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Cooking Classes

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Franky walked into her unit, returning from the exercise yard, and saw officers tossing everyone’s belongings out of their cells.

“Doyle! Stand by your door!” Will shouted at her. It appeared that he, and another officer that she didn’t recognize, were in charge of searching her unit.

They hadn’t gotten to her cell yet, and she prayed it would be Will who searched hers. She had hidden the phone but probably not well enough to not be found by someone who was really looking.

The unknown officer was about to start on her cell when Will stopped him. “I’ve got this one.” The officer nodded and moved on.

Franky stood there and watched as most of her things were thrown out into the unit’s common room. She could feel her heart beating in her ears. She wasn’t sure what the punishment would be for being caught with the phone but she figured she’d at least spend some time in the slot. That meant no sessions with Bridget, and probably no more phone calls for the rest of her stay. If she got caught, there was no way Bridget would risk giving her another one. Now that she thought about it, she hadn't hidden it very well. It was only under her mattress, which was of course an obvious hiding place. She glanced in and saw Will turning his attention to her bed. He ripped off the blankets, throwing them onto the floor in the middle of the cell. As he reached down to pick up the edge of the mattress, she closed her eyes, and leaned her head back against the wall.

“All clear.” Will stepped out, gave Franky a small nod and, having completed searching all the cells, left with the other officer.

Franky immediately entered her cell. Her mattress had been placed back down on the bed and she quickly stuck her hand in under it, feeling around. At first she felt nothing, and thought maybe he had confiscated it. If he did, at least he was letting her off without additional punishment. Then her fingers found it. There was no way he wouldn't have seen it when he looked there. She let out a huge sigh, relieved to know at least he was still on her side.

She started to gather her stuff and put her cell back together when she heard a voice behind her.

"Hey, need a hand?"

Franky glanced back to see Hannah standing in the doorway. "Nah, I'm good," the brunette continued putting her things back in order. She had been trying to keep the young woman at even more of a distance than she had before, since she’d found out that Hannah had watched her in her cell that night.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I got it." Franky walked out of her cell, forcing Hannah to back up into the common area. The brunette gathered her belongings that had been tossed aside and headed back into her cell, closing the door behind her so she wouldn't follow her back inside.

********

That evening at dinner, Franky sat just one table over from Juice and her crew. For some reason it seemed like the older inmate had lost interest in her for the time being. Most of the time, Franky was able to avoid her since she was in a different unit, but the exception to that was meal time. All of H-block ate together regardless of what unit they were in.

She usually didn't pay attention to what they were talking about. Most of the conversations she did overhear were just about which one of the new arrivals the woman was planning on making her next conquest. Tonight however, Franky picked up a few words and realized they were talking about the cell toss.

"Fucking bitch Governor ordered that. Confiscated my books, and the load of cash I had. People are gonna want their money back and I don't fucking have it. What the fuck am I supposed to do then?" she spat out as she ate her food.

It was well known that Juice ran the betting game at Wentworth. Exactly what they were betting on this time around was a mystery to Franky, and honestly, she didn't really care. She was trying her best to take Will's advice to keep her head down. She knew that seeing Bridget every day might look suspicious, but her sessions were usually scheduled when the others were at their work assignments. There were hardly ever any other inmates around when she came and went.

Franky finished her meal and headed back to her cell. She was already tired of her daily routine which, except for her sessions with Bridget, basically consisted of eating her meals and then spending the day in her cell or in the exercise yard.

She laid down on her bed and wondered what Bridget and Emily would be doing now. Their trip to the aquarium was today, and no doubt they had gotten there bright and early. She wished she could be there with them, and remembered how much fun she had had the day they all went to Luna Park. She had been looking forward to talking to the young girl on the phone the day before ever since Bridget had told her she was looking after her for the weekend. Now she thought that might have been a mistake. Hearing how excited she was when she realized it was Franky on the phone, and hearing her say she loved her when they said goodbye, had made her want to be out of this place so much more. She decided that she didn't want to think anymore right now. Normally that meant she went to the exercise yard or the gym, but today she didn't want to chance having to deal with any of the other inmates, and she’d already been there earlier. Anyway, she wasn't in the mood. Instead, she wiped her eyes and turned to face the wall, hoping that sleep would come and take her away for a few hours.

