|Disclaimer:||This follows the last Bucket story episode-wise, so it’ll make more sense if you’re familiar with the series. Like the previous stories, being set in prison makes the tone and setting a little rougher than my usual fare.
Thanks to Chicklet for offering suggestions and finding typos. Her special insight was appreciated.
Things Are Not Always What They Seem
After the incident with the explosives, Callie kept an extra sharp eye on Loki. She’d been fooled before by good behavior, but she was slowly realizing that exemplary behavior in the brat was actually a bad sign, rather than a good one. It meant she was exercising that extremely creative brain of hers, and quite often in nefarious ways.
Fortunately for her well-punished bottom, Loki seemed to have exercised her mischief muscles enough planning to blow up the prison. She settled back down into the routine again, and all was peaceful for several weeks. Her bruises healed, her pride bounced back, and the other inmates had started to accept her as one of their own. Callie was actually starting to relax and enjoy life again (well, as much as one could in the Bucket). And we all know what a big mistake that is, don’t we readers?
It was during recreation hour one day that the first little intimations of trouble began. Callie was running through her regular workout, and Loki was beside her, lifting lighter weights and chattering on about nothing in particular. Then she noticed that Callie wasn’t listening, and that her attention was drawn by something across the yard. By someone across the yard.
“Well now….that’s nice,” Callie said under her breath.
Loki broke off and followed her gaze. It was a new inmate, another fish Loki had never seen before. The woman was tiny, probably no more than five feet tall, but somehow managed to fill out the baggy prison uniform as if it was designed for her. She had a slender waist, with generous curves above and below, and dark hair which fell in shiny waves to her shoulders. She must’ve felt Callie’s focus on her, for she looked across the yard at that moment.
Even from several hundred feet away, Loki could see the slight blush that tinged the woman’s cheeks, and the way she ducked her head made it clear she was pleased by the attention. Her demure manner was totally at odds with a prison rec yard, and Loki opened her mouth to make a wisecrack about it, but was stopped by the sight of a wolfish grin on her cellmate’s face. She actually liked that bullshit!
Loki frowned, confused. Was Callie attracted to that floozy?? She’d never shown any interest in any of the other women in prison, other than a quickie now and then, and even those were rare. And after the story about losing Josie, Loki could understand why. But…was Callie’s broken heart finally mending?
The rest of the workout Loki completed in silence as she mulled things over. If Callie found her quietness unusual, she didn’t show it. Perhaps she was busy with thoughts of her own. It was dinner time before Loki got to see the new fish up close.
She came by just as Callie was finishing up her meal. Loki, who had stopped at Callie’s table to drop off her dessert, sat down inconspicuously nearby and pretended to be busy tying her shoelace rather than eavesdropping.
“Hi, we haven’t been introduced yet. My name is Melanie, but people call me Melly.”
Melly?? Oh gag me, thought Loki, rolling her eyes.
“Hey. My name is Callie. When did you get in?”
Loki lifted her head to see Callie shaking the new woman’s hand…and forgetting to let go for several seconds. She fought the urge to gag again.
“They just processed me last night. But I was down at Chino, before.”
“California?” The California Institute for Women was well known among prisoners.
Melly nodded. “Great place. I’m going to miss it. How are things here?”
“Oh, it could be worse. A couple of good COs, a few assholes. You play by the rules, you’ll be okay.”
“Maybe you could show me around sometime?”
Show her around?? Where the hell did she think they were, Disney World?! Loki bit her lip to keep from exercising her natural sarcasm. She couldn’t believe the lines coming out of the woman’s mouth. But what was worse was Callie’s response to it.
“Sure. I’m in 412. Come by later. Hey, you want my jello?”
Loki stared incredulously. Callie was offering that bimbo HER jello! She did not sacrifice her sweet tooth so that some Demi Moore-lookalike could enjoy it! Disgusted, she stomped off with Melly’s delighted gushing ringing in her ears. Callie never even noticed.
Back in her cell, Loki lay in her bed and scowled at the ceiling. She felt pissed off and utterly betrayed. She made up her mind there and then that she would tell Callie their arrangement was through. After all, she no longer needed Callie’s protection. She wasn’t the same ignorant fish who had come to the Bucket months ago. She’d gained a bit of street cred, she was respected by the other cons. She’d even put on a little more muscle, thanks to the weight-lifting exercises. She certainly didn’t need some overbearing top telling her what to do all the time!
