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Joan was sitting in her car outside their children’s school, waiting for Shane and Joanna. Her cell phone vibrated, there was a text:
-Can you talk?
Joan replied:
-Maybe for two min. Outside kids’ school.
Her phone rang seconds later.

“Hello” said a hesitant Vera.

Joan sighed, “I can’t”, she faltered.

“I know, but this is so hard…”

“It was a mistake”, Joan whispered. “I love Jianna.”

“I know.”

There was silence for a few more seconds, neither knew what to say, Joan thought about what happened between them. Suddenly Joan was jarred by impatient teen knuckles rapping harshly on the car windows and the door handles mercilessly toggled back and forth. She opened the automatic locks and they piled in noisily.

“Mum you have got to get me that…” she tuned out their voices as she tried to end the conversation with Vera.

“So did Miles submit her report?”

“Yes. I’m actually still here just filing the forms and doing a few other things” Vera said with forced formality. Then she regressed to a more tearful tone. “The house is so empty and lonely I’d rather just hang out here and make sure all is well for the night shift.” She exhaled loudly, “plus after all that…” her voice trailed off.

Heat traveled through Joan’s body as the memory of their stolen moment of lust comes charging across her mind. Her breath caught and she closed her eyes…the kids were suddenly quiet.

“What’s wrong mum?” Joanna asked, concerned. She was closer to Joan than to her own biological mother.

“Okay,” Joan sighed into the telephone. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” She hung up abruptly and started the car.

“Just a slight headache. So, what’s Principal Hardy going to do about the missing trophies?” she asked to distract them. The teenagers started chatting excitedly at the same time, and the car pulled away from the school and they headed home.

After Shane and Joanna got out and went inside, she remained seated in the car in the garage, clearing her phone of old texts from Vera. They came incessantly this past week. Some she desperately wanted to keep but dared not, especially the photos. Jianna was out of town on yet another conference. Joan thought back to the first few days after her release…unbelievable…they made love everywhere, all the time, doing everything to each other, learning as they explored each other’s body more fully.
Just under a year before Jianna’s release Joan had taken care of Bryant, she had to, too much was at stake. She’d taken care of a few others as well. Her reputation grew, she was known to be effective, her career exploded. Hence she remained in corrections and was currently at Wentworth. Jianna was aware of Joan’s potential to “take care” of certain problem people and problem situations…it literally had kept her alive on the “inside” …in every sense. Jianna was also carrying monsters. Their lovemaking after the resolution of particularly troublesome problems was frantic, intense and vicious…pure animal, not a shred of emotion as far as they thought. These sessions were cathartic for both of them.
The battle for Shane’s welfare was easier than expected. The social worker insisted the baby would be better off away from the mother. Eventually he was fostered by a close friend of Jianna’s deceased mother that Joan had discovered through her own research, and her growing influence in the justice system. The woman had promised to take care of him until Jianna’s release. It was many miles away but they communicated as often as possible. The grief was strong after their baby was taken, for at first Joan secretly considered the baby hers as well because she had been by Jianna’s side for most of the pregnancy and delivery and those precious first few months. It was because of this distraction that Jianna had fallen into danger and Joan had just barely thwarted her attempted lynching. Her fury was let loose and the incident left a tremulous rage residing just beneath the surface, always needing to be kept under control…from that moment on. She got a glimpse of the potential darkness that life without Jianna would unleash, the unending despair and sorrow.

“How did Vera get in?” she wondered. “After all these years…” Her desire for Vera during the first month or so at Wentworth was inchoate…an awareness of the attraction flowing through her consciousness with a molasses-like slowness, the thickness of this knowledge choking off her breath. It was at the first or second debriefing session that she felt or rather saw the almost cartoonish tendrils of desire summon her through the fragrance of Vera’s hair, the closeness of their bodies. It was then that she knew she wanted her. Standing at the window overlooking the court, the first thought of her bare hands on another woman’s warm flesh, flesh that wasn’t Jianna’s or one of those very rare random women they had agreed to use overseas on vacation as a marital aid to some fetish; that very first thought made her sway on the spot and eventually reel backwards a few steps. Vera’s warm flesh. The pugilistic blow of this surprising knowledge of actual lust for Vera doubled her over, pleasure painfully rippled through her entire body, her scalped crawled.

