DISCLAIMER: Shed own them and keep them and I just want to borrow them for a non profit kind of while.

By Tracie L

Chapter Four

The intimate and mundane nuances of daily life dragged on for weeks or so it seemed to Barbara Hunt, as she faithfully recorded them in her diary. But something out of the ordinary was beginning to bother her; her cell mate was acting oddly. Barbara was used to Nikki's hot temper and brooding moments particularly since her falling out with Helen, but lately Barbara had noticed a disturbing change in Nikki.

Nikki seemed to be sinking into an almost, maniacal good humour. She mumbled to herself and would suddenly laugh out loud for no apparent reason, which was not only startling but also disconcerting.

Barbara had initially been enthusiastic about Nikki's sudden interest in painting, but as she cast a bespectacled eye towards Nikki's bunk, she couldn't restrain a shudder at the garish red glow that emanated from it.

Nikki had daubed large swathes of deep crimson all over the bottom of Barbara's bunk and had added regularly to it so that a thick almost organic mass of red paint adorned the bunk. Nikki would stare up at it for hours, mumbling to herself and occasionally exploding into peels of frighteningly demonic laughter and then suddenly stop, grinning inanely. When Barbara attempted to talk to Nikki about her odd behaviour and obvious fascination with the bottom of her bunk, Nikki would ignore her completely or smile and tell her that finger-painting was very therapeutic and red made her feel warm and happy.

Barbara needed to consult someone, other than her diary. She didn't want to approach any of the screw, so she decided to speak to Yvonne Atkins.

"Look Darlin, I've got my own problems at the mo', I cant be bothered with all this." Yvonne frowned at Barbara and quickly lit her cigarette. Since the Peckham Boot Gang had arrived on G-wing, the gang had targeted Yvonne and she was under constant threat. She cast a belligerent eye over the odious three as they sat in a conspiratorial huddle on level one, obviously planning their next attack upon her. Barbara followed Yvonne's glare and sighed.

"Since that lot turned up, I've decided to keep out of everyone's business." Yvonne flicked her cigarette,

"Sorry Love, but Nikki can look after herself, If your really worried go have a chat to that new Doctor, Waugh isn't it?"

Barbara smiled a little wanly at Yvonne as she resumed her baleful glare over the balcony.

'Sometimes,' Barbara thought, 'I must be the only sane person on G Wing'.

Thomas Waugh smiled across the restaurant table at the newly appointed Prison Governor, Helen Stewart. She was beaming at him as she expressed her delight in the new position.

"Finally Tom, I feel like I can do some good here, its fantastic"

"What about your Lifers unit, will you have to give it up?" He asked, aware of her answer before he posed the question.

"Of course not, god no. I'm going to push forward with my plan now, I'm going to make G-wing a lifers only wing and I want you to assist me in establishing a research unit. I want to help these women Tom, I can get the funding now from area management. Oh Tom." Helen suddenly leaned forward and grabbed his hands tightly.

"This is going to be great"

He smiled at her then began slowly caressing her knuckles with his thumbs.

"It's brilliant Helen, I'm so glad that your excited about this, I've been wanting to continue my research and I'm honoured that you want me involved."

"Don't be silly" she grinned "Why wouldn't I want you" She stopped when she realised the added implication in her response and he smiled at her embarrassment.

" A fellow could get a very big head being around you, Governor" he deliberately lightened the mood. Helen Laughed, relieved.

"Well just don't expect any favouritism, I'm the boss now and I'm going to work you hard Dr Waugh." He gripped her hands as she tried to extract them from his.

"I'm looking forward to it Ms Stewart." He said, lowering his voice and meeting her eyes intently. Helen felt hot, their flirtation, suddenly serious again. She pressed his hands once and then removed hers.

"Good" She said simply, wanting to avoid further embarrassment.

"Well. I've got to go" She stood up to leave, quickly rummaging in her purse for cash. He stood.

