I Will Love You Forever Pt. 2 Ch. 07bykalamazoo707©
Kenji, Patricia and Joel left the office in high spirits. Joel had heard about the program but never thought that he would be able to participate. He wasn't at all surprised that Kenji was selected to participate. In his opinion, Kenji was brilliant but unlike many brilliant people, he knew how to interact with others. That he had been asked to join the group was a pleasant but welcome surprise and that a pretty dark-haired, dark-eyed medical student was in the group made it even better.
They found the books at the bookstore without a problem and were walking back out into the warm May sunshine in less than fifteen minutes. Patricia glanced over at Kenji and smiled, he was happy which made her happy. She then looked over at Joel, he was happy too. The thin frightened man that they had met at the beginning of the semester was rapidly disappearing and a more confident one was taking his place. He now walked with his head held high and with a spring in his step.
Patricia realized that in many ways, Joel had always been brave even if he didn't realize it. Just the fact that he hadn't cared whether he was seen with them even though it brought him under even more scrutiny by Andrew and his friends spoke volumes. Now there was Miss Penelope Erikson who obviously liked him enough to get Dr. Nichols to take an additional student into the small group.
She reached over and took Kenji's free hand in hers enjoying the feeling of well being. Kenji looked at her, smiled and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. He was feeling it too.
Joel looked over at the friends that he now considered family and wondered how Penelope would fit into their group. He stopped and reminded himself that it was much too premature to be thinking along those lines. Other than her name, he knew nothing about her other than the fact that he liked her and her bubbly personality. A small part of him urged caution, she didn't know anything about him either and he didn't know how she would feel about going out with a Jewish man.
The drive home was a happy one with Joel and Kenji planning how they were going to prepare for the classes. Patricia already knew what Kenji would do. He would start reading the textbooks and class schedule as soon as he had a free minute. He wouldn't take time away from her and the family but by the time class had started, he would have quite a bit of the reading done.
She listened to them as they planned and smiled. The feeling of well being grew. They were all going to be all right.
Nick tapped his fingers on his desk as he listened to Will.
"They have a new warden down there and from what I hear that while he agrees with Goodman to some degree, he's not in his pocket so to speak."
"What happened to the last warden?" Nick asked.
"Apparently he was in Goodman's pocket." Will replied. "Goodman was allowed to have what he called bible study meetings whenever he wanted and the protocols for a maximum security prison were waived for him and anyone in his little group."
"What prompted the change though?" Nick asked his mind working.
"It wasn't a sudden change if that's what you're asking." Will replied, "But what sped it up was the murder of a guard. Even though the body was found behind the cellblock of the black prisoners, the thinking is that Lawrence Goodman either killed the man himself or had someone do it for him. The problem is there's no apparent motive."
"What do you know about the new warden?" Nick asked.
"His name is Theodore Ellis and he's a hard ass." Will replied. "He's Klan all the way but he's a smart one. He believes that the way to control things is through legal channels and not through guerilla warfare although he concedes that it does have its place. Nick, this man is the most dangerous form of the Klan. He'll make them look reasonable and people will buy it. The Lawrence Goodman's of the world are visible; we see them for what they are but Theodore Ellis blends in. His kind is like a virus and if we're not careful every elected office will be infected with his kind."
"How do you think he'll handle Goodman?"
"Here's the thing about Ellis, he believes that there are certain people who are off limits from the Klan. Fellow Klansmen, government officials whether they be elected or not and women and children as long as they're white are on that list. My guess is that he's going to make Goodman's life hell and I'll tell you why, he knows even though he can't prove it that Lawrence is responsible for several deaths including Doc Reynolds and the security guard.
He'll see Lawrence as a threat to the Klan and therefore a wildcard. The way I see it, he's going to do one of two things. Either he'll try to bring Lawrence into the fold and control him or he'll try to find a way to get rid of him... legally of course. If he got rid of him, it would solve a few problems."
"He hasn't signed the divorce papers." Nick commented.
"No he hasn't and it's all about control. He doesn't want Sally but he doesn't want anyone else to have her either." Will replied.
