As usual thanks to my beta Darcy! I would also like to make clear that in the UK there aren't degrees of murder as there is in the US. In the UK it is also defence rather than defense.
"Good morning," came the voice of wing governor, Karen Betts.
Choruses of "Morning, Karen" and "Morning, Miss Betts" echoed around the small room.
"Right; let's get started people," Karen enthused, "Firstly, we have a new lifer being shipped in today, a Doctor Kristin Westphalen-Bridger. It was a high-profile case, so you may have heard of it as well as some of the girls."
"High-profile case? What is the justice system coming to? Glorifying criminals; a murder no less. Well don't you worry, Miss Betts. I'll soon bring her down a peg or two," came the monotone complaints of one Sylvia 'Bodybag' Hollamby.
"Right, Sylvia; if you feel so confidently that you are capable of that, then you can be her personal officer," Karen retorted with a smirk on her face.
This managed to rise an early morning smile from the officers' faces; Sylvia always had a tendency to put her 'foot in her mouth' and land herself in it.
Sylvia gave one of her famous harrumphs and then spoke, "You just leave this doctor to me."
"Thank you, Sylvia. That leaves us with a problem in terms of cell space; I've been thinking this through, and I want to mix up the four-bed cell. Having Oswyn and Tull in a two bed on their own allows them too much scope to plan out their next con trick; I feel that having them in a cell with a good influence would do the trick. So, I want McKenzie and Blood tp move into Oswyn and Tull's cell, and I want O'Kane and Lester in Barbara Hunt's cell. Understood? So that leaves the Costa Cons, Hunt, and Westphalen in the four-bed."
Mumbles of agreement were heard along with other mumblings about the 'OAP cell'.
Only a few hours later, Kristin found herself in a waiting area of Larkhall prison under the critical eye of Sylvia Hollamby, who had threatened her with a very thorough strip search. Mrs Hollamby, it seemed, had already taken badly to her, especially after she pointed out that, as a doctor, a strip search didn't overly bother her.
Kristin's tears were, for the moment, ceased; she realised that to be heard in here, she needed to be seen as strong. To cry would only give the other inmates ammunition; it would show weakness.
During her induction, Kristin had also asked that she be referred to as Kristin Westphalen; she felt that the surname of Bridger would give her too much of a link to her husband; God only knew what the other inmates were capable of, and she wanted to do nothing that could endanger Nathan.
She was next lead to the doctor for a quick once over. Sylvia fluttered her eye lashes at the doctor, and Kristin couldn't help but snigger at the obviously one-sided flirtation. Hollamby gave her a death-cold stare, one which Kristin wasn't afraid to return with the infamous Westphalen glare.
Sylvia turned to the doctor, "Malcom this is our most recent lifer, Kristin Westphalen. Westphalen, this is doctor Nicholson. Give me a shout when you're done with this one, Malcom."
"Will do, Sylvia," replied Malcom. He waited for Hollamby to shut the door, and then, turned back to Kristin and stated, "You, on the examination table."
Kristin did as she was told, and the doctor proceeded to give her a general check over; already, Kristin had taken a dislike to the doctor. He just wasn't what she would consider a good doctor; he didn't explain any of the tests to her or give her any indication of whether her health was good or bad. Kristin just couldn't take the doctor's demeanour for any longer and decided to air her opinions.
"You do realise that I could have told you that I keep perfect health?" she said.
"Do you realise how many women come and say exactly the same? Most of them are wrong; you need to be a doctor to make that judgement," Nicholson replied.
"That's rather a crass comment, Doctor; plus, I am a doctor, so I can make that judgement, yes?"
"You're a doctor? You can't be; you're in prison."
"You think that just because I am in a respected job that I can avoid prison? Life doesn't work that way, mate."
"So it would seem…well, as it goes you are fit for duty. I'll just get Mrs Hollamby to escort you down to G-wing."
Ten minutes later, and the gates to G-wing where unlocked; as Kristin was led through them, she couldn't help but feel as though she was under scrutiny by all the other women, for it seemed all eyes were on her.
"You can say your introductions later, Westphalen, but for now, let's just get you to your cell," Hollamby ordered.
Kristin was led into her cell; as she saw it, her mouth hung agape. She had expected to be in either a single or a two-bed cell…not a four. Whilst Kristin enjoyed the company of others, she was also an extremely private person, and admittedly, had a temper. More than a week with the same three people would likely give her cabin fever and result in an extremely ratty woman.
Another of Kristin's traits was to be opinionated, and just because she was in prison didn't mean that would change, and so she spoke to Hollamby, "You can't really expect me to bunk in with three others?"
"We can do whatever we want; you earn privileges in here. So until you prove yourself worthy, you are in the four bed…."
Hollamby was cut short by angry voices at the door of the cell.
"What the hell? There's no more room in our cell!" Buki Lester shouted.
"Get that oul' hag out of our cell," came the threatening Scottish tones of Al McKenzie.
"Here, here…" agreed Denny Blood, whilst Tina O'Kane attempted her most threatening look, a look that most often backfired on the chubby face of the young girl.
"Actually girls, this is no longer your cell," Hollamby informed, obviously pleased to be the person to break the bad news.
All Kristin wanted was to fit in and not to 'rub people up' the wrong way. She said, "Mrs Hollamby, I really don't want any trouble on my part."
"Westphalen, believe me when I say that this is not for your benefit. Blood and McKenzie, you're both moving to Oswyn and Tull's cell…perhaps you'd like to inform them that they'll be moving into the four-bed. As for you, O'Kane and Lester, you can move to Hunt's cell and tell her the same. Westphalen, I am your personal officer, and so, I will arrange a meeting with you for tomorrow. I'll just leave you to settle in."
Kristin nodded her head in agreement; in honesty, she just needed time to 'acclimatize' to her new surroundings. All the same, she had time for politeness and turned to the four girls who had begun packing up their few belongings; "I'm Kristin Westphalen, by the way."
A rather frightening-looking girl, who Kristin recalled to be McKenzie shot her another dirty look. She was, however, offered a smile by a slightly ditzy-looking blonde, the girl who had failed to give her a threatening look. The girl then outstretched her hand and shook Kristin's warmly. "I'm Tina… Tina O'Kane. Don't mind them; they're just in a mood at having to move, but don't you worry. I'll introduce you."
Kristin smiled warmly at the girl who continued to speak, "This is Denny Blood," she motioned to a petite, tattoo-clad girl with dark curly hair who nodded her head in recognition of Kristin before turning back to her packing. "This is Al McKenzie," she motioned to the Scottish girl, once again, who completely ignored the introduction. "Last but not least, this is Buki Lester," she motioned to a dark-skinned, dark-haired girl who looked no more a criminal than Tina.
Buki, too, stuck out her hand in greeting and spoke, "So what you in here for, how long?"
Kristin smiled; she had wondered how long it would take for that question to be broached, "I'm a lifer; I was sent down for murdering a man I only met once. Didn't do it." It was straight and to the point, but the pain was too fresh, and to speak of it openly would only add salt to the wound.
"That's what they all say when they come in here; ain't it Teen?" Buki asked.
Tina agreed, "Oh yeah; I'm not saying you're a liar or nothing, but most of them admit to it in the end. Anyway, I've finished with my stuff. You want to come meet some of the girls?"
"Thank you very much for the offer, Tina, but I think I'll decline. I'm just really tired after the court case."
"Course you are. Well, I'll leave you to it, shall I?" Tina replied.
Kristin nodded her head in thanks, and minutes later, was left alone in the dorm, alone in her thoughts…her collapsed world.
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