There is a sheet of plastic glass between the front of the car and I. I can't hear them talking but I know they are. I can see their mouths moving. I watch the driver speak in the rear vision mirror. He's much older than the other cop. His bottle-brush moustache must be seriously itchy and his eyes are hidden by aviators. He drives like a maniac. I play corners with myself, unable to strap in because I'm restrained and there are no seatbelts in the back. I used to wonder why that is, but then I realized it's because the police don't give a shit about us crims in the back. As far as they're concerned, there's no need to worry about the safety of their perps. They won't care if I break my neck on the way to the precinct.
That gets me thinking about why in hell I'm in the back of one of these again for the second time this week. Alice is going to kill me. We just had the 'no more getting arrested' discussion and although I managed to convince her I'd try my best, this will be the last straw. And I didn't do anything wrong ... intentionally! So I punched a guy in the face and hid in someone's backyard. I shouldn't be getting arrested for that, it was self-defence! Maybe I won't even need to call Alice. They should be arresting Tubby and his crew, not me. They're the ones with the guns. And sexual harassment. Hey, at least I'm safe from them in this very smelly police car. I'm pretty sure there's a vomit stain on the back of the driver's seat.
I watch the buildings fly past, no longer able to look at the young cop in front of me. I feel like if I so much as glance fleetingly at him, he'll turn around and catch me. Like he has eyes on the back of his head. But it's just cropped, chocolate hair I can see.
After what seems like forever, we enter the part of the city I know like the back of my hand. I start to get nervous when we take East 29th Street and pull into my favorite place in the world: the Downtown precinct. I should have known. Is it the only police station in the whole city, or is this just a nasty coincidence?
The officer parks out the back and I wait as they each climb out of the car. I stare at my knees and hear the right door open. Yes.
"Watch your head this time," he tells me and I allow myself a smile as I get out of the car. I've done it enough times to not look like an idiot. Again.
He takes me by the arm and we march to the front of the station. I don't know where the other officer went, and I don't really give a shit. A million thoughts are trying to burst into my mind and confuse me, but I'm surprisingly calm. All I can really concentrate on is the hand clamped around my arm, just below my shoulder. Even through my sweater I can feel his warmth. Maybe that's what's making me so calm. His touch.
It suddenly occurs to me how soft I'm being right now. Am I going insane? Since when has a guy – especially a guy who tackled me to the ground and handcuffed my wrists together – ever made me feel so ... relaxed? I'm about to be put back in the cell I was only just released from for a crime I haven't committed. Where is my rebelliousness? Where is the tough, smartass Jessica Knight everyone expects to see? I suddenly feel exposed, like I'm naked in front of an audience full of people in a very bad dream. I shake away the melting feeling in my stomach - or somewhere near there - and wrench myself away from the cop.
"I'm capable of walking by myself thank you," I say with extra sass in my tone.
He frowns at me. He looks so much younger than I thought, younger than any policeman I've ever known. Probably even close to my age. Are they allowed to be officers this young?
"As capable as you are of not hitting your head on the car roof?"
I snort. I guess I'll never live that down. "Yes," I reply lamely.
He opens the door to the station and forces me inside.
And then the strangest thing happens. Usually the officer escorting me checks me over, signs me in, asks for the key at the desk and chucks me straight in my cell. I've become so accustomed to it that I actually try to approach the counter.
YOU ARE READING
Free as a JailbirdGeneral Fiction
Jess Knight likes her freedom. Despite being in jail for about sixty-five percent of her teenage life, she is in complete control. But there's only one problem: she doesn't know her purpose. One day, everything changes. Her reputation as the younges...