The dinner bell rang loudly as I waddled my way there.
My legs were still like jelly from the shock treatment, or from Alex’s uncomfortable stare.
“Pet, where have ya’ been?!” Vicky stood with her arms crossed by the table. She didn’t look impressed at all.
“Yeah, you missed Ford’s lesson.”
“I got the yellow card.”
Vicky’s eyes bulged out of her sockets.
“Already? Did you stab someone?”
“No! I just didn’t do the work.”
“Well that was stupid. Come one, get some food.”
“I’m not hungry.” I sat down at my chair, holding my heavy head up with my hands.
“Okay, one second.” Vicky pushed into the lunch line, swearing at the annoyed inmates again.
When she came back over, she handed me a coffee. I gladly took it, only ever having one in my life.
“C’mon, let’s go back to your room.” I trudged along with her, desperate to put my feet up.
My head and lungs had started to hurt, I need to smoke something. Hell, even Vicky was looking smoke able.
Inside I collapsed on the bed.
“So tell me, what happened?”
“You were right,” Her eyebrows rose, “He is a cocky twat.”
“I told ya so, I don’t lie. He’s got a canny body though.”
“Alright, he’s good looking. But he’s the reason I got a yellow card.”
“For not working.”
“I can’t do the work though.”
“Why not?” I bit my lip. Vicky was the only one I could trust in here, and I knew I needed more friends than enemies.
“I can’t read.”
“Well you’re fucked! Why didn’t you say?”
“You haven’t got limbs missing! It’s only ready for Christ’s sake.”
“Ugh, that’s not the end of it.”
Vicky grinned, already interested.
“Spill the dirt!”
“Alex wants to tutor me.” She rolled backwards onto the bed too, flailing her arms.
“He wants your booty!”
I hit my pillow off of her.
“He does not!”
“Alexander Rae doesn’t just tutor people! He wants your bod, all to himself.”
“He’s not having it. I just want to get the session out of the way tonight-”
Okay, that sounded a little wrong.
“Session ey? Lass, I’d get in his good books. Who knows, might get you out of here.”
“He’s coming here at six.”
“Then you have five minutes of prime time, get yourself done up.”
“Why the hell would I do that?”
“Look at ya, look like a scarecrow.” She shoved her hand down her top into her underwear. It confused and worried me at first, until she pulled out eyeliner and a small tube.
“Sit still; you are not going anywhere like that.” I braced myself as she attacked me with cosmetics.
Spinning me around to my metal toilet cover, she made me look at myself.
“See, better already.” Vicky looked proud of her quick-fix.
“Nae problem.” A throat being cleared broke our conversation.
Alex stood against the frame, staring curiously at Vicky and I.
“I’ll be off pet.” She winked as she strode past Alex.
“She’s just too loud.” He shook his head.
“She’s also my friend, so.”
“Are you ready?” He smirked at me.
“Yeah. Not too long though, I want to sleep.”
“Aint’ no rest for the wicked.” He waited for me to get ahead of him before he followed.
He had changed from his regular work shirt to a t-shirt. His back was perfectly arched, pronouncing his shoulder and arm muscles.
I seriously couldn’t help but stare in wonder.
“First off, we are going to start with the alphabet.”
“And don’t worry; you’ll be a pro in no time.” He tapped my chin again, laughing.
“Don’t patronise me, Rae.”
“Would I ever?” He smirked again, patting a chair next to him.
I sat down in a huff. How could anyone piss me off that much?
“So, when you write, you have to hold you pen in a sturdy position. Like this...” He wrapped his arm around me, holding the pen in my hand and made a circle.
“I’m going to write an A, and I want you to copy it, okay?” I nodded, fixed on his eyes.
He wrote an A, so I copied him.
And so it went on, for the next hour. I got the hang of how the letters took shape, and it got easier to hold the pen.
“See, you’re a natural.”
I smiled with pride. I’d have thought that writing would have been harder than that, but it was just memorizing a pattern.
Alex was staring at me, with wonder on his face. It broke my happy attitude.
“Can I go now?” His eyes flicked between the paper and me a few times before he nodded.
“I’ll walk you.”
“I have legs.”
“Institute rules, Astrid.” I huffed. Damn fucking institute, taking away my rights.
We walked in silence until I came to my door.
“Pleasure teaching you, Astrid.” He nodded and walked away, whistling again.
I whispered to myself, “Thanks.” And opened my door. There was a pack of cigarettes on my bed. I basically jumped on them, so glad to see my beloved death sticks.
Inside the box there was a smiley face and a ‘V’. Vicky had done this for me, and I totally owed her one.
I decided I had to savour them, who even knew how she got hold of them.
I lit one up, my chest heaving as took in the smoke. Pure heaven.
Sleeping that night would be easier and I’d need it, if I had Ford first thing after breakfast.
I stuffed down my breakfast as quickly as I could. I was starving, and nervous.
Nervous I don’t know why, I had no reason to be. But today just felt strange, like I was on edge.
“Lass, you look tired. Old Rae wasn’t too rough was he?” She winked at me and laughed again.
“Haha, no, but I was going to thank you for the, well, you know.”
“Any time darlin’, just make your cravings less obvious.” I grinned at her again. This woman was unfazed by anything it seemed. Stuck in an institute for god knows how long, and still happy.
“Hey, I never asked, how did you get here?”
“My Husband’s fault.”
“Well I came home from a friend’s house, found him bucking another lass. Let’s just say he’s no longer with us.” So Vicky had murdered her cheating husband.
