Note: Sexy screenshot at the very end of this one. Proceed with caution!
“Nice work today, ladies.” Melissa smiled slightly as she spoke. “You’re both good to go.”
Harper glanced up from the small pile of books she’d been going through, and tried her best to return the older woman’s gesture. It was still so difficult to find reasons to smile these days. “Thanks.” She replied at last.
Even despite how long and tiring their workday had been, Harper’s coworker easily returned their boss’ smile. ‘Mama’ (as the other inmates liked to call her) always seemed to be so warm and positive, no matter what. Harper liked working with her.
“Sure you don’t want us to finish up here?” The old woman gestured at the remaining books on the table. “Not like we really have anything better to do, you know.” She teased.
The librarian laughed softly. “I appreciate the offer, but I’ve really gotta close this place up on time today.”
“Ah… Teaching your class tonight?” Mama asked.
Melissa nodded. “And speaking of which…” Her eyes flicked toward Harper then. “Registration’s still open for next semester, if anyone’s interested…”
Harper shook her head slowly, finally managing a small smile. “Nice try, but you know what my answer’s gonna be.”
“Well, it was worth a try… I’ve still got a couple more weeks to try and change your mind anyway.” Melissa’s smile widened. “See you tomorrow.”
Mama shook her head slightly as she and Harper headed for the door. “I don’t think she’s gonna give up til you say yes, you know.”
“Yeah, well she can try all she wants.” Harper replied. “My answer’s not gonna change.”
A soft laugh passed Mama’s lips. “I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone as stubborn as you, Honey. And I’ve been in and out of this place more than once over the years, so that’s saying something.” She paused, shaking her head for a moment. “I’m not sure why you won’t just give it a try… It might not be as bad as you think it’ll be. You might be surprised.”
Harper liked Mama, but she hated it when she talked to her like that. The old woman’s kind gaze and encouraging words always brought to mind someone else…
“Look, I’m telling you, it’s just not for me.” Harper insisted, her tone a bit harsher than she’d intended.
Thankfully, Mama knew better than to push any further. “Whatever you say.” She gave Harper a small shrug before heading off down the hall.
“They’re still trying to talk you into taking that class, huh?” The sudden sound of a voice from over her shoulder made Harper jump.
Ivy smiled playfully at the sight of the other girl’s shocked face. “Sorry… Didn’t mean to sneak up on you like that.”
Harper’s expression softened slightly. “You stalking me or something?”
“Sorry, no such luck.” Ivy teased. “Just heading for a little walk before I see Dr. S… I couldn’t stand another minute in my cell. Elly was starting to drive me a little crazy.” She confessed.
Ivy nodded as she continued down the hall with Harper at her side. “I guess their anniversary’s coming up… First one they’ve ever spent apart. And she’s a total mess about it. And I get it. I seriously do. I feel bad for her. But she just… won’t stop talking about it.”
“Yeah, she can get kind of carried away sometimes.” Harper smiled in understanding. “Damn, that’s gotta be tough though.”
“Oh, definitely… Apparently she’s gonna put in a request with the prison director for a conjugal visit though.” She added with a laugh. “So maybe that’ll help soften the blow a bit.”
“Wait, you can seriously do that? Ha!”
Ivy nodded. “Apparently! So maybe Kelly and Tim finally won’t be the only two getting any action around here.”
“Lucky bitches…” Harper laughed softly to herself. She hadn’t had anything but her hand in a long, long time. And even that was rare these days. Sharing a room with Katie made it really hard to find any kind of alone time.
“No special someone coming to visit you then?” Ivy asked. “I mean, you and your baby’s Papa… You guys aren’t…?”
Harper shook her head, her heart sinking slightly. “No. We’re not.”
“Oh… I’m sorry.” She replied seriously.
Harper shrugged slightly. “It’s okay.” Well, maybe it didn’t feel completely okay. But Harper was looking forward to the day when it finally did.
As they finally crossed through the door and out into the garden, Harper couldn’t help but notice that Ivy seemed to be eyeing her somewhat questioningly. It made her feel strangely nervous.
