In the days that passed, I grew more troubled. Relations between Holmes and myself were nearly back to normal as our embarrassingly aborted sexual encounter receded further into the past. We might have gone on as though nothing had happened were it not for the increasingly frequent dreams I was having in which he seduced me all over again, but with much more favorable results. In this way I was growing used to the idea of a physical relationship with him, despite my strong notions that this ran contrary to my own nature.
One night, I lay awake in bed, trying to will my mind to dream of something other than the endearing ways in which Holmes tilted his head, raised an eyebrow, or passed a supportive hand over my arm. But thoughts of him were now accompanied by needle-sharp stings in my groin and stomach, and it did me little good to turn my thoughts elsewhere, for they always found their way back to him, and my body now sought the thrilling sensation as much as it wanted for air. I decided relief was my only course of action, and took myself determinedly in my hand. It was only a passing fancy, I thought as I tugged at my prick. I am not an invert. I closed my eyes and sped my pace.
I stiffened and swallowed a groan as I rolled to my side and spent myself, yet another spare moment in which I permitted myself the ecstatic luxury of sexual release. Physically satisfying, yet emotionally empty, this activity did nothing to quell my concerns. My problem demanded a more permanent solution.
The idea occurred to me the following day as I completed my final rounds at St. Bart’s. Holmes had business in south
“An hour at the least, three at the most. Is there something in particular you’re after then?” she recited her lines without looking up from her little desk, and gestured towards an album of glossy photos of the women for hire.
“She’ll do,” I said, pointing to a voluptuous dark-haired woman, and trying to sound as casual as if I had done this many times before. “An hour shall suffice.”
“A fine choice, sir. Miss Rose is one of our most popular girls. Wait one moment, please.” She left the room and returned a minute later with a woman dressed in a flimsy blue dress who only vaguely resembled her picture. Clearly, some years had passed since it had been taken. Miss Rose nodded courteously at me, and I followed her up a winding staircase to short hallway. She unlocked a door and led me into a small room with a bed, wash basin and fireplace. Décor was spare, although she had troubled to add a vase of flowers and a few lacey pillows, which provided a small measure of character to the premises. I took off my hat and sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed.
With a distinctive American accent, Miss Rose recited her list of specialties, including an addendum of what she would not do, and turned to light the fire while I made up my mind.
I closed my eyes as she ran her hands over my chest and began to unbutton my shirt. Her hands, so unlike Holmes, were cold and crisp and businesslike. She dutifully kissed my neck and helped me out of my shirt. For a single moment, I felt something tighten in my chest, and realized I was putting all my faculties to work in an attempt to forget my friend.
A few minutes later, I was on top of her, awkwardly trying to find a suitable rhythm in which I could abandon my body to its instincts. When it was clear that this was not going to be a viable position, she helpfully offered to roll me onto my back, and minister me from above. I watched her with furrowed brow as she executed her repertoire of customary noises and expressions, her great breasts swinging pendulously from side to side, and feeling all but numb from below my waist. She stopped and looked directly into my eyes.
“If you don’t mind my sayin’ so, sir, this don’t seem like your cup of tea,” she said.
“What makes you say that?” I asked her suspiciously.
“You just don’t seem like the type I usually see in here,” she replied, pushing herself off of me.
“What type?” I pressed.
“Desperate for female company. Driven by lust. Unsatisfied at home. That’s not you, is it?” She put on a red silk robe, and went over to her bureau to find a cigarette.
“And how do I seem to you?” I asked her as I sat up.
She lit her cigarette and peered curiously into my visage. “You look more thoughtful than the rest of ‘em. I’d say there’s sort of a sensitive nobility about you. And you’re certainly out of your element here.” She turned her head to the side and blew a line of smoke before continuing, “Someone else on your mind?”
I sighed, and nodded.
She shrugged. “Makes no difference to me, sir, though most men in your situation figure out how to get the release they’re lookin’ for. It’s not just anyone, though, is it?”
