Playing With Fire.

I clamber quietly up the stairs toward D-wing, careful not to sound too excited. Believe it or not, I've actually missed this place while I was away these last few days. It kinda feels good to be back.

Checking on the cells in reverse order this evening, I head toward Ana and Nevada's cell second to last. That'll give me more time to talk with Manny. I've missed him the most.

Thankfully, they look to be alseep, although it's confusing to see Nevada on the top bunk. That's Ana's bed. I peer into the cell, checking to make sure they are in fact both in their own beds, and her face looms out from the darkness.

"Christ, Ana. You scared the crap outta me there." I hiss, clutching at my chest as it beats a hundred miles an hour.

"Did I?" She purrs back. "I'm awfully sorry about that. I was actually hoping you could help me." My eyebrows shoot up in surprise. Ana has never wanted  help from anyone before, let alone me.

"And how could I do that?" I say, trying my hardest to sound indifferent. She points a single finger at the lump on the top bed.

"Get that thing out of my cell." I blink at her, but she looks deadly serious, not at all manic.

"Hey! The 'thing' has ears, you know!" A voice calls from the bunk. I thought she'd been asleep, and I sigh to myself. Niether of them are particularly easy inmates.

"Well, the 'thing' should get the hint then." Ana replies before returning her gaze back to me. "You see, there's just no spark between the two of us."

I can't help but smile, although I have no real idea how to handle the situation. Neither of the two of them strike me as the kind of woman you want to annoy. But then again, niether am I. Last thing I want is a fight on my hands.

"Well, girls, I've got some news for you. There's no room for either of you anywhere else. So, you're stuck. Right. Here." I tap the bars on their cell to make my point clearer.

"I told you, Smokey. There isn't anywhere else for me to go. So you just have to put up with me." Nevada continues to goad Ana, and I can see that she's starting to get annoyed; her eyes are almost flashing in the darkness.

"I wouldn't have to if you happened to have a little accident." She mutters back, and I'm not sure if she's speaking aloud for my benefit or Nevada's.

"Girls, please." I put on my convincing tone. "Try to get along. If Olsen gets wind, things will get ugly. And I'm not going to get in the way of that, you got it?"

I can't see either of them nod, nor do they reply, but I know that they've understood. Ana especially. I'd heard the stories of the way he treated her when she'd first gotten sent down. None of them are pretty. And Nevada doesn't want to get on the wrong side of her pyromania.

As I walk away, I smile to myself. The pair of them are like squabbling siblings, though I'd never tell them that. I might tell Manny though, and I pick up my pace, eager to get to his cell.

Already I can hear Terry muttering to himself , begging for forgiveness again. I wonder briefly if he really is asleep, or he's just pretending like Nevada was. It's unnerving to think he could have heard everything Manny and I have said to each other.

"Manny." I whisper, curling my hands around the bars. "Are you awake?"


The End

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