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The Outsiders

Lensmoor Gothic - III


“You asked.”



“Stop being so reasonable. It’s bugging me out. If you were to- shit!” He dropped the smouldering roach to the table. “Burnt my fingers.”



“Now, see, if I were being too reasonable, I would’ve warned you.”



“Kicks to the bollocks. Now that’s more like you.”



“You would know, danger boy.”



“Not to cut in,” Isaac said. “But could one of you two share some information with the rest of us?”



“Seconded,” Linus said. “You can compare penis sizes later.”



Sandra slipped an arm around his shoulders and leaned in close. “My penis is the biggest, right?”



“San, your penis is bigger than this room.”



“Good boy.” She kissed him on the cheek, then straightened up. “The Professor is a magician living here in Knightsbridge. He has some kind of connection to the Society, but I’ve never had a chance to ask about it. He’s got his own little cottage industry going on. Information, favors, messengers, and so on.”



“Sounds like the Mafia,” Isaac said.



“Ennh.” Sandra tilted her hand up and down. “Kind of. More innocent than that. I think.”



“I’ve never heard of him,” Linus said. “So he doesn’t hire any killers.”



“Or,” Liam said. “He hires really good killers.”



They were silent for a moment.



“Also,” Liam said. “He’s a right arsehole. A stuck-up, poncing, sick prick bastard. Like some bizarre evil twin of that bloke from Jeeves and Wooster.”



“Which one?” Linus said. “Jeeves or Wooster?”



“Which one is which?”



Linus shrugged. “Hell if I know.”



“Are you going to go see him?” Isaac said.



Liam shrugged. “I don’t know. I can’t really just waltz up to the door of the Silver Spoon In The Arse building or wherever it is and demand to see him, can I?”



“I’ll go with you,” Sandra said. “He’ll let me in.”



Liam stared at her. “You’re never this helpful.”



“I like watching you squirm.”



"Ha." Liam crossed his arms. "Aright. Say he does. Say he takes us up on this. You want in?"



"Maybe. Are you going to pitch this as a job?"



"I might do. Our mystery bloke represents a public nuisance, I'd think, and he can afford to splash out."



"So he might be hiring killers after all," Isaac said.



Liam shrugged.



Isaac sipped at his pint. "I'd like to go back to Lensmoor- if we can- and talk to Bishop."



"He's not our boss, Isaac. We don't need his permission."



"I didn't say he was. I said I wanted to talk to him." He paused. "And I want to call home. I don't even know how long I've been away."



"Right, right." Liam lit one of his own cigarettes. "Well, I've led you along this far. I'll take you back." He looked at Sandra. "When should we present ourselves before His Gitliness? Now?"



"In the middle of the day? I don't think that would work."



"Eh? Why? Will he be in his coffin? Will he turn to ash in the sun?"



"It's an aesthetics thing. Asshole." Sandra fingered her empty glass. "Business like this. It just wouldn't be appropriate at three in the afternoon."



"We wouldn't want that," Liam said. "Larks, no. Shall I check the cut of my coat as well?" His voice took on a plummy, over-the-top accent. "Perhaps my cravat might not match my dickey, and what a faux pas that should be, eh wot? Well, then, tootle-pip, wot-wot, I'm off to play the grand pian-"



"Jesus, shut up," Sandra said. "Do you ever listen to yourself?"



"Where would I be if I did that?"



"In the land of Not An Asshole. And keep your dickey to yourself."



"That's not what you used to say."



Linus got up from the table. "If we're not going to see the Professor until tonight," he said. "I'm getting another pint." He headed for the door.



"So we're going to show up at Angus MacArsehole's door smelling of booze?" Liam said. "Brilliant. This plan just gets better and better. Oi! Linus! Fetch us one as well.”



“Hey,” Isaac said. “You have to drive me back to Lensmoor, man.”



“You don’t think a few more pints would improve my driving?”



Isaac raised an eyebrow. “I guess it’s hard to imagine it getting any worse, but still-”



“No worries,” Liam said. “We can walk from here. All right?”



“I guess.”



“I want to talk to you before you go," Sandra said.



Liam looked over at her. “What? As in, now?”



“Right.”



“Er. Right.” Liam got up. “Lead the way, love.”



He followed her through a narrow doorway on the far side of the room. It led down a hall, past a dusty storeroom, and out into an alley behind the pub. He closed the door behind them.



"All right," he said.



"All right."



"I keep expecting a slap to the face," Liam said.



She crossed her arms. "I'm not really a slapping kind of woman, Liam."



"A kick to the bollocks, then."



"If I wanted to hurt you, you'd know about it."



"I suppose I would do."



They looked at each other for a long moment.



"So tell me about it," Sandra said.



"I don't know what to tell, love."



"You just walked out. Just left. No note, no 'oh by the way, see you never', just-"



"It would've been worse if-"



"How could it be worse, Liam? You know what that said to me, when you did that? It said 'I don't give enough of a damn to even say goodbye'. That was just how important I felt."



"You know that's bollocks..."



"What I feel and what I know are two different things. It was a shitty thing to do, Liam."



"...I know."



"So why-"



"I had to get out. I had to go. I couldn't breathe anymore." He looked at her, eyes hidden behind black lenses. "We weren't doing anything, Sandra. When people were trying to kill us, it was brilliant. When we were desperate and running and getting drunk on cheap wine, it was roses. It was better than anything. But there wasn't any of that anymore. We had a flat, for fuck's sake. They knew me at the sodding sandwich shop! It was modern fucking life, and it was killing me."



"And you couldn't have told me about this?"



"I tried to. You were...distant."



"This isn't my goddamn fault, Liam!"



"I didn't say it was. I left. I walked out. That's my bloody problem, but you look at me and tell me that fucking illusion of life wasn't killing you, too."



She sighed. Leaned back against the wall. "I don't know. Maybe." She frowned. "God damn it. We did so well when there were people around, and things going on...and then, when it was just us together..."



"Fzt."



"Yeah."



"And now look at us. Having adventures again."



She stared at him, her face blank. Gradually, her eyebrows drew together, and the edges of her mouth curled up, just a little bit. "You're an idiot," she said. "I mean it. You're the biggest idiot I've ever met. You're like an all-day Idiot-flavored lollipop, I mean-" She broke off, grinning. "I mean, you're dumb."



"I caught that."



"You really are. You need help, Liam."



"Maybe. Want a hug?"



"Sure. Moron." She hugged him, resting her chin on his shoulder. "I've got no taste at all."



"Speaking of which, how's Creepy Assassin Boy working out for you?"



"Fuck off."



"Fair enough."



She let him go and stepped back. "I want in on this magician thing."



"All right."



"So you and your sidekick better get back in time."



"We should do."



"Good." She opened the door they had come out of. "Liam?"



"Yes?"



"If you ever do anything like this again, I'll cut your fucking bollocks off, and mail them back to you. I'm not kidding." She went inside.



He looked after her, his expression unreadable. "Right you are, love."

------
"Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting!" -Sufi proverb.


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The following comments are for "The Outsiders - 8"
by Beckett Grey





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