Daryn still wasn’t 100% back to herself, but she’d long gotten tired of sitting around doing nothing. Staying alone in her place was a bad idea, but she’d hesitated on spending much time around her old friends as well. So she’d started taking long walks around the island in her free time. And then finally, finally, the Powers that Be allowed her to return to work on a part-time basis.
While she was only permitted to be at the hospital for a few hours a day to start, Daryn had spent the whole morning working. And she’d intended on spending the entire rest of the day doing the same when she was escorted out of the building. Frowning deeply, she walked down the hall with two guards, her jaw set tightly in anger. But she said nothing, and instead told herself to stay quiet and play along. She didn’t want to go back into detention. She couldn’t handle that again.
Being in the public eye was part of his role on the island; the charade of caring and being considerate of concerns, relaying those to the higher ups. Perhaps shifting the tides in favor of those brought to dwell there. Roman had his own agenda, as always. He played with both sides as a cat would the morsel trapped between its paws. Citizens needed to see him out, working for them. How else would he earn and keep their blind trust?
An appearance at the hospital was in the rounds of the day. As was the opportunity to flirt with one of the girls who ran the front desk, which he considered a highlight of the moment.
But that was when he spotted a familiar face and excused himself. Roman sauntered up to the trio, Daryn and the guards, waving a hand dismissively at them. “I can take her from here.” Voice smooth, confident, he arched an eyebrow at the stern gazed gleaned from the gun toting guards.
“Orders are to take her out of the building.”
Roman smiled though it didn’t quite touch his eyes, “Yes, of course. Orders are orders, but I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to back up a little bit. She’s a woman with rights, or did you forget that we are still on American soil?” The guards looked at each other, one of them nearly laughing. Always patient he waited to see if they would comply.
To Daryn the lawyer turned his gaze upon and his smile grew a little, “Well well, what have we here?”
Daryn stopped short with the guards as Roman approached. Sighing, she just stared at the man. It was bad enough that she was being forced to leave, now she had to have him escort her out. Glancing to the guards, she waited to see their response to him. They seemed more than happy to let him take over so they could go off to something more interesting than escorting a woman a quarter of their size to the door.
She could barely keep from rolling her eyes once he spoke directly to her. She lifted her hands to sign to him, and was very tempted to just give him the finger. Instead, she fished out her new cell phone and used the text-to-speech app that was government approved. For some reason, they hadn’t thought to delete it yet, and for that she was glad. Not bothering to look at him, she typed in a response which then spoke for her in a monotone electronic voice that she was sure grated on his last nerve. Good afternoon, Mr. Skye.
The guards finally relented, leaving him with Daryn. Much to his dismay but he had a civic duty to uphold. Making himself smile in a more Cheshire way, Roman turned and waved a hand in the direction of the doorway.
Ignoring the monotoned response for now, he waited for her to begin moving before following suit. “Beautiful weather we are having, aren’t we, Daryn?” A wink went to the young lady he’d been speaking with before and then his attention was back to his escort.
He never promised to be cordial friends with anyone and as much disdain as she had for him it was returned in spades. Had he not been there already what the guards did in his absence was their business.
Moving toward the exit, Daryn was more eager to leave now if for no other reason than to be away from this man. He made her skin crawl and the sound of her name in his mouth was sickening. She didn’t respond to the small talk, or even look in his direction again.
But she did share a comment, telepathically, her words sneaking into his mind. ”Flirt all you like, she laughs at you the minute you’re out of earshot. She’s more interested in your suit than what’s filling it.” Whether that was true or not didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter what happened after he’d left the hospital, but her words had no less sting. But that wasn’t the first time he’d been insulted. Any good lawyer worth their salt knew how to take a punch and keep going for the goal.
His eyebrows arched but his smile didn’t fade. ’At least she knows what she’s after.’ Roman quipped in reply internally so Daryn could hear it. He didn’t care whether the words were true or not it was the fact that Daryn was feeling bold enough to say anything at all.
Upon the approach of the exit the doors slid open and warm sunshine cascaded across the threshold. Roman let Daryn walk out first.
“You should allow me to escort you home. It’s the least I can do.”
Stepped outside, Daryn squinted in the sun but kept moving forward. She glanced back to him briefly but did not stop. </i>”What an honor, but I think I can find my way. Unless the location has changed over the last few hours.”</i>
She knew that if he insisted there was little she could do to stop him. But she was a bit curious, she must want something if he was trying to spend more time than necessary in her presence. He certainly wasn’t fond of her, and she took pleasure in that.
Glancing down at her, Roman met Daryn’s gaze. Part of him cared about what others thought - he had a reputation to uphold - and the rest of him couldn’t give a flying flip what anybody said or who had an opinion at the end of the day. What mattered was himself, always himself. “Oh,” he began, now speaking aloud, “But I insist. What would I do with myself if any harm came to you?” Voice was syrupy sweet, poisonous beneath the sticky consents and vowels.
Gaze turned and he moved onward with her. He wanted people to see them walking together for several different reasons, but mostly just to annoy Daryn. Aware of her feelings regarding his position he did his best to overshadow any opportunity he could get.
A hand would wave at a resident - a casual, but cleverly charming greeting coupled with a truer grin - before his attention once more went with the woman at his side.
