C A I N
"I don't give a shit if the guy says he had an alibi," Harry says, his eyes searching out the speaker that had challenged him. "You verify that alibi there and then. You do not, and I repeat, do not, accept his word. Am I clear?"
This was getting to him. He looked exhausted, dark circles surrounding his eyes. Sex trafficking was real and deadly in this town, with too many shady areas to hide in. Girls as young as sixteen were being sold- both underground and in the streets.
The difference was, when my shift finished, my brain shut off. With Harry, he could still see those frightened eyes, the trembling hand that took yours as you led them to safety. The worst bit was when they didn't speak a word of English, and they didn't know whether to trust you or not.
I get it. The world is a dark place- we just try to shine our lights into the corners sometimes, hoping to scare the monsters away. It was enough to make me not want to care for anyone- because in this job, it was easy to make enemies, and for someone like me, it was even easier.
"These girls don't know who you are. To them, you could be their next customer. I want addresses, names, and fucking details. I need to nail this bastard," Harry continued, as his gaze settled on me.
I nodded silently, knowing that he trusted me to finish off the little team talk.
"So, basically, do your fucking job, so we can all go home early," I shrug, as a nervous titter rang out. "Be near the port. I've a feeling these girls are being brought in by sea."
Harry nods, clapping his hands to indicate that the meeting was over. I remain seated until the room is empty, and it's only then that Harry shows his true emotion. Lines appear on his face, his eyes half closing as he grimaces.
"I've no idea who this cunt is," he confesses, sinking back into his chair. "But he is killing me. Plus, the girls are getting younger. Some of them can talk, but they won't. Why are they so afraid of him?"
"Their families? He could be blackmailing them, holding them to ransom," I wonder aloud, flinching when Harry slams his hand down on the desk.
"Remind me why we do this job again?"
"Because we want to get the bad guys?"
"And when we don't?" Harry looks glum, his shoulders drooping. "We're the bad guys then."
"Look, we do what we can do. Bad, good, whatever. As long as your intentions are in line with your morals man, it's all good."
"I know. Let's head out for lunch, see what the team throws up this afternoon."
Minutes later we are in the elevator, and my stomach is already preparing itself for a whole host of delights. Lunch with Harry usually meant Sal's, a little salad bar that did everything you could imagine and more. I already knew I'd be ordering the blue cheeseburger salad with extra hot salsa, with a bottle of iced water on the side. It was the best they did.
"Sal's?" Harry asks, knowing my answer. Ever since we were rookies we went on lunch together, and it was always Sal's. "Think she will give us any discount today?"
I laugh then, my eyes meeting those of a beautiful looking brunette who was heading towards the elevator we had just vacated. She smiles politely at first, but then I give a little smile, and her cheeks deepen in colour.
"Stop it," Harry sighed, staring at the busy road ahead of us. "Being that dick. You need to settle down."
"Yeah, you snapped up the best there was in the whole damn town," I retorted, enjoying the way he glared at me. Mention his wife, and he changed. Serves him right; don't chat shit to me.
I'd had a relationship once, way back in school. It didn't work out for me, I couldn't bear being asked for my location, my plans, my fucking blood type every second of the day. Plus, I wasn't the sort of guy that even knew when I would be home, let alone when I could commit to things like dates.
I shudder a little, and Harry notices.
"What's up? Did you see a church?" he quips, grinning.
"Huh," I exhale, my stomach cheering when Sal's came into view. We wasted no time at all in heading to our favourite spot- the booth right at the back near the emergency exit. It had the best view- you could see every table from here, and that's what I liked. Being able to scope the place out just in case someone on my radar popped up. Harry orders whilst I check my phone. I half expect to see a message from Maxie, but there's nothing. It was refreshing to fuck a woman and not have her bitching at me for the next session.
"Hot sauce and your water," Harry declares a short while later, pushing the food in front of me. We barely speak as we fill our faces, each caught up in our own thoughts. Sal's wasn't too busy today, and I was grateful. I hated listening to other conversations about mindless bollocks.
I lick my fingers, rolling my eyes as I lean back in my seat. The soft cushioned leather behind me is stupidly comfortable, and for a minute I almost relax. Harry is watching me with interest, and I know he wants the details.
"We fucked, the end."
"I know that, dickhead," Harry laughs, unscrewing the lid from his orange juice. "Do you like her?"
I stare at him blankly, waiting for the punchline. When I don't get one, I sigh.
"It was good. She was eager, and I was willing. What else do you want me to say?"
Harry shakes his head then, rubbing his chin out of habit.
"Eager? That girl is popular with guys, mate. You don't need to help her out, if that's what you mean."
"Yeah? That's not the impression I got," I retorted, watching a tall man walk in, the rolex on his wrist commanding my attention. His black hair was slicked back, and he had a scar running down his left cheek.
"Charlotte said she is picky. Apparently she has mentioned you to her before and she point blank refused to entertain the idea."
Harry looks incredibly pleased with himself all of a sudden, and I narrow my eyes at him.
"Because look at the women I'm with usually," I point out. "Not being a dick, but usually these women are dumb as fuck but so attractive it makes you weep when you cum."
"And you think that Max is…?" Harry lifts an eyebrow, shaking his head again. "Mate, you saw her in that little outfit. Jeez, you spent the night ball deep in her-"
"Christ, and you say I'm vulgar," I snort, taking a few gulps from my water. "She's a good looking girl. But me and her have fuck all in common. Wait, she isn't chasing me, is she?"
I fucking hope not. The last thing I needed was awkwardness with Charlotte's bestie. Me and Harry were tight, and I didn't need no nasty one nighter causing havoc.
"No, is she fuck," Harry snaps defensively. "That girl is beautiful, funny and witty. I think you're mental for not wanting to see her again."
"I think if you like her so much, why don't you fuck her?" I shoot back, as he chuckles.
"Because I'm happy, Harvey. Happy. With one woman. God, I hope you grow the fuck up one day. Let's go."
"You're a cheeky bastard, you know that?" I mutter, following him as he walks towards the exit. Within minutes we are back out on the busy street, and the conversation is forgotten as we talk shop.
Why does everyone insist on telling me to grow the fuck up? I have everything I thought an adult needed to be successful- I own my own house, I've got a good job and I'm comfortable with money.
But I'm single and loving it. So society can fuck itself.