It was but a short walk from the Criterion Bar back to the Hospital Labs, as Emily and I strolled back in the English summer heat watching the Hanson Cabs and passing the local flower sellers beside the road side. There had been a summer shower of rain while we had dined. The light rain had left a refreshing smell in the London's afternoon air.
London was full of wonderful and interesting characters, yet the most colourful and dangerous of characters came out to play after dark.
We made our way through the grey corridors of the hospital making our way to the labs Emily had mention earlier, chatting as we went. We soon found ourselves standing besides two large wooden doors with a sign upon it which read: Medical Laboratories: Medical Personnel Only, which opened into a large dark laboratory room.
I have had a secret since I was a young child. My Mother always told me to keep my gift a secret and for the most part I have, but there are times... Times when it is so hard, feelings are so strong that I find it impossible to shield myself. I normally have to be physically touching a person to feel anything, which is very useful in my chosen line of work, but this, this was new. Mama had told me stories of how her Great Grandma had been able to sense emotions without touch, but she had never mentioned how those feeling became like your very own. My Mama never mentioned the dreams. You could drown in other peoples emotions. The feelings I felt grow with each passing moment as we stood outside the laboratory doors, and then we entered.
A large and surprisingly well lit room greeted us, due to large windows in the roof. Bottles and cabinets lined each of the long dusty walls. At the far end of the laboratory, I could just make out a small figure bent over a long wooden table, bottles, papers all manor of things lined the table's top as Bunsen burners and smoke filled the room, giving the impression of a light fog drifting in the morning air.
From my place at the door I watched as Emily walked the long room to great her friend. Softly shouting a hello as to not scare the young woman at her work.
I watch as the small huddled figure looked up and straightened, slowly walking around the cluttered table to greet my friend. I have to admit my heart missed a beat. Although not tall, she was striking, long red hair feel around her shoulders, an angle of a face a shapely nose with a full month smiled as she recognized who was in the room. Her cloths were that of a man, an open neck white shirt with black trouser and boots, she was to my eyes sticking.
"My dear Emily how good to see you," a soft yet distinguished voice greeted my friend.
After a few moments of quite talking they made they way over to me.
"Dr Tara Watson, Ms Willow Holmes," said Emily, introducing us.
Willow Holmes was quiet for a moment. I had the strangest feeling of being looked over before a hand reached out and shook my hand with a firm and strong grip. If lightning could strike in a closed room, I believed at that moment it did. A shock ran through our linked hands, and for that few moments of contact I felt all the emotions that ran through Willow Holmes. Excitement, curiosity, happiness and passion. I quickly released her hand but not before I felt something else, shock through the link, Willow's shock.
I also noted while I willed my heart to be silent a few stains on her fingers and an odd scar on one of her forearms as we stepped quickly apart.
Willow was quiet for few moments. "Emily, did you enjoy the chocolate pudding at Criterion today?" Willow asked turning to look at Emily.
"However did you know we had been to Criterion?" I asked in wonder looking over to Emily hoping my voice would not come out as a squeak. "Ha.. Emily told you just a few moments ago," I accused.
Emily just shook her head. I would learn soon enough just how unusual and unique my new friend was to be.
"A pleasure to meet you Doctor. My friend here says you are looking to share rooms?" Her eyes glinted as she looked at me not answering my question. "I hope that is the case as I have found a lovely set recommended by a friend who knows the landlady."
I nodded in answer. "May I ask what you are studying?" I stepped a bit further into the room where I could see a large notebook open with many notes having been taken. I have to admit I was more then interested in Willow Holmes, my curiosity has always gotten me into trouble. From only a few steps away I could still sense her excitement.
"Crime my dear, crime; anything and everything unusual that happens in this large and dangerous city. I study it, I live it, crime is everywhere." Willow was more then a little excited as she explained her passions to me. "A simple test can solve so much, simply from a drop of blood. A crime could be months old but I have found the answer. For instance Von Bischoff would have been hung, along with Mason, Muller and Lefevre simple by my new test."
I had to smile at the childlike manner, the emotions I could feeling coming from Willow were warm and comforting.
"You did not come here to listen to me bore you on crime," Willow said rolling down her shirt sleeves. "If you are willing we will go look at the rooms. They are not far away 20 minutes or so in 221B Bakers Street."
"I have no plans at the moment, lead on."
Emily who had been silent as we said our hellos step up to my side as I turned. My new and interesting acquaintance left to get her coat.
"Pudding, Criterion Bar, how did she know?"
"You will find that that is one little peculiarity many have wanted to know how she knows things. Willow is full of information, she does however get a little excited over a good murder, or a mystery, and would no doubt have been burned at the stake a few hundred years ago."
She is not the only one, I thought.
"A mystery, sounds like a challenge. I am very grateful, Emily, for bringing us together."
Within a few moments Willow returned in a full length black coat and cane and we were on our way to Bakers Street in a Cab, as Emily returned to her nursing duties.
We talked on our way over the cad softly swaying, small things what we liked and didn't like. I found that my new friend and I had many things in common, books, theatre, and music.
We soon found ourselves outside 221B Bakers street.
The rooms on inspection were very lovely, large open spaces. The house was run by a mature lady named Mrs Hudson a very motherly gentle lady, short in height, but large of heart, with grey hair and a twinkle in her eyes as she showed us around the rooms.
There was one large central room with three windows overlooking the main road of Bakers Street. A large fireplace graced the far wall admitting a warm glow throughout the room. There were two medium sized rooms which would make each of us a bedroom, and two smaller rooms which where ideal for studies in which Willow seemed highly excited about.
I was more then delighted with the rooms. There was more then enough room for two people to live in comfort and warmth without falling over each other or getting on each otherís nerves. I could have a small office here at Bakers Street and still have all the space at my practice. The feelings I received from Mrs Hudson were ones of comfort which settled my remaining nerves. I had found my home.
"You should have the peace you crave here Ms Holmes," Mrs Hudson said as she handed Willow a cup of tea. "Mr Giles and I are old friends you can run your Detective agency from here along with your other little problems." Mr Hudson gave a wink and a chuckle as she spoke.
Willow smiled. "The good doctor has no idea about the 'other little things' for now my dear Mrs Hudson they must remain our little secret."
Mrs Hudson looked Willow Holmes over with a motherly frown. "I must say my dear, you are looking a trifle thin, I will soon solve that little problem once you and the lovely doctor have moved in."
Willow listened to the doctor pottering about upstairs. "I am sure you will Mrs Hudson. I do believe that the good doctor approves of the rooms."
There was a soft creaking from the stairs. "Here she comes now."
I found Mrs Hudson and Willow sharing a pot of tea in the kitchen, we agreed then and there to move in the very next day.