"Hi, I'm Wayne Rice."
Ezra looked up from his book to see a small, chubby guy with receding grey hair and squinty eyes standing at the door of his cell. Tattoo sleeves covered his muscly arms and Ezra spotted the words 'love' and 'hate' inked onto his knuckles.
"Ezra Fitz," he replied after making his sweeping observation. Wayne was instantly allocated to his mental list of men to steer clear of. He set aside his book and stood up, "Can I help you?"
"I've been moved to this cell," Wayne said, shuffling inside, "We're roomies."
Raising his eyebrows, Ezra let out a surprised "oh!" He was disappointed that his brief solitude had come to an end. He'd had the cell to himself for three days since Hanson had been moved. He hoped that this match would play out better than the last had. "Well, let me give you the tour." Ezra flashed his boyish smile at his new cellmate. "Your bed, my bed, the sink, the toilet, the big crack in the ceiling, and the small crack in the wall." He pointed to each thing in turn before extending his hand, "Welcome to b, 26."
"I bet you say that to all the inmates," Wayne joked as he set his small bag of personal items on his bed.
Ezra laughed and lay back down, "Only the non-threatening ones." Wayne smirked and started to tack up his pictures. Ezra returned to his book, The Dubliners. A few minutes later he was once again pulled from the lyrical words of Joyce by Wayne's voice.
"So what are you in for?"
A wry smile made its way onto Ezra's still-bruised face, "Falling in love."
"I heard you might say that," Wayne said, sitting down on his bunk making the springs groan in objection.
"Did you, now?" Ezra asked, "I swear this place gossips like a small town." He thought he'd left the rumours about him behind in Rosewood. He wondered if people would ever stop whispering about his life choices. It made him uncomfortable that something as pure and real as his relationship with Aria disgusted so many people. Being with her felt like breathing, yet here he was suffocating.
"Tell me about it," Wayne laughed, "My first week I knew more about another man's business than ever before. I've been here for two years and I know more gossip than a housewife."
The two men laughed for a moment and Ezra could feel himself warming up to Wayne. Although he was a little rough around the edges, he felt like he was a genuinely nice guy – well, as genuinely nice as a criminal could be. He wondered what Wayne had done to land himself in PICC, hoping that it was something simple like tax evasion or a DUI.
"And what are you in for?" He asked, almost afraid of what the answer would be. Sharing a room with Hanson, an unremorseful murderer, was disastrous enough and he dreaded to think what would transpire if he was sharing a room with another cold-blooded killer.
Wayne seemed to consider his reply for a moment before smiling, allowing Ezra to catch a glimpse of a glinting gold tooth. Then he said a sentence which chilled Ezra to the bone: "I fell out of love."
Over the next two days Ezra got to know Wayne very well as the man rarely left his side. His only alone time came when he was working in the library, where he'd been assigned duty for the next two weeks.
However, he couldn't bring himself to mind Wayne's presence all that much as his cellmate was surprisingly good company. Ezra had gone so long without talking to the other men that it felt good to be able to hold conversations with a likeminded person. For the first time since he'd pulled on his orange jumpsuit, he felt a little like his old-self.
But it wasn't only his new friend that had Ezra Fitz in such a good mood. No, the extra spring in his step was largely due to the fact that after three months in PICC, his name was finally called for visiting hours on Saturday. Aria was definitely on her way, and every time Ezra remembered he couldn't help but smile.
He found himself staring at his photo of her scantily clad body more often than usual as he counted down the days. He missed everything about her; her smile, her smell, the curve of her body… He wanted to hold her close and never let go. It killed him that he wouldn't be able to do that for another year and a three quarters. Longer if they get caught when she visits him. Technically, she has a restraining order against him.
"Alright, Fitzy, how're y'doin', bud?"
Wayne's voice startled Ezra and he hastily stuffed the photo in question into his pillow. If Wayne noticed the quick stowaway, he said nothing about it. Ezra's cellmate collapsed onto his bunk and as per usual the unappreciative springs made themselves known.
"It's going good, Wayne, how about you?"
"Ah, can't complain, me ma's coming tomorrow. Saw your name up there, too."
Ezra's face lit up.
"My Mom's coming, too, and my gir- eh – my cousin, Amy." Ezra had taken down the other photo of Aria off of his wall so that hopefully nobody would notice how similar his 'cousin' looked to his underage girlfriend.
"No sign of the girl that put you in here?" Wayne asked, nodding towards the pillow. Ezra blushed as Wayne indicated his failed attempt to hide the pictures.
"She didn't put me in here," he replied, cooly, "Her father did."
"Why'd he go 'n do that?"
Ezra opened his mouth to reply but thankfully his brain caught up with him before he revealed more than he meant to. He shut it again without saying a word and looked away. He realised that he'd just told Wayne more than he'd told anybody about his sentence and vowed to start up his silence once more.
All he hoped was that he could trust Wayne as much as he wanted to be able to because he'd meant it when he'd compared the prison to Rosewood as secrets never stay secret within the cracked stone walls of PICC.
I don't know if anybody is still reading this, but I am definitely still writing it.