There was light. It was only for six weeks; maybe Angers would return earlier – or maybe not. She would leave it a couple of days, and then go and visit him; see if he was recovering properly.
Priority though was to get Hillock onside. They equally wanted results; even if they detested each other, it would be in both their interests. She had to make a stand; make sure DCI Hillock understood he would face a tough time if he tried to intimidate her.
What had Paul said? He’s just a bully.
She glanced up at the MIR wall clock; just gone six. A few others were still there hard at it; Tom, Dick and Mary; but not her, that night.
Sod the work, sod the pile of statements, sod DCI Hillock; the Albion had a greater appeal, so did the prospects of an alcoholic haze. She put her files in a tidy heap, picked up her bag and got up to go.
‘Where are you going, DS Steel?’ The loathsome tone of her new guv.
She turned, tried to be pleasant. ‘Shift’s over, Mr. Hillock.’
He raised his voice. ‘It’s over when I say it’s over. Into my office, now?’
Keep calm. The others are watching.
He led the way to DCI Angers office. She stared. He had changed the layout and cleaned the desktop. His in-tray was bare; the out-tray was brimming with files. The waste basket, usually half-filled with sweet wrappers, was empty.
He sat down behind his desk on a new executive swivel chair. On the wall behind him was a framed photograph of him shaking hands with the Chief Constable. They were both smiling at the camera. He waved her to a chair liberated from an interview room. ‘I’m going to make changes around here. You need to shape up.’
Keep your temper, girl.
She remained standing, with her bag on her shoulder. ‘Is that all?’
‘No it fucking isn’t’.
Don’t do it. Don’t.
She moved over to his desk, put her hands on the top, and stared at him. ‘You swear at me one more time, and I’ll rip off your goolies and slap them on the Chief Constable’s dinner plate ... with my resignation note.’
Oh shit. Now what have I done?
He laughed. ‘I like a bit of spirit. That’s the sort of attitude that gets results.’
She stood there, open-mouthed.
He smirked, and carried on. ‘Now we both understand each other; I don’t pussy-foot around. You produce the goods, I’m off your back.’
I still detest you. Self-righteous prick.
‘That’s not good enough.’
‘His face went red. ‘What?’
‘Bully me again in front of my colleagues, I’ll chop off your dick as well.’
He didn’t laugh that time. ‘DS Steel, is that a threat?’
She turned, and walked to the door; turned back to face him. ‘No Mr. Hillock, it’s a promise.’ She left him open-mouthed this time, and slammed the door behind her.
Slammed the door on my career as well.
She nursed her troubles with a few pints over at the Albion. The bar was quiet at that time; busy times were usually later when officers had finished overtime. A few locals were at the bar by the door; but she was alone at the back by the window. It was snowing outside; large flakes sticking to the glass. Although it was warm inside, she shivered at the prospect of trudging through thick drifts when the Pillock handed out the next day’s assignments.
Perhaps she’d overcooked it; he had offered her a challenge – but deep down, she knew it wasn’t enough. He’d never get off her back.
Well fuck him, she would show she could deliver; find Danny Boy would be a start. Talk to Georgina again. Also, go and talk to Helga; see if she could find out the names of the AIDS victims.
Her musings were interrupted. ‘I thought I’d find you here.’
DI Hemming plonked his pint on the table and pulled up a chair. ‘We need to have a little chat, don’t you think?’
Not really. Not today.
‘If it’s about work, my shift’s over.’
He stared at her, kept his voice low. ‘It’s not about work; it’s about how you shafted me.’
‘Shafted you?’ She stared back; tried to keep calm. ‘You’re out of line, DI Hemming. For your information it was a legitimate line of enquiry.’
‘I see it differently. You grassed me up.’
She got up from the table, with her unfinished glass. She didn’t want another argument. Not that night. ‘Look, whatever your problem is, it’s not my doing.’
That seemed to strike home. He went quiet.
She felt she had to say one more thing. ‘You got off, so you must have had a good enough reason.’
He nodded, deep in thought; left it at that.
So did she.