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Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:10 am
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

2:55 PM

The office of Richard Hawthorne was naturally lit, which made it look bigger than it was but was the only thing natural about it. The green carpet is soft and lush under footprints. There is a large, mahogany desk that is neatly covered in papers and file folders, a leather desk chair on one side, two wooden chairs on the other. Everything is in straight lines- each pencil, each legal pad, each post-it note. The desk matched the cabinets and counters on either side of the room, which held even more files and notes. A large, French-styled window towers behind the desk, flooding in autumnal light into the room. It doesn’t feel like it has ever been lived in, just occupied in.

Richard is sitting at the desk. He’s just a couple inches short of 6 feet tall, but his presence made him loom larger than anyone he had ever shared a space with. His cunning hazel eyes had an intense intelligence that added to the overall aura of intimidation that surrounded the man. His lips are thin, his nose long, his hair a neatly styled, thick salt and pepper wave. His rectangular glasses lay on his desk, next to the black desktop computer that is humming with life. A black coffee mug sits next to a black office phone, which occasionally rings. The only “decoration” in his office is a framed picture of his family: his wife, stepdaughter, and three young boys. Other than that, this office could be the office of any lawyer in the world.

He is looking through his notes, comparing to a file, his face in intense concentration. He makes a couple of notes, his handwriting impeccable and meticulous. He picks up his mug without looking, sipping, and puts it back down. This concentration was unrivaled by anyone. Well anyone except the obvious.

“Mr. Hawthorne, you’re three o’clock is here.”

The voice is fuzzy from the intercom. Without looking again, Richard presses a button and says, in his steel grey voice “Okay. Bring him in Samantha.” He doesn’t look up until his appointment arrives. He knows what he was expecting, as he had read the file non-stop since he received it.

Tobias Rudolf Maynard.

The case was interesting- he had to appeal to the board of directors of his school, as well as his department heads in order to receive his scholarship for next year. Too bad that there was an incident on the night of October 11th. The school hadn’t even suspended the poor boy, choosing to sweep the incident under the rug, but that meant they would try to sweep his potential client as well. And if he was going to represent Tobias, that wasn’t an option.

This case also was personal to him. It was a chance to make things right between him and his past. But he didn’t want to focus on that now.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:28 am


Tobi had followed the impeccably dressed secretary through the impeccably decorated waiting room into the crisp hallway of the law firm. The bus ride and possible threat of losing his scholarship had already drained him dry; waiting in the smaller waiting room had put him on edge. At least there had been a window. Lots of windows really. Place was full of them. ‘Small graces,’ he supposed.

He had tried to dress to dress up to meet this lawyer type, though walking around the interior and seeing the people inside, he became aware that his ‘dressing up’ was nowhere even near what these people considered nice.

He had on his only pair of jeans without holes, though the thick fabric was one walk away from tearing at the knees. He had cleaned off his boots so that they were no longer caked in mud, and the sweater Noelle had made him had been slipped on for moral support. His leather jacket, as scuffed and beaten as it was, was doing wonders for warding off the strange chill of the office. Place must have the air conditioning on high. He wondered how this poor lady wasn’t freezing in that skirt and heels.


She drops him off at the door. He says a quick, “Thank ye, ma’am,” but she was already gone down the hallway. ‘People move right quick here.’ He thinks before turning and pushing open the door. It opens on a spacious office. First thing he notices are the large windows. ‘Thank t’Lawd.’ He thinks. He moves across thick green carpeting and dark mahogany. Space feels like it’s trying to be comforting, but there just isn’t enough there to really put him at ease. He steps a few steps in, stops, and looks at the man behind the desk.


“Uh, Mr. Hawthorn?” He asks. His pale grey eyes rest on the man. “I ‘spose t’meet ya a’ three. I’m Tobias, Tobias Rudolf Maynard.” He clarifies after a beat.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:18 am
"Yes. Tobias. Please, sit."

His voice was still a steel vise; hard and cold. Impartial. Richard doesn't look up from his file as Tobias enters the room. He doesn't need to, he knows what he was expecting. Once he does sit, however, he raises his gaze, looking at him up and down. Boots, worn jeans, a leather jacket. He wasn't making this a walk in the park. The sweater. The stitching was immediately familiar to him, and his lips turned to an ever so subtle frown, the corners of his mouth a micro-fraction in movement. Finally, his eyes meet the boy in front of him. The smart and cunning hazel met the cool grey, almost in a battle. After a minute of complete silence, Richard begins.

"Before this consultation, I need to ask you a few questions."

He pauses, his hand holding a pen, which rests on a legal pad. Then he starts again "Did you intend to hurt the other party on the night of the infraction? If so, was it in self-defense or the defense of another party present? Were you under the influence of any substances, drugs or alcohol, that night?"

He rattles these off, without pause for an answer, his voice still hard and clear, then waits. Silently. This manner of interrogation, the stare he gave, it was familiar. Not only to Richard, Who had made his Career with his callous manner, but also to Tobi for some reason. The hardened tone didn't need to be loud or booming, it was powerful on its own.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:49 am
Tobi sits in the wooden chair opposite the desk. It’s slightly uncomfortable and puts him just a tic more on edge. He settles his large frame as well as he can before Mr. Hawthorne raises his head to look him over. He doesn’t look pleased with whatever he sees, Tobi can’t help that though. He’s struggling as it is, he doesn’t have the money for anything nicer. The sweater’s the nicest thing he’s wearing, honestly, and the man still seems displeased by it. Hawthorne’s eyes meet his own; Tobi holds the stare as long as Hawthorne does. The silence doesn't bother Tobi, he's used to it, lives in it. Though, it almost feels like the older man is sizing him up before he begins asking questions.

Tobi answers them after he rolls through the list. “Nah, sir, didn’ go into tha’ night aimin’ t’hurt the boy. Rather not ‘ave seen him, if I’m bein’ honest.” He shrugs, just an easy roll of his shoulders. This chair is doing nothing for him. “When he wen’ after Noelle, well.” He raises a hand to the back of his neck. “I jus’ wanted her safe. Tried t’warn ‘im off, he’s a scrawny thing. Thought myself would’a been ‘nough t’send him runnin’. I mean, I know what I look like. Had the boy any common sense, he would'a ran.” He pauses in his telling to settle his arms back on the armrests.

“But he threw a punch. Broke m’nose, I think. I punched ‘im back.” He says it easily, though he narrows his eyes with his next sentence. Something a little dangerous burns behind the grey. “He were assaultin’ her, sir. I weren’t about t’stand by and let him hurt her.” His tone is low and even, and he lets the silence settle between them before answering his last question.

