DISCLAIMER: These characters are not mine. And they never will be, sob, sob... ("Not with that attitude."- Homer Simpson.)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Like Mother, Like Son
One indisputable thing about being down the block was that it gave you time to think. Whether that was a good or a bad thing was open for debate but no-one could question that it was true. With no screws and no fellow inmates there wasn't really anything else you could do.
Yvonne Atkins had been down the block for two solid days and she'd been thinking plenty in that time. Mostly about Maxi, if she was honest. The idea that Maxi was dead - dead - hadn't properly sunk in yet. Grief had yet to take over - for now Yvonne was stuck firmly in the anger phase. In point of fact, the consequences of that anger were why she had been segregated.
It wasn't as if she had loved Maxi, or even liked her most of the time, but they had been lovers and there was a certain fondness there which Yvonne hadn't fully realized until it was demonstrably too late. After her confrontation with Yvonne at lunch Maxi had avoided both her and Cassie, withdrawing into herself and acting totally out of character. She had even started being bullied by Shaz and that was about as low as anyone could go. Yvonne, to her shame, had done nothing right up until the fight. Even then Roisin had had to convince her to step in. But when they had helped the fallen girl back to her cell Yvonne had felt a stab of...well, she wasn't quite sure what. All she knew was that it had made her want to take Maxi into her arms and just hold her till everything was all right.
If I'd done that maybe she'd still be alive.
But her pride wouldn't let her stay after Maxi's abrupt dismissal so Yvonne had turned her back on her for the final time.
The screw on duty interrupted Yvonne's thoughts as she barged into the room.
"Up," she said. "The Governor wants to see you."
"What?" said Yvonne, scowling. "I'm due and adjudication."
"You're due a kick in the teeth after what you did," the screw retorted. "Miss Betts has decided to give you a meeting instead. Now get up!"
Karen Betts organized her papers for the fifth time in as many minutes in a deliberate attempt not to look at the woman in front of her as she spoke to her. She hadn't realized how uncomfortable she would feel around Yvonne after her encounter with Ritchie. He'd been a one night stand of course. Mind you, it wasn't often you met your one night stand's mother the next day.
"Do you have anything to say for yourself?" Karen asked, returning her mind to the matter at hand.
Yvonne seemed to consider the idea. "I don't have to justify myself to you," she said eventually.
"You punched Senior Officer Hollamby hard enough to break her nose. I'd say you've got a lot of explaining to do."
Yvonne's face hardened. "Hollamby treated Maxi like a piece of trash. That's what we all are to her, alive or dead. Well I sure as shit wasn't going to stand for that. And if Fenner hadn't pulled me off her she'd have had a hell of a lot more than her nose broken."
Karen leaned back in her chair and exhaled slowly. As Wing-Governer she knew she should send Atkins to solitary for a month, maybe even ship her out. As a human being she felt like applauding. Anything that let bad officers like Sylvia and Jim get a taste of their own medicine was good for her.
"I know Maxi wasn't a saint," Yvonne continued. "But she didn't deserve that. So I gave Hollamby what she deserved."
Karen narrowed her eyes. All the interactions between Yvonne and Maxi she'd observed seemed to indicate that they'd been enemies. Karen didn't understand why Yvonne was getting so worked up about Maxi's death.
"You and Maxi were...friends?" Karen asked after a moment. "I find that a little hard to believe."
"Yeah?" Yvonne replied, a mocking grin on her face. "Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do, Miss."
Karen sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. This wasn't exactly going well. Mind you, she hadn't really expected it to.
"I have to tell you Yvonne," she said. "I am actively looking for an excuse not to ship you out and you're not doing yourself any favours."
"Why?" Yvonne replied after a moment's thought.
"Why don't you want to ship me out?" Yvonne replied. "I assaulted a senior officer. I'm sure she wants me as far away as possible. Why don't you?"
Karen ran her fingers through her hair again, a nervous gesture which she was finding more and more difficult to control as the meeting went on
Because I secretly sympathize with what you did, she admitted silently.
Aloud, Karen didn't answer. Instead she cleared her throat and shuffled her papers again.
"Actually Yvonne I didn't bring you here to discuss the assault. I'll leave that till your adjudication. I brought you here to discuss a rather more...personal matter."
Yvonne raised an eyebrow. Karen inwardly cringed as she began to tell Yvonne about her night with Ritchie. The Mistake of Truly Epic Proportions was what she'd begun dubbing it as in her own mind. She reasoned that it probably wouldn't be a good idea to mention that part to said mistake's mother. She tried to get the story over as quickly as possible, waiting for the sparks to start flying.