“No,” I confessed, surprised at how relieved I was to be talking to someone about it. “It isn’t.”
“Whattsa matter, honey? Your girlfriend leave you in the lurch?” she asked soothingly as she pulled up a chair.
“I’m afraid it’s rather more complicated than that,” said I, offering a weary smile.
“I’ve heard it all, baby,” she said cheerfully.
I took a deep breath. “It’s not my girlfriend. It’s…a man. My best friend.” I braced myself for her response.
She simply nodded and tapped the end of her cigarette in her ashtray. “Right. Does he know how you feel?”
“No. That is, I don’t know. I don’t think so,” I stammered, searching for a way to articulate the strange situation I had been living with. “It was he who approached me, and at first I reciprocated. Rather enthusiastically, I might add.” I looked up and saw she was listening with some interest.
“So what happened?” she asked as she brought the cigarette to her mouth.
“I froze,” I said. “Halfway through. He finished, but I…froze. It had suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t know who I was. I mean, I’m not an invert, never have been. So how could I allow myself to carry on with another man?”
She gazed for a minute at my face, then smiled. “I know what you are,” she said soothingly. “You’re in love.”
“Well, I do love him. As—as a friend, I mean,” I was careful to add.
“Rubbish,” she said with a snort. “You’re in it deep. I can tell. But you’re too afraid of yourself to admit it.” She spoke with some conviction.
“But I’m not—“ I started to remind her, but she cut me off.
“Listen, honey, it don’t matter. Love is love. Trust me, I’ve seen all manner of types. You don’t strike me as an invert, but neither does the man who comes here once a week just to prove he’s not. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”
I looked at her in surprise.
“It don’t make sense,” she continued, “to say you’re either this or you’re that. People got all kinds of inclinations, and many satisfy them accordingly. Others try to hide it, and for what? There’s always someone else out there whose interests match your own, so why not do what’s human? Now, if you’ve found love, well, that’s luckier than anything.”
We sat in silence while I allowed her words to sink in. “He loves you, too, don’t he?” she asked gently.
I blinked back tears as I nodded.
“And he’s a special one. Don’t let just anyone see who he is,” she puffed on the end of her cigarette.
“Now, how would you know that?” I asked her incredulously.
She smiled. “I used to read palms at a circus in
I could have hugged her, though I could also finally admit the possibility held no allure for me whatsoever. But I had an idea.
“Miss Rose, would you do me a favor?” I asked her.
“Name it, honey. You still got a half an hour,” she said kindly.
“Could you…show me something?”
She smiled again, and chuckled. “You want to know how to please a man? You’re in the right place. Lie down.”
I lied down as she rose and came over to the bed. She straddled me just above my knees, grasping my cock with some authority, and commenced a very illuminating tutorial on the art of oral pleasure. I asked her many questions, which she answered with the expertise of someone long in practice, then proceeded to put her advice to the test. She even talked around me as she placed her lips around my tip, explaining which action garnered the best response. I was stirring again at the thought of visiting such skills upon Holmes, and when she finally stopped talking, I closed my eyes and saw his face.
Watson, are you hurt?? For God’s sake…
I gripped the blankets, shuddered and released. She took every last drop. “Do you always swallow like that?” I asked her breathlessly when the convulsing stopped.
She winked and dismounted from her perch, “Not for just anyone, honey. But if I were you I’d show him that you love his whole person, inside and out.”
Relieved, satisfied and immensely grateful, I rose and dressed. When I was ready to leave, I took out my billfold and extracted her fee, plus a generous tip.
“Miss Rose,” I said, taking her hand, “I don’t know how to thank you.”