“And I weren’t on no drugs.” He closes his eyes and sighs. “Clear a mind tha’ whole night.” He opens them again, focuses on Hawthorne and waits for what he has to say.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:24 pm
Hawthorne's face and eyes stay the same throughout the story. It was just as he thought- matched the other statements. Except for one crucial point, but he decided to talk more about it if Tobias agreed to his terms. Agreed to work with him. Which he would.

"Well, that's a start. I'm very pleased that you decided to meet me. I know my letter came at an inopportune time for you. I'm going to lay this out for you as simple as I can." He's staring at Tobi with intensity now, sitting up straight, rigid but relaxed.

"Here is the situation. Your scholarship for the mutant immersion program is up for reevaluation due to this incident. That scholarship is the only thing that is giving you funding to be in school. And you will need to present your case to the board of directors and the chairs in your department. You can do this on your own, but due to the delicacy of the case, you are going to want legal counsel, someone who can show you what hoops you can leap through."

Richard's eyes start to search him again, gauging his uncomfortableness "Now, that legal counsel does not have to be me. In fact, I can connect you with any lawyer in the state. In the entire Northeast region. But they will not do it for free. You will be paying full legal fees with a chance that you will fail and leave school with even less money than you have now. Most of those other lawyers don't care what will happen to you, and the ones that do don't have the skill to navigate this. I do. In fact, if you decide to work with me, I can guarantee a win. And I will do it all pro bono."

Richard reaches for a manila folder stuffed neatly to the brim with papers. He pushes it to Tobias' side of the desk "Here are all of my personal reports on civil dispute cases that are similar to your situation. And this-" He takes a thinner folder and pushes it "Are all my personal reports on every mutant rights case I have ever taken. I've won each one."

He's confident, but not swarmy. "This is your best option, Mr. Maynard."
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:50 pm
Tobi stares down at the two folders. His hand reaches out to pull the thinner folder towards him and he inspects it. The wire frames of his reading glasses slip further down his face as he does. "I ain't one t'look a gift horse in the mouth, Mr. Hawthorne," he starts, then pauses. His sharp eyes flick towards the other man, the gaze of them is wary. There's a distrust there. It's quiet, but there. Tobi's used to his independence, used to working for everything he has. He had agonized over taking the scholarship for a few years after he graduated highschool, simply because he couldn't believe that an opportunity like that wouldn't come without a catch. Looking at the folders in front of him, the office around him, and the man sitting behind the desk, he can't quite believe that all of this comes at no price. Men like him and their time are expensive, he isn't just giving it away.

"I jus' am havin' trouble believin' all this comes fer free." Tobi meets his confidence with his own self-assured attitude. He knows this is his one chance to stay in school, knows that having someone who knows what they're doing is invaluable in situations like this. He can't afford school without this scholarship, and he can't afford different legal council. This man knows that and has effectively backed him into the only option: Mr. Hawthorne. It's a hell of a move, and if he can back Tobi into a corner this effectively, Tobi knows that he could do a hell of a number on the advisory board. Still, the thought of being caged so effectively has him bristle.

" I'll take it, got no money an' no better option, but jus' tell me straight up. What you gettin' outta this?" He leans back in his chair and pushes his glasses back up to stare at Mr. Hawthorne with tired eyes.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:09 pm
He respected the question. So he considers it while staring into Tobias' eyes steadily. Finally, after another bout of silence, he answers simply "I have interest in this case. I have recently found myself interested in situations like this, Mr. Maynard. Many mutants unable to defend themselves due to the lack of laws and the abundance of regulations, and I simply find that ridiculous. But why this matters to me doesn't matter. What does matter is that I am giving my word that I am fully staked in the outcome in your favor. And, as you can see with those reports, that can mean a great deal for you. Especially with no legal fees."

Richard's eyes soften for a microsecond but quickly reset to their hardness. He respected this kid, his confidence, his self-assured attitude. Even though he was rough around the edges, Richard saw a sympathetic case starting to build. Even the distrust in his eyes clued him into the genuineness of this child. He wasn't going to let anyone else do the work for him.

"Now, if we are going to continue, I have a couple more questions." He pauses, allowing Tobias to either leave or stay. "Now, I understand that you had used your abilities during this time. Environmental Manipulation and Consciousness. Was this use of your abilities completely under your control?"

Another pause. Then, Richard throws him a bone "This goes without saying, but everything in these sessions is completely confidential. I will only build your case with the information you deem fit."
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:32 pm
Tobi listens to the man quietly, hardly shifting in his seat. When he finishes and give him an out, Tobi considers it. He could just walk out that door and wait for the next bus back to campus, petition his own case. 'Get thrown outta' school,' his mind tacks on.

He stays where he is.

'Yeah, sure did." he answers. "Ain't ever heard it said like tha, but sure did. Figur'd a little shock and awe woul' help the whole intimidatin' look. Get him t'back off wi'out a fight. But y'know. Didn't." He looks down at the papers on his desk. "It was under my control for the mos' part." His voice is quiet. He stops and thinks over what he says next. "Halfway through I think I, I think I lost it." He pauses and shakes his head. "Couldn't turn i'off. It were jus' rain and wind and a little earth shakin', but I would move and it would move and I was jus' a little too deep."

"I jus' couldn't shake it. Sister knocked me clean out an'it stopped. Was out cold for a day." He finishes. He knows that sounds bad, sounds like the mutant kid lost control and his temper. It sounds like he used extreme means to subdue someone who wasn't even near his level.

"'Riginally jus' used it t'check on her, that was it. I never wanted to hurt him with 'em." he adds. He shifts in the chair, looks toward the window behind Richard. It's a sunny day outside. He'd bet it was plenty warm too. This office was too damn chilly, he thinks as he absently fiddles with the hem of the sweater cuff.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:50 pm
He listens and gives a very short nod. This is his first definitive movement. Richard pulls the ticker manila folder back, placing it neatly on the corner of his desk, then says "Understandable. You were pulled too deep. In fact, it is up for consideration if the other boy, Evan Richardson, passing out was more towards the alcohol in his system rather than the wind knocking him back. It doesn't help the situation, but it does help the case. It wasn't intentionally used to overpower, it was used to 'check in' on Ms. Scott. It's a noble response even though it got out of hand."

"It happens much more often then you think. And not just with those with mutations." His face moves subtly again, almost into a grimace, but his face shifts back. "But it's not a deal breaker. This situation, your loss of control doesn't define you if we frame it right. Understand that."

He pauses as if considering something. He scribbles a note on his legal pad and says while writing "Noelle Scott. What was your relationship with her prior to this infraction?"