********

Vera walked through the hallways, doing her final round of the night. Technically she didn't have to be out here. There were more than enough officers to cover all the areas, but she liked to get a firsthand view of what was going on in her prison, and ending her day like this was her way of putting her mind at ease that everything would be okay for the night as it was just an hour until the final count.

She turned the corner and headed past the hallway leading down to the H-block showers. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of movement coming at her from the side. She didn't even have time to reach for her radio before a strong arm was around her, and a hand was clamped over her mouth. The inmate removed Vera's radio from her belt, and put it in the pocket of her hoodie. The brunette quickly glanced up at the security cameras and realized that they had been turned. Nothing that was happening in the hallway would be visible to the officer watching the monitors. She knew it usually took some time for the officer to realize that the cameras had been tampered with. While they did sometimes catch inmates in the act by using them, more often they were only useful after the fact if they were investigating an incident. With the cameras effectively out of commission, and the inability to use her radio, she was helpless. This wasn't a high traffic area at this time of day, and it was unlikely that anyone who was willing to help her would wander by.

The inmate guided her towards the showers, and shoved her through the door. She then took up a guard post outside as Vera stumbled, but managed to regain her balance just in time to come face to face with two more masked and hooded inmates. Vera turned to run, but one of the women grabbed her, holding her arms behind her, and brought her back into the middle of the large room.

She was now face to face with the inmate who seemed to be in charge. "You and I are gonna have a little chat. Your cell tosses are ruining my business, and if there's one thing I don't tolerate, it's people who fuck with my business. So now, I'm gonna have a little fun, and you're gonna learn your fucking lesson."

********

Franky woke up and guessed that it was late in the day. It seemed like everyone was back in the unit and that didn't usually happen until after dinner. She looked at the clock and saw she had an hour until final count, after which they'd be locked in for the night.

She grabbed her toiletry bag and her towel, and headed to the showers. She knew they'd be pretty much deserted by now and that's what she preferred. Her shower time was her time to think and unwind, and she didn't like other people being around. She'd never shared a shower with any of her partners, not even Bridget, so she sure as hell didn't want random strangers around her.

She turned down the hall, and when she got to the door, she was met by an inmate with her face covered and her hood up.

"Shower's occupied, so fuck off."

Franky peeked around the inmate blocking her path, trying to see what was going on through the frosted window in the door. She could make out three figures inside; two larger ones dressed in teal that she assumed were inmates and one smaller one who was dressed in darker clothes. Her mind ran through the possibilities. It could be another inmate who just wasn't wearing teal, or it could be an officer. Surely though they wouldn't have the guts to assault an officer, although that would explain why their faces were covered. Usually, when inmates went after another, they wanted the other person to know who was getting their revenge.

She thought of what Will had told her about keeping her head down. Getting involved in other people's business was the exact opposite of that, so she decided her shower could wait until the morning.

"Yeah alright, whatever," she mumbled, and turned to leave.

She was almost back to the end of the hall when she heard whoever it was they had in the shower begging for them to stop. "Please, just let me go. Please. There won't be any repercussions for any of yo-" The voice was cut off by the sound of a hand hitting the woman's face. Franky's step faltered slightly. She knew that voice; it was Vera. She couldn't leave her there. She'd heard Bridget talk before about the methods of revenge some women there used.

She needed a plan. She needed a weapon. She knew how to fight, that was something she'd had to learn to survive on the streets. This was three on one though and they were all bigger than her.

As soon as she was around the corner and out of sight of the inmate guarding the door, she picked up her pace. She scanned the hallways and rooms she could see into, looking for anything she could use. She came to an abandoned cleaning supply cart. No one was in sight so she dropped her shower things and towel, grabbed a mop, and in one swift movement stomped down on it, snapping the head off, and leaving her with just the handle.

Even with a weapon, her only hope of being successful would be if she could separate them as much as possible, and take them down one by one. First, she decided she would lure the one outside the door to the end of the short hallway. She leaned the mop handle against the wall, and stepped out in view of the inmate, who had told her earlier to get lost.

