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Bridget had only just arrived at work when there was a knock on her office door. “Come in,” she called.

“Bridget.” It was Vera. “The police are here to interview you about Franky.” Normally, the governor would have made small talk with her friend, but she was feeling awkward about the whole situation with Franky, and she hadn’t had a chance to tell Bridget what she’d learned yet. She had cancelled the session that Bridget had tried to schedule yesterday with the brunette, but she knew she wouldn’t get away with that for long, nor did she want to. She and the blonde had always had a very open friendship, and this went against that.

“Why? I didn’t do her psych assessment. I can’t even seem to schedule a session with her.”

“I don’t think they want to talk to you in a professional capacity.” Vera couldn’t meet her friend’s eyes.

“Oh, right. Okay then.” Bridget grabbed her swipe card and keys and followed Vera to one of the meeting rooms.

Vera opened the door for Bridget and the blonde stepped inside.

“Ms. Westfall, I’m Detective Lewis and this is Detective Anders,” the man introduced himself and his partner. “If you’d please take a seat. We just have a few questions we’d like to ask you.” He motioned to the chair on the opposite side of the table as both detectives sat down.

Bridget sat down. “I assume this is nothing I’ll need a lawyer for?”

“No, ma’am,” Detective Anders replied. “You’re not a suspect. We just need some information about the events leading up to the night of the incident and we have a few questions about what happened at the house that night.”

Bridget nodded and Detective Lewis began the interview. “Can you state for the record the nature of your relationship with Francesca Doyle?”

“She’s my girlfriend.” Bridget would give short, to the point answers, and nothing more. She knew they might be looking for anything they could find to poke holes in Franky’s statement.

“And how long has this relationship been going on?” Detective Lewis was making notes as he went along.

“About two months.”

“And in that time, have you ever seen her become violent or aggressive?” He had his pen poised over the notebook paper, waiting for Bridget’s response.

The blonde thought about her answer. If she said yes, she’d be helping them build their case against her girlfriend. If she said no, she’d be lying, and if they found out, her entire statement could be thrown out and she could be charged with obstructing an investigation.

“She restrained an intruder in our home.” Bridget reasoned that this wasn’t the whole truth, but it wasn’t a lie either.

“Are you referring to the night when Kim Chang entered your house?” Detective Anders asked.

“Yes.”

“And at no other time have you seen her become violent or aggressive?” Bridget remembered the night at Franky’s apartment where the brunette ended up punching the door frame. Detective Lewis continued, “We have a statement from a neighbour in Franky’s apartment building. It states that she witnessed an argument between Franky and a woman who fits the victim’s description. She says there was also a woman there matching your description. Was that you, Ms. Westfall?”

“I was at Franky’s apartment the night that Kim showed up there, yes.” She crossed her arms and sat up straighter in the chair.

“The witness said Franky yelled at her to go back into her apartment and that she heard sounds of a physical altercation. Was there a physical altercation that night?”

“No.”

“Are you sure, Ms. Westfall?” It was Detective Anders’ turn to try for an answer from the blonde.

“I’m sure.” Franky punched a wall, not a person, and in Bridget’s mind that was far from a physical altercation.

Both Detectives regarded her and she met both of their stares with unwavering confidence.

“Very well, let’s move on to the night in question, shall we?” Detective Lewis shuffled some papers until he came to the report he was looking for. “Ms. Doyle stated that you were both in bed when she heard someone enter the house. When she went into the hallway, she saw the victim and restrained her. There was an exchange that took place, which ended with Ms. Doyle leaving with the victim. Is that correct so far?” Bridget nodded. “Do you know approximately how long it was before she returned back to your house?”

“She was back a little over an hour later.” Bridget knew she had been gone exactly sixty-seven minutes because she had watched every one of them tick by.

“How was she when she got back?”

“She was agitated and upset which is to be expected, given the situation.”

“And what was the situation?” Detective Lewis asked.

“Someone had just broken into our home, and admitted they were looking to kidnap my five year old niece as a way to punish Franky for cancelling a date. So yeah, I think it’s expected that she’d be upset. She loves Em very much.” The blonde knew she was getting emotional and she took a deep breath to calm herself.

“Did she tell you what happened in the time that she was gone?” It was Detective Anders’ turn to take over.

Bridget thought about this for a moment. Franky had not told her that night, or gotten the chance to tell her in the morning. She had only heard that part of the story when she was doing her fake intake psych evaluation. Does she admit that she talked with Franky after she got in here and risk putting Vera in an awkward position or does she lie and say she doesn’t know what happened?

