The Impossible Game

Chapter 4

Waking up to a beeping sound Emma groaned loudly; she was never really a morning person. She rolled over a bit too far and fell off the ledge of the small couch. She let out a hissing sound as as she landed with a hard thud on the ground because of course, she would land her bummed shoulder. Muttering profanities under her breath Emma stayed lying on the ground still tangled up in the blankets. She heard footsteps coming towards her from the kitchen. Closing her eyes Emma prayed fervently that they belonged to John.

“You’ve got to be the least graceful cat burglar I have ever met.” Emma groaned again, her arm placed over her eyes trying to avoid eye contact with the man who definitely was not John Watson.

“Good morning to you as well,” she grunted out propping herself on her right elbow looking up at the willowy man who held a porcelain white mug that she hoped was coffee.

“Here,” Mister Holmes said offering her a hand up much to Emma’s surprise. She awkwardly she made it on her feet almost knocking herself into his chest. “You really are clumsy.” Emma immediately pulled back, putting at least a foot between herself and the infuriating man in front of her.

“Cut me some slack,” she said not looking at him while picking up and folding the blankets, “I’m just waking up and I haven’t had any coffee yet.”

“I figured as much,” he replied, “Which is why I made you some.” Emma stopped what she was doing and looked at Mister Holmes already dressed in a maroon button up shirt and dark, navy blue sports jacket with matching slacks. Emma should have been mortified by her state; only wearing a long white t-shirt, pair of underwear with some black socks and her short, shaggy blonde hair probably a horrid mess but Emma didn’t care since there was coffee being offered to her. She happily inhaled the aroma, already feeling the effects of the caffeine in her veins. Taking a small sip, careful to not burn her lips or tongue while making an “mmm” sound. She took another sip making her way back into the kitchen, settling down at the island table.

“How did you know I liked it black?” She asked, “Wait, don’t tell me; you deduced it by the way I snored, right?” Emma laughed at her own joke, catching a fleeting smile across the detective’s face.

“Not quite,” he said, “I took a lucky guess, and I suppose I guessed correctly.”

“Nothing new there,” said a still very tired John rubbing his still very tired eyes, “What was that loud thud that woke me up this early?” He asked making his way towards the cupboards, picking out a similar mug to Emma’s. She smiled sheepishly.

“That was me,” she said still smiling sheepishly. John looked at her perplexedly as he began to pour himself a cup of coffee.

“You fell off the couch?” He asked concerned, “Are you alright?” Emma turned to face John.

“She’s fine John,” Mister Holmes said taking the words out of her mouth, “Only fell about a foot and a half, less than even. You don’t need to baby her.” Her head jerked towards Mister Holmes.

“Well, with a recovering wound in her shoulder I don’t want her stitches coming undone,” John shot back, “And I am not babying her. I at least act concerned for her well-being.” Emma thought she was going to get whip-lash from the verbal tennis match. She stifled a giggle.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mister Holmes replied back in feigned aghast, “So now I’m this terrible person because I’m not asking her every five minutes if she is okay or not? She is an adult, John.”

“I’m not saying she isn’t, Sherlock!”

Emma couldn’t contain it any longer; she bursted out laughing, almost spilling her coffee and no matter what she did Emma could not stop laughing at the two of them who finally had stopped their argument to look at her with both of their eyes squinting, judging even. Eventually Emma slowed down and caught her breath, grinning at the two men.

“So, how long have you two been together?” She asked earnestly, “You two argue like how my grandparents did when they were alive.” Mister Holmes’ eye brow shot up in surprise and maybe amusement, while John pinched the bridge of his nose as if he had a headache. He threw his hands up in the air exasperatedly.

“Seriously!” He groaned, “Why does everyone think that Sherlock and I are a couple? Never mind, don’t you answer that,” John shot as Emma was about to say something who then immediately shut their mouth. John let out a ragged breath. “No. We. Are. Not. A couple. I, personally, am straight.”

“Could have fooled me,” Emma said under her breath taking another sip of her coffee. John glared at her, but she just shrugged it off with a smile.

“Maybe that’s why you can’t keep a girlfriend John,” Mister Holmes mused. John’s eyes only held contempt for him at the moment.

“I have you to blame for that,” the doctor said tersely, “With you always scaring them off.” Mister Holmes just rolled his eyes, while Emma cleared her throat making the two men stop arguing.

Again.

“Now, if we are quite finished here,” she began, “We need to start planning.”

“Planning for what?” John asked, “We don’t know what or when they’re going to strike, if they even do.”

