Lamplights overhead came to life, casting the street in an orange glow as Eggsy walked down it, worn down sneakers slipping over the slicked stone walkways. A car drove by, headlights illuminating the walls of the buildings in front of him. Some were dilapidated and crumbling, while others stood newly painted, with windows darkened, it being well after normal hours of operation. The car rolled past him, tire digging into the gutter, splashing his shoes and calfs with dirty runoff from the street. Eggsy grimaced, shaking some of the water off, but he couldn’t get rid of the chill settling into his bones. Winter had set in over london, and everything was wet and cold as usual, the cold never leaving those who dared to set foot out of their warm homes. This time of night, it was especially bad, and despite the hoodie he wore over his jumper, the night’s frigid temperature seeped into his lungs with every breath he took.
He shoved his hands in the front pockets and tried to forget the scene he had left behind at home: Dean threatening to punch his lights out once again, his mother too scared to say a thing, Daisy, crying and red faced. He had left in a hurry, his reaction to their little ‘announcement’ proving too difficult for him to stomach. His mum, he knew, would say he had overreacted, but the pressure of the headache he felt building at his temples at the time had told him it was a perfectly rational and okay thing to punch Dean in the face when the words “We’re getting married,” had poured out of his stupid, crooked-looking mouth. He had managed to push Dean off and run out before he had caused any more damage, to either himself or, more importantly, to Daisy or his mum. As he walked now, he could still feel his ribs aching from Dean’s heavy-handed blows.
Eggsy crossed the street and rounded the corner, not keeping track of where his feet led him. He checked the watch on his wrist. 11:30pm. Two more hours and Dean would be sound asleep, and Eggsy could sneak in the window and curl up in the warmth of his bed. He just needed to find something to distract himself until then, something to take his mind of the disaster of his life and the heat of the bruises currently rising on his torso. It was unlikely he’s find something like that around here, considering the lateness of the hour and that it was a commercial area. But the world seemed to love proving him wrong, because when he looked up from his watch he saw a bright light ahead to the right: a shop with its lights still bright and inviting, casting the shadow of window-panes on the cobblestone walk. As he approached, golden lettering on the front window greeted him, along with the most posh-looking suits he’d seen in his entire life, their rich fabrics screaming expensive and do not touch with your grubby hands, dirty mortal. Eggsy smirked. A perfect distraction.
He approached the door, pushing at it, still slightly surprised that it was open. The door gave effortlessly though, and he stepped inside, greeted with the ticking of a grandfather clock that he spotted behind the main desk, and the warmth of a fire-heated room lit by a chandelier and lamps placed on mahogany side tables. Everything looked polished and well kept, with materials laid out on long tables in the centre of the room, placed over an intricate-looking carpet. Eggsy whistled low, reaching out and touching a few of the materials as he walked in, spotting the neckties laid out on another table to his left.
“I’d appreciate if you didn’t drip on my carpet, young man.”
Eggsy looked up, startling at the sudden voice. An older man had appeared from practically nowhere, looking at him with an uneasy frown, his brow knit in with dark eyes hidden behind square, black framed glasses. The suit he was wearing, a light grey with a faint pinstripe, matched the quality of the ones in the front window. Eggsy guessed he must be the owner.
“Sorry, guv.” Eggsy exaggeratedly wiped his feet on the carpet, feeling a grin tug at his lips when Mr. Posh huffed. Eggsy walked further into the shop, letting his fingers drag along the table to his left. “Kinda late to be open, innit?”
The man came to stand beside him. Eggsy couldn’t help but notice that his eyes never wavered from Eggsy. He felt a flash of anger. Uptight, posh git, probably thought Eggsy was some kind of hoodlum, coming into his shop meaning to lift something or rob him blind .
Eggsy stopped himself from smirking. Well, that hadn’t been exactly the plan when he walked in, but he was just pissed off enough to do it now. Might as well live up to this arsehole’s expectations right?
“We are closing shortly, actually. But one never knows when a gentleman may be in need of some good tailoring.”
Eggsy snorted. “I wouldn’t know about that.” He gestured down at himself, which drew the man’s eyes down to his white shoes (fucking stained now, stupid cabbie) and wet jeans which were starting to cling a little. Eggsy didn’t miss the way the man’s eyes lingered on his thighs, although whether it was in judgement for the quality of his jeans or appreciation of their shape Eggsy couldn’t tell.
Didn’t matter much anyway. The man’s momentary distraction was enough for Eggsy to slip one of the sinfully smooth ties from the table into his pocket. By the time the man met his eyes again, the tie was safe in Eggsy’s left pocket.
Eggsy slipped past the man, further into the shop, stuffing his hands into his pockets to hide any tell-tale bulge caused by tie. He poked around for a few more minutes, enjoying the way the other man stiffened whenever he approached something that had to be expensive, probably costing more money than Eggsy would ever see in his life. Finally, the other man cleared his throat.