And this is what Callie came back to when she walked in a few minutes later – a cellmate who was fairly bristling with resentment.
“It’s over,” Loki announced, as soon as Callie entered.
“Huh? What’s over?”
“This…us,” Loki gestured around the cell. “I don’t need your protection anymore. I’m finished telling stories, and I’m keeping my chocolate pudding.”
Callie frowned at her. “Don’t be silly.”
Loki resisted the urge to stomp her foot. How dare she dismiss her like that! “I’m not kidding, Callie. I’m done. It’s been real, it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun. I’ve had enough.”
Callie sat down on her bunk slowly. “What brought this on?”
“Nothing brought this on. It’s just time. I’m not the same fish who needed your help all those weeks ago. I can take care of myself. But thanks for all you did,” she added belatedly.
Callie took a deep breath and ran a hand through her hair. “Hold on a minute,” she said. “First of all, you may not be the newbie you once were, but you still need me. From what I’ve seen, you’re even more of a danger to yourself than I first thought!”
“Well, that may be your opinion, but to be blunt, it’s none of your business. I’m not your responsibility anymore.” Loki looked Callie straight in the eye, her chin raised proudly.
“Fish, you’re making a big mistake,” Callie began, but broke off at that moment when Melly appeared at the entrance to their cell.
“Hi. I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”
“Not at all. Come right in,” Loki answered shortly. She went to sit on her bunk, prepared to ignore them both.
“Uh, no, come in Melly,” Callie said distractedly. To Loki, she said, “Listen fish, we haven’t finished discussing this. Nothing changes till we’ve had a chance to talk.”
“That’s what you think,” Loki muttered, rolling over to face the wall.
Callie’s palm itched strongly, but she couldn’t punish the brat and attend to a guest at the same time. They were definitely going to have a talk later, however.
“Hi. Did you come by for your tour?” she asked, walking over to greet her visitor with a smile.
“No, actually I came by to see if you knew how the pipeline was here?”
“What, you do drugs?” There was a disapproving note in Callie’s voice, and Loki’s ears pricked up. Hah, she thought, so Little Miss Perfect has a vice!
“No, actually, I supply.” Melly smiled lazily. “But I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”
Callie shook her head. “What a naughty girl you are. You know that if you’re caught, you can get into a lot of trouble?”
Melly laughed, and even with her back turned Loki could hear the note of seduction in it. “What if I like trouble?” She looked up into Callie’s eyes flirtatiously.
Against her will, Callie grinned. “You might not like the kind of trouble you can get in with me,” she said, crossing her arms and letting her fingers tap a muscled bicep suggestively.
“Ooo!” Melly’s eyes positively sparkled at that as she leaned in even closer. “I just might like that kind of trouble BEST!”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Loki could stand it no longer. She rose from her bed and pushed past the other woman roughly. “Have her use the bread board on you,” she advised snarkily on her way out. “That should really get your motor running.”
“Loki!” Callie’s growl followed her down the hall but she ignored it. She decided she’d rather kill off brain cells watching “Dr. Phil” in the dayroom than stay there one second longer while the two of them played verbal footsies.
I don’t understand it, she thought as she sulked, hunched down low in the corner of the couch. I’ve seen her avoid the junkies like a plague, and here she is practically drooling over a dealer!
Maybe that was the key – that Callie admired Melanie’s ability to supply the drugs? Loki knew that in the prison population, drug dealers were generally looked up to. They had outside connections, they had addict flunkies who were willing to do anything for them, and they often had a lot of money. Some of them earned more money than the guards did. Of course, some of them used guards as part of the pipeline too. But that was for amateurs.
Loki sat up a little higher in her chair. Is that what it takes? Hell, I could show Smelly a thing or two about supply and demand! She stood up suddenly and headed for the phones. She had an important call to make.