“It’s nothin’, sweetheart. I wish you and your man all the happiness in the world.” She gave me a sweet smile, and I reflected for a moment that she must have once been a beautiful woman. She still might have been under different circumstances, but I daresay she seemed well-suited to her job
I left the brothel with a light heart, though I was still careful to remain discreet as I hailed a cab and returned again to
* * * *
Holmes was not yet home when I arrived, and I paced the sitting room in a state of nervous excitement. I had not decided on how best to proceed when he returned, and I turned several possibilities over in my head. In the meantime, I calmed myself with a glass of brandy, and stoked and restoked the fire.
When he finally entered the sitting room, I turned and offered him a bright smile. “You’re home!” I said warmly.
“Hullo, Watson,” he returned, his eyebrows twitching curiously at my state. He commenced his usual routine of changing into more comfortable lounging attire in his bedroom, gliding to the fireplace to find his favourite pipe and lighting it with a smoldering coal extracted from the fire.
When at last he took the pipe from his mouth, I strode over to him and planted a firm kiss on his lips. He stiffened in surprised, then backed away.
“Watson, please,” he said in a strained voice, “We agreed there would be no more of this.”
“I’d like to give it another try, Holmes. I think the results will be much different this time,” I said, approaching him again. I reached my hands out to grasp his lapels, but he grabbed them before I could do so.
“What makes you think so?” he demanded, a pained expression coming over his face. “I should not like to relive one of the most disagreeable moments of my life.”
The bitter truth of his remark stung me, and I stopped in my tracks.
“I’ve been thinking. And reflecting. And I believe I’ve worked some things out,” I told him.
“Have you?” he asked distantly as he settled himself into his chair and crossed his legs.
“Yes, and it’s clear to me now,” I said, sitting opposite him. I frowned. This wasn’t unfolding the way I planned. But I should have counted on his reticence to revisit the subject. I could not and did not want to consider how deeply my initial rejection had hurt him.
“What is?” he asked with a sigh.
“Who I am, who we are, what I feel,” I put rather simply.
Holmes rolled his eyes to the ceiling. “Capital,” he answered sarcastically. “Who are you, who are we, and what do you feel?”
“I’d prefer to show you, if you’ll let me,” I said quietly and seductively.
He stared back at me.
I rose from my chair and walked over to him, then made to pull him to his feet. He reluctantly allowed it.
“Please, Holmes,” I whispered as I placed my hands on his neck and pressed my forehead to his. His eyes were tightly closed as though he were concentrating on preventing the memory of how it had all ended before from rising to the surface. I leaned into his face for a moment to taste him just once, then twice. He finally allowed himself to respond, lifting his lips to mine and gently grasping my forearms. He stopped again, frowned towards the carpet and tried to pull back. But I would not be deterred. I steered him towards his bedroom, backing him against the wall next to the door.
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” he whispered into my mouth.
I did not reply, but continued to kiss him with growing passion, emboldened when he responded more earnestly. I pushed his dressing gown from his shoulders and started immediately on his cravat and tie. I then led him into his bedroom and sat him down on his bed where I finished undressing him. My heart ached when I noted that he kept his gaze cast downward in effort to mask his sadness. I would never be able to erase the memory of our very first encounter, and it would take months before he fully trusted me again. I only wanted to please him more because of it.
To see Holmes naked again before me was somehow as relieving as it was arousing. I always knew he possessed a beautiful body, and I was finally getting the second chance I had been craving. He watched me with hooded eyes as I shed my own clothes, and when I finally lowered myself upon him, I found that he was trembling slightly.
I prevented myself from attacking him with all the vigour and energy I had been dreaming of, and instead took my time about exploring his face and chest with my lips and tongue. I still sensed he was holding himself back out of fear that I would reject him a second time, but this only fed my own desire and urged me to make certain I convinced him that would never happen again. He warmed to me as our activities escalated, unable to stop his body from engaging with mine. I kissed my way down his stomach and to his groin, then traced my tongue to his inner thighs. He drew a sharp breath as I came closer to his manhood.
“You don’t have to do this, Watson,” he protested when I reached his long and graceful cock.