“What is it?” She asked.
It was Ivy’s turn to shrug. “I dunno… I know you don’t have any conjugal visits in the near future.” Her lips curled into a slight smile. “But I was kinda hoping you’d say you had another kind of visit lined up or something…”
“Well, I’m supposed to see my two best friends next week, if that’s what you mean.” Harper couldn’t help but smile at the thought of seeing them again. It felt so amazing to have Rylie and Devin back in her life again. She’d been calling both of them at least once a week since Jocelyne’s funeral, but she was finally planning on letting them visit her for the first time. It would probably be really strange, and even embarrassing… But Harper knew she’d been putting it off long enough. “I told you about them, right? Rylie and Devin?”
To Harper’s surprise, Ivy’s face seemed to fall a bit. “Yeah, you’ve mentioned them before… It’ll be nice to see them, I bet.” She did a poor job hiding her obvious disappointment as she spoke.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing… I was just kinda hoping you’d say your Papa was finally coming to see you or something.” Ivy muttered softly.
Harper’s brow furrowed slightly in confusion. “But I just saw him yesterday… Mom too. With Phoenix.”
“Oh, come on. You know what I meant.”
She sighed softly, but did not reply. Of course. Even after nearly three weeks, Katie and Ivy were still trying to convince her to talk to her father. And Dr. Savage had been just as annoying during all their sessions. Why couldn’t they just leave it alone? Didn’t they understand how hard it was?
As the silence continued, Ivy stepped forward and looked up at the blue sky above their heads, taking a slow, deep breath. The sunlight seemed to dance across Ivy’s face, bathing her in a soft glow for a few moments. It was a breathtaking sight.
“Man, I don’t get outside enough anymore… I missed this.” Ivy muttered to herself before turning her attention back to Harper. “It’s always nice to clear my head a little before Dr. S tries getting inside it.” Her lips curled into a smile as she spoke.
“It gets easier.” Harper assured her gently. “Hell, it even actually helps sometimes, believe it or not.” She added, smiling.
“Oh, I believe it…. It feels pretty good getting all that stuff off my chest.” Ivy explained softly. “It’s kind of nice opening up a little, for a change.”
Harper hesitated as her reply danced on the tip of her tongue. She’d known Ivy for nearly three months already, but there was still so little she truly knew about her. Harper knew she was incredibly kind and caring, even toward those she’d just met. She knew she was very soft-spoken, but still liked a little playful teasing every now and then. She knew she had a smile that could light up any room, and eyes that shined just as brightly…
But that was it. Harper knew next to nothing about Ivy’s past, or her life on the outside. All she’d ever mentioned was a younger brother named Finn, who was a student at a nearby university. Harper had seen him come to visit her a couple of times.
She wasn’t even sure what Ivy had done to end up in prison. Though she’d discovered one important clue back during Ivy’s first week there.
Their paths had crossed in the bathroom one day, and Harper’s eyes couldn’t help but wander a bit…
But then she saw the bruises on Ivy’s legs. And Harper recognized them instantly. They weren’t normal bruises from taking a hit or a hard fall… They were something much worse. Something Harper had been all too familiar with, thanks to Erik.
Ivy’s track marks had faded since then, but so many of Harper’s questions still remained. Why all the secrecy? Didn’t she trust her?
At last, she replied. “Y’know… You can always open up to other people too.” Harper eyed the other girl significantly as she spoke. “I mean, I know I kinda ended up spilling my soul to you after my Oma died. And like, I’m not expecting you to go that far or anything, I just…” God, this is coming out all wrong! “All I’m saying is that you’ve really been there for me these past couple weeks. And it means a lot to me. And if you ever need me to return the favor, you know I’m willing to listen. That’s all.”
Ivy’s smile sent a flurry of butterflies through Harper’s stomach. “I know. Thank you.” She lifted her hand and reached toward Harper, but seemed to hesitate for a moment. What was she reaching for? Harper’s hair? Her cheek? In the end, her fingers brushed gently against Harper’s shoulder.
