“So, tell me, Samuel, what do you do when you’re not working?” He rested his chin in his palm and pierced Samuel with his gaze.
Samuel linked his hands over the top of the picture and swallowed hard, his stomach churning with…something. “I, um, play chess with one of those automated opponents.”
“Oh, yes! I know what you mean. I haven’t played chess for years.”
How Samuel knew Eric was smiling, he had no idea, but he could hear it in his voice. “I also like solitaire and reading.”
“Solitary pursuits then?” Samuel didn’t know what to say to the observation, so he kept quiet. “What book are you reading at the moment?”
“Well, I enjoy subjects that help me understand what other people are saying without them verbalising it. It helps with my job to know if they are hiding something.” He winced when he finished talking and chanced a glance up at Eric’s face, sure to see a grimace, but Eric smiled.
“You like investigating,” Eric surmised.
Samuel thought about it. “Yes. Being a lawyer is all about figuring things out from bits of information you’ve been given. It’s like the pieces of a puzzle that needs to be fitted together without any picture reference to use to guide you.”
“You mentioned something about figuring out what people are telling you. Do you mean like body language tells and things?”
Samuel nodded, smiling as he got more excited to share his knowledge. “Yes. The TV programme Lie To Me is a good example. I find it fascinating how information can be gleaned from how people react, small twitches, whether they sweat, their eye movements, their breathing—it all adds up when you put it together, and sometimes, the story tells a completely different one than what came out of their mouths.”
“What does mine tell you about me?” Eric sat back.
Samuel rubbed the back of his neck. “You don’t want me to—”
“Yeah, I don’t mind. Go ahead.”
“Well,” he took a breath, “you have slightly bloodshot eyes, you’re blinking more rapidly than when I last met you, and you’ve rubbed your eyes several times, which makes me think you’re tired. You can keep yourself still when you want to, but your eyes are always vigilant, often scanning the area around you with a slight tightening to the outer edges of your eyes.” He paused, lowering his voice, “You don’t like being in the spotlight despite your job description.”
Eric tilted his head, a small smile playing around his lips. “Not bad.” He nodded slowly, his gaze never leaving Samuel’s. “I am tired. Jet lag is a bitch when you’re flying from the US, and the minute I get used to the time zone here, it will be time for me to leave again.”
“How long are you here for?” Samuel didn’t know if he wanted the answer to the question.
“I leave on Tuesday.”
“Not a long visit then.”
“It’s never long enough.”