I looked up, and waited until our gazes locked before I said firmly, “I want to. More than anything, I want to.”
He exhaled slowly and closed his eyes while I proceeded to employ every skill Miss Rose had imparted to me. The effects were delightful and extremely erotic; Holmes placed one hand gently on the back of my head while I curled my tongue around his crown and traced my lips along his shaft. He gasped when I licked at his sac, and moaned when I prolonged the sensation by pulling it into my mouth.
Gradually, I worked my way back up to the tip of him, and finally swallowed him whole. He laced his fingers in my hair as I increased the suction and pumped him in a steady rhythm. When at last he started thrusting with wild abandon, I grasped his buttocks with both hands and pushed him deeper into my mouth. His grunts turned to cries when I raked my fingers across his perineum and I readied myself for his finish. He stopped his hips in mid-air when he shouted out in release, clutching my hair in both hands and throwing his head back upon the pillow. Short, uneven breaths escaped his lungs as he shuddered to stillness and, following Miss Rose’s advice to the very end, I took every last drop and licked him clean.
Before he had a chance to catch his breath, I threw myself on top of him and began to ground my throbbing arousal into his pelvis. Still very much in the heat of passion, he let his hands traverse my body while my own breathing sped to a series of ragged bursts.
“My dear Watson,” he panted as he felt for my face. The echo of my fantasies was all I needed to finish, and I buried my head in his shoulder and died, crying out from the currents of ecstasy that ran through my spine as my body violently convulsed against him.
When the aftershocks passed, I pried my sweating body from his and rolled to his side with a deep and satisfying exhale. I looked over at Holmes and saw perspiration on his furrowed brow and a look of utter disbelief on his face.
“Wherever did you learn to do that?” he asked me when his breathing slowed.
“You liked that then,” I smiled, closing my eyes and reclining contentedly on my back
“Watson,” he said sternly. He rolled towards me and propped himself on his forearm. “You told me you had never been with a man. You were either not speaking the truth or—“
“Or you’ve been with one since,” he finished.
“I have seen someone,” I told him truthfully, looking over to see his expression fall to troubled perplexity. “But it’s not what you think,” I added quickly.
He waited for me to go on.
“I went to see a very nice woman in the east end,” I started to say before I realized how ridiculous it sounded. “She was most helpful.”
Holmes chuckled once, then he threw his head back and laughed heartily.
“Holmes, I’m being serious!” I scolded him.
“Yes you are, very serious indeed,” he chided me. “Watson, only you could make visiting a prostitute sound so wonderfully innocent. Where did you go?”
“Althea Mae’s Boarding House,” I told him. “I remembered it as a relatively respectable place from our investigation of the wharf murders some years back.”
“Ah yes,” he nodded at the memory.
“I must admit that my reason for going was to test my response to the, ah, usual proceedings in such places. But after a very awkward start, Miss Rose was well aware that I was going about it the wrong way,” I confessed, hoping I didn’t sound too callous.
Holmes’s eyes lit up. “Miss Rose? Brunette hair? American accent?”
“The very same,” I answered in surprise. “Do you know the lady?”
“Quite,” he answered, taking a cigarette from his bedside table and lighting the end of it. “And if Scotland Yard ever finds out about her they’ll rid themselves of half the force and make her chief commissioner.”
“How on earth do you know her?” I asked.
Holmes gave me a wry look. “Purely for business reasons I assure you, Watson,” he said drily. He waved his hand as I started to apologize for the way I phrased my question, then continued. “She has assisted me in a number of cases, for her knowledge of human nature and individual character is unsurpassed even by the most thoroughly trained doctors of psychology. She could certainly have a career as a consulting detective, though I shouldn’t care to be so challenged by the competition.” He inhaled deeply from his cigarette. “Pray continue.”
