Laura Holmes held open her teacher’s textbook as she wrote on the chalkboard. It was after the school day, and she was preparing for tomorrow’s lesson in English. The brunette hummed to herself as she glanced back between the marked up pages and recently cleaned blackboard. She was distracted. Suddenly, her phone rang. Quite loud. It caused Laura to let out a small squeak and jump, her heart beating in her chest. She set down the chalk and textbook, grabbing her phone and groaning at the caller ID. Sherlock Holmes. Her older brother. The world’s only consulting detective. His title. What a prick.
“What do you want, Sherlock?” The doe eyed woman demanded, furrowing her brows.
“Meet me at the morgue. Fresh body.” Her brother answered. Then, he hung up.
Laura huffed as she hung up as well, shaking her head. Why did he drag her along? Did he not have any friends to bring along to solve cases with? Wait, he didn’t. Her Christmas present for him would be a friend. Mum could yell at her all she wanted, but she knew that Sherlock needed a friend as well. She’d have to suggest that to Mycroft the next time they saw each other. He’d agree as well.
“Excuse me, Laura, do you have a moment?” A colleague stepped into the room.
“Oh, no, I have to meet up with my brother. Something important.” Laura peered at the man, Garrett Smith. “I should get going. He is incredibly impatient. And a downright pain in the arse.”
“Oh, that’s fine!” Garrett stammered. “I can ask you tomorrow.” And he was gone.
Laura stared at the empty spot her coworker stood just a moment ago. What was that about? If it was something important, she would have been happy to assist him. Nevermind that, she had to get ready to meet Sherlock at the morgue. Most siblings had lunch together. Why couldn’t she have a somewhat normal brother?
Laura paid her taxi driver before stepping out in the grey world around her. She really hated London; it was far too grey and dismal for her liking. She had enjoyed attending school in the United States. Quite beautiful there. Plus she had a whole ocean between herself and her family. All that independence was exhilarating.
‘You’re late.’ Her phone rang as she received a text from Sherlock.
‘Not your assistant.’ Laura quickly punched in her reply before she walked towards the entrance of the hospital.
‘No. If you were, you wouldn’t be late.’ Oh, she was going to strangle him.
Laura navigated her way through the hospital. The heels of her boots clicked on the linoleum tiles of the hospital. The fluorescent lighting brought a grim feeling. She had always associated hospitals with death and disease. She never liked being in one for too long, if she had a choice in the matter.
“Hey, you’re a downright arse. I have a life that does not revolve around you. An actual paying job. I swear, I am not your assistant!” The brunette ranted as she stepped into the lab, sending a glare to her brother.
Her eyes then noticed two men. Mike and a stranger. Of course, she would embarrass herself in front of her brother’s company.
“Hello, Laura.” Mike greeted her. “Meet John Watson, an old friend of mine,” he gestured to the shorter man with the cane.
“Hello. Nice to meet you.” Laura nodded towards John.
“Mike, can I borrow your phone? There’s no signal on mine.” Sherlock asked as he sat at the lab table.
“And what’s wrong with the landline?” Mike questioned.
“I prefer to text.”
Laura rolled her eyes as she stepped into the lab, studying the objects within. Chemicals, beakers, flasks of questionable items. Very different from her day. Potted plants and reading Shakespeare. She was wary of touching any chemicals. Never knew which ones could melt off your skin even while touching the flask.
“Uh, here, use mine.” She heard John say to her brother.
“Oh, thank you.”
Laura squinted at her brother. She forgot he had manners. The teacher picked up a microscope slide, studying it. Stem cells, huh. She vaguely recalled what stem cells were from one anatomy class she took.
“Afghanistan or Iraq?” Sherlock questioned as he used John’s phone.
“Sorry?” The man gave her brother a look.
“Which was it, Afghanistan or Iraq?” Sherlock repeated in his monotone voice as he turned his head to look at John.
John sighed, “Afghanistan. Sorry how did you know…”
As John spoke, the door opened as Molly entered the lab with a cup of coffee. Laura set down the slide, raising a brow. Did he really make Molly fetch him a cup of coffee? That was not her job; she was not his assistant.
“Ah, Molly! Coffee, thank you.” Sherlock cut off John in the middle of his sentence.
He squinted at the woman, “What happened to the lipstick?”
“It wasn’t working for me.” Molly answered as she handed him the mug.
“Really?” Sherlock turned away from her. “I thought it was a big improvement. Your mouth’s too small now,” the dark haired man remarked.
Laura shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose. Did he realize that Molly fancied him, or was he truly that dense? She never could tell when it came to her brother. It honestly could be both with Sherlock.
“How do you feel about the violin?” Sherlock continued his conversation with John.
“That bloody violin.” Laura muttered to herself, recalling all those times she heard that blasted violin growing up. All those times she was tempted to cut the strings off of his violin just for some peace and quiet.
John was silent for a moment. “Sorry, what?”
“I play the violin when I’m thinking and sometimes I don’t talk for days on end. Would that bother you? Potential flatmates should know the worst about each other.” Sherlock answered as his cold gaze went to the man.