She opted for a partial truth again. “She told me after she was arrested, yes.” She left out the details of when and where.

“Ms. Westfall, are you aware that the drive from your house to Kim’s apartment and back should have only taken about forty minutes?” Bridget didn’t know where Kim lived, but she knew that this fact alone made things look very bad for her girlfriend.”She never mentioned what she did with those extra twenty or so minutes?” The blonde sat with a level stare, not saying anything. “Those extra minutes would have been enough for her to stop by her apartment on the way back to your place. Did she mention if that’s what she did?”

“No,” Bridget didn’t have an answer for the missing time and she wanted this to be over. “Look, I’ve told you everything I know so I’d like to get back to work, yeah? I’ve got appointments scheduled for the rest of the morning.”

The detectives looked at each other and Detective Anders shrugged. “Sure, just don’t go too far. We may have more questions for you later on.”

Bridget gave a quick, single nod of her head, got up and exited the room.

********

“Doyle!” Franky was startled from her thoughts by Vera calling her name when she suddenly appeared in the brunette’s doorway. “The police are here to see you.”

“What’s this about?” The brunette had already done her interview with the detectives at the station. She figured this had something to do with their investigation, but she was confident that they wouldn’t turn up anything she hadn’t already told them about. She briefly thought that maybe they were letting her go, because they realized they had the wrong person, but for some reason she had a bad feeling about it. “Am I going to be able to schedule a session with Bridget today?”

“Probably not. She doesn’t have any free slots today.” Vera escorted her to one of the private interview rooms in the visitor’s area where Detectives Lewis and Anders were waiting for her. They had a couple of files laid out on the table as well as a stack of photographs.

“Have a seat, Ms. Doyle,” Detective Lewis said, taking a seat on the opposite side of the table with his partner.

Franky sat down and crossed her arms.

Detective Anders took the lead in the questioning this time. “As you may remember, the last time we talked, we informed you that we were going to be conducting a search of your apartment. It was based off of statements made by your neighbours, and we have a witness, who was on the street that night. Both suggested that you had violent encounters with the victim, Kim Chang. Do you remember when we asked you if there was anything you wanted to tell us about before we went in there?”

“Yeah, I remember. Find anything fun?” Franky knew she was probably provoking them more than she should, but was tired of being accused of something she didn’t do.

“I’m not sure what your definition of fun is, but we did find this.” Anders slid a photograph in front of Franky. “Look familiar?”

It was a picture of a kitchen towel with blood on it. When Franky saw it, she knew exactly where it came from. The night that Kim had shown up after her date with Bridget, she’d given it to her to wrap her hand, and Kim had thrown it back in her face before she left. When Bridget called, she had tossed it aside and left her apartment. She must have forgotten to gather it up for the laundry; not surprising considering how little time she had spent there since that night. The brunette knew that this looked really bad, and she was torn as to what her answer should be.

“Remember the night I told you she came to my place after Bridget left, and she threw shit around?” She decided she had nothing to lose at this point. “She broke wine glasses. When she picked up a broken piece to throw at me again, she cut her hand. I gave her the towel to wrap it and she threw it back at me on her way out.”

“In your statement you said that incident occurred almost two months ago. Why is the towel still there after all this time?” Detective Anders was referring back to the report of Franky’s statement from the night she was brought in. Franky shrugged. “Here’s what we think happened. We think you stopped by your apartment on your way back to your girlfriend’s house, and cleaned the victim’s blood off you. That’s where that towel came from, not from the incident two months ago.”

“That’s bullshit!” Franky spat back at them.

“We interviewed Ms. Westfall. She stated that you were gone a little over an hour and that when you returned, you were agitated and upset. That leaves over twenty minutes that are unaccounted for. Care to explain?”

“I took the long way back. I needed time to cool down.” It was the truth. Franky had taken every backstreet she knew on the way back to Bridget’s to give herself time to clear her mind a bit.

“Any way you can prove that?” Detective Lewis asked.

Franky threw up her hands and let them drop on the table. “Why don’t you just ask Kim what happened? Or is she saying that I did it?”

“Ms. Chang isn’t saying anything. She’s in a coma.” Detective Anders put another photo in front of Franky. It was a picture of Kim that had been taken at the hospital. Her face was badly beaten, bruised and swollen, and she was hooked up to various machines.

