the feel of gentle fingers tracing abstract patterns on my back. I blinked my eyes open to find gentle blues centered on my face. Ice smiled. "Morning."

I yawned, arching my back in a stretch. "Morning. What time is it?"

Her head tilted as she looked over to the clock hanging over the sink. "Almost eight. Sleep well?"

Yawning again, I dropped my head back down on Ice’s warm chest with a thud. "Best three hours of sleep I ever had."

Her chuckle rumbled through my ear, vibrating against my whole body.

We had woken up twice more during the night to make love. The second time had been near dawn. If the trailer had had windows, I would have loved to watch the sun rise with her, but since there were no windows, we performed our own little ritual.

Ice’s gentle touch against my back was making me sleepy again. "Mmm. I had the most wonderful dream."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. You and I were sitting on the porch of my cabin by the lake, watching the sun set over the water. I could smell the pines in the breeze and we listened as the crickets and bullfrogs came out to play. It was wonderful."

I could feel Ice stiffen beneath me as her heart picked up its rhythm. I slumped, damning myself for fifteen kinds of fool. Why did you have to say anything, Angel? You’ve just ruined the morning. Way to go, kid.

But Ice relaxed again, her hand picking up where it had left off, tracing over the lines of muscle and bone in my back. "Sounds like a nice dream."

When I looked up, I caught that look of almost infinite sadness in her eyes once again and in that moment I would have given up anything, even my chance at freedom, even my chance at loving her, to take it away forever.

I blinked and the look was gone, pushed down to whatever hell the demons of her soul resided in. "I’m sorry," I whispered.

Her smile was as sad as her eyes had been moments ago. "Don’t be. Dreams, sometimes, are the only thing that makes this place bearable."

And again, the next question came out of my mouth without my permission. "Do you dream?"


"About what?"

"Nothing as nice as yours. Mostly about those I’ve hurt or killed. Their families."

"Those aren’t dreams, Ice. Those are nightmares."

I could feel her shrug beneath me. "Nothing more than what I deserve."

I sighed. "Ice, I told you this before. Guilt can be a good thing. It can stop you from repeating mistakes. But you can’t let it rule your life. If you do, you’ll never be able to live it."

"That’s easy to say, Angel. It’s a whole lot harder to do."

"I know."

"You have given me something, though."

"I have?"

"Yes. Hope. That one day I’ll find another way of dealing with my anger. That I won’t become that person I was before I met you." Her smile was brighter as she ruffled my sleep-tousled hair. "You really are my Angel, ya know."

She sealed her words with a kiss.


When the knock finally came to put an end to our wonderful day, we were ready, packages in hand, orange jumpsuits once again covering our bodies.

I felt tired, pleasantly sore, and deliriously happy. We’d made love again before slipping off to the shower. The tight quarters, and resulting close press of our bodies, sparked our passions once more until it was all I could do to breathe, let alone think about moving.

Finally, we prodded ourselves to get dried and dressed. The packing came next. The clothing would be kept with our other personal effects in the huge storage room next to the warden’s office. My new piece of bonsai art, since I couldn’t keep it in my cell, would reside in the library where I could look at it daily. Ice promised to teach me how to care for it myself.

Keys slipped in the lock and the knob turned. Bright sunlight filtered in, causing us both to wince at the change from the dimness of the trailer. Sandra greeted us both with a friendly smile. I smiled gratefully back, beyond happy with her part in this wonderful experience for me.

Taking our clothing and tucking it under her arm, Sandra led us back down the fenced walkway and into the prison proper. After stepping inside the musty building, the door guard patted us both down, then Sandra escorted us down the long hallway and into the main square.

The sounds of talking and the quick rush of bodies was almost overwhelming after our short interlude in the trailer. I blinked, trying to get my bearings once again.

A noise started off to my left, low, then gaining in volume and pitch until I wondered, blankly, who had let a bird into the prison. Then I saw a flash of orange and white and stepped back, almost dropping the bonsai tree as Cassandra came running toward me, her mouth opened wide in a hideous screech while her manacled arms and legs jangled from the weight of the chains.