Flatmates? That is what this was about. Odd place to interview a potential flatmate. Of course, she then realized that John was just as confused as her when he questioned Mike. Laura then put it together that Mike was setting them up to be possible flatmates. May God, or whomever, have mercy on John’s soul if he does become flatmates with her older brother.
“Then, who said anything about flatmates?”
“I did.” Sherlock explained once again, “I told Mike this morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for. Now here he is, just after lunch with an old friend clearly just home from military service in Afghanistan. Wasn’t a difficult leap.”
John looked down, “How did you know about Afghanistan?”
“Got my eye on a nice little place in Central London. Together we ought to be able to afford it. We’ll meet there tomorrow evening, 7:00.” Sherlock ignored his question. “Sorry got to dash. I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary. Laura, we should get going now.”
“Is that it?” John demanded as he turned to look at Sherlock.
Laura began moving towards the door, eager to get whatever her brother wanted to do over with. The sooner, the better. She grabbed her phone from her pocket, checking the time as she waited for Sherlock to hurry up.
“Is that what?” Her brother in quired as he stepped away from the door.
“We’ve only just met and we’re going to go look at a flat?” John questioned.
John gave Mike a look before speaking to the consulting detective, “We don’t know a thing about each other. I don’t know where we’re meeting, I don’t even know your name.”
Sherlock narrowed his gaze. “I know you’re an Army doctor. And you’ve been invalided home from Afghanistan. I know you’ve got a brother who’s worried about you but you won’t go to him for help ‘cause you don’t approve of him, possibly because he’s an alcoholic and more likely because he recently walked out on his wife.
“And I know your therapist thinks your limp’s psychosomatic, quite correctly, I’m afraid. That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think?” Sherlock cocked his brows at the Army doctor before opening the door.
He peered back at John. “The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker Street,” he clicked his tongue and winked, “Afternoon.”
Laura waved at John and Mike as she followed after her brother. Baker Street? Name sounded familiar. She could have sworn that she knew someone from Baker Street. A person she met through Sherlock.
“So, a new flatmate?” She raised her voice from behind Sherlock.
“Yes. Problem?” He asked, keeping his gaze forward.
Laura scoffed, “You spent about five minutes with him, and you decided that him not calling you a freak was a good potential flatmate? Yes, there’s a problem.”
“I vetted him more than you’ve vetted all the men you’ve dated.” Sherlock deadpanned.
“Arse.” Laura hissed to herself, glaring at her brother.
The next afternoon, Laura sat at her desk. It was the lunch period, thus her students were not due back for a few more minutes. She was curious about John. Military doctor. She had to make sure her brother was not rooming with a psychopath. Mycroft would somehow blame her if Sherlock was killed by a crazed axe murderer.
The brunette logged onto her computer, and she opened up the web browser. She quickly typed ‘John Watson’ into the search, glancing at the results that popped up. No red alarms quite yet. Normal fellow, actually.
“Laura, could I speak with you?” Garrett asked in a timid tone.
She logged off, “Of course, what did you need?”
“I was wondering… if you’d like t-to…” The man stared at the ceiling as he spoke.
Laura stared at her coworker, wondering if he was ill. He was certainly acting like he had a virus. As she did, some of her students walked in to see their English and choir teacher talking. Some of them jumped to a conclusion.
“Go, Mr. Smith! Asking Ms. Holmes on a date!” Tommy, a student, hollered.
“About time!” Rachel, another student, spoke up.
That caused Garrett Smith’s entire face to turn a shade of pink. His ears were as red as his tie. The choir teacher made a quick exit as Laura stared on in disbelief. She covered her mouth with both of her hands, her large eyes noticeably larger. Was that what he wanted? A date? And she was just calling Sherlock dense! She hadn’t even realized that Garrett wanted to take her to dinner. Her brother would never learn about this.
“Tommy, Rachel!” Laura snapped at the students as she stood up. “We do not embarrass Mr. Smith like that.” She scolded them.
“What? It was obvious.” Tommy defended himself.
“That doesn’t mean you shout it out,” the teacher sighed, shaking her head.
More and more students were piling in. All of them were whispering and gossiping about the exchange between the two teachers. She’d have to stop these rumors here. No need for parents to hear about them. That’d cause even more unneeded drama and fan the flames. And what if Headmaster Jones found out? He’d lecture the both of them.
“Listen up, everyone!” Laura raised her voice to get the attention of her pupils. “This does not leave this classroom. Do not post this on Twitter or Facebook or your blogs. We do not need to add more people into the business between Mr. Smith and I.”
“But you didn’t even say yes!” Rachel pointed out.
“Zip it, Ms. Nelson.” Laura hushed her. “Not another word, or I will make just this class write a five page paper on ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ single space.”
The students instantly stopped whispering. Always good to know threats about homework still worked on children. No one wanted to write a five page paper on Shakespearean literature. All of them would rather party and text their friends.
“Glad we understand each other. Now, turn to page 32 and continue reading where we left off yesterday.” Laura smiled, clapping her hands together.