It's a simple question but the weight is heavy in Richard's heart. He doesn't show it, but the question was going to lead to a complicated road of many other questions. It was important that this situation wasn't seen as a crime of passion, but a well-meaning kid helping a defenseless victim. The eyewitness reports match this- Evan and Noelle were seen to leave first, and then Tobias ran after them. If the school had better security, Richard thought bitterly, they would have concrete proof of the assault. But alas, that wasn't the case.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:19 pm
"Long as you say so, sir." He hums quietly in response. Despite how much of a dick Evan is, despite his feelings towards Noelle, and despite how good it felt in the moment to see him hit the ground, he still feels guilty about it. One hit to the nose was enough for him, he hadn't intended to knock the boy prone.

Speaking of feelings, though...

"Nah, sir, ain't nothing between us at the time." He shakes his head. "I mean, we in the same program and she's a good friend. We danced that night." He shrugs, his voice even. The only thing that betrays him is the burn in his ears, the very, very slight flush of his face. He's debating what to tell. He's an honest man, sure, but if it'll help his case...

He doesn't know what to say. Were he and Noelle together? He thinks so; they've discussed their feelings, went on a few dates, he's met her parents. Well, parent. Still hasn't met the dad, doesn't know a whole lot about him. Noelle's been pretty sketchy on the details. But he's pretty sure they're together now, and Hawthorne did say this meeting was confidential.

"To be a hundred percent honest, sir, we datin' now. Curren'ly." He pauses. "Weren't that night, honest t'God. I was jus' worried for her."

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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:37 pm
Hawthorne watches Tobi, evenly. This was good news, but it doesn't register on his face. The fact that they hadn't been romantically involved before the incident was good. They had danced, but it was a school dance; if they were good friends, there was nothing suspicious of that at all. One of the biggest setbacks of the case might have been resolved.

Then, he notices the faint blush across the boy's face. If Richard hadn't been a master of observation, he would have missed it. Tobi was hiding something, and he had a clear idea of what it was. Comparing the eyewitness accounts and his own intuition made it even clearer. And then he said it.

Dating.

Something bit back in his chest, but he pushed it down. He needed to keep it together, for everyone's sake. As long as their relationship had started after that evening, the 'crime of passion' angle would be mute. He considers his next question He listens, patiently, staring at Tobi. "Why were you worried? What did you see?"

Hawthorne knew this was a tough question for both of them. For Tobi to relive it, and for Richard to hear it. But he needed a whole gallery, not just a section of one painting. He waits patiently and silently for an answer. No prodding, only his gaze perpetuating the golden autumnal light pouring from the window.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:17 am
The question causes everything to come crashing back for Tobi in vivid, panoramic detail. He didn't just see it, he experienced it in three sixty surround, saw it from nearly every angle. He can feel their feet against the ground as Evan pushed Noelle up against the wall, hear Noelle's cries for help, smell the alcohol on Evan's breath. He can taste the fruit he had been eating before he checked his phone once, twice, three times and decided to check in on Noelle. He sees the pulsing lights, the dark dance floor, feels and hears the bass reverberate through the building. He focuses on the man before him, all this happening concurrently behind his eyes, and begins to speak.

"The beginning?" he sighs.

He explains the lead up to the dance, how Noelle and Evan had gotten together. He tells Hawthorne how he had been happy for her at first but became more and more worried each time he would see Noelle. She was working herself to the bone for this boy, not eating and not sleeping. He would try to get her to do both and to take some time for herself, but she wouldn't do it. He tells him of the night in his dorm room (leaving out certain details), how she had been so tired and so scared when Evan called, how he had to talk her down from a panic attack with stories of his own life. Tobi tells Hawthorne of the incident in the library, of his many ill feelings, of his own intuition. And then he starts on the dance.

He tells him of how Noelle had been alone that night, tells him of how they had danced, of the night that followed. He tells him how Noelle had wanted to break up with Evan.

"I saw he were drunkin' n' a skunk, an I still let her go alone with him. I mean, how stupid was that?" he's still beating himself up over it. "She was so sure'a herself an' it was the firs' time I seen her confident in so long. Figured, she derserves t'feel in control for once, y'know?" he pauses, fiddles with the sweater again. "I tol' her ten minutes an' I was going lookin' for her. She left, and I jus' get this bad feelin' that don' shake."

"But I waited, long as I could. Came out t'bout six minutes 'fore I went lookin'. Music and lights threw me at first, disoriented me, but I found her. Evan had her..." he stops and ducks his head. "He had 'er..." Stops again. This time when his eyes meet Hawthorne's there's a fire there, boiling with just as much rage as Homecoming night. "He was assaulting her." he growls out the words. "Weeks a' pushin' her to her limits fer the sake a' his good time an' he were there, takin' advantage a her." His hands ball into tight fists. If it weren't for his stubby nails, he'd be drawing blood.

"She was fightin' him, but not eating or sleepin' ain't doin' her no favors. I tried t' give her an advantage, a distraction with what I could till I got there, give 'er a chance t' get away. I step out, and he were holdin' her by her hair. Like she's nuthin'." Tobi spits the last word. He's angry now and he can feel that pull, that roar in the back of his mind that yanked his mind hard Homecoming night and didn't let go. But he swallows it. Forces it back.

"He threw her t' the ground, came at me, broke m' nose." His nose is still just the slightest bit crooked from where Agnes had set it that night. "Broke his and a little bit more."

He then tells what he can remember of the rest of that night, which isn't a lot. He had been knocked out soon after.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:05 am
Richard Hawthorne listened intently to the recount. And he wanted to do many things.

He wanted to go and talk to the boy, this Evan, and give him a piece of his mind.

He wanted to charge Evan for assaulting this poor girl who had no real way if defending herself.

He wanted to tell Tobi that the kid deserved the broken nose and the subsequent trip to the hospital.

But he didn't show this. Because he knew for them to have any credibility, they needed to play this right. And flying off the handle would do no good for anyone. It would give a motive behind everything, give people a reason to rally against Tobi. He obviously was planning to do this all along. No witnesses to the actual assault. She should have defended herself. For a moment, Richard was lost, playing the scenarios in his head how this would play out, and decided that they would take the safest option.

Still. This retelling was tough for him to hear. He kept his eyes on his notes until Tobi started talking about what he saw happen. Noelle was being taken advantage of. And as much as he tried, he couldn't think of her as the nineteen-year-old who was studying Literature. All he could think of was the 9-year-old girl who had stopped talking and couldn't even ask for the bare essentials of life. The 10-year-old girl who didn't have any friends, who would sit up in her room all day, not talking with anyone, lost in her own worlds. The 11-year-old child that was allowing herself to feel worse and worse about herself until it would hit breaking points. This young girl was the one he saw being assaulted in his mind eye. The defenseless little child that he had abandoned all those years ago. If he had stayed would...

