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Episode Two: Week One

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‘Morv, I thought I was gonnae get to actual kick him in the baws.’

‘Two seconds, Summer — Conall, are you nearly ready?’

Conall, deep in conversation with a couple of his lighting guys, gestured five minutes. His scraggly dark hair was pulled into a bun with an elastic band — not a hair elastic, an actual elastic — and the only thing matching about his outfit was that there were moth holes in both his ratty T-shirt and his jeans. Once upon a time, Morvan vaguely hoped that Conall’s husband Raj, who was always impeccably turned out, might prove to be a good influence.

Unfortunately, Raj found Conall’s teenage-boy-meets-silent-film-hobo style adorable.

‘We’re starting in five minutes whether you’re ready or not.’

Conall blew her a kiss, and Morvan reminded herself it would be unprofessional to give him the finger. Conall would laugh, and it wouldn’t make the best impression on the cast and crew who didn’t know her so well. Morvan yawned deeply and massaged her temples, hoping in vain to dislodge the dull headache that was thudding behind her eyes. She’d barely slept a wink the night before, and her eyes felt gritty and sore despite chain-drinking coffee since she dragged herself from bed.

‘It’s just ma pal’s the best fighter in Balornock.’ Summer followed Morvan to the director’s chair. Morvan picked up her script and checked the time. They were back on the riverside former shipyard outside the studio, shooting the scene where Kirsty bursts through time to rescue Frej from the warband intent on sacrificing him. They were scheduled to have started almost an hour earlier, which was still on time by most shoot’s standards, even if frustration pulsated through Morvan.

She was fine. A-okay. She just needed a good night’s sleep.

‘Honest to god, he could kill you like that, ma pal.’ Summer clicked her fingers. ‘He taught me some moves. Can I show you?’

‘Not — right now, Summer.’ Morvan forced a smile to take the bite out of her words. ‘Why don’t you talk to Barry over there — he’s the fight coordinator, it would be really up to him.’

Summer skipped off in Barry’s direction. Silently apologising to Barry, Morvan perched on her director’s chair and opened her script. She’d long ago committed the entire scene and her plans for it to memory, but if it looked like she was concentrating, there was perhaps a small chance people would leave her alone.

The set was a thriving hub of activity. Conall’s team swarmed around trying to fix the lighting issue since one of their power sources had blown a fuse. It was a complex scene with many moving parts and written to take place at dawn, which was tricky lighting to pull off at the best of times. Conall was an old pro, a relaxed perfectionist supremely unbothered by the growing hum of impatience.

A couple of curious kayakers sat floating on the Clyde, unabashedly watching the action.

‘Should I get them to sign NDAs?’ Maz, Ali’s assistant, asked. Their James Dean-esque hair was set off by sparkly dangling earrings, contrasting their film crew uniform of black jeans and black t-shirt.

‘You going to swim out with a contract in hand?’ Morvan asked.

Maz shrugged.‘Swam in worse places than the Clyde,’ they grinned.

‘If they start filming on their phones yell at them,’ Morvan said. ‘Otherwise, I’m sure they’ll get cold enough to paddle on soon enough. There’s not even anything for them to watch right now,’ she added, gesturing to Conall he had four minutes and counting.

Axel lounged on the prop fire, discussing Hammarby IP’s chances in the All-Svenskan football cup with some Viking actors. He wore nought but the tiniest modesty sock matched to his skin tone and blended with makeup to be invisible on camera, and the cluster of PAs around him was more attentive than strictly necessary. He’d given Morvan a massive naked hug when he’d emerged from his trailer an hour or so earlier. She had done her best to focus as the head of makeup yelled at them not to smudge his body paint.

Henrik, playing Ulf, who would be attacked by Kirsty to save Frej, paled as Summer demonstrated a series of lethal-looking kicks. Morvan smothered a smile as she watched Summer earnestly explain her fight suggestions to a horrified-looking Barry. Summer had proven to be a breath of fresh air from the moment she’d stepped on set earlier that week. She’d had everyone in stitches at the table read, finding humour in Ali’s words that baffled even Ali. All’s well that ends well, Morvan thought cynically, watching everyone — herself included — crack on with the job while Poppy lay in a hospital bed.

