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Franky had spent the rest of the morning and first half of the afternoon waiting to be questioned. They had put her in a small room with just a table and three chairs. They had removed her handcuffs before leaving her in the room, but she didn’t feel like any less of a prisoner. She knew the door was locked, and that she was stuck in there until they were ready to let her out. At last, she heard the sound of keys in the door and the 2 detectives, that had taken her from Bridget’s house this morning, walked into the room.

The male detective spoke first. “Ms. Doyle, as you may remember, I’m Detective Lewis, and this is Detective Anders.” He motioned towards the female detective. “Before we start, we are required to inform you that this interview is being recorded, and you may stop answering questions at any time and request a lawyer. Now, as we said when we picked you up this morning, we are here to question you about an incident involving Kim Chang early this morning at approximately 1am. Do you know Chang?”

“Yeah, I know her,” Franky answered, arms crossed.

“What’s the nature of your relationship with her?” Detective Lewis asked.

“She’s an acquaintance, I guess.” The two detectives were silent, waiting to see if Franky would continue. She decided that since she’d done nothing wrong, she might as well lay everything out. “She was in a big group I used to hang out with and we partied a bit. I fucked her once and then agreed to go on a date, which I ended up cancelling.”

“How long ago was the sexual encounter and cancelled date?” Detective Anders inquired.

“A little over two months ago.” The brunette remembered their encounter in the bathroom of a bar was about a week and a half before she met Bridget.

“Has there been any contact with her since then?”

“Yeah, loads. She wouldn’t leave me alone.” Franky was getting irritated. “What’s this all about anyway?”

“Ms. Doyle, Kim Chang was found beaten and unconscious in an alleyway, just a couple of blocks from her house. We have a witness that was able to give a description of you and your car and says he saw Chang run from your car, into the alley and that you chased after her. He says you were gone for approximately five minutes, during which time he heard numerous loud noises coming from said alley. When you emerged from the alley, alone, he asked if you were having girlfriend troubles and you replied, and I quote, ’something like that’, after which you got into your car and left. He says he waited for approximately fifteen minutes for her to return and when she didn’t, he then walked down the alley and turned left, going maybe twenty feet, where he found her unconscious.” Detective Lewis placed the sheet of paper he was reading from back on the table and looked blankly at Franky. “So that is what this is all about. Do you have anything to say?”

“I didn’t beat her up!” Franky knew she was showing more irritation than she should, but Kim had been fucking with her life for months now and she couldn’t catch a break.

“But you did follow her into an alleyway and then come out alone?” Detective Anders asked, leaning back in her chair.

“Yes.” Franky gritted out. “But it wasn’t like that!”

“Then tell us what it was like. Start from the beginning.” Detective Lewis took out a notebook and pen and waited for Franky to speak.

She went through how she had cancelled the date with Kim and had started dating Bridget and how Bridget had been caring for Emily. She told them about the time that Kim came to the centre and made a scene before one of her classes and how she’d showed up at her apartment after her first date with Bridget, how she’d had to block her number after that. She told them about the morning before their day at the park and how she’d confronted her in the coffee shop then followed her to Bridget’s house and left a note on her car threatening Emily. She told them about the night after the bar when Kim had shown up and insulted Bridget and then she came to what had happened just hours earlier.

“Why didn’t you report any of this to the police?” Detective Anders asked.

“No offence, but in my experience, the police don’t really do shit.” Franky was getting more defensive by the minute.

“Tell us about last evening when she arrived at your house.”

