Velvet Roses Ch. 15byvirgofemme©
*Hope you guys like long chapters, because this one is pretty lengthy. And just to let you guys know, I have been thinking about writing a sequel to this story. This is still just a MAYBE, though, as I haven't made a definite decision on whether or not I will. I also have another story that I am already outlining, so this is why I say it's still uncertain.
There is just so much that I would like to include in this story, but will not be able to, because as it is, It's already well over 300 pages. Once you read this chapter, you will see that Dane and Jeneda's relationship is expanding, and there are new experiences/oppty's on the horizon. So, I just wanna know..would you guys even be interested in a sequel?? Leave a comment, and let me know. Thanks for your support. You guys are awesome!*
Set against the background of a chilled out techno beat, the smoky vocals of a female singer flowed from the art gallery's sound system. At half past seven on a Friday evening, Jeneda was weaving her way through a crowd of art enthusiasts, and after procuring a glass of wine from one of the bow tied servers, she made her way to a row of photographs that were on display.
Each image that she passed was afforded a thoughtful gaze, but as one in particular caught her eye, she stopped to study it. Taken in a Texas prison, the photo was of an inmate sitting in his cell. Barely large enough to fit the bed, toilet, and sink that was housed within, the jail cell was dank and depressing.
The prisoner's shoulders were hunched and his head was slightly bowed, so his facial features were partially obscured, but it was clear from his body language that he was weighed down by misery. Just looking at the photograph filled Jeneda with uneasiness, and as she imagined Dane sitting in his own tiny cell, a wave of sadness washed over her.
Her eyes then drifted to a display of confiscated prison weapons that were housed behind glass, and as she leaned in to take a closer look, a voice from behind her suddenly spoke.
"Kinda makes you wonder what Dane's going through in there, doesn't it?"
Jeneda turned to face the person who spoke, and as her eyes came to rest on an olive toned man, her body instantly stiffened. Having forgone his usual casual attire for a pair of dark gray slacks and a white button up shirt that clung to his muscular torso, Adrian gazed down at her.
His eyes unabashedly drifted over her outfit for the evening, which consisted of a black blazer layered over a printed tee, a wrap skirt that reached mid-thigh, and peep toe pumps.
After what he'd done to her and Dane, she found it hard to believe that he even had the nerve to eyeball her in such a way, and it took every bit of willpower she had to not throw her glass of wine in his face.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Isn't it obvious? I'm here to appreciate the photographs." He paused to take a sip of his wine, then said, "I was disappointed to hear that Dane only got seven months, but knowing he'll get pounded up the ass on a daily basis eases my frustration."
"You're disgusting." A sneer tugged at her lips and she started to walk away from him, but he grabbed her by the arm.
"Come on, you know it's true. Pretty boys like him are always well-received in prison."
"Let go of my arm."
"He's been locked up for two months now, right?" A light chuckle escaped his lips. "No doubt about it. He's *definitely* someone's girlfriend."
The last few words had barely left his mouth before she threw her wine in his face, and for a moment he just stood there in shock. Then he nonchalantly wiped his face off with the back of his hand.
"You're angry." Adrian's eyes danced with amusement, and his lips quirked into a smile.
"Let go of my arm." She spoke through clenched teeth, eyes glinting with fury as she stared him down.
Adrian relented, and after releasing her from his hold, his expression went stony. "You know I could have let Daniel rape you, right?"
"What does that have to do with anything?" She snapped.
"I'm not the bad guy, Jeneda. I'm just a person who wanted to set things straight."
"And tying me up and beating Dane half to death accomplished that goal, did it?"
"No, but him going to prison did."
"Well congratulations. I'm very happy for you." She started to walk away, but the sound of his voice halted her progress.
"My father was a good man, Jeneda. He deserved better."
She turned to face him. "You're right, he did. He was a wonderful human being and never should have died, but Dane wasn't the one who pulled the trigger."
"Unbelievable," Adrian said. "You're still making excuses for him."
"I am not."
"Yes, you are."
"I never said that Dane shouldn't be held accountable for his actions. But what you and Daniel did to him was totally undeserved."
"Yeah? Well my dad didn't deserve to be dumped in the bay like trash."