"Maybe you're right, maybe Ellis will take care of the problem for us." Nick said. "How do you know so much about Ellis?"
There was a long awkward silence as William squirmed uncomfortably in his chair.
"He's my cousin on my father's side."
Nick blew out a breath, "you're kidding."
"I wish I were." Will said. "Haven't you noticed that I don't talk about my family?" he asked.
"Yes but I just thought that you were a private person so I didn't ask." Nick replied.
"I never talk about them because we don't really speak. Let's just call it a difference of opinion and politics."
"I'm sorry." Nick said.
"Don't be, it was a conscious choice on my part and I don't regret the choices that I've made any more than you regret the choices that you've made. At any rate, I agree with you in that we need to have a plan in place in case Lawrence shows up at our doorstep."
"I talked to Kenji a couple of weeks ago so he's aware of the situation." Nick said and then paused. He was missing Ralph and his lets not fuck around attitude. "I think there's a party at Kenji and Patricia's house on Saturday, we'll talk then."
Lawrence stared in the direction of the warden's office. Ever since his arrival, the warden had made Lawrence's life hell. The bible studies had all but stopped and none other than the warden himself attended the ones that he did have. Mail and packages were scrutinized for weapons before being doled out to the prisoners and no one was allowed out after curfew no matter the reason.
Wanting to find out if the warden meant what he said; Lawrence had one of his men commit a minor infraction and made sure that the man was seen doing it. Within minutes after the infraction was discovered, the man was dragged from his cell and disciplined in front of the entire prison population. What got Lawrence's attention was that the punishment exceeded the crime of sneaking food out of the dining room. It wasn't even a lot of food, it was a measly piece of fruit that the man had snuck out and he was sentenced to a day without food in addition to the other punishment.
Lawrence started to speak up for the man but when the warden fixed his cold gray eyes on him, Lawrence kept his peace. He was quickly learning that he had to choose his battles carefully and that he had to be ready for anything.
He tore his gaze from the warden's office and turned it toward the cellblock where the blacks lived. He could see Jacob Lincoln sitting next to another black inmate talking about who knew what. He stared at the man with hatred in his eyes and his heart and wished him dead. As if he knew that he was being watched, Jacob looked up at Lawrence, smiled and then waved at him.
"How are you this fine day?" he shouted across the yard and then turned his attention back to the inmate that he had been talking with. He knew that Lawrence wouldn't respond with anything except a glare and he simply didn't care, he wanted to make his presence known. He wanted Lawrence Goodman off balance, angry and afraid.
Jacob Lincoln couldn't believe it. The man that he held responsible for the deaths of his wife and children was in the same prison! His family was just three more victims that no one had cared about simply because they were black and Lawrence hadn't faced justice for their deaths because he was white and no one could link him to the deaths.
He only knew of Lawrence's involvement because he found one of the men involved, captured him and tortured him until he told him the names of everyone involved. Whenever he closed his eyes, he could still hear the screams of his wife and children as the house burned with them inside of it.
Whenever he felt guilty about the torture of the man and the subsequent murders that he committed to avenge his family, he remembered their screams and the guilt vanished. He could remember with unerring clarity the night that they died so horribly.
the strong smell of smoke is what hit him first and then seconds later the screams of panic, terror and pain that grew in volume and intensity the closer he got to home. He was too late. The screams had gone silent and the small wooden house was nothing more than charred ruins. He remembered trying to convince himself that it wasn't real. That he was in the midst of some horrible nightmare so he blinked once, twice, three times before he understood that he was awake and that the scene before him was real and not a dream.
He went through a period where he blamed himself. If he hadn't started that school, if he hadn't openly urged the people of his race to become as educated as they possibly could, if only he hadn't.....the list went on and on. He even remembered the day that the blame shifted from him to the guilty party.
That release from guilt came from a very unlikely source. A child.
