I was in the kitchen washing dishes, when I heard the door open. "Mom?" I waited for my mom to respond back, but instead, I watched Roxy walk into the kitchen with tears running down her face.
I dropped the plate I was washing and immediately went to her side. "Oh my God, Roxy, what's wrong?"
She wouldn't answer me. She kept shaking her head and repeating, "No...no...no..." I finally grabbed her shoulders and sternly stated, "Roxy Richards. Tell me what happened."
Roxy's eyes widened when she heard her full name. She lifted up her head and whispered, "I need your help."
I nodded and led Roxy over to the couch to sit down. "I'm gonna fix you a glass of water, and then you're going to tell me what happened, alright?"
Roxy nodded but asked, "Do you have anything with alcohol in it?"
I glanced her way and saw a small smile on her face. "Yeah...I think my mom has some brandy. Will that work?"
Roxy nodded. After I fixed her a glass, I sat down on the couch and faced her. "Why were you crying?"
"Blade. I found out today that he was sentenced to death! I...I don't know how long he had, Grace..I need to see him."
Roxy finished the brandy and sat the glass down on a table. I asked, "Are you sure that this person was telling the truth?"
I noticed she hesitated before she replied, "He said that he was in prison with Blade for awhile...that he even got into some fights with him. I believe him, Grace."
I raised my eyebrows and responded, "Ok...who was this guy?"
Roxy started chipping at her fingernail polish and whispered, "I can't tell you."
"Why can't you tell me who it was, Roxy? Do I know him?"
She didn't give me an answer, but instead changed the subject. "It doesn't matter...will you please come with me to see Blade? I don't want to go alone."
Deep down, I wished Roxy would tell who this 'guy' was, but I didn't want to upset her again. "Of course I'll go with you, Roxy. Do you wanna take my car?"
An hour later, I was slowly driving my car down an old road in the center of Los Angeles. "Are you sure we took the right turn?"
Roxy was peering out her window and looking for any signs of the prison. "Yes. I'm sure...it should be here."
I rolled my eyes and continued down the skinny strip. Finally, Roxy widened her eyes and exclaimed, "There it is! Take this right, G!"
Roxy unbuckled right then and there, and I turned into the parking lot. There was a little shabby meter stand in the entrance and when we pulled in, a short, bald man stepped out and tapped on my window.
"Can I help you ladies?" His tone had an edge of flirting in it and creeped us out, but I decided I needed to be polite if Roxy was going to see Blade.
I smiled and stated, "Yes...you sure can. My friend is wanting to see one of her old friends. A Mr....um...." I leaned over to Roxy and whispered, "What's his real name?"
She frowned and shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know. We all called him Blade."
"Are you serious! You were his flippin' girlfriend!" I turned back to the meterman and said, "Well, we don't know his actual name...we know he goes by Blade."
The meterman went back to his building and pulled out a clipboard. "I'm pretty sure you're talking about Richey."
We looked at each other and simultaneously asked, "Richey?"
"Yep." The meterman sat the clipboard back down and leaned further into the window. "...Do you know why he's here?"
Roxy leaned forward and nodded. "He's here for the murder of a minor, Teal." The meterman gave a small nod and replied,
"That's him alright. You ladies came to the right place." He held his arm out and pointed to the right of the building. "You'll want to park back there."
We thanked him and drove on through the area. Roxy had her car door opened before I even put the car in park! I grabbed my purse and hollered, "Will you wait a minute? Geez!"
"C'mon G! I need to see he's alright!" Roxy wiped away the last remains of her tears and ruined makeup and asked, "Do I look ok?"
I smiled and said, "You look fine. He'll be happy to see you!"
Roxy shrugged her shoulders and murmured, "If he recognized me...it's been 3 years."
I patted her shoulder and reassured her, "He'll recognize you. You're not hard to forget!"
We entered the doors of the prison, and immediately, had to be searched. After our pat-downs, we entered a little room and signed to visit Blade.
"Go into that room back there and sit down. They'll bring the prisoners in at 1 o'clock." I looked at the clock on the wall and noticed it was 12:55.
Roxy thanked the officer at the desk and then turned towards me. "You'll love Blade! He was always such a sweet guy!"
We walked into a big room completely made out of concrete and with bars on the windows. There were about twelve tables in the room with four chairs seated at them, two on each side.
Roxy and I sat at one in the middle and waited for the minutes to tick by. Before we knew it, it was 1:00 and a bell sounded for the prisoners to come through.
Automatic doors opened on either side of the room and all kinds of prisoners: male and female, entered the complex. Roxy raised up and whispered, "There he is!"
I looked in the direction Roxy was looking and saw a tall, scrawny, guy who looked around 20 years old. He had a beard and a mustache and kept his hair short. He was wearing the same dark gray jumpsuits everyone else was wearing. The only difference was, he had his ears pierced.
An officer led Blade over to our table and sat him down. Blade, obediently, held out his handcuffed hands and let the policeman chain him to the table.
"You have one hour," the officer stated and then walked off. Blade leaned back in his chair and grinned. "Well...what a pleasure. My ex."
