6. Looking Up

Gently reaching down into the battered crib, Cassie pulled her baby’s blanket closer around her. She needed to make sure she was warm; these old cells were draughty, and she wasn’t entirely sure that there weren’t cockroaches scuttling around the edges of the small room.

It seemed strange, having something so precious in somewhere so grim. Even the mother and baby unit, a section of the prison for mothers with newborns where each cell had a cot and nurses were on standby, was no real place for a baby to be. Ivy was three months old now, and the only outside she’d ever seen was in the exercise yard, still walled into this awful place.

Still. Cassie wouldn’t have to worry about that for much longer.

The soft movement of her blanket roused Ivy who reached out for her mother, wanting a cuddle. Cassie smiled and picked up her child, holding her close. As if she’d ever say no to a quick snuggle!

‘Hiya, Ivy… Are you alright? Just wanted a quick huggle, hey? Don’t blame you. Everyone needs a hug in this place from time to time.Especially little babies like you! It seems so wrong, you being cooped up in here. You didn’t break the law. Well, neither did Mummy, but that’s a whole other complicated mess that you’re too little to understand yet…’

Cassie’s voice started to shake slightly. ‘Ivy, sweetie, just know that your Mummy loves you. With all her heart. No matter what happens, no matter where you are, even if… Even if I’m not there with you, to hold you and comfort you. I love you. Your Daddy loves you. We always, always will.’ She dabbed her eyes with the corner of the pink blanket, trying to put a smile back on her face. She didn’t want to worry Ivy, who was gazing up at her mother with a look of pure adoration. She didn’t pay any attention to the cell door opening. Cassie simply chose to ignore it.

‘Cassie. Come on. It’s time.’

Cassie swallowed the lump that had been stuck in her throat all morning, dreading this moment. ‘Please. Just five more minutes.’

‘Come on, love. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. You know the rules.’

‘But why? Why?!’

The governor sighed. ‘You know full well why. Three months old, then they’re handed out. There’s limited space on the MBU, and we have seven heavily pregnant women on the wings who’ll be needing a room in here soon. There has to be a limit.’

‘But I don’t understand why Matt can’t -‘

‘Cassie, we’ve been over this! Mr. Forest broke the law when he engaged in intimate relations with you; no matter what your status before either of you came here you were in his charge and he had a duty of care, he had responsibilities! The law simply won’t let Ivy go to him, not after that. Social services will have a lovely home for her -‘

‘Stop… Just, stop.’

Cassie looked into her baby’s eyes, trying to make the mental image engrave itself into her mind, trying to make the memory last. She knew that there was a good chance she would never see Ivy again, not until she was eighteen at least. Once children were taken in by the social they often became ‘lost’ to the system. Even if Cassie were let out next week completely cleared of all charges, Ivy could be anywhere.

‘Okay.’ Cassie reluctantly handed her baby over to the governor, before wearily collapsing onto her bed.

‘Go. Just… Just go.’

‘I am sorry, Cassie. I do wish it were different. You’ll be moved back onto the wing tomorrow.’

With that, the governor turned and walked out of the cell, taking Ivy with her. Cassie didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Ivy was finally getting out of prison. If only her mother could follow her.

*       *       *

The nurses had taken pity on Cassie, as they did all mothers who’d had to hand over their children to social services, and had brought her breakfast to her cell. They were a lot kinder than the majority of the prison officers were. Grateful for the final few hours of privacy, Cassie had relished the solitude.

Brushing her teeth, she saw Ms. Sheeran open the cell door in the reflection of the mirror. Her heart sank; she wasn’t sure if she wanted to deal with her today. Sheeran had clearly lost any passion she once had for the job a long time ago, and simply viewed the inmates as evil warts on the face on humanity with no consideration for what some of the women in the prison may have been through. She just assumed she was better than all of them, simply because none of the mistakes she’d made through life hadn’t had such drastic consequences. Cassie had quickly discovered that the only reason she’d tried to warn her about Alicia was because she hated her over all the others!

