Reading Between the Lines…

Here is a free little snippet, an after thought really, from Between the Lines. It might answer some questions and whet some appetites. Also, for those who loved Pink or are curious, I still have the free short introducing those characters in A Taste of Pink

Between the Lines: Redux

 

Haley squinted as she walked closer to the dock. Blessedly, unlike the last two, this one was empty. The fishermen weren’t out in droves at Lake Claiborne State Park but there were more than a few. The majority of the RVs and campers that dotted the area were dark and quiet which suited Haley just fine.

She squeezed Tonya’s hand as she walked closer to the lake itself. Green-tinged water lapped against the dock gently. Even though the sun hung low, it was bright and mean as hell, blazing and beating down on her. Tall, robust trees covered the area, completing the picture—postcard beautiful.

It was still hot as balls though, despite being near the water. Haley wiped at her forehead.

“Have to love small town Louisiana.”

Haley glanced over her shoulder. “Murica, fuck yeah.”

Tonya rolled her eyes but she smiled as well.

Grinning, Haley pulled her hand away and kneeled.

“What are you doing?”

Haley looked up as she untied her red sneakers. They matched her Flash T-shirt. “Gonna put my feet in the water.”

Tonya’s eyes widened slightly. “I don’t think so. Can you say brain-eating amoeba?”

“Through my toes?” Haley laughed.

“I don’t know, but if you need to cool off I could throw some water in your face or even pour it over your head.”  Tonya’s lips quirked and slowly spread into a smile.

“Eager much?”

Tonya shrugged.

“You gonna join me?”

“I suppose, but if I end up in a coma you’ll have to explain it to Tracy, Stephanie, and my father. I know how much you’d love that particular honor.”

“Yeah, naw. I’d rather walk through the French quarter in my Wonder Woman underoos.”

Tonya leaned on the wooden post as she removed her own shoes and rolled up her capris until they were above the knee. “You say that like it would be out of the ordinary.”

“Mmm.” She was right. It wouldn’t be weird at all.

Haley sat and turned to help Tonya down beside her. She dipped her toes. Her body jolted slightly at the coolness. She smirked as Tonya pretty much had the same response.

“So this is Homer, Louisiana?”

“It is.” Tonya took her hand and laced their fingers together. They sat side by side, thighs and shoulders touching. Haley’s skin buzzed and heated in a whole different way that had nothing to do with the sun.

Haley sucked in a slow, deep breath and admired the woman sitting next to her. Tonya’s tousled curls were tamed into a ponytail, leaving her ears and the elegant line of her neck exposed. Instead of contacts, she wore those sexy-ass black-rimmed glasses that made brown eyes bigger and smokier. A light sheen of sweat covered her face and neck, which looked more like someone had misted her light brown skin with water before a professional photoshoot. The sudden flutter in Haley’s chest dipped down and settled into her stomach. Those damn butterflies were bowling again just like they always did when Tonya was around.

 

“I’m glad you came with me instead of Nate.” Haley drew Tonya’s hand across her torso and pressed it against her chest.

Tonya pulled away then looked at her. She reached up and sifted her fingers through Haley’s hair, making her shiver. “I know.”

“I couldn’t look into Nate’s eyes like this. That would be weird.” He was a beautiful man and her best friend, but having Tonya here kept Haley grounded.

Tonya threw her head back and laughed. “You two look so much alike. You’re right. It would be like incest .”

Chuckling, Haley peered back over the lake and sobered quick as hell.

“Hey.”

Haley met Tonya’s gaze.

“We can stay here long as you want. It’s only a little after eight o’clock.”

“Okay. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready.” Haley shook her head. “Last time I saw him he was handcuffed to a hospital bed. Seein’ in prison orange might make things a little too real. I don’t know if I can do this more than once a month.”

“And you don’t have to. With everything that’s happened, wouldn’t he understand?”

“You’re right Dr. Preston.” Haley smiled slightly.

“That wasn’t Dr. Preston talking Officer Jordan.” Tonya leaned forward and pressed her lips against Haley’s cheek. “Just me.”

She turned slightly, brushing Tonya’s mouth with her own. The butterflies in Haley’s stomach flapped crazily and even more so as Tonya slid a hand around her neck and tugged her closer. An electric current danced down her spine and then spread everywhere, leaving Haley breathless.

Tonya pulled away but pressed her forehead to Haley’s. She exhaled shakily. “I hope we didn’t scandalize rural Louisiana.”

“Fuck’em.” Haley kissed her again, swallowing Tonya’s surprised gasp. She needed this—them to be more real than the situation facing her in David Wade Correctional Center.

***

Aware of the line of people waiting impatiently behind her, Haley signed her name on the visitor’s list and slid her driver’s license toward the prison guard, who smacked his gum as he glanced from Haley’s face to her ID and back again. He handed her license to the guard near the copy machine. Haley shoved her hands into her shorts pockets and took the time to enjoy the cool air blasting on her from the vent above.

Seconds later, he shoved her ID back at her along with a visitor’s badge. “Have a seat. The visit’ll be behind glass since he’s a newbie.”

Haley nodded, but the guard didn’t even look at her. The whole exchange was impersonal as hell. Had to be expected though, right? She’d never visited anyone in prison so didn’t have much to go on. Haley turned and bumped into the person behind her. “Excuse me.”

The woman made a face and brushed past her.

Shaking her head, Haley headed back to her seat. She eased down beside Tonya and released a long breath. Tonya patted her thigh. Haley grabbed her hand and pressed it against the exposed skin of her knee. The flash of heat that resulted was a welcome distraction.

Tonya leaned her head on Haley’s shoulder. For a minute, Haley closed her eyes and they were sitting on her couch watching Game of Thrones instead of waiting for reality to poke them with a stick. When she opened them again, people were staring. Maybe because they were a couple. Maybe because they were an interracial one.

Haley smiled at the man across from her. He looked away.

Tonya huffed and whispered in her ear, “Behave.”

“Mmm.”

A few minutes later, Haley untangled herself from Tonya and stood as a guard walked toward her. Haley took a couple steps forward before peering over her shoulder. Tonya smiled big enough to display her dimples and nodded. There were no signs of worry or tension, and she let that guide her.

***

Haley pulled the bright orange chair away from the counter and eased into it. The hard plastic was cool on the backs of her legs. She jumped up part way as a guard entered with Tang. His hair had grown since the last time she’d seen him. His crew cut was no more but the pornstache hadn’t gone anywhere. There were just a whole bunch of whiskers accompanying it.

Tang stared. His gaze, heavy, full and glassy.

Everything he’d done came back to her, flashing in front of her eyes as if she’d seen the whole thing in a movie. For a moment, she couldn’t help being angry as fuck. Forgiveness aside, she hadn’t forgotten a damn thing.

He blinked and glanced away. When he looked back again, the wetness in his eyes had disappeared. Tang picked up the phone.

Haley did the same.

“How’s…” He cleared his throat. “How’s Tonya?” Every time they talked now that question was one the first things out of his mouth.

“She’s good.” She bent forward, making sure she got a good look at him. “You okay?”

Tang snorted. “I’m in prison, Rook. So, fuck no.” He shook his head. “It’s where I need to be though.”

Haley couldn’t argue. “At least you’re away from gen pop.”

“Yeah, there’s that.”

She leaned back as a sudden quiet stretched between them.

“I’m sorry.” Tang whispered. The glassy eyed look returned.

That phrase was the other thing that had become commonplace.

Haley held his gaze and swallowed down her own churning emotions. “I know.”

***

The End.

BTL is available on Amazon

Pink is there as well.

 

 

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