Oh, it was a rotten rotten day, Molly realized as she made her way to Irene’s home, dripping wet and shivering cold. She fumbled for the key to her door and then just gave up, pressing the doorbell instead. It took Irene only moments to answer, but when she saw Molly standing there, soaked to the bone, arms wrapped around herself to try and stay warm, her eyes widened. “What on Earth…?” she asked.
“Horrible day,” she said, her teeth chattering.
Irene moved out of the way and ushered Molly in. She didn’t even seem to care that Molly was dripping water all over her pristine foyer. No, she simply pushed her up the stairs to her bedroom, albeit with rather gentle shoving, and then when they made it to the master bathroom she helped strip Molly out of every article of sodden clothing she was in and gave her one of the fluffy bath sheets that she had in there to wrap around her while she began to draw her a bath. Molly had thought being out of all of her clothing she would feel even colder but the warmth of Irene’s home and the dryness of the bath sheet had a warming effect.
Soon she could see steam rising from the water as Irene began to add oils and bubble bath to the running water coming from the taps. Oh, this was going to be blissful, she realized. She knew Irene had only the finest quality products; she’d gifted Molly with a few since they began dating and really, there were a few that made her stay in the bath until the water started to turn cold and she would drain a bit of the water out and run more water in rather than get out. Once it was to her satisfaction she motioned for Molly to get in the tub and Molly let the bath sheet drop to the floor and then sank into the water, thankful that Irene had such a large bathtub. She sank all the way to her chin and shut her eyes for a moment as Irene sat on the edge and let her hand dip in the water, running her fingers along her thigh. “Do you want to tell me about your day?” she asked.
“It started with an unexpected visit from Mycroft,” Molly said, opening her eyes. “He was sitting in my sitting room, as you please, waiting for me when I woke up. He said he had heard rumours that you and I were involved in a dalliance. I said we were dating and that it was none of his business. He said that he wanted to make sure I was aware of your reputation. I said I knew all about your reputation and your former career and the men and women you’d been with. I said I knew all about your fascination with Sherlock and the game you played with both of them and all of that. And I said my relationship with you, because that’s what it is, not a dalliance, still wasn’t his business. He said he didn’t want me to get hurt and I asked him why didn’t he care when his brother was hurting me, hmm? He was at a loss of words for that.”
“Oh, I would have paid dearly to see this conversation,” Irene said with a smile.
“I told him that my life is my life and when it concerns Sherlock then he has a say but otherwise he’s to butt out, and then he nodded and said that’s my decision and left. So that all happened before I’d had my morning coffee,” she said. “And then I got to Barts and found out there’s a potential serial killer on the loose but it’s all hush hush but I had to pull up files on thirty-five different Jane Doe victims from the last nine months for the detectives at Scotland Yard, and not all of the autopsies were mine so they weren’t all as thorough as mine were and some of the detectives were snippy about it. Greg and Sherlock tried to stand up for me but there was one, DI Hammersmith, who was just being a bully. Sherlock just finally had enough and hauled off and slugged him in the face and almost got tossed off the case, and my superiors thought I was involved so they threatened to suspend me.”
“How on Earth do they think you’re responsible for Sherlock flying off the handle?” Irene asked, her hand no longer making motions on Molly’s thigh.
Molly shrugged. “Dunno. All I know is now my job’s on the line. And then I couldn’t seem to find a cab to get here so I took the Underground and someone tried to steal my handbag and my umbrella broke once I got back on street level and it’s just been a miserable day.”
Irene shook her head. “You relax in the bath until all the cold has seeped out of your bones, dear. I’ll arrange for takeaway and we can sit on the sofa and watch one of your favorite films or miniseries tonight. Do you have anything in particular you’d like to see?”
She thought for a moment. “Did I leave my copy of ‘Lost In Austen’ here?”
Irene nodded. “I believe so. And I think there might even be a pint or two of ice cream in the freezer. But relax first.”
Molly lifted her hand out of the water and motioned for Irene to come closer. Irene grinned and when she did Molly lifted her other hand out of the water, framed her face and kissed her softly. “You spoil me,” she said when she pulled away.