I stood there, dumbly wondering how she move so quickly, bound as she was, before I was shunted hard to the right as Ice’s long body smoothly interposed itself between me and the screaming banshee heading toward us.

Normally, I might, at some level, have resented the protective stance Ice took, knowing that I could now well take care of myself. But Cassandra was, as they say, a whole different kettle of fish and I accepted the protection of her strong back gratefully.

I was pushed further away as Sandra dumped the clothing in her arms into the grip of the door guard and moved to stand next to Ice, protecting me further from the impending explosion of blonde, insane fury that was headed our way.

Cassandra kept coming, her fisted hands held chest high as her screech continued unabated, it seemed. Startled prisoners automatically stepped aside to let her pass as her guards tore across the square after her, red faced and huffing.

Ice took a long step forward, neatly intercepting the enraged woman. Cassandra pounded my lover’s chest with her manacled hands, screaming obscenities in an abnormally high voice.

From what I could gather, both my ancestry and what I might have done for a living prior to being incarcerated here were being called into question. Then, her head turned, insanely sparkling chocolate eyes meeting mine and I was left with no doubts. "You’re dead, little Angel. You’re nothing but a little whore who’s tempted my precious Ice away from her path with me. I’ll see you in Hell, Angel. Hell! Do you hear me?!?!"

Though I was well protected by both Sandra and Ice, I couldn’t help the fear that ran through me at her screamed invectives. If there was anyone in the prison who could easily carry out her threats, Cassandra was that person. Still, I captured the fear deep within me, determined not to give her the satisfaction of knowing she had slipped past my defenses.

The other two guards caught up to Cassandra finally, grabbing her around her skinny waist and shoulders and yanking her hard away from Ice. She refused to relinquish her grip and there was a loud tearing sound as Ice’s jumpsuit began to give up the ghost under the pressure of her insane strength.

Ice lifted her hands. grabbing Cassandra’s manacled wrists. Jabbing her thumbs over the sensitive nerves just under the skin, she forced Psycho’s grip loose and the screaming woman was pulled fully away, hissing and spitting like a feral cat in a hunter’s net.

"Call the hospital," Sandra shouted to be heard over Cassandra’s howling. "I think it’s time for her shot." After the women dragged her away, the guard turned to me, concern in her eyes. "Are you alright?"

"Wha--? Oh, yeah. Fine." I let out a shaky little laugh. "I guess I should be flattered, huh? Looks like I’ve become Public Enemy Number One with her."

Sandra patted my shoulder. "God willing, she’ll be in the hospital for more than twenty-four hours this time. When she gets back here, we’ll keep an extra close eye on her."

Like you did just now? I almost said aloud before thinking better of it. In a way, Cassandra was like a greased pig at the county fair. It seemed almost impossible to keep her from doing something once she had her mind set on it. I’d just have to keep an eye out and protect myself as best I could. "Thanks," I said finally.

Ice turned, not bothering to hold together the jumpsuit which had been totally rent at the chest. I found my eyes drawn to the swell of her bare breasts just visible in the ‘V’ of the parted fabric. "Sorry about that," she said in a low voice, totally unselfconscious.

"Hey, no problem. She didn’t almost rip my clothes off, after all."

Ice looked down at her exposed cleavage, then back up at me, and shrugged. Her gaze was intent as it locked into mine.

I smiled. "I’m fine. Really. Between you, the Amazons, Corinne and the guards, I’ve got more eyes on me than a rotten potato."

Ice screwed her face up at my analogy, startling a laugh out of me. Sandra and the door guard joined the levity and soon the fright of Cassandra’s murderous threats slipped to the back of my mind.

As soon as the coast was clear, Sandra led us onward to our cells.


Summer turned to fall, which quickly gave way to winter. Things went on pretty much as usual in the Bog. The gangs remained quiet, leaving the Amazons free to pursue other interests, namely, one another. After their spat, Sonny, who I always thought had a thing for the male gender, and Pony began courting one another in an amusingly old fashioned way. And I, being the writer of our little group, was pressed into love-note writing service for them both. I felt like a modern day Cyrano de Bergerac, sans the large nose, but it made the time pass quickly and so I did it with pleasure.

