Martin shrugged out of his jacket and threw it onto the backseat of the van before heaving the last box into his arms. It was unseasonably warm, and lifting, and running around he was doing exacerbated the heat. His mind was elsewhere as he set down the box among the others in the man’s flat, collected the money, and started down the stairs. So it’s not really surprising when he collided with a woman leaving her flat.
“Oh god. I’m so sorry,” he nearly shouted, meeting the bewildered eyes of the poor women he mowed down. She was below him, his body almost fully covering hers in a compromising position. “Are you okay?”
“Fine,” she squeaked, a bit uncomfortable.
That’s when Martin finally realized he hadn‘t moved. “Oh! Oh, god, I’m sorry. I am so sorry,” he stammered as scrambled off of her as gracefully as he could. His face burning. He extended his hand to help the woman up, and then collected her books and papers that she dropped when he knocked her down off of the floor.
“Thanks,” she murmured when he handed her her things, her own face a healthy shade of pink. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Fine. Perfectly fine.”
“Okay,” the woman said, even though she didn’t think that he looked all that fine. “You look familiar. Do I know you from somewhere?”
“I don’t- I don’t think so,” Martin said slowly, then added, “I think I would have remembered you if I had,” before he could stop himself.
“Oh. Okay,” the woman said. “My name’s Molly. What’s your’s?”
“Martin. My name’s Martin. I-I was helping your new neighbor move in upstairs. It was nice to meet you, Molly, but I’m afraid I have another job to get to and…
“Oh yes of course,” Molly interjected quickly, blushing harder. “Yes, I’m sorry. You must be busy. I don’t know why… Um it was nice meeting you too, Martin.”
Martin started to back away, and gave a little awkward wave before tuning towards the door. “Erm bye Molly,” he said.
“Bye, Martin, Molly said, then noticed something on the floor. “Wait, Martin, I think you dropped something,” she looked up, but he was already gone. It was a business card. It had the words “Icarus Removals” in large block letters, and a pair of wings under them. They looked hand drawn. Below the wings was contact information. Martin’s she assumed. She tucked the card into one of the books, and made her way out the door to head over to Bart’s for her shift at the hospital.
It wasn’t until many months later that she saw Martin again. She almost didn’t believe it when she saw the old dented van parked across the street. She wasn’t keen to admit it, but Molly had thought a lot about Martin the past few months. She wasn’t sure why. He just seemed to have a way of creeping into her thoughts every now and then, and she wasn’t sure that she liked it. Until then she had been very sure that she’d never see Martin again, and she wasn’t jumping up and the thought of developing any sort of feelings for a man who could not (or would not) be able to return them. She’s had enough of that already.
Molly hadn’t realized how long she’d been standing at her window, processing her feelings, until she realized that Martin was staring back at her. When he didn’t do anything, she gave a small tentative wave. Which he returned shyly.
“Friend of yours?” said a smooth, deep voice behind her, making her jump and tug the curtains hurriedly over the window.
“No, h-he’s not, and you should be more careful. He could have seen you,”
“I doubt it,” replied Sherlock easily. “And if he did I don’t think he’d do anything about it…at least I don’t think he would.”
Molly narrowed her eyes at the tall man in front of her. It wasn’t like him to be uncertain. “What do you mean?” she said.
“Nothing,” Sherlock said, brushing her off, and retreating to the sofa, muttering something about needing to phone Mycroft.
Molly sighed and decided not to try to get anymore information out of Sherlock. Her efforts would be useless anyway. She stole a peek though the curtains. Martin was still there and back to unloading boxes. She bit her lip and debated going over to chat with him a bit.
Would it be too weird? We’ve never really talked before. But we’ve met before…sort of. And people go up and talk to strangers all the time, right? And since we’ve sort of met before it won’t be weird it I go and talk to him. Right?
“Yes,” Sherlock suddenly said, his voice penetrating her thoughts sharply. “It would be awkward and odd if you were to talk to this man. But a bit of awkwardness hasn’t stopped you from attempting to make conversation before,” he said pointedly.
Molly blinked. Was this Sherlock’s (weird) way of tell her she should talk to Martin? Was she really going to take advice on this matter from Sherlock?