In the end Yvonne had been surprisingly calm about it. Too calm, Karen thought. The rhythmic clenching of her jaw was the only clue Karen had that she perhaps wasn't as cool as she appeared. Several times she had opened her mouth to speak, only to close it again, as if held back by some invisible force.
"I thought you'd have more sense," had been her final cryptic remark before she effectively excused herself by leaving the room and claiming to the screw outside that Karen had ordered her back to solitary. Karen had been too shocked by the comment to even notice that Yvonne had gone at first and by the time she'd collected herself she decided it'd look a little silly to go running after her.
She'd expected anger, she'd expected insults, she'd even maybe expected violence - it wasn't as if Yvonne didn't have the rep for that after all - but she certainly hadn't expected calm. She'd known Yvonne would probably warn her off but she'd thought it' be in a You're not good enough for my son way, not in a My son's not good enough for you way.
All in all it added up to a very confused Karen Betts. She knew she'd have to speak to Yvonne again before the adjudication, if only because she didn't want any talk of her and Ritchie on the official record and if Yvonne started mouthing off during the adjudication there'd be no way to avoid that. But she felt a little too shaky and a little too tired to do that right now so she tried to busy herself in the mountain of paperwork that had accumulated during Sylvia's short term as Wing Governor. The concentration required wouldn't come though and she found her mind drifting down to the block, wondering what Yvonne was thinking.
That randy little bastard, Yvonne fumed as she paced her cell. I'll kill him when I see him. I'll rip his throat out and feed it to him!
The more she thought about that visit with him the more it seemed to make sense. Miss Betts had been supervising the visits. She'd noticed Ritchie's eyes lighting on Karen a couple of times but she'd thought nothing of it. Karen was an attractive woman - it wasn't as if Yvonne hadn't noticed that herself - and she'd figured some harmless fantasizing was all there was to it. Now she knew the truth all sorts of little details were popping up. Like the way Ritchie had recited his mobile number just loud enough for someone on the far wall to hear. And he'd repeated it enough times that Yvonne had been able to memorize it - she was sure Karen would have been able to as well. And Ritchie had clearly been in full seduction mode. She'd thought that charm had been turned up full to get on her good side - now she was sure it was all for Betts's benefit.
It was odd, she supposed she should really have been angry at Betts but no-matter how hard she tried she just couldn't manage it. She tried to convince herself that Betts had corrupted her sweet innocent angel but Yvonne wasn't stupid. She knew fine he was no angel. He was too much like his bastard father for that. And she knew that Ritchie had done all the running - the visit proved that. Ritchie was an attractive young man, young being the operative word. It must have been flattering for Karen to have a man half her age be interested in her. The age thing...she tried to be angry about that, she really tried, but just couldn't. If there was one thing Yvonne was not it was hypocritical. Who was she to condemn Betts for sleeping with someone younger than her when she'd been screwing Maxi? And Maxi had been younger than Ritchie.
No, the more she thought about it the more she blamed Ritchie. Her sharp mind had already begun to think up explanations for his behaviour. She wanted to believe that it was just a simple attraction that he hadn't bothered to control. But she'd been fucked over too many times by the men in her life not to be suspicious. Her conclusion was that he was up to something...and she was going to be very wary around him until she figured out just what it was.
Karen took a deep breath as she faced the door to Yvonne's solitary cell. She'd thought meeting with Yvonne the first time was nerve wracking, but it was nothing compared to now. She ran her hands down the front of her suit, a nervous gesture that she couldn't quite control. When she found herself fixing her hair a moment later she managed to reign herself in and work up the courage to just open the damn door. It was odd...since Ritchie and Fenner (she spat that word out, even when she was only thinking it) a lot of things had made her nervous. And she used to think she was so together.
She glanced through the peephole before opening the door, relieved to find Yvonne sitting on the mattress, relaxed. Yvonne looked up when Karen entered.
"Evening Miss Betts," she said. "Come to make sure I keep my mouth shut during the adjudication?"
Karen smiled ruefully. "You know Yvonne, that's one of the things I've always liked about you. You're smart."
"I'm ecstatic to hear it," Yvonne deadpanned. "Now was that all you wanted?"
Karen flinched ever so slightly at Yvonne's tone. "Now that you mention it," she continued. "There was one other thing. I want to know what you meant by that comment you made before you left my office."
