See Chapter one for disclaimers.
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As always, to Rebecca; the safeguard of my sanity. Some may say that you've shamelessly corrupted me, but I'm loving every minute of it and so I can't complain <g> Thanks for everything, sweetheart.
Devlin effortlessly scooped Terri's flaccid form into her aching arms, gently easing the petite governor on to the rank and flimsy mattress allegedly posing as a bed. Removing her sweater, and dutifully ignoring the chill that promptly enveloped her scantily clad form, she laid the garment beneath Terri's head to substitute for the lack of a pillow. The inmate was well aware that any person with an iota of rationale would simply take Terri's keys and go to seek help, but the notion of leaving the governor in the clutches of amateurs who didn't give a damn about her predicament was hardly an appealing prospect. Instead, Devlin tore off an edge of the thin cotton sheet acting as a so-called duvet, wincing at the jolt of pain that ripped through her injured arm upon doing so. Saturating the rag with cold water from a nearby sink - the one luxury to have infiltrated the system of solitary confinement - she hesitantly crouched over Terri's immobilised form and with infinite care, began to bathe the governor's contused countenance. Noticing that her hands were trembling, Devlin smiled bitterly. She had seen the swelling, the bruises, the blood and the broken limbs on countless occasions, and yet dealing with battered women had never become a routine procedure. Even now, Terri's uncanny resemblance to a hamster in frantic storing mode served to sicken her and she didn't bother to blink back the tears of empathy that stung her anguished eyes. Lifting a hand to caress the governor's swollen cheek, Devlin studied the motionless features for any sign of acknowledgement. If Terri's chest hadn't been consistently rising and falling, the urge to lapse in to the realms of panic would have been too prominent to ignore.
Somewhere in her subconscious, Terri was aware of a voice willing her to wake up. It was almost negligible in comparison to the images whirring around in the forefront of her dazed mind, though. The futility of fear, the horrors of helplessness, the aftermath of agony. All of the turbulent emotions were embedded in her memory, ever ready to taunt her as soon as she closed her eyes. She would never forget the events of that evening, nor how her stubbornness had almost cost her the opportunity of life itself. Jaime hadn't listened to reason because Jaime didn't know what reason was. The perilous prisoner dealt with things by pummelling them in to acquiescence, and resistance on any level served to manifest a myriad of aggression within her disturbed mind. Terri's refusal to succumb to her insane demands had incurred an increasingly violent attack. The shaking had advanced to punching, Terri's whimpers had progressed to moans and eventually, she had been left sobbing as the impact of one blow brought her to her knees in the ultimate stance of submission.
"Terri?" Devlin, watching the governor's features flickering with unreadable anxieties, gently applied the cold compress to her forehead in the hope of luring her back to lucidity.
Terri, aware enough to feel the sudden drop in temperature, gasped in surprise. Sitting bolt upright as if awaking from a horrific nightmare, her eyelids burst open and took in the initially unfamiliar surroundings with mounting panic. Incensed by the anguish of failure, and reeling from the delayed shock of the attack, she didn't bother trying to prevent the onslaught of tears from overpowering her.
"Hey. C'mon, it's OK. You're safe now." Devlin hesitantly enveloped the governor in an awkward embrace, relaxing slightly when Terri offered no objection to her attempt at comfort. "It's over, Terri. She can't hurt you anymore."
As the muscular arms tightened around her, Terri nestled in to the inmate's warmth, Devlin's body heat appeasing the shivers that racked her slender frame. For several minutes, she simply sobbed numbly, the prisoner's gentle caresses gradually easing the pain that had haunted her ever since the earlier assault. Devlin smoothed back her tousled hair soothingly, willing Terri's pounding heart to revert back to a more steady rhythm. Rocking the younger woman until her heaving sobs died down and eventually ceased, she brushed chaste lips against Terri's forehead in one final attempt at reassurance.
Emerald eyes roved upwards to meet a piercing expanse of blue. Ignoring her cracked lips, Terri forced a smile to grace her battered countenance. "Yeah. Sorry for soaking you."
"Don't worry about it." Devlin made no effort to disentangle herself from the embrace, her thumb absently chafing one of Terri's bare forearms. "Much as I appreciate your rebellion against incapacitation, you didn't have to come down here tonight, you know?"
"I know. I just wouldn't have been able to relax until I knew you were out of this shit hole." Terri shrugged as if to dismiss her actions, and then winced at the pain the movement incurred. "Shit, that hurts."
"Let me see." Devlin waited for Terri's tentative nod of consent and then gently eased her in to a horizontal position, unbuttoning her simple white blouse with trembling fingers. "Fucking hell." Her stormy eyes surveyed the expanse of bronzed flesh already littered with an unsightly array of mottled, multicoloured bruises. No doubt many of the ribs that prominently jutted out from the rest of Terri's slender frame were fractured. Had the governor not adhered to an extensive fitness regime, which had left her stomach well-toned, the internal bleeding could have been far more serious and Devlin wasn't yet prepared to consider why the thought of losing Terri left her eyes shining with unshed tears.