"Look Adrian, I'm not going to stand here and fight about this, okay? I came to this art exhibit to have a relaxing evening, not to be harassed."
She walked a few paces to the next photograph that was hanging on the wall, then rested her attention on it. The feel of Adrian's gaze, however, kept her from focusing on the image, and as she shifted her eyes to him, she noticed that he was indeed watching her very intently.
"What?" She asked in a voice rife with irritation.
"Don't you wonder why I stopped Daniel from raping you?"
"No, I don't. Nor do I care."
Her silence affirmed her words.
"I did it because I care about you."
She scoffed. "Yeah, right. You've made it pretty clear that you hate my guts."
"I don't hate you, Jeneda." He briefly paused, as if thinking over his words before saying, "I don't like you, but I don't hate you, either."
"What does that mean?"
"It means you don't have to like someone in order to have feelings toward them."
"Well if you do have feelings for me, you have a funny way of showing it."
"I only tied you up so that you wouldn't try and call for help," he said. "But I never physically hurt you, and you know that."
"So what do you want, a pat on the back? You crossed the line, Adrian."
"I'm not sorry for what I did...," he said before quickly adding, "to him."
"Did I ask you to be?" Her hard, cold eyes bored into his, and her face became hot. "What do you want from me, Adrian? What is this all about?"
"What is what all about?"
"This. You here, talking to me."
"What do you think It's about?" His gaze pierced hers.
She allowed a moment of silence for thought, then said, "You already got your revenge on Dane, so there's no point in continuing on with this. And just so you know, I am *not* going to be a pawn in this little game you're planning."
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh please, It's so obvious. Clearly you're pretending to still have feelings towards me, so that I let my guard down and start trusting you again."
"Is that what you think this is about?"
"That's the plan, Isn't it?" Because nothing would destroy Dane more than knowing that I slept with you while he was in prison."
"You think I'm trying to get you into bed? You're way off base. Not even close."
"It's not going to work, Adrian. So you can just give up right now."
"I have no ulterior motives, Jeneda."
"Then why did you mention that you still have feelings for me?"
"I don't know." He blinked a few times, then said, "I guess I'm tired of being angry, and just want to settle this thing between us."
"Things will never be like they used to, and I'm not going to forgive you."
"I don't want your forgiveness, and I definitely don't need it."
"Then what do you want? Because as far as I'm concerned, there's no reason for us to even be carrying on this conversation."
He merely stood there staring at her, not saying anything. Then finally he opened his mouth and spoke. "All I want is to know why you're still with Dane. Because I'm having a really hard time figuring out how you could be with someone like him."
"I've already discussed this with you, but since you seem to have forgotten, I'll tell you again. When you're in love with someone, you overlook their defects. You accept them for who they are. And that's why I'm with him."
"I see. Well I guess that answers my question," Adrian said, and without another word, he turned and walked away.
She watched as he made his way to the other side of the room, and only once she was certain he wasn't coming back, did she re-direct her attention back to the photographs on the wall. Yet instead of concentrating on the images before her, she only stared unseeing at them.
* * * *
Glaring overhead lights woke Dane from a restless sleep, and as his gaze focused on the cinderblock wall next to his bed, his eyes drifted across the words that were graffitied there.
Chomo's get killed. Frankie is a commissary fuck-boy. Bam Bam '74.
Just another day in the shithole, Dane thought, and after rolling over onto his other side, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and rose to his feet. Along with the guards yelling out names and orders, the sound of inmates talking and shouting across the cell block soon filled the air, and as the noise droned on, Dane emptied his bladder, then brushed his teeth.
Now four months into his sentence, Dane had somewhat conditioned himself to the incessant din of prison noise, and was able to mostly tune it out. He had also reluctantly adjusted to the highly regimented schedule that was forced upon him, and although the daily monotony of prison had taken a psychological toll on him, he hadn't allowed himself to be broken.
During the past 121 days of his incarceration, he'd started working in the laundry room, and when he wasn't spending his time doing that, he worked on his graphic novels, read, played chess, listened to the radio, and spent time in the library.