Rolling her eyes, Daryn walked at a leisurely pace away from the Facility and toward the residential section of the island. </i> “What would you do? Stand aside, watching and laughing, mostly likely. As much as I love being a form of entertainment for you, I’m sure there are much better ways of using your time. Don’t they give you big government types access to porn?”</i>
Daryn looked to the resident as well, waving and smiling as well as she mocked him.
</i>”What do you want? You’re walking with me for a reason.”</i> For someone who’d been detained for a year and a half, Daryn was being awfully bold with her comments to him. Bolder than she’d been before. Then again, she’d dealt with things far more threatening than him in her time away.
Roman tutted at Daryn. “You think you know so much, don’t you?” Her little bubble was so small and yet so endless, he found it amusing. “And how thoughtful of you to be considerate of my time. Aren’t you a peach?” He was taller than she was so he had to slow his stride down to keep pace with her.
“Want something? Me?” He began, seeming shocked, “Just catching up with an old friend, though by this interaction I’m not sure that you’re ready to be back on duty. Goodness knows what would happen if you treated a patient like this. We couldn’t have that, now can we?”
Shaking his head at Daryn, Roman smiled, “I would hate for anything to happen to you is all. I want you to make it home safe and sound.”
As well refined as his vague threats were, Daryn knew they wouldn’t keep her out of work for long if she was willing and able to continue with the free labor. They had to at least attempt to keep up the guise of meeting the residents medical needs. And it was easier and cheaper to use her for that than to ship in a doc from the mainland.
Glancing up to him, icey blues seemed almost amused for a moment. “I know it must be lonely up in your ivory tower, but do you really want to be seen slumming it with the freaks? People will talk. And it’s very flattering, but you’re not my type.”
“Oh, but that’s what I want, you see,” Roman quipped, grin becoming toothy. “For them to see how engaged I am with the public, the people who live here. How else do you think anything else will get done around here?” From his ivory tower, as so so eloquently put it, he could see near and far. What better support to have than of the public? To be a savior among those here doing good deeds here and there when he felt like being charitable.
“Or did you simply mistake me for just another one of those suits who care nothing about the public? Shame on you, really. I thought you would have figured out the whole plan by now.”
She was a good looking little thing but he had his eye on someone else, someone he knew was easier to break apart and rebuild. This one had too much spirit and Roman only had so much patience.
Daryn considered how nice it would be to have her fist engage with that grin of his but she kept the idea to herself. “I’ve known suits like you before. You play a good role. But that’s exactly all it is, a role. What did you do to get exiled here, counselor? Piss off some judge’s daughter by screwing her best friend? Or did you never actually pass The Bar?”
She knew how to grate upon his nerves, but he wasn’t a good lawyer without having learned to take a few punches in the ring. “If you want to know more about me, why don’t we go to dinner? I’ll tell you all about it.”
He knew she would refuse, he was expecting that. “Don’t pretend you know anything about me, honey. Please. I’ve probably seen more people just like you in similar situations. You get what you get.”
”Just tell me when and where.” She knew he expected her to refuse. She was a mind-reader after all. And as such, she did know more about him than he realized. Things that barely came to consciousness, but she could dig out and read anyway. But it was more fun to have a tete-a-tete than to just say all that here and now.
Enjoying the assumption he made, Daryn just smiled and stopped walking. Turning to face him, she folded her arms beneath her chest. ”Is that so? Tell me one thing you think you know about me from all of your experience. One real thing. Not something in a file or on an ID badge.”
He had expected a blatant refusal but now she had given things an interesting twist. Roman would rather have choked to death than be seen eating with Daryn but he went with it anyway to keep the momentum going. “Tomorrow night, at the little diner in the Marketplace.”
As Daryn paused and turned Roman ceased movement and looked down at her, “I know there’s more to you than you let on to,” he replied, eyes narrowing a touch. “I can see the fire in your eyes. You’ve got a secret other than your ability or whatever you think is helping you. You’re always watching, waiting.” The way she observes was different as if she were carrying something precious and needing to share it with someone else.
“Keep pretending people don’t see it.”
Smiling slowly, Daryn nodded in agreement to the arrangement. “I was hoping for something a little more intimate, but as you wish. It’s a date.”
Taking a step closer, she closed the distance to an almost uncomfortable closeness. “It’s funny that you think I only have one secret. I’d tell you one of them, but then what would keep you interested?”
A bark of a laugh escaped. “Dating is not the term I’d use, but whatever makes you happy I suppose.” Who could imagine dating someone as tightly wound as Daryn? Had she been more timid in personality he would probably have felt a bit differently. She was far too strong willed for his tastes. But it was fun to chase a bit regardless.
“Even one secret can be more important than another,” he reminded her. A step backward was taken but only a small one, though it was more reflex than anything.
And he seriously doubted he could believe anything spewed from her lips, truth or not.
“I can find a lot of things to keep me interested. It’s so sweet you’re concerned.”
Daryn smiled slowly in amusement. She’d gotten the response she was hoping for. This time she spoke, but it was out loud, the voice he’d never heard before. It was a surprisingly pleasing sound, soft and warm with just a touch of sticky sweetness like melted caramel, with a hint of an unexpected Southern drawl. “Well then, I won’t keep you from something more interesting.”
Turning on her heel, she turned and walked off briskly without a look back in his direction.