"Which would it be tonight?" Sherlock thought as he scanned the bodies through the humid air of the wine bar. "Male or female?"
The song, only vaguely audible over the roar of the crowd, was throaty and dark, which suited his mood. He vaguely recalled some scandal with the singer, police involvement. Drugs, probably. Not relevant.
Ah, that would do nicely.
She was tall, which was nice, as it made certain things more comfortable. Slightly buxom, with a tiny waist that she set off with a peplum suit in dark plum. The slim skirt had some interesting pleating that took it beyond the boring pencil skirts that most business women seemed to wear but wasn't outrageous enough to suggest creative, fashion or entertainment. So creative taste in a non-creative industry then, expensive too. Unlike most of the people at the bar she wasn't texting frantically or broadcasting half a conversation to all of London. Her phone was on the bar at her hand, but she barely glanced at it. Confident enough not to look busy-good. The phone case was simple, black, but with a funny Japanese charm attached. Slight adolescent issues despite financial success. Probably some daddy issues. That or she had a lover back in Japan. No, definitely daddy issues. She was scanning the crowd too. She certainly had her share of admirers, but she was deflecting them all, easily. Picky was always good. What industry? He caught her looking at the bar television at the stock quotes. Hmm…worked in The City. Drinking what appeared at this distance to be a scotch and soda. Martinis and mojitos were so trendy. Had a cat—Siamese by the looks of the faint hairs on the hem of her skirt and on her simple Coach bag. Came here often, knew just how to sit on the tricky bar seats, but often left alone. Her hair was dark and wavy and pulled back in a soft chignon. He could almost feel it's richness in his hands.
Sherlock turned on the smile that he knew had an affect on most women and certain men. A slightly goofy, out of his depth smile, but with an ironic twist; and strode through the crowd.
"A Sidecar, please," he yelled to the harried bartender. If this one fell through, the bartender would work as well. She lived with two flat mates, though, so that was tricky. The tiny room he had at the moment was not really conducive to what he had in mind. Liked it rough, too, which suited his mood, but she wouldn't get out until late and he knew Lestrade was coming by in the early morning with that theft that was just trending. Unless it was a quickie in the back alley when she went on break. No, he really wanted more time than that tonight. Back to the financial one then.
He turned to her as if she was an afterthought. That should get under her radar. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see you there." Pleasant smell: lemon verbena with a gardenia undertone. Custom made. "Don't you work at Barclays? I think I met you in some of those merger talks? Oh, I can't remember exactly when. So many deals being made these days, you know."
He smiled-disarmingly, he was told.
"I think I remember, but I would have been there on the other side of the table," she smiled. So he had it right.
"Sherlock," he said, holding out his hand as much as was possible in the tight space of the bar, his elbow bent awkwardly behind him.
She laughed and tried to do likewise, ending up sort of dangling her hand at her eye level. He tugged on it but let his finger trail against hers ever so slightly. He also parted his lips. Now she knew he was playing, but she didn't know if he was worth it.
The song had changed to something treacly and irritating.
"Carolyn, with a y," she said. Well, that was annoying. All those pretentious names with silly changes in letters. He let it slide.
"I've never been here," he said in a low voice, causing her to lean towards him to hear. He leaned in as well, as if accidently, just close enough to breathe against her. He had also found that this tone of voice was effective. "Sorry," he mouthed as he pulled back slightly. "Didn't mean to yell in your ear."
"Oh, it's alright," she smiled, "a bit loud."
"We could try somewhere else. I know a pub a little ways away with tables."
She was a little flushed and he thought she was probably ovulating, although it was hard to be sure at this juncture, but he was seldom wrong.
"You know," she smiled, "I live just a little away from here. It would certainly be quieter."
"What," he said, leaning closer again. This time he made sure that she could tell that he was smelling her, the perfume and a little of her own musk.
"I don't want you to think I normally take men back to my apartment, but we practically know each other."
"I know what you mean," he said, grinning again and tilting his head down slightly, as if suddenly shy.
She loved it. He could tell. She thought he wasn't going to be aggressive, but she would like it when he was.
She swept her phone into her purse with a practiced movement, and surprisingly took his hand to lead him out.
Once in the cool air she leaned into his chest slightly as he hailed a cab. This time she was smelling him. The fine wool of his coat, the clean scent of the simple soap he wore. That too was designed to convey a certain innocence. No cologne, no aftershave. Just simple Sherlock. Sometimes men found that too intimate, too raw, but never women.
The taxi came and they climbed in. He let her go first, of course. The few women he knew would have been surprised to see him behave in such a gentlemanly way. He hardly noticed whether women expected it or not in his daily life. But of course, he didn't really think of the policewomen or female detectives as women, and this, this was transport, but it might as well be quality.
In the cab, she tumbled against him slightly, her legs crossed so that her thigh and knee pressed against him more firmly.
"You know, I…" he began, but then leaned into her hair, sniffing deeply. "Sorry, I just really like your smell, lemons, and something else. Floral?"
She laughed throatily and he leaned down to meet her upturned lips. He kept it chaste at first, just a gentle pressure with his lips. Then pushing a little harder, lips parting only slightly.
She pulled back. "We're here."
God, this was close to the bar. He'd have to be careful not to come around here too much in the next few months.