‘Morvan, I’m just checking these are the pages for today?’ Carrie, the continuity supervisor, wore two pairs of reading glasses propped on her head and had the chewed remains of a pencil tucked behind her ear. She frowned as she frantically flicked through what appeared to be at least three copies of the script.

‘It’s on the schedule —‘

‘Yes, but there was a change last night —‘

‘There have been no changes to this scene since the read-through,’ Morvan said firmly. She wandered over to the craft services table. A PA would get her a cup of tea if she asked, but they never made it quite as she liked it. Carrie followed.

‘What about Ali’s email last night?’

Morvan’s heart sank. ‘We’re shooting the pages from the read-through.’ She turned away, ignoring Carrie’s look of panic. ‘Janey, can I get a cup of tea?’

Janey, permanently furious with fire-engine red hair and thickly-kohled eyebrows, shrugged. She was a fixture on the Glasgow film scene, an ex-school dinner lady who’d started a catering business in her garage during lockdown. She now provided refreshments to just about every set in the city whilst unerringly hating everyone on sight.

‘Quite strong with just a splash of milk, if that’s okay.’

Morvan pulled out her phone as she waited and did a search for Ali’s address in her emails. Not a single one since Ali forwarded the updated schedule signed off by the studio yesterday morning. Nothing about any script changes. The adult thing would be to ask Carrie to clarify, Morvan thought as she accepted a weak, milky tea from Janey. She grabbed two chocolate biscuits, inwardly cringing at the thought of admitting to Carrie she wasn’t on Ali’s priority list.

Well, if she hadn’t been informed of any changes, then they weren’t official. She gestured to Conall that he had one minute and that was it. She was the bloody director. She’d planned the day based on her script, so that was what they would shoot.

‘Okay, that’s us!’ Conall yelled to a round of applause.

Morvan quickly handed her tea to a PA to throw away and grabbed her script, a little flush of thrill dancing her grouchiness away. Summer and Axel fist-bumped good luck to one another as the Vikings took their places around the beleaguered Frej, about to be burned to death by his evil uncle. Henrik closed his eyes and stretched his neck, getting into character. At Morvan’s nod, the 1st AD yelled for everyone to get ready for a take.

Conall got behind his camera and winked at Morvan. ‘Let’s do this,’ he grinned.

It was time to shout action.


The plane banked, and Elise got her first glimpse of Glasgow. It was a kind of grey city, nestled in a murky valley cloaked in low clouds. She had been to Edinburgh for the festival a couple of times and once to a three-day party at some castle in the Highlands when Madonna was married to that English guy, but never Glasgow.

The jet set hadn’t been Elise's scene, but her first ex-husband, director Olivier — French, a decade older than her and too dashing for anyone's good —liked to run with whoever was dominating the tabloids at the time. For three years, Elise traipsed after him around parties on St Tropez yachts, champagne receptions at Soho roof gardens, exclusive gatherings in the meatpacking district and weeklong takeovers of Berlin sex clubs.

She smiled through billionaires droning on about their ambitions to paint watercolours, helped at least one nineteen-year-old "girlfriend" escape out a bathroom window, and did her best to ignore the fact that her supposed soulmate wanted to hang out with literally anybody except for her. Olivier was famous for rocking up with random tourists or bartenders in tow. He loved playing socialite Santa Claus as he regaled them with champagne and caviar and introduced them to rock icons and Oscar winners.

Elise had been one of those waifs and strays adopted by Olivier, except in her case, they somehow made it down the aisle. She'd been dazzled by his lust for life, desperately hoping a bit of it would rub off on her. Olivier seemed so much more interesting than her, with his upbringing in a Parisian slum before coming to New York for film school at nineteen and winning Berlinale at twenty-four. His life seemed so big compared to her humdrum existence.