Loki stayed away from her cell till the lock-down bell rang. She braced herself for an interrogation once she got back, but after glancing in her direction and seeing her set face, Callie left her alone for the evening. Maybe she got some nookie and is feeling mellow, Loki thought nastily. Then quickly abandoned that line of thought as unbidden pictures of Melly and Callie naked suddenly entered her mind. Ew, ew, ewwww! She attempted to scrub her brain clean. That was as bad as imagining your parents having sex – you figured you got here somehow, but you REALLY didn’t want to think about the details!
The next morning Loki pretended to sleep in to avoid any serious discussions with Callie. She knew sooner or later it was inevitable, but if she had her way it was going to be later. And maybe by then Callie would be so involved with Melly she would forget all about watching over Loki. But for some reason that thought didn’t give Loki the satisfaction it should’ve.
Loki managed to avoid Callie for most of the day, though there was nearly a confrontation during rec hour, when they were both confined to the yard. Callie approached Loki with a determinedly friendly expression on her face, a fact which in itself made Loki want to scowl in response.
“Hey fish, you’re coming to work out with me today, right?” she asked.
“No, I thought I’d pass today,” Loki replied coolly.
The friendly expression tightened just a fraction. “Oh? Any particular reason?”
Loki shrugged. “Just don’t feel like it.”
Callie took a deep breath. Loki could almost see her making an effort to exercise her patience. “Okay, well…I guess it’s good to take a break once in awhile, give your muscles a chance to rest.”
“I probably won’t be working out tomorrow either,” Loki put in for good measure.
Callie frowned at that. “It’s not a good idea to let it slide,” she said. “You’ll lose all the muscle tone you worked so hard to build up.”
“Thanks for the tip, Arnell Schwarzenegger. But it’s not really any of your business, is it?”
Callie’s face darkened. “Now wait a minute, fish,” she began.
“And I don’t think I like you calling me that,” Loki continued. “From now on, I want you to call me…Ms. Renard.”
“Ms.—” Callie choked.
“Just when we’re in public. When we’re alone you can call me ‘Your Highness.'”
The growl started low in Callie’s throat. “I’ll give you ‘Your Highness’!” She stepped forward, no doubt intending to make her displeasure known physically, and Loki braced herself, a welcome spike of adrenaline shooting through her.
“Hi girls. Is this a private party or can anyone join?” Melly’s low-pitched voice interrupted their intent focus on each other.
Both women stepped back and released their breath simultaneously – they had not seen her coming.
“Actually, Melly, there was something Loki and I were about to discuss,” Callie began, but Loki quickly overrode her.
“Don’t be silly, it wasn’t anything important,” she said airily, making Callie long to smack the attitude out of her.
Loki, meanwhile, knew a sense of fiendish satisfaction. Callie normally had no qualms about punishing her in public, but punishing her in front of a woman she was interested in was obviously another matter.
“Are you sure?” Melly looked uncertainly from one to the other, obviously sensing the tension.
“Oh definitely. Callie wanted my opinion on some poetry she’s been writing, but I told her I’m strictly a novelist. I bet Melly could offer you her opinion, though.”
“Poetry? I didn’t know you wrote poetry,” Melly said. “Sure, I’d be happy to read it and let you know what I think.”
“I don’t write poetry, Loki is selling you a hog,” Callie said irritably.
“Oh, don’t be so modest,” Loki said, waving that off. “You should hear her at night. She loves to recite Emily Dickinson from memory,” Loki confided to Melly. “Nearly chokes me up sometimes.”
“Really?” Melly said doubtfully. She turned to Callie. “I didn’t know you were that type.”
“I’m not that type!” Callie looked on the verge of exploding, and Loki knew it was time for her exit.
“She’s a bit embarrassed about her sensitive side,” Loki said, pretending not to notice the way Callie’s face was beginning to resemble a thundercloud. “But you know how these butch women are – tough on the outside, but underneath they’re just cuddly wuddly teddy bears.” She glanced across the yard. “Whoops, there’s Velda. I need to talk to her. Later, girls!” She made her escape.
“You little—” Callie started after her, but was stopped by Melly’s hand on her forearm.
“Hold on, ‘teddy bear,'” she giggled. “Do you really need to talk to her now? I mean, you guys room together, don’t you? I wanted to ask you something about the gangs here.”
Her glare still on the retreating Loki, Callie tried to restrain her anger. The fish was just trying to push her buttons. She turned back to Melly, and with a supreme effort, tried to focus on something besides tanning a certain brat’s hide. “Sorry – you were saying?”