A large bang in the corner of the room drew my attention to it.
“You stupid little bitch!”
“Get out of my grill!” I recognized the voice instantly, jumping out of my seat.
“Corin?” Her bright smile met mine as I ran into her arms.
“Oh look, your girlfriend’s here.” A butch, blonde girl spat at us. Vicky came bowling over and squared up to the girl.
“Any problems here, Tasha?”
“Fuck off then.” Vicky’s jaw tightened and Tasha scowled.
“Howay with ya.” She grumbled off.
“Well are you going to introduce me?”
“Corinthia this is Vicky. Corin is my sister from area 10. Vicky is my prison sister.”
“Pleasure to meet ya. Astrid was right, you are quite pretty.”
“Coming from you that’s a compliment.”
“What are you doing here Corin?”
“I just had to see you. There’s allot going on down in the area, people are sparking up fights.”
“You being one of them?”
“Of course, you know me. I got two years like you.”
“I don’t plan on staying.”
Corinthia looked at me hopefully. If I were to get out of here, she’d be right behind me. And so would Vicky.
“Pet, we best be off to Ford’s lesson. It’s recruitment day today.”
“The day where they pick the best and turn them into mercenaries, like your dear old Rae.”
“Oo, who is Rae?”
Vicky and Corin went into some lengthy gossip about who he was. It was relieving to see them get along so well. They both had biting attitudes and sharp tongues.
Ford’s lesson was split into boys and girls, and we all stood in a circle around a mat.
The boys looked somewhat cocky, and that never won a fight. They boy opposite me gave an evil smirk.
“Pair up with the person opposite.”
Corin looked over, but her opposite had been taken.
“I have no one.”
“Then you’ll have to be with me,” Ford grinned. He hadn’t taken his eyes off of her at all for the whole session. And vice versa.
“I want you to get them immobilized on the floor.”
Ford was well trimmed, not messy like Alex.
Alex was observing the lesson, his eyes trained on me.
The person before me started stalking, like I was his prey. I did the same, and we moved in circles, waiting for each other to strike.
He made a move, but I dodged it.
“Going to have to be better than that.”
He attacked again, so I grabbed his arm. My leg came up and around his neck. I pulled myself up, straddling his neck. Twisting sideways he fell to the floor, and I was on top, sitting on his arms.
“Well done, well done. Well, that was beautiful to watch.” Ford was clapping from on top of Corinthia. She looked kind of happy, the cheeky mare.
“That was easy enough; let’s see how you do against someone with allot more experience.” He looked towards Alex, slapping him on the back as he passed us.
“Observe everyone.” I wanted to beat Alex, bring him down a million pegs.
He flexed his arms, and I smiled.
The circling began again. He lunged quickly, grabbing my waist. I swung my leg around, taking out his feet. He stumbled momentarily. Taking his arm in my vice grip I twisted his hand.
He got me in a headlock, and put me on the floor. I shimmied under his legs and jumped on his back, wrapping my legs into his knees. He fell to the floor, and I spun around to his waist.
My breath was jagged and short, but I’d won. Alex stared wide eyed, and everyone clapped.
“Well done, Astrid. Rae, I think I’ve decided who we need.”
I looked Alex in the eyes before climbing off of him. They burned with something unknown.
“Corinthia, Marcus, Astrid and Vicky, stay behind.”
Everyone else limped and grumbled away. I was with my two sister inmates, and we were being recruited.
“You have all been chosen for the Elite Secrecy. You will be taking part in a new regime, of vigorous training. It will begin tomorrow.”
“Do we go to our normal lessons pet?”
“No, Vicky.” She fist pumped. I smiled at them. Here was our chance out, and we could help our Areas.
“Well done, Miss Kendra.” Alex walked past me and slapped my back.
The security camera was beeping at us, but I ignored it.
The lunch bell started to ring already. Jeesh, time was flying by here!
Me, Vicky and Corin all walked up to the line, for once not pushing in. Corin went and sat down, as Tasha walked up to me and Vicky.
“You slutty girls think you can come in here and act all big.” She sucked her teeth at us.
“Sit ya sell down pet, before someone gets hurt.” All eyes were on us now. Tasha’s friends stood by her side, agreeing with her every word.
Vicky and I laughed... Silly chav.
“Dis is MY institute. I been here for over 5 years.” She rolled her neck at us now. Who did she even think she is?
“Your mom must be proud of you, cheap little fucker.” I mentioned to her.
“You heard me. Now piss off.” She turned around and grabbed a lunch tray, swinging it off of Vicky’s head.
“Ya vile little bitch!” Vicky grabbed one too and began swinging it. The ginger girl next to Tasha went for me, so I grabbed her face, pushing her back.
Amongst the fighting, no one heard Rae and Ford come in, breaking all five of us apart.
“What the Hell is going on here? Who started this?”
“Them girls sir, swung their trays.” Tasha backed away, leaving me and Vicky in the hot seat.
“Put Vicky on her red card.” I didn’t even know she was on Amber! I couldn’t let her go down for Tasha, I had to stop it.
“It was me, Rae. I started it.”
“Well, I’m... Disappointed. Amber card.” He sighed and took my arm as Ford disbanded everyone.
Vicky stared at me in relief. I guess I didn’t owe her anymore.
“Are you stupid?” Alex growled at me.
“I must be.”
“I know you didn’t start that fight, why did you take the hit?”
“Vicky can’t get a red card, that’s why.”
“You can’t be a Hero in this place, Astrid. Now you’ve got to have your pissing leg drilled.”
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