It's his sister's birthday today.
(Lauren is James Beckett's cousin, of course. James Beckett doesn't have any blood siblings; just three step-siblings.)
They've been in Luton for almost a month now, and James has gotten pretty well-established in Keith's cocaine ring. He's still only making deliveries on weekdays -- he figures he might get up to weekend level if he stays mates with Junior Moore -- but it's still the easiest money he's ever made. Well, it's pretty much the only money he's made besides pocket money, but he doesn't get thirty quid for half an hour's bike ride when it comes to pocket money.
He reports everything he learns to his mission controllers, of course. The people in charge, the numbers he calls, the places he goes. And technically, he's not supposed to keep the money he earns. It's supposed to go to a charity -- any charity, he can choose it himself, but still charity.
Lauren's a charity, right? Yeah, that counts.
She comes up for the day and he takes her out, down to the shopping centre with Kerry, and spoils her rotten. Clothes from the Gap, new trainers, and as much ice cream as she can eat. She'll only be ten once, after all.
Apart from all that, things have been pretty boring. School's not actually too bad -- he's got to get in trouble, of course, got to do everything Junior does, and that comes pretty naturally to James. But he can't get expelled -- that would really be a setback -- so he's got to do well enough in classes that the teachers just ignore him. Again, easy: it's typical Year 8 work and he's already two years ahead in most of it.
All right, there have been a few interesting moments. Snogging Nicole, for one (his alleged step-sister for this mission). Kerry had been unhappy about that for some reason. He doesn't see why she cares. Then again, he doesn't see why he cares that she cares. God, this stuff's messy and confusing.
Then there's Kyle, of course. How the hell has he known Kyle for almost a year and not known he's gay? It sort of makes sense, James supposes now -- Kyle's always been very clean and tidy. And he cares about his appearance. That's a gay thing, right? Or something like that. All James knows is that it's bloody weird, but that Kerry will punch him if he says it's weird.
But it's the night of Lauren's birthday that they sneak into the Thunderfoods factory -- owned by Kerry's friend's dad -- to investigate its connections to KMG.
Yeah, okay, that's pretty interesting. It even turns out to be useful.
The next three weeks are really boring, though.