Across the yard, Velda was standing alone, doing deep breathing in preparation for running through her daily t’ai chi exercises. She observed Loki’s speedy approach and barely suppressed glee. She also noted Callie’s clenched fists and the way her eyes followed the fish.
“Hmm…are we going to be hearing the ‘Howl-o-Loki Chorus’ again tonight?” she asked, when the younger woman had reached her.
Loki flushed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said. She took a seat at the picnic table next to where Velda began to stretch.
“I’m talking about winding up your top, that’s what I’m talking about.” She made a long graceful arc and turned away. “But of course you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
“She’s not my top,” Loki said stiffly. “I told her I don’t need her protection anymore.”
Velda glanced back over her shoulder. “Are you serious?? What did she say to that?”
“She told me not to be silly. She said I’m so stupid I need her protection now more than ever.”
Velda stopped mid-movement to look keenly into Loki’s eyes. “She really say that?”
“Verbatim. Well…pretty much exactly. I mean…I know that’s what she meant!”
The older woman shook her head. She didn’t know which of them was the bigger idiot. She resisted the urge to stick her nose in. It was better if they worked it out for themselves. What Velda couldn’t have foreseen was that the very next day she’d be pulled in whether she liked it or not.
Every prison has a certain energy to it. And the energy varies, depending on where you are, who is there, and what time of the day it is. Very often the guards can sense a buzz, but they don’t always know exactly what is going on. If the guards at the Bucket had been privy to the underground society that exists at all prisons, they would’ve realized it began soon after Loki Renard received a package from “her attorney,” which was marked as confidential legal material. Once they ascertained it was a document, by law it had to pass through without further scrutiny.
When rec hour came around and Loki spent it talking with inmates she never usually socialized with, Callie scowled but didn’t give much thought. She knew the fish was still avoiding her, and she figured Loki was also trying to push her buttons by hanging around people she should be avoiding as well. Maybe it was her way of underscoring her new independence. The night before had been Callie’s chance to pay the brat back for all of her provocation during the day, but for once Callie had been uncertain about how to proceed.
Loki had made it clear she didn’t want Callie’s protection anymore. Since their arrangement had started out as a business deal, it shouldn’t be too surprising that she might want to end it one day. As she had pointed out, she had come a long way from the newbie she was several months ago. And if Callie was honest with herself, she had to admit that she’d ended up beating on the fish’s butt more often than protecting her from any outside danger. Maybe that’s why she’d called it quits? Callie sighed to herself. She didn’t give me much choice – she was more a danger to herself than any of the other cons were! But telling herself that didn’t make the weird aggrieved feeling go away.
In the end, she’d kept silent and pretended to be engrossed in the book she was reading. She saw the fish glance at her several times, as if waiting for the axe to fall, but Callie didn’t have the heart to yell at her. Her anger from earlier in the day had passed, and Loki’s antics even seemed kind of funny in retrospect. No other brat made her want to laugh as often as want to wallop her. She was going to miss that.
Since Callie kept herself by choice outside of most of the gang activity, she was just about the last one to find out what was going on. Velda, who also kept herself clean, only heard about it a few minutes before Callie did. Ironically enough, it was Melly who brought it to Callie’s attention.
The younger woman appeared at Callie’s cell right after dinner. She was pouting.
“You didn’t tell me your bitch was a supplier too!”
Callie stared at her. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Your cellie, Loki! She’s undercutting my sales.”
“Loki doesn’t sell drugs,” Callie said dismissively. But she felt a sudden sinking feeling inside.
“Oh yeah? Well you better tell that to Fontina, then. She just dropped a hundred on a stamp of smack and if it turns out to be cocoa powder she’s gonna be pissed….hey!”
Callie was already on her feet and heading out of the cell. She didn’t even know where she was going; she just knew she had to find the fish…and fast. Luckily, she ran into Velda outside the dayroom.
“Have you seen Loki?”
“Yeah.” Velda’s expression was grim. “She’s dealing down in the showers.”
“I’m going to kill her.”
“Hold on a moment,” Velda grabbed her by the arm.
“Let me go! I need to find that idiot and strangle her.”
