He had capitulated immediately, hearing her pray to stay with her during the night. Obviously he would never admitting that he was pleased to stay some little time more with her before his departure. At the end it couldn't be too damaging. Or so he hoped.
He sat on the couch staring at the ceiling. "Well, we should find a way to spend the evening. Something not too boring. I get bored easily, you know. "He said, without looking at her.
"I have an idea." She said with her usual tone seductively provocative.
He turned to look at her face, raised eyebrows with a skeptical expression.
"What could you suggest that could seriously arouse my attention?"
"I'm sure I know many ways to spend an evening, so far from boring, Mr. Holmes, ways that you ignores completely. I'm convinced however, that I would be able to interest even you. "She smiled seductively. She was clearly leading on him. "But for now we could just play a game of chess, what do you think? If you think you can beat me, of course." She continued with defiant attitude.
He puffed amused by this challenge naive. "Do you really think to be able to get ME in trouble? I could even think to let you win the game if you weren't so insolent "He laughed sarcastically.
"We'll see. And when I win, prepare to do penance. " Retorted The Woman staring at him, getting close to him.
"Beat ME? Ah, "he said laughing," But do you remember who you're talking to? I beat you blindfolded. "
"Don't exaggerate Mr. Holmes. I'm tempting by the idea of you blindfolded, but I have no qualms to knock you out. You should still remember the feeling of my beloved whip on your sharp cheekbones. "She said, laughing, as she stood up to take the chessboard and settled it on the coffee table.
He remembered well, even if he was drugged, he can still remember that feeling.
" The whip hand "yeah," he thought.
The game started, She moved first. At the start he wasn't worried at all, he was controlling the game as always, anticipating her moves. Just looking at the movements of her eyes or subtle facial grimacing.
At some point, at mid-game, for a moment, he lost the control of the game and She took over immediately. As soon as he was distracted, She lauched her attack, as always. As in their own special game.
So he was more interested in the game, he wanted to push on, to cornered her and win over quickly. He’ll win, obviously.
“I can’t lose. Impossible.” He thought.
But at times he lost her movements. He was stunned and he had to restart over again.
He was hiding his thoughts. He was confident to control the situation. He won the first game. It wasn’t so easy as he thought, but he’ll never confess this to her.
He looked at her, victorious, with a childish smile : “ What did you say?” twiddling with her king piece.
“I’m sure I bothered you. Several times. Confess.”
“I’m sure I just put your king in check. Checkmate.” He said, amused.
“Oh come on! You won just one chess game. You haven't saved the Nation! I’ll win the next one , Mr. Holmes.”
“You want to continue to play until you’ll be able to defeat me? Then we’ll play forever and ever!” he said, raising his hands. “ Maybe it’s better for you to give up, you haven’t a chance.”
“Ah Ah. You’re so funny. I’ll win sooner than you think.”
“Ok. We’ll see. Three games. You have to win at least one game. One is gone, two try left.”
“Oh so you give me an advantage…It could be worse.”
They started the second match. This time her play was more aggressive and elusive. She analyzed him. She was incredibly intelligent, He already knew that her brain was unordinary. The Woman could compete with him, when She wanted to. And She did it. That game was more intense and combative than previous. He was enthusiastic at moment. He had to think faster to predict her moves and limit the damages. She almost won, but he managed to checkmated her. Terrific. The most exciting chess game ever. It wasn’t like play alone or with John. John was so predictable. Boring.
“And then?” He said to her, without hiding the euphoria.
“I still have a chance. It’ll not be easy this time. I analyzed you, Mr. Holmes.”
And the third and last game was on. They played for hours, it was about 3 a.m. now.
This match was different from the start. Her game changed, and he was caught off guard for a moment. That woman always confounded him. Uncomfortable feeling but also stimulating. He couldn’t read inside her even now. Like the day he met her, but at least She was dressed this time.
He stared at her. She was focused and confident. He waited her move and tried to figure out how avoid losing his horse. He contained her attack on one side, but he exposed his bishop and lost it. It was not amusing at all. Then Sherlock change his strategy, adapting to hers. He check her king, but immediately realized that he had fallen into a trap. The match was lost. Two movements left and She will have won.
He gazed at her. They both knew that She has won. She smirked at him, wanting her revenge. “Not laughing anymore now? Prepare to do penance!”
He raised his eyebrow “ Oh no, I don’t think so. I never accepted your terms, don’t I?”
“Oh you’ll do it. Don’t dare avoid your punishment!”
“Old habits die hard, right Ms. Adler? But I’m not that kind of man. I’m not so easy to dominate.” He answered, staring at her constantly.
He had to be careful, he couldn’t give her too much power over him. She shouldn’t tempt him again.
“ I know. We are alike, Mr. Holmes. We both love to lead the game, it’s good.” She stretched her body towards him.
“ It’s true. We both love dominate, rule the game and win.”
“It will never change, Mr. Holmes. We’ll never be like the others.”
“No, never.” He said, without showing emotions.
It was a fact. They were different from the others, that will never change, this is the only way to relate each other that they knew. They’ll continue to play, perhaps with new rules. And they’ll continue to be hurt, get closer each other and then run away, forever.