"I had no choice but to be your ex," Roxy pointed out.
Blade grinded his teeth and shrugged his shoulders. "You could've stayed with me, babe. But I don't blame you...honest. Whatcha been into, Rox?"
She smirked and replied, "Anything and everything."
Blade winked at her and murmured, "That's my girl." He turned his head towards me and eyed me. "And who is this? Pretty little thing."
I crossed my arms over my chest and suddenly felt self-concious. "I...I'm Grace. Roxy's friend."
He noticed my discomfort and chuckled. "Don't worry, Sunshine. I may think you're drop-dead gorgeous, but you're not my type."
Roxy looked around the room and then reached her hand out to Blade's. "Blade, are you really on death road?"
He intertwined his hand with Roxy's and whispered, "How did you find out?"
"I can't tell you...why are they going to kill you over Teal?" Roxy started choking up and Blade noticed.
He rubbed his thumb in small circles on Roxy's hand and said, "Don't cry, Rox. You're stronger than that...but I don't know why. They think I made her go into the road...as an inititation or something."
Roxy wiped her eyes and glanced over to me. "I had to see you, Blade. I wanted to make sure you were alright."
Blade smirked and turned his head towards the guard behind him. That's when I noticed the bruise on Blade's neck. "What happened?" I blurted out.
Blade turned back towards us and looked dead-center at me. "Don't worry about it, darling. Just a little fight."
Roxy raised up straighter than she already was, but soon relaxed. Blade tilted his head and said, "Roxy...I know something is troubling you...it's obvious. Tell me what it is."
"I noticed it, too. She wouldn't tell me, either," I pointed out. Blade leaned forward and murmured, "Rox, tell me. You're acting like a scared child. What's going on?"
Roxy turned her to me and then looked straight ahead. She closed her eyes and whispered, "Blade, do you know a Justin Morgans?"
I whipped my head in her direction and asked, "What about Justin?"
Blade sighed and responded, "Yeah. That's who gave me that bruise. Why?"
Roxy's lip quivered when she stated, "I'm sorry Grace. I wasn't suppose to tell anyone...he said he would hurt me. Justin is the one that told me about your death sentence."
I didn't want to believe Roxy. Justin had been so nice to me, lately, and I didn't understand why he would be so mean to my only girl friend."
Blade gripped Roxy's hand harder and said, "Go on."
Roxy sighed again and replied, "Justin told me you were dying this coming week. I didn't want to believe him and I insulted him...he grabbed me by the hair and pulled me outside. He kissed me hard on the mouth and said if I told anyone...he would hurt me." She looked over to me and continued, "He said if you found out that I would regret it."
Blade's jaw twitche and his whole body was tense. "He's lucky I'm in this fuckin prison."
Roxy couldn't help but smile at Blade. "Thanks, baby. I'm sorry I didn't tell you, Grace. I was more afraid he would hurt you or your baby."
Blade's eyes focused on me. "You're pregnant?"
When I nodded, Blade raised his eyebrows and mumbled, "You're one hot pregnant chick."
Roxy scowled and rolled her eyes. "Blade, are you really...gone next week?"
Her eyes widened when Blade slowly nodded his head.
"Will you come to the...thing?" Blade's request was filled with so much hopefulness, I didn't want Roxy to say no to him.
Lucky for him, she nodded her head vigorously. "Of course I'll come! I'll be your support through all of this!"
Right at that time, the same officer came over to our table and announced, "Time's up girls. Say your goodbyes."
Roxy took both of Blade's hands in hers and stated, "Oh God! I don't want to leave you!"
Blade stood up and whispered, "I'll call you tomorrow. Please, Rox...don't forget to come see me next week."
She nodded and walked out of the building before she could cry again.
Blade stood there with me for a moment longer and smiled. "It was nice meeting you, Grace. Um...can I ask you a favor?"
I smiled and teased, "I can't bail you out, Blade."
He rolled his eyes and retorted, "Didn't Rox tell you that I had no chance for bail!? Anyway, I watch you look out for her... I can tell she's really spooked about that ass, Justin."
I looked him right in the eyes and stated, "You can count on me, Blade."
Back in the car, Roxy held her face in her hands, sobbing. "I can't I'm losing him next week! Why can't he have more time?"
I wrapped my arm around Roxy's shoulders and said, "At least you can see him. He wants you there, Roxy."
"I know...I know. I don't think I can handle it, G. I don't want to watch him die." She started sobbing again.
Then a thought occurred to me. "Hey! You know what. When you're in there sitting....watching just don't think of it as him dying! I've heard it's like they're sleeping. So, imagine Blade is just going to sleep."
Roxy raised up and started laughing. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "It was an idea."
She pulled me into a tight hug and exclaimed, "It was a great idea! Thank you so much for coming, G! Let's get outta here."
While driving and half-listening to Roxy's memories, one thought stuck with me. I had anger in my heart now...
Anger for Justin and how he treated Roxy.
He was going to find out I felt....one way or another.
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