No, he wasn't dwelling on that thought. He stays silent for a couple minutes, his eyes meeting the boy across from him "So, let me get this straight. Ms. Scott was unwell and unfit to defend herself. She and Mr. Richardson were seen leaving out the door. Six minutes pass, and you use your mutation to pull yourself into the world. You saw Mr. Richardson taking advantage of the weakened Ms. Scott. You tried to help her by giving a distraction until you got out there. Once you did, Mr. Richardson was holding MS. Scott by the hair then threw her to the ground and punched you in turn. Then, you punched him because he did not back down after multiple warnings?"

He said it so clearly, without the trace of emotion tainting his facts to sound like opinions. It sounds convincing, even though he wasn't there. But he continues "For this case to come out in our favor, you will need to focus on the immediate call to action and Evan's response. How you allowed them to go talk, checked in, and saw what was going on. Anything before that, except Ms. Scott's weakened state, isn't going to matter. In fact, it will give them a finger to point towards a bias. We need to approach this as sympathetically as possible. You only punched Evan because he threw the first punch. You only went out there because Ms. Scott was unable to take care of herself and she needed assistance. These points are going to be key to this story."

He pauses, putting his pen down "And you need to get used to telling this story, Mr. Maynard. It needs to be airtight. Because the minute they see holes, inconsistencies, bias- they are going to tear you apart. They are looking to villainize you the moment you step forward with this. They're already sweeping the incident under the rug, and they plan to do the same with you."

Hawthorne looks Tobi up and down, thinking deeply "Is there anything else that you deem fit I should know before I take this case? Have you ever been involved in a civil dispute similar to this? Were there any witnesses to the assault besides you? Did you ever mention hurting Mr. Richardson before the incident?"
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:10 pm
Tobi listens to the man in front of him. Yeah, he knew they were gonna tear him apart, he kind of figured that the moment he punched the boy. He was already under so much scrutiny: being a mutant, being in the medical program, coming from a poor background. He knew what it was like to be under that kind of pressure to be the model citizen and the model student. So he nods along.

He doesn't want to tell that story over and over again, though. It was a bad night for everyone involved, Noelle most of all. He didn't want to drag her suffering to light every time someone asked, telling it from every angle like he could. He didn't want to do any of this, honestly. What he wanted right now was to go home, curl up under some blankets, and avoid every watchful eye, every little bit of scrutiny until he was old and maybe dead. He blinks slow. Any fire that had been in him during the telling if Homecoming night has bled out, leaving him tired and worn. Maybe he can't curl up till he dies, but a nap at least would be nice.

When Hawthorne asks him his last question, he shakes his head. "Nah, sir. Ain't even been in trouble with the law. Ain't e'er hurt nobody, ain't e'er been arrested, ain't e'er harm a hair on no one's head." He continues on.

"Shoul' be one student, Winter. She were there, took care'a Noelle real well. Sister was there too. Can ask them for a little bit more."

"An' I ain't never said any thing 'bout hurtin' him before hand." Doesn't mean he didn't think it, though. Maybe said it to Noelle a couple times, he can't remember.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:33 pm
Hawthorne looks at him one last time, and then starts to pull out an envelope “Thank you for answering all of my questions, Mr. Maynard. I would highly recommend that you refrain from using your mutation until we can get this all squared away. We need to show the advisory board that this was truly a rare event of no control. Also, you are going to need to keep your grades up. Be a model student. Here-“

He hands him the large envelop, which is sealed by a clasp. “If we are going to continue, I need you to sign these. It just goes over what I can and can not do as legal counsel. Next time we meet, you can hand this over. I’m going to make a couple phone calls, see if I can get a few things to work in our favor.”

Hawthorn stands, his hand outstretched for a shake. He stares at Tobi with his alert, hazel eyes “Thank you for coming in today. We are going to get your scholarship back.”
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:03 pm
Well. That's gonna hurt, he thinks as Hawthorne tells him he shouldn't use his powers. It's as natural to him now as breathing, something he does to feel more connected to the world. It helped with his claustrophobia, helped him feel more connected to his home. He'd try his best, though. He couldn't blow this one chance to stay in school. The rest he could do easy. Not like he hasn't been that up till now.

"Sure, sir." he says and reaches forward to take the envelope. His fingers close around it and he holds it at his side as he stands. With his free hand, he reaches out to take Hawthorne's in a strong, steady grip, sharp grey eyes meeting the alert hazel.

"Thank ye, sir. 'preciate y'time." He nods his head at the man. He's grateful for his time, but he still can't shake that small feeling in him that something just doesn't seem quite right, like he's missing something big. He chalks it up to the chilly, enclosed space though, and his discomfort at being told he shouldn't use his powers, and dismisses the thought.

Tobi turns to leave the way he came, out the door and down the hallway. He passes by the receptionist and gives her a little wave that she doesn't return. Out the door, down to the bus stop he arrived at, on a bus, and back to the campus. He watches the scenery pass, whipping past the windows in a blur of green and brown. He just wants to get back to campus, curl up under some blankets, and forget about legal troubles and forget about his problems for a little bit. The manila envelope sits heavy next to him on the bus seat.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:54 pm
Monday, November 10th, 2008

4:30 PM

Richard Hawthorne was standing at his desk, his eyes flicking across the mountains and piles of documents and newspapers that clutter his desk. The once organized and straight-laced information was now a chaotic mess. From his last meeting with Tobias to now, so much had happened. His eyes move to the reports he found on Family Day, of Evan's family grabbing Joy Scott, her manifestation, Tobias' family defense. Then, his eyes flick to the newspaper from only a couple days later. The cafeteria. The jungle. Trevor Kirk. The media getting behind and against everyone involved. The new support of Tobi as the one who protected everyone, the eye on mutant rights. And on top of that, there were reports of isolated incidents around the country. The shockwaves have hit nearly everywhere, from Connecticut to Florida, to Michigan to New Mexico. And he had been tracking it all.

Made all the more difficult with the fact that Noelle had been trying to contact him for weeks now.

Calls non-stop under different names, letters, faxes, and even camping out at his office. And the worst part was that he didn't want to ignore her. He just had no clue what to say, how to apologize, how to make up for the years of pain and discomfort that he had caused her. That he had caused her sister and his ex-wife. All she remembered was that he abandoned her that he turned to drink and work. How he had fled and didn't contact her, not because he was upset with them, but because he was so ashamed. One month turned into a year, which turned into three, which turned into eight. Divorce papers were filed, child support was paid, it turned into a gnawing in the back of his head. And he wanted to do anything to make things at least a little better. 

