“I do apologise, Madam. My card.”
I took the proffered card and inspected it. And almost laughed out loud. Sherlock Holmes – Consulting Detective! A policeman, coming to take lodgings with me! Oh, the irony of it. If only Kit could have been here, he would have laughed until he cried. But of course, Kit wasn´t here. And that was why I had been forced to advertise the top floor of 221B Baker Street for rent. It had a bathroom, two bedrooms, a comfortable sitting room and a smaller room that would make an excellent study for a private gent. Truth to tell, the house was far too spacious for me on my own, and the memories of what had been our main living area were too painful for comfort, anyway. I would be happy enough on the ground floor. Largely unused by Kit and I, it had a large kitchen together with a huge room that would make a good bedroom-cum-sitting room for me, and there was a toilet in the yard outside.
In any event, what option did I have? I could hardly work the streets on my own, and I had no desire to go back to the Eagle, even if Rosie would have me. Which I doubted.
“You are a policeman, Mr. Holmes?” I asked politely.
My visitor frowned and flared his nostrils as if he had suddenly smelled something unpleasant.
“Indeed I am not, Mrs. Hudson. I am a private detective. I am employed by clients directly. Often because the police have failed to help them.”
I nodded. What did I care? As long as he had the money to pay his rent each month, he could be a zoo keeper. As long as he didn´t bring his charges home, of course. I inspected him carefully. Did I like the look of him? He was tall, but then again, most men were tall to me. But he looked prosperous enough, from the top of his silk top hat to the gloss on his patent leather boots. Nicely cut topcoat; not in the first line of fashion, but obviously expensive.
“Do I pass muster, Mrs. Hudson?” He sounded amused. I shrugged.
“You must understand, Mr. Holmes. If I am to share my home with you, I need to be careful. Can you provide me with references?”
I thought his lips twitched as he reached inside his coat pocket and produced an envelope, which he handed to me. The references were excellent. Two of them, each in different hand writing, I noticed. Well, living with Kit had taught me to look for these things. My eyebrows rose as I ran my finger over the embossed letter heads; one from – I assumed by the Belgravia address – a gentleman of means, and the other from a Viscount, no less!
“They appear to be satisfactory, Mr. Holmes. Would you like to view the apartment?”
“Indeed I would, Mrs. Hudson.”
He followed me up the stairs and inspected the rooms silently. He set me on edge; I was tempted to speak just to break the silence. Finally satisfied, he nodded.
“The rent is a guinea a week, I believe?” I nodded and he frowned. “There are two bedrooms. Would it be possible for me to offer one of them to a colleague?”
Two lodgers? This was more than I had bargained for. My char lady, Mrs. Elvington, would not be happy about that. That would be another shilling a week for her services.
“A respectable gentleman?”
“I believe so. A friend of a colleague, who is in dire need of accommodation. Dr. Watson is an ex-army officer, newly returned from Afghanistan.”
My God! A detective and a doctor! I made up my mind briskly.
“I am not a hotel, Mr. Holmes. However, I suppose it is possible. But I will have to charge an extra five shillings a week, if there are two of you.”
“You will no doubt want a month´s rent in advance?” He counted out four guineas and added a sovereign to the pile. I could have kicked myself; I should have asked for more! “I will move in this afternoon. I imagine Dr. Watson will be here in the next couple of days.”
He raised his hat to me, and that was that. In the space of ten minutes, I had acquired not one tenant, but two. I handed over his keys and took my leave to his retreating back.
I heard the noise early in the afternoon, but my spirits had sunk so low I couldn’t find the enthusiasm to greet my new lodger. Instead, I sat on my bed and put my hands over my ears, trying to drown out the bumps and thuds of boxes and furniture being moved upstairs. The rooms were already partly furnished, with items I had selected carefully from second hand shops in Portobello Road. I might be forced to let my house out, but I was damned if anybody was going to eat at the table where Kit and I had dined. Still less have anybody sleeping in our bed. The bed I was lying on now. Mr. Sherlock Holmes had obviously decided my efforts wouldn’t suffice for him. Well, good luck to him. I didn’t care either way.
And what kind of a name was that, anyway? Sherlock. I had never heard anything like it before. Although on second thoughts, perhaps I had. Hadn’t Kit told me once he had played Shylock in some Shakespeare play or other? Had I misheard the name? Was my new tenant Jewish? Oh, well. It was all the same to me. Good Christian or good Jew, as long as he and his friend the army doctor paid their rent on time, that was all that mattered. And that set off another chain of thought entirely. It wasn´t exactly unusual for two single gentlemen to lodge together, but had Mr. Sherlock Holmes been a little too casual about his “friend”? I pulled a face; surely I hadn´t acquired two mandrakes above me, had I? Not in my drum! I raised my elbow, almost ready to go and confront Mr. Holmes with my suspicions, then sagged back.