After the fire, Jacob moved in with his brother Elijah who along with others helped him find the charred bodies of his family and bury them. Rage tore through him as he listened to the prayer for their souls and their passage into heaven. The rage grew as the soloist sang "It is well with my soul" and then "His eye is on the sparrow" both of which were his wife Alice's favorite songs.
"It isn't well with my soul!" he thought angrily as the song ended, "And you weren't watching, you couldn't have been! He silently screamed. Hate that he had never felt in his forty years of life filled him as the tears flowing from his eyes dried up. He knew that to feel such hate was wrong but he didn't care. He would deal with god later.
Three days after the service, Jacob was walking down the street lost in thought and not paying attention to where he was going.
"Hey nigger! Watch where you're going!" a small voice yelled at him.
Jacob stopped and looked down to see Jimmy Hardin looking at him with undisguised hatred and disgust.
"I'm sorry, I didn't see you." Jacob said and continued on his way.
"My daddy said that your nigger family squealed like pigs." the boy called out.
Jacob stopped and then kept walking. That boast removed the blame for the death of his family from him to Joseph Hardin, but he hadn't been alone. In fact, it was Joseph Hardin who was squealing like a pig by the time Jacob was done with him.
By the time the law caught up with him, Jacob had killed three of the seven men who had been at his home that night. What surprised him and many others was that he wasn't sentenced to hang but had received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. After giving it careful thought, he decided that there was a reason for why he didn't to die. He didn't know what that reason was but he could wait, he had nothing but time on his hands.
Like everywhere else in the country, Lawrence's trial was big news at the prison. Everyone, whether they were black or white followed the trial with interest. Bets were being taken on the verdict but the consensus was that Lawrence would walk away a free man.
Everyone at the prison was shocked when the jury came back with a verdict of guilty and everyone was even more shocked when the location where Lawrence would serve his term was announced. When he heard the verdict; Jacob didn't react. When he heard where Lawrence was going to serve his time, a big smile broke out on his handsome face. The reason that he was still alive would be arriving soon.
For several months after Lawrence arrived, Jacob laid low, but not because of fear. He wanted to watch Lawrence. He wanted to see how the murderer of his family carried himself and what he saw angered and disgusted him. What he saw was a man who had other people do his dirty work while he watched. What he saw was a man who was afraid to say and show what he really was even though he supposedly believed that what he was saying was right. In Jacob's eyes, Lawrence Goodman was nothing but a coward who knew how to bullshit people.
Gradually, Jacob began to make himself more visible, he wanted Lawrence to see him and become curious about him. And from what he could see, it was working. That he could and probably would die in his attempt to kill Lawrence didn't matter. If he was going to die, he couldn't think of a better reason than the avenging of his family.
Sally checked the mail, looking through it twice for the envelope that she was almost sure wouldn't be there. Lawrence had to have received the divorce papers by now and had more than enough time to sign and send them back. With each passing day, the certainty that Lawrence wasn't going to sign the papers grew. She threw the stack of envelopes on the table and sat down undecided about what she should do. She glanced at the phone and thought about calling him but Will had vetoed the idea when she brought it up a week ago.
"No." He said his tone firm. "I don't want you talking to him and besides you may not be able to anyway. There's a new warden and he's cracking down.
"What are we supposed to do?" Sally asked.
Will knew what he wanted to do but didn't say it. He was ready to say the hell with it and take her to bed but he knew that Sally wouldn't go for it. For now, he had to settle for an occasional touch and an even rarer kiss. Everyday he hoped to hear word that the son of a bitch had died in prison therefore freeing Sally to marry him.
Tears of frustration and anger rolled down Sally's cheeks as she wished that Lawrence would just do them all a favor and die. A prayer for forgiveness that was only half-sincere promptly followed that wish. She loved Will but not enough to break her wedding vows any more than she already had. The fact that she was in love with another man and had kissed him was already almost more than she could handle. Once again, she prayed for Lawrence's death and prayed for forgiveness for wishing for it.
Suddenly angry, Sally stormed over to the phone and called the prison. Immediately her call was transferred to the warden's office.
"Warden Ellis, may I help you?"
Sally faltered and was about to hang up when he spoke again.
