Joan sighed as she stood under the warm water. She was tired, but a late night shower helped her relax. It was one of the few times she was allowed real privacy. That was one of the things she missed most about life outside of prison. Stroking her pregnant belly, she tried to imagine what her life would be like if she was in her home. What would life be like for her and her child?
She imagined a little girl, one that looked very much like she did as a child and wondered if her father’s influence would seep through. She didn’t want her daughter to have the same fears and anxieties she felt as a young girl. It would be different with her. She wanted to pass on her love of opera and classical music, literature, and of course fencing.
I’ll never be able to do those things as long as I’m here. She’ll never be able to have a normal life. Who will take care of her when I can’t?
She had no family, and there was no way in hell she was ever going to allow the father anywhere near her child. She never wanted to ask Vera to take on such a burden, but she wasn’t sure she had a choice now.
After rinsing her hair, she stepped out of the shower to wrap a towel around herself. Kaz stood watch nearby in order to make sure nothing happened to her.
So it came as a huge surprise that Gambaro and her boys walked into the showers. Joan’s body tensed as she tightened the towel around her.
“What are you doing here?”
“Kaz was stupid to be alone. We came here to finish what we started. No one goes through here without a little welcome from me and the boys. And I’d say you’re way overdo, Freak.”
Kaz limped into the room, sporting a black and blue bruised eye. There was blood trickling down her busted lip.
Joan’s eyes widened when Kaz ran up and jumped onto Gambaro’s back. The other women turned towards them, beating on Kaz as she squeezed her arms around Gambaro’s neck. The older woman’s face was turning blue, and Joan began feeling rage. She grabbed a bar of soap and wrapped it in a towel. Pulling one of the women by her hair, she swung the bar of soap into her stomach. This was a very painful method to use against someone, and she wanted them to feel as much pain as possible.
It didn’t take long for her own towel to fall to the floor. Kaz was wrestling Gambaro to the floor, and Joan raised the soap again to strike one of the other women, and paused as they both ran away. That left the three of them alone.
“You’re pregnant? What kind of person would fuck you?”
Joan narrowed her eyes and Kaz held Gambaro’s arms tightly. She wrapped the towel even more tightly around the bar of soap and swung it hard into Gambaro’s stomach. She wheezed and coughed, doubling over.
“Joan, that is enough!” Kaz said.
“She’s not dying. It’s not over until I say it is. She needs to learn her lesson. I think after everything she’s done to others in this prison, she can withstand some pain,” Joan sneered.
Gambaro wheezed, bending her body to avoid being hit again. “I almost feel sorry for the little shit. It’ll have a cunt of a mother like you. But nothing makes my skin crawl more than thinking of a mini Freak running around here.” She hit Kaz in her side, breaking free as she charged after Joan.
Joan swung the towel of soap and hit Gambaro again. She grit her teeth as she felt the rage building inside her.
Gambaro needs to hurt.
She bent to hit her again but Gambaro swung her leg out. Joan stumbled as she lost her balance on the wet floor. Panic set in as she twisted her body and tried to break her fall. She winced when she landed on her side.
Her body hurt, but she was more worried about her baby. She didn’t land on her belly, but a fall of any kind is dangerous. She touched her stomach, desperately needing to see if she could feel her baby move.
She heard movement and her eyes flickered over to Gambaro who grabbed the towel of soap. She smiled as she wrapped it tighter in the towel.
“We don’t need two of you around here.”
Joan twisted her body away, trying to grab anything to push her upright.
“Juice!” Kaz yelled, running towards them.
Joan took advantage of the moment as Gambaro was gearing up to hit Kaz. Joan grabbed a shower curtain to keep her balance. It wasn’t exactly difficult to get up on her own, but with her growing belly and the slippery floor, it made it even more of a struggle.
Joan breathed hard and slowly moved forward. She yanked Gambaro by her hood and brought it over her head. Using the strength she had left, she pulled the towel and soap away from Gambaro. She wrapped her arm tightly around Gambaro’s neck and spoke low in her ear.
“I’m not afraid to kill you. In fact I think everyone here would congratulate me for it. If you so much as try to touch me or harm my baby again, I’ll make sure that you never get to use that filthy tongue of yours.”
Joan tightened her arm even more, feeling Gambaro wheezing and growing weak in her arms.
“Joan! You’ll kill her! Think about how many more years you’ll get,” Kaz said.
“I could just finish this now. It would be so easy.”
“Yes, you could. But they’d know you did it. Don’t waste your life on her.”
Joan grunted and let go of Gambaro. Kaz moved in front of Joan. “Are we done, Juice?! You know what will happen if Bea hears about this!”
“Yeh, we’re done,” she mumbled as she rubbed her throat.
”Good,” she said flatly. Joan winced as she tried to put on her robe and Kaz moved to help her. “We need to leave. You should go to Medical.”
Walking outside of the showers, Joan shook her head. “That won’t be necessary,” she said quietly.
“You fell in there. You need to be checked out.”
“I fell on my side, and other than feeling sore I don’t think there is anything wrong.” Joan was afraid of what she would find out if she went. Even if it was on her side, she wasn’t young and her age already made this a high risk pregnancy.
“Joan, please just go.”
Joan stroked her stomach and took a shuddering breath. Please let her be okay.
She was nervous during the ultrasound, but the nurse assured her that everything was fine.
“Are you sure?” She asked anxiously.
“Yes, you can see her here,” she said and smiled.
Joan watched the image. It was still hard for her to imagine that as her child. She felt tears well up in her eyes.
“I thought I might have lost her,” she said quietly.
“No, you fell on your side, and our bodies protect the baby from these types of falls. You’re nearing the end of your second trimester. It’s more later during the third trimester that these types of accidents can be dangerous for the both of you. Not that you shouldn’t be careful now, but you don’t have to worry. Everything is perfectly fine in there.”
“Thank you,” she said softly. She gently stroked her stomach, and felt herself growing very tired.
“I’m sorry, I’m just so tired lately.”
“That’s okay. Why don’t you just rest for a little bit until you can go back to your cell?”
Joan nodded as she tried to make herself more comfortable. Her body was so tired and she slowly closed her eyes.
She was half asleep when she felt soft fingers stroking her hair and forehead. Opening her eyes, she stared up at Vera.
“What are you doing here?”
“I heard that you had a fall in the shower. I’m just making sure you’re okay.”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
“Is there a coincidence that Proctor and Gambaro are also both in Medical?” She asked carefully.
Joan glanced over at the two women, and then back at Vera. “I don’t know anything about that. I fell. I’m rather clumsy these days. Are you here to see how I’m doing or to interrogate me?”
Vera sighed. “I was worried about you. I just want to know what happened. I know you’re not telling me the truth.”
“I can’t tell you everything that goes on here.”
“I’m only asking so I can protect you.”
Joan smiled sadly. “I know. I can’t tell you, Vera. Not right now…”
Vera sighed, and leaned down to whisper in her ear. “Do you want me to see you later tonight?”
Joan nodded. “Yes, please. I don’t want to be alone.”
“You won’t be. I promise I’ll always be here for you,” Vera said gently.