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"Did I do well today?" I saw him slightly stiffen. His hands clenched around the steering wheel.
"I didn't like how they treated the case." My voice was cold, but the conviction was evident.
"We need more conscientious people in this field. Humans are p.r.o.ne to a.s.sumptions and especially those that work in the repressive state apparatus. They always see the worst in people, sometimes it clouds their judgements. This was such a case." He chuckled. "If you are this concerned, why don't you join me in my escapades?"
"I am hungry." I pouted avoiding the topic.
"I knew it!" He cheered. I reluctantly let him think what he would. It left me feeling a little pleased. "You keep avoiding the topic like the plague." His smile was heart-breaking. He looked happy that I had spent the day with him, and if I didn't know better I would think it was because of that. I think he was happy because he had another case solved, and in less than five hours, at that. That must have been a new achievement unlocked for him. Not that he did much, to begin with, it was the police and the clear intention of the murderer who had killed the man, but I had to admit, the case was something out of a horror movie.
"Do you like solving such cases?" I asked, curious.
"I didn't solve anything. They called me in so that I could a.n.a.lyze, interview and gauge the reaction of the murderer. It is important that I stay in the loop because they might need me to testify and solidify the case."
"But criminal psychology and profiling are not considered absolute, right?"
"It is a science, it comes from centuries of looking into the behavioural changes, abstractions, and deviance of people who commit crimes. It can be said that it is a well-honed experiment with the given results. If psychology is considered a science, then so is criminal psychology. Profiling is just a coa.r.s.e name for it. It is not wild speculation, there are a lot of empirical studies and background research work that is done under the banner of criminal psychology. It is about deductions, just like detectives do."
"But then again, your job is not to seek justice."
"No, it's not, but sometimes my expert opinion is necessary to coherently present the proof that has been found by the cops. And I become a necessary cog in the wheel." He shrugged.
"And you said you had nothing to do with the judiciary."
"I change my tune according to what I think is necessary to keep you by my side, Evie. I am a cunning man; I keep my eye on the target."
I laughed out loud, throwing my head back as the giggles escaped my lips.
"But I must say, Evie, you were a big help today. Your calm composure and fast thinking had gotten us there faster. You have an acute sense of such things that I greatly appreciate. You even interviewed the witness for the police and didn't budge at their pressure. You were the true hero today, Evie. I am glad you were there with me." He paused. There was silence in the car.
"Now, let us feed you. You might revolt otherwise," he commented, breaking the silence, at last, his lips twitching as I looked at him with a gleeful smile.
It seemed that I was not fully worthless. There was a place in the world that truly needed me.
"I need some time," I said as he concentrated on his driving. My voice was low, but I was sure that he had heard what I had said.
"For what?" he retorted absentmindedly.
"Being your a.s.sistant." He jolted.
"You are considering my offer?" I nodded. "Thank you, Evie. I couldn't ask for anything else." We went back to silence.
I wrote my resignation letter that evening. I sat down with my laptop and looked through pages for sample resignation letters before coming to the conclusion that it was necessary to say that I had received a better opportunity that suited my expected pay and field of work. My boss was not happy with me, but she took my two-week notice and wished me luck. She didn't ask me what my new job was, she said that I had the potential to do something greater than help people roam the cities. And for the first time in forever, I accepted it as a compliment and not as someone telling me that I was underachieving.
As I sat down on the bus to come home, I realized what a lovely day it was. The sun was out, and though there was a slight chill in the air, the box filled with my belongings provided heat to my body. I had little in the office, to begin with, and when I cleaned it out, it all fit into a small brown box. Looking at the cubicle I sat in, I felt no nostalgia.
When I got down from the bus and walked into the complex, I saw Sebastian walking towards me. He looked perplexed by the box in my hands and tried to sort out his thoughts.
"Did you buy things for your apartment?" he asked. I shook my head, not wanting to give away the secret so soon.
"Oh." He didn't want to probe, I a.s.sumed. I found myself doing something I had never imagined I would do.
"Do you mind if I come over and cook dinner at your place? My treat." He blinked, confused.
"Sure, what ingredients do you need?" I shook my head in refusal.
"I will text you all the details and buy the groceries myself. I have news that you will want to celebrate."
"Okay." He didn't look bothered by it. He typed something out on his cell-phone and went away. I shrugged at his obvious dismissal and wondered if it was a good idea to break the news to him so suddenly. Shouldn't I have told him back then and let the matter go?
But there was not much time left for me to mull over it.
As I cooked the meal, Sebastian came over to the kitchen and placed something on the kitchen table.
"Your contract. Sign it whenever you want." He gave me a sly smile before going back to his study.
"When did you figure it out?" I shouted from behind him. He stopped, looked over his shoulder and winked.
"Since the beginning. You speak in circles when you want to hide something." With that, he pushed his hands into his pockets and trotted away.
I was amused and amazed at the same time.
There was no escaping the eyes of Sebastian Butler.
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