You speak with the prison psychologist on Fridays.
Well, you say speak. Most of the time you remain silent, as all fiction dealing with psychiatry has informed you is the proper course of action, for a young woman in your position.
Sometimes you criticize her therapeutic technique, but she doesn't take well to that. You have learned that sometimes, it's best to keep your head down.
The psychologist tries to get you to open up. You read her notes, sometimes, slanted and upside down, but still perfectly legible to anyone willing to put in the effort. She thinks you're a sociopath. That you feel nothing, no remorse for your actions or regret for their outcome. You're rather flattered she thinks you're charming enough to qualify as one.
There are many things you could say to her, if you thought you had any hope of being listened to. You could tell her that you don't feel remorse only because you've done nothing wrong, that you regret so many things that sometimes it feels as if you're choking on them. You regret the passive aggressive Mother's Day gifts and you regret not thanking her for that damn pony, and sometimes you regret not taking the opportunity to get your teenage drinking in while you still had the chance. You could certainly use it, now.
Most of all, you regret the fact that you still have no idea how she died. Regret the fact you couldn't defend yourself better, if only so that there would still be someone out there looking for her killer.
Three years and seven months after the beginning of your incarceration, Prosecutor Pyrope requests a meeting with you. You have never heard of her, but apparently the guards have. They mutter about her as they lead you to the visitation area. Before, when you first came here, the guards had been more guarded when speaking around you. But as time went on, and you withdrew further within yourself, they stopped being so careful. Your theory is that they see you as more of an object than a person.
You are, perhaps, a little bitter.
According to your guards, Pyrope is a little bitch of an upstart who showed up out of nowhere a few years ago. Apparently, she has a habit of re-opening old cases and bringing new evidence to light, forcing them to be brought back to trial.
You'd be lying if you said your interest wasn't piqued. Hope, however, is something you left behind a long time ago.
Pyrope is already there when you sit down in front of the glass. She looks… you don't really know how to put it. She's wearing an unseemly combination of teal and red, along with pointed red glasses to match, and the grin on her face is almost predatory. You've never seen anyone quite like her.
She's also tapping a cane against the floor, and when you sit down she looks up, but slightly to the right of your face. She's blind, you realize.
"Mrs. Lalonde," she says, as a greeting.
"It's Ms. Lalonde, actually," you say primly. "Mrs. Lalonde was my mother."
That usually gets an interesting reaction out of people. Pyrope's is new, however--she laughs, loudly, shaking with it.
"May I ask why you've come to see me? I don't usually get visitors, especially not strangers."
"But we're not strangers!" Pyrope says. "I was at your trial. Don't you remember?"
You remember very little about your trial. You don't tell Pyrope this, but she seems to take your silence as an answer.
"So rude! I was still a law student back then, so I guess I can forgive you. But only this once! After today, Terezi Pyrope had better be a name you remember." She smiles. You only stare back at her, impassive.
She sniffs, once, and then she presses her face against the glass between you and does it again. You blink at her.
"You've really changed," she says. "You used to smell spicy. Now it's just…" and here she actually licks the glass. Her teeth are very bright. "Bland. Like oatmeal. I hate oatmeal." You wonder if you should be offended. You wonder if maybe you ought to call over one of the guards.
But this Terezi Pyrope is the most interesting thing that's happened to you in months. In years, even. You're going to be here for the rest of your life. You might as well take your entertainment where you can get it.
"I…apologize," you say, finally, when it seems Pyrope isn't inclined to do anything else but continue to lick the glass. Surely the guards must be seeing this?
Maybe they're just as bored as you.
Pyrope snorts. "Don't bother apologizing if you're not going to change anything. Get a little more interesting by the next time I see you, and maybe I can help you."
"I didn't ask for your help," you say.
She just grins at you, and gets up to leave.
The guards lead you back to your cell, this time talking about how fucking off her rocker that bitch was, no wonder she came in to see Lalonde. They don't seem to care that you can hear them, and you say nothing.
When you get back to your cell, you stare up at the ceiling, and find you have nothing to think about but Pyrope, and when she will be back.
You didn't ask for her help, and you doubt she can truly do anything about your situation. And you refuse to change yourself, for her sake.
But the next time you visit the prison library, you look up a book about synesthesia, and you read it all the way through.
A week later, she comes back. She sniffs at the glass, gives it another lick, and declares that, "It'll do! Keep working on it, though."
You don't dignify that with a response. Pyrope starts talking about how to best start the appeal proceedings anyway.
"I can't pay you, I hope you realize," you say.
Pyrope snorts, and waves a hand dismissively. "As if I care about that," she says. "Anyway, once we get you acquitted you'll get your inheritance back, you can pay up then."
You raise an eyebrow. You know that it's lost on her, but you do it anyway. "Confident, aren't you?"
She grins, that stupid crazy grin of hers. You think you may be beginning to get used to it. "Always."
She starts visiting regularly, after that.
Terezi is… something else. You were, perhaps, fairly sheltered, before your incarceration, and of course now you almost never see anyone new.
You spent the first three years in prison trying to think of nothing at all. Now you think of her, instead.
It's not even the fact that she's trying to get you out of this place--that's not it at all, really. She just fascinates you, the cocky way she holds herself and that sharp grin she has, the way that every time you see her she tells you what you taste like that day.
You wonder if, someday, she might get to taste you for real.
The trial, when it comes, goes quickly. Terezi, somehow, unearthed another witness. A gardener. You had forgotten that you'd even had a gardener, to be honest, but apparently she was there the night your mother was murdered, and she'd heard voices--your mother's, and a man's. Certainly not yours.
You don't testify. "Most people," Terezi says, "don't find the cold act very endearing." The look on her face makes it clear that she isn't most people.
After the verdict is delivered, she takes you out for ice cream, as if you're a child. You suppose it is nice, though, that your first interaction with the outside world in so many years is a sweet one.
She gets lemon sorbet, and tells you it tastes like your hair, and you can't think of anything else to do but to kiss her. She smiles into it when you do.
You are twenty years old, and you have spent the past four years in jail, for a crime you have now been acquitted of. You have no family, and far too much money, from the inheritance that is suddenly yours again.
"So," Terezi asks, from a bench in the park you've found yourselves in, smoking a flavored cigarette she dug out of her pocket, "what are you going to do?"
You look down at your hands, spread over your legs, which are clad in a skirt for the first time in years. It's the first time in years you've worn something Terezi wouldn't describe as tasting like Orange Crush. You look up at the sky, which has never looked bluer, which Terezi probably thinks tastes like cotton candy or a blueberry slurpee or something else ridiculous.
The world has never seemed so vibrant.
"I think," you say, eyes fixed firmly on the sky, "I think I'm going to go to law school. There's always demand for state-appointed defense attorneys."
Terezi blows grape-flavored smoke in your face, and laughs.