See chapter one for disclaimers
To Rebecca, my little lycra-lover. This one's for you <g>
"You ready?" Terri called, entering Devlin's cell before any response was forthcoming. Her involuntarily appreciative gaze rested upon the scantily-clad inmate and she swallowed audibly, momentarily forgetting that she was a mature adult capable of self-control.
"No," Devlin stated wryly, pulling on a pair of tight-fitting shorts over her alluringly skimpy underwear. Meeting the governor's lascivious appraisal with raised eyebrows, a knowing grin graced her countenance as Terri promptly turned away. The inmate was well aware that the younger woman was using the guise of virtue to conceal an all-consuming blush, but she had also unwittingly presented Devlin with an opportunity to study her finely sculpted backside. Truth be told, the prisoner's libido had soared in to overdrive upon seeing the petite blonde sporting a plain and somewhat skimpy tennis dress. Terri was usually the epitome of formality and her prim suits, whilst not concealing her substantial assets, did little to enhance them. Her current attire, on the other hand, left nothing to the imagination and Devlin suddenly found herself more than willing to endure the tedium of the impending tennis tournament. I have integrity, she reassured herself, with a self-depreciating smile. Finding the palpable tension too much to bear, she eventually attempted to instigate a conversation. "So, Lee's actually planning on gracing us with his presence, huh?"
Terri laughed. "Yeah. I guess he's determined to prove that we were totally unjustified in using him as a scapegoat for our advertising campaign."
"God, it must be awful to be devoid of a sense of humour," Devlin noted grimly, laying a gentle hand upon Terri's shoulder to attract her attention. "Right, I'm ready when you are."
Terri eyed the inmate's lithe physique with barely concealed appreciation. Devlin's sports bra accentuated her slender stomach, as well as the soft swell of her pert breasts. Bronzed legs, rippling with finely toned muscle, were encased in scant shorts and the black lycra hugged every inch of the inmate's flawless figure. The effect was categorically captivating and Terri was momentarily tempted to cast aside any qualms of professionalism and shamelessly instigate an intimate liaison. Sighing in an effort to appease some of the sexual tension chorusing through her sensitised form, she eyed the prisoner sheepishly. "Devlin, I think I should warn you in advance about my competitive streak. I try to nurture it at every given opportunity and I really hate to lose. I know you weren't too keen on doing this, but we're gonna give it our best shot, right?"
Devlin greeted the frank admission with amusement. "Absolutely. I don't handle defeat all that honourably either." A teasing smile touched her lips. "Ma'am."
"Right then, let's go kick some ass!" Terri gestured for Devlin to proceed her as they exited the cell. "After you."
If Devlin's ego hadn't been severely undermined by her stretch in prison, she would have been inclined to assume that Terri had purposely engineered the situation in order to appraise her ass. She had always sensed that the governor wasn't exactly immune to her advances, and yet insecurity had rendered her unsure of whether her feelings for Terri were wholly mutual. Nevertheless, she obliged, resisting the urge to turn around for all of about a second before her sparkling eyes rested upon Terri's flushed countenance. "See anything you like?" she ventured innocently, grinning as emerald eyes widened in a pathetic depiction of chastity. Any remaining vestiges of doubt now happily launched themselves in to oblivion. Must be the lycra, she conceded wryly, shooting a dazzling smile in Terri's direction.
The din emanating from the outdoor tennis courts was almost deafening. The inmates were evidently relishing the opportunity to instigate an uproar and several titters arose from the accumulating crowd as Lee Robinson reluctantly left the sanctity of the officer's locker room. Devlin's poster, which Terri had photocopied and stealthily stuck on every available section of wall space, had proved to be more of a portrait than a caricature. Clad in revealing sports wear, which accentuated all of the flaws his uniform concealed, the officer was the epitome of repulsion and the spectators mocked him mercilessly. Lee's only consolation came in the hefty form that stood alongside of him.
"We have to win this," he hissed pointedly, his beady eyes conveying the extent of his determination. "Just do like I told you, and Terri Kirkwood won't know what's fucking hit her."
His partner nodded, emanating self-assurance. "Not a problem, Mr. Robinson. Believe me, I want that bitch out of here as much as you do."
Lee nodded in grudging appreciation. "Right, now move it. She's coming." He nudged the taller woman, who nodded in understanding, promptly departing to mingle inconspicuously with the crowd. The officer's eyes narrowed guardedly as Terri made her way towards the waiting participants. Clad in a white dress, her emerald eyes sparkling as she favoured Devlin with a sickeningly sweet smile, the governor radiated youth and vulnerability. Lee had to laugh at the irony of her angelic appearance. He was one of the few people perceptive enough to gauge how wholly deceptive it could be.
