This was a short piece inspired by the song 'I remember it well' from Gigi. It actually has very little to do with it except with one line from the song: “You lost a glove . . .” “I lost a comb.” It made me think about losing gloves and combs and ulterior motives behind such womanly goings-on. That's all. Enjoy the ride.
Beta-ed by MonaLovely. :) Merci.
Disclaimer: I am not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But I believe Holmes is public domain by now, so HAHA TO YOU STUPID LAWYERS!
Adler's Lost Lozenge-Box
Obfuscation of the facts. That was all she was after. She did have something to do with his current case, the disappearance of one Admiral Jordan. She must have. It was the only logical reason that they met today at the British musuem, while he was on a surveillance mission against a certain virtuoso bassoonist. There were never any coincidences with her.
Holmes skeptically scanned the woman standing next to him on the sidewalk as he looked for a cab. Her gentle eyes looked at him in a way he knew would haunt him for weeks after this encounter. The rucks and pleats of her elegant gown were strangely enticing and alluring. A crimson velvet bag on her wrist reflected the rosiness of her lips and cheeks in the sunset light. Oh, but such was her type to be beautiful and elegant, only to be man's downfall in the end. Holmes was no fool, and he merely admired Irene Adler from afar; a pensive rat who observed contentedly as dashing white mice flung themselves at the hidden spring within her soft Brie cover.
Then again, he had no place for women in his life anyhow, so what did it matter?
She knew something. She knew something that could potentially make or destroy his case, and she seemed willing to talk. Or was she luring him into a trap?
No. She was not the sort to cohort with such demonic fiends as Moriarty and his gang. Like Holmes, this woman worked alone, always alone. At one point she had irrevocably been married, but, when Sherlock inquired on this point, he met the curt reply of “He died some years ago”. There seemed no bitterness nor frustration in the comment as befitted the tenured widow, instead a rather regretful lilt of the voice that sounded suspiciously insincere.
How, then, did she relate to Admiral Jordan and his case? Perhaps she was a friend of his, who knew his whereabouts. Maybe he had been an admirer—more likely, in Holmes' opinion, than the first idea. Though, of course, there was the possibility that-
The rampant thoughts of Sherlock Holmes tripped and scurried as Irene Adler's voice broke through his mind.
“Mr. Holmes, I do believe it is all right. Never mind the carriage, it seems no one's open this evening. We might walk, if you would be so obliged to accompany me.”
Uncertainly, Holmes strode towards her. “Where do you live?”
“Not many streets away,” she confirmed sweetly. “It's a warm night out; there's no reason this cannot be as pleasant as possible.” As an afterthought, she muttered: “Cabs are so stuffy, anyhow.”
Begrudgingly, Holmes offered his arm. “Then come, my good lady.”
Well. When did she intend to tell him anything? For minutes they walked in silence. He liked to think that he could feel the cuff of her sleeve when he stretched his fingers just so but he knew his imagination probably served an indecency to him.
“Do you,” he prompted finally, a bit impatient, “Know of the Lord Admiral Ashleigh Jordan?”
Her head bobbed just slightly, and her voice sounded disinterested as she replied, "No. Am I supposed to recall his name by any chance?”
Blast it. She was most convincing as she said that.
“No indeed, Miss Adler. I merely thought you might. No matter.”
A sudden impulse made her turn and face him. Their arms being linked, he was jerked to a stop.
“Is that why you were so eager to come, then? Why you put up not the faintest protest when I asked you to accompany me home? To extort information from me to solve your silly cases?”
Dear, dear. What a lamentable situation. Holmes knew he ought to feel a number of emotions: chagrin, abashment, perhaps a bit of fear. But, as a man who claimed that he was all brain, the rest merely being appendix, he felt none of that human fault.
“Yes.” He felt no personal shame or discomfort in declaring himself openly.
“And I suppose you believe I am involved with your sorry little Admiral's predicament?”
“Rather, his family's. He's gone missing, most mysteriously.”
“And doubtless you suppose a meretricious wench like myself would not care to be deceived in such a manner? I vowed to never again fall prey to your antics, Mr. Holmes, but it seems in this small instance I have utterly failed.”