She'd had her first taste of fame by the time they met, when the no-budget feature in which she played a woman on the run after murdering her abusive husband was a surprise hit at Sundance. Shirley was fielding bigger and bigger offers on her behalf and she’d been invited on Ellen DeGeneres’s new talk show, but she was still waiting for the moment she felt like one of those glittery, confident people on tabloid magazine covers. The term imposter syndrome hadn't been invented yet, but Elise was certain that any second now, somebody would notice she was just little Elise Shearer from Pepperell, Mass, and firmly point her in the direction of home.

Marrying Olivier had felt like the kind of thing a glittery person would do, so Elise tried it. For a year or two, she almost convinced herself that she loved the party scene because she loved Olivier. Weren't they twin souls, she'd wonder, hiding in a large window seat of a medieval German castle as a hedonistic ball raged around her.

On the morning of their third anniversary, Elise woke up with a sense of renewal. It was a fresh year, a year to forget the false start and begin building their marriage properly. She would stop being short-tempered with him when he strolled home at 3am in the company of several actress/waitresses not remotely troubled by his wife's sudden appearance. She would communicate that she needed him to prioritise her in his life — she was deep into Men are from Mars, at the time, and aware it was unfair of her to expect Olivier to psychically divine her expectation he would spend time with her. Even in Hollywood at the turn of the millennium, the word divorce filled her with dread.

Swallowing her disappointment that he wasn't still in bed with her, she grabbed her slinkiest silk robe and padded down to the kitchen. They were living in the Bel Air mansion, a soulless mausoleum Olivier insisted they buy that she hated with the passion of a thousand suns. Elise mentally added find them a real home to her mental to-do list, humming to herself as she fired up the espresso machine Olivier had imported from Milan and never used.

She was savouring her first sip of the rich Brazilian vanilla blend when one of the maids appeared to inform Elise that Olivier had gone on the ski weekend. The ski weekend she had begged him to decline. The ski weekend hosted by that producer.

Elise stared out the plane window as it rollicked through low cloud cover and tried not to shudder at the memory. A few weeks before that fateful anniversary weekend, Elise had been shooting a feature directed by the latest darling to be discovered at Cannes. She hated the script, a pretentious semi-abstract series of scenes pondering the stunningly original notion that women were incomprehensible. But the director was hot stuff at the time, so Shirley talked her into it.

Over drinks at the hotel, the director, a young British aristocrat who'd spent the entire shoot coked out of his head while his assistants actually directed the film, told her the story of how this producer whisked him from the Palme d'Or afterparty directly to Hollywood by private jet. Somewhere over the Atlantic, he'd been startled awake to find a woman bent over his reclined seat, her bare stomach pressed into his face. Disoriented, he'd frozen for a few seconds until he recognised the voice grunting overhead and realised that the producer was fucking the woman. Literally, in his face.

With no idea what to do, he'd feigned sleep. When they landed in LA, he was given an unlimited budget for his next project, which won him two Golden Globes and an Oscar. It turned out that this was the Hollywood powerhouse version of a frat boy haze. Any promising director spotted at the French film festival who objected or interrupted proceedings would be dropped off back in Europe to fade into art-house obscurity.

'He's such a sick fuck,' the director chortled, wiping tears of laughter from his pudgy eyes. 'Bloody mad. Every time I run into any bloke who was picked up in Cannes, there's this little knowing look, face fuck? Yeah, yeah. Face fuck.' He spluttered into his pint and gestured to the bartender for another.

'Does he do it to female directors?' Elise had asked, her face a mask of innocence even as her stomach turned.

Elise refused to attend the ski weekend, and she begged Olivier not to go either. The moment the maid told her he had gone anyway, she knew her marriage was over. As it happened, Olivier met a twenty-one-year-old chalet girl that weekend, and their six-year marriage produced five children.