On one of the cabinet countertops that line his office is an open container of lasagna. It was cold and had two bites taken out of it, but a fork sticks in it as if it would be picked up again, even though it had been sitting there for over 24 hours. His lovely wife, Laura, had made it. Told him not to come home unless he dod as a joke. But he hadn't been home since the morning before. He had deep bags under his keen eyes, which were just ever so slightly bloodshot. Subtly, his hands shake as he moves papers around, and his usual impeccable suit and dress shirt was untucked and askew. His rectangular glasses lay low on his nose, on the brink of falling. Yet his hair laid clean, and he had obviously brushed his teeth and cleaned himself earlier in the day.

His eyes flick to his desktop computer, the clock. And he curses under his breath, beginning to straighten up the desk, his clothes, his face. He takes off his glasses and places them on his desk, before sitting down. He knew that Tobi knew. Who else would have told Noelle? And if Noelle knew, she must have read his contract, which must have lead to the fact that Tobi had stopped answering his calls. He considered leaving it at that, but with everything going on, he had to stay strong. Tell Tobi the truth. Everything.

After things are slightly more orderly, he fixes his eyes on the Family Day report. The Richardson family had been banned from all future events. And from the evidence he could find, it looked like Evan would be asked to transfer. But the battle had gotten so much bigger, so much crazier. It wasn't Tobi vs. The Board. This was turning into something huge. And he was at the precipice, looking down into a wealth of possibilities, each one more dire than the next. What might be best for everyone might not be what was best for Tobi or Noelle or Trevor or even himself.

Yet.

If everything fell just right, he might be able to fix this. He just needed to line everything up. Figure out the puzzle. His lips and eyes settle to their usual callous manner, but the indents on his flute-like nose from his glasses show the amount of care her put into this. He waited.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:05 am
Thick boots hit the office floor in a heavy rhythm. Dark treads caked in mud and wet earth leave thick, dark marks on the plush carpeted floors. A head draped in thick curls nods to the secretary at the desk as he moves past her without her telling him to go on. She protests, makes a small noise at the mess he leaves on the floor, but he’s got an appointment he’s going to keep. He knows the way, knows the time.

Clenched in his hand is a thick stack of paper. The wad crumples and wrinkles under the pressure of his grip on it as a similar pressure builds in the office space. There’s a hallway then a thick set of doors to push through into an old office. An old office where a man in a fancy suit let him hope, knowing full well what was in those papers and what that would mean for him. He knew full well who Tobi was, who he was connected to, how much he needed help. Lips pull back in a growl as now piercing eyes glare at the space ahead of him.


Step after step draws him closer to the door.


A hand reaches out to grasp the handle of the door and the wood trembles. A breath in, one out. It’s not to control any sort of nerves, nor calm him into a sense of peace; it’s to control his anger. The feeling is so different from their first meeting, the one where Tobi had been wary but quietly optimistic. He had felt then that this would solve his problems, that Richard Hawthorne would be the one to get his life back on track. He had been an idiot to trust the professional man in the suit, to let him spin lies in front of his all too willing eyes. His fingers curl around the handle and after a brief moment to collect himself, push the heavy wooden door open.

He steps into the room the same way a storm rolls over mountains. Head held high and proud, his eyes and nerves are bright like sudden lightning against a cold, dark sky. They narrow in dark anger at the man seated behind the large wooden desk. He’d hated that thing when he’d first walked in here, hates it now for the distance it puts between the two of them. Rough fingers dig blunt nails into the papers in his hand as he takes a solid step forward. He sets the papers down on the desk in front of the man and adding to the mess covering the desk. Papers flutter like crisp dead leaves in an autumn breeze.

His hands move in purposeful motions, not pausing to check and see if the other man understands. If he really is Noelle’s dad (and the resemblance is there, he can’t believe how he didn’t see it sooner. Guess it just took a thousand pieces of paper surrounding him to really hit home), he’ll understand.

‘’Y’all owe me some answers, Hawthorne.’
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:16 am
Richard watches as the boy comes in, caking the carpet with earth. He felt the trembling when he was at the door, and saw the brilliant anger flash behind now dark eyes. Richard felt something he was all too familiar with- the pang of regret. This kid had changed- nerves glowing bright, eyes darker than sin. And, if the reports and stories he had read were right, this kid had lost his voice. It went somewhere else and was replaced with something ancient.

The papers hit the desk. Hawthorne figured after the myriads of calls that the child hadn't signed them. And that was his prerogative. The papers make a soft noise as they hit the desk, and he immediately straightens them out, keeping them separate from the others. But, right before he lets them bo, he makes a decision. In one gesture, he takes the stack of papers and slides them into his already full wastebasket. His eyes flick to Tobi's.

The eyes are the same shape and color as Noelle's younger sister, but they were free of spunk and excitement. There lay a fire, yes, but it was not like the one when Tobi had stepped in the office before. It was subdued, embers glowing in a dark evening. Once they were stoked, it would turn into brilliant flames. 

He watches this boy's hands move in a flourish, and he sighs in understanding, leaning forward in his chair. He closes his eyes for a moment, rubbing the indents into his nose, preparing himself for an onslaught of anger and expectations. IT was best that they both lay it out om the table, and Tobi had a right to go first as his client. So, after only a moment of letting the sign hang in the air, Richard sits up straight, hazel now staring into black and grey.

"Of course. This to be expected, Tobias. Go ahead. Ask away. I won't hold back."

While the voice was still callous, there was something real behind it. Hawthorne was only going to tell the facts this time around. Withholding information only made things worse, so he was going to have to scramble if either of them has a sliver of a chance to get this back on track.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:58 am
Hell if he don’t wanna knock those straight white teeth outta that damn smooth talkin’ mouth. His fingers twitch and itch in response to that dark desire, but he keeps them down and fisted at his sides. He watches the man slide the papers into the trashcan. The soft ‘fwush,’ the pile makes as it flutters into the full can brings him very little satisfaction. ‘Too little, too late,’ he thinks. Those papers were a slow death and the man should have known that, should have at least told him what was inside before handing them over sweet as sugar. Promises to win had been laced in poison, wrapped in traps tight as guilt round a sinner.

Their eyes meet and Tobi sizes up the older man in his own keen, dark pools.

Lord, he still burns something fierce. Anger flares hot in his gut as he looks at the man in front of him still acting like he’s the one in charge. Him and his fancy words, using his name like he’s earned it, like he deserves to when Tobi can’t even wrap his mouth around the syllables. Everything in his bristles at the name; to be called by his first name implies familiarity and that’s a kindness he's not willing to grant right now. Behind that desk, Hawthorne’s protected, separated from what he’s done. Tobi ain’t havin’ that if Hawthorne wants to have this conversation. He wants to face the man.