Instead of letting go, Velda pulled her into the dayroom and found a couple of chairs in the corner. She sat down and addressed Callie in a low voice. “You’re not going to go storming in there, you’ll just make things worse. Callie, what the heck has been going on with you two? She said she’s not your bitch anymore.”
“Yeah, that’s what she told me. Said she didn’t need my protection anymore.” Callie’s shoulders slumped suddenly. So why was she rushing off to find her? Loki was no longer her responsibility.
“And what did you say to that?”
“I told her not to be silly, of course she needed my protection…ow! What was that for??” Callie rubbed the back of her head where Velda had slapped her.
“For being so thick-headed,” Velda said with exasperation. “Your fish tells you she doesn’t need you anymore, and instead of reassuring her, you dismiss her!”
“Reassuring her?” Callie frowned. “Why does she need reassuring? She’s the one who called it quits on me!”
“When did she do that, exactly?” Velda raised an eyebrow. “What made her change her mind?”
“Hell if I know! It came out of the blue,” Callie said, allowing her hurt feelings to show since it was Velda she was talking to.
“Out of the blue, huh? Had nothing to do with your attentions to little Ms. Chino, by any chance?”
“Who? Melly?” Callie shook her head. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“It doesn’t have anything to do with sense,” Velda said wryly. “It has to do with fear of being replaced.”
“Replaced??” Callie snorted. “That would never happen. Melly’s,” Callie glanced around and lowered her voice, “she’s a cute piece, all right. But Loki is…she’s my fish. I gotta take care of that kid, so she doesn’t end up messing up her life like some of the losers in this joint. You understand what I’m talking about, don’t you?” She looked at Velda entreatingly.
Velda nodded. “Oh yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about. And that’s just what you should’ve told Loki.”
Callie stared at Velda in silence. Finally she rubbed her hand over her eyes wearily. “I’m an idiot.”
“Yeah,” Velda agreed. “But it’s not too late to fix it.” They both stood up. “You go back to the cell. I’ll get the fish and bring her back.” She put a hand on Callie’s shoulder. “You gotta make an impression, you realize that? This is serious stuff.”
Callie nodded. “I know. I’m not looking forward to it, though.”
Velda led Loki to her cell via a tight grip on her left ear, with the brat protesting all the way. If it had been anyone else, Loki would’ve kicked her in the shin and broken free. But the older woman commanded respect – Loki would’ve heeded her even if she hadn’t heard about her beating Callie’s butt all those years ago.
“Fish, you are not going to get mixed up in that shit,” Velda was saying now. “I’m not going to let it happen, and Callie’s not going to let it happen.”
“I told you, I’m not Callie’s bitch anymore. She’s got nothing to say about it,” Loki insisted. “Ow, don’t pull so hard!”
“I’m betting she’s got a lot to say about it,” Velda said. “And something tells me you’re going to be listening for awhile. Ain’t that right?” They had arrived at the cell and Velda addressed the last question to Callie herself. She released Loki’s ear and gave her a push into the cell, closing the door after her.
“Hey!” Loki swung around and pulled on the gate…it was locked tight. “That’s not funny, Velda!”
“Nobody’s laughing, fish,” Callie said grimly. She was standing near the door with her arms crossed and an expression on her face that made Loki’s tummy quiver. Loki decided to tough it out.
“Look, I understand you may not agree with what I was doing,” she began, but before she could get any further she found both her upper arms grabbed in a punishing grip and she was pulled right up to Callie’s face.
“You were fucking selling drugs!” the older woman said in a furious undertone, careful not to be overheard. “Freaking heroin – do you know how addictive that shit is?!”
“It wasn’t my first choice, but it was the easiest thing to smuggle in between two sheets of paper,” Loki tried to explain, but her words seemed to anger Callie even more. She gave the younger woman a quick, hard shake.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass! Do you realize the chance you were taking?! Do you know how much time they’d add on for that?! Do you realize what that shit does to people?! Oh hell, why am I even bothering talking!” She dragged Loki over to her bed and pulled her down across her knees, then quickly and roughly divested her of her shoes, pants, and underwear.