“I was in bed with Bridget and I heard a sound, like someone coming in through the front door. So I got up and went out to see who it was. Turned out it was her. So I pinned her to the wall and asked her what the fuck she was doing there. She got out of my grip but I still had a hold of her wrist so I pulled her back and put her against the wall again. She asked Bridget where Em was, said she wanted me to know what it felt like to lose someone I cared about.” Franky felt the tears in her eyes. “She was going to take a fucking kid because she couldn’t accept that I didn’t want to be with her.” She wiped the tears from her face. “Bridget wanted to call the cops but as soon as she threatened to do it, Kim broke down and I just let her slump to the ground. She was a mess and I, stupidly, felt bad for her. I know she’s been in trouble before so I just offered to drive her home instead. I told her this was the last time I was doing her any favours. So we get almost to her place and I asked her why she kept coming around. I said I knew I was an ass for not returning her calls way back when this all started and then she started in on how she thought I loved her. I told her that to me, it was just a one time fuck, and I didn’t have any feelings for her. I was always clear about that with her. She wanted another chance with me, and I said I was in a relationship and it wasn’t going to happen. She got mad and got out of the car and ran into the alley. It’s a bad neighbourhood, obviously, so I went after her. I wanted her to get home. When I got to where the alley split, she was gone. I went a few feet in each direction, and nothing. So I gave up and went home.”

“What about the noises the witness heard before you reemerged and the scrapes on your face and hand?” Detective Lewis pointed to the witness statement that he had placed on the table earlier.

“My face? I ran into some pallets that were leaning against the building. My hand? Got pissed off and punched said pallets and a couple of them fell over.” Franky shrugged.

“So you have anger problems?” Detective Lewis asked.

“I did when I was younger. I got help for them and now, it’s all good. But last night, yeah, I was angry.” She saw the detectives glance at each other. “I didn’t beat her up though. The only time I touched her was when she was in the house. She was fine the last time I saw her.”

There was a knock on the door and Detective Anders got up to answer it. She spoke with whoever was outside for a moment then closed it and turned to Franky. “We need to step out for a minute, but don’t go anywhere.”

“No chance of that, hey?” Franky motioned to the lock on the door and she once again found herself sitting in the small room, alone.

The detective returned a few moments later with another officer.

“After considering your past record, it has been determined that you will be placed on remand at Wentworth until we finish our investigation. You’ll stay here for the night and then be moved over in the morning with the regular prisoner transport.” Detective Lewis stated. “Any questions?”

“Yeah! What the fuck do you mean by ‘finish your investigation’? I told you what happened last night!” Franky had stood up and the officer stepped towards her, cautioning her to calm down.

“Ms. Doyle, we went to your apartment first this morning to see if you were home. We spoke with a Mrs. Watson who lives down the hall from you. Do you know her?” Detective Lewis was once again reading from his notes.

“Yeah, she’s the nosey old cow who never sleeps. Always poking her nose into everyone’s business.” Franky huffed.

“She said she’s witnessed fights, on more than one occasion, between you and the victim.”

“Yeah, and I told you about those.” Franky threw her arms out to the side then let them drop.

“We will be getting a search warrant for you apartment. Is there anything you want to tell us about before we find it?” Detective Anders asked the brunette.

“Nah, just be prepared for the drawer in the bedside table.” Franky winked at her.

“Okay, well, we’ll start some paperwork, and we’ll need to take photographs of the wounds on your face and hand. After that, you’ll be taken to a cell for the night.”

The officer led her out of the room and down the hall to the processing area. She knew she should probably ask to call Bridget, but she didn’t know what she could say to make anything better at this point, so she pushed that thought aside.

********

Bridget was awake early the next morning, and she could hear that Vera was already in the shower. She reached out her hand and placed it on the empty spot beside her where Franky usually slept. They’d only been apart a few nights since they’d started dating. She knew some people would say maybe that wasn’t healthy, and they were moving too fast, but Bridget had never felt more sure of anything than she was about her and Franky.

She was both dreading and looking forward to work that day. Dreading it because she knew Franky would be trapped behind those bars, and looking forward to it because she needed to see the brunette, and right now, that could only happen within the walls of Wentworth. She knew everything that Franky had told her about what had been going on with Kim, and she believed her. She knew the incident the officers had been talking about must have been something to do with Kim, but she knew in her heart that Franky would never hurt her. There was however, a very small part of her that had to admit that she had been worried for a moment when Kim had admitted that she had come for Emily. She remembered how upset Franky was when the woman had come at her at the brunette’s apartment that night, and she would be even more protective of the child. Bridget played the only card she had at that moment, threatening to call the police. She knew Franky didn’t want them involved, but she refused to stand there and watch the woman she loves kill someone and go to prison. Relief had flooded over her when the brunette had released her hold on Kim and let her fall to the floor.

