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Mashed Potato

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"Do you know what she said to me today?" Piper doesn't elaborate on who she means, just prods her mashed potato. They're the proper color, creamy looking. She'd gotten used to gray potatoes. It's oddly disconcerting.

"Contrary to popular belief, nuns don't have a direct line to the Lord that lets us know everything," Sister Ingalls replies. Her smile says it isn't meant as a rebuke, more of a gentle joke, but Piper isn't in the mood for laughing.

"She said that before she met me, she spent a lot less time angry." Just repeating the words makes them hurt all over again.

Sister Ingalls nods thoughtfully. "Yes, I can imagine that."

Piper drops her fork with a clatter. A splatter of potato lands on the table. Heads swivel to stare at her, but she ignores them all, the same way she ignores Morello's whispered 'you alright, hon?'

"Aren't you supposed to be comforting or sympathetic or something?" she hisses at Sister Ingalls.

"First of all, I'm a nun in prison; it's pretty obvious that I don't always do what I'm meant to. And secondly, would sympathy really help you?"

"Yes," Piper says automatically, knowing it's a lie as the word leaves her lips. "But—"

"But it's hard to think that you make people angry when you're the kind of person who wants everyone to like her."

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

"It can be." Sister Ingalls looks slowly around the room, then back to Piper. "How many inmates do you think are here because they wanted someone to like them, wanted to fit in?"

Piper thinks of Watson and Diaz. Watson could have been a track star by now. Diaz could have been—well, somewhere other than here. Not locked up. Banged up and locked up.

"I don't need Alex to like me," Piper mutters mutinously.

"But you want her to. And you want her to agree with your decision—"

"What?" Piper interrupts. "How do you know about—" She trails off.

Sister Ingalls taps the side of her nose with a knowing look. "God might not tell me everything, but I still keep on top of the gossip."

Piper sighs. "I know I haven't been fair to her, I do, I just—I don't know." What does she want? Alex's blessing on her wedding? To be platonic BFFs? Fuck, she's really screwed up. Again. "I'm trying to think if I could have screwed up worse," Piper says miserably.

"It's hard to see how," Sister Ingalls says, her grin taking all the sting out of the words, and this time Piper has to laugh, because she's made such a fucking mess of everything that all she can do is laugh or cry. And she's cried enough. Now she just needs to learn how to stop making people she loves angry. Just. Hah.

"So, is Jesus angry with me, do you think?" she asks.

Sister Ingalls pats her on the hand. "A little disappointed, that's all."

"Okay, that I can work on." Piper takes another mouthful, but she isn't really in the mood for food. She has a powerbar in her cubicle. She can have that if she gets hungry later.

"Of course he's mostly disappointed that you don't actually believe in him."

Piper resists saying that she hasn't been too impressed with his personnel lately. It's best to leave Pennsatucky and her posse out of things. "Perhaps I'll just stick with trying to fix the anger issues, and leave Jesus for later. I'm gonna guess he's more patient than most people, right?"

"He's the perfect model of patience, yes."

Piper picks up her tray. She can feel eyes on her as she stands up, and when she turns, she gets a glare from the Latina crowd. Of course. She hasn't finished her dinner, so she's insulted them. 'Fuck them,' she thinks, and then realizes that this is her first chance to do the right thing. Maybe they're not people she loves, but at least she can avoid making them angry. She slides back into her seat and piles up her fork.

Sister Ingalls leans over and whispers in her ear, "You're learning."