Exclusive excerpt from Rebecca Grenville
An Adult Romance Volume VI
I had been told by Edna that there had been a lot of talk recently about women who were lifers, or at least in prison for a long time and who had just given birth, being allowed to apply for a place in a special unit within the jail where they could live with their babies until the child was of school age. It was an attempt by the state to be more humane and not to inflict even more damage on a fractured family.
I had informed Will about this and he immediately set to to procuring me and William a place in the unit. At the same time he began the appeal process.
I had expressed my milk a number of times and Jane seemed quite content to continue feeding William. She was living temporarily at Will’s house and using any spare time to continue with her novel. Her boyfriend stayed occasionally but mostly it was Will and Jane and baby William. I had already asked Jane if she would marry Will and be William’s permanent mother if the worst came to the worst. Some women in my position would have worried about Jane and Will becoming too close but I was well past that kind of thinking. If I was going to die I couldn’t think of anyone better than Jane to be Will’s wife and William’s mother.
I now had plenty of time to think about the idea of following your heart. Had I followed my heart? And is it always right to follow your heart? What if your heart is urging you to do things that are unspeakable? What if your heart is urging you to leap into the fire?
To hurl yourself from the highest rock into the burning chasm of life? Isn’t that better than sitting on the fence, agonising about whether action is better than words?
I don’t know. All I know is I want to live. I want to live. I want to live.
Edna was shaking me. “Rebb, ssh! You’re screaming in your sleep. They’ll be dragging you out and beating you if you don’t shut up.”
“Sorry, Edna, I must have been dreaming.”
“You were shouting I want to live over and over again. Just pray quietly Rebb, that your appeal works. Just pray.”
“Thanks, Edna. Thanks. I’ll try.”
I did try. I prayed silently. I had to speak to Will soon. How was he getting on I wondered?
Will had managed to get round the cumbersome application process to visit in view of the circumstances and he arrived that morning with Jane and little William. I was allowed to hold my baby but already he wanted to be held by Jane and squirmed to be back with her. I cried bitterly.
“I’m sorry, Becs. I suppose he’s used to my voice.”
“Let me try him with my breasts.”
Jane handed William back and I attempted to suckle him. Once he became used to the nipple he started sucking greedily. “Good boy,” I murmured happily, “good boy.”
Jane beamed. “See, Becs, He does know who his mother is.”
“Will, how is the application to live with William coming along?”
“It isn’t. I hope it won’t be necessary. The firm I contacted can’t understand the verdict. They are very confident they’ll get you off on appeal so we’re focussing on that.”
“Have we got a date for that?”
“No, not yet. The law company have had to base the appeal either on we say there was not enough evidence in your trial to justify the verdict or judgment; and/or we say there were mistakes of law during or before the trial that hurt your case. We’ve used both in the appeal and we waiting for a hearing. Hopefully that’ll be next week.”
A CO entered at that moment and said our time was up. I was still feeding William and was a bit slow so the CO stepped forward and tore William from my nipple.
“Ow!” I yelled.
“How dare you!” Will said.