"OK, well first and foremost, thanks for coming," Terri enthused, her dulcet tones a decibel louder than usual. She offered the crowd a tentative smile and then turned to address the partakers surrounding her. "I'm gonna have to assemble some kind-of draw here, and so if you'll write your teams down on a piece of paper, I'll mix them up and pick the names out of a jar. It's about as close to random selection as we're gonna get." She handed out some paper and a sparse supply of pencils. Writing her own name alongside Devlin's, she glanced wryly at the inmate and whispered, "And before you ask, I'm aiming for haphazard organisation."
"I didn't say a word," Devlin countered innocently. Momentarily forgetting that she had a reputation to uphold, she favoured Terri with a conspicuous wink, grinning as emerald eyes roved skyward.
Lee, having honed his skills of observation, watched their brief interaction with avid interest. His gawking didn't go unnoticed, though, and he hastily looked away as Devlin's penetrating blue eyes focused upon him with palpable animosity.
"OK, here we go." Terri shook the jar violently, watching the folded slips of paper merge and then float aimlessly to the bottom of the container. She extracted two of them, holding them up to the blazing sunlight in an effort to discern the barely legible handwriting. "Right, Gareth and Lucy, you're up against Mark and Linda." She withdrew two more pieces of paper. "Owen and Dawn, you're with Jackie and Claire." She sighed audibly as Lee's name appeared on the next slip, sans partner. "Lee, don't tell me you were too busy tearing down the posters to notice that this is a doubles tournament? Who's your partner?"
"You mean someone was actually desperate enough to endure that degree of humiliation?" a spectator quipped, and a ripple of laughter ensued.
Lee glared at the agitator with blatant hostility, and then turned to regard Terri with equal antipathy. "You'll see soon enough."
"So you have actually got someone to play with, then?" Terri verified, her only confirmation arising from the smug smile that briefly crossed Lee's unsightly countenance. She glanced at Devlin questioningly, and received a small shrug in response. "Right, well you and 'she who shall remain anonymous' will be up against - " she studied the paper she held in her hands with a mixture of inevitability and amusement, "Devlin and I."
"Nooo," Devlin moaned ruefully in to Terri's ear, the animated sound eliciting a small smile from the governor. It rapidly faded though, as her gaze rested upon Lee with discreet vigilance. He was up to something, she could ascertain that much, and the malignant gleam shining in his eyes left her wholly disconcerted. She felt a hand rest lightly against her back and glanced upwards to meet Devlin's concerned gaze. Nodding almost imperceptibly, indicating that she was all right, she continued with the list of proposed matches.
Lee could barely believe his luck. His supposedly ingenious plan was wholly reliant upon encountering Terri at some point during the tournament. Now he was sure that his unprecedented scheme was destined for success. The officer usually laughed in the face of superstition, but it struck him as somewhat subliminal that fate had pitted him against Terri without any advance interference on his behalf. Glancing in to the crowd, his eyes sought out the unsightly features of his accomplice and upon eventually locating her, they exchanged curt nods. Terri Kirkwood's confidence had been crushed before, and within a few minutes it would be shattered beyond all repair.
"God, where is he?" Terri hissed, her patience threshold rapidly weakening as she waited for Lee to emerge from the locker room.
"Probably discussing tactics with his imaginary friend," Devlin quipped, frowning when her attempt to ease the tension emanating from Terri's rigid form was barely acknowledged. "Hey, come on, don't let the bastard get to you. He's just prolonging his demise, that's all."
Terri nodded, offering Devlin a tremulous smile. "I just have this nagging feeling that he's up to something."
"Well if it's any consolation, I don't think you're being paranoid. He looked entirely too chuffed with the outcome of the draw," Devlin conceded, laying a hand on Terri's arm. "But don't worry about it. We're gonna whip his sorry little ass, OK?"
"Yeah." Terri grinned mischievously, tossing the inmate a tennis racket. "So we may as well get in some practice whilst we're waiting."
Crossing to the other side of the tennis net, she bounced a ball rhythmically against the corroded concrete. Littered with ruts and sporting several moss-covered cracks, it was not the most desirable of surfaces to be playing on. "Try not to break an ankle, OK?" she called to Devlin, her light-hearted tone infiltrated with sobriety.