‘Nah, sir, y’all gonna stand if we talkin’.’ His head shakes softly as he signs. His eyes don’t leave Hawhthorne’s. “An’ ya’ll gonna call me Maynard, y’hear? Else I walkin’ out that door.” His thumb jerks to the door behind him that he came in through.

He wishes Hawthorne would at least look a little contrite over what he’s done instead of that sharp focus that makes Tobi feel a little like a curious specimen in a jar. ‘Expected, my ass,’ he thinks as his lips pull up in a snarl. So the snake knew, then. Knew what he was doing to Tobi, to Noelle, to everyone on campus.

‘What the hell,” a pause. ‘Was that?”

He motions towards the paperwork in the trash. Hawthorne better not give him any runaround, else he was leaving with the man’s teeth on a necklace. He knew the man knew, had to have typed it, thought about it, decided on it with the space between his own two ears.

He's getting answers, he thinks as he folds his thick arms across his chest and waits. This'll probably be good, watching a man try and pull himself out of the hole he's dug. Should'a brought snacks.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:20 am
"That, Mr. Maynard, was a document that was to inform you what I could and couldn't do as your legal counsel in your case."

He puts it simply as he stands, making his way around the desk. His eyes never leave Tobi's, silently trying to meet his demands. Eventually, Hawthorne leans back against his desk, his arms crossed over his chest as well. He stays silent for a moment, thinking, then continues "It wasn't a contract. It wasn't a crystal ball. It was the information that you and I should have went over after you had read through if you didn't feel comfortable about signing. But I don't blame you. Let me make that clear. And let me make something else clear."

Pausing, he regards Tobi, his eyes shining with nothing other than the truth "I know that you read the clause about the use of power inhibitors, about how they are subject of use no matter the verdict of your case. I did not put that in there willingly, Mr. Maynard. When I started having talks with the advisory board, they told me that was at stake and they were putting that on the table. And as much as I disliked even the idea of an outcome where inhibitors are used by anyone on campus, it was the only leverage I had to get them comfortable with the fact that you were going to appeal, at the time. I wasn't planning or scheming for an outcome where you and the rest of the mutant population on Highmauve's campus and any other have to wear mutation suppressing devices. If you have read any of my previous cases, I have faced situations with much more at stake, with similar stipulations. Stipulations that I had been able to repel. This clause was something I was planning on bypassing once we had received your win."

Hawthorne regards Tobi, silently again. And then, he sighs, letting his arms fall to the side "I understand why you are upset. But this is much bigger than you and I now. So, if you have grievances with me, Mr. Maynard, you should let them all be known. I will listen and wait until you are finished, and you may choose to listen to my answer or you can walk out my door. I wouldn't blame you for that."
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:54 pm
‘Legal council,’ he signs as he rolls his eyes. ‘Some fucking council. What kind a option even was that, power inhibitors. Lord.’ He’s clearly getting more and more riled up. This man, this goddamn snake in the tall grass. He’s explaining things to him like Tobi’s a child that just not getting it. Tobi gets it just fine; he understands what’s going on. It ain’t just Hawthorne that wants his head, it’s the school now too. His future’s being decided by people who don’t have a damn clue how to handle it, how to handle him, and they don’t even care enough to ask if what they decide will hurt.

‘Hurt him,’ something in him whispers soft and low, a soft rustling of a predator through scrub brush. It’s the sound of an approaching bloodbath, something stalking unseen towards an unaware prey. He can feel the cords of the world around him tense and draw towards him, begging him to pull and manipulate. It’s an itch he’s hesitant to scratch but burns anyway, fueled by the anger that fuels him.


'Shut it.’ He growls out loud in that strange, ancient language. The voice that clouds his thoughts settles but doesn’t leave. Instead, it curls in a corner of his mind. Just waiting.


‘Y’all e’en know what that would do to me? What it did to me?” His dark eyes bore into Hawthorne’s as the voice in his head hums a soft, repetitious melody (hurt, hurt hurt). ‘Why wasn’t the answer when they proposed it no? If you’re supposed to be on my side, why the hell were you so eager to agree with them?’ He pauses as the swell of anger in his mind crests. ‘If you disliked it so much, why was it there?’ he gestures to the papers in the trash. ‘What if you couldn’t get it t’go away after, what then, Hawthorne.’

‘What were you gonna do then? Jus’ let ‘em lock us down like fucking criminals born into a crime decided by others ‘fore we even alive? Trap me in my own mind, keep those whose powers are as vital to some as breathing in pain jus’ t’win some stupid appeal that I ain’t even gonna use if that were the outcome? Some hollow victory t’add to your trophy case, your guilt stained, do-gooder record?’ he scoffs at the man in front of him. He thinks of Noelle and the stories she’s told him, of the pain she’s felt, of the years she spent thinking this man’s actions were her fault, and of Karin and Joy.  'Y’record’s in the red, sir.”


‘I’da left straight soon as I saw them fancy gadgets comin’ towards me. I’da been outta there so fast, you’d be cleanin’ dust off the fucking board room floor. I’d ne’er come e’en close to that college again. Still thinkin’ bout it, actually. This conversation’s makin’ it a real easy choice, y’know.’ The glare in his eyes is hard and cold.

I ain’t e’er want to be part a something bigger. I ain’t ever wanna be noticed for anything more than what I want to be. This national stage shit, this bigger than me shit, that’s never been even remote to what I wanna do here. I want to stay in school. I want to graduate in two more years, learn to help people who ain’t givin’ me shit now. I want to live my life out in the nowhere and not bother no one ever again.’

‘I want you to do your fucking job and defend me. Only me. Not some bigger picture.’ He closes his eyes and settles his hands at his sides. God, he burns. He burns so bad. Calmer, he opens them and focuses the phosphorescent grey rings of his irises on the man in front of him. There's a quiet beat where only the sounds of the world around the two of them can be heard. Tobi can hear the soft breeze outside, the scraping of a chair in the next room, the soft burble of a coffeemaker down the hall. There's footsteps and chatter and birdsong, but for once, his focus doesn't drift.



“Now, why do I gotta feel bad for you? How you gonna explain away - ?’ His hands make the same sweeping motion his father made family day and his mother made in his dorm room to Noelle.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:07 pm
Hawthorne waits and watches, patiently. His eyes track the movements, silently translating the sign. The skill had been used with a couple of clients before, so he had kept it sharp since he learned a decade prior. The only change in expression was when Tobias opened his mouth and something ancient and powerful slipped out, causing Richard to raise an eyebrow. Interesting and aggressive, but it doesn't warrant a comment. So he waits patiently until the kid had finished. Richard could feel the rage and, honestly, confusion rippling off of the kid. He clearly needs to hear the truth. Piece by piece. But Richard was also surprised that the kid didn't reject the possibility of still being represented by him.

