This is set just about a year after the last chapter.
Enola waved good bye to the family she and the Lehrers had just given good news to. Their home returned to them and their money that was stolen returned in full and then some. Over the past year since she fell into the company of Wilhelm and Amelia Lehrer, Enola had witness many such scenes after a well executed con. Amelia, about six months ago, insisted that Enola be the one that bid their clients good-bye, something about improving her people skills. She did not quite understand it, but she did it anyway without any protestations. It was a small price to pay for the kindness the Lehrers had shown her.
Enola returned to the car where Dr. and Dr. Lehrer waited for her. She was deep in thought, going over the memory of the happy family she just saw. She tired to imagine her own family like that, but no matter how hard she tried the fanatical image would not materialize in her mind.
"It's moments like these that make me glad I no longer steal art." Amelia smiled as Enola entered the car. When the door was closed Wilhelm started the car and drove. "You did good Elle."
Hearing Amelia, Enola came out of her thoughts and smiled, both at the compliment and the nickname that Lehrers gave her. It was simple, common and nothing like her own strange name. They just started one say calling her Elle and she made no move to correct them, mostly because she did not notice the first few times. When she did notice, Enola found that she had grown attached to it.
"What's next?" Amelia asked
"A vacation." Wilhelm said as he took towards the highway. "We've been working non-stop at both our jobs, legal and otherwise. There's a break in the semester coming up and I think we should take an advantage of it. Also, Elle needs a break from studying."
"I'm fine!" Enola piped in from the back seat.
"You've have stopped for two weeks straight." Wilhelm pointed out. "During which you barely slept or ate."
"Distracting." Enola waved her hand dismissively. "It worked out well in the end."
"I could say the end doesn't justify the means, but that would make us hypocrites." Amelia sighed. They had been through this discussion many times before. Enola would latch onto a problem or lesson and as a result slept little and ate less. It was not as if Enola was doing it on purpose, she truly forgot. Amelia had taken to simply putting broth in a coffee cup which Enola would sip from every so often. "Oh, the life we lead. Where were you thinking of going?"
"Germany, I think." Wilhelm said. "The family is practically begging we come and visit for a bit. And Mutti has been wanting to go for a while."
"It has been a while since we were in Germany," Amelia mused. "And this would be a perfect time for them to really meet Elle." She added excitedly.
"Are you sure?" Enola suddenly found herself nervous, an emotional that she did not particularly care for and did her best to control.
"Yes," Amelia and Wilhelm both answered without hesitation.
"They've been asking to meet you for a while." Wilhelm said.
"Alright then," Enola smiled but her smile did not reach her eyes. It rarely did.
To say that Enola was nervous would be an understatement. Meeting Wilhelm's extended family, yes, was a new experience that she was not sure how to react to, but being back in Europe was what gave Enola the most uneasiness. So close to where Mycroft could spot her with his vast connections in different governments, and where Sherlock could hear a whisper of her presence with his vast connections with different everyman.
She said little after that on their way back to their home in the city. When they reached their loft apartment, Amelia gave a knowing look to her husband as Enola made her way to her room.
"She's been thinking." Amelia said. She went into the kitchen with Wilhelm following close behind.
"Elle does that a lot, my dear." Wilhelm remarked as he open the fridge to get a bottle of water. "But I assume you are more concerned with the subject of her thoughts."
"Why do I put up with your sarcasm?" Amelia sighed dramatically putting her hand to her forehead to add emphasis.
"You find it charming," Wilhelm smiled before taking a swig from the bottle. "Ever wonder what her own family is like?"
"Not normal from what I can gleam." Amelia grabbed the bottle from her husband and took a drink. "I was talking with Dr. O'Connor the other day -"
"Lisa O'Connor? She teaches psychiatry at the graduate school, doesn't she?" he asked taking back the bottle.
"Yes," Amelia paused think about what next to say. "She is licensed to practice and I was talking to her about Elle."
"Really?" Wilhelm was not quite sure how to respond to this new tidbit of information from his wife. They had decided shortly after Enola came to live with them that they would be very vague about her background. The most they told anyone was Wilhelm and Amelia were guardians to Enola, which was true in a sense, they did guard her well-being it just was not legal or official.
