See chapter one for disclaimers.
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- I'd just like to send a special acknowledgement to Rebecca Bland, who brings a whole new dimension to the concept of feedback. <g> Thanks for appeasing the torment of writer's block, my friend.
"For Christ's sake, Jaime. Can't we discuss this in a more civilised fashion?" Terri winced as the vice-like grip upon her arms intensified, no doubt impeding her circulation.
"Civilised?" Jaime clamoured, " What the fuck do you know about being civilised?" She shook the body she held at her mercy as though it were a rag doll. "Shipping out Michelle wasn't very civilised. Setting the DDS loose on friends of mine wasn't very civilised. So don't you FUCKING DARE talk to me about being civilised." Terri was rapidly discovering that once Jaime had found a new word to add to her limited vocabulary, she liked to use it at every given opportunity and in every possible context.
"OK, fine. Are you going to at least let me try and explain?"
Jaime studied her in amusement. "Oh no, you can't talk your way out of this one, Miss Kirkwood. I don't think you realise just quite how many people you've fucked off today, do you?"
"Oh, I don't know. I think I'm beginning to get the picture." A huge hand balled in to a fist and Terri concealed a wince as it made contact with her cheekbone, the impact leaving her somewhat dazed.
"You're a cheeky fucking bitch, aren't you?"
"Not as a rule, no." Terri met the crazed eyes that bore in to her own without flinching. "I just don't respond well to the cowards who use their fists as a form of communication. Being a damsel in distress really doesn't suit me... let's just say a war of semantics is more my scene."
Jaime didn't really understand a word of what Terri had said, but she gathered that it was intended to be an insult and responded accordingly, by kneeing her in the stomach. She smiled at the lack of reaction. "Oh, look girls" - for the first time she addressed Lucy and Dawn, who had watched the scene unfold with their mouths hanging open - "we've got an Ice Maiden on our hands. I wonder how long it'll take her to melt?"
"At a guess, about twice the length of time it'll take for me to add another two years to your sentences," Terri interjected, her eyes appealing to the two young girls who had been imprisoned for relatively trivial offences. "And just think. Good old Jaime here might not be so friendly towards you by then."
Lucy and Dawn looked on warily as Jaime rammed Terri against the wall, leaving her desperately gasping for breath. "I've had just about enough of you, you goddamn bitch. Just shut the fuck up and listen to me. I want Michelle back on this wing by tomorrow morning, you got that? If she isn't, I swear, you won't live to see another day."
Terri forced regret in to her quivering tone. "I'm sorry Jaime, but it's out of my hands. She's not a prisoner here anymore and so she's not my responsibility. There's nothing I can do."
Jaime's hazel eyes assumed a manic sparkle. "Well then, I guess I'm going to have to convince you otherwise."
Devlin had watched Terri being lured in to Dawn's cell with a distinct sense of unease. She had been inwardly accumulating the nerve to approach the governor in an attempt to apologise for her earlier behaviour, not wanting to leave their tenuous friendship wedged in limbo. Usually, sacrificing her self-respect enough to say sorry was a foreign concept to the proud prisoner, but there was something about Terri which caused her to defy her conventional behaviour. When the younger woman hadn't emerged from the cell after several minutes, Devlin's instincts told her that something was severely wrong. Having gauged the resentment directed towards Terri following Michelle's so-called extradition, the hunch became so prominent that Devlin could no longer suppress the urge to act upon it. Approaching the cell cautiously, she pressed an ear against the solid metal door, knowing from experience that it wouldn't be as effective at minimising sound as it should be. Upon hearing Jaime Taylor's voice thundering in outrage, Devlin refused to waste time calling for backup. Promptly kicking open the barrier lying between her and the notoriously tumultuous prisoner, she burst in to the rancid cell unannounced. Seeing Terri curled in to a foetal position and barely clinging to consciousness elicited memories that the inmate had spent the last few months trying desperately hard to forget, and her reaction was savagely reflective of the fact. With rage emanating from her rigid form, she moved to take advantage of Jaime's momentary shock. Hitting the alarm with a clenched fist, she drove an elbow in to the feral woman's jaw, the sickening crack that followed suggesting that she had probably broken it in the process. Jaime screamed in agony, launching her ponderous form at Devlin with enough velocity to send herself reeling in to the wall as the more agile inmate deftly dodged the attack. Lucy and Dawn just watched - their mouths, as per usual, agape in amazement - as Devlin finally floored the heavy-set woman with a gratuitously savage right hook. Their expressions rapidly altered to that of sheer terror, though, as the inmate's angry attention suddenly transferred to their own weedy physiques. Devlin, silently amused by their panic and yet simultaneously enraged by their actions, simply glared at the young girls until tears began to form in their eyes. Her menacing demeanour nevertheless faltered in concern as Terri let out an almost inaudible whimper. Rapidly crossing to the other side of the room, she squatted down besides the governor's crumpled form, gently laying a hand on her shoulder. "Terri - can you hear me?"