“Better hurry. He’ll be leaving soon.”
Couldn’t hurt, Molly decided as she stepped out the front door.
“Um…hi,” Molly said as she approached him. “I know this is kind of strange, but, um, do you want to go get a coffee? Maybe? I-I know this little place just around the corner…and um…”
Martin looked at her strangely. “Do I know you?” he asked quite suddenly and a little too loudly. He cringed internally when he saw her start. Now she really won’t want to talk to you. “I saw you at the window and you looked familiar. I-I see a lot of faces. It’s kind of hard to keep them all straight.”
“Um yeah…you sort of know me…I guess. Um, I’m Molly. You were moving someone into the flat next to me and…knocked me down. And I saw your van just now and thought you’d like to get a coffee…with me.” Molly winced a little at how stupid she sounded.
“Oh, rr-right Molly. Yes. I remember now,” Martin said, blushing from the memory. “Why, i-if I may ask, do you want to have coffee with me?”
“Oh,” it was Molly’s turn to blush. “I thought you looked…nice,” she said.
“Sure. Okay. I’d love to have coffee with you Molly. I’m all done here. L-lead the way,” Martin said with a small nervous smile.
It had been five minutes since they had bought their coffee and sat down at a small table in the back of the café. Five painfully long awkward minutes, where neither one of them said a word. Molly couldn’t take it anymore and opened her mouth to say something, anything, when Martin cut her off.
“This isn’t a joke right?” he said. “I-I mean you weren’t put up to this or paid, were you? Have you met anyone named Douglas Richardson?”
“Ah, no sorry to disappoint, but it’s not a joke. Came here on my own free will,” Molly said.
“No! No, I didn’t mean… Oh God,” Martin groaned, burying his face in his hands. “I’m messing this all up. I’m sorry. It’s just, for me, that it would be my luck that this would be a joke or something. “But I’m glad it’s not because…because what, Martin? How are you going to finish this sentence without completely scaring her off, if you didn’t already? Because I want to see you again? Because I like you? You haven’t even finished your first…whatever this is. “I’m just going to go. I’m sorry,” Martin sighed after finishing his internal monologue. He started to stand when Molly grabbed his sleeve.
“Please don’t. It’s okay. I understand. I probably wouldn’t have believed it myself if you were the one to ask me out.”
Molly giggled a little at the complete look of surprise on Martin’s face. “Yes. Now that’s settled let’s get back to our date, shall we?”
Martin smiled, a genuinely happy smile, without a hint of anxiety. “Yes,” he said, “let’s”
“Morning, Skip!” Arthur greeted Martin the next day. He and the other crew members of GERTI were all inside the plane, preparing for a flight to Turkey. “Boy, you sure are smiley today. Did you get an extra good nights sleep last night?”
“Yes, Martin. You are acting dreadfully cheerful this morning. Quite unlike you, in fact. It’s a bit disconcerting,” interjected Douglas.
“Well if you must know…I had a…date…last night.”
“A date!?” repeated Arthur.
“A date?” echoed Douglas.
“A date?” asked Carolyn, coming into the flight deck. “Who went on a date?”
“Me!” cried Martin. “I did! Me! She gave me her number, a-and we are going to see each other again after I get back. Thank you very much.”
“Well good for you Martin, finally putting that uniform to good use I see,” Douglas said, patting him, quite roughly, on the back.
“W-well. Not- not really. See, she doesn’t know. That I fly planes in addition to my van job. I didn’t want to try and explain…”
“But, Skip, what did you talk about? Flying is the only thing you really talk about.”
“We talked about plenty of things, Arthur, thank you. Mostly about her job, she works in a morgue, for your information.”
“Sounds lovely,” Douglas said loftily.
“It is…well she is.”
“Well…” Douglas started, but then seemed to think twice about what he was going to say. “Nevermind.”
“What, Douglas?” Martin said, panic starting to creep into his voice.
“Nothing. It’s nothing,”
“No tell me, please. Just tell me, what.”
“Well I was going to say that it will probably all work out fine for the both of you,” Douglas said. “But then again this is you we’re talking about here, Martin.”