Interesting.

Richard waited a complete and solid two minutes before speaking. During this time, he allowed Tobias to choose to leave or to stay. To get angrier or to calm down a little. After those two minutes, they met eyes. "You don't need to feel bad for me. You honestly shouldn't feel bad for me. As I said, I understand why you are upset and I will understand if you want to stand up and leave. But I want to clear a couple things up if you will allow me."

He's silent again for a moment before he begins to answer the questions posed to him "First and foremost, I want you to know that it was never my intention to harm you in any way; physically or mentally. And I understand that I have failed that. When I read your file, I was under the impression that your mutation was something that was voluntary. And so, when I made my recommendation to not use your abilities, it would not alter your state of life in any way. And I was completely and utterly wrong." 

This is something that Richard Hawthorne rarely did. With most clients, he did not assume responsibility. But, due to the nature of his relationship with Tobi and the nature of this case, it was vital. And the right thing to do. "And I don't expect you to accept it, but I apologize for the pain and discomfort that this has caused you. I should have asked about it at our initial meeting and researched even more than I had."

Hawthorne straightens up, his eyes beginning to gain their fire again with his next statement "Now before I talk about the potential of power inhibitors, I need you to know that I had been working on your case since the day after homecoming. Since that Sunday, I had made calls, done research and writing emails, talking to representatives of the university. And what they wanted to do to suppress your mutation was far worse than you could imagine. I am not only talking about inhibitors but complete segregation of the mutant and non-mutant students, a penalty system for when abilities were used. And you need to know that I did not cave when these were presented to me. I worked down to as low as I could go and still allow them to hear your case. And, as I said, my plan was to bypass it once you were proven innocent. No need for an inhibitor if there is no threat. So, I left it at that. If I would have tore at it more, they would have swept you under the rug."

"Mr. Maynard, we can pretend that this case is about you and only you. And if you want me to do that as well, I will do my job and represent you as much. But Homecoming, Family Day, and the Dining Hall incident have caused a ripple effect at every school and university that caters to this Immersion program. Hard questions are being asked and with my history of working mutant rights-related cases, my phone has not stopped ringing in two weeks. While you might be able to ignore what is going on right now, and I respect that mind you, my career does not allow me to do that. But if you want me to shut that all out to help you, I'll do it."

He finally stands to his full height. Hawthorne is only a couple inches shorter than Tobi but his intimidation and stance makes it clear that he is not backing down. That he respects the anger and frustration, but what he was about to say was something he would fight for, tooth and nail. It's the look Noelle gives when she is passionate about something, the one that Joy has when she's yelling at opposing dodgeball teams. It's a look of pure determination "I did not choose to take on your case to add to my record. This is not a hollow victory, a trophy for my shelf. And if you think that, then I must ask you to leave. I choose to help you not for personal gain, for everyone to shower me with praise and credit. I uprooted my life, my family, everything to come here and help you. And that choice I made was for one reason only."

He leaves it at that, for Tobi to ask or for infer. But it was clear to Richard that he was doing all of this, dealing with all of this. It was for her.
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:17 am
Tobi breathes out slow through his nose. Calloused fingers twitch from where they’re tucked in at his sides. So the school wanted to collar him even further. The inhibitors already made him feel like a raid animal that needed to be chained, something feral that they had no idea how to handle. This whole system that Hawthorne is describing, with its points and segregation made him feel like something too different to coexist with the ‘normal’ student populace. Rage in him crests in waves and gets caught in his throat, almost chokes him. He’s seeing red.


If Hawthorne thought that was supposed to placate him, he’s left of right and kin to wrong.


‘Great, fasntastic. Thanks.’ The last motion is sharp and hostile, a quick jerk of his fingers from his chin out towards Hawthorne. ‘Really appreciate the effort in getting them to consider me more of a human being.’

‘It ain’t the point anymore, Hawthorne! It’s that no one understands them in the program. That they don’t care ‘nough to ask, that they don’t care ‘nough to see that there already a penalty system in place. Noelle were assaulted with an audience of hundreds, an’ no one did shit. Trevor was bullied in full view a e’eryone on family day, an’ no one did shit. Not those there, not the university, nobody. Just like you ain’t doin’ nothin’.’

‘Compromise ain’t worth piss when it’s about whether I or anyone else like me deserves t’exist. It’s either we do or we don’t.’ He sighs then, still angry. ‘I don’ care if y’all care about the big picture sorta shit. Feels like you’ll do it anyway e’en if I say no. If I gotta be just a steppin’ stone in this big ol mess for you, fine. I jus’ want my scholarship back. Tha’s all I e’er wanted from ya, that’s it. That’s it.’ He repeats. He’s tired of the runaround from this man trying to salvage his trust, trying to explain away all the mistakes he’s made and the reasonings behind some abysmal conditions in a contract he just told Tobi to sign. Tobi’s had it up to here with this man and his fancy words and smooth tones. He isn’t ever getting Tobi’s trust back, but.


Tobi’s still broke.


Dark eyes size up Hawthorne as he stops leaning on the table and stands to his full height only a few inches shorter than Tobi. The difference gives him some sense of satisfaction, but not much. Hawthorne looks too much like Noelle and her sister in this moment, and that’s something that disarms him just a little bit. It takes some of the bite out of his sharp gaze and makes some of the anger in his chest abate. He’s starting to feel the angry high he’s on start to fade in the face of familiar eyes and the commanding authority Hawthorne projects. The combination of the two almost makes him consider giving the man another chance.


That is, until the man starts to speak.


That livid, biting rage crests in his mind. It fills him, envelops him; the voice that’s been curled in the corner of his mind bounds forward to scream obscenities in his ear in raptor song, in earthen landslides, in thunder and blood and death. Luminescent lines trace sharp patterns in his skin as they flare to life with the sudden awakening of the words in his head. Vibrant quicksilver irises look down at the man as something in him folds to breaking, one stressor away from snapping. He’s full of that strange language and his finger twitch and itch not to speak, but to pull on the nearest string and bring Hawthorne to his knees. The lawyer might not know, but he’s on thin ice here.


‘Noelle, right?’ He signs, slow and steady. ‘Would really help me believe that if y’all’d answer her calls.’
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Re: Jules, Connecticut: Krause&Lovett Law Offices

on Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:57 pm
"You don't understand."

The words leave his mouth before Tobi finishes his sentence. Hawthorne's eyes shine and radiate... something. Passion? Regret? It's unsure. But the feeling bubbles in his own chest. Whatever this child had been told, it was from Noelle. And Noelle only remembered him as the man who left. Which was fair, he did, but there was so much more to it. So much more pain. So much hurt to all parties. He stares at Tobi, frowning.