"Hello? Mrs. Goodman?"
"Y...Yes, never mind, I'm sorry to have disturbed you."
"You didn't disturb me, how can I be of assistance?" Ellis asked in his best accommodating voice.
"I was wondering if it was possible for me to speak with my husband." she replied.
"That depends, is there an emergency of some sort?"
"No, I just wanted to know if he got the letter that I sent, it isn't important." Sally replied regretting that she had called.
"It must be important if you called, when did you send the letter?"
"A month ago... as I said..."
"I'll check into it." Ellis said interrupting her.
"Thank you." Sally said and hung up.
Ellis hung up, stood up and headed to the door of his office. It had been a few days since he'd spoken with Lawrence and reminded him who was boss. Moreover, he was curious about the letter that was so important that his wife called about it. On the way out, he motioned to a couple of guards to follow him. He loved the unannounced visits; it kept everyone the guards included off balance.
He already had two guards transferred out when he caught them chatting with the prisoners and sharing food from home and another fired for taking money for favors. It had finally sunk in that this was his castle and that he was the king and that anyone who disobeyed him was in deep shit.
Ellis strode through the yard and to the cellblock where Lawrence lived intent on intimidating him. The guards stood straighter, not one of them announced his arrival, and that was how he wanted it. Within minutes, he was standing in front of Lawrence's cell that now looked like any other cell. The writing desk was gone along with the lamp and chair plus he now had a cellmate.
"Good evening Goodman." Ellis said amiably.
"Good evening." Lawrence replied warily as he wondered what prompted this unexpected visit.
"I got a rather concerned phone call from your wife." Ellis said. "It seems that you haven't replied to a letter that she sent you."
"I just haven't taken the time to reply." Lawrence replied wondering why Ellis was concerned about a letter that was none of his business.
"She said that she sent it a month ago, that's more than an adequate amount of time to reply even though it came from California." Ellis replied.
Lawrence bit his tongue; he was being baited.
"Show me the letter." Ellis demanded.
"Why? It's personal." Lawrence said knowing that he was stepping onto thin ice.
"This is prison and nothing is personal." Ellis said in an icy tone. "The letter."
Lawrence thought to object but thought better of it, after all, what could Ellis do? Make him sign the papers? In addition, he would have his cell searched until he found it anyway. It was easier to give Ellis what he wanted and hoped that he would go on his way.
Lawrence dug the envelope from under the thin mattress and handed it to Ellis who looked at it curiously before opening it.
"A petition for divorce." he said after reading all of the pages of the document including the letter from Sally. "No wonder you haven't responded but I see her point and even agree with her when she says that you have no marriage. Sign the papers and put her out of her misery."
Lawrence stared, "You can't be serious! You can't make me do this! This is a private matter!"
Ellis raised his eyebrows but said nothing for several seconds.
"You will sign the papers and relieve your wife of the burden of claiming you as her husband. You have disgraced her enough now sign the papers or do you need help?"
Lawrence looked around and saw that he and the warden were alone; he hadn't seen his cellmate or the guards leave. There would be no witnesses to the conversation or the thinly veiled threat and even if there were who would talk? With a shaking hand, he took the offered pen and signed the document.
"Good." Ellis said taking his pen back. "I'm sure that Mrs. Goodman will be relieved to have heard from you."
Without saying anything further, Ellis left the cell. Lawrence watched him leave still not quite believing what had just happened. Later when he had recovered from his shock, he added Theodore Ellis to his list of people that he wanted to visit. In fact, his death would take precedence over the death of the nigger. Maybe if he played his cards right, he could pin it on the black man. Maybe he could make it look like the nigger did it.
Another thing had become clear to him; he had to escape. He didn't have everything planned out but he would just have to improvise but before he left... two were going to die. He would have Duke find out which of his men was going on parole first and then send that man to California to pave the way for his visit.
Nancy was still angry with Becca and hadn't spoken to her in almost a week. If her uncle and aunt noticed, they didn't comment on it but then again, they were so involved in their ministry.