Her reverie was again broken, this time by Joanna gently tapping on the car window. Joan got out of the car and walked into the house with her. “I put a pizza in the oven mum. That’s what we all want for dinner tonight.” She could be a little dictatorial just like Joan, she was raised that way.

“That’s what you guys want tonight,” Joan replied defeated and worn. She didn’t have much of an appetite, it having fled since the “mistake”. Home was where she had a chance to cede control, safely letting her family take charge, and let herself relax.

Joanna grinned. They often got away with eating a little junk for dinner when Jianna was away. She looked closely at her mum. At fifteen she was almost as tall as Joan. They had chosen her father wisely, Joan thought to herself as she quietly regarded her beautiful daughter. Her looks were an awesome combination of her mother’s and father’s best features, her father being phenotypically very like Joan and he had the same razor sharp intelligence. She had to severely screen her daughter’s young suitors who were many. Jianna left that job to Joan. She had approved of only one…of course Joanna wasn’t interested, she preferred the ones her parents didn’t like.
She had a feeling her mother was struggling with something…she felt a nagging concern and suddenly wanted her other mum back home so she could sooth Joan. She sensed her mother’s growing unease.

“Clean up ev-e-ry crumb, I don’t want a mess in here,” Joan said sharply. “My head hurts.”

That’s one of the things she and Jianna easily agreed upon after the stink and filth of prison…to keep their haven clean and sterilized for and despite the babies. Jianna had worried it would stress the children, but they seemed to thrive in the strictly enforced order. However, in recent years Shane had become fiercely private about his room which he kept in disorder, but if observed carefully there was a curiously purposeful pattern to the clutter. They let him be.
He finally left his room and graced them with his presence.

“Go rest mum, we have this,” he said quietly. Like she does with Jianna, she listens to his suggestions. They were always able to calm each other. She gratefully exited.

She flopped down onto the large bed and was sprawled out on her back. It was custom-made, larger than a king. It was needed years ago for their skittish little munchkins sleepily sneaking into their bed in the middle of the night, after their parents’ daily and nightly activities rendered them into a dead sleep, they didn’t even know they had been there until the alarm went off. And a bed that size was needed for their “acrobatics”, Jianna was so very limber and Joan had been so much younger and stronger.
She remembered when Jianna banished their paraphernalia from their bedroom, from their house. They had a close call. It was about six months after Jianna had given birth to Joanna. They were fucking to one of Joan’s favorite arias. Jianna’s breasts were still heavy with milk and she was partially bound with a soft rope and tethered to a leash Joan controlled. Some of her milk dripped onto Joan’s lips while she straddled her, slowly riding a large strapped-on midnight blue cock. Joan pulled her forward and started suckling. It sent them into a frenzy…it ended with Joan’s large hands tightly wrapped around Jianna’s neck and her unconscious for far too long after orgasming. It scared them so to think about their children without either of them, that Joan had put up no protest when Jianna demanded that most of the equipment be taken away from the house to Joan’s storage unit, the one about which she learned not to ask.
A sudden vision of Vera naked, handcuffed, strung up in the banished chains, rope and leather, gagged, straining, sent illicit shivers up and down her tense spine. That special brand of desire had been smothered by domestic bliss and contentment.

It had been about seventeen or so great years so far…
Guilt swiftly knocked that fantasy out of her mind. Guilt, how different from the early days when that emotion seldom played a part in her life. However, there entered the familiar buzz of a niggling, disconcerting thought…Jianna always seemed gone on conferences and expos led by her dynamic boss Ms. North. The great Clara North, hard hitting environmentalist and public interest attorney. Jianna never shut up about her, the severe, authoritative blond was very confident and capable, and if Joan had been sure of the effect the woman’s demise would have on Jianna, she might have been removed long ago. Those were parts of herself she had put into a temporary coma. The thought amused her. She was also unsure if her suspicion was just her conscience desperately searching for an excuse for what she was sure she will do with Vera.

