Criminal by law
Ray felt Sam’s scrutinizing gaze on her, even though her eyes were dead set on the toes of her feet. She realized that his probing glare was urging her to look at him. To look in his eyes and reassure him. To tell him the truth. But she couldn’t. She didn’t have it in her to bear the look of betrayal reflected back to her. She could feel the coldness emanating from him as he drifted apart from her. This was it. This is as far as it goes. And this is as good as it gets. She was foolish in the first place to think that she could put her past behind her and lead an average life. Simple, stable, content. But she was doomed from the very day she was born and this was just a reality check from her life itself. She condemned herself in her despondent state of mind.
What was I even thinking? Trying to forget it all? Moving on? Who was I kidding? I was only lying to myself all along. I didn’t deserve any of this. I never did. I was delusional. Dating? Buying an apartment? Having a startup? I was trying to be someone else. The girl from my dreams. But dreams aren’t real, are they? Ray? The girl from my dreams, the figment of my imagination, she was too nice. Too nice, to be a criminal. And what are you? Just that. A criminal. Not by heart, but by law. And criminals don’t deserve nice things, let alone be nice.
Once a criminal, always a criminal.
Ray fell into the deep dark chasms of her mind, in an endurable loop, as the faint voices of those around her fell on her ears. The voices were distant and vague but some part of her brain chose to register them.
“There have to be some kind of discrepancies here, officer. That person looks eerily similar to her, but she isn’t Renee. Her name’s Ray. It can’t be her.” his voice, irked, stretching into hopelessness toward the end.
That’s Sam’s voice. Sam is nice. He abides by the laws. Laws are for humans. So he is human. I have broken those laws. I am no human. He should be with a human, not an outlaw.
Another voice creeped into the little conscious part of Ray’s brain.
“Mr. Maverick, her fingerprints match with the records. Also, it’s possible to legally change your name.”
“Can you run one more check?” Sam’s voice desperate, blinded by the sudden turn of events, trying to grasp onto anything tangible but only landing in air.
Sam doesn’t sound like himself. He sounds dejected. He is hurt and I am the reason. If he stays near me, he will get hurt even more. I will bring him down with me. I will ruin him. He needs to stay away from me. I need to get as far away from him as possible.
“We can but I don’t think we will have any different results. Biometrics don’t lie. I think we should proceed with the case. We will be taking her into custody now. Then she will have a trial where her sentence will be decided. Do you have a lawyer or should we arrange for a public defender?”
A brief silence hangs in the air before Sam finally responds. His voice comes out hesitant and his words unwilling.
“Give me some time. I will see what I can do.”
Ray’s indistinct awareness caught on to Sam’s ambivalence.
He is having second thoughts. He doesn’t want to be a part of this anymore. He wants to get away. He wants to leave. He hates me. He wants nothing to do with me hereafter. It’s only fair. I got him in trouble. So I will get him out of it. I will give him what he wants.
Ray’s head shot up, snapping herself out of the trance all the while stifling all the chatter around her. She looked straight into Sam’s eyes, and allowed herself to be vulnerable just for a moment and let her eyes talk, so that Sam could look past her shallow stoic stance and see the Ray he craved for. The one he liked. The one she saw reflected back in his eyes everytime she caught him off guard staring at her. Adoring her. She let her find that Ray, so he would know that she was here, she was real and she was who he knew her to be. To let him know that not all of it was a lie. It was a desperate attempt from her to relieve him from some of his despair. To let him down slowly. It was goodbye.
After that split second had passed, Ray held down her tears, bit back her lip and gulped the rising lump in her throat before she said out loud.
“I turn myself in.”
With that, Ray had shunned all three of them to silence. The officer was the one to break out of this spellbound mood.
“Are you sure? You might have a chan-”
Ray cut him mid sentence, wanting this ordeal to be over now, so that Sam could get out of here and be left alone in peace.
“Say that in court and we’ll be good.” retorted the officer.
Ray’s head hung low again, but this time not in retreat, but in submission.
The officer moved on and spoke to Sam then.
“Thank you Mr. Maverick for your cooperation. We are sorry for causing you all the inconvenience. I’ll ask one of my officers to give you a ride home.”
Sam nodded in response and saw with lucid eyes as a female officer cuffed Ray and led her down a hallway. He stared at her back till she was out of sight, waiting, hoping for her to turn around and look at him once. She didn’t.