The attentive concentration emanating from Devlin's countenance as she slipped in to the role of nurse was almost palpable, and Terri found herself fighting the urge to simply lean forward and capture the inmate's lips with her own. There were so many intricate aspects to Devlin's character and yet all of them spoke of infinite integrity and limitless loyalty - rare qualities that the governor found undeniably attractive. The inmate was volatile in the sense that she tended to react without considering the consequences, but her shrewdness ensured that her instinctive decisions tended to be the right ones anyway. She was fiercely protective, as she had demonstrated today, and yet under the surface of her hardened exterior led an infestation of insecurity. Terri sensed that Devlin's painful past had left her constantly questioning the motives of others, and she evidently lacked faith in the human nature as a result. "I guess this is drudging up bad memories for you, huh?"
Devlin glanced at her sharply. "I'm not planning on hacking Jaime in to pieces, if that's what you're worried about."
"Did I say that?" Terri countered wearily. "Though I've got to admit, I think you did a pretty good job of rendering her inactive for a while."
"Well what was I supposed to do? Let her pummel you in to a coma?"
"Hey!" Terri reached out to take one of Devlin's hands. "There's no need to be so defensive. I'm not interrogating you, sweetheart." The endearment rolled off her tongue almost automatically, and Devlin resisted the urge to raise her eyebrows. "You saved my life today. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't..." she trailed off, closing her eyes to prevent the tears from spilling as she considered the possible outcome of the attack had Devlin not intervened in time to prevent it.
Devlin swallowed the lump inhabiting her own throat as she tenderly brushed away a stray strand of hair from Terri's face. "I just wish I'd come in sooner. Dawn's a cowardly little runt and I knew she wouldn't go any further than giving you a gobful." A fleeting smile graced her features. "And I know you're more than proficient at dealing with those. I had no idea Jaime was using her as bait. I wouldn't have waited for so long otherwise. I - "
"Devlin, you don't have to justify yourself to me," Terri interjected, squeezing the hand she still held within her own. "I'm just glad you came when you did, that's all."
For a moment they simply gazed at each other, eyes locked in a sense of shared understanding that neither wanted to break. Mesmerised by the captivating blue orbs which embodied an infinity of unreadable emotions,Terri silently acknowledged that her bid to remain detached from the inmates was not exactly going to plan. Then again, willpower had always been her principal weakness and Devlin Fielding's charismatic charms were rapidly becoming one hell of a vice.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Three days later, Lee Robinson stood gawking at Terri's suit-clad form. The governor looked to have made a rapid recovery, the lurid bruises previously disfiguring her countenance having noticeably faded. Had Lee possessed any skills of observation, he would have noted that the uncharacteristic rigidity of Terri's posture was induced by the bandages wrapped tightly around her torso. The pseudo corset helped to prevent her cracked ribs from making their presence known too frequently, yet in itself wasn't exactly the most comfortable contraption to be coerced in to wearing.
"I know how much it pains you to acknowledge it, Lee, but I actually run this place. What do you think I'm doing here?' Truth be told, Terri's ability to conceal a wince was her sole plan for survival. The thought of Lee Robinson becoming too complacent during her brief absence had served to lure her from the confines of her bed and back in to the perils of prison life.
"You must still be in a lot of pain?" Lee ventured, hopefully.
"Not really." Terri met his gaze coolly. "Did you want something? Or are you just indulging in your favourite pastime?"
Terri glanced at him wryly. "Wasting my time, Lee. It seems to be a speciality of yours."
A smile, veiled with malice, briefly touched Lee's thin lips . "No Terri, you must have misunderstood my intentions. I was just wondering where you disappeared to on Monday night, that's all. It wasn't a good idea to go wandering off in your condition."
"Well, I had a few fatuous errors to rectify, didn't I?" Terri enunciated, glancing at the officer meaningfully.
Lee's eyes narrowed. "So it was you who let Fielding out of solitary, then?"
"Yes, though I fail to see why you should have a problem with that. In case you'd forgotten, Devlin didn't do anything to warrant that kind-of treatment."
Under Terri's guidance, Lee was rapidly mastering the art of clutching at straws. "You shouldn't have gone down there alone."
"Oh well, I'm touched by your concern, Lee, I really am. But I emerged intact and so I have to ask you again, what's the problem?" The pugnacious prison officer was pushing Terri's patience threshold to its outermost limits. So much so, in fact, that her favourite method of appeasing the monotony induced by being bed bound for three days had been via conjuring up grisly images of Lee being subjected to numerous innovative forms of merciless torture.
