FOUR - Evening Plans

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It was nearly eight as they weaved their way to the tube station in East London's trendy Dalston area. Angelina tried small talk about the case, but Hobson was preoccupied with reaching the underground as fast as possible. Probably worried about catching Hipster if he breathed too much of their air.

She imagined Hobson, the middle-aged dull-suited giant, in skinny jeans and huge glasses, and stifled a giggle. Not that she needed to hide it; he was striding too far ahead to notice.

She staggered over a tiny bicycle chained to a lamppost, hooking her foot through the spokes and stumbling forward. As she tottered like a giraffe, the bike itself scraped and rattled around the pavement. She yelled out, not using any real obscenities, but Hobson still looked round.

"Choi. Watch where you're going, you might damage that child's bike."

"It's not..." Despite the soreness in her arches, she laughed again. "It's not a child's bike, it's a BMX."

"Ah, I see," Hobson said. "I punched a cyclist once, he came clear off and hit the ground, but the bike kept going and took out the other guy I was chasing."

Angelina kept smiling despite her pain. "That sounds amazing."

"It was a better time, Choi. That shitty bike would never knock over a grown man."

In the end, Hobson dropped his pace and walked alongside Angelina. Nearby men in cardigans stopped laughing at her, probably out of fear Hobson would knock them off their bikes too.

"So, Choi," he said, "good news: Social Awesome are going to pay us to keep investigating this case."

"Wow. That was what the Lyne guy wanted to talk about?"

"Yeah."

She rolled the idea around her mind, as they approached the tube.

"Wow," she murmured again. "Not sure how I feel about that."

"Sadly, that was more or less my reaction."

They stopped outside the underground and stood awkwardly, as if on an age-inappropriate first date.

"So, get on the train and go home." He pointed into the station. "The bullshit continues at nine o'clock sharp tomorrow."

"Okay then." Angelina swung most of the way round on her ankle, before looking back at him. "Aren't you getting the tube back to South London too?"

"If only."

"You're going to break into that other house where the dog came from, aren't you?"

"Yes."

"Can I come?"

"Definitely not."

Angelina almost protested, but reined herself in. Other, shitter teenagers might have complained, but she was sensible enough to pick her battles.

So she nodded at him and entered the station to zip back south. It wasn't all bad news: with her flappy purple outfit and without the bloke cosplaying a gravedigger, she fitted right in on the escalator down to this particular tube stop.

*****

Markham Road at night, only a few hours since Hobson was last here, felt quiet. The paparazzi were missing, evidently this double murder wasn't juicy enough. After all, the victims were a single guy in a studenty house share and some loser next door who kept himself to himself.

No, to get the presses printing, they'd need a dead kid, or at least a mutilated pretty woman. All that police tape around the two doorsteps was dropping off and sliding away.

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