"Don't be silly, my shout, you can get the next one?"

"Ok, you sure?"

"I look forward to it" He smiled reassuringly, knowing he had pushed to hard.

"Great, see you Monday morning." She left quickly, wanting time alone to process new and disquieting feelings.

Nikki Wade stood under the shower, enjoying the feel of hot water trickling over her face mentally following its path down her neck, chest and back.

"Like fingers… or blood" she murmured, smiling at the incongruity of her thought.

She moved her hands slowly over her body, allowing her nails to gently scrape against her skin. Moving up her torso and playfully flicking her erect nipples she moaned softly as she visualized Helen's lips caressing her breasts, the wet tongue, flicking her nipples to life. Helen's mouth hungry and open, her breath sweet and hot as she cried out Nikki's name.

"Christ" Nikki punched the shower wall, her hands quickly returning to her face as she suppressed a sob.

"One night, one lousy night." And now every night since, she wanted to be with Helen again. The anger and frustration building against Helen had been squeezed and mangled until it was a cold hard thing that oozed out into her mind, freezing and infecting those parts of her that kept her sane.

"Soon Helen, you will be mine, very soon" Nikki murmured, closing her eyes again, she smiled into the water filling her mouth, imagining another substance as it poured over her face. Not caring anymore that her tenuous grip on reality was all but gone.

"What can I do for you, Barbara, isn't it?" Dr Waugh looked up briefly from his diary and smiled at the fidgeting woman sitting across from him.

"Yes, um, its not actually about me." She started " I Don't even know if I should be here. You see its about Nikki Wade, my cell mate. She… She's" Barbara fumbled for words, trying to describe Nikki's odd behaviour.

"Its ok Barbara, anything you tell me remains in this room ok?" Thomas felt a rising excitement at the mention of Nikki Wade, the Lesbian Lifer with a fascination for Helen.

"Is there a problem with Nikki?"

Barbara took a deep breath.

"I'm not sure, that's why I'm here, I'm worried about her Dr, she doesn't talk to anyone anymore, at least not directly. She spends inordinate amounts of time alone, lying on her bunk or in the shower. She hardly eats, she's developed an odd obsession for red paint and well…" here Barbara paused and looked worriedly at the Doctor.

"She talks to herself, all the time and she seems to be laughing at some private and frankly not very funny, joke."

"I see" said the Doctor

"Don't look like that, please, I'm not saying she's crazy, I just think that something's a bit off. Maybe she needs someone to talk to, professionally, I mean."

"Well I certainly can't force her to see me Barbara, not unless she wants to." Dr Waugh paused adding "unless, of course, she harms herself or someone else."

"I'm sure she's not violent Doctor, although surely not eating constitutes harm?"

Barbara quickly added "though the food served in this place should inspire numerous hunger strikes, I seem to be the only person to complain about it."

Thomas smiled at the little woman.

"How about I speak with Ms Stewart about Nikki, I know she has a history with her, maybe she could help us." He smiled a little conspiratorially, hoping to extract further information.

"You know then" Barbara was relieved and a little shocked.

"I thought Ms Stewart hadn't told anyone. Couldn't Ms Stewart speak to Nikki, I know Nikki still loves her, despite everything she says about her."

"What does she say?" Thomas prodded.

"Oh the usual jilted lover rubbish, nothing meaningful. I truly believe if MS Stewart still feels anything for Nikki, then she should tell her. I think it may snap Nikki out of the fugue she's in. Do you think she might?"

"Tell you what, I'll have a discreet word with Helen and we will see what we can do, OK?" He stood.

"Now don't mention that you have seen me, Nikki might feel uncomfortable or angry. OK?"

"You're a very good friend Barbara, thanks for coming to see me." Barbara thanked him and left feeling as if a weight had been lifted.

As Thomas shut the door behind Barbara Hunt, he paused.

"Well, well," He muttered "How very interesting"

Part 5

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