Chapter 16 : Hope from a stranger.

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Chapter 16

We were given the clearance to go back to our cell about an hour later after the doc had completed all her checks. Riley was unresponsive in the sense that his usual incessant chatter was missing and I wondered if the doctor had had the right idea by sending him away.

When the cuffs were finally removed and we were being locked into our small space; he immediately headed for his bunk and after kicking off his boots he curled up onto his side, his back facing the wall.

I pulled up the only chair in the room and lowered myself into it, directly in front of his bed. He watched as I kicked off my own boots and plopped my feet onto the bed, my toes brushing his side.

"How are you feeling?"

He shrugged "I thought I could handle being in here for the rest of my life if you'd be here with me but even with you here I can't handle it. I gotta get out." His expression had become one of desperation as he said the words and I sought to appease him.

"You just need to be patient, I'll try to help you in any way I can, just don't go thinking of doing something stupid." I warned and he offered no response, but continued to stare on me as if the words coming out of my mouth made absolutely no difference to him.

I'd have to watch him more closely from now on.

 I allowed a brief silence to pass between us, in which time Riley kept his eyes firmly planted on my face, as if he were memorizing every inch of it, as if it was the most important thing in that moment and I frowned, wondering what was going through his mind.

"How well do you know Jerry?" I asked rather than taking up an issue I'd rather not discuss and his brows furrowed.

"I've known him all my life. Why?"

"But how well do you really know him? You said he went to prison once, what was he in for and why's he so interested in helping you?"

Riley finally sat up in bed, his legs bent under him as he appraised me. "Why are you suddenly so interested in Jerry?"

"Think about it Riley. You finally get a break in your case and the minute you call him, the one person who could get you out ends up dead." I trailed off, letting him come to the only conclusion he could after such a statement and when realization dawned, so did his anger and I watched as his mouth tightened and his fists clenched.

"Don't you dare try to blame that on Jerry, he's a good man, the only person who's given a shit about me since I got here."

"Did you stop to think that the only reason he's given a shit is because he's the real murderer, or at least trying to cover up for one? Maybe he's just here to keep an eye on things, make sure the truth never comes to light." I suggested and Riley frowned, his eyes piercing mine in their angry intensity.

"He's a good guy, stop trying to put this all on him. It was just a coincidence." He said firmly and his naïveté annoyed me.

"I don't believe in coincidences and you need to stop trying to find the good in everybody. Look where you are." I gestured to the dirty wall surrounding us, "humans betray each other. It's life and you need to start considering the fact that your little friend Jerry isn't a great as you think he is."

"Just shut up you don't know what you're saying. You're too cynical, that's your problem. When Malone showed up, he was scared, like he thought somebody would find out he'd come so it could have easily been someone working here who did it." He explained then cut me off before I could get another word in,

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