"Really," Amelia nodded. "Not much details, of course."
"Well," She took a deep breath. "Dr. O'Connor, based solely on what I told her, has the unofficial professional opinion that there might be abuse in Enola's background. But she said that she would have to talk with Elle herself before she can give her official professional opinion."
"It would have to be verbal," Wilhelm took another drink of water as he mused over his wife's words. "She had a clean bill of health outside the marks of living homeless for almost a year when we took her to the doctors last year."
"You think it's possible?"
"It wouldn't surprise me." Wilhelm walked out of the kitchen to the large space that they used as a sitting room and music room. He sat on the couch and looked out the window to the city. "We've both seen how her mind works. Taking in details that no one else would notice. Remember how she spot that forgery last month at the museum? Elle gave exact detail of how she it was fake and how it was done despite all the verification it went through before being put on display.
"She is brilliant, no one can deny that." Wilhelm continued as Amelia joined him on the couch. "But her ability to interact with people is severally underdeveloped. A brilliant mind, untamed by social graces. It is not that hard to imagine Elle blurting out what she observes without thinking twice of the consequences."
"But." Amelia prompted.
"But when one considers her family." Wilhelm looked towards his wife but did not really see her. "From the little she has told us, she had stern parents who most likely didn't understand her, and brothers who she is not close to in either age or in friendship. I do not need a doctorate in psychiatry to tell you that Enola is baffled by happy families."
"The last job," Amelia remembered. She remembered Enola looking that the client and his interactions with his family with the curiosity of a child. It was not the first time Amelia saw that.
"And us," Wilhelm downed the last bit of the water before putting the bottle on the table before them. "I can only concluded that her parents marriage was not a happy one."
"Of what she remembers," Amelia pointed out. "She told us that her father died when she was rather young."
"Thus causing her brothers stepping in to fill that role becoming less like brothers and more like grudging caretakers."
"For a philosopher you read people very well." Amelia commented breaking the silence that had fallen between them.
"It happens when one spends too much time trying to philosophically understand the nature of man." Wilhelm's remarked caused Amelia to crack a smile.
"I think we should give it to her now," Amelia said as she stood, grabbing the empty water bottle. "Now seems like a good time."
Amelia kissed Wilhelm's cheek and went to the kitchen. Wilhelm stood and opened one of the many hidden compartments they had installed over the years and pulled out a small thin box, almost like a jewelry box, and headed up to Enola's room.
"Elle?" Wilhelm called softly as he gently knocked on the door.
"Come in." Enola called. She was at her easel trying to finish one of the many pictures she had started. She could never work on one picture at a time; she would start and stop than move on to another one and than another before going back to the first one.
Amelia had taught her drawing and painting, and Enola found she enjoyed it. It helped her relax and think. Plus, when Amelia insisted they go to the park and draw, it gave Enola the opportunity to observe people without seeming rude. People, surprisingly to Enola, did not mind being drawn by a stranger, especially when the stranger looked the part of an artist.
"The New York skyline in the sunrise," Wilhelm commented as he stood behind Enola examining her work. "I like the New York School of art influence."
"What's that?" Enola noticed the small box in Wilhelm's hand. He smiled and gave it to her.
"Amelia and I were going to wait, but now seems like a good time to give it to you."
Opening the box she saw that it was an American passport, one of Amelia's excellent forgeries. Inside there was a picture of Enola, but the name...
"Elle Lehrer?" Enola looked up, genuinely surprised, at Wilhelm.
"Amelia and I know that you weren't very close to your own family and over the past year we feel that you have become part of ours. My parents already spoil you like their granddaughter." Wilhelm explained. "At the risk of sounding cliché, you've become the daughter we were never able to have and this is a small way to say it. Only if you want it."
Enola didn't say anything. She knew the appropriate responses but she could not bring herself to act them out. Processing the fact that she was feeling shock and was surprise when she realized that she was also crying.
Crying? Tears were sad though, so why was she crying?
"Tears can also be a good thing," Wilhelm explained softly.
"So I'm … happy." Enola whispered then smiled with realization. "I like it."
Wilhelm smiled too, only because he saw that Enola's smiled actually reached her eyes.