‘For gnomes’ sake, Rivers! Aren’t you ready yet? Honestly, bone idle, the lot of you!’

Cassie rolled her eyes and finished brushing her teeth, trying to ignore the heavy feeling in her heart. She wasn’t looking forward to going back to share with Alicia.

‘Pregnant? What do you mean, pregnant? You weren’t preggers when you got here, were you? Hang on… Have you been screwing a screw?!’

‘…No, Alicia. I must’ve been just pregnant when I got in here, I just didn’t know -‘

‘Oh, whatever! D’ya think I was born yesterday? I cannot believe you would go there, with one of them! You miserable little tart!’

Cassie had spent the next few months being taunted and teased by Alicia, and Lexi when she wasn’t doped up or in solitary. She’d spotted Kym, the red-head who’d come to see her on her first day, watching her with a look of concern a few times but hadn’t dared to go over. It would only be giving more ammunition to Alicia; she hated Kym purely for the reason that she was a lot, lot cleverer than her. Alicia didn’t like to feel second best.

Resignedly Cassie bagged up her belongings, being very careful with the two pictures she had of her baby and the teddy of her’s she’d kept, and trudged along behind Ms. Sheeran back to G Wing. Expecting to walk down the whole length of the corridor to the end cell she had shared with Alicia, she nearly bumped into the back of the prison officer when she stopped abruptly three doors from the end.

Dropping her bag on the floor, Cassie looked at the number on the cell door confusedly. ‘Um, Miss? This isn’t the cell I had before…’

Ms. Sheeran rolled her eyes. ‘Don’t you think I know that, girl? You’ve been moved.’

‘Moved? But, why?’

‘How should I know? Honestly! Now pick up your things and get in there!’

Roughly opening the door, Ms. Sheeran pushed Cassie through it before slamming it shut again.

‘Hey, Cass!’

Cassie could barely speak. ‘…Kym? What -‘

‘What are you doing in here? Well, I had a quick word with the governor. While she strictly doesn’t do favours for inmates, I gave her some good advice on growing potatoes a while back so she’s liked me since then. I mentioned that it might be an idea for you to share with me when you got back. Figured you might want some peace and quiet from Alicia and Lexi! Although strictly speaking, I told the gov that you’d been asking me about getting onto some of the education courses, and that I’d be able to help you better if you were in here.’

Kym grinned and winked at Cassie, who was still mostly speechless. She gazed around the cell, and suddenly noticed what was so strange about the room compared to Alicia’s.

‘There’s… There’s a proper desk. And shelves! And -‘

‘I know! Practically a palace in here, isn’t it? No ensuite, sadly,’ Kym laughed. ‘I’m on a higher band than Alicia is, cos I do work in the gardens and I’m doing a degree through the Sim University. Plus I try and keep my nose clean! It does have its privileges, as you can see. I’ve already cleared a space for your things on that shelf up there, plus some space on top of the best of drawers. Had to move a few of my books under my bed, but I don’t think the roaches will be too interested in ‘The Warlock of Palladia’!’

‘You read?’

‘Yeah, I do like to. My degree’s in literature anyway. Keeps me busy! Everyone needs a hobby in here. I read. It’s a less destructive pastime compared to Alicia making people’s lives hell, and Lexi getting smacked off her face. Something to do! You can borrow them, if you like.’

Cassie could hardly believe her luck. As she’d munched on her french toast that morning, she’d been full of dread for the day ahead, going back to being targeted by Alicia all day. And now, here she was, in a far nicer cell with a far nicer room mate!

‘Kym, I… I don’t know how to thank you!’ Cassie found her voice, stumbling a little over her words in her gratitude. ‘You’ve saved me! I honestly didn’t know how I was going to cope, going back to sharing with… Well, you know. How can I ever repay you!’

Kym grinned. ‘You thank me now, but wait till I get you out into the gardens! You can repay me by helping me with the veggies! You’ll be getting your hands dirty!’

