"I tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me,
I've been alone all along~"
4th of April, 1894
At last the recent events had turned my life into a most favourable one. This morning in early April was a pleasant one, and seemed to be the upbeat to a relatively uneventful day. At least I thought so until Inspector Lestrade, as dapper and ferret-like as ever, called upon us at Baker Street. It turned out to be more than just a courtesy visit, for obviously he had an interesting case on hand and wanted John to assist him in investigating it.
"The Honourable Ronald Adair.", Lestrade stated, in a way like the name should ring a bell. When it apparently did not, he explained: "Second son of the Earl and Countess of Maynooth."
As far as I could gather, this Ronald Adair had been shot in the night, but there were no signs of an intruder to be found. When John suggested that the bullet might have come through a window, the official shook his head and after explaining that the window was impossible to reach he added with a low, slightly mocking laugh: "Looks like the murderer had wings!" John agreed to examine the body which was still at the crime scene, and shortly after Inspector Lestrade had left, he departed for Park Lane.
When he returned, it was early afternoon. "A very grotesque incident.", John remarked, putting down his medic bag. "I can not think of any possible hypothesis one could make up without it crumbling to dust under the weight of all of the circumstances to consider." I said not without a little bitterness: "It would be quite an interesting case for Holmes, no?" He nodded, and with a glance at the clock I went downstairs intending to prepare some tea.
On my way I passed the front door, and just in the very moment I did so there was a knock. I turned back and opened the door to face an elder man I could not recall to have seen before. He carried some old books under his arm and white side whiskers were visible under his top hat, which was half-hiding his face. "How can I help you?", I asked.
In a strange, croaking voice he said: "I came to see Dr. Watson. This is where he lives, right?"
I nodded, and let the man step in. I turned to show him up, and suddenly as I caught another glimpse of his face in the corner of my eye- just for a mere second- he seemed to remind me of someone, again I was sure that I had seen him somewhere. Well, asking would not hurt.
"Excuse me, sir- Do I perhaps know you?", I cautiously inquired. The old man gave a knowing grin: "Actually, I think you do."
He took off his hat and now that I could see his face better, my impression that he was no stranger became more and more convincing. Then the visitor did something completely unexpected: He also pulled off his false whiskers, and to my unbelieving eyes there presented itself a face that I had never hoped to see again.
Merriment glistened in the eyes of Sherlock Holmes.
He looked paler and somewhat thinner than of old, but it was undoubtedly our friend we believed to be dead. For a moment I was totally paralyzed. I stared at him, unable to move or speak. Holmes stood still waiting until I had collected myself, and when I finally managed a whisper: "Is it... really... you? You're not... dead?", he nodded with a broad smile, and said in his normal voice, not without emotion: "Obviously, Rebecca. It's me."
Hearing these words I couldn't help myself to impulsively throw my arms around his neck. I felt his hand gently patting my back as tears of happiness ran over my cheeks.
I suddenly had forgotten not only about the tea, but about everything else as well. In my mind there was now no place left for anything but for the words I inwardly repeated over and over, like a prayer: "He's still alive... Holmes came back! He's alive!"
With a somewhat surprising tenderness but still decidedly Holmes took my hand and pulled it off his shoulder. He almost instantaneously spotted the ring on my finger- the one which Watson had given to me.
Holmes smiled: "Oh, did I miss something?"
I quickly told him about the proposal, but then I said: "We can talk in detail about everything that happened later, John will be overjoyed to see you! We should not keep him waiting- I'll go tell him!"
I wanted to- not very ladylike, I admit- run upstairs, but Holmes caught me by the arm. He put a warning finger to his lips. "Shh. I want it to be a surprise."
That was only too typical- Holmes' well-known love for the dramatic.
With an impish grin he restored his masquerade, and I went upstairs to announce to John that an 'old bookseller' wanted to see him.
"Oh, that must be the person I ran into when visiting Park Lane. What may he want?"
It took me an immense effort to hide a smile upon his reaction.
"Show him in, will you, my dear?" John asked. I nodded, and stepped outside.
Holmes was already standing on the top of the stairs and I, after winking at him to signal that John was perfectly unsuspecting, opened the door. Holmes stepped in, and still standing in the doorway I witnessed their conversation. John had just turned around from looking at the bookshelf when Holmes suddenly revealed his mask and so his identity.
John stared at him, just like I probably had been staring before- and sank to the floor in a faint.
I held myself back from rushing into the room. I was worried, but I knew Holmes would take good care of him. I didn't want to disturb this moment.
John slowly opened his eyes again when Holmes' fingers touched his face. Affection and kindness reverberated in Holmes' voice.
"My dear Watson, I owe you a thousand apologies. I had no idea that you would be so affected."~