Chapter 53:

What an interesting experience to attempt to wash my hair and body with only one arm in my attempt to keep my injured shoulder close to my chest without the sling. The water, hot, rushed down the front of my face as I glued my eyes to my toes and the pooled bits of water around my feet.

Halfway through the shower, the streams of water combined with my free flowing tears as I finally allowed myself to let go, if only for a moment.

So, I cried.

And cried.

And cried.

The tears were out of desperation. And confusion. And denial. And despair. And blind hot fury.

Unfortunately, my rage did not solely belong to Mahone.

When the water turned from hot, to warm, to cool, to cold, I flipped the handle off and stepped onto the floor. Wrapping the towel snuggly around myself, I popped a couple of painkillers in my mouth before opening the door and letting the built up steam burst from the room.

Tweener sat on the edge of the bed hands clenched on his pants where I pondered if he sat unmoving the entire time I showered. As soon as I padded from the bathroom, his eyes darted to me and nearly bulged from his head as he raked in my appearance. It was either because I was naked or the bruises and scrapes that marked my skin.

Silently, I walked across the room and started rummaging through Sarah's things looking for a change of clothes. I wanted the ones I had currently been wearing to be burned. Mercifully, Sarah did have a small bag with some clothes inside, so I helped myself.

The towel slid from my body as I pulled the jeans over my hips and a loose fitting t-shirt over my head. My sling and jacket were still in the bathroom, but when I turned around Tweener was standing behind me, hands in his pockets, just staring. There was the slightest twinge of color to his cheeks as to what he had seen, but he still remained quiet.

The awkwardness in the room was thick and driving me insane.

"Tell me about Utah." I spoke while moving back to the bathroom.

He seemed surprised to hear my voice to the first time, no doubt assessing the difference that hung there.

"Everything was just chaos and when we came back you guys were just...gone."

The memory washed over me, of Tbag hitting and nearly choking me to death before kidnapping me and taking the money for himself.

"Then it was just mad hysteria, everyone arguing about losing the money. Sucre, Abruzzi, and C-note took off, yo, I thought Abruzzi was going to kill those women."

I gripped my sling and was attempting to use my teeth to secure my shoulder and fasten the strap, and failing horribly.

Tweener took the strap in his hand, "Michael and Lincoln would have just left me in Utah I think, but I popped off on them that we had to find Tbag. To find you."

The smallest butterfly fluttered in the pit of my stomach.

"I turned into such a pain in their ass, they let me tag along, but I never stopped wondering where you were. Hoping you were safe."

He pulled the strap into position and locked eyes with my own through the mirror.

"I didn't care how long it would take or if it got me arrested in the process, but I was going to find you again."

My throat felt dry. I had completely forgotten how intensely Tweener's feelings ran, the fire that now burned in his eyes. Tears threatened to cloud my vision at remembering what it felt like to be cherished by someone who didn't want to also kill me.

"David." I started but was unable to continue.

His lips parted now completely confused. Rarely did I ever refer to him by his true name, as to why he was now trying to comprehend the meaning behind the gesture. Laney and Tweener were two naive kids sent to Fox River and caught up in madness and conspiracy. David was the remnants of that sweet boy, but it was still murky as to who that Laney has now changed to.

"Did Tbag…" He equally trailed off.

Then that guilt hit me forcefully. I knew what he wanted to ask, what he was afraid of asking, and I was relieved at the answer. But did he need to know all of the details of what happened while I was with him? Should I tell him of how things got...complicated?

I turned around to face David and really looked at him for the first time since he walked into the hotel room. The release of worry written on his features when he found out that I was OK (well OK in terms of Tbag didn't kill me). I reached out and touched his arm, a simple gesture to try and answer his question.

The skin to skin contact felt scorching and I needed more. The best I could, I cupped his face and brought my lips to his.

Everything exploded.

Release. I needed release.

I deepened the kiss pushing us backwards until his back hit the wall. Our lips battled for dominance as he rested his hands firmly just below my rear.

I felt his own need for release against me.

