Sebastian Moran rapped his knuckles against the door. “Boss, you ready to go?”
Jim was trying to tie an Eldredge knot and failing miserably. “It’s not even,” he muttered, glaring at his reflection.
Sebastian leaned against the doorframe and raised his eyebrow. Moriarty wouldn’t tell him what the occasion was, but he was going all out. New black suit, Gucci this time, crisp white shirt, a McQueen with little skulls embossed into the fabric, and a dark blue tie, also Gucci, that was currently being mangled into an approximation of a complex Eldredge knot. His polished Italian leather shoes were sitting by the door, neatly turned to allow him to slip them on quickly.
His black stocking’d feet were tapping impatiently against the hardwood floor of his dressing room while he stared at the mirror and struggled to get the tie right. Sebastian figured he’d wait five more minutes before he was ordered to help.
Jim visibly calmed himself, his face smoothing into a mask most of his clients would recognize as a dangerous face. He smoothly pulled the tie off, walked over to Sebastian and threw it around his neck. “Stand still,” Jim said quietly.
With this type of mood, Sebastian was likely to find himself strangled with the finest fabric to ever caress his skin.
He stayed perfectly still.
Jim, who came up to just under Sebastian’s chin, had his eyes fixed on the knot as he nimbly coaxed it into the right shape.
“Whatever it is, boss, it’s going to go fine. Molly’s an easy going gal, she doesn’t care about things most women do.”
Jim’s eyes flicked up to his face. “I didn’t ask for your input.”
“You needed it.” Sebastian brazenly tossed out. Jim paused, his hands tightening on the knot ever so slightly, before he nodded briefly.
“You get one of those, Moran, any more and I’ll kill you myself.”
Sebastian nodded. “Sure thing, boss.”
Molly Hooper had been good for his boss, who’s changeable moods had calmed on his ‘off time’. She was a sweetheart too, always bringing Jim’s employees baked goods. Her shortbreads were among the best he’d ever had, and she made a very nice lemon sponge. Sebastian was usually the bodyguard for the large penthouse when she was over, and she insisted he join in their movie nights. Jim had tried to correct her once.
Eight months previously…
“He’s on duty, Molly-my-Bell, he doesn’t get to watch the movie.” Jim held the glass popcorn bowl closer. “And he doesn’t get snacks, so don’t think about it.”
Molly had blinked her big brown eyes up at Jim and whispered something too low for Sebastian to hear, and before he knew it, Sebastian was seated uncomfortably in a leather armchair while Jim and Molly cuddled on the loveseat.
He’d never seen ‘Harry Potter’ before, and he found himself wanting a wand about halfway through.
“Why doesn’t one of the adults just use magic to explode the bad guy? That’s what I would do. Or just stab him with it.” He’d asked abruptly, too absorbed in the plot to notice that Molly’s hand had slipped under the fluffy throw blanket and Jim was suspiciously silent, his arms stretched across the back of the sofa and and his hands fisted in the thick upholstery, and his eyes closed in concentration. Molly’s head on his shoulder, her lips on his neck while her hand moved rhythmically under the fluffy fabric.
Molly had answered him a little breathlessly, letting go of Jim’s neck, “Oh, um, he’s immortal-ish. They explain later. Destroying his body now wouldn’t have changed anything, really.” She gave a little moan and bit her lower lip, Jim’s eyes opening slowly to glare at Sebastian.
Jim had growled, “Moran. Out. Go do your job.”
Sebastian hadn’t moved that fast since the war.
Molly had been extremely loud that night, and her moans echo’d through the entire penthouse. Sebastian was sure that Jim was coaxing those noises out of her to annoy him. He also knew that Molly had a bit of an exhibitionist streak, and she loved to know that other people could see or hear how much pleasure Jim brought her.
As long as his boss was happy, he’d endure it.
It took Jim two more tries, but he got the Eldredge knot finally perfect, pulling it off Moran and slipping it over his own head, going back to the mirror to tighten and straighten it.
Sebastian relaxed by the door again, watching Jim run a hand through his hair and give his reflection a devilish wink.
He practically skipped over to the padded bench by his shoes, giving them one last buff before tying them on neatly.
Straightening, he smoothed his pants and plucked a piece of lint off his shoulder. He gave a slow spin, “How do I look, Sebby?”
He rolled his eyes at the hated nickname, “You look great, boss. Ms. Hooper is probably not going to know any of those brands, but you look sharper than my Ka-Bar.”
Jim smirked, “I know how sharp that thing is, so that’s a high compliment.”
Sebastian returned the smirk. “Ready to go get your woman, boss?”