“Callie, stop it! I’m not your bitch anymore! You don’t have any right—OW!!!” Callie’s palm landed like the crack of a whip on her right buttock. It was followed immediately by an equally hard slap to her left, and those were the claps of thunder which heralded a massive downpour of a spanking. Callie’s hand rose and fell repeatedly, a blur of lightning-swift swats all over Loki’s butt and thighs, which had her yelling and squirming frantically.
Loki’s protests and swearing eventually turned into pleas and whimpers, but Callie seemed deaf to all of it. Finally, when Loki’s bottom felt like one big red heated balloon, Callie pulled her upright and sat her down – hard – on her lap, ignoring Loki’s yelp of pain.
“Let’s get a few things straight, shall we? The first thing is, you are NOT fucking selling drugs! Ever! Is that clear?!”
“That’s not fair,” Loki began, but she broke off when she heard the ominous growling in Callie’s throat.
“I can see it’s not clear yet,” she said with quiet fury. “Okay. Let’s discuss it some more. Stand up and go to your bed.”
Puzzled, Loki turned around slowly…and froze. There, laid out on her bed, were all the implements Callie had ever hit her with, as well as a few she had not seen before.
“Bring me back the hairbrush,” Callie said shortly.
“Callie, no…”she said shakily.
“Fish, you have three seconds to do as I tell you. If I have to go get it myself, I promise you will regret it.” There was no mercy in Callie’s voice.
“C’mon, you spanked me already!”
“Callie, don’t be like that!”
There was a world of menace in Callie’s tone, and against her will Loki went to retrieve the mahogany hairbrush lying on her bed. As she picked it up she noted how heavy it was, and how the bristles looked as if they had never been used for brushing hair. She looked across the cell at Callie, a plea in her eyes. Callie’s stern expression never wavered.
“Bring it back here and get over my lap, fish.”
Walking back carrying the hairbrush which would be used to spank her was like taking her own noose to the gallows. As soon as she was in range, Callie spared her having to lay herself over her lap by taking the hairbrush from her and pulling her down immediately. Loki felt the cool smooth surface of the back of the brush pressed against her cheek, and then Callie’s voice addressed her again.
“You are NOT. Fucking. Selling. Drugs. But since you don’t seem to hear so well when I say it, maybe you will listen better to something with a mahogany accent.” And Callie proceeded to spank her with the hairbrush.
If Loki thought her bottom was heated after the bout with Callie’s hand, she was in for a surprise. The hairbrush was as hard as iron, a smaller version of the hated bread board, and each impact was a tiny explosion of pain. Her head shot up, mouth and eyes opened wide in distress, as the brush whacked her sore cheeks over and over again. She cried out for mercy. Callie paused for a moment.
“Are you hearing me now? You are not selling drugs. You are not using drugs. You are not fucking going NEAR anything stronger than an aspirin, is that clear?”
“Yes, yes, it’s clear!” Loki’s reply was heartfelt and hoarse from shouting.
“Good.” She resumed the spanking.
Loki struggled and whimpered, she squirmed and wriggled and yelled at the top of her lungs. Still that awful brush landed, finding new spots and re-visiting ones already sore. Just when she was about to break down into tears, Callie stopped. She pulled Loki upright and balanced her on her lap once again.
“You are still my bitch,” Callie said, in a tone that brooked no argument. “You are a danger to yourself and others, and I am going to make sure you stay safe as long as you’re in the Bucket, is that clear?”
Despite her painfully throbbing derriere, Loki felt the injustice of that strike her.
“Don’t I have any say in things?” she said resentfully. “Did I lose my status as a human being somewhere along the line?”
Callie exhaled slowly. “Sure, you have a say in things.” She handed the hairbrush to Loki. “Put that back and bring me the belt.”
Loki’s breath left her. She had not seen that belt since the awful day in the rec yard. “Callie, please….”
“Three seconds, fish.” Callie stood her up and delivered a swat to her already sore bottom. “Move it.”
Loki stood clasping her throbbing buttocks and tried to gather her courage. As she walked over to her bed, she was aware of how her uniform top left her reddened ass on display, and how mincing her gait was due to the pain in her bottom. She probably looked exactly what she felt like – a thoroughly punished little girl. But even that feeling of humiliation left her as she put down the hairbrush and picked up the leather strap – all she felt was dread. She turned back around, but couldn’t make her body move forward.