She was now lying on her stomach and involuntarily writhed on the bed feeling frustrated. She also needed Jianna back home quick.
"Why do my most significant dalliances always originate in a prison?" Another thought which made her quietly snigger to herself.
She was again pulled back to the past to the early days after Jianna’s release from prison. They found it hard to be apart from each other, even in the house. If Jianna went out to the garden or to the basement Joan would find herself there. If Joan took out the garbage or was going through bills at the dining table, Jianna would be hovering close by. They fell asleep clutched together like new born Siamese twins for months, when they were finally able to sleep together in the same bed. No mores sly kisses, furtive, yearning glances, or covert touching. There was a brief worry that their adrenalin-fueled lovemaking would not be as explosive on the outside. So used they were to the gloomy cell where fucking was sharp and secret. Swift, savage and sweet it was, but unfortunately silent. Their concern was needless…to be able to finally freely voice desire, to scream it out, loudly grunt it out, was pure pleasure in and of itself. Finally, audible slaps to the ass, thighs, face that didn’t leave them holding their breath wondering: did anybody hear that? The new freedom also made Jianna a willing participant in Joan’s proclivity towards sadistic sex, she met her submissive, a natural. Jianna had been in similar situations before, under the harsh thumb of nuns, teachers, and governors that had been “in charge” of her, finding herself submitting, spinning punishment into play in her head, thus entering a space that sensually stimulated her. No wonder when Officer Ferguson had walked by, subconsciously she stood to attention. In spite of her being drilled with the mantra of ‘screws are demons’, she was irresistibly drawn to Joan. She sensed her innate predisposition to dominance. Her quest might be over. They recognized each other, it was opium.

They took a lot of risks back then. Alas, how many times had Joan left hurriedly with fingers still sticky, her lover’s nectar drying to a thin film in the draft generated by her quick walk from Jianna’s unit. Walking quickly to avoid discovery, her orgasm still quaking and trailing, grabbing at her swollen clitoris with each step.
Jianna had admired Joan’s self-control. “I’m going to get us in trouble…I can’t hold it in Joan,” she complained quietly.

“Don’t worry my dear,” Joan whispered back, wickedly leering. “I’ll have to resort to gagging you.”

“Might work.” She winced as she turned and walked away from the entrance of her unit where she had been whispering to Joan, to go and sit on the bed. Her belly was larger and the spasms from sexual activity seemed to trigger prolonged Braxton Hicks contractions. They decided to cut back on the sex, therefore they resorted to talking, a great deal of talking which led to an unlikely love. It led to an understanding which developed due to each patiently listening to the other because there was nothing but time. No rushing to the point, no bragging, no selling, just conversation. Both had been lonely and slightly neglected as children, Joan had been sheltered, Jianna overexposed. They both had had no one else but themselves to rely on, no one to listen genuinely or carefully. Therefore, just as their sexual interaction took on unearthly dimensions in that closed society of prison, their verbal interaction was salve, like confession and spiritual absolution from weighty sins.
That was her “a ha” moment with Vera. Vera reminded her of the old Jianna, of the neediness which she found somewhat gratifying, not arduous. Jianna had now mellowed confidently into her forties, with her own glistening silver hairs running gorgeously through her curly mane, and the children were practically grownups. She sometimes felt she wasn’t needed anywhere but in the prison…near Vera. Vera needed her. An idea grew. It was time to pay a visit to her storage unit. And time to go real estate hunting, suddenly remembering a great investment she had thought about, a large apartment she had seen, one with a grey door.

Jianna slid down from Joan’s face breathlessly. She had got home from her conference that night. Joan’s jaws were gleaming in the low light of the lamp on the nightstand. They still enjoyed each other.

