There was a man in Irene Adler's dressing room, sitting in her fancy chair. He was dressed in the manner of a a gentleman, but whether he was one in behaviour remained to be seen.
He smiled at the woman in the doorway with a few too many teeth, bringing to mind the phrase "fox in the henhouse". She did not return the smile. "I am looking for Miss Adler," he said.
"She's gone already. You've missed her." She was carrying part of the actress' last costume in her hands, Irene having simply shed the overskirt and put on a different jacket behind one of the curtains. Now she understood why.
He barely blinked. "Do you happen to know where?" he asked, no hint of bother in his voice.
The dresser could think of half a dozen possibilities, two strong contenders in particular. Irene had been giddy lately, which meant she was dangling after another gemstone, or husband, or both. "No," she said with as much finality as she could muster, stepping completely into the room and starting to tidy.
The man didn't move; clearly, he didn't believe her. However, she'd suffered suitors and creditors and even police at the door before. She held her mouth in a thin little line, saying nothing and moving quickly through the room.
Before the silence could settle, another man appeared in the doorway. "Holmes!" he said, "we must go! We've had a message from one of your urchins-" He broke off, seeing the dresser.
"Aha!" cried the first man, and stood from the chair. He turned toward the dresser and bowed. "Until next time."
The sounds of the two men's footsteps merged with the sounds of the wider theatre, the dresser starting at the open door. So that was Sherlock Holmes, famous detective and Irene's sometime lover. Well, then.
She moved to gather stray hairpins from the dressing table. Until next time, indeed.