-Whats if I was mistaken ? Mistakes happen all the time...
-Gidge, it's the Freak we're talking about ! She was bad and would have always been !
-Franky, you know I love you and I respect your judgement, but you weren't there when I heard what I heard.
-I don't need to. Gidge, she's killed, she's abused people !
-So did everybody in Wentworth, staff and inmates alike, yet you didn't see them hanging from the neck did you ?
Bridget stood from the sofa rubbing her temples while Franky turned to her.
-She seems to have been abused Franky...
-Yeah, well look at Miss Bennett ! Didn't see her abusing anyone.
-She's the one who pushed Gambaro down the stairs, it was an accident, but she's still the one who did it.
-Yeah so what ? Gambaro and her boys gave her Hepatitis C, it was only deserved !
-So that's how you see it ? Vera gets hurt and wants revenge and shouldn't be punished for it but when it comes down to Ferguson it cannot even be discussed ? Do I need to remind you what you and Bea put Jodia through to get her to testify against Ferguson ? Or when Bea escaped Wentworth to get revenge on Brayden Holt ? Everybody praised her as far as I can remember.
-Okay, what has happened at work ? What did this bitch tell you ?
-The new shrink, Alice. What kind of lie did she tell you ?
-She didn't lie Franky.
-How would you know ?
-Because everybody knows she is a psychopath ! And at the first, the one misstep, she could lose her job, her daughter. Franky, she could lose her life !
Franky stood up going near Bridget who had stopped pacing up and down.
-Why are you defending them ?
-Because I think I might have done something wrong. And because I decided to trust Alice.
-Gidge, no, listen to me, you cannot do that. Not their kind.
-Gosh, you sound like Will !
-Yeah ? Well maybe he's right, who knows !?
-Exactly Franky ! Who knows ? He might be fucking wrong for all we know ! After what he di...
Bridget stopped talking, her back turned on Franky, who was looking warily at her.
-After he what Bridget ? What did he do ? Gidge ?
-Nothing, forget it.
-Does this have to do with when I escaped ? The letter Allie gave me ?
Bridget turned at once, gazing at Franky shocked.
-What letter ? Franky... What was in that letter ? Did this have to do with Ferguson ? Franky !
-Okay, okay Jesus ! I'm getting it ! There !
Bridget took the letter in her hands and started reading out loud.
I'm sorry but I had to lie to you,
Mister Stewart didn't buy my story at all, he was onto me.
But I think I found a way to protect you, to get you out.
So get going, run like hell and clear your name.
You need to prove your innocence,
I need to do something else.
I loved Bea and Joan Ferguson took her away from me.
So I want revenge, in Bea's name.
I made a deal, to share my escape plan.
By getting rid of Ferguson for good.
The blonde gazed at Franky and stepped closer to her, visibly angry.
-How could you keep this from me ?!
-What does it matter ? She allowed me to get out !
-Because that, that could put them away for good !
-What's that supposed to mean ?
By getting rid of Ferguson for good...
-Oh shit... You mean she... But she wasn't out, I told you she wasn't out.
-It's not her who did it Franky.
-What, Channing ?
-Then who ?
-Jake Stewart and Will Jackson...
-You're kidding ? Gidge, tell me you're kidding, they wouldn't have... They couldn't.
-Will and Jake admitted it to me and Vera.
Franky sworn, clasping her hands behind her head, looking at the letter. Bridget took deep breaths reading the letter again and again. Franky tried to snatch it but Bridget was faster.
-What on earth do you think you're doing ?!
-That can put them away for good, you said so yourself.
-So what ? We can't get rid of it ! Oh no, Franky, no.
-Why not ?
-Because it's not right. Franky, if you really dislike who Ferguson has become, why do you want to act like her ?!
-Yes you are ! Because the Ferguson we knew would have concealed it so that no one knew she had done something reprehensible.
-So what you're... We're going to send our friends to hang ? Just like that ?
-I didn't say we were going to show it to the police.
-Then to who Gidge ?
Franky let her arms rest on her thighs staring at Bridget in disbelief, the blonde folded the letter and put it in her handbag. Tomorrow was going to be another exhausting day at Wentworth.
* * * * *
Vera was seated at her office, occupied by the mountain of papers that had accumulated over the last few days. She was never one to complain about paper work, but right now she cursed herself for not having brought some of it home, so she wouldn't have so many when she returned. Not that she hadn't worked at all during those "off days". Reading Joan's file and caring for Grace with the help of Anna was a real challenge, not because of the lack of time but because of the breaks she had to take while reading certain parts. Her mind wandered off for a moment, to a passage she had, read making think of what Fletcher had told her he saw.