Martin is unlucky. Molly fixes it in her own awkward way. Also Martin/Douglas bonding.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“I talked to Mycroft,” Sherlock said suddenly. A day had passed since Molly’s date with Martin, and she was anxiously waiting for his call. He said he’d called her after he got back from his mysterious other job. “About your friend.”
“What did he say?” Molly asked suspiciously, with her luck he’d be some crazed mass murder or something.
“He’s an airline pilot apparently, with a removals business on the side. Harmless.”
“Did you have any reason to assume otherwise?”
“Beside you track record? Well, his features are suspiciously similar to mine. I thought he may be working with Moran.”
“But he’s not?”
“Based on what Mycroft could dig up, no.”
“Oh. Okay,” Molly said, unable to stop the goofy smile from spreading across her face. An airline pilot with a removals business on the side. Not exactly normal, but nice. He wasn’t planting bombs, or running around all night trying to catch people planting bombs. He wasn’t consulting anybody. That sounded so relaxing.
Sherlock gave her a strange look. “Yes, well, do you think you could pick up a few things for me at Bart’s this afternoon?”
Molly sighed and gave him a tight smile as reality crashed back down around her. “I suppose. What do you need?”
“Martin what on earth are you doing?”
Upon walking on to the flight deck Douglas found the captain on his hands and knees, rummaging under the control panel.
“I’ve lost it,” Martin snapped, his voice slightly muffled.
“Yes, I can see that, but what are you doing?
“Molly’s number. I can’t find it. It’s not here. I must’ve dropped it somewhere on the way here. Perfect.” This is just typical.
Douglas had a few choice remarks on the tip of his tongue, but decided to keep them to himself. Maybe it was the look of utter defeat on Martin’s face. Or maybe, more realistically, he was tired and wanted to go home without having (another) row with him.
“There will be other girls, Martin. And there’s really no sense in worrying about it now.” He paused for a moment, and then sighed. “Come on, I’ll buy you a drink.”
Martin narrowed his eyes at the other man. “You’re being very, well, nice Douglas. Why?
“Can’t I choose to do something enjoyable with a friend of mine?”
“Well, sure I guess,” replied Martin, “But this is me we’re talking about, isn’t it?”
Douglas sighed again. “Come on, Martin, let’s go.”
The pub was fairly empty when they arrived. Douglas had driven them, telling Martin that it was no trouble, and yes he’d drive him back to the air field to pick up his van when they were done. Maybe he’d should start being nice to Martin, his total lack of faith in Douglas was kind of annoying.
He gave Martin a gentle push in the direction of an empty booth, and told him to go sit down while he got the drinks, ignoring Martin’s feeble protests. Douglas then proceeded to open a tab at the bar and order them both a pint of beer.
“Why are you doing this Douglas, really,” Martin said when Douglas set his drink down in front of him.
“Most people would say thank you,” Douglas replied.
Martin looked away, slightly embarrassed. “I’m sorry, Douglas. Thank you. This is really very kind of you.”
Douglas smiled. “Your welcome, and I’m doing this because you looked miserable today after you found you lost that girl’s phone number. And as much as I loathe to admit it, I rather enjoyed your more chipper mood earlier today.
“So what’s so different about this one girl?
“Well…I knocked her down, when we first met, and she didn’t slap me or run away screaming, and then remembered me when we met again a few months later. And she’s just really kind and sweet. And we do have quite a bit in common. And it’s not like I get a girls number every day. We can all be ladies men, you know.”
“Oh yes,” Douglas said airily, “I know. But in all seriousness, Martin, you really liked this girl.”
“Molly, her name’s Molly, and yes I did like her, but I guess there’s not much I can do about it now, is there.”
“No,” Douglas said after a short pause, “I suppose not.”
“Yes,” Sherlock drawled into the quiet living room.
He was lounging on the sofa, mindlessly plucking at the strings of his violin. Molly was seated at her window, twiddling Martin’s business card between her fingers. The card he dropped when they first met. The card with his contact information on it. The card he had no idea that she kept.
“What?” Molly asked, snapping out of her daydream.
“Yes, you will seem unattractively desperate if you contacted your pilot friend, right now.”
