The gaudy red awning above proclaimed to all who passed by, “Speedy’s Sandwich Bar and Café. Breakfast. Lunch. Pasta.”
Samantha regarded the door to the left of the awning warily. Once, there had been a letter ‘b’ beside the numbers, setting it apart from the other apartment complex 221a Baker Street. Now, there was only a faint outline of where it had been. From the looks of the chipped wood around the holes, it had been forcibly torn off. In the back of her mind, she wondered, whatever for? Perhaps her father had to hide from dastardly criminals searching for the infamous 221b. John’s gentle hand on her shoulder snapped her out of her reverie.
“Coming?” He questioned, offering her a genuine smile.
Attempting to return it, Sam nodded and followed the short man inside the café.
Inside, John ushered her towards a booth. Sam, in a trance, took in every detail of the small building. The first thing her sharp eyes caught was the ‘Sherlock Wrap’ written on the chalk board. Presumably named after him. She thought he would be quite amused at the thought of a wrap named after him. At least there wasn’t a ‘Watson Sandwich’ or something equally ridiculous.
“Hullo John, what can I get for you today?” A perky girl with short bobbed red hair asked him, rocking back and forth on her flats.
John shrugged his coat off and picked up the menu in front of him. Clearing his throat, he rattled off something or other on it and looked to the girl for confirmation.
The twenty year old scribbled down his order and looked to Sam, “And you miss?”
Miss. No one had ever called Sam a ‘miss’ before. Still shaken at the sight of her father’s old flat, Sam glanced down at the menu before her. She was tempted to try the Sherlock Wrap but changed her mind, selecting something ordinary and simple.
The girl sashayed off, her retro poodle skirt bouncing about her with every step.
“So, Samantha…” John trailed off and tugged nervously at the collar of his jumper.
“Yes,” She replied, refusing to meet this stranger’s eyes.
Before John could say anything further, “Why isn’t there any pasta?”
John frowned, “Excuse me?”
“The awning says pasta, but there isn’t any pasta on the menu,” She gestured to the laminated paper in front of her.
He picked up his own menu, examined both sides, and set it back down.
Blinking rapidly, he looked up at Sam and said, “I haven’t the slightest,”
They stared at each other for a moment before bursting into a fit of giggles like two toddlers that had suddenly discovered a worm wriggling about on the ground. Other occupants of the café eyed the two with growing unease until their laughter ceased.
“I apologize, not sure what brought that on,” The older man wiped the corners of his eyes with his napkin.
The ginger brought them their food, humming a song as she did so, “There you go, enjoy,” She told them cheerfully.
John nodded, “Ta,”
“I’m surprised she’s so happy.”
John quirked an eyebrow.
Sam took a bite of her sandwich, swallowed it, and continued, “Her boyfriend broke up with her last night,”
“How can you do what he did?” John blurted.
Sam set the sandwich back onto the plate and stared at it, “My uncle,”
John choked on his tea, “Mycroft?” He spluttered, setting the cup back with a crash to the saucer, “Mycroft?!”
He repeated, unable to believe this revelation.
Sam folded her hands and set them on her lap, “Yes…”
John gazed at the girl sitting across from him. She had Sherlock’s eyes, his hair and his intuition but the nose and chin were all wrong. They reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t place his finger on whom in particular. She was a mystery that John was unable to solve without his long gone friend, Sherlock Holmes.
“Mycroft knew about you…and he didn’t tell me?”
Sam shifted uncomfortably in the booth. She longed for the contents of the baggy in her room back home. Her hands itched to feel the effect of the drugs.
“Naturally. You’re not exactly next of kin,”
Sam drained the emotion from her voice and steeled herself for the next flood of chemicals to envelop her brain. Chemicals that were produced naturally as a result of the situation. She prayed John wasn’t smart enough to detect her unease.
“I know but….God, he could’ve told me something. Anything. He was my best mate for Christ’s sake.”
Sam shrugged, indifferent, and sipped her coffee.
“He was the one who taught me how to see what others can’t. To use my mind in way that only a Holmes could,”
Just to put him off guard, Sam quirked up the corner of her mouth with the scar. John shuddered and looked away, “And he never once mentioned me?” He murmured.
Sam shook her head, her curls bouncing. John hissed out a breath of agitation.
“Doesn’t matter now though,” Sam twirled her spoon in the dark liquid in her cup, “He’s dead,” John wasn’t sure if Sam meant Sherlock or Mycroft. Probably both.
And she was right; it really didn’t make much of a difference anymore. Both Holmes brothers were dead along with their parents and any other dusty old relatives they’d stuffed in a cupboard for all eternity. The Holmes line ended at the girl that sat across from him now in the café.
Sam stood and straightened her coat and scarf, dipping her head respectfully to her father’s old partner.
“If you would please excuse me Dr. Watson, I have an important case I must attend to,” She clamped her jaw shut and turned away, allowing the tears of longing to flow down her cheeks, away from John’s sight.
There was so much she wanted to ask him, but could not, would not. She didn’t have the heart to dig up old wounds. In fact, she was quite sure she never had a heart at all. Samantha Holmes walked out of the café and into the busy London day.