On a Thursday afternoon in the middle of winter, Phyllis came to me in the library telling me I had a phone call. Donita, sounding cool and collected as always, told me she had some news, though wouldn’t divulge the topic, and asked to meet with me the next morning. I, of course, agreed.

Needless to say, Thursday night’s sleep was all but non-existent.

I spent Friday morning in the visitor’s room, twisting the fabric of my jumpsuit into new and interesting abstract shapes while trying to calm my similarly twisting stomach. Finally, the door was unlocked and opened, and my lawyer, impeccably dressed and gorgeous as always, strode in, a sparkle in her eyes.

"Angel," she greeted, grasping my hand warmly, "good to see you again. Come, sit with me at the table. I’ve got some news."

Soon, we were both seated and sipping at the cool water the guards had so thoughtfully provided (at Donita’s pointed request). Opening her briefcase, she pulled out a thick file with my name emblazoned on the cover. "We’ve got ‘em," she said, her smile triumphant.

My heart picked up its pace. "What do you mean, exactly?"

"You’re aware of baseball’s ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy?" At my nod, she continued. "We’ve got three huge strikes here. And when I say huge, I do mean huge."

Opening up the folder, she pulled out several pieces of paper and placed the flat on the table, turning them so that I could easily read the text. The first was a simple hotel receipt. I looked at her questioningly.

"You remember your across-the-hall neighbors, the Gracesons? Two of the star witnesses for the prosecution at your trial?"

I nodded again, remembering indeed. Tom and Maggie Graceson had each testified that they had heard me arguing and threatening Peter on the night of his death. I remembered no such argument, but their testimony was compelling, and obviously was believed by the jury. "What about them?"

"Well, if your original attorney, whom I’m seriously considering putting up for disbarment proceedings, had bothered to do just the tiniest amount of research, he would have found out, as I did, that the Gracesons weren’t even home on the night your husband died. They were in this hotel, participating in something that they probably didn’t want to get spread around."

"What do you mean?"

"They’re swingers."

"Swingers?" I asked, completely lost. The only swingers I knew were dancers. And even if they weren’t very good at it, I didn’t see how it would be something embarrassing to them. I said as much.

She grinned at my naivete. "No, not that kind of swinger. The kind where groups of married folks gather around and swap partners. Sexually."

My eyes must have widened to the size of saucers because she covered her mouth over the laugh that came forth.

"Exactly. Apparently, from what I gathered from other members of this particular group, the Gracesons were quite upset because they had asked your husband and you to join them and Peter told them that you had turned him down flat. It seems Tom really liked you, in that special way," she winked, "and Maggie was quite attracted to your husband."

"You’re kidding!"

"Nope. Do you ever remember a conversation of that nature between yourself and Peter?"

"Not at all! Of course, I would have turned him down if he had asked me, but he never asked."

"I didn’t think so. Apparently, on the night of Peter’s death, he had told both Tom and Maggie that you’d finally consented to give it a try and that, if they rented a room somewhere, he’d swing by the house and pick you up. Of course, that never happened."

"My God," I breathed. "I can’t believe this." I shook my head, my anger building. "They made up testimony about me because they were pissed that Peter stood them up?!?"

"That’s what it sounds like."


She laid a calming hand on my wrist as I thought I was about to burst out of my skin with rage. "That’s only strike one."

"There’s more?"

"Oh yes." Moving the hotel receipt out of the way, Donita pushed a white sheet of paper closer to me. It was what looked to be an Emergency Room treatment sheet. "Do you remember this?"

I looked at the date and nodded, remembering the incident.

Peter had come home from work and had tried to get me to go out to the bar with him. When I refused, needing to get up early to get some shopping done before work the next morning, he beat me quite severely, bruising my ribs and giving me a hairline fracture of my eye socket. I had managed to hail a cab which took me to the Emergency Room, convinced I was bleeding internally. Thank God, that hadn’t been the case, but I still felt as if I’d been hit by a truck. I remembered telling the ER staff that I had fallen down some stairs. The looks in their eyes told me they didn’t believe me but they didn’t press the issue. "I remember." I blushed, embarrassed.