Yvonne raised an eyebrow. "The 'I thought you'd be smarter' comment?" Karen nodded. "I meant just what I said. We all thought you'd finally seen sense when you gave Fenner the boot. But Ritchie? If anything he's worse. Don't forget, I'm his mother so I know him a hell of a lot better than you ever will. And you know what? He's just like Charlie. Cut from the same bloody mould they are. Charlie thought he could charm his way through anything. Ritchie does the same thing. Has he been using that charm on you already? I bet he knows all the right buttons to press to worm his way into your life. Charlie always knew mine. Then again, Charlie was always up to something and I'd bet good money Ritchie is too. Believe me, Miss. You can trust him as far as you can throw him."
With that Yvonne leaned back against the wall and crossed her arms in front of her knees. She appeared to have said her piece. Karen took in a shaky breath as she tried to steady her nerves. Every professional instinct in her body was telling her to get out of the cell and pretend this whole damn mess had never happened. Then again, she hadn't exactly been acting professional throughout the Ritchie incident so why start now?
Karen shakily lowered herself down on the mattress next to Yvonne and slowly rested her head in her hands. "I don't know what I'm doing," she whispered softly. "God, I don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore."
Yvonne was caught off guard by this sudden turn of events. She'd always pegged Betts as the model officer and the model officer would have been out the door and halfway home by now, not sitting beside a prisoner in solitary, obviously struggling to keep it together. She felt a bit uncomfortable with Karen so close and didn't know quite what to do with her hands. She didn't think she'd ever been so close to a screw before in a non-violent way. After a few moments the silence began to become oppressive.
"Bloody men, eh?" Yvonne said, trying to lighten the mood. Karen let out a strangled laugh and looked up at the other woman. Yvonne was shocked to see her eye's glittering with tears.
"Bloody men," Karen repeated.
"All bastards," Yvonne continued.
"Bastards," Karen confirmed, trying to smile. In the end she didn't manage that and her face crumpled. She hid her face in her hands and took deep breaths, trying to get herself under control, at least in front of Yvonne. She stiffened slightly when she felt a hand settle between her shoulder blades but eventually relaxed and allowed the contact. It was actually oddly comforting, mostly because the touch was so gentle that it could only have come from a woman.
Yvonne wasn't quite sure what she was doing. This was a screw for God's sake. On the other hand, Karen was off duty and she'd come here to talk about something decidedly personal. Right now all Yvonne saw was a woman in pain and her overwhelming instinct was to attempt to soothe that pain any way she could.
"I've got the worst taste in men ever," Karen said suddenly. "My ex-husband, Jim....Ritchie - no offense."
"None taken," Yvonne replied with a small smile. "I had the same problem. I can't name a single man I've been with who was decent. They were all bastards."
Karen rubbed her eyes, wiping away her still unshed tears. "And how did you overcome this little problem?" she asked, glancing at Yvonne. Yvonne thought for a long time before she answered, so long that Karen thought she wasn't going to answer at all.
"I switched sides," Yvonne said eventually, locking eyes with Karen.
The heat in the room suddenly turned up several degrees, or at least it seemed that way to Karen. She felt a flush rising in her cheeks which she furiously tried to reign in. Judging by the look in Yvonne's eyes she hadn't succeeded.
"Have I shocked you Miss?" Yvonne asked, an evil grin appearing on her lips.
"No!" Karen squeaked, then cleared her throat, took a deep breath and tried again. "No. I'm just a little...surprised."
"Don't be," Yvonne said. "All I needed was the right moment...and the right person..."
Karen swallowed reflexively. She could feel Yvonne's hand moving on her back, rubbing gently between her shoulder blades. She supposed Yvonne meant it as a calming gesture but it was achieving the exact opposite result. She wasn't sure whether Yvonne was being intentionally seductive or not. She'd claimed that Ritchie's charm came from his father but right now Karen was beginning to suspect that he took after his mother much more than Yvonne was willing to admit. Certainly Karen could see a lot of what she had found attractive in Ritchie in Yvonne right now.
Karen cleared her throat and averted her eyes, trying to get her thoughts back in check. This is crazy, she thought. Yvonne Atkins is a prisoner in your charge. Even if you were attracted to her - which you're NOT - this would be totally unprofessional. She repeated that over and over in her head, hoping that if she said it enough times she'd be able to convince herself it was true. But then she felt Yvonne's other hand push her hair behind her ear, sliding down to cup her cheek and turn her face around. Yvonne's eyes met her hers and seemed to pin her in place. They sat like that for what seemed like a long time. Karen's breath caught somewhere in the back of her throat as she tried to calm her rampaging heartbeat. She sat frozen, even when Yvonne began to lean in, bringing their faces closer together.