“Hey! I thought I told you to fuck off!”

Franky stood her ground and the inmate started towards her. She stepped back around the corner, picked up the mop handle holding it like a baseball bat, and waited. As soon as the inmate emerged from the hall, she swung with all the force she could and hit them square in the face. The woman dropped to the ground, out cold, and with a bloody, and probably broken nose. She stepped around her, and continued to the showers.

As she approached the door, she could make out Vera being held from behind by one inmate, while another paced back and forth in front of her. Franky could hear the pacing inmate talking, and it sounded like Juice.

“So now, I think it’s only fair that I get a bit of payback for all the trouble you’ve caused me.” The inmate pulled back her fist and punched Vera square in the stomach. The Governor’s knees buckled and hit the concrete floor with a sickening thud.

Vera collapsing gave Franky the opportunity she needed. She shoved open the door, and using the mop handle like a spear, she rammed it into the side of the inmate who was now bent over trying to keep hold of Vera. The inmate grunted and released the Governor’s hands as Franky took another jab. After having realized what had just happened, the third inmate sprung into action, and went for Franky. Vera managed to reach out and wrap her arms around the lunging inmate’s legs, causing her to fall just before she was able to grab onto Franky. The tall brunette brought her boot up hard into the face of the inmate she had doubled over and they collapsed onto the ground.

She turned her attention to the inmate, who was now lying on the floor behind her. “Get out of here, Vera, run!” They were all down momentarily, but Franky knew they wouldn’t stay down forever. Vera struggled to get to her feet, collapsing back to the ground when the combination of her injured ankle and knee wouldn’t support her weight. Franky glanced over and saw the smaller woman still on the floor. “Fuck,” she muttered.

The brunette buried her boot in the third inmate’s stomach twice, and then turned her attention to Vera. “Come on, we gotta get out of here!” She bent down, putting the Governor’s arm around her shoulders, and helping her to her feet. “Come on.”

After a few steps, Franky could hear at least one of the inmates begin to stir behind her. They weren’t able to move fast enough with her trying to help Vera walk. “Wait, stop,” Vera looked at the brunette with a questioning look. “I’m going to carry you. It’ll be faster.” Franky didn’t wait for an answer. She bent down, scooped up the woman in her arms, and headed out the door.

By the time she got to the end of the hall, she knew there was definitely one of Vera’s attackers coming behind them. She looked for somewhere to hide, or somewhere where they would be safe. She saw the airlock partway down the hall to her left, and took off. It wasn’t ideal, but the doors needed a swipe card to be opened so if she could get them through it, and get it closed fast enough, at least they would be separated from whoever was behind them.

As she approached the door, she glanced down and saw Vera’s swipe card hanging from her belt. Thank fuck for that, she thought. If the card hadn’t been there, she’d have run them straight into a dead end. When she got to the reader, she turned slightly so that it would pick up Vera’s card, and heard the beep signalling that the door was unlocked. The Governor quickly reached down and turned the knob allowing Franky to kick it open the rest of the way with her foot. The brunette stepped into the airlock, slamming her back against the door to make sure it closed and locked again as quickly as possible. It seemed like they had outrun them by quite a bit in the end, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

She bent down, and gently put Vera’s feet on the ground. “Are you able to stand now?”

Vera gave a small nod, “I’ll try.” She tentatively put her weight onto her feet, and found she could stand, but probably not walk too far or very fast just yet.

“Are you okay?” Franky winced at her own question, “Of course you’re not okay, but, I mean, they didn’t try to do anyth-“

Vera shook her head as the tears started down her face, and she wrapped her arms around Franky’s torso. She hid her face in the soft fabric of the younger woman’s shirt, and felt strong arms wrap around her.

There was a loud bang on the glass in the window of the door, and Franky felt Vera jump. “Your time will come, you fucking screw lover! Mark my words!” The inmate banged on the glass one last time before limping away.

“Why did you help me? You’ve got a huge target on your back now.”

“Maybe I’m not such a bad person after all, hey?” Franky felt Vera’s arms tighten around her.