“Not true,” Emma said placing the morning newspaper she found on the island counter, no doubt Mister Holmes already combed through the pages. It read that new art pieces were being donated to the National Gallery in London. They all belonged to a very old and prestigious family, all of which were discovered in the basement of one of their summer homes in the northern part of England. It was then speculated that the family hid the pieces when Nazis threatened to bomb and invade England in WWII.

"The remaining family members that are alive, technically own them still but said that they don’t really have a use for them, and much rather donate them to National Gallery. Said that the museum would benefit from them more," it read.

“And it looks like they are going to be throwing a gala,” Mister Holmes said mostly to himself whilst typing furiously on his phone. He showed John and then Emma. She scanned the tiny screen and sure enough the National Gallery was throwing a huge gala event as a sort of ‘thank you’ to the family in question on January the 24th. Invitation only.

“Do we even know if the Kosevos will even rob this place blind?” John inquired, “And on a night where there will be security guards and people everywhere?”

“I would,” Emma said. John made a face at her comment. “What? A lot of commotion with guests, museum personnel, security, and not to mention probably a catering service at the very least? Anyone clever enough could slip in and out with the paintings.”

“And with the right strings,” Mister Holmes said, following her thought process, “They could even bribe security guards. It would be so simple.” He began tapping away at his phone pacing the room back and forth while staring intently at his phone’s screen, off in his own world it seemed to Emma. She looked over at John who was sipping on his coffee still.

“Does he do that a lot?” She asked quietly, indicating Mister Holmes’ behavior.

“All the time,” John said while putting more cream in his cup, “It’s especially bad when he goes off into this ‘mind palace’.”

“Ahh,” was all Emma said. She had read about how some people use this trick to remember just about anything; similar to someone who has a photographic memory but instead of only the exact detail of a specific place or event, a person could use this memory palace to categorize any and all information they wish. And when the person wanted to, they would just pull out what information they wanted essentially like an archive. Emma found this process fascinating but was never able to create one for herself. She was lucky enough to have at least a photographic memory; Emma could look at a layout of any building, memorize it and find the best and most efficient way out. It always came in handy for her extracurricular activities.

“We’re on the list,” Mister Holmes said absently, “Black tie affair. I think you can handle that, Miss Rose?” Emma stood opposite of him, her arms crossed over chest and her lips pursed, giving Mister Holmes a dry stare. He returned that with his own confused stare.

“What?” She asked, “Am I supposed to be impressed or something? I could have done the same thing too. You just beat me to it. You’re not the only one with connections around here.” She was of course bluffing but John looked up, his eyes wide slightly and then snickered to himself a bit while Mister Holmes stood there befuddled, not quite sure how to respond. Emma walked past the two of them, rinsed her cup in the sink and left it on the small rack to dry.

“Do either of you know where my clothes went off to?” She asked turning to both of them, “I’m going to need them so I can go out and at least pick up some more clothing for myself. Also I need to call in a favor for a decent black tie affair dress. I’d ask if you like help finding something Mister Holmes, but I’m sure you can handle that, hmm?” Emma stared at Mister Holmes her eyebrows raised, smirking. Mister Holmes’ mouth almost twitched into a smile but then he cleared his throat.

“Are you alright, Sherlock?” John asked, still amused.

“Fine,” he replied as he walked brusquely out of the room, a few moments later returning with what looked like Emma’s clothing. He almost threw them at her never breaking contact with Emma’s brown eyes. “Here you go. Now go change. John and I will accompany you while you shop and then we will go the National Gallery to scope everything out. Rather, you will. I know that you have a photographic memory so that’ll be useful.”

“Sure, but I don’t need you two to come with me while I shop for myself,” Emma said, “And do you really need my set of eyes?”

“I don’t understand why you keep forgetting you have people that want you, and most likely dead than alive for that matter,” John said, “There’s no way we’re letting you go out alone at the moment.”

“You are a valuable asset,” Mister Holmes added. Emma was annoyed with the detective’s comment. Didn’t he value her even as a human being?

No, she wasn’t going to let it get to her; to Emma, they were her asset. Once they were done with all of this nonsense she would be heading back home to Chicago and forgetting this whole thing ever happen. Emma let out a sigh, looking at the clothes in her arms.

“Fine,” she said slightly defeated, “Let me change, alright? It’ll only take a minute.” Emma exited the kitchen and skulked to the bathroom. She hated the fact they were basically going to be her body guards for however long this was going to take, but what other choices did she have?


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