“Because you deserve it,” Irene murmured before pulling away. “I’ll come check on you in a bit.” She moved away, leaving Molly alone in the bathroom for a while. She sank down to her chin again, relaxing in the tub. She felt much better already, as the warmth of the water seeped into her bones, and the calming scents of lavender and jasmine soothed her senses. After a little while she sat up more to wash her hair, but at that point Irene came back in. “Going to wash your hair?”
Molly nodded. “Otherwise it will be all tangled and gnarled in the morning.”
“Let me,” she said, sitting on the edge of the bath. She reached over for the taps and turned them on, testing the temperature, and then reached over for a cup she had. “Normally I don’t take bubble baths when I plan on washing my hair, but sometimes I indulge,” she said, putting the cup under the running water. “This comes in handy.”
“I do the same thing,” Molly said with a smile, leaning her head back once Irene pulled the filled cup away. Irene poured the warm water over Molly’s hair, and then reached over for a bottle of shampoo. She squirted some into her hands and then began to work it into Molly’s hair, massaging her scalp and working it into a lather. “It’s been a very long time since someone’s done this for me.”
“I suppose I should suggest we bathe together more often, then,” Irene said with a slightly impish smile.
“I wouldn’t say no to that,” Molly said. She enjoyed the sensation of Irene working her fingers through her hair and almost pouted when she was done. Irene filled the cup up with more water and then washed away the shampoo before doing it a second time for good measure. She then picked up a second bottle and then put that in Molly’s hair, massaging it in. this time, however, she didn’t immediately rinse it out. Molly looked at her curiously. “What is that?”
“It’s a deep conditioning treatment for your hair,’ she said with a grin. “You have to let it sit for five minutes for it to really work.”
“Ah,” she said. “I don’t usually pamper myself like that.”
“Well, perhaps you’ll let me pamper you, at least a little,” Irene said, moving her hands to Molly’s cheeks, cupping them. “I like to. You work very hard, and you deserve someone to take care of you every now and then.”
“But who takes care of you?” Molly asked.
Irene laughed. “Well, in the sense of pampering? I do that quite nicely on my own,” she said. “But in the case of making sure I’m happy and well cared for in that way?” She leaned forward. “You do quite a splendid job of that.” She kissed her softly, and Molly shut her eyes, leaning forward to hold onto Irene. She wanted to pull her closer, but she pulled a little too hard, and Irene slipped off of her perch on the side of the tub and landed in the tub with Molly. Molly jerked away from the kiss, her eyes wide with horror, but Irene only laughed. “Perhaps I should have just joined you in the first place.”
“It could have made for a more interesting bath,” Molly said, relaxing.
“Yes, it could have,” Irene said, her eyes sparkling. “I’ll just put these clothes in with yours in the dryer as well. It won’t hurt to put pyjamas on as well. I doubt they’ll stay on all evening anyway.” She leaned in more. “Now. Weren’t we doing something?”
Molly grinned and kissed her again for a few more minutes before Irene pulled away to rinse the conditioning treatment out of Molly’s hair. It took a bit of contortioning, as Irene didn’t bother to get out of the tub or off Molly’s lap, but eventually Molly’s hair was washed and it was decided it was time for both of them to get out and get into dry clothing. Irene discarded her now wet garments on top of Molly’s and wrapped a bath sheet around her before steering a similarly garbed Molly to her vanity and sitting her down in the chair. She reached for her comb and then began to comb Molly’s hair for her. It had been a very long time since anyone had done this, and Molly leaned her lower back against Irene when she could, sighing in contentment. “This is nice,” she said.
“It is, isn’t it?” Irene said, stopping the humming she had been quietly as she had pulled the comb through Molly’s hair. “I don’t think I’ve ever really been in a position where I’ve done this before. Where it’s felt…”
“Right?” Molly suggested. Irene nodded, and Molly gave her a smile in the vanity mirror. “I’m glad you feel that way with me, then.”
Irene smiled back before pressing a kiss in her hair. “I am too,” she said. And with that she went back to the combing, back to humming softly as she did, and Molly felt more relaxed and at peace than she had in quite a long time, she realized. Whatever it was she had with Irene, it was special. Far more special than she had ever thought it could be. And she would cherish it forever.