89. Tired Of Midnight Blue

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I don't know where I had been
But I know what I have seen
Made me chill right to the bone
Made me wish that I'd stayed home along with you

I slam the car door with such force that the window rattles.

George lowers the newspaper he's been half reading and half hiding behind, and blinks in surprise. It took me fifteen minutes to find the white Austin Maxi. My white Austin Maxi, supposedly, but I haven't actually tried driving it yet. I couldn't find him, and every minute I searched up and down the streets, I could feel despair and anxiety rising inside me, like a pot about to boil over.

'That was quick,' George says, amiably. 'Have you... finished?'

'I couldn't find you,' I snap. 'You were meant to be the other side of the railway. I could have been walking around for hours.'

'Sorry,' George says, evenly and folds his newspaper. 'The view here is nicer, and it's off the street. I thought you'd see me when you came out the building.

Half an hour ago, George dropped me off at the front of the Tintagel House, the police headquarters beside the river in Albert Embankment. He was supposed to park down one of the residential roads nearby to wait for me. Instead, he's parked in narrow alleyway, only a car length wide, between two office buildings. The view is nicer. It faces the Thames. Ships and ferries glide past every so often.

'What did he say?' George asks, shoving the paper in the pocket in the door and shifting around in his seat.

'They would let me see him. Said he was busy.' I can barely speak. The words stick in my throat.

'Oh. Can you go back later?'

I shake my head. 'They're not interested. They don't want to know. They don't... They just don't care.' The last word turns into a wail. I cover my nose and mouth with my hands.

'Oh, Han,' George coos, sympathetically. He leans over to me and puts his hand on my arm. 'Love, what happened? What did they say?'

'Joey died, George. He was murdered, and no one even...' I'm sobbing now, unable to hold back the tears I've been fighting since I was inside the police station. My breathing is ragged, coming in short, sharp gasps, as if I'm panicking.

George takes my hand and pulls me into him. I rest my head against his chest, gratefully. Relief. Safety. He puts his arms around me; an awkward sideways embrace, hampered by the gearstick and handbrake in between us.

'It's alright,' George soothes.

'It's not,' I sob, my tears and slobber leaving dark, wet marks on the chambray fabric of his shirt. 'It's really not alright, George. All his life, all Joey's life, everyone treated him like... shit, like he was nothing. He was in children's homes, and then he was living on the streets and then with the Krays and now he's dead, and they... They won't even listen. They don't want to.'

He pulls back to look at me, frowning. 'How... What do you mean they don't want to?'

'He lived and he died, and no one cared, George. No one. How can someone not matter? Are there people that just don't matter?'

'No, Han, everyone matters.'

'Even his own mother didn't love him. He was taken into care and put in foster homes, splitting him up from his brothers. That's what Joey told me. He won't have been reported missing, because there isn't anyone to miss him.'

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