Terri's dilated pupils struggled to recapture lucidity, and she instinctively cowered from Devlin's tender touch. The feeling of fear was still an omnipresent component of her dazed state and she couldn't muster the level of awareness needed to overcome it. "Hey, it's OK. It's just me. You're safe now - I'm not going to hurt you." Devlin watched in alarm as Terri's eyelids fluttered closed in shock-induced fatigue and she instinctively reached out to try and gently shake her back in to consciousness.
"Get away from her, Fielding." Lee Robinson, his timing impeccable as always, barged in to the cell and was quickly joined by five other officers. Devlin barely had time to let out a sigh of frustration before her arms were captured in a vice-like grip that no amount of frenzied writhing could overcome. She winced as a sharp pain ripped through her injured arm upon being forcefully yanked to her feet.
"God, Robinson, you can be such an anal retentive tosser at times. I didn't touch her. It was that fucking nutter that did the damage." She nodded towards Jaime's bloodied and prostrate form, currently being attended to by a grim-faced officer.
Lee laughed without humour. "For some reason, the concept of you playing the hero strikes me as highly unlikely." He nodded towards the officers restraining Devlin. "Sling her in isolation."
"I didn't think you knew what a concept was," Devlin muttered, letting out a string of obscene profanities as she was half-dragged and half-carried out of the cell. The unnecessary brutality employed by the officers served to incense her, but she knew there was no sense in protesting her innocence any further. Lee Robinson would contest logic itself just to appease his amoral ego and it wasn't hard to ascertain that Dawn and Lucy were Jaime's cowardly little cronies. Devlin knew that without their backing, she didn't stand a chance of being believed - at least until Terri came around, anyway.
The other inmates had been ushered back in to their cells as soon as the alarm sounded, but upon hearing the commotion occurring outside, several muffled cat calls could be heard reverberating around the deserted Wing, most revolving around the governor 'getting what she deserved.' Devlin's thoughts turned to Terri, and she silently wondered if the younger woman had even been aware of her presence at all. She hated the thought of leaving her in the care of people who had the mentality of chimpanzees, knowing the Prison Doctor was just another bastard to be given a title that he really didn't deserve. Devlin never had greeted the feeling of helplessness with much enthusiasm, but as she was heaved roughly in to solitary confinement she decided to momentarily accept her fate, albeit grudgingly. There was nothing else she could do, except wait. She just wished her patience threshold wasn't so painstakingly low.
Terri blinked in confusion as her eyes adjusted to the florescent lighting in the Prison's hospital wing. What the fuck? It hurt even to think, but she forced herself to replay the events of that evening, feeling nauseous as she recalled the maniacal merriment Jaime Taylor had taken in beating her senseless. For one terrifying moment, she had been convinced that dying was going to be a very slow and painful process, but then... a vague recollection of Devlin's concerned countenance penetrated the haziness induced by her concussion. "Devlin?"
A murky shadow impeded her vision, slowly merging in to the unsightly features of Lee Robinson. So this is the friendly face meant to take all the pain away, huh? Terri thought wryly, her urge to throw up suddenly amplifying.
Lee was loving every minute of seeing the petite governor subjected to so much discomfort. His enjoyment was only slightly impeded by the fact that he hadn't had the pleasure of inflicting it himself. "It's all right. We dealt with her," he informed Terri, with an authority he really didn't deserve to have.
Terri raised her eyebrows in shock, and then winced as her bruised facial muscles protested with a sudden pang of pain. "Excuse me?"
Lee frowned, wondering if Terri had contracted amnesia along with her concussion. "We slung her in isolation." He sighed condescendingly. "She beat the crap out of you, remember?"
The eyebrows twitched of their own volition, this time forming in to a perturbed frown. "Not exactly. The way I remember it, Jaime Taylor 'beat the crap' out of me and Devlin saved my life. There's quite a discrepancy in our accounts, don't you think? But then again, that's the problem with you Lee, you never do." Terri sighed, the exaggerated movement sending a jolt of agony ripping through her torso. Cracked ribs, too. This gets better and better.
A flustered Lee, knowing he had made a dire mistake, set about rectifying it in his usual manner. "Oh, by the way, I think you must have set some kind-of record today. I'll bet no other governor in the history of the service had the shit kicked out of them so soon after arriving."