And that was that, Elise thought ruefully as the plane taxied down the runway. She picked up her favourite mint-green Birkin and posed for a few photos with the cabin crew before disembarking to a waiting buggy that whisked her directly to passport control. When she slipped into the backseat of a limo a few minutes later, her luggage was already waiting.

Elise kept her sunglasses on as the driver smoothly pulled away, knowing he would breathlessly report to anyone who would listen that she was a snobby bitch. But better that than he spotted the tears glistening in her eyes. Nerves fizzed and her stomach churned as the limo wove its way through roadworks on the freeway approaching the city. She shouldn't have come.

Jack had told her not to come. He had snapped that she was being ridiculous and had hung up. She should have listened.

But he needed her. She'd heard the fear in his voice and knew that she had to fix it for him. He would understand when he saw her.

He had to.


‘I’ve been a bit of a dick today,’ Morvan said.

She and Conall strolled towards the office as the crew scurried around, breaking the set for the day with the urgency of folk overdue at the pub. A massive yawn just about swallowed her whole, and Conall chuckled as she waved a vague excuse me. Exhaustion settled over her bones, but she felt great.

‘Have you?’ Conall shrugged. ‘Never noticed. Summer’s a revelation, isn’t she no’? How’s she no’ already massive?’

It turned out they could have just about powered the set from Summer herself. She exploded on the screen, kicking, screeching, and doing deranged monkey impressions to bamboozle the Vikings long enough to rescue Frej. It was exactly the kind of chaotic Glaswegian energy Morvan envisioned when she first read the book, and it had boosted everyone so much that they had not only caught up with the schedule but got ahead of themselves. It’s been a good day, Morvan thought with a grin.

‘Summer mentioned in passing having had a bit of a time of it in life at the casting meeting,’ she said. ‘She didn’t go into details, but she’s only been back auditioning for a few months. We’re lucky to have snapped her up.’

‘No’ half. Axel too — he’s a lovely guy in real life, but there’s something aboot him oan the screen that’s mesmerising. No’ just his abs, either.’

Morvan shook her head with a laugh. Frej was actually referred to as Naked Man in the script at this stage, and Axel had been admirably easygoing about cutting about more or less in the altogether all day. ‘I love to be naked,’ he’d grinned when one of the costume artists tried to give him a dressing gown. ‘I spend all summer naked in the archipelago.’

There hadn’t been a human interested in men on set whose ears didn’t perk up at that.

‘I know what you mean,’ Morvan said now. ‘I told him earlier he’s got a Greta Garbo quality. When Louis B Mayer saw her in real life after spotting her on screen, he didn’t recognise her. She was beautiful, for sure, but something happened to her on camera. Axel’s the same.’

‘Must be something in the water in Sweden,’ Conall opened the office door for Morvan.He grabbed his bag from under his desk while Morvan gathered her million copies of the script.

‘I’ve sponsored a rainforest,’ she said quickly when she spotted him checking out her small mountain of paper. ‘Well, I will.’

Conall laughed. ‘Reckon the planet’s got more to worry about than you and your dinosaur habits.’

‘And I’m vegetarian once a week,’ Morvan added, stuffing the papers into her backpack. She nodded goodnight to the handful of Heads of Department and production office staff milling around and packing up, then noticed that the light in Ali’s office was on.

‘Ali?’ Morvan knocked on the wall beside Ali’s ajar door. ‘We’ve had a great day today. Summer was —‘

Ali gestured to her headset with a brief smile and shut the door in Morvan’s face. Morvan froze, mortification prickling over her as she stood in front of the closed door like a plonker.

‘Now, there’s someone who is a dick.’ Conall paused by the main door with a sympathetic grin.

Morvan made a face. ‘I guess if she’s on a call,’ she muttered. ‘I shouldn’t have disturbed her.’

‘She’s a dick, Morv.’