Ravishingly, she swished away from him sideways, breaking from his light grasp and striding proudly away.
For a smidgen of a moment, Holmes felt a faint pang for having offended her.
“Miss Adler, it is not wise to roam the streets of London alone at twilight!” he called. She did not stop.
Knowing the gentlemanly thing would be to go after her, he proceeded to follow such a course, and ended at Miss Adler's heel. If he was anything, Holmes was not a man to let a woman be accosted for the sake of foolish anger.
“I beg you will forgive me, Miss Adler. Let us not part on such terms.”
Superciliously, she turned to him and gave him a glare that almost seared his brain into a garbled mush.
“If you do sincerely entreat me to.” Rather decently, she gave him her hand, and they continued together, again in silence.
Damn it all, what was with this woman? Could it be possible that she had no ulterior motivations whatsoever?
Holmes considered this, then decided against it. Then, he thought he might actually be right. He went on a one-man cavalcade against his better judgment, trying to determine the truth, battering his reason this way and that.
At one point, Adler put up her hand, opened her crimson bag as they walked, and exclaimed: “Dear me!”
Holmes looked at her, and their pace slowed. “What is wrong?” It did not take more than a second, though, for him to realize: “You've lost something?”
“Yes, my lozenge box.” She peered in the bag and shook it. Holmes heard the jingling of some change.
“Was it an expensive?” Irene looked at him with disdain, and the great detective rolled his eyes. “How stupid of me, of course it was.”
“I would not care so much if it were not such a pretty thing,” lamented Miss Adler. She jarred the bag again, but the box did not magically reappear inside it.
“Let us go back and search for it. I know it must be somewhere along the path we took, since I partook of a mint from it while we were waiting for a cab.”
Ostensibly amiable but in fact rather disgusted by this escapade, Holmes conceded to turning around and heading in the direction they originally came.
“The sun has nearly disappeared by now,” commented Holmes dryly as they surveyed the street before them. The crowds were beginning to thin as daily commuters and urban dwellers alike went home to their families and dinner. “Do you suppose we might drop this search?”
“No. Come this way, it's faster,” Irene indicated with a nod of her head, and soon Holmes found that they were going in completely a different direction.
“Are you abducting me?” he snidely remarked, dreading the idea that there was some small grain of truth in that surmise. Irene paid no attention to this remark, however, eyes on the ground as if expecting her lozenge-box to be here, a good distance away from the track they had taken from the museum.
Holmes decided hesitantly to just see where this adventure might lead him, and tackle obstacles as they came.
Almost of a sudden, they were in a park. Irene looked slightly deflated, and their feet made tracks to an iron bench. She wearily settled upon it, and Holmes tentatively followed
“The first stars are showing their faces,” she murmured plaintively, gazing at the sky from amid the trees.
Holmes looked after her. “If this were one of Watson's terrible chronicles, I would say something extremely sensitive and poetic just now.”
“You are not a sentimental man, however.”
They sat in silence for a while.
“Oh, how strange. There's my lozenge box.”
Holmes' eye followed her finger and saw, at their feet, a tiny confectionery tin.
“You vixen!” he spat, not seeing the point of their wild goose chase, but knowing that it had been a futile affair. “You put that there just now when you diverted my attention upwards!”
“Can you really blame me?” Her hand fluttered—yes, he thought, like a butterfly or a bumblebee—to his hat and gracefully removed it.
“You have fine hair,” she murmured, and allowed her fingers to ingrain themselves within his dark tresses. As her nails grazed his scalp, shivers of emotion, long bottled, rose from where they lay low and dark for most of his life, and Holmes became abruptly aware of the fact that he was a lonely man.
“I never thought as much of it as what lay beneath,” he replied modestly, but ventured, “Yours is beyond compare, however.”
“I thought I was a vixen for tricking you.”
The surprise was insurmountable when he leaned forward and placed his dry, hungry lips on hers. Never did he lose control of himself this way. Such a lack of fortitude and aloofness was more than reprehensible and dreadfully uncharacteristic!
But, he realized a moment later, the real surprise was when she kissed him back with the same ardor.
That bloody woman.
Thanks for reading!