*       *       *

Cassie and Kym were soon getting on like a house on fire; Cassie had never thought she’d make such a good friend in prison, of all places! They’d spend lock up in a companionable silence, each buried in their respective books. Kym had roused a passion for reading in Cassie who’d not really read anything other than Jimmy Sprocket with Maria since failing High School. It wasn’t just a was to pass the time, it was an escape. With a turn of the page, Cassie was no longer stuck within the grey walls of the cells, she was out having adventures in exotic lands. It only took one glance up from the book to bring her back to reality, however; the picture of herself holding Ivy looked down on her from the chest of drawers over her bed. Oh, how she missed her baby girl!

The other picture, the one of her daughter’s smiling, rosy face, was placed on the shelf where Kym had cleared away some space. It was under this one that Cassie kept her letters from Matthew. Rather than move to another prison, he had simply left the prison service altogether, and had taken a job in the Military in Sunset Valley. Due to the manner of his departure from the service he wasn’t allowed in through the gates, so had only been to see Cassie once shortly after Ivy’s birth. The governor had turned a blind eye on that occasion.

Had Cassie gone back to Alicia’s cell, even if she were getting on with her, she doubted that she would have coped. Alicia did very little other than plot her next vendetta, so Cassie would have been sat with nothing but her thoughts for company. There was no time for thinking, sharing with Kym!

15 thoughts on “6. Looking Up

  1. Oh! Ohhhh!! I’m just so happy for Cassie! Every time I read of her experiences in jail, I swear I could feel her frustration and hopelessness. In a way, I feel a little sorry too, though. The girls Cassie met in jail all seemed like truly good people! Maybe one day Cassie will be able to see them again, and perhaps help them.

    Aw, Ivy… How very sad, even on top of all the happiness, to know that she was forced to give her baby girl up. I’m glad Matt came back for her, but I do hope together they might be able to locate Ivy. Question, though: Matt’s, or James’…? I feel like the answer is obviously Matt’s, but just want to make sure, heh.

    In a strange way, I feel a little sad for James. I know the pain of his lost and his desire for revenge blinded him and made him lose his sense, but he was doing what he thought was right for his parents. Too bad in the end, all it did was lead to ruin for him, Cassie, his relationship with her, and so much more.

    Wonderful writing, as usual! Seriously, I try every time to think of any helpful critique I can give, but in the end, aside from the expected couple of typoes, I’ve got nothing. I just end up awed every time! In a good way, of course, heh. Couldn’t even sense that you were rushing to make your deadline! Well done. 😀 Can’t wait for more! I feel a little creepy, plopping down in front of my computer every Mon/Fri to refresh the Rivers Legacy homepage until the next post appears… Goes to show that I’m hooked!

    • Bloody hell, that was some speedy reading!! Yeah, I wanted to convey that not everyone in prison is evil, some of them just made mistakes with dire consequences etcetc. Alicia was evil though :p

      Ivy is DEFINITELY Matt’s baby! She was not pregnant until she got to jail, and James was in coma before she got there!

      Yay, so pleased you enjoyed! Any time I get a bit rushy I panic that it’s not as good as it could be, haha. And don’t worry, it’s not creepy, I do the same on a daily basis waiting on the Absynthes! 😉

      Thanks again!

      • In my defense, I happened to refresh right before, and then right after you posted it, hehe… Wait, that still makes me pretty creepy. Good to know we creep on each other’s stories! It’s not so bad then, right? 😉

        GOOD! I was confused for a second there, but I just kept telling myself, ‘No way, it wouldn’t make sense if it was James’ baby, it HAS to be Matt’s!’ And smart thing it is, too! Having James baby would just be WAY too stressful! Matt and Cassie are just too cute, too!

      • A bit of creeping’s always good! It’s nice to support other people’s legacy blogs too 😉

        Oh gawd, if it were James’ baby! Back and forth from prison all the time, looking over your shoulder for revenge gangstas! Holy cricket! No, I’m not *that* mean to Cassie :p

  2. Yay! I am so happy for them! I was really sad about Ivy though. I think that would be the first stop on my list, not going to Matt’s! I would want my baby back! 🙂 Excellent so far! Cant wait for the next chapter!