"We're bound to win with that level of optimism," the inmate retorted, assuming a hunched position in preparation for the oncoming serve. "Right, I'm ready when you are."
Tossing the ball into a perfect arc and somehow managing to disregard the glaring sunlight, Terri hit the spherical rubber with a powerful slice. Devlin silently admired the strength behind the petite woman's well-placed serve, though she was able to return it with ease. They rallied back and forth with a series of advanced and cultivated strokes, rapidly developing a mutual respect for their diametrically opposed techniques. Whereas Devlin relied solely on the formidable power of her returns, Terri was more apt at strategically placing her shots. Caught on the rebound from one such manoeuvre, the inmate was forced to hit the ball into an erratic lob and ruefully waited for Terri to claim the first point of their brief practice session. The response she had been anticipating never came, though, and the forgotten ball bounced repeatedly against the concrete before eventually coming to a standstill.
"What wrong?" Devlin studied the governor's ashen countenance in concern, momentarily confused until she followed Terri's train of vision. It took barely a second to apprehend the object of the petite blonde's consternation, and envisaging the potential repercussions left the irate inmate muttering a stream of profanities. Lee Robinson had finally decided to make an appearance, but it was his hefty partner that posed as the problem. Jaime Taylor, apparently no longer restricted to solitary confinement, stood glaring at the governor with malice emanating from every inch of her substantial physique.
Terri had only just managed to combat the sleepless nights spent at Jaime's expense, and now she was rendered paralysed as the recently relinquished panic returned to assault her senses. She was vaguely aware of Devlin jogging towards her and with some effort, forced her fearful eyes to focus upon the attractive inmate.
"Terri, listen to me. The acrimonious little wanker is evidently going out of his way to get to you. You can't let him win." Devlin was visibly seething, but knew that pummelling their adversaries with a lightweight tennis racket was unlikely to prove productive in the long run.
"Devlin, I can't do this." Terri regarded the inmate imploringly, pleading with her to understand.
"Yes you can." Manoeuvring the petite blonde away from the watching crowd, Devlin took Terri's trembling hands in to her own. "Look, I know how hard this must be for you - "
"No you don't, Devlin. You have no idea," Terri interjected sharply, willing her pounding hard to revert back to a more natural rhythm and refusing to meet the inmate's intense gaze.
"So, what do you want me to say? 'Oh, that's fine. Let him reduce you to a quivering wreck of cowardice?'" Devlin ignored the blazing emerald eyes that bore indignantly in to her own. "Terri, can't you see that if you don't go through with this match, he's always going to have one up on you?"
"Right now, it isn't Lee that's the problem." Terri could feel Jaime's penetrating gaze surveying her every move and she knew the inmate was openly revelling in her hesitation. The effect was wholly disconcerting and something she wouldn't have been able to tolerate had Devlin not chosen that particular moment to squeeze her hands reassuringly.
"Terri, I swear that if she so much as breathes on you, I won't hesitate to rip the strings out of this racket and wrap them around her throat. She can't hurt you, I promise." A mocking smile marred Devlin's features. "I mean, would you just look at the two of them? The petty little shits are just here out of spite. They've probably never picked up a tennis racket in their lives and with any luck, excessive exertion will kill them." She hesitated, her eyes imploring. "Please don't back out. We'll trounce them. What happened to that competitive streak you warned me about, huh?"
Terri continued to gaze at her trainers with an interest that could only be feigned. "It was scared in to submission."
Snaking an arm around the governor's waist, Devlin decided to try another tactic to enhance her powers of persuasion. "Look, I didn't want anything to do with this tournament and my only motivation was the thought of seeing you running around in that sexy little number. Now I already have the mentality of a deprived prisoner, so unless you want me to sink into the immortal realms of depression, I suggest you get that cute little ass of yours out on court. Pronto."
For a moment, Terri simply stared at Devlin in disbelief, then her apprehension faltered amid momentary amusement and an affectionate grin graced her countenance. "You really are shameless, you know that?"
"Does that mean you're gonna play with me?" Devlin retorted, silently praising the merits of innuendo as Terri dissolved in to laughter and nodded hesitantly. "Good." She glanced at the petite blonde, her eyes suddenly shining with sobriety. "I promise I won't let her touch you."
"I know." Though usually far from vulnerable, Terri took a moment to relish being protected by such a powerful woman. A mischievous smile touched her lips . "We'll go for body shots, OK?"
"Sounds good to me. The targets are big enough." They shared a grin and Terri suddenly found that with Devlin alongside of her, approaching the net no longer seemed like such a daunting task.