The blonde got up and laid out some clothes for Franky on the bed. She knew that she was probably still wearing the outfit she had on when they had picked her up the day before. There was a small knock on the door.

“Come in,” the blonde called.

“Hey, good morning” Vera said, poking her head just inside the door. “I was just making sure you were awake, and you are so, uh, I’ll go and start on breakfast.” She was about to close the door and leave when Bridget called her back in.

“Vera? Come in for a minute.” The small brunette stepped into Bridget’s bedroom. “Is it okay if I take her some clothes?”

Vera thought for a moment, “Yes, but I think I should take them in with me.” The blonde opened her mouth to protest when her friend continued. “I know you want to see her, and I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen as soon as possible. As soon as she walks through those gates though, she is an inmate and you are a member of staff. I know that a couple of the officers know about you two, and I trust them, but the rest of the staff, and the inmates especially, absolutely cannot know that she is linked with you. It puts a target on her back and it puts your job at risk.”

“Lucy Gambaro knows, or at least thinks she knows,” Bridget said, remembering the day that Franky had visited her in her office. “She said she saw her leaving with the bag from the restaurant and figured that we had a lunch date.”

Vera closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, sighing. “But you didn’t confirm anything?”

“Of course not!” The blonde would never give away such personal details to an inmate.

“Okay, then she can’t prove it, and I’m sure Franky will deny it as well if she confronts her about it. I’ll keep an eye on the situation though.” Vera looked down at the clothes laid out on the bed. “Put these in a bag, okay? I’ll get them to her as soon as she arrives.” Bridget nodded. “I’m going to go start on the food while you get showered and dressed.”

“Thanks again, Vera. For everything, for staying last night.” The tears were threatening in Bridget’s eyes again.

“Hey, hey, we’re friends, that’s what we do. I’ll see you out there in a bit, yeah?” The blonde nodded and Vera exited the bedroom, closing the door behind her.

As Bridget packed the clothes into a bag, she suddenly wondered if she was packing too much or too little. If she packed too much, she thought that Franky might think that Bridget thought she might be in there for awhile. That it would mean that her girlfriend didn’t believe in her innocence. If she packed too little though, then Franky may not have what she needed and Bridget wanted her time there to be as comfortable as possible. If it was possible for a prison to be comfortable at all. She opted for an amount somewhere in the middle. Not so much that it looked like Bridget expected her to be there for a long time, but enough that she would be okay for a few days until her girlfriend was able to bring her more things if she had to.

Bridget brought the bag out and set it by the door for Vera to take with her when she left. They sat and ate breakfast together. Bridget was grateful that her friend had cooked for her, but right now, she would have done anything for one of Franky’s omelettes.

“Are you okay to drive yourself in today or do you want to come with me?” Vera asked as they were clearing the table.

“I’m okay to go in by myself. You’ve done so much already and I don’t want you to have to drive all the way back here at the end of the day.” The real reason Bridget wanted to take her own car was that she wasn’t entirely sure she’d make it through the whole day without leaving early, but she didn’t want to tell Vera that.

Her friend gave her a hug and picked up her bag and the bag for Franky and headed towards the door. “I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.”

********

Franky woke up that morning when a guard came to get her from her holding cell.

“The Brawler is here to take you to the prison, let’s go.” He waited for her to get out of bed, then walked her down the hall and out to the waiting van.

There was only one other prisoner in it; a small, redhead who didn’t look to be any more than eighteen or nineteen years old. Neither of them spoke, and the only sounds during the entire drive were those of the redhead sobbing.

The van pulled up to the prison and stopped. When the doors opened, Franky was met by Vera and Will. The redhead stepped out of the van first and Vera pointed her towards the entrance of the prison.

Franky stepped down onto the pavement. “Hey, Gov. Will.”

