'Ooh, it was-was-s-so horrible! Oh! And I walked in, and he was just...swinging there! Oh, my heart! Did he not think about how it would affect me?'
Mrs Melrose collapsed on a chair, one hand over her heart, the other covering her face. John started forward, but Sherlock held him back, shaking his head. Let her continue. More often than not, people would talk and talk, just to fill the silence, and end up giving themselves away like the morons they were.
Mrs Melrose sniffed again, realised she wasn't getting any sympathy, so continued.
'It started like this, you see. Marcel came into the living room, which was quite unusual you see, because he usually stays in his room. But anyway, he comes in, and sits down, all quiet like, then leans forward and turns off the telly! Right in the middle of Neighbours! Would you believe it!' Mrs Melrose cast an imploring glance at Sherlock, as if to emphasise how traumatised she was by this disaster in her life. After a few seconds of silence, she coughed and continued. 'Well, I think that it must be important then, 'coz Marcel knows not to turn off the telly when we're watching. Especially not in the middle of Neighbours. Anyways, then he leans forward...' Mrs Melrose leant towards Sherlock a little, as if to emphasise her point. 'Looks us in the eye, and says that he's- that he's- gay.' Mrs Melrose whispered the last word as if it were a curse. John cast a glance at Sherlock. The detective's expression was unreadable.
'And you claim you stayed at a friend's place the night Marcel died?'
Mrs Melrose nodded enthusiastically.
'And you have no idea who might have killed him?'
'Or where your husband hid the rope?'
Sherlock smiled at John, as Mrs Melrose began to realise her mistake. She clapped a hand to her mouth in horror, tensing up as Sherlock produced a pair of handcuffs. Sherlock patted her arm as he clicked the cuffs in question shut.
'Don't worry. If you'd been his mother instead of his foster parent, you wouldn't be able to have tea in the interrogation room.'
'...AND DON'T LIE TO ME!'
Mrs Melrose flinched as Sherlock reared up out of his seat. The white walls of the interrogation room contrasted starkly with his thick black coat, making his impossibly tall figure seem all the more impressive. Sherlock took a deep breath and sat down again. To any stranger observing it might seem like he was out of control, but John, who was watching the action unfold from behind a two-way mirror, knew he was anything but. John knew that Sherlock knew that he knew that Sherlock knew that he knew Sherlock calculated every move. John frowned suddenly. Did he really just think that? Sherlock must be rubbing off on him.
Banishing all thoughts of Sherlock and rubbing, John continued to watch the interrogation with rapt attention.
'...I honestly don't know what you’re talking about!'
'So you weren't in the house on the day, or rather, night, that Marcel died.'
'Where was your husband?'
'With me, at our friend's place.'
'Can your friend verify that?'
Mrs Melrose hesitated. 'Y-yes...Yes.'
'Good. Because we'll be checking.'
Mrs Melrose glared at Sherlock. He wasn't anything like the detectives on telly. Why, he wasn't even good-looking.
'You won't get any leads there.'
Sherlock frowned. 'We don't need leads. We're not dogs. But moving on. I want you to tell me exactly what happened in the day and night that Marcel was murdered.'
Mrs Melrose sat back, gathered her thoughts, took a long swig of water and began.
'When me and me husband woke up, Marcel was gone to school, as usual, so we think, why not have a bit of fun? Goodness knows we deserve it, what with all those episodes of Neighbours we had to catch up on. So we go over to Loraine's, and watch a movie, have a bit of booze, and go home. Well, we don't have a car you see, so we get taxis. Don't go in the garage much. Anyways, we get home, then Mr Melrose decides he wants to check the garage door because it's been squeaking. So we go back in the garage, and...'
Mrs Melrose gulped convincingly. Sherlock tapped his fingers together, and cleared his throat.
'Your husband gave exactly the same story.'
A self-satisfied smirk broke out on Mrs Melrose's face. She leaned back in her char, folding her arms. Sherlock smiled.
'You look very comfortable, Mrs Melrose.'
'Make the best out of a bad situation, hm?'
Nod. Sherlock smiled again.
'Then you'll be very happy in jail. Cuff her.'
After a protesting Mrs Melrose had been taken away, John approached Sherlock cautiously.
Sherlock frowned, as if the thought that John had not grasped what he, Sherlock Holmes, had, had not occurred to him.
John rolled his eyes and gestured to the police men leaning against the wall nursing black eyes.
'How'd you know she did it?'
Sherlock smiled superiorly. 'She said that they never went in the garage.'
'So how could she go back into the garage?'
Realisation dawned like a rising sun on John's face. He began nodding- then stopped, and shook his head instead.
'You can't jail a woman on a slip of the tongue.'
Sherlock had the grace to look a little embarrassed. 'Well, that and her garage doesn't have a door, so her husband couldn't have wanted to oil it.'
'So what did she do?'
'When Marcel came out to his foster parents, they reacted badly. The husband strangled him, hung him in the garage to cover the crime, then he and Mrs Melrose collected the insurance and began their stream of lies.'
Sherlock leaned against the wall behind him. 'Marcel had no relatives. No one will grieve over him.'
John cast his eyes down to the floor. 'I will.'
'You didn't even know him.'
'I know. But from what I've found out about him, he was a nice person.'
Sherlock sighed, and placed a comforting hand on John's shoulder, steering him out into the sunshine.
'It's the best that suffer, John. The best.'