So far, the only person he'd befriended was a Native American man named Henry Two Crows, who stood six foot three and had expansive shoulders and powerful biceps. Dane didn't know what crime Henry had committed to be imprisoned, but he did know that Henry was an enrolled member of the Blackfeet nation, and was six years into serving his seven year sentence.
Aside from being a superb chess player, Henry knew the ins and outs of prison life, and had been instrumental in providing Dane with all sorts of information regarding inmate etiquette. Henry was also a black market dealer, which meant that he supplied the prisoners with items which couldn't be purchased at the commissary.
Cigarettes, illegal drugs, and weapons were only a few of the articles that Henry could smuggle in, and due to his connections, he was favored by many of the other inmates.
Unfortunately for Dane, his friendship with Henry did nothing to deter those who were intent on harming him, and on more than occasion, Dane had been jumped by two particular prisoners. He'd tried both times to put up the best fight he could, but the men who attacked him were built like NFL linebackers, so the odds had been against him from the start.
If the beating hadn't been enough to exacerbate his hellish existence, the week he spent in solitary confinement surely had, and after spending time in the 'hole,' Dane was certain that no worse fate existed than being put in isolation.
Of course the random strip searches, fatal stabbings, and riots were no cakewalk either, but at least he got to interact with other people and spend time outside in the exercise yard.
With a bar of soap in hand and a towel around his waist, Dane headed for the showers, and as the water sprayed down on him, he began to wash his body. He did it hastily, keeping his eyes planted on the tile wall in front of him, and after shampooing his hair, he turned off the water and headed back to his cell.
He slipped into a fresh pair of underwear and a white T-shirt, then clothed himself in his prison issued jumpsuit. He then put on his canvas shoes and slicked his hair back into a ponytail, and after making his way to the cafeteria, got a tray and received his breakfast.
Along with being lumpy and gray, the oatmeal had tiny worms in it, so Dane was restricted to a small carton of milk, runny eggs, and a hard piece of toast. He was just swallowing the last of his slimy eggs when someone took a seat across from him, and as he glanced up, he saw that it was Henry Two Crows.
"They're substituting mealworms for raisins again, eh?" Henry asked as he gestured to Dane's oatmeal.
A faint smile touched Dane's lips. "They sad thing is, these worms probably have more protein than those fake eggs they serve us."
"They're not so bad once you get used to them."
"You've gotta be joking," Dane said. "This crap isn't fit for human consumption."
"I grew up on a reservation, so I'm used to eating low quality food. You think the chow here is bad, you should see the commodity food they gave us to eat on the rez." He scooped some eggs onto his toast, then took a big bite. "Fruits and vegetables were a rarity. White flour, sugar, and lard were our staples."
"Sounds a lot like prison," Dane said.
"Well, reservations were originally set up as prison camps." Henry's large hand dwarfed the small milk carton as he took a swig from it, and after setting it down, he asked, "Is your girl coming to see you today?"
"Nope. We won't be seeing each other for another two weeks."
"Seems like she used to visit you every weekend. Is everything okay with you two?"
Dane nodded. "She's in Key West visiting family."
"Must be hard knowing It'll be awhile before you see her again."
"Yeah, but she deserves a break. She's been under a lot of stress worrying about me, so It'll be good for her to get away."
"What about that other girl who used to visit you? You still friends with her?"
"Oh, you mean my ex-girlfriend, Cassie. Yeah, we're still friends."
"Well maybe you could get her to come out for a few visits. Might make the time go quicker until Jeneda comes back."
"Yeah, maybe. Just not sure if I feel like dealing with her right now."
"I can understand that. She's your ex-girlfriend so you probably wanna keep your distance."
"It's not that I think she wants me back or anything, but I just kinda feel weird having her drive out here to see me. Aside from my mother and Jeneda, she's the only other woman on my visitation list."
"Does Jeneda know that Cassie comes to visit you?"
"And she's okay with it?"
"So there's no reason to feel guilty," Henry said before taking a bite of his toast. "What about your parents? Are they coming to see you anytime soon?"
"My mom is the only one who comes to visit me. As far as my dad is concerned, I barely exist."
"He's still mad at you, huh?"
"Yep. Can't say I blame him, though. I was living a double life, so I'm probably like a stranger to him now."
"I wouldn't worry too much. He'll come around, eventually."