A flash of Ali and Liam snogging and sniggering like teenagers outside the hospital assaulted Morvan, and it was an effort to keep her smile steady. It wasn’t like she cared. She barely knew the guy, and she certainly didn’t know Ali. She’d been pleased to learn she hadn’t pumped a married bastard after all, but honestly? Hooking up with her on what should have been his wedding night wasn’t a great look either. Bit shallow, to say the least. She’d been right to knock back his offer of a drink. Even months later, it would have been weird.

Ali was welcome to him. They were welcome to each other.

It was none of her business.

‘You okay?’ Pity flickered in Conall’s eyes, and Morvan bristled.

‘I’m grand. It’s just been a long day.’

‘There’s a few of us going to the pub, if you fancy it.’

‘I think a bath and some Real Housewives of somewhere or other is all I’m good for this evening, but —’

Conall shrugged, opened the door, and stepped aside in surprise as Detectives Kevin and Lauren appeared. Kevin’s suit was so crumpled Morvan wondered if it was some crushed-look trend she wasn’t aware of, and Lauren’s cool glare chilled the air as usual. Questioning looks followed them as they headed for Ali’s office. Morvan raised her eyebrows along with the others, but her stomach twisted. The dollars.

Obviously, the police were following up with any Americans. It would be routine. Ali had said she never saw Poppy that morning, but even if she had lied, why would she leave a tip for the cleaners? Morvan vaguely recalled from working in a West End bar at college that American tourists were often surprised dollars weren’t accepted, but surely Ali knew better.

Ali’s expression was wary as she let Kevin and Lauren into her office. An awkward silence fell and looks exchanged as Lauren firmly closed the door behind them.

‘Right, what’s this I hear about the pub?’ Morvan called, her voice unnaturally loud.


‘I’m just going to shove my bag in my car,’ Morvan called as Conall and the others stepped out into the night. ‘Get me a pint in?’

She scuttled across the quiet car park behind the studio, intending to speed off the moment they were out of sight. She never should have said she was coming for a drink, but the urge to break the tension had been too much. In the few minutes it had taken her to round everyone up and out, the detectives had not emerged from Ali’s office.

‘Excuse me?’

Morvan jumped out of her skin as a small woman emerged from the shadows at the edge of the car park. She had a platinum-coloured pixie cut and wore the exact same corduroy dungarees as Morvan did, only hers were over a sheer blouse, while Morvan wore a T-shirt that had seen better days. The car park was otherwise deserted.

‘Can I help you?’ Morvan heard the shrill note of nerves in her voice and cringed. Pull yourself together, Morv. ‘How did you get onto the studio lot?’

‘Oh, me and Gary at the front gate go way back,’ the woman grinned. ‘He’s ex-police.’

‘I know. And you are?’

‘Ex-police, too. My name is Cara Boyle.’

Morvan frowned as the name rang a vague bell. Something in the news once upon a time —? Cara watched her thinking with a slight smile.

‘Yes, I killed my old boss after revealing him to be involved in a ring of serial killers,’ she said, challenge in her eyes as though she dared Morvan to disapprove. ‘If that’s what you were trying to remember.’

‘It was. Thanks.’

‘You’re welcome.’

Morvan unlocked her car, but Cara didn’t move. ‘That doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.’

‘I’ve been reading about this place.’ Cara looked up at the intricate Victorian brickwork looming above them, her hands deep in her pockets. ‘It was a sin these beautiful buildings went to wrack and ruin for so long. It’s great they’re having life breathed back into them. Mental that there’s a movie studio in Govan, but mental in a good way, I think.’

She fell silent again. Nerves danced in Morvan’s stomach as her mind raced. She remembered the stories about Cara Boyle now. She’d been a legendary detective, high up in the police, before she busted the ring of serial killers who had kidnapped her husband, among their other victims. Officially, her old boss’s death had been ruled self-defence, but rumours persisted that Cara killed him in cold blood after discovering what he was. Morvan recalled debating the story with Conall and some other crew members on some short they were working on at the time. The general consensus was that the bastard had got what was coming to him, and Cara deserved a medal rather than her P45.

