Sam opened her hand and released the baggy filled with shredded green leaves. It landed on Phillips desk with a light thud.
“Bout time you showed up with this,” He grunted, picking it up gingerly between forefinger and thumb.
Frowning he brought it close to his face to inspect the contents further.
“Didn’t take any this time did you?”
Sam plastered a fake smile onto her face, “Wouldn’t dream of it Phillips,”
He set the bag on top of a stack of papers and gave the young detective the evil eye. She rocked back and forth on her heels, hands clasped behind her back, whistling ‘The Thieving Magpie’.
“I’m watching you Hawk,” He growled, folded his pudgy hands on top of one another.
She merely grinned, placing her palms flat on the surface of the desk.
“And I’m –” She poked a finger into his huge gut, “Watching,” She stuck her finger under his nose, “You,” And flicked the end of it.
She danced out of the office nimbly on her spidery legs to the tune of Detective Inspector Phillips anger.
“Why you little snot nosed brat I ought to –”
She kicked the door shut with her foot, the orchestra score in her head coming to an end. As usual, the others in the office gave her funny looks, while others who knew her waved, smiled, and chuckled to themselves. Yes, they knew her well. Some even remembered that ‘freak’ Holmes who this girl reminded them of so much. Waving back, she marched out of the office and into the dirty, dusty maze of London. She was blind to the people around her, but she did not become part of the mindless horde. She was bumped and jostled in her attempt to fight the flow of flesh. Grumbling, she pushed her way through the river, searching for dry land. It came in the form of Adam Smith. He was standing on the curb, hands plunging into his pockets, shoulders hunched to his ears. The weather was already growing cold. Samantha could even see her breath forming in front of her like the smoke of some malevolent dragon. Making her way towards him, she ignored the voices in her head shrieking for her to retreat. Every ounce of sanity in her demanded that she walk away. But like always, she was drawn to him like a moth to the flame.
“Sam,” His face lit up when he saw her.
She folded her arms and stayed back, swaying precariously from side to side.
“Hello,” Her voice was barely audible above the roar of life around them.
“What are you doing around,” He cut off his sentence abruptly.
Glancing past her at the police station, he nodded, “Oh, yeah, I should’ve known,”
Sam shrugged her shoulders and sidled a little closer to him, “Whatcha doing out and about?”
She attempted to adopt the teen slang that everyone seemed to use and failed miserably.
Adam laughed a little at the way she tried to say ‘watcha’ and how it came out all wrong. To him, it was a little bit cute.
“Nothing really. Wandering around,” Sam was taken aback.
She thought she was the only one that roamed the city. Apparently, she was mistaken.
“Care if I join you?” The words were said before she could bite them back.
Adam smiled at her. Almost up at her – she was a bit taller than he was, but not by much. She wasn’t wearing heels that day, but if she was she could’ve easily stared him down. But she wouldn’t do that. Not to Adam at least.
“Not at all,”
He hailed a taxi. It slid up to the curb as smooth as a black panther. Sam counted her heartbeats, calculating the approximate amount of adrenaline and endorphins flooding her system. Adam opened the door for her. She clambered inside. The previous occupant had been a smoker. She breathed in the scent of nicotine, feeling the sharp sting in her lungs. It was delightful, calming even. Sam paused for a moment, wondering why she actually liked Adam. Attractive? Yes. Smart? Mostly. Then she remembered. That one day, long ago, when they had been considerably younger. Stacy had swung a punch at her and gave her a bloody nose and a black eye. She couldn’t recall the reason for the attack, but she was sure it had been petty and juvenile. They left her crying on the playground, drenched in her own blood. Not a single teacher had cared to give her a cursory glance. Adam had raced forward then, lifting her to her feet, tending to her wounds. He’d been the first to actually give a damn about what the others did to her. He’d been her defender in the early days, but after many years they fell away from each other. Now, Sam found herself sharing a taxi with him, off to who knows where.
“Is it true what they say? You get in trouble with the law?” Adam murmured across the inky black seats of the cab.
Sam huddled deeper into her coat, “No.”
There was a beat of silence.
“I’m a…junior private consultant – detective,” Sam stumbled over the words, cursing her lame tongue.
“Really?” Adam gawked, his eyes wide as saucers.
“Yes,” She quipped. Her gaze drifted towards the window and the passing cars.
“Is that where…” Sam cut him off, “Yes,”
She found the emotion leaving her like blood from a wound. Her voice was devoid of pattern, monotone, haunting.
“Everyone thought you’d done it to yourself,”
Self conscious, she brushed her hair down in front of the scar to hide it from him.
“Everyone else is stupid,”
Adam? Stupid? He hadn’t been stupid when he’d helped her and cared for her when no one else would. He hadn’t been stupid when he’d say nice things to her and stand up for her against the others. No. He wasn’t.
The cab ground to a halt. The driver rattled off a price. Adam told him to stay put and opened the door. Blinding sunlight streamed into the interior of the vehicle.
“Coming?” He asked, holding his hand out to Samantha. She took it and never looked back.