-"So what do you want to talk about today ? Do you want to tell me why you seem to look at someone other than me sometimes ?
-I don't know what you mean.
-You know Joan, I can only help if you want the help. Now I know for a fact you repeatedly during several sessions, were looking at that exact point on the wall, visibly angry, but scared, tormented as well.
-I don't want to talk about it.
-Why not ? Do you think I would use it against you ? Is that too personal compared to everything you've already told me ?
Joan shifted on the sofa, playing with her hands.
-Is it because someone else is warning you about me ? Telling you that I'm gathering all that, so I can to crush you afterwards ?
-How do you know that ?
-Joan, I'm starting to know you better than you know yourself, how about this, now you tell me what you think.
-How about you start telling me about that, and if someone comes up, no matter who, that person and I will talk.
-Well, I talk to you, or the person if you will and you tell me what the person says or does. How does that sound ?
-You don't think I'm crazy ? That there's something wrong with me, needing correcting ? Asked Joan ashamed.
-Crazy, no. But wrong ? I guess it depends on your definition of the word. I mean there is something wrong with me too, but... I work towards controlling it, and for that I need to have a good understanding of it. Do you have a good understanding of these people you see ?
-So you don't know if they are really here or if it's just your mind ? Have you ever thought about asking these people ?
-No I... It never broached my mind. Why ?
-Well, because it could either mean you're talking to dead people, which would mean you are a medium, that being perfectly normal. Or maybe it would mean you are having hallucinations of people who aren't here at all. Then again you could also just be talking to yourself and have this physical representation of a person who had a huge impact over you life, it could be how your mind, your mental demeans you, because it knows it's going to affect you.
-Meaning, if it's the hallucination, you'd have more to work on, Alice heard Joan sigh, Can I ask you about it ?
-Who do you usually see ?
-And what does he do ?
-Even dead I'm never going to be good enough for him...
Joan's eyes started to fill with tears, her chin high, Alice got to her feet and kneeled in front of Joan, she looked at her and took her hands in hers, patting them awkwardly, making Joan look at her.
-Eto ne pravda.(That's not true.) You are good enough Joan. And if he failed to realize that when he was alive, well that's his loss. Because hear this, what you're doing right now, what we've been dong for months now. Hell, when you came back after the siege. Not everyone can do it, that doesn't mean you're superior, it just means you mustered the courage to come and talk about it, to rise againt it. Because you want to change, to understand the reason behind the why. Now, who else do you see ?
-Jianna... She never talks, she just stares...
-Why do you think she does that ?
-Why wouldn't she ?
-What do you mean ?
-I've done terrible things... I don't deserve her, she's probably ashamed of me. I couldn't protect her.
-Joan, I couldn't protect Jianna either, yet I've done my best, or I want to believe I did. You did not let her down, you loved her.
-Why are you like this ?
Joan was gazing at their hands before looking into Alice's eyes, causing her to furrow her brows.
-Like what ?
-Like you care.
-Maybe I do.
-Nikto ne zabotitsya o vas.(No one cares about you)
Joan's smile faded and she seemed to have lost all the colors present on her face, her eyes looking behind Alice towards the wall. Alice turned her head and saw no one, she turned to Joan once more and sat down next to her.
-What is it ?
Joan opened her lips but no sound came out of it.
-Ty takoye razocharovaniye, ona vidit vas uyazvimymi.(You're such a disappointment, she's seeing you vulnerable.) You're giving your enemy a weapon to use against you.
-No I'm not.. I'm...
-Joan ? Tell me who is here.
-She'll use everything you told her to bring you down.
-She wouldn't do that !
-You can't help it can you, first that girl, now her.
-Stop it !
-Vy bessmyslenno, vy nichego ne stoit, vy nichego, nikto ne zabotitsya o vas, nikto ne skuchayet.(You’re pointless, you’re worthless, you’re nothing, no one cares about you, no one misses you.)
Joan covered her ears with her hands, sinking into Alice's side, tears going down her cheeks. Leaving Alice unaware of what to do, feeling uneasy by the contact, she looked around before looking down at the woman and wrapped an unsteady arm around her, making her look at her.
-Joan, tell me. Who is here ? What do you hear ?
-Moy otets.(My father.)
-Can he hear me ? If I were to say that he doesn't know me and I wouldn't hurt you. Could he hear me ?
-Ona pytayetsya poluchit' v vashey golove.(She's trying to get in your head.)