‘You’ve visited Poppy Knights in the hospital a few times,’ Cara said casually, wrinkling her nose as though she were counting the tiny bricks silhouetted against the purple dusk.

The nerves in Morvan’s stomach fired up as though doused with petrol.‘You haven’t said what you’re doing here,’ she said pointedly. ‘Can I help you?’

‘Would it be okay to ask you a couple of questions?’

‘Questions about what?’

Cara smiled. ‘That’s fair. Look, I’m not here to piss about. I’ll tell you exactly what I’m interested in, and if you could tell me what you know in return, that would be fab. If you don’t, no hard feelings.’

Morvan nodded noncommittally.

‘Since leaving the police, I’ve taken on looking into the odd case on a freelance basis.’

‘Like Nancy Drew?’ The only private detective Morvan could think of.

‘Exactly like Nancy Drew,’ Cara smiled. ‘A young woman came to me recently. Very distressed, feeling as though she was going bonkers. She said that a serial killer attacked her a couple of years ago. She woke up in the duck pond in Queens Park.’

In the pond?’

‘We believe he dumped her in it, thinking she was dead. Possibly the shock of the cold water helped revive her. Apparently, some kind of survival reflex can make the body fight for air when it’s face down in water. A few weeks ago, a customer at the launderette where this woman works asked her on a date. She believes she recognised him as the man who attacked her and left her for dead.’

Morvan’s eyes widened. ‘Sounds as though she should go to the police.’

‘She did. The long and short of it is that she came to me.’

‘Okay.’ Without Morvan noticing, darkness had fallen. She could barely make Cara’s face out in the gloom. The lights in the office had gone off. Ali and the police must have left. ‘What has any of this got to do with Poppy?’

‘Maybe nothing,’ Cara admitted. ‘That’s what I’d like to find out.’

‘But you think it might? You think this man who attacked your friend also attacked Poppy?’

‘And three other women, so far.’

Morvan shuddered. ‘Why are you investigating this and not the police?’

‘The police are investigating too. Kevin and Lauren worked for me once, and they are first-rate detectives. There’s no reason to be concerned about the quality of the police investigation, but —‘ Cara thought for a moment, seeming to choose her words carefully. ‘I’m not knocking the force, I’m proud to have served as long as I did, and I think the system broadly works — but they work within a necessary framework of limitations. That’s as it should be, they must be able to justify lines of investigation in a free society, but sometimes the best tool of the trade is your gut. I’ve got the freedom to work by my gut now.’

‘And your gut tells you a serial killer is operating in Glasgow?’

Cara smiled, her eyes sad. ‘I’m afraid it does.’


A blast of noisy chatter hit Morvan as she shoved the pub door open. She'd only stay a minute, she decided. Shake off the cloying uneasiness that descended over her, then head home for a bath and Beverly Hills. Her head was spinning. A serial killer? She couldn't decide whether that was more or less terrifying than the thought Poppy's attack had anything to do with the show.

The pub was an old man's boozer, the decor aggressively bleak with pockmarked walls and tables as scratched as they were sticky. A handful of ale brand decals were nailed behind the bar, and a lonely dartboard adorned one wall. The dartboard was scarred with deep gouges and a sunken crater in the middle where Morvan was almost certain someone had once nutted it. The barman glared at Morvan as she approached.

'Can I get a Tennent's shandy?'

'We don't serve cocktails, hen.' The barman had a long, deep scar from the corner of his mouth to his ear.

She gave a helpless shrug. 'I'm driving.'

'If you cannae drive wi' one pint in you, you cannae drive,' he grumbled as he started pulling the half pint.

'Swear tae fuck, man, she just belted him.' Summer's voice echoed across the bar as Morvan approached the corner where the Shadow City gang had taken over. She wore the tracksuit she'd worn between takes all day, her screen makeup scraped off, and her hair was in its usual severe ponytail.

