C1 Chapter 01
Stakeouts look so glamorous in movies—a warm car, snacks and coffee. Well, most people think that way, but the truth is that it’s all bullshit. I’m freezing cold and soaking wet and my bollocks have shrivelled up in my pants. It’s seriously pissing me off and ramping up my adrenaline. I’d been told there was going to be a movement in Coldstone tonight, some large shipment. I’ve been waiting outside for a good half hour, and so far I haven’t spotted a living soul around here.
A minute later another drop of rain sneaks under my collar and down my back and I decide to go back to the car, shivering with cold. I’ve been walking up and down the street, thinking that I must have missed something. Finally I can’t wait any longer. It’s nearly time, so I dial.
“He’d better fucking answer,” I growl quietly to myself. The phone rings and rings. Then I hear a click.
“Broomly Street, in twenty minutes,” says the sharp, slightly dopey voice on the other side of the phone. I shift on my car seat, my pulse speeding up instantly.
“Are you sure about this, T? The streets in Coldstone are completely empty. There is nothing going on around here,” I say to T, wiping the water off my face. Broomly is on the other side of the city.
“Pretty fucking sure. You know that I’m risking a hell of a lot, mate,” T snarls back over the phone. His voice vibrates and he’s breathing too hard, which means that he’s nervous. It looks like I might be lucky tonight after all. After months of putting the evidence together, Knox is finally going to be mine.
“They are definitely getting a delivery tonight, right?” I ask.
Long silence. T is thinking hard, probably wondering how much he can say.
“Yeah, mate, two trucks, but you need to leave now. I’ve already said too much,” he says, coughing.
I smile and glance at the clock on the dashboard. It’s twenty to ten, and I have exactly fifteen minutes to get to Broomly. It should be fine. T wants out. He is weak, but he is valuable, and now I’m glad that I made him my C.I, a contact I will need to close this case. I’ve been working on this for three long months, and so far I have a few lousy suspects, nothing to really incriminate them except useless surveillance photos and frozen bollocks. This has gone on for too long, and I need to show Clarke that he hired me for a reason.
“Fine, this better be good. You know that I have you by your short and curlies. You betray me and you have no protection if I let slip that you’re my informant,” I remind him gently. It’s a clear warning, not a threat. T should know that I don’t work with losers. I know for a fact that he’s smoking too much weed, so his head is fucking screwed. Other than that, he’s a good kid who has fallen off the wagon one too many times.
“Aye-aye, captain. Fifteen minutes now,” he reminds me and then the line goes dead. I start the engine and check my gun.
I put my foot down as soon as the engine roars back to life. The wheels spin and my Audi swirls on the wet asphalt. I check the clock, wondering if I’ll make it, speeding through the dark, overcast streets. My mission is clear: I want to see Knox behind bars, ideally tonight. I go over the speed limit. The blood starts thumping in my ears loudly.
I dial Roger’s number when I’m close to Broomly. Luckily he picks up straight away.
“What’s up, my prince? Shouldn’t you be in bed?” he chuckles.
“Meet me at Broomly Street ASAP. I had a call,” I inform him.
“Yes, Rogers, stop wasting my time and get in here sharpish. I don’t want to lose that motherfucker tonight,” I say, probably sounding like an arsehole, but that way Rogers will know that I’m dead serious.
“Ten minutes. Wait for me. Don’t do anything stupid,” he says and hangs up the phone. It’s raining cats and dogs, and my windscreen wipers fight to keep moving up and down, squeaking. I stop abruptly near the roundabout. Broomly Street is just around the corner. It’s still pretty early, but this part of town seems deserted, cloaked in darkness as the rain washes the abandoned streets and derelict buildings. I switch off the lights and kill the engine, waiting for the signal. Knox and his truck should already be here. He must have changed the location while I was wasting time in Coldstone.
My eyes move around the streets and alleyways, trying hard to see what’s going on ahead. This kind of weather is perfect for what Knox has in mind. He doesn’t need to worry about being cornered around here. Rogers has exactly four more minutes to get here, and if he doesn’t, I’m on my fucking own.
Then something happens. I spot two hooded figures creeping towards the narrow alley. I can’t afford to wait around for Rogers to get here. The party has started. Knox’s guys must have arrived earlier on. My instinct tells me that I have to get out of the car, and after counting to ten I do just that.
Sheets of rain pour down my face, almost blinding me as I bend my knees and creep around the car. Several minutes later a large truck turns into the same street. The two hooded guys signal the driver, who flashes his lights in response. They haven’t seen me yet. The weather conditions are working in my favour but also to their advantage, as I can’t make out faces. When they get busy, I exhale sharply and run towards the opposite building, hoping to see everything that’s going down. I’m not ready to lose one of the biggest drug busts of my career because Rogers doesn’t have any sense of urgency. We’ve both been working on this for months.
