“You can’t just waste the rest of your short life worrying about some kid you barely knew.” Merlin’s words rang through my ears as I stared down at my newspaper. I knew what my husband said was true, but I couldn’t help the somber thoughts that flooded my brain.
“My name is Harry Hart.” The young man sitting in front of me seemed rather unimpressed with that statement.
“We gonna spend all day here, Bruv?” The young man took a sip of his Guinness. “‘Cause I’m pretty sure you spend 400 hundred quid for shitty small-talk.” I was amused by the boy in front of him. I’d met this type before, all talk and no backbone to save himself if his cheeky comments got him in trouble. He was beautiful though and smart with a quick-wit.
“Can I ask your name, Love?” I took the finishing sip of my Guinness.
“I’ll be whoever you need me to be.” He flashed a smirk and quirked his eyebrow.
“I need you to be yourself.” I stated quite plainly. His smirk disappeared.
“Name’s Eggsy.” I leaned back against the booth we were sitting at and glared at me. The name fit him. I smiled and stood.
“Please walk this way with me, Eggsy.” He stood, took one last gulp of his Guinness and followed me out of the pub. We walked for three or four blocks, him close enough to hear me if I said something, but far enough away to bolt if he needed to. Another three blocks passed before I broke the silence.
“Tell me Eggsy, what made you join this line of work?” The question was dangerous and I knew it, but I needed to get in his head.
“Why you askin’ all these questions?” Eggsy stopped and glared at me again. I sighed.
“I’m offering you help.” Eggsy seemed shocked and very insulted.
“What makes you think I want your fucking help?” He spat out at me. “You think I can’t take care of myself?”
“No. Eggsy I don’t. Not like this. I own a Tailor shop. I could give you a good job that paid more in a month than you make in year. Please, just let me help you.” I found myself almost begging to help the boy.
“Your father was my best friend. I owe him this.” He stopped glaring and bit his lip.
“Do you understand how much trouble I’ll be in if I’m caught talking about leaving. H-he’ll kill me.” Harry nodded and pulled the boy to the side of the pavement.
“Call this number when it’s safe.” I slipped my card into his front pocket. He nodded and stepped back. “Muggsy!” Eggsy turned his head suddenly to the man quickly approaching us.
“The fuck do you think you’re doing. The geezer’s time was up fifteen minutes ago.” The short, pudgy man cast a dirty look in my direction. “And what the fuck did he put in your pocket. Was it a tip are you holding out on me?” Eggsy shook his head and stepped away from the man.
“I’m not, Dean. I swear!” The man took a handful of Eggsy’s shirt and yanked him closer.
“You better not be fucking lying to me, Slut.” Dean gave him a hard slap to the face.
“Don’t touch him.” I growl out. Dean turns to me again.
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do with my whore and if you don’t get the fuck outta here I’ll give you one too.” He held his hand up to my face.
“Harry.” Eggsy looked at me with such sorrow-filled eyes. “Please just go.”
“Yeah. Go on. You’re just causin’ more problems for ‘im.” A voice from the alley called out. I turned to look. “He already knows he’s in trouble for talking about leavin’.” My heart sank, I hadn’t meant for any of this to happen. Eggsy looked at Dean in fear and began to apologize. Dean, outraged, punch Eggsy in eye and let him drop to the ground.
“Harry...Go.” Eggsy breathed out looking up at me from the ground. Against my instinct to help the boy, I turned and walked away. I kept telling myself that all I was going to do was make things worse for him in the long run if I stayed and tried to help. It took three blocks for me to not be able to hear the grunts and cries of pain coming from Eggsy.
Merlin was now sitting next to me with his arm around my shoulders in an effort to comfort me.
“Harry.” He said suddenly. I look up from the paper I wasn’t even reading to the television. There was a picture of Eggsy, one in which he seemed at peace.
"Police investigators still don’t have any suspect as to who killed the 24 year old man, but they do have strong leads. They have identified the victim as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin who was found on the side of the street by officers just a few hours ago. He was badly beaten and raped. Investigators are pleading that if anyone has any information on the young man or the crime that it be reported as soon as possible.”
My entire body was numb. My heart aching for the boy whose father I had been close friends with. “I’m so sorry, Harry. I’m so sorry.” Merlin wrapped his arms around me, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t feel them.