“Franky, in here, he’s Mr. Jackson.” Vera didn’t like having to correct Franky but she didn’t want her to stick out to the other inmates.

“Yeah, sure.” The brunette had had a long, mostly sleepless night and she wasn’t in the mood to argue with anyone.

“Mr. Jackson is going to take you through the admissions procedure then I’ll come down and see you, okay?” Vera wanted to make sure Franky got her clothes from Bridget before she was put into general. It would look less suspicious for her to walk in with them rather than to receive a delivery from the governor on her first day there.

 

********

Bridget had cleared her schedule for the morning, and sat waiting for Vera to call her. At around 10am, there was a knock on her door. “Come in,” she called out.

Vera opened the door and stepped into her office. “She’s just arrived.”

“Is she okay? How does she look?” Bridget was immediately on her feet and around the desk.

“She looks okay, but tired. Will is taking her through admissions now and then I’m going to go back to see her. I’ll give her the clothes you sent, and she can take them in with her in her basket.” The governor hesitated on telling Bridget her next decision. “Bridget, I’ve decided to allow you to do her intake psych evaluation, you don’t actually have to do it but that’s the only way I could allow you to spend time with her right now without it looking suspicious. I’ll have the external psych do a proper evaluation when he comes in on Thursday. I know you two need to talk. You have to make it look like it’s just a routine thing though. Will will be the officer with her and he’ll leave once you get there. He’ll be in the office across the hall so just let him know when you’re done talking, okay?”

“Oh, Vera, thank you! I know this is going against a lot of rules.” Bridget gave her friend a hug.

Vera put her hands on Bridget’s shoulders and gently pushed her back. “I’m your friend, but I’m also the governor. I will try to help you as much and for as long as I can, but you have to promise that you will keep things quiet. Don’t put me in a position where I have to be the bad guy.”

“I promise, Vera. I promise.”

“Okay, I’ll have the paperwork for her sent up and then just wait for my call.” Vera turned and walked out the door, leaving Bridget alone again.

********

Franky sat with Will, going through the admissions paperwork.

“What happened, Franky? I never thought I’d see you in here.” He was typing her information into the computer while he talked.

“The fucking system. That’s what happened.” Franky leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms.

“Okay, we’re almost done here. I’m going to take you across the hall and Vera wants to come talk to you, alright?”

Franky let Will lead her into the intake room across from the admissions office and once they were inside, Will radioed Vera, saying she was needed in admissions. When Vera arrived, he left and went back to his desk.

“Bridget sent some clothes for you.” Vera placed the bag of clothes on the table beside Franky. “You’ll be given a basket and a few things to take in with you, I suggest you put these in there.”

“Why didn’t she bring them to me herself?” All night Franky had thought only of seeing her girlfriend when she arrived in the morning and now Bridget had sent a messenger instead.

“She wanted to. Here’s what you have to understand now though, and I’ve said the same to her; if you are linked to her in any more than a normal inmate/staff way, then you will be targeted by other inmates. They will exploit that relationship every chance they get, and both you and her will be in danger. On the professional side of it, for her, it could mean the end of her career. I will help you however I can, but I won’t jeopardize anyone’s safety in doing so, okay?”

Franky nodded and she knew that Vera meant what she said. She was serious about her job, and even though Franky was someone relatively new in her life, the brunette knew that Vera was serious about protecting Bridget.

“I just want to see her.” Franky sniffed and wiped away a tear that was threatening to fall.

“I know.” The governor placed a comforting hand on Franky’s arm. “I’ve arranged for it to look like she’s coming to do your intake psych evaluation. You’ll be able to spend some time together, here. I’ll have the external psych do a proper evaluation in a couple of days. It’s the best I can do for now.”

“Thanks.” What the brunette really wanted right now was to be told that she could leave with Bridget, and go home to their bed where she could hold her for days. A few minutes in a cold room was no comparison, but it would have to do for now.

********

Bridget’s phone rang and she picked it up almost immediately. “Hello?”

