DISCLAIMER: I have no ownership of Bad Girls or the dialog used at the beginning.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Nikki, you've got to eat." Drying her hands after an early morning rinse, Barbara turned to make eye contact with her cell mate. "It isn't healthy, you lying here all day, refusing food, not cleaning yourself. You'll do yourself in, if you're not careful."
"You really think I care?" Covering her face with the blanket, Nikki rolled over and sighed bitterly.
"Well you certainly can't let yourself waste away like this. I won't have it. You need to get a hold of yourself "
"What the hell do you expect me to do?" Nikki flung off the blankets and stared angrily at her friend. "I did everything for her listened to her bloody rants, let her cry on my shoulder. Even said I'd give her time to figure things out. She figured 'em out alright, didn't she. Left me like I'm the warm ale leftover from last night's party. "
"Nikki " Barbara laid a comforting hand on Nikki's shoulder that was quickly shrugged off.
"Let me be."
"Miss Stewart, can I have a moment?"
"Morning, Barbara, of course. What's going on?"
The nervous inmate shifted her weight and avoided being eye level with the Lifers' Liaison Officer. "I know I shouldn't be speaking to you about this, Miss, but I really think you should know."
"Know what?" Helen's green eyes softened as she noticed Barbara's hesitation. "Do we need to go some place private?"
"No, Miss, I just think you should know about Nikki."
Despite her attempts to remain passive, Helen's jaw clenched, her lips tightened, and her rising blood pressure prompted her cheeks to flush. "Alright then."
"It's just that ever since you two, well, ended things, she hasn't quite been herself. I know I'm stepping over the line here, but she's not eating, or cleaning she's really a mess."
"Barbara, I shouldn't be speaking to you about this, but I appreciate your concern. I'll look in on Nikki in a bit."
As Helen turned to walk away, Barbara let out a frustrated explanation. "I'm afraid she might harm herself."
Helen whirled around and revealed the tears she had attempted to hide. "I'm sorry, Barbara, I didn't realize it was so serious."
Barbara's voice softened, as she reached up to pat Helen's arm. "You both obviously care for one another. Do you really want to throw it all away?"
Helen's lip quivered, and her voice was deep with emotion. "Not today, Barbara. I don't think I can handle it now. Keep me updated though, ok?"
"All right, Barbara?"
"Yeah, you all right?" The distressed older woman sat down next to the two Julies, with the lines of concern and sadness etched into her face. The normally positive inmate silently stared off towards her cell with tears gathering in her eyes.
"Something wrong?" Julie J. draped her arm around her friend and waited for a response.
"Nikki?" Julie S. questioned. "She sick? We can fetch her soup or "
" Tea, maybe even something stronger." Julie J. finished.
"That's right, Jue, good idea. We'll always take care of our friends." Julie S. smiled at Barbara, and then stood up. "Wait, my phone's vibrating." Julie S. quickly removed the mobile from its hiding place within her shirt. "Hi, darling, it's Saucy Sonia. You wanna play?"
"Bleeding pervert!" Julie S. covered the mobile with her hand and looked over at the two women. "You'll never guess what he wants me to do. Fart."
"Fart?" Julie J. began to giggle.
"Yeah, you know, pass gas."
"Filthy bastard. I dare you!" Julie J. grinned as she looked over at Barbara, whose face contained a mixture of disgust and amusement.
"Is it always like this?" Barbara lowered her voice, and directed her question to the undistracted Julie.
"What you mean?"
"Do the men always make you laugh, have strange request."
"Yeah, we always have good fun. It's a lot better than being cooped up in here, anyway."
"You think I could borrow that phone for a bit?" Barbara quickly dismissed the shock on Julie's face. "Not for me, of course. It's for Nikki. I think it might cheer her up."
"But she's "
"A lesbian, I know." Barbara took the phone from Julie's outstretched hand, before she had a chance to change her mind. "Just for two days, then I promise to have it back."
"Feeling any better?" Barbara shut the cell door and sat down on Nikki's bed. "I've been worried about you." She pulled the blanket off of her cell mate's face and forced her to wake up.
Grimacing as the morning light hit her eyes, Nikki grumbled, "I really don't have a choice now, do I? I might as well get use to it."
"Well, I think I've found something that will cheer you up." Barbara handed the borrowed mobile to Nikki.
"What'd you want me to do? Call a bloody sex service? It's about the only thing that would make me smile right now."
"You've almost got it, actually. The only change is that you would be the one answering the calls."
For the first time that morning, Nikki got out of bed. Her mouth dropped open and confusion covered her face. "Have you gone mad? You think helping perverted bastards get off will cheer me up? Have you forgotten that I only date women?" Shaking her head in bewilderment, she flung the mobile on her bed. "Larkhall's finally gotten to you, hasn't it?"
"Nikki, listen. It'll help get your mind off your problems and might even make you smile. At the very least it will make you remember why you like women. Try it, for a couple of days. Please?"
"Yes, Barbara? Everything ok?"
The emotions of the morning caused the inmate to pause before replying.
"I'm sorry Miss. Yes, everything's fine. I just wanted to offer a suggestion."
Helen eye's narrowed and her face hardened. "Barbara, I made it clear that I can't speak to you about "
"No, Miss, I understand. I thought you should have this." She handed Helen a folded piece of paper. "Look it over tonight, after you're home. I promise it will help."
Helen opened her flat's door and threw her coat on the couch. After such an emotionally charged day, she wanted nothing more than to settle in with a bottle of wine. She took off her shoes, and began to change into something more comfortable. Putting her hand into her pockets to empty the contents, she came across the paper Barbara had insisted she take. Upon unfolding it she saw:
020 8547 5428
Oh what the hell. Couldn't do any harm, I guess.
Picking up the phone, Helen dialed the numbers.
"Uhh yes, hello, you looking for a good time?"
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