"Don't you think I want to talk to her? Or see her? But what am I supposed to say? What can I say to make almost a decade of neglect better?"

He pauses, deciding how much he wants to say and how he wants to say it. Hawthorne takes a deep breath "I know that I have messed up, that I owe Noelle and Joy so much. But you don't know the full story. What exactly happened and why I left."

“Noelle was eleven when I left. And while I will be the first to admit that I did something completely and utterly wrong, she never knew what was going on. And her young mind correlated things and she drew conclusions. For instance, I did not leave because her abilities manifested. And yes, my daughter is highly intelligent, but she also highly emotional. She reacts as such." He pauses again, looking at Tobi in the eyes "Noelle came into her mutation when she was nine years old. And, as you most likely know, Karen Scott fought for her daughter’s right to an education."

An extremely subtly but soft smile plays Hawthorne's lips as he remembers the fire in his ex-wife's eyes. The sparks that she spoke. In another life, she would have been a suffragette or marching for civil rights. But he continues "She put her nose to the ground and worked hard to give Noelle something that she needed, as well as pave the way for future mutant children who would walk similar paths. Now, something that you probably don’t know is that I was the one who provided my ex-wife with the information she needed."

Hawthorne quickly adds, to not sully Karen's work ethic "Now, let me be clear, Karen did most of the legwork. She was the one writing and presenting to the school board. But I did the research. I gave her anything and everything I could find, from ADA to IDEA to the process of receiving an IEP. And was it enough? Of course not, I should have been there fighting with my wife, fighting for my kid. But I didn’t.”

He sighs, leaning back against the desk again, suddenly looking very tired and much too world-weary. “I was young. Not acclimated to my line of work yet. And I received a case. The assault and murder of two sixteen-year-olds. Both mutants. Suspected hate crime. Here.”

Richard takes a folder from his desk, the same folder he had handed Tobias at their first meeting. He paws through it gracefully, pulling the first report from the stack. He looks at it, and for the first time actual, raw emotion is reading from his face. His eyes soften, his lips downturned. But he hands the report to Tobi. The date in the corner read SEPTEMBER 1998 and the title read HENRY V. PRENTISS. The document reads dry, as per Hawthorne’s specialty, but it recounts the tale of two young girls who were walking home from a local library. Both were mutants, one with a physical mutation (fish scales, from the mother’s report) and the other without. They were both attacked, assaulted, and murdered in a park a mere 2 blocks from their homes. Their bodies had evidence of severe trauma before death. The language continues, going into detail of what was found throughout the case, each tidbit of information more horrifying than the next.

“It was tragic. And the case lasted a year. I talked to the mother of Kendra Henry, asking her about her daughter. Her experience of prejudice and hate and ignorance. She offered solace, yes, but it honestly just fed into my own fears. And every time I thought of those two girls, I thought of her. I thought of Noelle walking home alone one day and-”

He breaks off. His voice doesn’t betray him, but he knew it would if given the chance. Hawthorne gives himself a moment to collect himself, to recede back into his usual manner “I’m not proud of how I handled it. I turned to drink, I wanted to numb the fear. I became angry, resentful for something the public consciousness believed in, something neither I nor my daughter could control. I wanted to protect her, get her out of school and somewhere she would be safe. I have no idea what that would be, but homeschooling was a start. Just getting her out and allowing her to be safe.”

"But Karen had her hooks in, believed that Noelle needed to learn with others." Richard's regret spills now, hurt pouring from his lips. No breaks, no warbled tones, but it's there. He looks away, ashamed "Noelle was already stunted socially. She was barely talking to us already, and Karen believed if we pulled her out, she would never learn how to interact with the world around her in a healthy, natural way. Schooling wasn’t just about learning, it was about the experience. I disagreed.”

Another pause. He rubs his eyes, now. These words were not getting easier. “When Karen told me that she was pregnant with Joy… I was beside myself with happiness. Something inside of me realized that Noelle was going to have someone to interact with. This child would help with everything. So, I went sober. I started to read again, for myself and with Noelle. I helped Karen around the house. Things were good. Until right before Joy was born. I felt… a disconnect. Everything would be so much easier if we just left Maine, found someplace better. More accepting. We started fighting again. The same fights. I wanted to move, wanted to take my two daughters and go somewhere that was less ignorant, that would give them a truly equal chance. Karen’s roots were deep, she had carved a life, she was willing to fight and teach her kids how to do so. That grew into apathy, into resentment. Karen and I drove the other apart, we didn’t see things on the same level as we used to. And worse of all, Noelle resented me. To the point where she didn't even allow me to speak to her. So. One morning, I just left.”

Richard sighs, his eyes falling “And I regretted it. But I didn’t know how to address it. How to talk about it. Karen, bless her, tried reaching out. But I wasn’t ready to talk. And when I was, she decided that I was no longer a part of their lives. Which was fair. At that point, our divorce was filed. I had moved to Wisconsin and found my now wife, Laura.” His face softens ever so slightly.

“I started a new family. But the regret ate me away. Gnawed at me. I took any mutant right’s cases. I had been seeing things in such detail that I forgot about the big picture. It should have never been about pulling Noelle away, it should have been fighting to give her the tools to protect herself through laws and human rights that should be granted to all mutants. I realize that now. So, I gained a reputation. And one day, I received a call about a small, private college in New England. Something had happened- attempted assault. A 22-year-old man used his abilities to stop the perpetrator. I was going to brush it off, give it to someone else, refer it to someone on that side of the country. But I read the names. Noelle Scott was the victim.”

Eyes flick back up to Tobias’, with a steady focus “You were able to do something that I was too blind to do. You took control of a situation, you protected my daughter. You made sure she was safe. And you were subject to lose your scholarship. And the least I could have done, after all the wrongs that I had made, was you, Mr. Maynard. Help you because you were there for her.”

He’s still leaning against this desk, his eyes strong, in contrast with the bags under them, the pale skin, the tired physique. But Hawthorne stood there “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want her to know. Because I still don’t know how I can make up a decade of disappointment and resentment. I don’t think I ever will. But this was supposed to be a step in the right direction. To begin to make amends with her."

Hawthorne regards the boy in front of him, staring deep into him. The aura of clinical callousness has faded a bit. There stood a man, aware of his bad decisions, trying to claw back into a semblance of a relationship to someone he had lost long ago. He's tired, he's worked long hours to get him to this point. But yet he stands, and opens his mouth one last time "You’re getting you your scholarship. Free of charge. No inhibitor. We do it your way. And if you don’t want to work with me, fine. I’ll get you the best lawyer in the state and pay out of my own pocket. But you are getting your scholarship and graduating in two years. Guaranteed.”
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