    • Thank you so much for reading! Ivy’s lost in a complicated system (there’ll be more on that in the next chapter), so it will take some time, if she’s able to find her again. So it makes sense that she moves into her new home first and gets sorted before she goes after social services!!
      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it!! Thanks again 🙂

  3. She’s freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Free at last! I’m so thrilled that somewhere in James’ rotten(ish) little core he spoke up and got Cassie off the hook. If only it could have been a tad bit earlier and she could have kept Ivy. You’re a mean, mean author 😛 Elli, above, was talking about “Matt or James” but in all honesty, I hope she moves on from both of them. James wasn’t very good to her and Matt is the past, she put him behind her and I think she needs the opportunity to continue to grow and be alone and FREE.

    Wonderful chapter, as always, you’ve really portrayed prison life in an interesting and sympathetic manner.

    • I’m not mean! Well, not too mean anyway, I just have plans! Important plans!! 😀 Trust me, it’ll all work out for the best. Whether I mean the best for Cassie or the best dramatically, you’ll have to wait and see!!
      I do actually think that she does need Matt. She ran away before she’d finished grieving thus was acting erratically. I don’t think she ever really wanted to leave him, just what that part of her life represented. Once Matt’s out of Riverview, and now that he understands what she needs more, he can take a step back and be a better partner for her. I’ll (hopefully!) explain that better in future chapters 🙂
      Thanks for reading! I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I hope you get the Clarkes back up and running soon!

      • I will trust your judgement on Cassie’s love life, oh benevolent author! Also, I totally trust your judgement on giving me something awesome to read, I’m so happy that it’s your summer.

        I’m about halfway through writing the next chapter, should be up by the end of the weekend 🙂

  4. Aww that was so sweet! I have warm fuzzies floating around in my chest now, haha. Too bad Alicia turned out to be such a bitch. :/ I actually did like her when Cassie first met her. I hope Cassie, Kym, Imani and Greta meet up again in the future, and I hope Cassie and Matt can find Ivy again.

    So many hopes for this legacy family already and it’s only generation one!

  5. YAAAY! Cassie’s finally free! FREE 😀 I am so happy for her, so happy that her awful nigthmare is finally over. Though in a way I am kind of glad that she ended up in jail. I know, it’s mean of me to say this but I think that this expierience helped to shape her for the better. It added a lot of depth to her character and I think that Cassie is now a lot wiser than she was before this whole terrible experience. Hopefully now, she will be able to put her past behind her and enjoy life with Matthew!

    And Ivy, oh, Ivy 😦 She’s such an adorable baby that it’s a shame Cassie wasn’t able to keep her. I like the rest of this legacy’s fans hope that they will be able to find her but I also know that it will take a lot of time 😦 I just hope that they won’t find her when she’s a kid or a teenager, grown up and living with another family, calling another woman ‘mum’….:'( That would totally break Cassie’s heart and she has had enough hard times in her life to last her till the end of her days!

    And then there’s James. I do feel sorry for him although I was mad at him at first for betraying Cassie and breaking her heart. He only meant good afterall, just wanted to avenge his parents but unfortunately it all went wrong and he lost everything! 😦 I do however hope that he has somewhat of a bright future ahead of him.

    And finally, the prison girls. I’m so glad that Kym slapped Alicia! That evil little ***** deserved everything she got and more!!! Hopefully she has learned her lesson. And speaking of Kym, I’m glad that Cassie ended up in her cell. I hope that she and Kym, Imani and Greta will meet up again in the future and maybe she will try to help them and get them out!

    Other than that all I have to say is that this chapter was truly excellent and I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Off to read the next chappie, then 😉

  6. Ohmygosh, I had to comment again because I was just listening to Taking Over Me by Evanescence on YouTube and the lyrics reminded me so much of Cassie and Ivy, so obviously, I had to run here and post it, lol.

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