Lizzy Reading sat in St George hospital. The bed next to her chair was occupied by a man in his thirties. He was plugged in and was checked up on regularly. Lizzy held his right hand in hers, unsure what to do. The man watched her, taking in her appearance.
‘I’m sorry. I should have done more to keep you safe.’ The man’s voice was hoarse.
‘It’s not your fault, Neil. Our family was crooked and we got caught in the middle. We’re both still here.’ Lizzy looked him in the eye.
‘You’ve really grown up, haven’t you?’
‘Well I was seventeen when you died.’
‘I shouldn’t have put you through that. I should have taken you with me, kept you safe.’
‘And let Dad rule Locksford with his drugs? No thanks. The family needed to be stopped.’
‘Almost forgot how stubborn you are.’
‘Learned from the best, didn’t I bro?’
‘Yeah, I asked for that. So you were in the flat on your own?’
‘Mum persisted in checking in on me once a week. Also had money put into my account from her. I asked her about it and she said it was from her feeling guilty how we left things when you took me in. She wrote a letter explaining everything. She told me the money was from you.’
‘Couldn’t leave my baby sis to fend for herself just yet, could I?’
‘You could have tried.’
‘How long had you been at Locksford before your attempted murder?’
‘Just over a week?’
Neil and Lizzy laughed.
‘We don’t do peaceful and easy, do we?’
‘I know you won’t like me for this, but I want to call in, let them know I’m alive. I’ll get them to transfer me to Locksford to keep an eye on you. I’ll hand in my findings to add to the court case against the family.’
‘Won’t it be difficult as you’re my brother?’
‘I’ll talk to them and make sure I’m not in your line manager situation. Then it should be alright.’
‘You gonna call Tash?’
‘Tash Price? Your ex who is getting with another bloke?’
‘How do you know that?’
‘Tash is at Locksford, a DC.’
‘A DC, sounds like Tash. Must have given her a shock, you turning up at Locksford.’
‘I try my best.’
‘Did Becker try and grill you?’
‘At first, but he figured out I had no idea what was going on with my family. He talked to me and we figured out I joined the force to be like you, almost like I wanted to find out the truth about your supposed death.’
‘Our family is messed up.’
‘And I don’t think it’s done with us yet. If you join Locksford, watch out because if they don’t know you or your background, they’ll think you could have been in league with Dad.’
‘Then we’ll show them what a true Reading in the force is like.’
Neil grinned at Lizzy, both of them laughing at what was to come.