'Talking about my gran,' she added to Morvan as Morvan slid in at the end of the booth. Conall put his arm around Morvan's waist and pulled her close while Maz gestured an invitation to the half a dozen open crisp bags on the table. Sandy and Ingrid were deep in conversation at a high table near their booth. They hadn't shot with either of their characters yet, so Morvan was pleased they had been included in the invitation. Axel leaned back against the torn linoleum of the booth opposite Morvan, his arms crossed over his massive chest. He winked in greeting at Morvan, then resumed listening to Summer.

'She pure hated this English guy who stayed round her bit. This was in the sixties, right, and she was already mad for Indy, back when only fringe weirdos even thought about Scotland being its own country.'

'Still fringe weirdos,' a drunk voice yelled, and someone chucked an empty crisp packet in their general direction.

'Everybody thought that was why she hated this guy, and it was like, Jetta, you cannae be like that. Fine, hate Westminster, but no' random English folk. But she just insisted she hated this guy, and that was that.

'One day, she was waiting for a bus on Victoria Road when she saw he'd joined the queue behind her. She turned around and belted him in the face with her handbag. Jist, boom, right on the nose wi' her wee leather bag. He never even spoke to her.'

Morvan chuckled as she took a sip of her shandy, then a chill washed over her as she spotted Ali squished into the back of the booth. Ali looked up and caught Morvan's eye with a brief smile, and Morvan wasn't quite sure how to react. She settled for resting her head on Conall's shoulder.

'Polis shows up, right, and cause she's a wee lady, they say they'll let her go if she just apologises. But she won't. She's like, nope. I whacked him because he's a bad yin, and I make no apology. Then they try and make out like it was self-defence, but it happened in the middle of Victoria Road. Dozens of folk were queuing up to say they'd witnessed the whole thing an' he was jist staunin' there minding his own business. So she got charged, an' my granda bailed her out, and that was that. Until —'

Summer paused, and Sandy gasped dramatically. Summer gave him the finger, her eyes twinkling as she held everyone's attention in the palm of her hand. 'Years an' years later, right, I was in like ten or eleven maybe — do you mind that house of horrors in England? That couple that murdered their kids and buried them under the patio? Well, she recognised him right away. The guy my granny hated was Fred West.'

'You're joking!' There was a collective gasp.

Something cold settled in Morvan's stomach, and she took a long drag of her pint. That was the second time someone had mentioned a serial killer to her that evening. She spotted Ingrid leaning down to whisper something to Axel. He looked uncomfortable, and Ingrid squeezed his arm. Morvan quickly looked away before they caught her staring.

'Aye, he did stay in Glasgow in the sixties. I mind reading about that,' Sandy nodded.

'Your granny belted one of the most depraved monsters in the UK at a bus stop on Victoria Road?'

'How did she know he was bad?'

'Well, she was a pure nightmare for years, crowing that we'd laughed at her, and she was right all along. Then, another good ten year later, she's on her deathbed, right, she took the cancer. My uncle Tommy begged her, her one last time, to tell him how she'd known. She beckoned him close —'

They all unconsciously drew closer to Summer.

'And in the last moments of her life, she finally explained —'Summer paused. 'That she just didn't like him 'cause he was English.'

Everyone burst out laughing. Sandy and Axel applauded, and Summer took a bow.

'Where's Jack?' Morvan asked as the hubbub died down. Ali was chatting to Summer and Maz, looking more animated and normal than Morvan had ever seen her.

'You didn't hear?' Axel grinned across the table. 'Elise Shearer arrived this morning.'

'Do you get him to wear his stethoscope naked and call you matron?' Summer hooted. Ali was blushing, and Morvan firmly ignored the little stab of —

Nothing. Ali's love life was none of her business. 'Sorry, who arrived?' she muttered.

'There was no sign of Jack at breakfast this morning,' Ingrid said with a raised eyebrow.

