The Unseen Factor

Job Offer

This set just before 'Hello Again'.

James Moriarty was a name most professional criminals had heard repeatedly. Need extra help with a heist – call Moriarty. Need to smuggle a high profiled artifact – call Moriarty. Anything and everything … for a price.

The Lehrers made a personal rule early in their career not to work along side those too willing to kill. There were too many dead bodies that seem to come about whenever Moriarty was involved. And as such, Wilhelm Lehrer developed a healthy fear of working with James Moriarty, if not for the man himself after witnessing certain events that he never really talked about. Even thieves have they standards.

Enola, personally, saw no need to inquire into Moriarty's services. If there was something she could not do she learned how to do it, there was no need for her to seek a consultant. They had crossed paths once, much to Enola's chagrin. He was deeply impressed with her work and offered her a position in his vast organization. She declined the offer with the excuse that she was quite content with her circle of business. She had no desire to see the man again after that. So imagine her surprise when James Moriarty sat down across from her at a café in Paris.

"James Moriarty." She said his name in a form of a greeting after getting over the slight surprise of his presence. She sat back straight, ankles cross – the picture of a perfect lady keeping perfectly calm. Amelia would be so proud.

"Elle Lehrer." He smiled. Enola did not like that smile, it was too forced. He was dressed smartly in a finely tailored suit. "I cannot go anywhere without hearing your name. You've got quite a reputation."

"I could deny anything and everything," Enola smiled putting down her sketch book on the table and stuck the pencil in her bun at the nape of her neck. She placed her hands in her lap and unconsciously smoothed her dress. "But we're both professionals here. What pleasure do I owe for seeing you again Mr. Moriarty?"

Moriarty instantly took her sketch book and begun thumbing through it without answering her question. With anyone else Enola would have snatched it back and voiced her annoyance. But the man across from her was not just anyone. Wilhelm's warnings of caution echoed through her head as she watched the consulting criminal.

"You certainly have an eye for detail." He remarked tossing the book back on the table. He smiled again. "I've told you before to call me Jim."

"I think not," She said slowly taking back her sketch book and sliding it in her satchel at her feet, all while not taking her eyes off of Jim and keeping a coy smile on her face. She did not like the fact that he looked in the sketch book. For Enola it severed as a diary of sorts and for the man before her to have such an intimate look at her via her drawings was unhinging. "For the sake of professionalism."

"Old fashion...I like it." Jim leaned forward. "I need a piece of great art that doesn't really exist."

"You know I don't forge art, and besides, why me?" It was an honest question. "I understand you have quite a capable forger that you go to quite regularly."

"Your work surpasses his." He stated without missing a beat.

"By a hairsbreadth, perhaps" She countered keeping her manner polite. "It's not enough to switch to me however."

"Well, to be perfectly honest we had a bit of a fall out." Jim joked. His playful manner just made Enola feel all the more uneasy. "So Elle, want to expand your business? You wouldn't deny my offer a second time?"

"I'm perfectly happy with my current situation." Enola smiled. She waved to the waiter to get her check. "Besides, as a professional courtesy I rarely forge great works of art or verifications for it. I mean, personally I would hate to put in so much time and effort into stealing a painting only to learn that it's fake. Also, I'm very particular about whom I work with – our styles would clash too much to be effective. Good luck with your heist."

She paid the waiter and gave him her most charming smile. She grabbed her things and was about to leave when Moriarty grabbed her arm quite forcefully. He did it in such a way that would not really draw attention from those around them but strong enough to tell Enola not to move any further, or else.

"You're sure?" The question was innocent but the threat was there.

Enola, losing her smile, looked at his hand on her arm then to his face. She had bored expression on her face as to remark on the childishness of Moriarty's actions, but her eyes flashed.

"I notice that whenever you are involved bodies tend to show up." She kept her voice calm as she gently extracted her arm from his grip with her free hand. "I don't like dead bodies mixing in with my work. Now if you will excuse me, I must go see a man about a dog."

She stood and politely nod to him before turning away. Not too fast and not too slow with her walking.

"Very few people say no to me." Moriarty called out after her. Enola turned back to him and gave him her best cordial smile.

"But isn't that why you keep coming back to me, sir?" She asked coyly. "I'm not like other people."

Moriarty smirked at her daring attitude and he liked it. The fact that Enola had impressed the consulting criminal to such an extent unsettled her.

With a wave over her shoulder and she crossed the street never daring to look back. When she was far enough away and enough time had passed she pulled out her phone and dialed.

"Amelia – you were right," She began breathlessly. "Moriarty contacted me for a job and I think his usual forger is dead."

"You ran into Moriarty? Are you ok?" Amelia asked, her voice thick with worry.

"For now," Enola looked around keeping an eye out for anything unusual. "He won't kill me, at not yet anyway. He sees me as a valuable asset not to be wasted. Or he views me as a challenge. Either way he'll give me yet another opportunity to work with him – then he'll kill me. "

"When you get back to the hotel we're leaving straight for London." Amelia explained.

"No, only I need to go to London," Enola said hastily. "You and Wilhelm go back home as planned. It's best if it's just me."

"Are you sure about this plan?"

"It's been five years," Enola shrugged as she hailed for a taxi. "I think I'm well overdue to visit eldest brother mine."

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