She scratches her pale white forearm. Her eyes were adjusting to the mix of florescent and sunlight. She could tell it was a warm day, it always is in Florida. In her mind she could remember being outside, being free. Not anymore. Her leaf green eyes were quick to look down at her arms, a pale white flesh canvas with colorful flowers. Twin red roses blossomed on both her wrists, yellow Narcissus ran on her left forearm and a blooming violet claimed her right shoulder and the stem ran down to her elbow. She had on a sleeveless undershirt on to allow her other, not so pretty, tattoos to be exposed. But her eyes were focusing in on the stems of each flower and the lavender phlox located at her elbow joint, the light lavender with faint greet thorns below the pedals, where she knew she could easily shoot up and hardly anyone could notice the tracks. Her fingers traced one of the stems, she was in need of a fix; she was in need of a way out of the reality she dug herself in.
  The air conditioner came alive to break the near deafening silence as she sat alone. Her full lips let out a sigh as she looks back up to scan the empty room; a visiting room. She knew the halfway house as if it was her own, but she never once had a reason to enter this room. Until today, of course, she was called from her work that she had a visitor. The room was bright, welcoming even; nothing like the actual house that lies behind the gates outside. Pictures lined the eggshell white walls, a mix of family photos and motivation posters.
  Finally, a warm gust filled the room, accompanied by the hissing of the door being opened. She turned her head, but allowed her eyes to stray on the Perseverance motivation poster; the photo captured a single drop of dew hanging from a blade of grass. She finally broke her gaze and set her leaf green eyes turned to the door. Her probation officer, Jim Nate, had a warm smile—fake—but warm. He was an older gentleman, if you can call arrogance and condescending behavior traits of a gentleman. Jim had gotten his toupee combed, or washed; whatever he does to make it look “bouncy”. He looked more businesslike than he normally does, being dressed in an off white dress shirt with a single powder blue tie and black slacks, finished with formal black dress shoes; he must have known something important to dress like that today. He cleared his throat.
  “Ashley, you have a visitor,”
  You think, jackass? She thought to herself. She gave a coy smile and tilts her head, “Oh?”
 Jim took a step away and Ashley was nothing short of stunned. Her eyes grown wide and her jaw dropped. Now besides Jim stood a lean man with a young face and short-medium length dark brown hair. The youthful man, dressed in a white flannel checkered shirt and Wrangler jeans, watched her closely with piercing steel gray eyes. Ashley swallowed the lump in her throat, unable to speak as he grew larger with each step. Each boot-cladded footstep echoed in her head like she was walking death row. Unable to look into his eyes, she caught a glimpse of the leather-bound Holy Bible that rested between his arm and torso.
  “Hello, Waylon,” she finally said, her voice cracking. It was the first time in three years she spoke to her brother. First time in a year she has seen any member of her family.
  Waylon gives Jim a slight nod, who gives a nod back and quietly leaves, shutting the door behind him. The air conditioning may have cooled the room down only a few degrees, but Ashley’s insides turned into ice. Her brother sat in front of her at the table. Waylon quietly looks over Ashley; she felt a shiver run down her body as she folds her arms together, for warmth against the imaginative cold of those gray eyes. He finished scanning her, but she refused to meet his eyes. “Look at you,” he breathed. His voice was more mature than what his face gave off.
  “What about me?” Ashley hissed, getting defensive. “If you’re here to pull some holier than thou shit, save your breathe. I hear about it from all the preachers who love “lost causes” as my P.O says,”
 Waylon just shook his head. “Matthew 7:1 says not to judge. But look at you, Ashley. Do you not care that you are throwing your life away?”
 Ashley’s temper burned all the ice that Waylon’s eyes could freeze into her. “I made some bad decisions and everyone throws them back in my face. You drove all the way from the fucking boondocks to do the same?”
  Waylon’s face remained the same: distant, “You were an amazing artist, able to draw anything that came to your mind. Or was that too just a lie? Just a way to get high?”
  Her muscles tensed involuntarily and her palms began to sweat. She still refused to meet his gaze. She couldn’t spit any venomous rebuttals at the truth. An artist falling to temptation, it crosses her mind every time she held a syringe.
 Waylon’s eyes refused to soften, and kept looking at her as if he could read her mind. “We have them, you know,”
 She finally looked up at him. His steel gray eyes have finally met with her leaf green. The moment she saw him she wished she hadn’t, she wished this was all a dream, an illusion, a bad high, anything so long this moment was not real. But she knew he wouldn’t have driven all the way from the countryside to lie to her, to break three years of silence to taunt her. She pinched her underarm and could feel the sensation of a slight sting—this was real, “You do?”
 “Two of them, actually. Adam is still with his father the scumbag. It’s just a matter of time before he joins the Ranch too,”
 Ashley’s eyes light up, “You have Atticus and Anthony? Tell me they are doing fine! Do my boys ask about me?”
 Waylon rubs his head, thinking about what to say, “They need their mother—clean, of course. Boys like them shouldn’t be living on my ranch. Even with their grandmother,”
  “So mom got my letters?”
  “Yeah she saved your boys because you can’t,”
  “Waylon I-“
  He raised his hand, “Don’t say it,”
  “Show it. Do it,” he places the Bible on the table and slid it to her gently.
  “A Bible, Waylon?”
 “You need this more than I do,”
 Waylon rose and began to walk to the door. Ashley took a deep breathe, and looked back down at her flowery art on her arms. He stops and without turning back he says, “I’ll be telling Mr. Nate to check the flowers daily. Those pretty flowers will not hide venomous nectar,”