Challenge 02 -
It was two o'clock, and the London air was crisp and fresh. The sky was a bleak wintry blue, although it was well past the start of January, but fortunately this didn't consist in a problem as the young and beautiful Michelle Briants climbed out of the plump black taxi and gazed around, her eyes shielded by a pair of expensive black shades.
The twenty years old brunette was a decisive young thing: she might not be used to getting what she wanted with money, but her looks generally granted her access to many places – that was why she was so good at her government secretary position, and how she managed to entertaining her curious snooping-around ways. It wasn't that she flirted or sold her body, like most desperate cases had to – she just carried herself off with authority, and her good looks won that extra little collaboration. After all, which man could afford loosing the trust of a pretty lady?
Her black heels clickety-clopped loudly on the pavement as she took decisive step forwards, glancing down every so often at the ripped piece of newspaper letter with a series of long digit numbers scribbled on – a phone number. Sherlock might have been an A-class detective, but even a mastermind couldn't be neat. He had a schoolboy's messy sketchy handwriting.
Michelle was here today to meet up with Sherlock Holmes and his co-worker, Watson.
But when the brunette arrived, there was only on person in sight, with his back facing her. Michelle paused, hugging her long trench cloak tighter against her slim body, and gained an inch of courage more. “Excuse me?” She asked in her crisp and round British accent. “Is this the Jaybird Inn?”
The man turned to look at her. He was young and handsome. “It is indeed.” He confirmed politely, and with the usual formalness.
Michelle made one step to walk past him, hinting a smile, before halting again, more decisively. “Doctor Watson?” She asked daringly.
The man blinked his blue eyes. “I am, yes.” He looked at her, before straightening his posture and turning to face her completely. “Forgive me, but do I know you?” He asked with furrowed brows.
“No, and you don't know me. But we know one person in common.”
Watson raised an eyebrow, edging her to continue.
The inn was more like a pub: crowded, noisy, dark, and smelt like mashed potatoes. It's soothing brown colours seeped down every available surface, and although it was daytime, it looked dark enough to be late afternoon. The dim gold glow of the lamps shimmered on the wooden surface of the table Briants and Watson were eating at. They sat one in front of the other, the two of them laughing at a joke he had just said, her coat forgotten on the back of her chair as her slim and unusually tanned body caught the smeared light of the place, her thin shoulders huddled together and her arms crossed over her chest and on the wooden table as she laughed to herself, head keen downwards as she attempted to keep the laughter in, and Watson rubbing his hand over his jaw and letting out a long whistle of a relieved sigh.
“So,” The man said finally, pouring the two of them another glass of wine as they started a new an unapproachable topic, “how did you know who I was?”
The brunette considered this for a second, reaching one hand over to swirl the thick red liquid inside her cup. “How did I know you were /the/ Watson.”
“Yes.” He smiled.
Michelle shrugged. “Other than the exasperated look of someone waiting?”
She flashed him a secretive wink as she brought the glass to her lips. “Lucky guess?”
John Watson chuckled behind closed lips, amusement flickering in his blue eyes. “Liar.”
“Not at all. It was twenty percent a guess.” She smiled, discreetly sucking at her lips to savour the taste of wine, “But for the other ingredients? I knew the location: 10 percent. I guessed you would be waiting outside – as usually it is social etiquette to not enter the place until all participants have arrived. 5 percent. I figured out you'd be around Watson's age, and if not, represent similar tastes in either dressing, behaviourism, habits or pet peeves... Do you smoke?”
“Me? No.” He answered, intrigued.
“Ah. Then you travelled by taxi, too. Ash remains, on your sleeve. Smeared, by accident. Your appearance is immaculate: impossible if you travel by metro, surrounded by people and occasional underground breezes. Overall, the quality of your clothing suggests a certain wealth that hints at ordinary luxury. Impossible not to conclude you are of the same quality, so to speak, of Mr Holmes, whom I have met just the other day in the light of a crime. And you know what was the icing on the cake?”
“His note on your hand. “Lunch. 12.35.””
She winked at him, and pulled out her newspaper slip. “Same writing, same pen pressure, same roundness and stiffness of the numbers he wrote for me. So, I couldn't come to any other conclusion but that of which you were Watson. And I wasn't wrong.”
Watson smirked, touching his hand self-consciously. “You are good.”
“And an even better taster.” She added teasingly, holding up her fork with the last portion of lunch, before she bit into it. “So what happened to Mr Holmes?” She asked after a few moments, shielding her still-chewing mouth politely behind her hand.
“Late, probably.” John Watson replied with a roll of his shoulders. “He usually is, when he wonders off.”
“Is it not rude?”
“Usually is.” He admitted, “But VIPs can be excused.”
Michelle hummed thoughtfully and, resting her chin on her hand, turned her gaze towards the door.
Just then, Sherlock arrived. With important news.