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Mark's P.O.V

"Are you alright back there?"

Mark blinked in surprise at the question, turning his attention from looking out the car window and instead focused on the pair of expectant brown eyes reflected at him in the rear-view mirror.

"I- ugh, sure, I'm fine." He finally spluttered out, shifting around in the backseat and adjusting his belt, unsure of how he should be acting whilst speaking to a police officer. Of course, he'd done it before, but this felt different, weirdly casual.

He watched as the young police woman nodded, eyes once again fixed on the road which was lit by street lamps and the car's glaring headlights. It had been hours since darkness fell and Mark could feel the crisp night air nipping at his skin even though he was currently huddled in the backseat of a police car which apparently didn't do much in the way of shielding him from the cold.

The silence between the two stretched out making Mark all the more thankful that his house wasn't too far away, even though he was dreading the moment he would have to face his parents with a cut up face in the middle of the night after sneaking out of the house hours ago.

He briefly wondered if anyone had even noticed his absence yet. Then again, Aunt Fletcher had probably called by now and filled his parent's mind with the story of his horrendous act of disobedience, probably not forgetting to add a few insults against Jack and his family while she was at it. Mark wrinkled his nose in disgust at the thought. He began to play with his shirt sleeve as he thought of the anger on his mother's face, the badly concealed disappointment that was sure to fill his father's eyes as soon as he heard the story of how his only son had got himself into, not one, but two fights in less than 24 hours.

This was going to be painful.

"Hey, there's no need to look so down." Came a kind Southern accent, breaking the silence that hung thickly in the air and accompanying the brown eyes reappearing, now looking a little concerned for the dark haired teen in the backseat. "You did a good thing today. You should be happy."

Mark shrugged his shoulders silently, unable to come up with the words to explain his current situation with his parents to a stranger. Mind you, this particular policewoman wasn't technically a stranger.

Officer Carter, as he now knew to call her, had been on duty the night he and Jack landed in the police station after Ashley's party. She was the one who looked after Jack in his drugged up state, something Mark couldn't help but feel grateful for, even though he knew he shouldn't really care.

However, it just so happened she was also the one who cleaned him up after his boxing match earlier, chatting to him quietly as she did so. She had even thrown in a couple of jokes here and there, despite the fact that at the time he really hadn't been in the mood. Honestly, Mark couldn't help but almost cry tears of relief when it was decided she would be the one to leave him home.

At least she was a friendly face before the sea of anger and disapproval that awaited him.

It wasn't long before they were turning into Mark's street and stopping outside his house, the engine cutting off only making the silence all the more noticeable. Mark sat fiddling with his sleeve for a little while longer, trying to dredge up words of farewell that were considered appropriate at this moment. Suddenly he noticed Officer Carter had taken her seatbelt off, turning back to give him a comforting smile.

"Would you mind if I came in to have a quick chat with your parents?" She asked, her voice chirpy despite the late hour.

Mark found himself shrugging again, giving her a small smile of his own. "Yeah, sure." He said quietly, his mind suddenly overflowing with all the possible reasons this woman of the law would want to talk to his parents.

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