“Bridget, you can go see her now. She’s in intake room one. Thirty minutes max, okay?” Vera told her friend.

“Okay, okay thanks,” Bridget said hurriedly, hanging up the phone as she rushed out the door.

She arrived at the intake room and rushed inside. The blinds were already drawn and, even though she knew it was against policy, she reached behind her and flipped the lock on the door. She didn’t think anyone would be trying to get in anyway, but she didn’t want to take the chance.

“Baby.” She reached out to put her arms around Franky, who had stood the moment she entered the room.

“I’m so sorry, Gidge,” the brunette said in between kisses. “I’m so sorry.”

“Baby, what happened? What are they saying you did?” Bridget held her girlfriend’s face, wiping away tears with her thumbs.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you before the police came. Last night, when I was driving Kim home, she bolted from the car when we were stopped at a red light. We were arguing and she just up and ran. I went after her, down an alley but I lost her, so I just came home. Someone found her beaten and unconscious not long after I left and they have a witness who’s saying it was me.” Franky shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.

“But it wasn’t?” The blonde didn’t want to ask but she had to. She had to hear Franky say that it wasn’t her.

“What? Of course not!” The brunette held Bridget’s stare and the psychologist wasn’t able to see any indication that she was lying.

“What happened to your face?” The older woman ran her thumb over the scrape on Franky’s cheek again. It no longer looked raw but it was definitely red and sore.

“The alley was mostly dark. I ran into some fucking pallets. Then I got pissed off and punched one of them.” She held up her hand, showing her scraped knuckles. “You believe me, right?”

Bridget took the younger woman’s hand and kissed each battered knuckle. “Yes, baby, I believe you, but that’s not what’s important. We have to make them believe you too.”

“You believing me is what’s important to me.” Franky pulled her in for another kiss then held her close while Bridget rested her head in the crook of her neck. “I should have told you everything right when I got home.”

“It’s okay, baby. We just need to figure this out.” She wrapped her arms tighter around the brunette. “I’m going to schedule you in for some counselling sessions with me. It’s not much, but it will give us some time alone.”

“I’m not good at therapy, Gidge.” Franky tried weakly to make a joke.

Bridget gave a small laugh and glanced up at the clock on the wall. “Why don’t you change into something I brought you and I’ll take what you’re wearing home to be washed?”

“Are you saying I stink?” Franky laughed, pushing her away playfully.

“No, I-” Bridget began.

“I’m kidding, Gidge.” Franky laughed, taking off her t-shirt and throwing it at the blonde. She selected a clean outfit from the clothes Bridget had packed, and was just finished changing when Will came back to get her.

He knocked lightly and Bridget opened the door for him. “Sorry, Vera said a half hour then I had to come get you if you weren’t out.”

“No problem, Will.” Bridget gathered her papers, which were left untouched on the table, along with Franky’s dirty clothes, and headed to the door. She turned just before leaving. “Don’t forget your sessions, okay?” Franky nodded and the blonde was gone.

“Here’s your basket with some essentials.” He handed her a frosted plastic laundry basket with shampoo, soap, towels, washcloths, toothpaste and a toothbrush. “If you want anything else, there’s a special spend once a month and you can request it then. You can keep your own clothes for now or let one of the officers know, and they can have some teals brought over.”

“Thanks, Mr. Jackson.” Franky started putting her extra clothes into the basket when she felt Will come over and stood beside her.

“I know Vera said you had to call me that, but I’m still Will, and you’re still the Franky I met at Bridget’s birthday party, and who actually got Vera out on the dance floor at the club that night. Who we are doesn’t change just because we walk through those gates. Just keep your head down and we’ll get you through this, okay?” Franky nodded. “I’ll take you to your cell now.”

She followed him out of admissions and through the hallways. They finally arrived at a room, sectioned off from the main hallway by a black iron gate, that contained a common area with a table and chairs, couches, and a TV. There were several smaller rooms off on each side.

“H2, home sweet home. You’re second on the left. Lunch is in an hour.” Will turned and left as Franky entered her new home for who knew how long.