Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to BBC's Sherlock or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes or anything like that.
Molly Hooper grew up admiring the women on the covers of all the glossy magazines sold at the checkout isles of Tesco as well as those who were lucky enough to grace billboards and telly screens. As early as she could remember people always told her that she shouldn't think so highly of those women, that they were all unhealthy, changed by computers and would distort her body image. At the end of the day though these things only made her admire those women even more. To Molly these wonderful, beautiful women were so amazing because they worked hard, and kept modeling even though they probably knew what so many people said about them.
Because of this by twelve-years-old Molly was absolutely certain that she wanted nothing more than to become a model herself. When she told her father about this on night he certainly wasn't happy with the idea, but he supported her regardless. "You are growing to be your own person. I figure you are more that capable of making a decision or two for yourself." He said.
Molly's mother on the other hand took more time and energy to convert to the idea. "I will not have any daughter of mine, a young girl no less, prancing around a stage all done up like a woman." After a few weeks of hard work and some subliminal – though not altogether subtle – messaging from Molly though, Mrs. Hooper finally agreed that Molly could try her hand at the local beauty pageant. She was so excited when her mum finally agreed that Molly had spent the entire day practically bouncing off the walls of the family's house, and wondering what she might possibly wear.
The next few months were spent preparing for the pageant and Molly could not remember being happier. In her age group there were three sections for the competition that were scored and then added together to decide the winner. The three categories were formal dress, talent and swimsuit. Molly was pleasantly surprised that her mother was so enthralled with the shopping and the two girls had an easy time of finding the right costumes for the talent and swimsuit categories, but the formal dress proved a lot more difficult. Neither of the women could find a dress that they could agree on.
Then one night her father came home from work carrying a long and puffed out, white garment bag. He made a show of gathering the small family together before unveiling his present to Molly. The dress that he had carried in was beautiful and Molly fell in love with it immediately. The dress was pink and strapless. The skirt was made of bright pink tulle that fell to floor length in a wonderful amount of ruffles, with the bodice only a slightly darker shade of pink than the skirt, and covered in sequins that made the top sparkle and throw light in the most beautiful way.
Molly gasped and then ran to her father. Laughing he seemed to read her mind and carefully handed over the dress. Molly first held it up to her so that she could see it was the perfect length, and understanding past her excitement that this would mean fewer fittings if any. She would not even have to wear high heels to make the length just a little bit better, and this was a relief because Molly was always wobbly on those cursed things. Feeling the fabric she felt the almost sharp edges of the sequins that covered the top, and was careful not to cause enough pressure to either bend the plastic disks, or to hurt herself.
Molly's absolutely favorite part of the dress though was not the sequins on the bodice like most might have assumed, but the skirt. The fabric was slightly coarse, but when doubled up and then rubbed between Molly's thumb and first finger it made a noise unlike the sound that other fabrics made. Something about that difference from most formal fabrics made Molly happier than could be imagined.
With very little prompting Molly carefully gathered up the dress and took it to her bedroom before changing into it and hosting a sort of fashion show for her parents. In the back of her closet she found the shoebox that she knew held a pair of metallic silver leather shoes that she felt would match the dress. She had been correct in that assumption and the joy in her mother's face as Molly re-entered the family was enough to bolster her confidence, but it was nothing like the smile that was radiation from her father's face.
"You are beautiful Molls." Her father said, just before his voice was lost behind his wife's joy. Molly could not help but smile back at him and acknowledge wordlessly the pride that seemed to be almost imperceptibly threaded through his voice.
Then Molly was swallowed by the sound of her mother's voice. Much higher than her father's the soprano lilt seemed to fly across the room. "Oh, this is the perfect dress! The judges will love it! I love it! Why didn't we think of something like this before? Pink really is your color."
After a few more minutes of her mother flitting around and pulling at different sections of the skirt a camera seemed to materialize in her mother's hands, and the flash was nearly blinding as picture after picture was taken. Molly didn't mind though, and let her mind wander a bit as she felt her smile widen further than the Cheshire Cat's in one of her favorite movies.
Many years after her first pageant Molly now found herself at thirty still in front of flashing cameras, and she still loved every minute of it. She had been given a chance that few models got and had been offered a photo spread and article about her in Glamour magazine. A dress much like the one that she had worn all of those years ago accentuated her frame now - even more than it had when she was younger - as she smiled, throwing up her arms as she gave a turn, laughing.
The photographer seemed to catch Molly's happiness, and encouraged it while the camera continued to click. Jokes flew between the pair and Molly laughed freely even at the worst of them. After what must have been half a million shots the camera stopped for a minute, and right on cue a side door to the studio opened and a young girl came bounding in happily, followed closely by a taller man.
"Mummy! We are princesses!" Shouted the little girl as she did a turn in the matching pink dress she had been dressed in.
"What a beautiful dress. You do look like a princess!" Molly laughed with her daughter and reached to pick up the girl who easily ran over to her. The enthusiasm of both girls caused the man still standing a few feet away to laugh softly. Distracted by the sound of her husband's laugh Molly looked away from her little girl and past the surprisingly bright softbox lights toward the silhouette that was unmistakably the man she loved. Even if he was only half visible past the blinding lights he had a distinctive figure that made him unlike any other man Molly had ever met.
The click of the camera brought her focus back to the photo shoot and she picked up her daughter as the shutter continued to open and shut at a rapid pace. At four years old Lilly understood better than many children her age how to follow directions, but getting her to pose when she was so excited about the rose quartz colored dress proved more difficult than both Molly and the photographer had expected. After only five minutes though everyone had settled into a pattern of sorts before the man of the family was added to the pictures, balancing out the dynamics in some ways, and helping to calm his daughter.
Immediately Molly could tell that Sherlock was much more comfortable behind the camera that in front of it, but he put on a good show as he wrapped his arm around her waist. They stayed in this pose, Lilly standing in front of them, for a few minutes before Molly understood that the shots were far too formal for the spread that was being done and that her husband seemed to need some incentive to relax.
Smiling Molly turned to Sherlock. "I am surprised that a man with your ego is camera shy." She teased. She couldn't help but poke fun at him for just a moment, putting him just a little more on edge before calming him down.
Turning so that the two were now facing each other with their daughter in between them Sherlock looked at her. "I am not camera shy." He protested, "I am simply unused to this dynamic."
Molly smiled and saw through her husband's bravado so instead of replying she leaned towards him until they were almost to the point of kissing, with him naturally leaning towards her as well. His hands went lightly to her waist, perhaps to keep her from pulling away, while Molly's hand furthest from the camera gently rested on Sherlock's jaw. The instant before their lips touched two things happened nearly simultaneously. The first was Lilly, apparently unsettled by her parents display of affection, hid her face while making a small sound of disgust, and turning back towards the camera. The second was the audibly sharp click of the camera shutter. Molly wasn't surprised three weeks later when she saw that particular picture printed full page at the beginning of the article.
Just a - hopefully - small authors note. Thank you all for reading, this is only the first chapter so there will be an update hopefully within a week or so. Also I would like to dedicate this chapter to Morbidmegz and Companiontomisterholmes. :) They helped me figure this all out while I set up the plot for this. Also I have Polyvore sets that go along with these stories. I will post the link on my profile.