I moved to London as soon as I could. I was 18 and desperate to leave my parents house. I was going nowhere and my parents weren't helping. It would probably surprise you that I don't have a dream job or a hot husband. It may even surprise you that I just got up and left without a trace.
It escapes my mind every now and then that I'm still probably being searched for- almost 4 years later. Rich parents never stop looking. Hopefully my absence is now just a gravestone, a eulogy, but I doubt it.
I just left, restarted my life, changed how I looked, I'm strategic.
Instead of the long brown plait snaking down my back I now have short green hair and a fringe. Instead of my flowery pink summer dress I am adorned in black. Their baby would never wear black. But I'm not their baby anymore. If my parents saw me now, other than being majorly pissed off, they wouldn't recognise me.
So now, the present. I'm hiding out in a damp flat in London. I'm working for a hormonal boss at a small restaurant. My life is escaping, going from work to... You can't really call it home, and back to work again. It's great.
It’s a bit lonely, but it's an improvement on before.
So, back to the actual present. I’m standing, leaning on one leg, and waiting for the couple in front of me to decide on what to order. I have been stuck by the couple for so long that they may have forgotten why they are here in the first place.
"So, she will have the chicken, and I?" The grey man thinks, tugging on his ear lobe. "Ill also have the chicken."
His wife smiles at me and I write down their order before leaving them to themselves.
"Slow today. Barely anyone here." Jasmine leans against the front desk.
"You're telling me." I chuckle sourly.
"That couple comes here every week. I'd have thought that they'd found something better than this by now."
"But this is the best that it gets. This is London's finest!" I state sarcastically, reading the statement on the rusting sign by the door.
I look around the restaurant. It’s not exactly... Classy. The red paint is peeling off the walls in the corners and the carpet is worn and frayed. Why anyone comes here is a mystery.
The restaurant door swings open and, upon noticing who entered, Jasmine freezes. Her body becomes rigid and she tugs at the bottom on her extremely short skirt before placing her splayed hands back on the counter. Her tattoo sneaks out from under her skirt like tentacles and she holds the edge of the counter like it is glass.
"Who is it?" I ask, my eyes shooting back up to meet hers.
"Sherlock Holmes and John Watson." She states sourly. "John broke my heart a few months ago, left me with no note."
I raise an eyebrow at her dramatic attitude. The way she reacted I was expecting a murder.
"Can you serve them? I don't think I can take it!"
I roll my eyes, sweeping up my notepad on my way to their table. I stride over towards them, my dress swinging at my thighs, hoping that Jasmine wouldn't come over and cry at them.
"Hello. Welcome to London's Finest." I say, waiting for any sign that they had heard me.
The person who Jasmine identified as Sherlock looks up at me and I feel strangely violated as his eyes scan over me. His look is sharp and I can tell he already has hundreds of opinions on me.
"What would you like to order?" I ask, ignoring Sherlock's distasteful looks.
"Do you know all the people in this area?" He asks bluntly and I step back.
"I might, what's it to you?" I reply, raising an eyebrow.
"We are looking for a girl. Gone for four years. Nobody can find her-" Sherlock starts.
"Could we-" John tries to diffuse the situation.
"Mother all over the show, poor soul-"
"C- coffee please-"
"Father gambling until the early hours of the morning-"
"I'm sorry about him, I just-"
"They're just desperate for their baby girl back-"
"Sherlock! We are in a restaurant!" John slams his fist on the table before politely apologising.
"So did I hear two coffees?" I ask.
"Yes, you did." John replies, staring at Sherlock with a look I don't understand.
"At a restaurant?"
John sighs, picking up the menu. "And an omelette."
"You should really go to cafés for these things-"
His lips are in a tight line and I turn away, back to the counter.
"Two coffees, and an omelette." I relay to Jasmine.
"You see," She says. "he doesn't even recognise me!"
She makes a dramatic action before taking my notepad from me and disappearing into the back.
This is not the first time the restaurant is in a frenzy. An employee once spilt boiling tea on a rich customer and he sued the business. Everyone was shouting and I had honestly never seen so many wet cloths in my entire existence. The old couple were at their table in the corner and they later told me that they had never seen something so exciting. Maybe that is why the old couple are still coming to this restaurant. Maybe they are missing the excitement from their lives since they are so old and want me to spice up their brunch. Maybe they want me to spill hot coffee on Sherlock.
I get pulled out of my daydream by Jasmine calling my name.
"Coffee for the table with my heart stapled to their flag." Jasmine fishes for any form of sympathy but I've already made it half way across the restaurant to their table.
"Coffees. Omelette on the way." I state, putting the cups down and considering whether dump the contents of those said cups on Sherlock’s lap.
"So have you heard of this lost girl?" Sherlock asks.
"I'll help you somehow if you answer my question." I say after a while, pulling a chair up to their table.
Sherlock shares a look with John, who shrugs. "Go on, and hurry."
"Do you recognise that girl there." I point back at Jasmine, who is obviously posing.
"I- uh- no." John states clearly.
"Ah, no, you do John. She was at the flower shop a few weeks ago. You said hello and she said hello back." Sherlock points at her.
"How you remember a simple greeting from a month ago is beyond me." John sighs, sipping from his coffee.
The way Jasmine put it they were practically married. I return to get their omelette.
Jasmine hands it to me, waiting for a reaction. "They didn't remember you." I state, turning around.
"Bu-" She starts. But I'm already gone.
I put their omelette between them and they look at it in silence for a moment before John prods it with his fork.
"Is that all?" Sherlock asks.
"You never really wanted the omelette in the first place." I sigh.
"No, is that all you wanted to know?"
"Can you help us find this missing girl then?"
I bite down on my lip. Do they not usually focus on more exciting mysteries? John raises his eyebrow and I realise that I practically promised them.
"I guess. I'll give you some pointers and ideas." I shrug.
If you look at it this way, I'm helping The John Watson and The Sherlock Holmes in a mystery of finding... myself.
They're meant to be top detectives yet can't even see right in front of their own eyes. They've hired the victim and the villain.