I get to the opposite building, several meters away from where the truck is parked. The two hooded figures are too busy to pay any attention to their surroundings. They are talking to the driver, who keeps pointing at the building ahead.
I need to get closer and take out at least one of them. I wipe the water off my face, load my gun and move from my hiding place. Instinct is the key. Rogers should be here any minute, hopefully with backup. My eyes are glued to the figures that are now moving behind the truck.
As the adrenaline peaks in my blood I pick up my pace. My targets are in my sight—this is it—they are going down. When I hear a gasp from my left, it’s already too late. I am so focused on my goal that I don’t see the cyclist on the road. I can’t stop and we crash into each other. I lose my balance, and the impact throws me at least a meter away, landing hard on the tarmac. For a split second I have no idea what just happened. The rain keeps pouring down on me; my head is throbbing with pain. I blink rapidly and spot my gun lying a few meters away from me.
I hear someone shouting, swearing. Then all of a sudden the headlights are blinding me and I shut my eyes. Several seconds later, I look up and realise that the two dealers have spotted me. I must look bizarre to them, just lying in the middle of the road. The driver vanishes and, before I know it, my two hooded figures are backing away. Every drop of rain feels like a cold rock bouncing against my skin. Somehow I manage to scramble back to my feet, taking long pulls of air into my lungs.
The streets are empty again. My heart skips a beat—my cover is blown. Someone must have seen me circling around this area, or maybe that useless twat T pre-warned them. Who the fuck knows? If I’m lucky, the stock might still be in the truck.
My back is aching, my head is pounding—Jesus, I need a shot of whisky.
“Couldn’t you see me? Didn’t you look where you were going, you complete moron!” A loud, annoyed voice pulls me back to reality. I look up, realising that it’s the cyclist that I crashed with several moments ago.
“Shut up for a second. I’m trying to think,” I bark, running my hand through my wet hair.
I pick up my gun and unload it. Then I get blinded again by bright headlights and hear the roaring engine. A moment later, the truck disappears into the rain-shrouded darkness.
The anger inside me increases by the second, even though I’d tapped it down. This whole thing is blown. The stock is gone. Knox has fucked me off again. His guys ran away, realising that it was a trap. I whirl around, ready to berate the cyclist, who turns out to be a girl with wet pink hair. I have a sudden urge to handcuff her for getting in my way. She is the main reason I’ve lost months and months of work. On top of that, Rogers let me down tonight.
The rain is coming down in sheets and makes everything glisten under the glow of streetlights. I can barely see the shapes of the buildings right in front of us. The water is dripping over my entire body and I’m completely fucking pissed off.
The girl’s bike is lying on the road; the wheel is bent, and it looks like we crashed right in the middle of the street. I finally lift my head and take a good look at her. She is tall, almost my height, and her clothes are soaked right through, just like mine. She is wearing a very skimpy white top and I can see her hardened nipples poking through it. Unexpected heat shoots down my spine and hits me in my dick. Christ, what’s happening?
“You can’t tell me what to do, you arsewipe,” she yells.
“I’m going to handcuff you if you don’t shut your flapping lips,” I say, weighing my options.
She narrows her eyes at me, then glances at her bike, finally noticing her bent wheel.
I take out my phone, ready to call Rogers, when the girl steps forward into my face and starts poking me in my chest with her finger.
“I want to see you try, butthole,” she shouts. Our faces are so close now and all I want is to tell her to fuck off, but no sound moves through my lips. It’s as if her pale grey eyes freeze me in place, seeing right through me, registering the closeted sorrows, the shattered, loveless life that I’ve been leading for the past eight years. Her angry expression is quickly replaced by shock. Her pupils dilate as her gaze roams over my face, down my body. I ignore the unexplained acknowledgment in her look, noticing her flushed cheeks. There is no mistake that she is furious—most likely ready to punch me in the face.
Bring it on, pinky head. It’s your fault that Knox got away tonight.
Now I have to start over, build up a new line of investigation that will probably bring a whole new list of suspects.
“Careful, suicide girl. I’m only a few inches away from carting you off to the police station,” I warn her.
“I don’t give a flying fuck. You were the one that crashed into me, not the other way around. I was riding on the road, not on the fucking pavement,” she yells right into my face. I don’t know what she is trying to do, scare me or pretend that she isn’t bothered that I can throw her skinny ass to the lions.
She steps back out of my space as if suddenly realising that’s it’s not wise to piss off a police officer, and I can’t help but notice she has a nice body with firm tits, but the hair is too bright for my liking. I notice her tattoos: large colourful sugar skulls intertwined with flowers and ribbons are painted all over her arms. She’s into that psycho Goth shit, or maybe she considers herself an artist, but who cares?