"You should have at least had the sense to wait for treatment."
"The treatment I received was more than adequate, thanks." Oh yeah. A momentary smile graced Terri's features as she recalled the warmth of Devlin's embrace, but upon seeing the curiosity etched across Lee's countenance, she forced a look of nonchalance to preside over the pleasurable memories. "Now I've got a lot of catching up to do, so if you don't mind...."
"Of-course." Lee stepped aside in a pathetic attempt at chivalry, inwardly congratulating himself for resisting the urge to become a trembling wreck of suppressed rage. Maybe his teeth could be saved from the corrosion caused by consistent grinding, after all.
"Terri, there is no way on earth that I'm gonna let one of those half-arsed buffoons lay a finger on me." Devlin glared at the governor, cradling her injured arm protectively.
She's pouting. My God, I wish I had a camera. It wasn't until this morning that Terri had noticed the angry purple bruise covering most of Devlin's upper arm. Initially, she had been enraged both with her officers for inflicting it and Devlin herself for not saying something sooner, but now she had to resist the urge to smile as she studied the inmate's indignant expression. "Devlin, you could have torn a muscle or something. You need to get it seen to, and I'm sorry, but I'm not taking no for an answer."
"So now it's my fault that you're so bloody heavy," Devlin muttered, unable to keep from smiling as Terri continued to regard her with wry amusement. "Anyway, I don't think you're in a position to lecture me about going to the doctor when three days ago you were in the process of running away from him."
"I wasn't running away from him," Terri countered, "I just have a problem with keeping still for long periods of time."
"Really?" Devlin arched a dubious eyebrow and Terri laughed, sucking in a sharp intake of breath at the stab of agony the movement induced.
"Are you OK?" Devlin was by her side instantaneously, the trappings of mirth fading from her features. "Look, sit down a minute, will you?" She gently guided Terri towards her bed, easing her in to a sitting position and noticing the stiffness that rendered the governor's form devoid of malleability. "OK, so either rigor mortis is setting in, or you've come back to work with cracked ribs that are nowhere near to healing."
Terri smiled sheepishly. "Well, at least no one can say I'm not dedicated to my job."
Devlin rolled her eyes. "Let me guess, the thought of Lee running the roost was enough to trigger one of the quickest recoveries ever?"
"Am I that transparent?"
"Nah, I just know how that warped little mind of yours works." They shared a smile and Devlin hesitantly laid a hand on Terri's exposed knee. "Seriously though, you shouldn't have come back so soon. You must know how dangerous internal injuries can be."
"Devlin, rest assured, these injuries are very much external. They wouldn't hurt so frigging much otherwise." Terri paused before mischievously adding, "And I don't think you're in a position to lecture me about the perils of internal injuries when you won't even go and get that arm checked out."
"OK, so we're both stubborn hypocrites with too much pride," Devlin conceded grudgingly. "But hey, I can compromise. I'll see the doctor if you promise to take a few more days off."
Terri was truly touched by the tempting offer, but had to decline when an image of Lee smiling smugly taunted the recesses of her mind. "Devlin, I can't. I'd only wind up dying of boredom confined to that bloody bed of mine, anyway."
"So you haven't got anyone else to keep you occupied, then?" Devlin winced as soon as the question, seemingly of its own accord, left her mouth. "I'm sorry, that's none of my business."
Terri feigned outrage. "Well, seems as so you've offended me so much by prying in to my private life, I think it's only fair that you keep your side of the bargain. The doctor awaits Miss Fielding." She gave Devlin a playful nudge. "C'mon. If you're lucky, I might even consider going with you. Just to prove that I don't have a problem with doctors, of course," she verified with a grin.
Devlin sighed. "Did I ever mention that your powers of persuasion know no bounds?"
"Yep, I think I might have heard that somewhere before." Terri hesitated. "Oh and Devlin, if there was anywhere else in need of being tended to, you would tell me, wouldn't you?"
"Absolutely." Devlin wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, grinning as a blush instantly worked its way across Terri's features, serving to enhance her attractiveness.
"And you say that I've got a warped mind," the governor admonished with mock indignity, her comment accompanied by a self-depreciating smile.
"Nah, I just like making you blush." Devlin watched as Terri's cheeks expectedly reverted to an even deeper shade of crimson. "Just like that."
"Sod off." Terri glared at the inmate, though her emerald eyes were shining with merriment. "Now come on, I haven't got all day." She ushered Devlin out of the door, her hand lingering affectionately on the inmate's back. Stop grinning like an idiot, she mentally chastised herself, aware that half of the wing were now in a position to watch them interact. Lee Robinson was the only onlooker who had any interest in the smiling couple though, and he was beginning to think that couple was the operative word.
Chapter 6 coming soon.... (so quit bloody nagging me <g>) Handling pressure was never my forte.
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