-He's saying you're trying to get in my head, he said I was a disappointment, that you'd... You'd use this against me. That I'm...
-What Joan ?
-YA bessmyslenno ! YA nichego ne stoyu ! YA nichto, nikto ne zabotitsya obo mne, nikto ne propuskayet menya ! (I'm pointless ! I'm worthless ! I'm nothing, no one cares about me, no one misses me !)
Alice's face showed signs of surprise when she heard the older woman say that sentence. Tightening her grip on Alice, Joan sobbed again.
-All this time trying to make you see what people really are like, they only want one thing, to find where it hurts and use it. Vse eto vremya vpustuyu na vas.(All this time wasted on you.) Vy bessmyslenno, vy nichego ne stoit, vy nichego, nikto ne zabotitsya o vas, nikto ne skuchayet.(You’re pointless, you’re worthless, you’re nothing, no one cares about you, no one misses you.)
-Pozhaluysta ostanovis' ! Ostanovi eto...(Please stop ! Make it stop...)
-YA zdes'. YA ne pozvolyu yemu prichinit' vam vred. Potomu chto ya zabochus'.(I'm here. I won't let him hurt you. Because I care.)"
-Vera ? Vera you're okay ?
Vera blinked several times, turning her head towards the door, seeing Bridget her hand on the handle.
-I've been calling you for the last five minutes.
-Oh… I'm sorry I was... In the past.
-Are you alright ? You seemed...
Vera sighed and shook her head slightly, rubbing her temples. Indeed she was. When she saw she wasn't going to get an answer Bridget continued.
-May I come in ? There's something I'd like...
-Sure, come in, what is it about ?
Bridget gave her a look and Vera sighed again, closing her eyes, before lowering her voice.
-Close the door. I don't want anyone getting their hands on these informations.
-It's not like that... It's just... I spoke to Alice yesterday.
-How did it go ?
-Surprisingly well. I was expecting anything but that.
-I really want to say I told you so, said Vera smiling.
-I'd deserve that, please be my guest.
-I told you so.
Both women laughed and Bridget took out the letter, making Vera lower her eyes.
-What's that ?
-Before we get to that, I wanted to say I'm sorry. I know, we both know why I was wary, but I shouldn't have judged her based on nothing... Just like I did with Joan... Now how are you ?
-Yes, you've been on days off and my pinky told me it was not to spend more time with Grace.
-How would you know ?
-Alice told me she gave you someting, a file on Joan.
-Yes she did...
-Did you take time off so you could read it ?
-And nobody here, except Alice ever really knew her.
Vera breathed out, fidgeting with Joan's pen, maybe she could share a bit of what she had learned, gradually.
-Bridget, you've read Joan's file, I mean when she was an inmate.
-Yes of course, I helped compiling it, remember ?
-Right, hum, so you're aware that she's Russian.
-Yes, I'm aware of that, what's your point ?
-You've never wondered why her name sounded English, not even once ?
-Well, I guess I just assumed she was born there but given an English name, but as we both know, our knowledge about Joan's past is scarce. Did you find anything ? Is that why you're asking me all these questions ?
-I... I might have found her... Real name.
-Yeah... And it's a bit different from what we're used to.
-Do you mind sharing ? I mean... So her name's not Joan Ferguson ?
-Well technically, Joan is her real name, it's the typography that changes, but yes. Ferguson isn't her real last name.
-Well, What is it ?
-I guess you won't mind my bad pronouciation, her real name's Dzhoan Anastasiya Romanovna.
Bridget's jaw went slack, staring at Vera with disbelief. She passed a hand in her hair and scoffed, while Vera repositioned herself on her chair, awaiting an answer.
-Well... That's... I wasn't expecting that...
-Me neither, but I think we can agree it makes more sense than an Anglicised name.
-And you're sure...
-Yes. It's in the file Alice gave me, it's repeated several times. I haven't read the moment she tells her yet.
-What else can you tell me ?
-That we screwed her up even more.
-Shit... Muttered Bridget
-I can't believe we didn't see it at first. She looked just like any one of us.
-So does Alice... Joan she... She worked at having her shit together. She hid it well until she unraveled.
-What is it ?
-You know I thought, once she's dead it will be over. We'll move on, we'll just tell ourselves that it was a bad moment, it had to happen teach us things and then move on. But Will keeps bringing it up, you, Jake, Allie. The only one who didn't bring her up was Alice.
-Until we made her bring her up.
-I hated her, I wanted for her to hurt for everything she had done. But when it came down to it, when she supposedly fell in the showers, when she hanged, when Will...