“He’s not my friend. I don’t know what we are really. And I wasn’t thinking about contacting him.”
“Yes you were. You’re thinking so loudly over there I can practically hear you.”
“I think I gave him the wrong number. My office number. I should-I should give him the proper one.”
“I don’t care if you make a fool of yourself,” Sherlock said.
Molly decided to take that as encouragement and typed Martin’s mobile number into her phone. Then typed in a short message.
I think I gave you the wrong number earlier. Sorry! This one’s the right one. -Molly
She hit send before she could stop herself. And then as an after thought she sent another message:
Don’t bother asking where I got your mobile number. It’ll just weird you out. -Molly
Ah disregard that last message I got your number off the business card you dropped. -Molly
I didn’t mean to keep it -Molly
I’ll leave you alone forever now -Molly
Martin woke up on an unfamiliar sofa, with a pounding headache.
“Your phone kept going off last night. I think someone was texting you. You didn’t seem to notice,” Douglas said walking into the living room.
Douglas? Oh. That’s right. They went out after the flight last night. There was talking. And drinking. Lots of drinking.
“I was wondering if you’d remember. You were pretty far gone last night, not fit to drive anywhere. And it didn’t feel right shoving you in a cab and letting you stumble on home yourself. My place is closer to the airfield anyway. You still need to pick up your van.”
Martin just stared at Douglas though his whole little speech, which he seemed keen to be done with. Almost as if he was embarrassed. “Thank you, Douglas. I appreciate that,” he said.
He politely declined Douglas’ offer for breakfast and picked up his phone. There were four new texts, all from the same unknown number. He almost didn’t open them, thinking they were a mistake or spam of some sort, and deleted them. Almost.
His grin grew wider as he read that each message that Molly had sent him. He couldn’t believe his luck. He typed a quick reply.
No, it’s fine really. Things are always falling out of these damn pockets. I’m glad you texted me. Really. -Martin
Only after he sent the text did he realize that he had no idea what time it was. She may have been at work or sleeping or something else important. He fretted over this idea for a full three minutes before his phone chimed with Molly’s incoming message.
Oh good! I was worried that was being annoying. So back from that other job I presume. -Molly
Not annoying at all. And yes indeed I am. And I know we’d promised to arrange something when I got back so…Dinner? Tomorrow. I know it’s short notice. -Martin
No it’s fine. I didn’t have any other plans anyway. Dinner sounds great. -Molly
Ok. Great. I’ll pick you up around 6 then? -Martin
Sounds good. See you then. You remember where my flat is? -Molly
Yes, I think so -Martin
“I think I take back what I said last night. Smiley Martin is much more unnerving than Frowny Martin,” Douglas smirked.
“Shut up, Douglas,” Martin said halfheartedly, because not even the other man button pushing way could not damped his mood. Not now.
Martin had found Molly’s apartment again without much trouble. And now they were sitting in a nice, but still fairly cheap Italian restaurant. He had to dip into his savings a bit to make sure he had enough to pay for the two of them, but it was worth it.
“So what else do you do,” Molly asked. “Besides jobs with your van, I mean.”
“Oh I fly. A plane. I fly a plane. I’m a pilot,” Martin stammered. “It’s a small charter company. I take van jobs to cover some expenses during slow periods.” He added before Molly could comment. It was the reason why he didn’t mention being a pilot in the first place. Normally he would love to tell anyone that listened that he was a pilot. A captain, no less. And not mention he even drove a van. But he didn’t want to tell Molly he needed to have both jobs because he wasn’t paid for being a pilot. And since she already knew about the van job, well…”
“Oh that sounds really interesting. Are you the captain?” Molly asked.
“No I’m- wait yes, yes I’m the captain. Sorry.” Martin was practically beaming. “How did you know?”
Molly giggled and shrugged, bashfully. “Just a guess really. Also a friend of mine is really good a figuring things out, maybe I learned something from him after all.”
Martin wasn’t sure she like the way she talked about her friend, but brushed it aside. He was in no position to start acting all jealous. It was probably nothing anyway. Right?
Still unbetaed, so I apologize for any mistakes.