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Wait, what?

Ray had gone to the loo after having been woken up by Sam for the proceedings with the matter. Sam had already told her about what the officer had said to him. She was as placid as the night before, not commenting on any of it.

Coming back from the washroom, for the first time in the last 24 hours, she met eyes with him. He saw her, face, stoic. An aggressive shade of red in her cheeks. Her eyes, puffy from crying, yet blank. She stopped a few feet away from where Sam was seated. She opened her mouth to say something when Sam stopped her beforehand.

“You don’t have too.”

“Me staying silent is not going to change anything.” came her voice, dry and hoarse.

“Still. First let’s sort this mess out, go home and we can talk about it then.” said Sam, trying to put things in perspective.

“I am not going home. Not anytime soon.” said Ray shaking her head slightly, as a new wave of tears rushed in.

On cue Sam stood up and tried to approach her, but Ray was quick to match his steps and retreat. He stopped seeing she didn’t want him coming closer. He was confused why that was, but he respected her personal space and strived to make her understand that the situation wasn’t as bad, when he wasn’t so sure himself.

“That’s not decided yet. I am going to call up my mom’s lawyer and he is going to take care of everything okay?”

Ray averted her gaze from Sam and stared at the blank wall as she said, her voice firm and devoid of any emotion.

“Why would you do that? What do you have anything to do with this? If you had not made the decision to come to me last night, you would be safe and sound, in the comfort of your own home right now.”

Hearing those words, Sam couldn’t counter the point Ray had made as strongly as she wanted to because, in the lonely hours of the dawn, when he was alone with his brain, that thought had crossed his mind. He had let his mind wander and explore the possibility of all the what if’s among which this one was prominent. Some of them traced back to their very origin. The one’s he was quick to dismiss. His own thoughts played in his mind, as he stood there, confounded.

What if I had just gone home?

It was an enticing thought, one laced with guilt and condemnation for himself.

Even then he made a halfhearted attempt to convince Ray against it.


But she cut him off, knowing that no matter what he said, it wouldn’t change what was and what is. She said, in a steadfast manner, not letting herself waver from the resolve she made while in the washroom.

“You are clean right? I am pretty sure you don’t have any criminal background either. You should go then, as soon as they let you. Leave. Don’t come back for me. There is nothing you can do. Just leave and try to forget this abominable night and...me.” Said Ray, hugging herself, as her voice faltered on the last word. She meant what she said, but at the same time another part of her, craved to be in his arms. She screamed internally, looking at the pained and confused look on his face. She wanted to tell him to ignore everything she said and hold her. To stay with her. But she couldn’t, for his sake. There was no reason for him to be dragged through the mud along with her. He deserved none of it. And her being the reason for his misery, was the last thing she wanted. Because she knew what lay ahead of her. And he didn’t, so she had to protect him from getting too close, or he would reduce to ashes in the pits of her hellfire.

Sam, even though hurt, still tried to get through to Ray. He now, not being able to hold back, advanced towards her, in quick strides. However, Ray matched his pace and scuttled away from him.

“Don’t. Please don’t.” She said, raising her hand in front of her in a gesture to stop him in his tracks.

“I don’t-” Sam uttered, perturbed now only in a frail attempt to make Ray stop spewing out any more hurtful things, while being visibly agitated, when he was interrupted again, by the officer who came in earlier with their test results.

“We ran a profile check on our database. I think we found something that will interest you.” Saying that he disappeared out the door that he was poking his head through, insinuating that they follow him out.

Sam was left looking after the door, torn between two cardinal matters. Before Sam could even begin to comprehend which to address first, Ray had made the decision for him, as she walked past him, towards the door, without so much of even a glance at him. Frustration built up in him as he followed suit behind Ray. Unable to maintain his presence of mind anymore, he seethed quietly, as he walked out of that dreary waiting room after hours. Even the whiff of clean air after the stifling air dense with unease of the waiting room, didn’t manage to calm his nerves.

Upon walking outside, he walked and stood, maintaining a good amount of distance from Ray. If she didn’t want him near her, he would not persist. But even so, through the sourness that had creeped in his heart towards her, he stole a glance or two at her. She had gone back to her head casting low. Sam deduced that it was a kind of escapism on her part. It was like her pulling away from her reality and refusing to yield to her fate, by hiding what she truly felt from the world. So that her emotions did not manifest into her reality. It was like a coping mechanism. Like building a wall around oneself. No, It was more like retreat, from reality itself. Sam for a split second wondered what could have made her this way when the cop, a guy who looked like he was given this computer job because he was too shy to go on the field, turned the desktop screen towards them.

On it was what appeared to be a younger version of Ray. Sam scanned through the details. Glossing over the basics of her physical attributes and personal information, Sam’s eyes glued to two things on the screen that begged for his attention.

Name: Reene Jose Decartes.

Charge and Description: Drug Abuse

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