Decree of Hope

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My dad put money on my “books.” The jail had a commissary, and I could buy things now. I picked up a few magazines and a spiral notebook.

My new cellmate had a freakishly scary appearance, but she rarely spoke. Since she didn’t talk, I had no idea what she was in for. From her grim appearance, I thought it was something violent, but when I closed my eyes at night I tried to pretend she was a political prisoner or had been arrested for jaywalking.

One thing was certain. I would have to buy stock in Aveda for my hair to ever look the same again.

I lay on my bunk, sketching a jailbird inspired sundress. The stripes were diagonal instead of horizontal, more flattering for most body types, the waist was low below the pelvis and cinched with a big pinstriped flower. The skirt flowed with the stripes going in the opposite direction of the bodice stripes. It was no masterpiece, but given the situation it was decent.

The jailer came and slid the gate back. “Blondie, you have a visitor.”

I left the notebook on my bunk and followed her out to a room lined with stools on one side of a metal bar. A glass window dropped into the counter. I expected to see my dad. Since I was a client, he had time for me these days. We passed a few stools before she stopped. “Is this your first time?” she asked.

I nodded.

She leaned down and touched a button. “Push this to talk. You don’t have to push anything to listen.”

When I looked through the window, Abe stared at me from the other side. OMG! I look like trash! I pushed that thought out of my mind, because Abe was not the kind of guy to hang out in “visiting rooms.” I couldn’t believe he came to see me here, especially after everything that had happened. This whole ordeal had been so confusing. I thought we broke up, but I wasn’t sure anymore. He doesn’t want his family to know about me, but he comes to my arraignment and drives an hour and a half to see me in the big house?

I wasn’t sure I should see him, but other than the strategy talk with my dad, I’d had no conversation with anyone sane in days. He was here, and he came for me.

My stomach flopped as I sat down. My fingers trembled as I touched the button. “Hi.”

“Are you okay?”

No, but I couldn’t say that. I nodded.

“Sweetheart, I’m going to get you out of here. I promise. I need you to tell me everything you remember about that night.”

“Not much. It was the night I tagged your house. I was so buzzed I don’t remember. Ja—” I stopped short of saying his name. The last thing I wanted was for him to get mixed up in all of this. With his violent tendencies, PTSD, and drinking record, they’d frame him for sure. Even my dad wouldn’t be able to get him off. “J woke me up and said we had to go to Austin and we had to take my car. He drove because I was too drunk. He went in alone. I sat in the car until I got bored. Then I went for a run.”

“Who is J?” I liked the hint of jealousy in his voice. He was so emotional for a guy that wasn’t serious about me. But he had proven he wasn’t.

“J—like a city in Mississippi.” I smiled.

A crease formed in his forehead, and he rolled his eyes from side to side for a second. “A city in Mississippi? I’m not great at American geography, babe.”

“Umm … Google it when you leave, and don’t say it out loud.”

He nodded like he understood what I was telling him. “J—oh.” His voice went up an octave when he figured it out. “I think I know what to do. I’m going to have to cut this short, but do you need anything?”

“There is one thing. I haven’t blogged in days, and there’s not even an away message. I’m going to start losing followers.”

He laughed. “That’s what you’re worried about?”

I sighed. “I’ve spent two years working on my blog. Don’t worry about it. It’s not like I have a future anymore, anyway. You think my stint in the slammer will help me get into UNT?”

“Kailee, you’re going to get cleared. What do you need me to do?”

“Put up an away message. Try not to mention the slammer.”

“How do I get into the blog?”

“My name and the year I was born.”

“I’ll put it up tonight. I have to go do something now.”

“Abe, what are you going to do?”

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