Franky looked away and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath and looked across the table. “You think I did this?” She gestured towards the picture and the officers remained silent. “I can barely fucking look at this picture, and you think I did it?”

“We have to go by the evidence we have, Ms. Doyle,” Detective Anders said. “The reason for our visit today was to inform you of the additional evidence we found during the search of your apartment and to inform you that, based on said evidence, we are formally charging you with the assault on Kim Chang. If her injuries result in death, we will be adding a murder charge as well.”

“What the fuck?! I didn’t do this!” Franky slammed her fist on the table.

“Then you had better pray that she wakes up and tells us that,” Detective Anders said, gathering their papers and photographs.

Detective Lewis motioned to the officer on duty to let them know they were done, and Franky could go back to her cell. “We’ll keep the governor informed of the victim’s condition,” he said on his way out of the room.

********

Bridget was just finishing going through the file on her next client of the day, Hannah Jones, when there was a knock at the door. “Yes?”

The door opened and an officer led Hannah into the office. “Jones is here for her one o’clock appointment.”

“Uh, yes, thank you.” The officer shut the door and Bridget got up to greet the inmate. “G’day Hannah, I’m Bridget. Have a seat.” The blonde always tried to greet the inmates warmly. She wanted them to feel like her office was a safe space where they could talk about anything that was on their mind. “You’ve been here a couple of weeks. How are you settling in?”

“Alright, I guess.” Bridget was quiet, hoping to encourage the young woman to continue with her thoughts. “The people here are okay. Some are nicer than others though.”

“I think that could be a true statement anytime you have a large group of people. Is there anything in particular that’s happened that you’d like to talk about?” Bridget sat back in her chair, ready to listen.

“There’s someone….special. She’s new, but I feel like we have a connection. Is that odd?” Hannah was thinking, of course, of her interactions with Franky, and what she had witnessed that night in Franky’s cell.

“I think that sometimes people come into your life, and there’s an instant attraction or connection that’s not easily explained. Have you discussed how you’re feeling with her?” The blonde knew it wasn’t always possible to be open about feelings and emotions in a prison setting, but she always advocated for it when it was an option.

“We’re definitely on the same page.” Hannah’s face lit up.

“Well, that’s great then!” Bridget said, glancing down at the file sitting on her lap. Normally, she didn’t like to be distracted with paperwork or taking notes during sessions, but with new inmates, she sometimes found it useful to make sure she didn’t miss anything important.

While she was scanning her list of questions, Hannah continued. “I just feel like we’ve got this connection that’s different from anyone else.” Bridget sat back, letting the young woman lead the session. “She’s so beautiful, and she has this tattoo on her ribs and stomach. I think it’s really sensitive because she likes to have it touched. I can tell it turns her on; running fingers up and down the branches and around the flowers.” The blonde shifted in her chair, she did not like this at all. “And how she bites her lip right at the end. I think she’s trying to stay quiet.”

“Okay, I’m going to stop you there. I’m not sure how these details are relevant to our session. Things like this are usually private between the two people involved.” Bridget knew that sometimes inmates were trying to get a reaction out of her; to see how far they could push her. Usually, this wouldn’t have bothered her in the least, however, she knew the details that Hannah was listing all too well. She was talking about Franky. The blonde was confident that Franky wouldn’t cheat on her, but how could this other woman know these details? Had she slept with Franky on the outside before Bridget had met her? She felt the jealousy bubbling up inside of her.

“Oh, she won’t mind. These sessions are confidential anyway, right?”

“They are.” Bridget was ready for this to be over. “I think you should discuss with her how open she wants you to be though. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. So let’s leave this topic for today, we can come back to it in the next session if you’d like. Are you having any other issues or difficulties? Any trouble sleeping?”

Bridget managed to get through the rest of the hour, then sent Hannah back to her work unit with the officer. She needed to talk to Franky, and somehow find out how Hannah knew the things she did. She glanced at the clock. She had one more appointment before she had her free slot where she could go and see the brunette.

********

Franky had just returned from talking to the detectives, and was pacing back and forth in her cell. She heard a small knock on the open door, and turned to see who was there.

“Hey, Franky.” Hannah stood in the doorway, waiting to be asked inside.

“I thought you had work unit now.” There was no way Franky wanted to deal with her right at this moment.

“I do, but, I just came from my psych session, and I need to talk to you.” She looked at the floor, and then up at Franky, hopefully. “She’s uh, encouraged me to talk to you about something.”

