After gathering my stuff together, I head back out into the carpark.
"Miss Winters!" calls a voice as I unlock my little car's door. My head turns to sound and I smile when I see the official who had taken me to the room at the back hurrying over.
"Hi." I say, dumping my folders onto my passenger seat and grabbing my water bottle from the bag. He nods at me with a smile and wipes his brow. I don't think he was made for exercise.
"I know you're doing a project for your law course; and I thought you might like to talk to the candidate about his crimes?" he offers it with a raised eyebrow and small smile. I pause from drinking and look at him.
"Am I allowed to do that?" I ask, pretty sure this wasn't in the regulations that I had to have read fully, and carefully before starting this project.
"Well, not really - but, I'm sure we can make an exception, just this one time." he smiles at me again, and I notice some crooked teeth hiding behind his pink lips.
"Alright, I'll just grab my notebook." I lean back into the car and fumble with the folders on the seat; my eyes flick to the mirror just in time to watch him looking at my behind. This man was old enough to be my father; but what did I expect, this was a law official - there's always something fishy about them.
I get back out of the car quickly and follow the man - I never did catch his name - back into the justice building and through too many corridors until we reach the confinement section. This is where all the guilty stay until a police parrol is ready to take them back to the station or jail.
"Room 108, Miss Winters." the court official tells me, pointing ahead to a specific door that isn't yet visible. I turn back to thank him but he's already gone, leaving me alone with the guard who's looking somewhat bored. No surprise. Briskly, I walk down the corridor, checking the numbers as I go, until I reach the door labelled with a brass 108. Unsure of what to do now, I look at the guard; but he's already on his way over.
"Thanks." I tell him with a smile as the door unlocks. My hand reaches for the handle.
"If he causes any problems, just give me a shout." he assures me, putting his own hand over my own. I make my smile a little bigger before excusing myself and pushing the door open. Whilst rolling my eyes, I stick my head back out.
"Should I leave the door open?" I call out to the guard. He shakes his head and gives a shrug. Guess it doesn't matter. Instead of letting it close fully, I just pull it to. Privacy and a quick escape.
Nick's sitting on a chair behind a table; his hands bound by handcuffs, staring straight at me. His brows are furrowed as he looks at me. I don't know what he sees, but he doesn't seem too happy about it. Suddenly feeling rather self-conscious of his inquisitive eyes, I pull my notebook closer to my chest and step from one foot to the other lightly.
"Are you going to sit down?" he asks at last, a faint smirk tracing his lips. I sit, crossing my legs so they won't shake as much - I'm already having trouble with my hands. He's still looking at me as I pull out a pen and open the notebook. Then he waits. The silence is strangely intimidating (he is a criminal afterall) and I find myself unnecessarily writing out the date and a title.
"Do you think I owe you a thank you?" his sudden breakage make me jump, and my pen slides across the page with a mind of it's own. He chuckles quietly as my cheeks burn.
"Why would you owe me a thank you?" I ask back, my eyes meeting his for a second before flicking back down to assess the damage on the page; I'd better start a new one.
"Well, I think it's highly likely that you were the one who changed their minds about the phonecalls. And brought up community service." he looks at me expectantly.
"Yes, I did. Would you mind answering some questions whilst I'm here?" I hold my breath, hoping he'll say yes.
"Alright. But I'm not going to answer if I don't want to, or if I feel you're stepping over the line." his eyesare blazing straight through me, "And I get to ask you some questions, as well."
I nod slowly before posing the first question.
"Why do you street-fight? Is it for money, or girls, or is it just ego-boosting?"
"Because I can." I look at him very seriously, trying to evaluate the best route from here to take.
"Okay. Is crime something you've grown up with, or something you've discovered recently?"
"No. I'm not going to answer that question."
"Fine. How do you feel about the punishment?"
"Would you like to continue...?" I ask, trying to get him to give some longer answers.
"Right, then. What's your family life like?" I've already started packing up my stuff; I know he won't answer. This is the most personal question of the bunch.
"Not good." I roll my eyes and stand up.
"I get to ask you some questions now, remember?" he calls back to me as I make my way over to the door. I freeze and turn back around to face him, leaning back on the wall and waiting for him to ask.
"Why are you here?"
"Work experience." That wasn't a complete lie, but I sure as hell wasn't going to tell him I was doing a project based on his criminal activity.
"What's your name?"
"Pretty. Why did you help me?"
"Then how do you explain swaying the judge's mind?"
"I told her what I thought. I would've done exactly the same if it had been someone else."
"Sure. Are you going to go out with that guard outside the door?"
"These walls aren't soundproof. He likes you."
"So does the court official." I mumble under my breath
"Well, I'm not surprised."
"Is that all?"
"Good-bye." I tell him before walking out and declining the offer of dinner from the guard waiting outside.