Chapter 32

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"Did I ask you to talk, Jailbird?" Sarge snaps. "Zip it."

I ignore him. "Do you know Lizzie Garcia?"

Hazel's glare confirms it. "What's it to you?"

"Is she one of your perks?" I ask.

Sarge whacks his baton against the bar of Hazel's cell. It clangs loudly, making Hazel jump back and nearly stumble.

"Shut it the both of you or I'll split you to opposite sides of the station. Knight," he turns to me, pointing his stick at my face. "You're in here until I'm forced to release you by law. Unless Bronson is feeling particularly generous–"

"No, Sarge, please don't call Nick."

He grins and I know I've just given him exactly what he wants. "Hmm, since you asked nicely ..." He spins back to Hazel. "As for you, Blondie: get comfortable."

Hazel storms around her cell, kicking at the walls and stirring up dirt as Sarge stalks down the corridor and locks the door shut tight. The moment he's gone, I spin on Hazel.

"Hey." I click my fingers to get the girls attention. "Hazel?"

"What?"

"Is it Lizzie Garcia's party Saturday? As in daughter of Alonzo Garcia?"

Hazel exhales loudly and crosses her arms. "Why the sudden interest in me, huh? I bet you don't even have plans and you don't want to look like you have no life."

If the bars between our cells didn't separate us, I so would have popped her across the nose again. Partly because she's right, but also because of her cheek.

"Are you going to answer my question or not?"

Hazel can see that I desperately want answers, and with the way the cogs in her head are ticking, it's obvious she knows I need information. She has me like a fly on a wheel.

"As I said, I know people." Hazel sits herself back down on the floor and lets her hands hang out of the bars. "Lizzie is dating my older brother. He's studying law at Harvard and he's obviously the favorite. My parents could never figure out what made me go bad."

Sounds very bloody familiar, I think.

"I don't need their approval though, I just do whatever I want when I want to."

I resist the urge to hurry up the life story, knowing it will only spark a fuse and she'll refuse to talk to me. Besides, we have all the time in the world.

"So why did Lizzie invite you if her party is so prestigious?"

"Because my brother made her. He thinks I might meet someone respectable, and he always looks out for me. He even pays for my bail when I need it."

"He sounds like a great brother," I mutter, wishing she'd stop bragging. My brothers probably think I'm dead, along with the rest of my family.

"Yeah he's a good guy. But he's pretty thick for a lawyer. I mean, what kind of respectable guy would go for such a low-life criminal like me?"

I manage a smile, knowing that a few months ago I was in the exact same boat with Nick. "You'd be surprised," I tell her. "There are some guys out there good enough to not judge a book by its cover."

"Well wherever they are, I haven't found them yet." Hazel starts inspecting her nails again, then she looks up at me. "Hey, why are you so interested in Lizzie's party?"

"It's nothing," I say and hang my head, hoping her curiosity is just as strong as mine.

"You looking for a fix or something?"

I scoff. "If you're talking about drugs, I'm fine. I've been clean for years."

"No, I mean are you looking for a 'good time'?"

I look at Hazel with a smile on my face. "Oh. No thanks, I'm all set."

"So there is a man in your life. He better than Rusty?"

"Rusty and I were never a thing. And yes, he's more than twice the man Rusty is. If you could even call him that."

"So who's at this party that you're so anxious to see, huh?"

Hazel is being difficult on purpose. It's so obvious. I guess I'm going to have to bring out the big guns. Since Hazel has such great connections with Lizzie, she'd be perfect to get me in with her crowd. I only wish I didn't have to bring Nick into this. Then again, the Sarge has probably already phoned him.

"If I promise to get you out of here by Saturday night, will you take me to the party and not ask questions?"

Hazel blinks at me in confusion. "What did you say?"

A grin spreads across my face. "We girls gotta stick together in this big, bad world. You in or not?"

With suspicion masking her face, I can't tell if she believes me. And yet she still agrees.

"Got anything decent to wear, Jailbird?"

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