She lifted her hand and placed it gently over Ivy’s in return, smiling softly. Could this be it? Was Ivy finally ready to open up to her?
Ivy pulled her hand away too soon.”I know you wanna hear my sob story…” Her lip curled slightly in amusement for a moment. “But I just… can’t share it all right now. I have a really hard time talking about that stuff. With anyone.” She paused before continuing, her expression suddenly serious.
“I do have something I wanna tell you though. One thing I want you to think about. I’ve been meaning to say it for a while… It just never really felt like the right time…” Ivy bit her lip nervously as she spoke. “Do you know how I ended up in here? Do you know who turned me in for what I did?”
Harper shook her head.
“My brother.” She replied softly. “Finn. He found out I was doing something really stupid… And really dangerous too. But he knew it wasn’t something I could get myself out of on my own.” Ivy paused for a moment. “So… he made a tough call. One that landed me in here. And I know how much he regrets it. He’s always telling me how guilty he feels… But the only one who should feel guilty is me.” Ivy’s voice hardened slightly. “I was the one who made terrible choices. I was the one who put him in the position to have to make that decision. And I know it wasn’t easy for him. But he made it because he loves me.”
Harper wasn’t sure what to say. It was clear what Ivy was trying to say. She could read between the lines. But why couldn’t Ivy understand that it wasn’t that simple? Not for her, anyway. “Look, I think I know what you’re getting at.” Harper spoke at last doing little to hide her annoyance. “But things with me and my Papa… They’re just… They’re different, okay?”
“Are they really though?” Ivy asked. “At the risk of sounding like Dr. S… Maybe it’s something you need to think about? I’ve just been thinking about everything you’ve told me… And I get the feeling Finn and your Papa aren’t so different.” She hesitated. “And… maybe we aren’t either?”
Harper felt her cheeks grow warm — and not in the way they usually did when she was with Ivy. Why was everyone always lecturing her about her and her Papa? And how the hell could Ivy stand there and pretend she had any right to give her advice?! Especially when she’d barely opened up herself. The thought was making Harper’s blood boil.
“Well how the hell am I supposed to know whether we’re alike or not?!” She snapped at her. The frustration she’d been holding back finally came bubbling to the surface. “I barely know you, Ivy. I keep trying to, but you won’t let me! How the hell am I supposed to keep taking advice from someone who doesn’t even trust me?!”
“I do trust you!” She insisted. “It’s just not easy for me to open up to people, okay? But I’m trying.”
“Well, try harder!” Harper cried. “Talking about all the shit that made me end up in here is no picnic for me either… But I’ve told you because I trust you! And trust is supposed to go both ways!”
Before Ivy could reply, one of the guards made his way over to them, his face stern. “Is there a problem over here, ladies?” He asked.
“No, no problem.” Harper muttered, feeling her anger slowly replaced by shame and sorrow. “I was just leaving.”
How could everything be going so wrong? For a while, Harper had felt like things were finally starting to get better… But for every step forward, it felt like she’d taken two back.
She never apologized to her Oma. She was too much of a coward to face her father. And now, she’d been a total bitch to one of the only friends she had left. She was pushing Ivy away, just like she’d pushed Rylie and Devin so long ago. Her quick temper had been her downfall, just like always.
Nice going, Harper. She’ll never trust you now… Why do I keep fucking shit up?!
Questions flooded Harper’s mind as she made her way back inside. She couldn’t stop thinking about what Ivy said — That it was her own fault she’d ended up in here. That her brother was just trying to help her by turning her in…
And that maybe things with Harper and her father weren’t so different.
Shit… could she be right?
Maybe the problem wasn’t her Papa after all. Maybe everything that happened really was her fault. Maybe she was the problem…
But what the hell am I supposed to do to fix it?
Happy Valentine’s Day! I made a little gift for you all (it took literally hours to do this pose, but I knew most of you would enjoy, so it was worth it! 😉 Hehehehe)
(For Valentines Day purposes only 😉 Don’t get your hopes up! 😛 )