The welcoming to consciousness was not a pleasant one. Murdoch's skull pounded with the combined force of the thousand hammer strokes it would take to build their dream house. Groaning, he put a hand to his head and tried to sit up. It was then that he realized someone's arm was draped across his chest.
Julia? he thought absentmindedly.
Cocking his head sideways, he quickly discovered it was not his fiance.
Goodness gracious! he thought, mind reeling, as he fell out of the comfortable queen sized bed, landing on his rear end.
This sudden movement served to rouse the woman in question. She was the buxom young lady who had asked for a private 'interview' the other day. Cynthia was dressed in nothing more than her nightgown, a rather revealing piece that he inadvertently stared at.
She stretched like a cat and smirked down at him.
"Good morning, detective."
Murdoch did his best not to hyperventilate but it was a very near thing. He scrambled to his feet and stumbled out of the room blindly, desperate to get some fresh air. The incense (among copious amounts of rum) had turned his mind hazy and dull, and he needed to regain his wits immediately or be completely undone.
Once outside he frantically tried to recall the events of last night...though there seemed little point, it was quite obvious that he had imbibed far too much and was now paying the price (in more ways than one).
No! Think, William, think!
He remembered all the lads at his bachelor party, and the special 'present' from Bat, but then everything became muddled...
Somehow his treacherous feet had led him back here...and then the unthinkable happened.
He leaned against the wall for support, once again trying not to break down at his betrayal of Julia's trust.
Eyes on the ground, he noticed his shoes were not on his feet, but then patting himself down, found that the rest of his clothes were. Well, not his suit jacket or hat...and his tie was uncomfortably loosened, but otherwise, clothed.
Murdoch took several steadying breaths and marched back into the high end brothel and up the stairs until he found the source of all his disquiet.
As he anxiously stood at the threshold, she glanced over at him from the bed and struck a titillating pose. "Back so soon, detective? I'm ever so flattered."
Averting his gaze, he moved further into the room, but left the door opened.
With a great will he adopted his professional manner and said, "Miss...ah, I never did catch a last name."
"It's Straton, but I'd prefer if you called me Cynthia, just like you did last night."
The infernal woman seemed to be enjoying the situation immensely.
"Miss Straton, I find myself highly perturbed to be in your establishment this morning. Perhaps you would be so kind as to shed some light on last night's events?"
Cynthia fake sulked. "Don't tell me you've forgotten our time together already?"
"Miss Straton, after I came here, what happened?" he snapped.
"Calm down, detective," she said with a giggle. "I was only having a little fun." Cynthia got out of bed and sat down at her bohemian style mirror and began combing her long luscious locks. "Let's see, you arrived her with Anadia around one, or about the time of last call." She looked at him through the mirror mischievously and winked. "I do have to get some rest you know in between entertaining my clients."
He checked his pocket watch. It was a quarter to seven. He had been in the brothel for almost six hours!
"Go on," he queried, throat even drier than when he awoke.
"Well, you were ever so loud and the madame wanted to throw you out but I asked her not to and brought you up here instead."
He tried to gulp but found it an impossible feat. His throat was sandpaper.
Cynthia's grin widened in the mirror. "I took off your hat and tossed it over there," she gestured to the table beside her. "Then I helped you out of your jacket and gave you a kiss."
His gut clenched painfully.
"You were very receptive at first...but then you pulled away and shook your head, muttering something about Gillies."
Murdoch raised an eyebrow.
"Still, you let me lead you by the hand and into the bed."
The damned woman abruptly stopped talking and simply continued to comb her hair.
"And?" he managed to squeak out, as his laboured breathing nearly ensnared all sound.
"And then you immediately fell asleep and I was heartbroken," she said, with another fake pout.
Utterly relieved, he released a massive sigh and collapsed into a chair. Murdoch felt like he had just been in another bicycle race with men half his age.
He caught her sly glance through the mirror and his detective mind kicked in again. "You are telling me the truth, aren't you?"
"Why, are you as disappointed as me that nothing happened last night?" She turned towards him and coyly said, "We can still change that you know. Your fiance need never know."
"No, thank you, Miss Straton," he replied, stiffly. "I'll be going now."