"In one of his infrequent bouts of actual competency, your attorney tried to present this as evidence of Peter’s abuse of you. The prosecution, for whatever reason, argued it as irrelevant and the judge agreed to have it suppressed."

I sighed. "I told them I fell down some stairs," I mumbled to the table.

"Yes, I know. It’s in the report. But look at the last paragraph."

Pulling the sheet closer to me, I peered at the writing. Apparently, I had been right. The treating physician did believe that I was the victim of a beating and he further believed that it was done at the hands of my husband. I looked up at Donita. "Why didn’t he ever say anything to me?"

"That I don’t know. But it’s a law that when a member of the medical staff believes there has been abuse involved, he or she must report it to the proper authorities, no matter what the victim says or doesn’t say."

"Did he do that?"

"Yes, he did. He filled out the proper forms and sent them to the proper agency."

"But no one ever contacted me about it."

"No, they didn’t. My investigator followed up this lead and found that it had never been researched. They had everything they needed to open an investigation. They just never did."

"But why not?"

"I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that either. But the thing here is, Angel, that, by rights, this piece of evidence should never have been suppressed. Even if no abuse could be proven, at the very least, the treating physician should have been called to the stand to state what he found. This document shows that there was at least a possibility that you were telling the truth when you said your husband abused you. It would have gone a long way in helping you prove your case."

I put my head in my hands, my sigh fogging up what little varnish was left on the elderly table. "This is just so bizarre."

"Ready for the kicker?"

I lifted up my head to meet her eyes. "Yeah. Might as well."

"A member of your jury, its foreman, in fact, was a man by the name of Robert Cort."

"I’m sorry, that name doesn’t ring any bells."

"I didn’t think it would. My investigator went to some of the bars your husband used to hang out in and found that this same man was one of Peter’s drinking buddies."

"Please tell me you’re joking, Donita."

"Nope. And that’s a good thing. You see, when my investigator talked to some of the bar’s other patrons, he was told that on the night after Peter’s murder, Robert swore that he was going to find a way to get on your jury and, quote ‘convict that bitch’ unquote."

"He what?!"

"That’s what the witnesses say. We’ve got sworn statements from four of them. We don’t yet know how he managed to get into the pool of potential jurors, but when we pulled out his sheet, we found out he lied quite convincingly to get in."

"Jesus Christ."

"It gets worse. When we polled the jurors, the only two women on the panel had been convinced of your innocence when they went in for deliberations. They both stated to me, personally, that they were intimidated into changing their votes by the foreman, Robert Cort."

The sound of my hand slamming down on the table was loud in the small room. "Then why didn’t they ever tell anybody?"

Donita’s chocolate eyes were compassionate. "They said they were scared to come forward. So they didn’t."

"Why are they talking now?" I couldn’t help it. My voice was filled with the bitterness in my heart.

"They’ve both been eaten away with guilt over it, Angel. They’ve both given us sworn statements as to what happened and are both willing and ready to testify at a new trial. They know they’ve made a mistake, but they’re willing to try and rectify it."

"Don’t they care that their mistake cost me four years of my life?!?" Tears, scalding and bitter as my words, flooded my eyes and streamed down my cheeks, wetting the table beneath me in a flood of anger.

Donita came around the table and put an arm around my shoulder. Her skin was soft and warm. The light scent of her perfume soothed me even as my mind was a whirling torrent of delayed grief. During the entire four-plus years I’d been a resident of the Bog, I’d never indulged in self-pity over the events that caused me to be here.

But the knowledge that my freedom had been taken away by a combination of an incompetent lawyer, a failed protection system, a bully and two timid women brought all home to me. I couldn’t stop my sobs as I thought of what might have been.

A guard, who was keeping tabs on us through the reinforced glass window set into one wall, entered the visitor’s room with a box of tissues which she slid across the table. Donita thanked her pleasantly and the guard nodded, then left. I knew my crying spell would hit the grapevine in less time than it took to write out this sentence.

