The stress of being separated from Jake and Arielle was really starting to take its toll on Nicole. She’d lost fifteen pounds since late April. The monotony of daily life inside of the detention facility coupled with abusive treatment at the hands of guards was enough to cause even the toughest individual to break down mentally. Even Bridgette wasn’t sure if she could hold out for much longer. She was desperate to see her husband and son again. Nicole and Bridgette joined eight other inmates in the showers. The hot water cascading over Nicole’s body brought scant relief from all of the turmoil that was wracking her. Once they were finished, the close friends dried themselves off. Janet Paynter appeared in the locker room doorway. Her cold, unfeeling eyes were set upon Nicole.
“Clare, get dressed and come with me. You’ve got a visitor.”
Nicole was a trifle nervous. Who would be wanting to see her at this time of the evening?” She touched Bridgette on the shoulder.
“I’ll see you later, okay?”
“I’ll be where I always am,” Bridgette said with a weak smile.
Nicole felt anxious as she was escorted down the long corridor that led into the administrative area of the prison. A guard hit a button. The door separating Nicole and her guards slid open with a buzzing sound.
Captain Storey and another guard, a sergeant, smiled lewdly at Nicole as she was escorted into an office.
“You do exactly as the nice man says and you may just survive,” Storey said to her.
Nicole replied with a deep, penetrating scowl. One of the guards opened the office door. Nicole entered. She was flabbergasted at the sight of Frank Carragher sitting there. He rose to greet the shocked inmate. Nicole knew very little about the plump administrator. He was about the only person she hadn’t yet disparaged.
“Please, take a seat, Ms. Clare.”
Nicole sat down in front of him.
“How are you doing?”
“Surviving. That’s all most of us can do these days.”
Carragher studied Nicole’s face. It was devoid of emotion.
“I know a great deal about you. Nicole Clare, the famous local liberty blogger and activist.”
“I’m curious as to the reason why you summoned me here.”
“Your daughter resides in the children’s area. Arielle.”
Prompted by a rush of adrenaline, Nicole shot up from her chair.
“If you or anybody even thinks of doing anything to her…”
“Relax, Nicole. Nobody is hurting anybody. Now, from what I understand, you wish to be reunited with Arielle. Before you react, please hear what I have to say. I have a proposition for you. I assume you’re aware that I hold complete dominion over each and every living creature that resides within the confines of this district. Anyway, I’ve had my share of women since arriving in this rather dull, smelly city. Young ones mainly. Didn’t really do anything for me. Nicole, I must say, there is something about you that I find beyond attractive. Sexy. The kind of mature sexy that can only be acquired through years of experience. I think you know where I’m going with this.”
“In your dreams.”
Carragher smiled wickedly.
“Nicole, you obviously do not understand the ramifications of what you’re doing by rejecting my most generous offer. You’re being presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Should you become my paramour, I will ensure that you have a much better life than what you have in this cesspool. You and Arielle will get to spend as much time together as possible. Eventually, you will be allowed to live in the community again. I seriously suggest that you put a lot of thought into this before deciding to reject it.”