Gazing down from her office window onto the activity yard below, Vera frowned. This was it. She had no other choice. As soon as she arrived, the Governor would have to go directly into protection.
No, not the “Governor.”
Prisoners held no titles.
There was really no other option, she thought, turning back toward the desk. She may hate Ferguson now, but she would never willingly put an inmate in obvious danger. And the Gov— Ferguson, dammit, Ferguson— would be in danger if she was housed amongst the general population. Vera rubbed her temples. Really, it was a ridiculous situation. No ex-guard should ever be housed in the prison she served, and particularly not an ex-governor. One would think that would be obvious.
But what was equally obvious was that Ferguson had enemies. Many, many enemies. And they were gleefully vicious in their vengeance.
There was that guard from Blackmoor, who had provided testimony about Jianna. Two more guards and an ex-prisoner from Barnhurst had also testified at the trial. Then Fletch, Will, Linda, Bridget Westfall… and Vera herself.
But she didn’t want to think about that.
The aspect that still confused her was Derek Channing’s testimony. Vera knew that Channing loathed Ferguson, and that he had already tried to remove her once. But Channing’s statements about Ferguson had been strangely bland. She had expected him to bluster on about Ferguson’s monstrous acts, and instead he had simply denied knowledge of many of the events.
And then there was the nod. Vera had watched the proceedings carefully, and had noticed that Channing avoided looking directly at Ferguson. As he stepped down, however, Vera had seen him glance over to Ferguson, and Ferguson had nodded. The nod was brief, tiny—almost imperceptible—but Vera was sure that Ferguson had acknowledged something. And Channing had obviously and immediately relaxed, wearing a smug smile as he returned to his seat.
There was something there, something strange—even complicit—between Ferguson and Channing, but Vera didn’t know what it was. She suspected it had something to do with the parolee files that she had helped Ferguson sort, but she had never known the outcome of that little moment of detective work. Ferguson had simply told her that it was “taken care of.”
It was yet another mystery surrounding the ex-governor.
Now Ferguson was coming back to Wentworth, and would be under Vera’s care.
She felt a jolt of… something. Her hands shook a little. She laid them flat against the desk.
She sat down in the governor’s chair. She smoothed her hands over her uniform jacket.
Vera was the governor now.
And Ferguson was her property.