I try to breathe until the burning in my dick eases off, clenching my fists, wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Out of the corner of my eye I see a car approaching us, blinding me and the girl. Moments later, Rogers gets out of the driver’s seat. He’s way too late and I don’t want to hear his excuses right now.
“Listen, Pinky, I don’t have time for your drama. You got mixed up in some serious shit. I was just about to make a few arrests and you fucked it all up. Because of you, they escaped.”
She stands still and I’m surprised that she isn’t scared of me. People normally are when I have this look on my face. Maybe I should take her to the station, scare her a bit with some false accusations and teach her a lesson.
“Whatever, arsehole. I was in the road cycling, you were a pedestrian, therefore I had right of way,” she spits back, completely ignoring my threat. “Don’t try to intimidate me with your ‘oh, I’m a big bad cop’ bullshit. All I know is you owe me for a bike. Next time watch where you’re running.”
My dick twitches in my wet pants and I can’t focus on anything but my attraction to this chick. This lack of control isn’t normal. I haven’t reacted to anyone like this since Stephanie.
Stephanie. I should have talked about her more, cherished the good memories; instead I’ve been acting like she never existed.
I rub the water from my eyes, trying to gain control of myself and of this sudden heat that rushes down my spine, making my balls feel heavy. Everything about this girl should be putting me off—her skinny body, long legs—but no, instead my cock goes harder, even in this cold weather. No, I need to push the inappropriate thoughts away. She is just some crazy chick.
“Your sense of humour amuses me and you shouldn’t be swearing so much; your tattoos might shrink.” I chuckle, seeing Roger watching our exchange.
“Micah, what’s up? Where is Knox’s team?”
“I nearly had them, but then this pinky chick got in my way, and the whole thing was blown. The truck is probably on its way to London now,” I shout, not taking my eyes from the pale face.
Rogers puts his gun away and scratches his head in confusion.
Yeah, man, this whole thing is fucked up. We are not getting Knox anytime soon.
The girl finally backs off and walks to her bike, pulling it up. The wheel is irreparable and I should be glad that she can’t ride it at all, but for some reason I feel bad for her. I’m angry with myself. Furious that I lost control. She starts walking away.
“Hey, where the hell do you think you’re going, Goth girl? I’m not done with you yet,” I yell at her.
She turns to look at me, straightening her lips into a hard line, giving me the evil eye. Winding this stranger up turns me on. This is really screwed up.
“I’m leaving, you inconsiderate arsehole, but I’ll be sending you the fucking bill for my bike. The city has CCTV everywhere, so don’t be surprised if I inform the police about what happened here,” she says, then carries on walking. My temper is boiling.
I catch up with her quickly enough and grab her skinny arm, twisting her around so her face is close to mine. The storm in her eyes lightens to a cool frost. This sudden prickle of contact with her invades my caged world.
“Don’t push me, Pinky, or I will stop being decent. I’m the police.”
“Micah buddy, it’s all right. She’s right. We should get out of here,” Rogers says, reminding me that I’m pushing this whole thing too far.
For a long moment I’m locked in her gaze. She holds me captive, freezing me in place with her icy glare. I don’t know why, but her silver-grey eyes seem familiar, like I’ve met her before, but then I quickly dismiss that thought, because that’s impossible. But I can’t shake the feeling that she is seeing through my loneliness, the fact that I have no one that gives a damn if I’m even alive. The rippling anger fucks up my self-control, reminding me about Stephanie, punching guilt into my gut. All the feelings that I had for her are buried deep inside me, and it’s wrong. I should be grieving. I should be sad.
This girl is no one to me, just some stranger.
I let go of the girl and nearly enough punch Roger in the face for interfering. This whole thing couldn’t get any worse. My case is blown and there is no time to inform the station to block the roads.
Rogers finally backs off and the girl strolls away. It stops pouring. She doesn’t look back, not even once, and I don’t want to show Rogers that there is something wrong with me.
“I should have taken her to the station,” I say when we get into Rogers’s car. I know what he’s doing; he’s trying to cool me off. My muscles are stiff, and my heart pounds loudly in my chest.
Rogers laughs. Fuck, this guy never takes anything seriously. I wish I could be as chilled as him. Maybe it will come with age. Everyone on the force tells me that I’m still young, only twenty-five, but I started out early.
“There will be another time, buddy. You were alone, so maybe it was better that you didn’t go in,” he says.
“Better? I want to kill that chick.”
“She was kind of cute,” Rogers points out.
I laugh, covering my uneasiness. “Cute? She looked like a witch. I’m not into that kind of shit. Besides, if it wasn’t for her, Knox’s team would already be behind bars.”
“Maybe or maybe not. Man, chill. This probably wasn’t meant to be.”
I don’t know what to think, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I cross paths with suicide girl.