Vera swallowed the lump forming in her throat and looked up at Bridget seated in front of her.
-Seeing her hurt, made me feel like I was worse than her. Like she didn't deserve it.
-I don't know... I didn't know half of the things I know now, yet it still hurts.
-You really cared about her.
-Yeah... I think she did too, at some point.
-What makes you think that ?
-She brought me dinner once or twice, and invited me over.
-To her house ?
-Yes... I remember the last dinner we had, I was stupid to leave her like that.
-Why ? What happened ?
-She told me she always wanted to be more than a mentor to me, that she enjoyed working with me, that we were alike when it came to corrections.
-And what did you say ?
-I told her that we were nothing alike, that I'd never do what she had done to me to anyone.
-What do you mean ?
-During the riot, when she was still Govna', I was taken hostage and they threatened to use a niddle to my neck if she didn't move a muscle. They wanted to get Bea out of the slot, they needed for her to open the doors.
-She didn't open the doors ?
-No, Channing did.
-But why didn't she ?
-I asked myself that question so many times... Turns out her motives were legitimate.
-How so ?
-The inmates picked me because they knew we were close.
-So... She saw the long run, and for the long run, pretending she didn't care was more effective.
-Wait... You mean... She lead them to believe she didn't care because otherwise they'd use you again ?
-Yeah... And I fucked it up... She started saying that someone was trying to build a bridge between us, and I told her.
-That she never cared about me... She said she did, and she put her hand on mine, she seemed so lost, and uneasy. I told her I had Hepatitis C and she took it off. I left after that and it was the stupidest thing I've ever done.
-What ? Why ?
-Have you ever seen her use hand sanitizer or gloves ? Or just no wanting to be in contact with anyone.
-Yes all the time, why ?
-She had OCD, you know germs, organization...
-Yes I know that why... Oh...
-Yeah... I left when I should have realized her taking off her hand wasn't rational. It was that. And I blew it. I knew she had that and still I didn't get it...
-We all make mistakes Vera.
-I know but I keep wondering if I had not left, if I had asked her why, maybe things would have been completely different.
-Seems like you two cared in your own way.
-Do you think it's wrong ?
-What is ?
-That I miss her, you know seeing her smug smile around the corner and witty one liners. Just seeing her.
-That she had plenty of those to spare, said Bridget laughing softly, I don't miss her attitude but if she had gotten help I think I would have come to appreciate her.
-She did. Alice's. Hence the file.
-You mean that file is valid ?
-Yes, Alice did it because Joan asked her, she showed it to her own psychologists.
-And what did they say ?
-That she was doing a good job, that whoever it was did have many problems but that she was managing, they helped her aparently. You know, they told her what she could ask, things she could ask Joan to do, that sort of thing. We should have helped her, we were blinded by our ressentment and anger....
Vera stopped talking and lowered her head, taking it between her hands before looking at Bridget.
-I don't even know why I'm telling you this.
-Because you feel confortable, and because we're friends.
-Yes we are. Did you apologize to Alice as well ?
-I have, and Franky thought I lost it.
-Couldn't expect anything less from Franky. How has she been ?
-Great, she's been bonding with her father and her sister, she's healing old wounds by doing so.
-I'm glad, and I hope the next time I see her won't be in here. So you tell her to stay out.
-I will Vera, thanks.
Bridget started figeting with the letter under her fingers, gradually loosing her smile; making Vera put the papers she had in her hands away, looking at the letter.
-What's this ?
-Franky told me this was a letter she received on the night she escaped. I promise, I only learned of it's exsistence yesterday.
-Alright and what's inside ?
Bridget looked at the door and the ceiling, making Vera furrow her brows.
-There are no cameras in this office. Bridget who wrote that letter ?
-Vera, how much do you know about the night Franky and Joan escaped ?
-Hum, that Franky went under the radar, that she left the same way Ferguson did, in the boxes. I still can't wrap my head around the reason why Franky would have told Ferguson her plan.
-It wasn't Franky.
-What ? Who then ?
-Franky didn't know anything, she thought she was with her the whole time, until Will arrived and went a different way.
-Bridget who was supposed to be with Franky ?
-It was Allie's plan, Jake told Ferguson, well, Roma... Joan. He told Joan the
plan, and he told Will. She wanted to get rid of Joan. She put her in that box Vera.
The brunette's jaw dropped and she took the letter opening it, reading it. She put it down and stared at Bridget before shaking her head. Maybe she'd have to confront Alice sooner than she'd expected.