The brunette was confused as to why Bridget would suggest that Hannah come talk to her when she clearly wasn’t too pleased with it the other day. She decided though that if her girlfriend had sent this woman to talk to her then she must have had a good reason.

“Okay, what is it?” Franky would hear her out, but she didn’t want it to take any longer than necessary.

“I told her about these feelings.” Hannah looked to the floor again. “Our feelings. She said I should talk to you about them.”

“Wait. What? What are you talking about?” Franky couldn’t make sense of what the other woman was saying.

“I told her how we’ve got this connection, and I really think it could be something special.” Hannah took a step into Franky’s cell.

“Hannah, I’m just going to stop you there.” The brunette could tell that while the young woman may be delusional about what was going on, she wasn’t the same kind of crazy as Kim. She needed to be firm without hurting her feelings. “I think you’re a nice girl, but there’s no connection between us like you’re thinking. I’m sure you’ll find someone great, but it’s not me. Okay?”

“But what about last night?” Franky could see the tears forming in Hannah’s eyes.

“What about last night?” Nothing out of the ordinary had happened that the brunette could recall.

“I saw you. You were thinking about me.” Hannah’s voice was small now. Franky gave her a confused look, so she continued. “In your cell, when you went to bed. I saw you...you know, and I could just tell you were thinking about how I had offered you that massage after your workout.”

The brunette’s eyes were wide. “You spied on me?!” It came out louder than she had intended.

“No! Not ‘spied’. Just...looked through the window.” Hannah shifted her feet nervously.

“Okay, look, I don’t know what made you think there were any feelings between us, but there’s not, and there won’t ever be. And looking through my window, watching me sleep..or whatever, is not okay. Got it?” The younger woman nodded slowly. “You should go back to your work unit now before they realize you should have been back earlier.”

Hannah turned without another word and left H2. Franky dropped onto her bed, looking up at the ceiling. She wondered what she’d done to keep attracting problems like this in her life. And what had Bridget been thinking? She couldn’t have known exactly who Hannah was talking about. She really needed to see Bridget soon.

********

As soon as her session had finished, Bridget grabbed her keys and swipe card and headed for H2 to find Franky. When she arrived, she found that the common area was deserted. She walked through quickly, checking to see if there were inmates in any of the cells. There was one door that was closed, but she wasn’t worried about someone who wouldn’t be able to see her go into the brunette’s cell. She came to Franky’s door, which was also closed, and knocked lightly. She heard a soft “Yeah?” from inside. She took one last glance around the common area, and seeing no one, opened the door quickly and stepped inside, closing it behind her.

Franky was laying on her bed, reading a book she had borrowed from the prison library. She looked up when the door opened, and seeing that it was Bridget who’d come to visit her, quickly stood up and put out her arms to embrace her.

Bridget melted into her. “How was your interview this morning, baby?”

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve told them all I know, and now they’re just asking the same bullshit all over again.” Franky definitely didn’t want to talk about anything that had happened in that interview this morning. She had Bridget in her arms and that was all she cared about.

The blonde pulled back. “I need to ask you something, and I want full honesty.” Bridget looked into Franky’s eyes and made sure that she had the brunette’s full attention before she continued. “Did anything happen with that girl who came to see you the other day when I was here?”

Franky dropped her arms and took a step back. “No, but I know why you’re asking.” The blonde waited for her to continue. “She told you we had feelings for each other, didn’t she? In her session.”

“You know I can’t tell you that.”

“She came here right after her session and told me what she said to you, and that you encouraged her to talk to whoever it was. I’m assuming you didn’t know until after that, that it was me. She also said she watched me through my window the other night.” When Bridget didn’t react, Franky sighed, realizing she was going to have to explain it. “When you told me to ‘look after it’ when you left the other day, well, that night I did, and she saw it. So if she told you anything else, that’s where it came from. Fucking creep. I would never cheat on you, Gidge.”

“You’d better not. You know why?” Franky stood her ground when the blonde stepped forward. “Because you’re mine.”

The words sent a shot of arousal through the brunette, and Franky nodded, “I know, babe.” She could feel her heart racing.

“Do you?” Bridget moved so her face was just inches from Franky’s. “Show me.”

Franky quickly unbuttoned her pants and shoved Bridget’s hand inside so she could feel how wet she was.

Bridget moved her fingers slightly to tease Franky a bit. “Mine.” Franky gasped, meeting the blonde’s blue eyes. She nodded once, and Bridget pushed two fingers inside her, crashing their lips together.

