That Velma Kelly sure was a class act. The reporters all agreed it amongst themselves, even after they'd stopped putting it down in print. You never caught her with a foot out of place, she never said the wrong thing, she never even hesitated when the wrong thing would be the easiest thing to say. Of course, you couldn't believe in her; she was clearly guilty as sin. But you wanted to. You wanted to just because she was so damn good. With the photographers, she was legendary for her ability to take a good picture any time, anywhere. Not many women could sit in Murderesses' Row and look like they'd just stepped out of a salon.
Being the woman mostly responsible for that particular ability of Velma's, Mama always feels a certain pride in watching her faultless performance for the reporters. But there's pleasure too in seeing her the way no-one else sees her, sat back in the office with her feet propped up on the desk, ankles crossed, drinking bourbon from the bottle. Even here, there's a certain elegance about her in the way she tosses her head, the way she french inhales her cigarettes. But she's relaxed; relaxed enough to sing snatches of the songs playing on the radio, relaxed enough to laugh her real laugh, not the silvery rill she practises for the press. She seems so at home that Mama can almost pretend those flirtatious smiles being shot her way are genuine too.
It had all so clearly been a game, those first few weeks; the flash of Velma's thigh as she retrieved a bill from her garter, the way she leaned into the casual touches the others shied away from. And later, when she knew she could trust her (as well as she ever trusted any of her girls), the visits to her office were a game too. It was a game when Velma's breasts pressed against the back of Mama's head as she kneaded her shoulders and whispered cold, hard somethings into her ear. A game when she perched on the desk and crossed her legs to show off her new silk stockings. And definitely a game when she bucked against Mama's hand between her thighs and whimpered and gasped again and again – though she played it very well.
But now they're sitting together, and passing the bottle back and forth and setting the world to rights, and it's easy to forget the cuffs sitting on the desk and all the circus of the world outside. It's getting dark, and the songs on the radio are soft and soulful. Velma's so close that Mama can almost breathe the smoke from her mouth. The conversation lost its focus when the bottle ran dry, but neither of them seems to want to move, and Mama remembers a time when she only had prisoners in her office when they needed something from her. Then Velma's head drifts against her shoulder, and her lips are on her neck and her hands are on the buttons of her uniform, and soon Mama's tasting the sweat at the top of Velma's thighs as those delicate hands thread through her hair.
"Oh, Mama," Velma whispers, "it's never been like this for me."
It's the right thing to say, the perfect thing to say, and it sounds so good that Mama almost, almost believes her. That Velma Kelly. She sure is a class act.