"Guess all I can do is hope for the best." Dane absentmindedly traced a finger along the gang graffiti scratched into the stainless steel table. "What about your family? How have they been?"
"My mom and dad sent me a letter a few days ago. Everything is good back home in Montana."
"And your girlfriend?"
"She's doing well."
"What about your son?"
"He's turning eight in three weeks."
"Wow. Well I know It's early, but I wish him a happy birthday."
"Thanks" he said with a large grin. But just as quickly as it had appeared, it vanished. "It breaks my heart knowing I'll miss yet another one of his birthdays."
"You're up for parole next week. Maybe you'll be approved."
"Been up for parole several times in the past three years, and they always deny me."
"Did they give you a reason?"
"They say my likelihood to re-offend is too great, but I know that's bullshit." His lips drew into a hard, thin line and his square jaw flexed. "It's because I refuse to cut my hair."
Worn in a long braid that reached mid-back, Henry's hair was jet black and silky. It hadn't ever crossed Dane's mind before, but now that Henry had mentioned his long locks, Dane suddenly realized that aside from him and Henry, all of the other prisoners on his cell block had their hair cut short.
He'd never thought about any repercussions as a result of opting out of a haircut, but now that the subject had been brought up, he couldn't help feeling sympathy for Henry.
"That's messed up," Dane said. "I'm sorry to hear that."
"Even if I did cut my hair, I'm sure they'd come up with another reason to deny me." A faraway look came into his eyes and he crushed the empty carton of milk in his sizable palm. "Those sadistic bastards."
"I'm sorry, Henry. I really am."
As if broken from a trance, Henry suddenly blinked, then gave a little nod in response to Dane's words. "My son will be nine years old when I get out of prison, so I've missed most of his childhood. But at least I'll get to see him grow into a man."
"I sure hope the time goes fast for you."
"Thanks. And you only have three months left, so you'll be outta here in no time."
"I'm counting the days," Dane said.
Henry leaned in closer, and in a lowered voice he said, "Just be careful not to let anyone else know your release date. Especially not the lifers."
Henry didn't have to elaborate, as Dane had already heard stories about inmates who were serving longer sentences picking fights with those who had an earlier release date. The last thing Dane wanted was to catch a new charge while serving his current sentence, so just as Henry had advised, he would keep his mouth shut.
"I won't say a word about it," Dane said, and as he stood up from the table, so did Henry.
The two men dumped the trash from their plastic trays, and after exiting the cafeteria, said their goodbyes and headed to their respective jobs.
* * * *
The cool blue water rippled around Jeneda's body as she swam to the edge of the kidney shaped pool, and as her fingertips came in contact with the slick tile of the wall, she lifted herself up and out of the water.
The concrete surrounding the pool had heated up considerably during her swim, so she had to do a half-hop, half-walk to the wooden deck that was shaded by a large canopy. As she stood there drying off, her thoughts drifted to Dane, and she began to wonder what he was currently doing.
Oh, probably any number of things, said a voice in her head. He could be getting shived, or beat up, or possibly even raped. No sooner had the nasty little voice in her head planted that thought in her mind, did she flash back to two months ago. She recalled the art exhibit she'd attended in downtown San Francisco, and although she would have preferred not to, Adrian's mocking words rang through her head.
"... no doubt about it. He's *definitely* someone's girlfriend."
Her stomach turned at the thought of another prisoner violating Dane's body, and although she knew that his incarceration wasn't her fault, she still felt a twinge of guilt for having gone on vacation to Key West, while he remained miserable and locked up in prison.
"How was your swim?"
Jeneda turned her head in the direction of the voice, and as her eyes came to rest on her mother, Monica, she weakly smiled. "Wonderful. I could have spent all day in there."
"My personal record is three hours."
"You always were a good swimmer," Jeneda said as she began to dry herself off.
"I have to do something to keep my girlish figure, don't I?"
Jeneda's smile widened, her eyes briefly roving over her mother's long, cinnamon colored legs before once again coming to rest on her deep set eyes. At forty-nine years old, Monica's body was well-maintained-curvy yet leanly muscular, and her curly hair was worn in a slicked back bun.
"Something smells good," Jeneda said. "What are you cooking?"