For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.
Previously, on Breakout Kings: Julianne finds she doesn't need her medication all the time.
His leg still burned. How could that be possible? Long since she had touched him, and her hand had rested there only for brief, scant seconds. How could he still feel the ghost of her hand on his thigh?
He'd known something was different the moment he saw her. Julianne had been many, many things, but there was one thing he had always counted on, and that had been her consistency. Her clothing choices were similar, her hair was always pulled back the same way, and her reactions to certain stimuli never faltered. Her phobias and fears had long controlled her. Medication, therapy helped, but even though he hadn't seen her in weeks, there was no way she could have a "breakthrough" that strong without some kind of catalyst.
While he'd never seen her full list of medications, he knew what he'd have prescribed for her, and that most required extensive, close supervision by her psychiatrist. Stopping her meds, suddenly, without her doctor paying close enough attention, could be horrifically bad. While she thought she was in control of her psychological imbalance, in reality, she was a ticking time bomb.
There would be little to no warning before she exploded. The best case scenario would be for her to revert to what she was before: meek and sweet, if stunted. Lloyd's mind spiraled with the other options, each one harsher, more frightening than the next. He would hate to lose her.
It wasn't that he'd ever had her. And his brilliant mouth had opened up and told her that she wasn't acting like herself when she touched him. It just wasn't the kind of touch he wanted. He wanted Julianne as she was, as he had met her, struggling and trying to become a better person through the proper therapy. He didn't want her like this, not knowing she was dancing on a very high ledge with no safety net.
He didn't even want to go to New Jersey, with Charlie behind the wheel and Erica shotgun. He wanted to be back at the office, back safe and sound in Brooklyn. He could both work the case and be there in case something happened to Julianne. That, in his mind, was absolutely the best of both worlds, why he'd suggested to Charlie that he'd take a back and to the side position instead of front and center.
He felt as powerless as he had when they'd let Damien go.
If anything, shouldn't Charlie have learned the importance of listening to the doctor? He didn't have those advanced degrees at a young age for nothing. He used to be a sought-after doctor because of his opinions, his knowledge.
Erica glanced at Lloyd when they stopped to fill the SUV at a roadside gas station. "Are you okay back there?"
Lloyd blinked. "What?"
"You haven't said a word in forty miles. That's not like you."
"I'm just…" He sighed heavily. "I'm just thinking; I'm fine."
"Well, stop it. You can over-think things. And it seems like you're well beyond doing that. I need you focused, all right? So the jury didn't listen to you about Damien. So what?"
"That's not what I was thinking about," he answered quickly. As soon as the words had spilled from his mouth, though, he regretted them. He winced, glancing at Charlie through the window. Their fearless leader paid little attention to what was in the car, more concerned with their surroundings.
Erica rolled her eyes. "Of course not."
"I am capable of thinking about the case as well as other matters. Those other matters are just as pressing and are helpful to take my mind off the fact that we're traveling into territory of my past that I'd really rather not revisit. Damien's trial wasn't exactly my finest moment. I spent a good portion of time directly following the sentencing pondering what I could've done differently to ensure that he was treated properly instead of caged, like some animal. For people like Damien, that only serves to… to stoke their fires. For people like you, me, even Shea, we're okay. We have hope; we have relatively good heads on our shoulders. We can pay our debt to society and we know, at the end of our sentences, however long they may be, we can walk out with some sense of pride."
"I'm sorry I asked," she muttered, turning back to look out the front window.
"It's part of that having a good head on your shoulders, Erica. You have compassion… Granted, your compassion is tempered with a Tigress's fury," Lloyd assessed with a shrug. "Still, it makes us different from the people we chase, the people who, like Damien, are so black hearted, so venomously nasty."
Silence fell over the SUV for a moment.
For a moment, Lloyd thought they'd go back to normal, that she'd go back to being brooding and quiet and doing math in her head about how quickly they'd get out, and he'd go back to pondering ways to help Julianne, because it was so clearly evident that she needed help. Feeling eyes on him, he saw Erica looking at him in the reflection of the rear view mirror. "What?"
"What were you thinking about? If not the case?"
Again, she rolled her eyes. "You have a fight with your girlfriend?"
"Interesting question choice. You're presupposing facts not in evidence, my dear counselor. First, that we would have a disagreement and, second, that she and I are in some kind of intimate relationship, of which we are definitely not."
"Though you'd like to be—"
"My feelings aside," Lloyd said, quickly controlling the conversation, knowing they didn't have much time left to talk, "something is wrong with Julianne, something's off. Couldn't you see that?"
"Save those thoughts for back at Hudson, all right? There's nothing you can do about it now, or when we get back to the office for our post-catch briefing. Ray's not gonna let you have time alone with her and you know it. Besides, we have a job to do. I don't want your brain on doctor overload because of Julianne when we have a job right in front of us. You may already know this guy, know the particulars of how he operates… but I'm sure he's learned new tricks in prison—we all have. I need your a-game, so bring it."
Both went silent again as the door opened and Charlie slid behind the wheel.
Lloyd knew the tension was palatable. He gave Charlie mad props for avoiding micromanaging the team, asking what had gone on while outside. He imagined Charlie knew the only answers that would be forthcoming would be lies.