A dark arm threaded its way through our embrace, handing me a tissue. I swiped my eyes with it, then leaned back and emptied my sinuses, feeling the pressure in my head ease slightly. I felt exhausted. "Sorry about that," I mumbled.

Donita smiled at me. "No need to be sorry. If it had been me, I’d probably have torn this room to shambles." She looked around. "Though to tell you the truth, that might have improved things."

That surprised a laugh out of me and she grinned back, handing me another tissue and discarding the used one in an overflowing wastebasket near the table. I took in a long, shuddering breath, then let it out slowly. "So," I said, tracing my tears on the table, "where do we go from here?"

"Well, I’ve talked to the DA about dismissing the conviction altogether. But he’s a hard-line butt-hole who wears his church pin on his lapel. He won’t budge. Convinced they still have a case against you. So . . . I’ve set up a date to talk to one of the appellate judges in the district. It’s in two weeks. I’ll present this new evidence and see what he says."

"What do you think he’ll say?"

"He’d be crazy not to overturn the conviction, Angel. This evidence is damning. Especially the jury tampering. The DA won’t let it go, though. So even if the judge does decide to do what’s right and overturn your conviction and sentence, the State will demand a new trial." She laid a hand on my wrist. "What do you think about that? Do you think you can go through that again?"

I looked directly at her, knowing my eyes were intense. "Donita, to get my name cleared of this mess, I’d walk through Hell itself." I looked down at the table again. "It didn’t much matter before. Peter was dead. I did it. I thought I deserved punishment. But this . . .this travesty has changed my whole way of thinking."

Donita smiled. "Ice was right about you."

"She was?"

"Yup. She said you were a fighter with the heart of a lion."

I felt my eyes go wide. "Ice said that? About me?"

"Sure did. That’s why I agreed to come in and talk to you in the first place. Ice doesn’t give out compliments easily you know." Her warm hand squeezed my wrist. "She has a lot of faith in you, Angel. And, she loves you very deeply."

I could feel my blush burn my neck, cheeks and ears as it spread over my face. I ducked my head again. "I love her very much, too."

"I know."

I traced the moisture on the table again. "I’m . . .um . . .sorry, . . .Donita."

"Sorry? For what, Angel?"

My blush deepened. I damned myself for my fair skin. "Ice . . .um . . .told me about . . .um . . . ."

"She told you we were lovers in the past?"

"Yeah. That’d be it."

"And it bothers you because the two of you are together now and I’m here to see it?"

"Yes." If I could have sunk my chair through the ground right then, I would have done it.

Her hand reached out and cupped my chin, bringing our gazes level. "Angel, never apologize for being happy. And never apologize for making Ice happy."

"But . . . ."

"No buts, Angel. Ice is a very important person in my life. To see her as happy as she is makes me very happy. It wasn’t meant to be for Ice and I. We both knew that while we were together." She smiled. "Still, in a way, we were a good match. She took great pains to keep her personal life a secret from everyone, including me. Though it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find out what I did about her with her arrest, it did. Of course, we never lived together and were never in one another’s presence for long stretches of time. Still, I felt a bit guilt-ridden that I missed some kind of sign I should have seen. And, of course, I was very angry."

"I can understand that. I would have been as well."

She spread her hands. "And when she wouldn’t let me defend her, well . . . ." She sighed. "It almost ended our friendship." Then she smiled. "I’m glad it didn’t. And I’m also glad that it gave me a chance to meet you. You’re a good soul, Angel. And there are damn few of those around anymore. So stop worrying and, for God’s sake, stop blushing. Everything’s fine from that angle, alright?"

Reading the absolute sincerity in her eyes, I nodded. "Thanks."

Donita tipped me a wink. "Not a problem, Angel. Not a problem at all."

Moving away from me, she went around to the other side of the table, stuffed my file into her expensive leather briefcase, and latched it shut before pulling it off the table by the handle. "I’ll talk to you in a couple of weeks, if not before, alright? Just try to take it easy and relax. Let me do the worrying for the both of us."

I gave her a half smile, the best I could offer. "I’ll try my best."

"You do that. Bye for now."

With a final smile and a wave, she was gone, leaving me alone in the visitors’ room with only my tears and my thoughts for company.


