The men are everywhere.
Noticing my hesitation, the detective takes me by the hand and pulls me gently inside. I look up at the ceiling as we move forward, watching the disco ball spinning back and forth, throwing splashes of color onto every corner of the room. Everyone is dancing, most with their bodies pressing against each other so that there is not an inch of space between them.
“Vodka martini, please.” I turn back to look at Sherlock and realize that we are at the bar. “Dry,” Holmes continues. “With extra olives.” The bartender grunts and moves along the wall to make the drink. Sherlock gestures to a stool and I sit down. I watch as he glances around the room. “Looking for someone in particular?” I ask sweetly. His face tenses up for a moment, at the edge of a sarcastic remark. But he swallows his pride and answers, “Sebastian Moran.”
The bartender suddenly appears, sliding the drink over to Sherlock, who in turn passes it over to me. “Drink,” he orders, and I immediately lift the glass to my lips. The alcohol slides down my throat in a single, painful burst. Oh, God, that feels good. “Explain everything,” I say, taking another sip of my drink. “Sebastian Moran,” Holmes begins, “is a marksman. And I have reason to believe that he is involved in a plot to assassinate the prime minister.” He hesitates, glancing over at me as though looking for approval. I nod, and he grimaces as he speaks. “He was also a close acquaintace of Jim Moriarty.”
And at that I begin to choke, the martini making its way towards my mouth, my stomach hurrying it along. Sherlock grabs me by the face and sits me up, and, even though I am about to puke, pulls me close and kisses me right on the lips. I pull back suddenly, shocked at the action, trying to ignore the whistles and hoots aimed in our direction. A redness spreads up the sides of my face. Sherlock smirks at my embarrassment. “Interesting,” he murmurs almost to himself. “What,” I spit, “was that?” “You were in shock,” he replies nonchalantly. “And the shock of me kissing you broke you free of it.” I try to form a response, but my brain fails me, so muddled with thoughts of what just occurred. Suddenly Sherlock tenses, his body like a deer suddenly aware of a predator. Both of us turn towards the opposite side of the room and see a man staring directly at us. Or Sherlock, more like. He flicks his tongue up and over his lips in what appears to be his attempt at a seductive gesture. The detective leans towards me and whispers, “Sebastian Moran.” Then he gives me a quick peck on the cheek and walks straight towards the marksman.
I watch for a moment, my face hot with anger. Here he is, doing his detective thing again, with Moriarty's man, even after that near-lethal jump off of Saint Bart’s. I, for one, would’ve quit by now, too frightened to start consulting again.
I whip around immediately, ready to rip into the bartender for not minding his own business. But I can’t. I look at him and fear strikes me and I can’t I can’t I can’t. All I can do is stand there and just stare at him. How could I not notice him. How in THE HELL could I not notice who our bartender was. Even Sherlock Holmes, the great detective, didn’t realize who it was, or maybe he did, and just decided not to tell me. I take a step back and almost fall over, my feet failing me. He comes around the side of the bar and slips his hands beneath my armpits, lugging me into a standing position. Looping my arm over his shoulder, he forces me back behind the bar and through a door. We pause for a moment in the archway. My brain is screaming at me to move move move to just get away but my body doesn’t respond. Then he pushes me inside the room, holding me at arms length. “Don’t worry, honey,” he whispers. “I won’t be two minutes.”
I’m unconscious before he can close the door.