"I bet no other governor in the history of the service had such inadequate colleagues, either," Terri countered, glad to see her injuries hadn't impeded her ability to win an argument with the pugnacious prison officer. "Devlin had the perception to foresee what was going to happen, so why the hell didn't you?"
Lee shrugged nonchalantly. "I'm not psychic. I did warn you that people wouldn't be happy about Michelle leaving - I can't help it if you didn't heed my advice."
Terri sat up, finding excruciating pain preferable to being subjected to Lee's halitosis. "Oh, so you choreographed this little stunt, as well, did you?"
Lee glared at her. "Of course I fucking didn't."
"Well Lee, you've set both of us up before, I wouldn't put it past you to do it again."
"You can't prove anything."
Terri shrugged. "You sent Devlin in to isolation when it was obvious she hadn't done anything wrong. You told the DDS to search her when you knew she was clean. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but am I sensing some sort-of personal vendetta here? That won't look good on your record, Lee."
Lee's teeth began to grind of their own volition. "She was shaking you when we came in. I had every reason to believe - "
"No you didn't, Lee." Terri interjected. "I mean, did you even stop to ask Dawn and Lucy what happened?"
Lee sputtered in outrage. "No. But - "
"Then you're gonna have to have a real way with words when it comes to writing that incident report, aren't you?"
Lee looked completely taken aback. "You ungrateful bitch. I virtually had to carry you down here single-handedly - "
Terri couldn't stop herself from laughing, even though it hurt like hell. "Oh, well thanks for letting me know. I'll make sure I have a damn good wash when I get home."
"I don't know who the fuck you think you are, Kirkwood, but I've had enough of that goddamn attitude of yours. You here me?" For one unnerving moment, Lee actually looked as if he was going to strike the bruised blonde, but after somehow suppressing the onslaught of rage in enough time to prevent his composure from cracking, he hastily left the room.
Terri let out a quivering breath, truly disconcerted by the officer's almost violent response to her admittedly petty jibe. She had to ask herself why she didn't just sack the bastard, but deep down she knew that making her grievances formal would just be a waste of time and energy. Sexual harassment didn't exist in the prison service, just like all the other inaccuracies and cock-ups that were shamelessly white-washed over. It wasn't in her nature to simply accept defeat though, and she had every intention of devising a way to rid herself of Lee Robinson for good. It was just a matter of formulating a plan of action, but at the moment the last vestiges of her capacity to analyse things objectively had been depleted by her confrontation with the belligerent officer. Her train of thought drifted to Devlin, and knowing that Lee would leave the prisoner locked in solitary confinement until she herself was personally in a position to do anything about it, Terri's love of rebellion made itself known. Devlin had been noble enough to save her life today, even after the harsh words they had exchanged this morning, and she wasn't about to reward her with the deprivation and loneliness exclusively reserved for those in isolation. Gingerly, she attempted to stand, but the wave of nausea that ensued forced her to sink back to the bed she had been lying upon previously. She inwardly wondered just what exactly the so-called doctor had done to appease the throbbing pain which emanated from seemingly every inch of her battered body. OK, I can do this. Tentatively, Terri rose to her feet in another bid to reach the door, which thankfully loomed in her direct vicinity. Using the wall to support herself, and defiantly ignoring her protesting muscles, the governor somehow managed to work her way out of the brightly-lit room. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the contrasting dimness of the hallway she emerged in to, and taking a moment to get her bearings, she edged towards the isolation block situated at the far end of the penal establishment. She was supposed to be accompanied by another officer, simply because this particular section of the prison was so secluded that the 'no-one can hear you scream' narrative employed in so many horror films instantly sprung to mind upon entering. However, Terri had the proverbial balls of steel that other officers lacked, enhanced by the fact that she trusted Devlin completely, even at this early stage in their tenuous friendship. Pausing outside of the door marked with the inmate's name, she silently prayed that Devlin's spell in solitary hadn't rendered her even more resentful than she had been previously. She knew that the prisoner had lost all sense of dignity after her visit from the DDS, and the way she had been treated this evening wasn't likely to have improved matters. Please don't hate me, Terri inwardly pleaded, her attempt at unlocking the door somewhat impeded by her blurred vision. Some moments later, her fumbling endeavours proved successful and she hesitantly pushed open the heavy metal barrier. The effort incurred yet another bout of nausea and she swayed violently, grateful for the muscular arms that reached out to steady her. A smile briefly graced her features as she studied Devlin's concerned countenance, and she finally allowed herself to succumb to the darkness that had been threatening to overwhelm her since leaving the hospital ward. No-one heard the inmate's yelp of alarm as the governor's petite form went limp in her arms.
Chapter 5 coming soon....