Chapter 37: Speaking
After a moment the female cop returned. “I’ve made sure his cuffs are secure,” she said. “We can’t predict his actions now, and he might attack you if he thinks you’ve turned against him. But he’s still being quiet, so I think you’ll be all right.”
“You two can come into the observation room with me,” said Officer Mustafa, gesturing to the next door down. Edie squeezed Corrie’s hand, then followed him inside, while Corrie went into the interrogation room.
For a moment the room just seemed dark, until Officer Mustafa flipped a switch and the window shifted. Now Edie could see Paul, sitting on the other side of a small table. His head was bowed and she couldn’t see his hands, though they must have been cuffed to his chair. Her stomach twisted with anxiety. What if the cops weren’t really on their side? Was that why Professor Lal didn’t want them talking about the magic? And what if Paul brought it up, or had some kind of magic to get out of the handcuffs? She inched forward until her face was nearly against the glass, watching Corrie walk in and sit down across from Paul.
A sharp-nailed hand landed on her shoulder. She looked up to see Professor Lal standing next to her, her expression unreadable in the dim light. “It will be all right,” she said softly. “I can protect her from here if need be.”
Edie nodded and turned her attention back to the pair in the interrogation room. The female cop was standing by the door, arms folded, closer to Paul than Corrie. Edie trusted Professor Lal—she’d saved her, after all—but that wasn’t enough to make her nervousness go away.
The silence seemed to stretch on for a long time before Corrie finally spoke. “Paul,” she said. “Will you please look at me?”
He didn’t react in any way that Edie could see. His head stayed bent down and still. She wondered, with a brief shock of fear, whether he really was there underneath that black hooded jacket.
Corrie sighed quietly, but the microphones in that room picked up everything. “Are you mad at me? I understand if you are.” She paused, and Edie wondered if she really meant that, or was just saying it so he would respond. He didn’t, though, and Corrie continued. “I just want you to explain to me what’s going on. I’ll forgive you, you know I will, I just need you to explain. You don’t want to hide anything from me, do you?”
She paused again. Edie thought she saw Paul’s shoulders shift slightly. But he still didn’t make any response.
“Please, Paul. I know you did it all for me. I understand why you want to protect me, why you want to take care of me. But I want you to tell me about it. I need more information. Just talk to me.” Corrie paused again, as she had between each sentence, to wait for a response, but he didn’t make one. She glanced up and at the female cop, then turned back to Paul. “I’m sorry the cops have to be here. But no one else is really listening to us. She’s just here to watch you, because you’re in trouble—you know that, right? I came here because it was the only way to talk to you. I came here for you, Paul, not for her or any of the other cops or anything like that. I tried to get them to let you go, but they wouldn’t. I guess they have rules they have to follow, just like you do.”
Edie was surprised how easily Corrie seemed to be lying. She must have come up with this all beforehand. It wasn’t like her to talk so steadily, especially in the soft voice she was using, or to lie. But it had to be necessary. Now if only it would work.
“Paul. Don’t you care for me? Please, I just want you to talk to me.” Corrie took a deep breath and reached across the table toward him, her sleeve scraping against the metal. Her fingers stopped just short of touching his sleeve. “Paul. Aren’t you listening to me? It’s me, Corrie.”
Edie thought she heard a tiny noise, like Paul had almost spoken. But she wasn’t sure. It could have been just feedback on the microphone.
“Don’t you believe I care for you? Paul…” Edie couldn’t see Corrie’s face, but she lifted her chin slightly. “We can get back together. I’ll be your girlfriend again, once the police let you go, if you just tell me about what happened tonight.”
Edie sucked in a breath, shocked. She felt Professor Lal’s hand tighten on her shoulder. And Paul finally responded: his head snapped up, white face staring out from the depths of the black hood. There were dark rings under his eyes, and he spoke harshly, one sharp word. “No.”