"Tickets. Tickets, please," he said as though he did not recognize her.
"I gave you the tickets," she responded. "I saw you put them in your coat pocket."
"Then he must have taken them," he said, apologetically. "But I haven't seen him since he started looking for your father."
"My father's dead," Mary told him, but he just shook his head and opened the door. When she passed the threshold there was no theatre, but a crowd of people huddled together in front of a massive wall. She knew they were waiting for her. She pointed upwards and was blinded by the sun.
A large, red and gold hotel lobby with a formidable wrought-iron balcony that girded the second-floor gallery.
Mary walked into the lobby and approached the front desk.
"Welcome to the Milverton Hotel," said the small white-haired woman behind the desk. "May I be expecting you?"
"I came to meet Mr. Thaddeus Sholto, but I can't seem to find him. Where are the others?" Mary asked her.
"Irene, Godfrey and Eduard are all here, madam, but Mr. Holmes checked out three hours ago. I think he found your father," she replied as she removed a box of keys from her sewing kit.
"No, Mrs. Hudson, he was engaged to stop a death," Mary argued, but Mrs. Hudson was already fussing over the box of keys.
"Just sign this card and take your key," she said impatiently. "Rooms are the price of three letters made payable to Mr. Milverton."
A large brown horse grazing in a bright green pasture. Mary sat in the nude upon her new leather saddle, her unclothed lover pressed up behind her. With her left hand Irene caressed Mary's breast, now and again lightly pinching her nipple with fluttering pink fingers, and with her right one she earnestly kneaded Mary's thigh.
Mary's grasp on the horse's reins loosened when she reached up to cup her lover's cheek.
"Wagner wrote an opera about making love on a horse, you know," Irene murmured in Mary's ear.
"You know very well that is not true," Mary scolded teasingly.
"But it is, my love," Irene breathed into her ear. Mary moaned softly, tipped her head back and opened her mouth.
"Godfrey almost heard it," Irene insisted. She dipped a finger inside Mary's mouth and smiled when her lips closed around it.
The saddle was growing slick under her aroused flesh. Irene pressed more tightly to her, her own soft hair moist with desire. Mary rubbed into Irene's heat and gyrated on top of the saddle.
The horse's gait increased to a smooth cantor as their lovemaking picked up in tempo, and they laughed with lusty joy when the hot leather underneath them playfully spanked their swollen flesh. Irene took the opportunity to push Mary on top of the saddle horn, and it thrust inside her with such force that she cried out as ecstatic tremors spiraled through her body.
In her sleep, Mary reached between her thighs and pressed her hand over her vagina. Her body flooded with warm, white snow.
She was suddenly awakened when Irene called out from her nightmare. Her nerves only surfaced in the night when she was fast asleep, and Mary was the only one who saw her crumble under the weight of their worries. She rolled to her lover and gently spooned her.
"Shhh," Mary whispered as she stroked her hair. "I've just had the most wonderful dream..."