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Close Quarters
By ralst


The cell door closed and with it Nikki's hopes for a quiet evening vanished. Why the hell the governor thought it was a good idea to bang up two convicted murderers in the same, eight by ten, cell was a mystery to her. Unless, of course, the old bastard was banking on them killing each other and brightening up his retirement do.

"I could bloody swing for 'im," Shell seethed, her bright red platforms connecting solidly with the thick metal door. "I 'ave my rights!"

Nikki wondered if one of them was the right to remain silent but she doubted it.

"Just calm down and go to sleep." Nikki looked around the cell and, for the first time, noticed the absence of a second bed. "Or not."

"Keep y'ur 'ands off me, dyke!"

Nikki didn't bother to point out that her hands were in her pockets or that Shell's little on again, off again affair with Denny meant she wasn't exactly little miss straight and narrow herself. Collapsing onto the bed she closed her eyes and looked forward to the arrival, the next day, of the new wing governor. Whoever he was, he was bound to be less trouble than the last pillock to hold the post.

"I hate this place," Shell cursed, "fucking dump!"

Outside the wing was unusually quiet, the absence of sound only increasing the sense of isolation and overcrowding. Shell took a seat at the foot of the bed, being careful to make sure she didn't accidentally brush against Nikki's flesh.

"Everything will be back to normal tomorrow," Nikki reassured, although what normal meant in a place like Larkhall Nikki had yet to discern.

"There's a new gov'nor starting." Shell spoke to the far wall as if that would somehow disguise the fact that she was talking to her arch nemesis. "Meant to be some tosser straight out of university."

Nikki could guess where she'd heard that but she didn't want to bring up the subject of Jim Fenner and risk spending the entire night in a screaming match. Besides, trading wits with Shell was like fighting a one armed man, and she wasn't in the mood.

"They're all tossers."

Shell moved a little closer, as if their shared views on governors had bridged some kind of gap, and burrowed beneath the thin blanket. "It's cold in here."

With a shrug Nikki retrieved her half of the blanket and pulled it close, just in case Shell had any ideas of making off with it, and leaving her freezing her butt off. Not that she wasn't used to the cold, you couldn't spend any amount of time in Larkhall and not become accustomed to the biting chill, but that didn't mean she was about to go all soft and forsake her one piece of comfort.

"It's cold," Shell repeated.

"It's winter, what did you expect?" Nikki held tight to her half of the blanket. "Now shut up and go to sleep."

"I can't sleep if I'm cold, can I?"

"Well what do you expect me to do about it? I'm not a bloody hot water bottle."

Shell shuffled a bit closer. "Body 'eat."

"Excuse me?"

"Body 'eat." Shell's hand somehow manage to work itself under Nikki's half of the blanket and onto her knee. "It keeps you warm, dunnit."

Nikki prayed that there was a tv crew on the other side of the cell door just waiting to burst through and tell her she'd been caught on Candid Camera or Beadles About. Anything, so long as she wasn't being propositioned by Shell Dockley.

"Shell?" Nikki tried to keep the fear out of her tone. "What the hell are you doing?"

"I told you!" As Shell heaved a world weary sigh her hand moved higher. "Body 'eat."

"Fuck!" Nikki scrambled free. "Don't do that!"

Shell looked just about ready to crucify someone and, given her track record, it wasn't an idle threat. "I'm cold!" She pulled on their shared blanket. "Either give me this or warm me up."

There was no way Nikki was going to give up ownership of the blanket. It wasn't just a matter of being cold, if she gave in to Shell now, she'd loose all credibility. That left two options; she could kill Shell and get a good night's rest or she could succumb to her stupid demands and create a little body heat. The first option, although appealing, would mean blood everywhere and another fifteen years on her sentence but, if she took the other route, she was positive that Shell would keep it to herself and, that way, both their reputations would remain intact.

She couldn't believe she was even considering it. "I thought you were homophobic?"

"No I'm not!" Brows drawn together, Shell asked, "Homowhat?"

"Homophobic," Nikki explained. "It means you don't like dykes."

Shell's hand retook its place on Nikki's thigh. "Perverts," she agreed. "So? Are you gonna warm me up or what?"

Nikki was about to tell her that the answer to that question was an emphatic 'no' when suddenly the air left her lungs and Shell's hand made itself at home at the apex of her legs. It was one of those critical moments, when suddenly you realised just how cold you really are, and how long it's been since you last had a decent shag. "No one ever finds out," she hissed. "Ever!"

Shell slowly released the zipper to Nikki's trousers. "As if I'd tell."

The End

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