“Did the kids wear you out?” Jianna asked, coming down from her high. She rested her head upon Joan’s shoulder and snuggled close. She reached up and with her palm tried to wipe off her juices from her face.

“No, but not from a lack of trying. Shane had a couple of rowdy friends over Friday night, and Joanna has been harassing me to get her a scooter, a motorized scooter”. Jianna shuddered, thinking of how Nils had run over a former “troublesome” adversary on a motorcycle.

They continued small talk about domestic matters to avoid what they both felt was a change in their relationship…unsanctioned secrets. They both knew they had secrets, but this was new and a little uncomfortable. It was all Joan could do not to cry out Vera’s name during an exceptionally intense orgasm, where an old bruise from Vera’s fingernails started smarting as Jianna was pressing into her. She could almost feel Vera’s fingers digging into her hip again at that moment.

“Hmm, if little miss politically correct Ms. North just knew the politically incorrect bedroom games we play”. Joan said, half-heartedly setting out bait for an argument about Jianna’s travels with her boss.

Jianna lifted her head and rolled her eyes at her. She was used to such comments over the years from Joan. She’s had to put her at ease several times, but this time she decided she wouldn’t. She would see where this led. Formerly she would nip any insecurities in the bud. She was unfailingly devoted to Joan. But something led her to test this bond.

“Joan, what’s going on with you?”

“I’m just a little concerned about how much time you’re spending away from home. You’re in New York, minutes after you telephone me and tell me you are on a bloody charter flight with Ms. North on an impromptu excursion to UN headquarters. Then you both decide to flit on over to Kingston a day later. Have you stopped to think that our children might want you here a little bit more? I’m sure they’re tired of me always being the enforcer. You know they are almost out of here, Joanna has got in early to the university and Shane’s about to start his summer internship".

Jianna sighed, “Jo, baby…we don’t lie to each other. Let’s talk honestly. Why is Vera calling you, up to ten times a day, why are there so many missed calls, why are you turning your phone face down? Since you’ve taken up governorship of Wentworth, you’ve been different.”

“Why are you turning your phone face down?” Joan retorted quietly. “Think I didn’t notice”. It’s been many, many years Jianna. I’ve been faithfully yours. I’m aware of every breath you take. Every change in your routine. Every nuance, I know when your menses are due, when stress makes you late, when you have a crush, when you you’re trying to protect one of the children from my wrath because of some idiotic stunt they’ve engineered.

"Don’t forget I know you too Joan".

“Oh, you do?”.

“Yes. I know you want Vera. And, I know you will have her. Just as you know,” she paused, “I want Clara. Just don’t even think for one minute that you will be bringing Vera into,” she paused again, “this”.

“Well, Clara is quite handsome. And tall. However,” she turned down the corners of her mouth, “Not my type”.

They looked at each other for a few beats, then they quietly laughed together. That’s another thing they had, laughter, very uncommon outside of their home in their respective fields. Home so carefully constructed and protected, where Joan could submit, mainly to her children’s whims, because Jianna very seldom required it. It had resulted in their home being a refuge from prejudice, societal expectations, and primarily a place for Joan to feel safe. Jianna recognized this…this order was primarily, for Joan’s sanity.

“I hope Vera knows what she’s in for,“ she said cattily, getting her own back. “I’ll still be here.”

“Eat me,” Joan said in her sexiest bass, dead serious. She loved the challenge from Jianna. She would brook no such insolence outside of her house, from the inmates at Wentworth or anyone. After all, she was home. Right now, she needed release. Her hunger for Vera left her feeling out of sorts, it was too sudden and blindsiding. This lack of management of her yearning was completely out of order. No wonder Jianna picked up on her secret.

Jianna started down Joan’s long body towards where she was ordered. She then paused close to her intended destination and looked up at Joan. “Let it flow. We will get through this, we’ve been through much worse. Just let’s make a deal to keep home safe”.

Little did they know this was to be their biggest challenge yet.