"Heads or tails?" Katie Greenhalgh promptly inquired, as they hastily assumed their positions opposite the enemy. Katie was one of the few inmates deemed objective enough to act as an umpire, demonstrated in the way she purposely ignored Lee and instantly turned her attention to Terri and Devlin.
"Heads," they replied in unison, sharing a smile as the inmate tossed the coin and caught it with exaggerated gusto.
"Heads it is. Do you want to serve or receive?"
"Serve," Devlin enunciated, her eyes resting upon Jaime with pointed animosity. The prisoner's eyebrows raised nonchalantly in reaction, but Devlin was observant enough to see the prominent swallow that ensued. Taking her position on the baseline, she glanced at Terri, receiving an encouraging nod in response. Eyes narrowing, she focused on her opponent with palpable hatred, a feral grin marring her features as she sent a ferocious serve reeling with uncanny accuracy towards the pugnacious prisoner. Jaime barely managed to dodge the attack, let alone make any attempt at returning it.
"Twenty/love," Katie enunciated, hiding a smile. Generally speaking, Devlin Fielding's fear of fickle friendship rendered her unable to trust anyone. Yet upon seeing the mischievous smile and inconspicuous wink she exchanged with the governor, it became glaringly obvious that there was one exception to prove the rule. Terri Kirkwood, Katie conceded, was an extremely lucky woman.
Thirty two minutes later, Lee was battling with his innate ability to serve double faults in the hope of countering the three match points stacked against him. He glanced at Jaime, who was close to drowning in the rivulets of sweat that saturated her sportswear. The once baggy shorts and T-shirt now clung to her superfluous physique, and her haggard breathing was audible enough for all to hear. He himself was suffering the effects of extreme exertion, but the look of amusement upon his opponents' faces had forced him to muster a dwindling supply of energy. Terri had remained nonchalant towards Jaime's presence throughout the match, but the initial look of consternation that had registered upon her countenance was something he would treasure for eternity. It did little to appease the frustration currently chorusing through his form, though, and arching backwards to hit the ball momentarily suspended in mid-air, he silently prayed that it would travel in some semblance of a diagonal line.
Devlin was so shocked that Lee had actually managed to hit a sound serve that she almost failed to return it. Grinning at the extent of her own egoism, she hurriedly brought back her racket to return the shot. Her initial hesitancy caused the ball to land within Jaime's direct vicinity and the inmate dived at it in desperation, managing to send it spinning over the net at a reasonable speed. Terri instinctively responded by smashing the ball in to the gaping gap between each of her opponents, smiling as both Lee and Jaime simultaneously attempted to return it, their rackets audibly cracking at the unexpected contact. Although they managed to hit the ball, their lack of preparation caused it to sail in to the net, and Terri let out an unrestrained whoop of triumph upon realising that despite her initial qualms, she had just made the most significant shot of the match.
"Game, set and match, Kirkwood and Fielding." Katie grinned as she regarded the score, her tone unnecessarily cynical as she relayed it. "Six-one, six-love."
"C'mere." Before Terri could let out a yelp of objection, Devlin had engulfed her in a jubilant bear hug, ignoring the crowd's titters of amusement. Burying her head against the inmate's sturdy shoulder, suddenly realising what a major hurdle she had overcome in agreeing to go ahead with the match, Terri made no effort to disentangle herself from the muscular arms as they tightened around her in unspoken empathy. "OK, so now you just have to give me an incentive to keep on winning," Devlin murmured almost imperceptibly in to her ear, and a giggling Terri reverted to squealing like a school kid as she was hoisted off her feet and launched into a dizzying circle. Clinging on to the inmate for dear life, she had no choice but to revel in Devlin's endearingly puerile antics.
Lee Robinson watched the spectacle with barely concealed distaste, wondering why everyone else seemed blissfully unaware of what was so blatantly obvious to him. Terri and Devlin were evidently indulging in any trivial excuse to assume bodily contact. The whole match had been characterised by high-fives and discreet little pats on the back. Hell, the chemistry between them was so intense it was almost palpable and now he was more suspicious than ever in regard to the true nature of their relationship. He knew that he couldn't broach the subject without possessing cogent evidence though, not unless he wanted to endure another one of Terri Kirkwood's scathing diatribes. The governor was an expert at worming her way out of sticky situations, but he silently vowed that next time they encountered one another, his position as the underdog would be rectified.
Chapter 8 coming soon.....
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