Joan was alone when she woke up. She groaned. Midnight declarations were for teenagers. He must have bolted in a panic. She lay still for a couple of seconds, hearing nothing but the birds and the rumble of a garbage truck. The house was rarely silent. Disaster. She sat up; mentally smacking herself on the forehead for ruining everything. That was when she saw the long red tulip on Sherlock's pillow and a little yellow book beside it. She picked up the book:
Flowers and Meaning: A Pocket Portrait Through the Ages
She gave a little laugh.
The floorboards creaked in her doorway where Sherlock stood in a crumpled white t-shirt.
She looked at him, feeling more than just a little vulnerable. He came towards her holding out a clipped newspaper article.
"You might be interested in reading this first."
She took the article, wary. He sat on the bed beside her and gave her a nudge.
Alleged Dominican Drugs Boss Poisoned
Rafael 'Jefe' Luis Hernandez became the victim of
poisoning two nights ago in Sabor, a nightclub
implicated in multiple drug busts over the past few
She looked at him in alarm. He smirked, nodding for her to read on. She skipped further down.
Hernandez, the club's owner, with rumoured ties to
Dominican cartel operations on the east coast, is
not reported to be in a serious condition though an
ambulance arrived on the scene. Three other victims,
all women, were believed to have been affected.
"The smell was awful." an onlooker remarked...
She put the pieces together.
"You're saying the Dominican cartel are the ones who attacked me?"
He had a coy look on his face.
She gave a small gasp.
"Sherlock! I was hoping you wouldn't do this. Tell me you didn't poison this man."
He shifted uneasily.
"They were just laxatives, albeit extra strength…at a high dosage. But surely, with all the fried Caribbean food in his diet, I did the man's digestive system a favour- scoring a point for regularity, so to speak."
He looked at her sideways and muttered.
"Got off lighter than the others, anyway."
She was aghast.
"Others?! God, Sherlock, do I have to call Gregson?"
He placed his hands on her arms.
"I assure you, it was all above board. Their paperwork was not in order and so, they found themselves, eh, deported. I knew you wouldn't want anyone harmed. See? Learnt my lesson."
He wrinkled his nose. She didn't know how to react so she let out a loud
She covered her mouth, shaking her head.
"I mean, you could have been hurt...You're something else."
He saw her amusement and smiled, suddenly shy. She looked down at his hands still on her arms. His thumb was subtly moving back and forth, creating goosebump ripples across her skin. She quietly returned his gaze. Taking this as a natural cue, he reached around her and laid the red tulip on her lap, handing her the book. His green eyes shone. She took a deep breath.
The book had a short introduction but each flower's history and meaning was listed in alphabetical order.
Originally from Persia and Turkey, Europe fell in love with the tulip in the 1630's when…
Blah, blah, blah, she skimmed on.
Ah! Tulip meanings were listed by colour. Red...red...
Red: Undying love
She lowered the book, mouth open. Her eyes questioned as they welled up. He smiled faintly, moving closer, reading her face. The atmosphere crackled. He lifted a hand, as if testing something. His fingertips reached out to her cheek before he moved forward; suddenly brave, to kiss her. It wasn't that he wanted to kiss her, he needed to kiss her.
When their lips met it was like a match struck in a dark room. Shadows retreated to corners and repressed passion made the air thick with urgency. He kissed her again; hand in her hair, gentler but drunk on her. He touched his lips to hers again, softly, before he sat back. They were both dazed. He pulled her green scarf from behind his back; tugging the edge of it free from his back pocket, and put it around her neck, brushing her hair out of the way. He took her hands, looking at her from beneath his eyelashes.
"My father stopped paying you to be my sober companion a month ago."
She was about to speak when he raised his fingers to her lips
"I would've figured it out if I had wanted to."
He touched the flowers on her scarf, fiddling with the fringed end of it.
"I didn't. Subconsciously deliberate."
She waited for him to continue.
"Then, when you were…attacked I couldn't sleep here any longer. I slept at the hospital. Initially I thought this was for your sake but, when I examined it further, I realised that it was for mine."
He paused, still not looking at her.
"There were other things. I kept your scarf because it smelled of you. This ring. How I felt as you slept, pleased that I was to be the one to look after you, and in the beginning, fearing you wouldn't wake."
He bit his lip.
"You once said that I like to figure people out, that I viewed people as puzzles. Thing is, Watson, you solved me - me, a virtual enigma machine- from almost the moment you arrived and… I'm bad at this. I hadn't believed that it could happen again after - "
The name hung in the air, upsoken. Joan leaned forward to comfort him.
"Sherlock. It's okay. You don't have to-"
He held up a hand and took a deep breath.
"Just listen. The facts have forced me to deduce- to deduce that…"
He hazarded a look at her and, seeing the same look she gave him last night- tenderness, he realised, that's tenderness- he looked above her feckles into her eyes, where he saw his future, and continued, saying the scariest part of what he had to tell her quickly. She thought- his eyes are bottomless, almost innocent.
"I deduced that I am in love you Joan Watson. I think you're beautiful in every respect. Your goodness, your tenacity, your intellect and your loveliness are beguiling and I would like for you to be my partner in work and in life and to never, ever leave."
This time she kissed him and didn't stop, a happy tear escaping the crushing kiss. There were stars in their eyes as held each other. Before, neither had dreams for the future- that changed. Laughter and whispers filled the upstairs room of the brownstone and they stayed in bed all day. She threatened to sell his bees on Craigslist if he ever tried anything as dangerous as messing with the Dominican cartel again. He knew she was serious and loved her for it.
Two days later he moved the ring to a different finger as she slept. How long would it be until she noticed? Perhaps not that long, he thought, smiling at the curve of her sleeping back in his shirt- her observational skills had really come along. He kissed the soft patch of skin just below her ear before deciding that maybe more sleep was in order. They had work in the morning.
Clyde, who happened to be crawling by, thought:
Thanks again for reading :) For some reason, I feel compelled to share the extra strength corny romantic playlist I made that helped me write this in case anyone needs a soundtrack, think of it as sort of like the story's DVD extras ;) :
type in you tube's address and add /playlist?list=PL34lxR_6od1s65oaJzHXZ3_-9twXr_156
I can already feel another one coming on. Uh-oh. It better be shorter ;)
Peace 'n' love x