'Wait, Elise Shearer is in Glasgow?' Morvan's attention was finally dragged from Ali's conversation.

None of her business.

'Nobody's seen Jack since,' Sandy pulled up a stool and joined them. Sandy had only been on set for the table reads so far, but it didn't surprise Morvan that he was already pally with the rest of the cast. 'How's your love life, Lady Morvan?'

'Is it serious, or are you just living out a Greys Anatomy fantasy?' Summer demanded from across the table. 'Are you in lurve?'

'Same as usual,' Morvan laughed louder than necessary, tipping the last of a bag of crisps into her mouth. 'Battery-operated.'

'I still love that story of Kilty Man in the taxi,' Conall grinned, and Morvan nearly choked on the crisps. 'Even if he turned out to be a rat.'

'Who is Kilty Man?' Axel boomed in the loudest voice Morvan had ever heard.

'The reason I've sworn off men,' she said quickly. 'How's Shona and the kids?'

'Some married shite that finger —'

'Aye, okay, Conall.'

'Ach, come on. You love men, really,' Sandy elbowed her.

'Nope,' Morvan said firmly. I'm a straight woman — I love willies. I tolerate men.'

Sandy and Conall cackled, and Morvan warmed to her theme. 'One of the best lines of dialogue ever written is from 1933's Queen Christina starring Greta Garbo. She plays a medieval queen of Sweden. Her Chancellor is pitching suitors to her, this German prince, that Spanish king. She's essentially swiping left on all of them, and the Chancellor —'

'Oxenstierna,' Axel supplied, his Swedish pronunciation of Oxen-wcha-rna tingling through Morvan.

'Yes, him,' she said quickly. 'Anyway, eventually, he says but your majesty, you cannot die an old maid, and she glares at him as only Greta Garbo can, and replies, I have no intention to Chancellor, I shall die a bachelor.'

'Ooft, that's beautiful,' Conall grinned.

'One of the many reasons she was the greatest,' Morvan smiled. 'I love her to a somewhat unhealthy degree.'

Axel blushed a little, and Morvan remembered awkwardly she'd told him earlier that he reminded her of Garbo on screen.

'How is Poppy?' Axel asked, as Sandy and Conall fell into a conversation about Partick Rangers or some such nonsense.

'No change the last I heard. It seems mad when it's been over a week, but they say it's still early days with an injury like that. I might swing by tonight.

'Would it be okay for me to visit sometime?'

'I can't see why not, it's not really up to me.' Morvan had dropped in on Sunday and learned there was still no sign of Poppy's family. She glanced over at Ali, remembering how Ali said Poppy's family arrived. Ali and Summer seemed to have changed the subject; Summer was off telling another story.

'She doesn't know me so well,' Axel continued. 'But we hung out a little bit the week before —'Axel cut himself off, his deep blue eyes filling with sadness. 'It would be nice to see her,' he finished quietly.

'Maybe you could come with me the next time I go. If I introduce you to the nurses looking after her, I'm sure it will be fine. They make a big deal of immediate family only on TV, but from what I've gathered, they’re quite reasonable in real life. I guess any company is better than none.'

Axel nodded and Morvan looked away, suddenly conscious of their eye contact. The bell rang for last orders, and everyone started gathering their stuff. Morvan looked at her watch in surprise — what happened to one quick drink?

Outside, there was a bite in the air despite the calendar insisting it was July. Taxis were hailed, and lifts cadged. Summer led a brave contingent towards the subway station. Morvan hugged Conall and Sandy, who were driving back to the West End together, and waved to Trudy, who she hadn't even noticed at the table. Ali called a general goodnight as she climbed into a sleek black car, and Morvan's heart lurched as she spotted Liam in the driver's seat.

'So, were you still thinking of going to the hospital now?' Axel's voice disturbed her thoughts.

Everyone else had evaporated, and they were alone. He gave her a shy grin, his hands in his jeans pockets as a gust of wind ruffled his hair. Before she knew was she was doing, Morvan stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.

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