Decree of Hope

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Kailee

I called my dad’s office and insisted that the secretary put me through. “Honey, I’m busy.”

Wow! Not even a hello. “I know, Daddy. That’s what I want to help you with. I’m majoring in pre-law, so I want to work at your office this summer. I need to help with Jackson’s case. It’s the only thing I can do for him.”

Dad chuckled. “Well, in that case, I’m going to meet him tomorrow to talk about some of the evidence and strategy and tell him what to do. Why don’t you come with me?”

Perfect. Sooner than I’d hoped.

The next day, I followed my dad into the same room at the county jail they let us talk in. I handed Jackson a manila folder and said, “I need you to read this.”

He opened it. The only thing inside was a handwritten note with the details of how he met Rana at The Hideout, a part bar part coffee shop hangout in Austin and an urgent warning to memorize it because she was going public.

He nodded. “Can I have a pen? I think I need to sign this.”

I handed him a pen, but I knew there was nothing to sign. He scribbled something and handed the folder back to me. “When you have time, make sure I got all the X’s. And don’t pass it off to anyone else, I don’t want them having my information.”

Dad was still going through his briefcase. I nodded and flipped the folder open enough to “verify his signature” but not enough anyone else could see it. This is a hell hole. I’ll do it to get out of here, but I don’t want you alone with that girl. Ever. Stay away from her.

I shook my head as I closed the folder. Why wouldn’t Jackson want me alone with Rana? She was harmless. I chalked it up to PTSD.

Later that day, I took Rana to the police station to confess. I insisted on going with her, so I could take care of the baby. Rana’s whole family died in Afghanistan before she met Jackson. We were the only family this baby had, and no one could find out he was Jackson’s kid.

I took Wayne to a coffee shop and ordered a drink while Rana talked to the cops. She texted me when she was done, and I went to pick her up.

“How did it go?” I asked as Rana got in the car.

“They asked me why I didn’t come forward before now, and I say I only saw it on the news recently. They asked me why I don’t call 9-1-1, and I say I make an anonymous call.”

“Good. Hey, we have to go back to my house before I take you home.”

“But it’s so far out of the way.”

I smiled. “It’s okay.”

At a red light, I texted Abe. “Something stressful is about to go down at my house. Can you be there?”

The light turned green as the phone vibrated between my knees. I couldn’t check the text, but I knew he’d be there. I really hated some of the things he had done in the past couple of weeks, but I was beginning to think he loved me. The problem was I wanted to know.

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