Yvonne stopped when their lips were about an inch away from each other. She didn't say anything aloud but it was obvious she was telling Karen that she still had the choice of getting out of the situation. All she had to do was pull back and Yvonne would let her go, that much was clear. Karen didn't move. After a few moments Yvonne felt her nod ever so slightly and she then closed the final inch.
The kiss was surprisingly chaste. Yvonne just let their lips lightly touch, hardly even moving after they came in contact but she held it for a long time. The softness of the kiss was in ironic opposition to the effect it had on Karen who felt it like a punch in the gut. It was as if Yvonne had planted a bomb right inside her and the kiss had set it off, with the shocks tearing through her body from the inside out. When Yvonne finally pulled back, Karen's skin was tingling and her cheeks were flushed bright red. That kiss was probably the most innocently erotic thing she had ever experienced.
"Wow," she whispered, leaning her forehead against Yvonne's. Further eloquence was lost on her as she tried to get her breath back. Yvonne didn't give her time to do that though, as she kept leaning in for quick, soft kisses which were very good at breaking Karen's concentration.
"Is there a guard outside this door?" Yvonne whispered between kisses. She felt Karen shiver a little at as she realized what Yvonne was really asking.
"No," she whispered back. "I told him to go and wait at the other end of the block and not to come back unless he heard me screaming."
Yvonne kissed her again, deepening it this time and allowing it to become more passionate.
"Well then," she replied with a glint in her eye. "You'll have to be quiet."
Yvonne took a deep breath as she laid Karen down onto the thin mattress. Her first order of business was to remove the clipped on ID that marked Karen as Wing Governor. She tossed it to the other side of the room without another glance.
There was a large part of Yvonne that was screaming out at her to stop this madness. It was true she hadn't actually been with anyone since Roisin had paid that little visit to her cell, but surely she shouldn't be giving into this just because she was horny. This was a screw. She was screwing a screw. The thought nearly caused her to let out an almost hysterical laugh but she bit it back just in time.
But then...there was the reason she hadn't been with anyone recently. Roisin and Cassie looked like they were breaking up and Yvonne couldn't help but wonder how much she had to do with that. She'd steered clear of them both, hoping to go for damage limitation. And then there was Maxi... A part of Yvonne blamed herself for Maxi's suicide. Maybe if they had stayed pure enemies Maxi wouldn't have got so lost. Maxi used to define herself as Yvonne's enemy and when that was gone she tried to define herself as Yvonne's lover. But Yvonne wasn't willing to let her get that close and Maxi had been cut loose with nothing to hang on to. All in all it seemed like Yvonne destroyed everything she touched.
But with Karen Yvonne thought things might work out better. She didn't know exactly what was wrong but clearly something had happened recently to turn her into such a mess. For the first time, Yvonne felt that maybe making love to this woman would solve more problems than it caused. She figured it was about time she did some good rather than always making things worse.
Karen's cheeks were flushed and her eyes were closed as Yvonne slowly began to unbutton her blouse. She broke out in goose bumps as the final button was undone, though whether it was due to the chill air of the cell or the fact that she was exposed to Yvonne Karen wasn't sure.
"Karen?" Yvonne said finally, after debating with herself whether speaking would break the fragile mood. "Look at me." Karen opened her eyes slowly. "Are you sure?" Yvonne continued.
Karen's eyes filled with tears again but she blinked them away. "Yes," she breathed. "But thank-you - thank-you - for asking."
With that she sat up pulling Yvonne into a deep, hungry kiss. Yvonne tangled her fingers into Karen's hair and moaned into the kiss, but softly so as not to alert the guard. She slipped her arms behind Karen's back and, with an ease born of much practice, slipped the catches on her bra loose. She broke the kiss long enough to remove the blouse and bra completely before she crushed their lips back together.
Karen's heart was racing so fast she thought she might conceivably have a heart attack. She certainly couldn't remember ever being this excited at the the touch of a man. Yvonne had her hands at her waist and was unbuttoning and pulling down the zip at the side of her skirt. She allowed herself to be laid back down as Yvonne removed the skirt, along with her underwear. She opened her eyes to see Yvonne straddling her waist, fully clothed while she was nude. The image seemed a little ridiculous but she quickly forgot that as Yvonne's mouth attached to her nipple. She had to bite her bottom lip to stifle a loud groan. Her fingers tangled in Yvonne's hair.
"Shouldn't you be undressed too?" she managed to hiss out as Yvonne diverted her attention to the other nipple.
"No," Yvonne whispered, trailing kisses up Karen's chest until she was nuzzling the soft spot where her ear met her throat. "This is all going to be about you, sweetheart. All for you."
