There was a grand turnout for Mickey Cross’s funeral, as befitting one of London’s most notorious gang leaders. Finn Brady gazed around the packed-out church, taking in friends, enemies, even the odd copper here and there. St Mary’s could barely contain them, the ancient building overflowing with people here to pay their respects to the man who’d ruled them with an iron fist for forty fucking years. Icy November winds blew handfuls of snow into through the open church doorway as yet more people tried to squeeze in. Some snapped pictures discreetly – journalists covering the funeral of Mad Mickey, no doubt. Most simply sat or stood with their heads bowed, creating a respectful hush broken only by the rushing of the wind up through the vaulted ceiling.
Finn always liked churches. Something to do with his Catholic upbringing, no doubt. St Mary’s was nothing special. The statue of Jesus at the altar was cracked and dusty, and there was a faint smell of damp wood in the air, but it had the same sense of serenity all churches seemed to have. Mickey had not been a serene man. Finn thought he’d probably hate the respectful silence and the pale pink lilies sprayed across his coffin. He’d love the crowd, mind. And he’d surely love the riotous wake Finn intended to lead down the pub after the service. But all this shit? The prayers and the eulogies? He’d laugh at it all. He was always laughing, Mickey. He’d laugh as he passed you a whiskey and he’d laugh just the same as he broke your fingers.
Finn rubbed his fingers thoughtfully as he took his seat near the front of the church. They always ached in the cold weather. Mickey had bent them back with such viciousness that day, ten years ago, that he was always mildly surprised they still worked.
He sat next to Mickey’s widow, Andrea. She gave him a wan smile, her mascara already smeared around her big blue eyes from weeping hysterically outside the church. “I don’t give a shit and neither would Mickey,” she’d snapped at one of the boys who dared to mention it.
She gave him a motherly pat on the knee. “Look at all this,” she whispered, waving her hand round the church. “He’d be so pleased. Is that Hopper at the back there?”
Finn craned his neck to look and saw the police sergeant crammed in next to a couple of teenage boys near the door. “Aye, that’s him. And there’s –“ He cut himself off as the church door opened again and a young woman hurried in, kicking it shut behind her. The sight of her drove every damn thought from his head.
She was beautiful, dark hair falling in artfully tousled waves around her delicate jawline. That wasn’t what caught his attention. She wore a black bomber jacket, battered and cracked with age, over a black dress that screamed designer. That wasn’t it either. She strode down the aisle with her head held high, clearly giving no shits about the stares and whispers she was attracting. That wasn’t it either. Admittedly, all those things put together – good looks, good taste, bad attitude – would have turned his head under other circumstances. But what really got him right now, here at Mad Mickey Cross’s funeral, was how fucking much the girl looked like the dead man.