And never coming back.
In the lobby were he bumped into the table, he came across none other than Constable Worseley!
They awkwardly stared at one another for a few moments and then skulked out the back and headed in opposite directions. Murdoch was glad to put some distance between himself and the brothel as he rapidly made his way to his boarding house. He needed to at the very least, change his tie so the lads didn't realize he had been out all night.
As he crept into 22 Ontario Street, a stern voice said, "You missed breakfast, Detective Murdoch."
Mrs. Kitchen was off to the side giving him a disapproving stare. He unconsciously tugged on his collar and said, "Ah, forgive me, Mrs. Kitchen, I was..."
"Yes?" she enquired a little too eagerly.
Murdoch cleared his throat and clasped his hands together. "Well, I must get ready for the day," and bounded up the stairs, ignoring his sluggish body's protest.
Cleaned up, he headed to his church. He had a lot to get off his chest and if he didn't do it soon, he was certain he would explode.
"William," greeted Father Clements, in his usual placid yet, warm manner. "How are-" He must have seen Murdoch's expression. Clements placed a hand to his shoulder. "Would you like to give confession?"
Clements nodded once and they settled into their separate compartments.
"Tell me what is on your mind."
"Father, I have sinned in a grievous manner." Clements allowed him time to compose his thoughts. "I had my bachelor party last night, and partook of a large amount of rum."
Clements chuckled slightly. "You must have a terrible headache right now."
"Indeed I do. But that is the least of my concerns, Father." He took a deep breath. "I found myself in a house of ill repute this morning."
His priest registered no surprise except for a sharp intake of breath.
"And did you have carnal relations with any of its inhabitants?"
"No, I did not, but I'm thoroughly ashamed of myself all the same and tormented at the prospect of confiding in Julia. We're so close to becoming man and wife...I can't lose her again. But I don't think I am capable of keeping something like this from her either."
There was a brief silence before Clements responded but it seemed more like a lifetime. "William, I still hold true to what I said yesterday. Julia is at the very least your equal. You owe her the truth before you are united body and soul...but ultimately it is your decision to make. I can't force you to tell her."
"But you could tell her yourself," Murdoch added feebly.
The Father chuckled again. "William, you are a strong willed man. I have the utmost faith in your ability to do the right thing."
I was afraid you would say that.
Murdoch found Julia waiting for him in his office and he was troubled at the idea of facing her so soon after giving confession. He took off his hat and nervously turned it in his hands as he approached his bride to be.
"William," she said with a glint in her eye.
"Julia, I have something to tell you...it's about last night."
"Yes, I heard about the belly dancer," she said with an amused air. "Most risque."
"You did? How?"
"Emily and I came across a rather inebriated George last night as we made our way home from the theatre." She touched his lapels. "He told us all about it...and how you were enjoying yourself a great deal." Julia stroked his tie once. "I must say I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't there to behold such a sight." She caught his eye. "But perhaps a reprisal is in need." He grimaced. "William? What's wrong?"
"Julia, I-I betrayed you last night."
"Mr. Masterson frequented a certain disreputable establishment while he was in town...it's the same location the belly dancer inhabits. I don't know how it happened exactly but apparently I went back with her and one of the courtesans took an interest in me..."
"Interest?" she echoed, body stiffening, all trace of gaiety gone. "How do you mean?"
"Well...I woke up in her bed," he blurted out.
Julia appeared to be in shock and close to crying and he hastened to comfort her. He took her hands and did his best to maintain eye contact.
"Please believe me when I say that nothing of consequence happened between us...I simply fell asleep. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me."
Her eyes glistened as she processed this. Then to his great surprise she smiled. "Of course I forgive you, William."
"Really?" he said, uncomprehendingly. "So easily?"
"I can't imagine the courage it took to tell me this. I'm not sure I would have been strong enough myself."
Resolutely, "I'm going to make this up to you, Julia."
"Yes, you will..." she said with her familiar look of mischief. Julia closed the doors to his office and drew the blinds. Then she put a hand to his tie.
Dare he refuse her?
He nodded once and she gleefully loosened the source of all his restraint.
I was gonna have him bump into Henry but then I remembered he said he had no money at the beginning of the episode.