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Somebody Else's Sky (Something in the Way #2)(2)

By:Jessica Hawkins

"Fucked," I agreed.

"Cecelia was the only woman I ever loved." He aimed his beady eyes at me, and they flashed with excitement. "Too bad she turned out to be such a cunt."

I wiped sweat from my temple with my sleeve. "Fuck off, Wills."

"Aw, come on, Sutter. Don't be such a pussy. Just once, I'd like to hear you rail against that blonde bitch of yours."

I had to let his shit-talking roll off my back or it'd get me into trouble, and now that I could almost taste freedom, I had to watch my temper. Instead of beating his ass, I got him where it hurt by ripping the cigarette out of his hand and flicking it into the dirt.

He scrambled after it, popping it right back into his mouth. "Asshole."

The guys talked a lot of shit about who they'd fucked, how, and the ways they'd been fucked over by the women in their lives, and no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, my mind always went to the same place-my sister, my aunt, my mom. Lake and Tiffany. I never spoke of them in there. The guys could be brutal. Sinister. Especially from where they stood, behind bars, already ensnared by the law.

I took my last hit of nicotine right on schedule and tossed the butt. With the hem of my shirt, I cleaned my face of dust and sweat as I went to sit outside the visitor's room.

I waited thirty minutes to hear my name. "Sutter," CO Jameson called. "Your blonde's here."

I'd stopped keeping track of time, but I always knew the first and last Friday of each month thanks to "my blonde." Not only had she scheduled work to have those days off, but she drove three hours each way to be here, and that was about as much as anyone had done for me lately. Maybe since I'd left my aunt's at eighteen.


When I entered the visiting room, Tiffany stood from a bench and smoothed her hands over a short, plaid skirt. I wove through the tables to her and bent for a quick kiss.

She put her arms around my neck. "How are you?" she asked in my ear.


"Same's good."

As we hugged, her short top rode up a little to expose her lower back. I pulled away so my mind wouldn't go where it shouldn't and took the seat across from her. "Did Grimes call you?"

"Two more months." She slid a few bags of M&M's from the vending machine across the table and kept one for herself. "I can't believe he was right. Are you relieved?"

When my public defender had presented my plea bargain, he'd said I was likely to get out early for good behavior. I'd been skeptical, but it turned out I'd only have to serve half of my two-year sentence. Overcrowding helped moved the process along. There were men shoulder-to-shoulder at every cafeteria table. Out in the yard while we worked, someone was always shoveling or pouring concrete nearby. If I wasn't careful, they'd forklift my ass. To shower, I waited in line forty minutes to stand under a spigot for sixty seconds. Our cells were close enough to hear guys spanking it. That'd all work in my favor, though, as long as I kept to myself the next couple months.

"I won't be relieved until I'm breathing air outside this shithole," I said.

The air conditioner hummed to life. I'd've been grateful if it actually cooled the room a few degrees, but it just added another layer of noise to everyone's conversations. "Did everything go okay with the new guy they put in your cell?" she asked.

That depended on her definition of okay. Considering she wasn't locked up in here, it was likely different than mine. "It's fine."

She narrowed her eyes. "I don't believe you. Did someone figure out he was, you know . . ." She lowered her voice. "A snitch?"

Wills and I had been assigned a new cellmate last month. Once it got out he'd ratted on a rival gang member for a lesser sentence, it hadn't taken long for word to spread to the wrong people. "They put it together last week," I said. "Wasn't any chance they wouldn't."


"And nothing." I didn't see any point in worrying her.

She put an M&M in her mouth, chewing absentmindedly, then sat up a little straighter, as if she'd come to a decision about something. "Did they beat him up?"

"Well . . . yeah."

"How bad? You can tell me. You don't have to protect me like you would some girls." 

Far as I knew, none of the guys in here were worried about scarring their girlfriends. Tiffany wasn't exactly innocent, but she'd lived a pretty sheltered life. I rubbed my jaw. "Pretty bad."

"Were you there?"

I shifted in my seat. I'd been working across the yard but close enough to see it go down. If I could've intervened, I would've, but from day one I'd had a plan, and that was to keep my head down and stay out of trouble.