“I’m afraid we’re closing,” he said again. Eggsy turned. Mr. Posh hadn’t moved from the table with the ties, his eyes boring into Eggsy. To be honest, it was a little disturbing. Maybe he should be Mr. Creepy, not Mr. Posh.
“Alright. Sorry to be a bother, just thought I’d take a look ‘round.” Eggsy started sauntering towards the entrance. Maybe he’d grab some chips on the way home, kill some more time. And figure out what the fuck he was gonna do with this tie.
As he walked past, the man’s arm snapped out and grabbed Eggsy by the elbow. “Before you left, I was wondering if I’d be able to have your name. Just so that I may give it to the police when I inform them you’ve stolen from me, you understand.”
Eggsy swallowed, debating how quickly he could dash out the door. Giving the man a quick appraisal, he decided against it. The way his grip closed iron-tight on Eggsy’s elbow and his entire body seemed coiled, ready to strike, gave Eggsy the impression he wasn’t one to run from. Instead, he shook off his hand, putting his own back in his pockets.
“Come offit, ‘guv. You wanna close up, I wanna go get some chips. Lets call it a night, yeah?” Eggsy said, turning on the charm his mother scolded him over when he nicked bills from Dean’s pockets. Still in close proximity, he reached out and smoothed the man’s already immaculate tie, giving him a crooked grin and a raised eyebrow. The man’s face twisted up in an expression of combined annoyance and horror at his casual touch. “I ain’t got nuthin. You can pat me down if ya like, though.” He said with a wink, infusing his words with as much innuendo as he could. The man blinked, then recoiled, taking a step back and smoothing his jacket down. Eggsy’s fingers left the man’s chest, but his smirk stayed plastered on his lips.
“You can return the tie, or you can be arrested. It’s as simple as that, and I’d hope you have the brains to make the right decision.” The man said, narrowing his dark eyes at him. Eggsy rolled his eyes, but reached into the pocket of his jeans, approaching him as he pulled the striped silk out. He gave it a few spins, looking the man up and down again. He was alright looking, he noted, taller than him for sure, and as he approached, he could see that his hair had only a few streaks of grey, most of it brown and combed neatly from his squared, handsome features.
“Here ya are, safe n’ sound, yeah? Ya gotta calm down man, or you’ll give yourself a heart attack.” Eggsy said, reaching out again and unbuttoning the man's jacket. Eggsy noted him tense up, but he kept eyes locked with him, leaning in as he stuffed the tie in his inner jacket pocket. He felt the man’s wallet there, and couldn’t help but practice his sleight of hand, pulling it out with ease as he stuffed the tie in. The man raised an eyebrow at him as he let go, Eggsy distracting him with his right hand, adjusting the man’s blue pocket square, as he pocketed the wallet with his left.
“Well then, sir, have a good evenin.” Eggsy mocked. The man rolled his eyes, and when Eggsy went to open the door, he found it locked. He tried again, but it didn't budge. He looked over his shoulder, and in the man’s hand, he could see a small black device. An automatic lock, he assumed. More than that, however, he could see the smug, satisfied smile on the man’s face.
“What was your name again?” the man asked. Eggsy sighed.
“You tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.” Eggsy mocked. The man, however, conceded willingly.
“My name is Harry Hart. You’d have known that within the hour, I suppose, if I’d have let you go. It’s on my driver’s license in my wallet, which is currently residing in your right pocket, after all.” He said, crossing the small shop floor to the main counter. He reached under, and Eggsy tensed, half expecting a gun after all of his bad run-ins. Instead, Harry pulled out a crystal decanter with a golden looking liquid, setting it on the counter, along with two glasses. He poured two fingers of it into each glass, and loomed over them a moment, taking a sip of one. Eggsy knew when he was beat--a locked door, a man becoming more fueled by liquor by the second, and unfamiliar terrain did not bode well for him. The street outside the shop too was dead, he noted. No one to hear him scream, he thought with dark amusement.
“As I see it, you have three options. First, you could run. The window is really the only way out, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I don’t fancy a trip to the hospital this evening, so I do not suggest it. Second, I pick up the phone and call the police. Third, you can give me my wallet back, and in compensation, you will firstly tell me your name, and starting tomorrow, come here every day and work away your pick pocketing habits, since you obviously have nothing better to do than pick on shopkeepers.” Harry said.
Eggsy took a breath, sitting down on one of the free chairs, deliberately putting his still-wet shoes on the luxurious carpet.
“...I get that other glass there if I give it back?” Eggsy asked, nodding to the other glass of golden liquid.
Harry smiled a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Name first,” he said, his strong voice unwavering. He held the other glass up though, the liquid in it moving easily about.
“Eggsy. Eggsy Unwin.”