If it was possible Karen became even more turned on at those words than she had been before. Her hips arched as Yvonne slipped two fingers between her legs, feeling the wetness there.
"And I'd say you're more than ready for it too," Yvonne continued in a whisper.
Karen answered by thrusting her hips against Yvonne's fingers. Yvonne grinned as she began moving down Karen's body once more. The plan was to replace her fingers with her mouth but she was stopped short when Karen grabbed her shoulders tightly.
"No," she whispered, looking down into Yvonne's eyes. "Stay with me. I want to see you..."
"Okay," Yvonne whispered back, bringing up her other hand to stroke Karen's hair. "Whatever you want." With that she stretched the length of her body out over Karen's, kissing her as her fingers began to work in earnest between the other woman's legs. Karen's hips thrust almost desperately against Yvonne's hand while her throat let out soft keening sounds which Yvonne felt more than heard.
The need to be quiet made both women preternaturally aware of what they could feel. With only the most hushed of sounds to guide her Yvonne was totally dependent on reading the subtle signs Karen's body let out. When she honed in a particular spot and felt the muscles in Karen's stomach clench she knew she'd found her goal. Pulling back from the kiss she gazed down at Karen's flushed face. Karen was frowning a little as if in deep concentration, her bottom lip almost white with the pressure she was putting on it in an effort to keep quiet. Yvonne's movements became faster as she watched the corresponding increase in Karen's breathing. Suddenly Karen's back arched, every muscle in her body stretched to its limit. She seemed to hang there in limbo for a long time before her release crashed over her in stronger and stronger waves. She pulled Yvonne blindly down for a kiss to muffle any sound. As her body calmed down Karen finally opened her eyes, only to see Yvonne blinking back tears.
"Wha..." she began, her voice husky. After clearing her throat she continued. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," Yvonne replied, soothing Karen's frown away with a gentle touch. "You're just so beautiful, Karen."
"Thank-you," Karen whispered as she pulled Yvonne to her for another kiss.
Several minutes later, Karen was still lying in Yvonne's arms, her head resting on the other woman's chest. "I wish..." Karen began, then trailed off.
"What?" Yvonne replied.
Karen let out a soft self-depriciating laugh. "I wish you weren't a prisoner," she said finally. "Or that I wasn't an officer."
Yvonne smiled. "Yeah," she said. "Just imagine. A Wing Governor and a prisoner trying to make a go of it while the prisoner was still inside. It's crazy."
"Yeah," Karen agreed. "You couldn't make that up."
They shared the joke quietly for a minute longer before Yvonne turned serious.
"Me and Maxi were lovers," she said suddenly, averting her eyes from Karen's. "That's why I was so pissed off with Hollamby. We weren't exactly a couple but...I still felt responsible for her." She turned her head back so she could look at Karen. "Does that explain a few things?"
"Yeah," Karen replied. "It does." She leaned in and kissed Yvonne, soft and slow. "I'd better get dressed," she said when they parted.
Yvonne leaned back and watched Karen dress. She knew what had just happened would never happen again and a part of her - okay, a big part of her - was sorry. Yeah, Karen was a screw. But she was also one hell of a woman.
She walked Karen to the door. "I think I can get away with not shipping you out," Karen said. "I'll have to cut your privileges of course. And you'll have to move back to G1."
"Just don't put me in Maxi's cell," Yvonne replied, nodding her understanding.
"No, I think that'd be a bit much," Karen smiled. "Yvonne...thank-you. For everything."
"You're welcome," Yvonne replied. "Miss."
Karen nodded, realizing they were back to the old screw/prisoner relationship. "Goodnight Yvonne."
Karen arrived at work early the next day, feeling altogether more positive about the paperwork waiting for her. Most people would say that her encounter with Yvonne had been a massive mistake - and in a strict professional sense they were probably right - but as a woman, Karen felt it had done her the world of good. The horrible taste that had been in her mouth since Jim had gone. Mark and Ritchie had been her way of trying to remove that horrible memory but for the first time she had hope that she might be on her way to moving past it.
There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," she called. Sylvia shuffled in, looking less than happy about being back from sick leave. Karen had to suppress a laugh upon seeing her. She almost looked better with a broken nose than she had before.
"Today's new arrivals Ma'am," Sylvia said, dropping a file on her desk.
"Thank-you Sylvia," she said. "Dismissed."
When she'd gone Karen finally let out the laugh that had been threatening to escape as she looked over the new arrivals. She stopped laughing when she came to one name.
Lauren Atkins - on remand, charged with demanding money with menaces and GBH.
This could be interesting, she thought, raising an eyebrow.
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