"Well you'd be pitying Boss, then," I raised an eyebrow at Maximus's sheepish look, folding my arms. "Being brainy does not entail being an idiot."
"Ooooh," Sam grinned. "You got owned by a girl!"
I turned my look on him, but he just returned it levelly then turned away to get on with his own business.
"Good morning, Maximus," I said politely, holding out my hand.
He shook it. "Morning, Briony. Call me Max."
"No," I smiled pleasantly, to show him I was just teasing him. Though I did enjoy how much it annoyed him.
Boss caught our handshake and nodded, making his way over to us. "Glad to see you're getting along," he said. Then he handed us each a folder, thick with paper which had been thrust in, in a very disorderly fashion. "This is all the evidence we've got so far. All the files about missing money from the banks. Freeze-frames from CCTV footage, etcetera. I'm sure you'll be able to sort it out. I think there's even a file on one or two of the gang members. So most of the work's been done for you. You just have to catch th- Briony, where's your gun?"
I shifted. "In my bag."
"How many times do I have to tell you? If you get attacked, you're going to be completely vulnerable if you do not have your weapon." The fact that I hated using the pistol irritated Boss like hell. He once got really angry and yelled that it was pointless having the brains if I wasn't going to use them to shoot someone when I needed to.
"It's all right, I'll teach her how to use it," Maximus took his first opportunity to mock me.
Dickhead. "Go suck one, Maximus."
"At least he can defend himself instead of keeping his gun in his bag where it's completely freaking useless." Boss was annoyed now. "If you two fail this mission just because you can't get along I'll be thoroughly disappointed in you both. You're professionals."
With that, he walked away to where some forensics were examining evidence.
My heart sank as I realised just how long I would be spending getting lifts from and generally having to spend time with the guy I would happily drown. I drive a mini. A mini which I love, and would not trade for anything. But a mini doesn't look cool when you're a spy on a mission. You have to have a fast, good looking car, like a jaguar or something. Having a cool car would be one of the only things I couldn't fault Maximus for.
"Let's go," he grinned, handing me a pair of sunglasses as he started his engine and sped onto the road. At least, I thought, a mini is inconspicuous.
"What the hell?" I frowned. "We can't just go after the guys yet! We don't even know who they are!"
He rolled his eyes. "We're going to MacDonald's. I don't know about you, but I'm starving."
"God, give me strength," I muttered, opening my folder to a picture of a man who looked about my age, maybe a bit older. I made sure Maximus was looking at the road and carefully folded it and put it in my pocket. Not trying to hide it gave the illusion that whatever I was doing was all right - it didn't seem suspicious.
"Deleting the evidence, huh?" He joked. "You're supposed to be clever."
"Chic, I know," he shook his head, smiling. "Chill out."
I sighed. "Don't call me 'chic'."
He copied my sigh dramatically, countering, "Don't call me Maximus."
Stumped, I'll admit.
I thought for a while. Maximus was all right, in some ways at least. In all the time I'd known him he'd never once asked why I wouldn't shoot anybody. He once even told me not to, when I was shaking with the effort to just get it over with. He took away my pistol and told me to leave the room. He'd told me "It's your last bullet. Don't."
There's a phrase that Boss told us when he was training us with guns. Always shoot an odd number of bullets, that way you never have one left. I'd never really understood how that worked, but it had worked for everyone else thus far.
Maximus could be understanding, it was true. Like the time he asked about my ex, and I refused to say another word to him until he changed the subject. He changed it immediately.
Though, every time I began to think he wasn't so bad after all, he did something stupid and made me hate him again.
In this instance, he almost crashed into a line of traffic turning into a side road.
"I wonder how you got into the SIS," I mused sarcastically.
"I've never even known what it stands for," he said. "'Cause I prefer saying MI6."
I groaned. "Secret Intelligence Service."
"It's 'cause I can keep a secret."
"I must be. You're not bloody intelligent."
He grinned. "And I never will be. I've got you to be clever. I just need to look good in front of the ladies."
I groaned again. This guy annoyed me to the core.