I was making something out of nothing. Forget it. Another bang on the stairs made me wince. I pulled the eiderdown over my head and buried my ears in the pillow. It was very warm under the quilt, and I snuggled down. Pushed my hand across to the other side of the mattress, and traced the outline where Kit used to lie. Knew I was on the brink of sleep.
Quite suddenly, I felt that Kit was lying beside me. I moved slowly, and I was sure I could feel his him, the way his hip bone jutted, the softness of his flesh. It had all been a terrible mistake, then. I knew it had. I smiled.
“Where have you been?” I said softly. “Are you alright?” Even as I said it, I understood the absurdity of the question, but I refused to acknowledge it. Nothing, nothing at all, was going to upset this moment.
“I´m sorry, Nella.” Kit´s voice was very gentle. “I had to leave you for a time. But I´m back now. Shush.”
I leaned towards him and Kit´s finger bisected my face, tracing a line down from my forehead to my mouth. I opened my lips and nibbled at his fingertip, smiling as I heard him suck in his breath with pleasure. It had been so long. So very long. I rolled on to my back in open invitation, and Kit wrapped his hand around my breast, so lightly I was forced to push against him to increase the pressure.
“Greedy!” I heard the smile in his voice, and laughed silently. Lifted my head and pecked kisses on his cheeks and lips. He was cold. So very cold. Not to worry; he would find all the warmth he needed in my arms. There was a distinct thud from upstairs, and I frowned.
“I´ll tell him to go away, now you´re back.”
Kit shrugged, as if he understood what I was talking about.
“It doesn´t matter. There´s nothing that matters. Not now.”
He was right, of course. He was back with me, that was all that mattered.
I rubbed against his neck, trying to lend him some of my warmth. His hand slid up the front of my shift and left a trail of gooseflesh wherever it touched. He paused on my stomach, and then his fingers were walking down by belly, tickling my pubic hair. I gasped with pleasure. And cold.
One finger trailed against my sex, teasing. Kit withdrew it, and then – so suddenly it made me jump – tucked it inside me, rubbing softly against my slippery flesh. I wriggled luxuriantly against him, almost melting with pleasure. Already, I could feel the first ripples of pleasure beginning to roil deep in my belly. Wanting to give as much as I was receiving, I reached for his Nebuchadnezzar, but Kit caught my hand in his fist and held it away from him.
“No. Let me give you your desire. There´s all the time in the world for me, dear heart.”
Even as he spoke, his finger was running up and down my cunny. As he read my excitement, the pressure increased until I was bucking against him, almost shouting out loud with pleasure. He bent his head and took my nipple in his teeth, plucking at it. After a while, he let go – the nipple puckered instantly with cold, arousing me still further with the pain – and moved his lips to my neck. He trailed kisses just where neck joins shoulder and I almost wept with my need. And all the time, that finger was probing in and out and in and out.
I threw caution to the winds and slid on to my back, opening my body for him to enter me. Arms and legs akimbo, I panted, hardly able to wait for the second that he would roll over on top of me, and slide his cock inside my needy heat.
Just as I heard him laugh, and felt the mattress move as he tilted towards me, there was the sound of a crash from upstairs, followed by a cold, reproving voice.
“Gently, there, my man. That case contains scientific implements and is very fragile.”
“Sorry, Sir. It was that heavy it slipped out of me grip.”
Bloody, bloody Sherlock Holmes. My new tenant. The bastard.
I turned over, wanting to tell Kit not to worry, that this was my drum, and we could do what we liked, when I realised my husband had vanished. Vanished like the dream he had been.
His side of the bed was as empty as it had been since the night he had died.
I lay very still, listening to the noises from above me. I wished I could cry; I did try. I thought about Kit, remembered his voice, his laugh. The way we had laughed together. Wished above everything that I could remember what he looked like, but no matter how I tried I could not conjure up his beloved face. I remembered his touch, and with that memory realised that I was still lying where I had thrown myself, body gaping as I waited for his touch. The touch that was now never going to come.
But desire still cramped my cunny. I snuggled down into to the eiderdown, and slid my finger into myself, rubbing up and down exactly as I recalled Kit doing it, a few moments before. Harder and harder and harder, until I was hurting myself and knew I was in danger of drawing blood. And then harder still. Eventually, when my hand was so tired it ached, I found some sort of second-rate satisfaction and I lay still, worn out with the disappointment of my dream and my own pathetic efforts to satisfy myself.
The front door slammed and I heard footsteps on the stairs. A quiet tap on my door.
“Mrs. Hudson? I´m sorry about the noise. Did the men disturb you?”
I lay silently, my hands clenched into fists. Ignored him.
Eventually, I heard him going back upstairs.
Bastard. Bastard. Bastard.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, India MillarWrite a Review