I pulled what we all referred to as "an Ice" and hid out in my cell after finally dragging my exhausted butt from the visitors’ room. For some reason, the tears, of frustration, of anger, of grief, just didn’t seem to want to stop falling.

Critter came up to talk, but I remained sullen and uncommunicative, and she finally gave up in frustration, leaving me to my enforced solitude.

I must have fallen into a doze of mental exhaustion, because the next thing I knew, my eyes opened to see Ice standing just inside my cell, concern seemingly emanating from her every pore. "You okay?"

I managed a weak smile. "I’ve been better."

"Wanna talk about it?" she asked from her position by the door.

And suddenly, I did.

Seeing my expression, she closed the distance in a quick stride and lowered herself onto the bed, gathering me into a hug that went a long way toward taking a great deal of my pain away. I pressed my head against her chest and let the tears fall again. Only this time, they seemed to be tears of healing rather than pain.

Ice rocked me gently within her embrace, seeming to know what kind of tears these were. Normally, the sight of my crying distressed her greatly. Now, however, she silently waited out the minor storm, content only to be there for me. It was a quiet strength I relied on more than words could ever articulate.

After several moments, I finally pulled away, wiping my messy face with the back of my sleeve. Then, after a few, deep, hitching breaths, I blurted out the whole tale, leaving nothing out.

Ice’s expression became thundery, but I didn’t fear it, knowing her anger was directed against those who had harmed me and not at me, myself. She growled in frustration, her fists clenched uselessly against an enemy she knew I would have to handle myself.

"Of course, the good side to all this," I began, gently taking one of her fisted hands and relaxing it into my own, "is that this goes a long way toward assuring me a new trial. This kind of evidence is something that you can’t just ignore."

She grunted in agreement.

As I sat there, contemplating my words, the one thought I’d heretofore successfully kept at the very back of my mind demanded to make its presence known. I willed the tears away, but when I turned to look up at Ice, my words were stilled by a finger to my lips.

"Don’t," she said, her voice low.

"Don’t what?" I murmured around her finger.

"Don’t say it. Don’t even think it."

"How do you know what I’m thinking?"

"Because I can tell by the expression on your face. You’re wondering if you should fight for this opportunity, because if you’re successful, and you will be, that means that you’ll leave here. And you don’t know if you want to do that because of what we have." Her eyes bit into mine, her eyebrow arched, daring me to contradict her.

I couldn’t. I blinked, then looked away, flushing guiltily. "You’re right," I whispered.

"I know I am. I know you and how you think. And I also know that I’m not going to let you give up this chance for me."

"Not even for us?"

Smiling, she cupped my chin. "Angel, there will always be ‘us’. In here, out there, it doesn’t matter. You’re a part of me, and you always will be, no matter where you are."

I sighed, knowing she was right but still wanting to fight the issue. Trouble was, I didn’t have any good ammunition to argue with.

"Angel, you’ve spent the last four years here trying to get me to see inside myself. You’ve tried to get me to see that guilt shouldn’t rule my actions. That’s a hard lesson to learn, and it won’t be made any easier if you decide to give up your fight for freedom."

"I don’t understand."

"Don’t you? If you give up this fight for what’s right, this fight for freedom, because of me . . . ."

She didn’t need to finish her sentence. The meaning was all too clear. Though it would be my own decision whether to stay or fight, if I decided to do the former, she would always feel the guilt of that action.

"So . . .I guess that means you want me to go for it, huh?"

"Damn right I want you to go for it, Angel. This is your ticket out of this shit-hole. Run with it and don’t look back."

After a moment, I gave her a watery smile and thudded my head against her collar-bone. "Alright, coach."

We settled into a comfortable silence that the growling of my abused stomach chose to interrupt. I blushed again as Ice patted it. "Let’s go down and feed this monster before the cafeteria closes and you keep all the inmates up tonight with those weird growling noises."

Lazily back handing her on the arm, I allowed her to pull me to my feet. In step, our hips brushing casually against one another, we walked down to the cafeteria to attempt to consume God only knew what.

Continued...Part 14


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