Bridget walked forward, forcing the brunette back against the far wall of the cell. Franky reached out and grabbed onto her hips, pulling the older woman harder against her.

The blonde was working Franky up quickly, thrusting in hard with her fingers. She curled them each time as she dragged them out, making Franky tighten her grip on her hips. Bridget knew she’d probably have bruises there later, but she didn’t care. The brunette was breathing hard, and struggling to keep quiet. Bridget hit a particularly sensitive spot, and Franky let out a moan.

“Quiet, baby,” Bridget whispered in her girlfriend’s ear.

“Fuck, I can’t.” Franky buried her face in Bridget’s shoulder to muffle the sounds coming from her mouth. She moved her hips to meet the older woman’s fingers.

“You’re close, hmm baby?” The blonde could feel the muscles around her fingers start to flutter. She flicked her thumb back and forth over the brunette’s clit.

“Ahhh,” Franky dug her fingers into Bridget’s hips, making the blonde take in a sharp breath. “Yeah, I a-“

“Tell me what you need.” Bridget pulled back slightly, forcing Franky to lift her head.

“Kiss me.” The brunette no more than had the words out of her mouth and Bridget’s lips were on hers, her tongue massaging.

It only took a few more thrusts and flicks of Bridget’s thumb for Franky to come. The blonde pulled the brunette’s head back down to her shoulder so that they wouldn’t be heard. She gradually slowed her fingers, letting Franky come down. Bridget felt a kiss on the side of her neck and another on her jaw when the younger woman finally picked up her head to look at her. She gently removed her fingers from Franky’s pants and wrapped her arms around her.

“I’m yours.” Franky looked into those blue eyes and realized for the first time that she didn’t mind saying she belonged to someone, but it had to work both ways. “And you’re mine.”

Bridget held her stare. “Fucking right, I am.”

Franky broke out in a smile and kissed her girlfriend long and slow.

When they finally broke apart, Bridget was the first to speak. “I should go, baby. I have a session soon.”

“Yeah, you’re in high demand. I couldn’t even book with you today. What did you do, cancel something to come here and see me?” Franky smiled and winked at the blonde.

“What?” Bridget looked confused.

“Yeah, I asked Vera on the way to my interview this morning if I could book a session with you today and she said you didn’t have any free slots.”

“I had two this afternoon. Why would she tell you that?” Bridget thought for a moment. “She’s been acting a bit strange lately.” She thought back to how her friend wouldn’t look her in the eye when she came to get her for her interview. “I tried to schedule something with you the day after you got here too and the system wouldn’t let me. Something’s going on. I’ll talk to her, okay?” Franky nodded and gave Bridget one last kiss.

She opened the door and checked that no one was in the common room, and seeing that it was empty, she motioned for Bridget to leave. On her way out, the blonde noticed the singlet and shorts that Franky slept in were folded, and placed on top of her shelving unit. She stopped for a second and looked at them. “Can I take this?” she asked, picking up the singlet. The brunette looked at her, confused for a moment, and Bridget started to explain. “I just-“

Franky then realized then why she wanted it. “Yeah, Gidge. Go ahead.” She smiled as Bridget partially unfolded it then unzipped her jacket and placed it inside before pulling up the zipper again. The brunette gave her a warm smile as she left.

Bridget ran her hands down the front of her jacket to smooth it out, and almost ran into Lucy Gambaro who had just come around the corner. “Oh, g’day, Lucy.”

“Ms Westfall.” Juice looked her up and down. “Having a good afternoon?” She gave a laugh, and walked past her into H2 while Bridget continued back to her office.

She walked up and down the common room looking into each cell, and stopping when she came to the only one that was currently occupied; Franky’s. Luckily, the brunette had heard her speak to Bridget and she had quickly grabbed her book and sat back on the bed.

“Well, look at what we have here.” Juice leaned against the doorframe.

“What do you want?” Franky asked, not looking up from her book.

“Oh, nothing. Say, aren’t you the one who was having the lunch date with the psych lady awhile back?” Franky glanced up and shrugged. “Yeah, I think you were. That explains the house call then.” She let out a laugh. “You’re a hot one, she’s got good taste. And speaking of taste, how’s yours?”

“Fuck off.” Franky went back to reading.

“Be careful, you might need something from me someday.” Juice sneered and turned to leave.

Franky made a mental note to ask Vera what the deal was with this disgusting woman.