"Excuse me, Miss McAnderson?" I turned round to see one of the trainees, Katie. She tried so hard, bless her.
I tried my absolute best to smile at her. "Yeah?"
"Um, could you help me with this?"
"Yeah, sure. Show me what you've got so far."
She quickly talked me through everything she'd done. Matched up the fingerprints, the evidence, taken into account all the witness statements. This was a past case, it'd already been solved, but we always gave the trainees those because giving them unsolved cases was too risky.
"But I don't get it," she finished. "All the evidence says it was him," she pointed to a picture. "But the guy he was after wasn't murdered, he was killed by accident. And some of the statements say that he wasn't t around at the time of the deaths of the other kids."
"Look at the surnames of those statements," I said. "Relatives, right? They're lying to protect him. And the boy who he was after, simply coincidence."
"So, he can't be prosecuted for the murder of the one he wanted, but he can for all the others?"
"Yep. And if you want the finer details, those witnesses can be done for lying to the police."
"All right then. Thanks, Miss McAnderson!"
"No problem," I smiled as she walked off.
At that point, the door opened and in walked spy-of-the-freaking-year. He looked straight at me and made his way over to where I was standing. I was so glad that I was on a slightly raised platform when he reached me, because it made my face level with his.
"Maximus Wayde I swear if you so much as make one stupid comment I might actually throttle you. In fact, be glad I'm not throttling you now. Do you have no consideraton for how I might feel about anything? RRGH! You have no idea how angry I actually am right now, Maximus. You're just so, so, so annoying! I can't even begin to explain! You're, you're just-"
"Briony, I said I was sorry!" Max shouted at me suddenly, having actually listened to what I'd said. I kept my mouth shut because he looked completely serious and... hurt? Surely not... hurt? And then I felt very guilty. "I said I'm sorry," Max repeated at a normal volume. He sighed. "And I meant it."
"...Oh..." I muttered, all my original intent to just shout at him compltely disappeared.
"You're not the only one with feelings, Briony." This time his voice was really, really quiet.
"Yeah, well, thought you should know. You're more selfish than I am." He shook his head. "One ignorant asshole, and one selfish nerd. We make a bloody fantastic team," he said sarcastically.
At that point, Boss came along and, without saying a word, handed me my gun.
"You didn't load it," I told him.
"That's your responsibility," he said. "You almost put your life at risk today. If you don't want to be able to defend yourself, that's your choice."
"How is sitting outside a bank risking my life?"
"Because, Miss McAnderson, just a minute after you left there was an armed robbery, and you were not there to arrest the culprits, god help you if you had been. Two people were shot, lucky for you all they got was a broken arm and a broken ankle. I have never been so disappointed in you."
I opened my mouth to apologise, but Max talked before I could. "It was my fault she left. I pissed her off again."
"Whether she was annoyed with you or not, she should not have left the scene, Max. Indeed, it could be a good thing, you effectively saved her from a lot of danger."
"Whoever did it was waiting for her to leave, so it wouldn't have mattered if she'd stayed there all day. He new whch car she was in because he recognised her friend. They're convinced I'm on their side now, so I'll get all the information we need."
Boss nodded. "Good."
"Did you get the robbery on CCTV?" I asked, almost to myself because I wasn't really paying attention to the conversation.
Apparently Boss heard me anyway. "Yes, but he was masked. Well, there's no point in going back now, we have the rest of the team down there getting evidence. Go and get some sleep."
Max got up.
"Briony," Boss said. "Why were you even angry with him anyway? What had he done?"
"Nothing," I realised as I said it. "He didn't do anything."
"So why were you so pissed off?"
"A better question," Max put in, "Would be why she forgave me before she got here." And then he walked out, throwing a "See ya," over his shoulder as he walked out.
Boss pointed at my gun. "Load it," and then he left too.
That was a question that had been on my mind ever since I'd dropped Harriet off at her flat. I'd thought so hard that I almsot smashed into several cars and almost drove straight past headquarters. But all that thinking paid off, because the question had been why I had forgiven him so quickly. And I think I knew.