Those tears threatening to spill from my eyes finally found their own release, and without breaking the kiss, David cupped my cheeks brushing those tears away with his thumbs.

My hand roamed down the front of his chest and gripped the hem of his shirt ready to tear it from him, but he broke the kiss.

"Laney." He pained. "Wait."

He actually moved away. But I was still burning inside and that fire was going to find its way out one way or another.

"You don't want this." I bit.

"You know I do, Laney, but you've been through a lot lately, everything seems heightened."

"How would you know what I've been through? Did you watch your own father be gunned down like an animal for slaughter?"

"That wasn't your fault." David started reaching out, but I recoiled.

I pushed past him out of the bathroom and into the main room. David was right on my heels pleading with me.

"Stop! Please just stop!" I begged rubbing my forehead. "I don't want to talk about this, I don't want to think about it. All I want is a distraction." Through my tears I moved towards David again trying to kiss him but held my cheek.

"No. Not when you are so pissed. I can see it in your eyes, how much you want to hurt something or someone."

"I don't want you to regret us being together...in that way. Because of all the pain your were feeling." He blushed again.

I shouldn't have said it, but I was so blinded with 100 different emotions swirling through me that I just blurted it.

"I didn't regret it when Tbag and I kissed."

There it was, David said I wanted to hurt someone, and being stabbed would probably have hurt him less than those words that left my mouth. The way he looked at me changed and his sweet Laney was slowly vanishing before him.

"You, what?" He borderline growled.

It was just a kiss, one time. It meant nothing. I wanted to shout those words, get on my knees and explain myself and beg that he understand.

But I didn't.

"We were young, stupid and naive in Fox River. Love sick puppies thinking that as long as we had each other nothing bad would happen."

The things I watched Tbag do to others, some things I helped him do, and that kiss crushed all of the innocence right out of my body. And as though something was keeping a tally of all the bad things we committed and paid them back ten fold.

My breath was shooting out of my nose in short bursts both of us engaged in a staring contest. His whole body was conflicting of nonverbal gestures. While he was trying to keep his face calm and understanding, his white knuckles were clenched at his sides. David finally opened his mouth to retort and fling horrible but deserved insults right back at me, but he was cut off by the ring of his cell phone.

A text message as he stared at the screen and wordlessly moved towards the door. Lincoln obviously needed him for something and he was probably itching at the seams to get out of here. I thought he would just storm out on me, but he paused as he stood at the open door with one foot out.

"FYI, plenty of bad things happened in Fox River."

Then he was gone.


My neck twitched with soreness and stiffness down the length of my spine as I sat un-moving against the hotel door since I was left alone.

Once David had exited, I hurriedly moved towards the door ready to chase after him and throw myself at him.

Plenty of bad things happened in Fox River.

The words rang throughout every cell in my body and countless memories hurtled through my mind.

Bella scarred on my back.

My brutal assault on the day of the riot.

The knife plunged into my gut at the hands of Tbag.

I made David think that Tbag changed my perspective while I was with him, but I was wrong. I kissed my innocence goodbye the moment I stepped off that bus and into Fox River. However, David wasn't only referring to my own nightmares endured in Fox River. I was so consumed in my own self-pity that I downplayed the significant trauma he himself suffered.

God, I was such a miserable bitch!

He was in the depths in that place. Even though he had me, the darkness remained. His escape meant more than just freedom, but a chance at a new life where the darkness couldn't find him. And he wanted me as a part of that life, but I was too busy making out with Tbag to notice.

My hand rested on my forehead even though I had no headache. Maybe it was thrilling around Tbag, the risk, the danger. But there was a reason I left. The risk, pain and the danger David and I withstood in Fox River was enough to last a lifetime. Perhaps it was time to find our own haven.

I bolted from my sitting position to reach for my bag. If I could just find David, we could just go. Forget Tbag. For Michael, Lincoln, Mahone, the Company, all of it. The two of us, together, just living.

The door handle jiggled and my heart lept thinking David had returned, but it was short-lived as the splinters went flying the door being kicked open. I was frozen to the spot.