"That night, Mr. Holmes ..." She said and then stops immediately.
"That night you acted like a fool, and you lost ... there's nothing else to say" He had no intention of reopening that subject, which threatened to bring dangerous repercussions.
“About what happening after my kidnapping…”She stopped again, as if She was struggling to express herself, unlike the usual. He gazed at her, again.
“You own me no explanation. I deduced everything already. You didn’t deserved such experience, nor death, so I could not leave you in that situation. "He said , his voice calm, emotionless .
" But maybe I deserved it ,I don't deny it . It was my fault. But I want to talk to you about something else. Behind everything that happened to me there is the hand of the greatest criminal mind that the world has ever seen. I played my cards all wrong . Your brother has obtained documents about him. And I signed my death sentence. "
" I know. I knew also that night. "
"Don’t you understand? It's not over , I can be safe, but he will come back, soon , this time for you! " Her eyes seemed genuinely concerned , which surprised him more than the subject of Her speech.
" So what? I can’t wait to be able to finally confront that man! Seriously you think that I could ever pull me back in front of him ? But if I'm waiting for it, for months!" He said , standing up , excited at the idea of a new challenge.
" Be careful Mr. Holmes please. Never underestimate that man. He is obsessed with you and capable of anything. Choose well your trusted persons. I'm serious ."
Her growing anxiety hurt him, as if She doubting his ability.
"Your concern doesn't make any sense, I can beat him. I assure you , don't be afraid. " He was confident. He couldn't restrain the tone of annoyance as saying those words. He would never doubted his own abilities. Even though She was right partly: his confrontation with Moriarty was approaching, and it wouldn't be easy at all. He sat down on the couch, sinking in thoughts, deeply, in his mind palace.
When he emerged from the torpor, The Woman was sitting next to him.
She stared at him in silence. Her hair loose on shoulders. She was amused when their eyes met. She smiled.
"I find really interesting to watch you, lost in your thoughts . In your personal world. Your mind is a fascinating tool .Really. " She said, Her eyes were gentle , much more than that night at Baker Street.
He kept quiet, it was definitely the best move in that circumstance .
He looked at his watch, it was almost 5 a.m. . He stood up, took his personal items and began to rearrange them, departure’s time was near.
Soon after, She got up from the couch, and pacing up and down the room, she looked at him as he finished packing his suitcase. Then She leaned against the desk, without stopping to observe him. He called a cab to the airport, changed his shirt with a white one. He could still feel her eyes on him, he raised his head and stared at her.
"I think it's time to say goodbye, Miss Adler. Or should I say Miss Irons. "
The woman still held his gaze, and kept her look serious and determined.
"This isn't the end of the story, Mr. Holmes. I want to turn the table, and I'm not just talking about chess. "
"You only won one game out of three. Fortune. "
"Next time we'll see. " Her eyes changed, She seemed sad " Try to stay alive until our next meeting. Remember, you owes me a dinner. "
She brought up again on that topic, obviously she was almost obsessed with it. He came closer, and bent over her and whispered in her ear "Nobody can beat Sherlock Holmes, and you should know it better than anyone else."
He suddenly felt her hands grip the lapels of his jacket.
She pulled him firmly, taking him by surprise. He felt a slight sense of panic. A stab in the stomach.
Her warm breath caressed his neck and then his face. He startled slightly.
He hated the confusion that She causes inside him. He stepped back a little, but She nestled him against her again, in the most delicate way. The warm touch of her soft lips on his.
He felt a pang in the chest as the kiss slowly grew more profound. He followed her lead, failing to oppose any resistance. Her hands slid down his jacket, before stroking the chest, then gently on the neck, tightening around his shoulders. He felt his whole body tight against hers.
Although it wasn't the first time they kissed, he still couldn't get used to it.
Again strange sensations emerged. It was so difficult to control his emotions. He wasn't able to ignore them anymore and hushing them up. Without realizing it, he held her in his arms, caressing her skin with his hands. He felt the softness of her bare skin under his fingers.
His heart was beating so fast, as if he was running. He lingered on her lips, again and again, losing himself completely, surrendering to those feelings so unknown.
Then suddenly he found again his lucidity and slowly pulled away from her. As soon as the contact between them was cut, while he was still trying to catch his breath and to regain his self-control, She gave him a light, soft kiss, and the another one. She stared at him. Her expression seemed angry and saddened at the same time: "Sherlock, I mean it."
He was moved.
She said his name for the first time.
But he kept silent. He only gazed back at her.
"Maybe this time She is sincere..." he thought.
But he didn't want to think about what it could or should mean.
In that moment they heard the sound of the klaxon. The taxi cab was in the street, waiting.
For a moment he stayed still, still staring at her eyes, then he turned around, picked up the suitcase and walked toward the door and opened it.
He stopped to look back at her again. "Goodbye, Miss Adler"
"Goodbye, Mr. Holmes." She replied, still leaning against the desk.
He closed the door and got into the taxi. He turned instinctively toward the house, while the taxi was leaving. He saw her standing at the window. Their eyes met for a moment before the car slipped away.