“Well, it’s just as you say, Holmes. She was immediately attuned to the fact that I was about something else, and she urged me to tell her about it. Honestly, I wasn’t sure just where to turn, so I told her about my—about our situation. She was most sympathetic,” I said, hoping Holmes understood what I meant. “She helped me realize what I was too blind to see on my own, then she gave me a very informative, ah, lesson on the art of oral pleasure.”
“Ah,” Holmes said thoughtfully. “So she solved your case of identity.”
“I suppose she did, yes,” I returned with a smile. “And, indirectly, so did ‘John Garrideb, Counsellor at Law.’”
“How?” he asked.
“When you thought I had been hurt you…it was…I didn’t know you felt that way, Holmes,” I said quietly.
“Was that not already obvious? I love you very much,” he said nonchalantly before he brought the cigarette to his lips.
I closed my eyes for a moment, uncertain as to what I had just heard. “What?” I asked in a small voice.
Holmes glanced at me and repeated himself in the same casual tone, “I said I love you. I thought that was clear.”
Only he could make such a meaningful declaration sound so wonderfully…Holmes.
“And I you,” I returned softly before kissing him gently on the mouth.
“Splendid,” he responded as only he could, and resettled himself against his pillow. We held each other in happy silence for a few moments before he suddenly spoke again.
“I’m going to send her a note of thanks,” he announced.
I was horrified. “You’ll do no such thing!” I sat up and glared at him.
“’Dear Miss Rose,’” he began, rolling his “r” majestically, “’I am greatly indebted to you, dear lady, for my friend’s newfound skills under your very excellent tutorial brought upon the most powerful sexual release of my life,” his eyes darted slyly in my direction, “that utterly took my breath away.”
“Holmes!” I scolded him, but could not prevent myself from laughing as he continued to compose an absurdly florid letter praising the effects of our mutual friend’s advice. I blushed furiously, playfully wrestled with him, and finally clamped my mouth over his to quiet him once and for all. For several long minutes, we remained locked in a passionate embrace. When we finally broke off, he addressed me in a more subdued tone.
“I should not like you to consult with Miss Rose again, Watson, however well she educated you for both our benefits,” he said.
“Certainly not, Holmes,” I assured him. “I am entirely in your hands now.
There was relief in his smile when he took my hand in his and said softly, “Oh, the things I’m going to show you.”
And so he proceeded with my second lesson in loving another man, a thrilling exercise that left us both speechless and for all the right reasons.
* * * *
In the weeks that followed, Holmes left it to me to initiate intimacy, though that would change in time. I think he wanted to be certain that I was sincere and secure in our newly expanded relations, and I gladly took on the task of signaling when I was feeling amorous. In fact, it was only a few nights after our first successful lovemaking that I found myself pleasantly distracted by the exquisite way in which his trapezius muscles curved gracefully into his long neck. He was bent over his chemistry set, wholly ensconced in the specimen that lay at the other end of his microscope. It had been too hot to wear a collar in the house, and his exposed nape started showing small beads of perspiration. I silently closed my journal, rose from my chair and walked to his bedroom, dragging my index finger along the top of his shoulders as I passed him. He raised his head, then turned to look at me as I offered a sly smile just before I crossed the threshold. I laughed joyfully when, seconds later, he attacked me in a brilliant flash and sent us both sprawling on the bed.
Keeping our love a secret was not difficult, though one morning Mrs. Hudson inquired innocently which one of us had been up late praying the night before, only to grant us a knowing wink when we looked back at her in stunned silence. Our working relationship changed little, though it did take more convincing now for Holmes to allow me into perilous situations, and I just as stubbornly refused to allow him proceed alone in such cases. But our domestic life blossomed considerably, in ways more rewarding than I can articulate. I had become his partner in every sense, a role that suited me perfectly and which I would never take for granted, for my spirit had shown me how beautiful it could be, how much I had loved him all along, and what treasures awaited me if I were observant enough to see them.
The bouquet of flowers I sent Miss Rose required no note. I have a feeling she knew exactly whence they came.