Mahone, gun in hand pointed right between my eyes prowled at me like a lion after successfully tracking his prey.

He stalked into the room with such calmness, slowly savoring the moment. He looked smug, but I couldn't help but notice the slight limp in his walk. It made me feel a little more confident that I could play this game too. My eyes never drifted from his. All the images of the people I loved and lost at his hands came rushing through my head as I gripped my bag trying to will the location of my own gun. But realistically, I knew he would gun me down before I had the chance.

"What happened to your leg, it looks painful?" I hissed with a smirk.

I can still remember vividly pulling that trigger that sent the bullet into his knee. I would do it again if I had the chance and maybe aim a little higher.

"I manage, how's your head?"

"Nothing a little pain medication can't take care of." I irked. He was going to kill me anyway so I might as well try and bait him some.

The lion pounced.

Gun still in hand, he slammed the door and ripped the bag from my hands and forced me to sit on the bed. For good show, I curled my legs underneath me and cupped my face as though I was bored. Mahone tore through my bag tossing out money and my gun like he was desperately searching for something. It almost seemed a nervous twitch.

Was I making him nervous?

"Laney", he bellowed shaking the bag, "Where were you headed in such a hurry?"

"Nowhere specific, just around."

"I find that hard to believe, someone with your training."

Silence.

"Where is Michael Scofield?"

Silence.

Mahone exhaled and pinched the bridge of his nose. I remained firm with my stone expression.

"Laney I want you to listen to me carefully. The board is willing to consider extenuating circumstances when it comes to your case. You spent 8 months in the penitentiary with the convicts and they can't ignore the effect that has on one's psyche. For all they know, you stayed with them after the escape so your cover would not be blown. At least I can tell them that."

It was hard not to react to a statement like that. Did they really believe I played no role throughout all of this?

"They don't want to punish you. Your father was well respected in the field, and that factors in regards to you. While you were first considered a suspect in his murder, further investigation revealed that it was more probable your cover was exposed and one of the eight retaliated."

I nearly roared at him. HOW DARE HE? He murdered my father in cold blood and then tried to use it to his advantage against me.

"I should have blown your brains all over the fucking wall." I spoke with a deadly calm.

In a bizarre move, he walked towards the television turning it on but remaining in front of the screen.

"If you fully cooperate with me now by helping me bring in the others, I can personally guarantee you a pardon for anything done outside of Fox River, plus any compensation for the trying experience."

"I will NOT help you murder them. If that's why you came then just shoot me so I don't have to hear the lies spew from your mouth."

"The company only cares about Michael and Lincoln. The others are just considered collateral. Your assistance would be noted by those involved and they just might reconsider Tweener. You both would be free Laney."

Free? The word echoed throughout my head. It was the ultimate goal since the escape. I would be lying if I admitted that the offer wasn't tempting. Tweener and I could be together. Sensing my inner struggle, Mahone finally stepped away from the TV.

Live from Topeka, Kansas on the site on a devastating scene. Local police and federal agents have been swarming the scene since early this morning trying to discern what actually happened to Otto Fibonacci and his family who were found brutally slain this morning. Otto, along with his wife and three young children were under witness protection for his connection to mob boss, John Abruzzi.

It is known than John Abruzzi escaped Fox River penitentiary, so one could only speculate that John may have discovered the whereabouts of this young family…

The rest of the story was drowned out by the buzzing in my ears. Even though Mahone was watching me I couldn't hide the devastated emotion plastered on my face at the news. I didn't even know Fibonacci or his family but my insides felt withered at the thought of what Abruzzi did to him. And God, there were kids involved.

"I know you want to do right by people, Laney, it would have made you a great agent. But ask yourself who you have been doing right by with these people out there."

"I never meant for any of this to happen." I admitted hollowly.

"I know." Mahone replied in a way that made it seem like he actually understood the dilemma.

I swallowed by the dry lump forming in my throat. I had made my decision.

And I'm still dealing with those consequences every day.

I just hoped it was the right one.