Loki grit her teeth. Just get it over with. Do what she says and when it’s over you can transfer out. Or escape. Anything. Still, her feet refused to obey.
“Two.” There was a definite warning in Callie’s tone.
It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair.
“Three.” Callie stood up slowly, intimidation in every line of her body. The sight of it somehow it unlocked Loki’s frozen stance and she rushed across the cell, falling to her knees at Callie’s feet and holding out the belt with a hand that trembled.
Callie took the belt from her and sat back down. She pulled Loki into the same position she’d used in the rec yard – straddling her knee and tucked under her left arm. Without another word, she raised the strap and brought it down hard. Loki howled at the horrible burning welt it left. Twice more Callie swung, twice more Loki shrieked in agony. She tried to muffle her cries in the blanket, but as the tears came she gave voice to the thoughts that were running through her brain.
Callie stopped. “What’s not fair?”
“This is not fair,” Loki sobbed. “You girlfriend sells drugs and you think it’s cute. But I do the same thing and you beat me!”
Callie sighed deeply. She put down the belt and lifted the younger woman upright again, ignoring her whimper of pain as she sat her on her knee.
“Listen to me, fish. Melly is a con. That’s all she’ll ever be. She knows how to work the system, and even if she doesn’t get caught, she’ll probably spend most of her life in and out of places like this. That’s not going to happen to you, not if I have a say in things.” To Loki’s shock, Callie reached out and lifted her chin gently. “Don’t you understand, fish? You are better than that. You’re better than the loser cons whose only thought is how to cheat the system. And you’re better off than us old-timers – we’re so set in our ways it’s not likely we’re going to change. You – you’re young and smart…there’s hope for you.”
Callie’s last sentence was spoken in a low voice. She looked into Loki’s eyes, and there was a slight smile on her face. “Do you understand what I’m saying here, brat? You’re still my bitch because I don’t want you to make the same stupid mistakes the rest of us did. And you’re not allowed to sell drugs because I know you have a future ahead of you, if I can keep you from messing it up. I…care about what happens to you, fish.”
“You care about me?” Loki repeated in a whisper.
Callie nodded. “And that’s why you’re getting your ass blistered for this stupid stunt, and any other time I think it’s necessary!” She pulled Loki back over her knee, ignoring both her wailing protest and the way her hips bucked frantically with every measured stroke of the strap. It wasn’t long after that Loki broke down into tears again, her backside throbbing more than she’d ever imagined it could, her heart aching and strangely full at the same time.
Callie lifted her to sit on her lap, cuddling her till the sobbing had subsided. Finally she stood her up and handed her the strap. “Take this back, and bring me—”
“Nooooo!” Loki cried out, disbelievingly.
“Hush!” Callie’s voice was stern.
“Please, Callie, no more! I’m so sore…” Loki started crying again.
“Fish, what did I tell you?” A warning.
Sniffling, Loki, fought her desire to plead for mercy and hung her head. “Sorry.” She closed her eyes and waited.
“Take back the belt, and bring me…the arnica.”
Loki released a small whimper of relief and went to get the tube of gel. With every step the skin of her bottom protested in agony, and she knew she’d be feeling the effects of this spanking for several days. Still, she felt oddly at peace as she lay herself down over Callie’s lap a final time. Callie was gentle as she carefully spread the gel, but Loki couldn’t help gasping and wincing. When she was done, Loki stood up and looked over at the arsenal spread out on her bed.
“Where do you want me to put everything?” she asked.
“Leave it. I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”
“But how am I supposed to sleep?” Fretful.
“Here.” Gently, but without ceremony, Callie pushed her down on her own bed and rolled her onto her side. She stretched out on her side next to her and pulled the blanket up over both of them.
“Go to sleep, fish. It’s been a long day.” Callie draped her arm over Loki, who was already giving in to her exhaustion.
“Goodnight,” Loki mumbled, drifting off feeling strangely happy tucked under Callie’s arm, despite her burning backside.
Callie felt strangely at peace herself, despite having aged ten years in the past few hours. She whispered her answer back, fairly certain the fish was already sound asleep. “Goodnight, little one. Sweet dreams.”