When they picked her up from her modest flat, which Jim had outfitted with a wide variety of high tech security systems working in tandem that he could monitor remotely, Molly was waiting by the front door.
Sebastian gave a low wolf whistle from the driver’s position, and Jim slammed one hand on his shoulder, “If it was anyone but you, that would be a cry for death.”
“You might be killing some men tonight, boss, and some women too. Your lady is looking her very best.” He turned and looked at Jim knowingly, “For you, boss man.” He had the rare privilege of seeing Jim Moriarty give a small, genuine, smile.
Molly descended her steps in a shirt that Moran was very sure was the same one Jim was currently wearing, the McQueen with embossed skulls, which was unbuttoned just enough to show some cleavage, and the sleeves rolled up to display her slim forearms and the sparkling silver chain at her wrist. Her hair twisted in an elegant chignon that showed off her very long neck and delicate collarbones, showing off the pearl drop earrings Sebastian remembered Jim giving her on Valentine’s day. She wore a demure, ankle-length black silk skirt that was secured with a wide leather belt at her natural waist, the belt cinched in to emphasize the trimness of her waistline, but what had really caught Sebastian’s attention were her shoes.
They were new, they were Louboutins, and they were six inch tall shiny black leather stilettos. He saw the peek of the red bottom, which matched her lipstick, as she delicately made her way to the car, Jim stepping out to hold the door open and admire her as she climbed in.
“You look lovely tonight, Ms Hooper,” Sebastian couldn’t help saying, despite Jim glaring daggers at him in the rearview mirror.
He could hear her smile, “Thank you Sebastian, that’s very kind.” He heard her skirt rustle. “When you sent me this shirt, Jim, I wanted to dress up a little. Nice tie by the way, I’ve never seen that knot before.”
Jim said, hoarsely, “You went above and beyond, Molly Hooper, how could I not do the same?” Sebastian heard Jim give Molly a gentle kiss. “More beautiful than any star in the sky.”
Sebastian smiled. His boss had it bad.
Twenty minutes later, he pulled up to the restaurant. It was a very fancy place, usually overbooked on a Saturday night, but Jim had called in a few favors. For Jim Moriarty, this place was exclusive tonight. Two cars of bodyguards had been sent ahead to sweep it, and Sebastian got the ‘all clear’ as soon as they arrived.
One of the men opened the door for the boss and his woman, nodding respectfully to both of them as they got out of the car. Sebastian saw one of the men lower his dark glasses to get a better look at Molly Hooper after she’d passed. He was very lucky Jim hadn’t seen, but Sebastian glared at the man anyway as he followed the happy couple inside.
It was some fancy fusion place, supposed to be the hottest restaurant in London, but most of the tables had been cleared out, leaving one in the middle of the floor. It was lit by a few tea candles, the house lights dimmed. Jim pulled out Molly’s chair, waiting for her to be seated, before primly seating himself.
Jim had arranged the wine and menu in advance, so they wouldn’t be bothered with anything but eating, drinking and dancing. He’d even hired a string quartet, and between courses he twirled her around the dance floor, watching her glide on her impossibly high shoes. She leaned into him perhaps a little more than necessary, and he held her closer than was usually called for in a waltz.
When the waiter brought them their glasses of deep red wine, Moriarty suddenly looked nervous. Sebastian cocked his head to the side, scanning the room. Nothing looked amiss, nobody had come in or out, his men had checked up on each member of staff, so why…
Then Molly, who had drank her entire glass in one go, started to choke.
Jim looked panicked, holding her in his arms, as Sebastian rushed over, put his arms around her diaphragm, and squeezed.
She took in a slight gasp of air, but was starting to turn bright red.
He performed the maneuver again, and she coughed, one hand over her mouth. She looked down at it incredulously, and Sebastian couldn’t help himself. Crisis averted, his arms still around her waist, he looked over her shoulder to see..
A diamond ring, easily 5 carats, sitting neatly in the center of Molly Hooper’s palm.
He looked up.
Jim’s eyes were darting between Sebastian’s arms and his face, and he looked positively murderous.
“You saved her life, Moran, so I’ll allow it, but get your hands off of my fiancée.” He suddenly looked nervous again, eyes going to Molly’s stunned face. “That is to say, if she says yes.” Sebastian let go of Molly like she was burning him and took three large steps back. Jim got down on one knee in front of her, using his pocket square to pluck the ring out of her palm and quickly wipe it down. He cleared his throat, “I, uh, I thought that would go a little differently.” He bit his lip and gave her a soft smile. “Molly Hooper, you have made my unbearably lonely life full of interesting days. You’re unpredictable, intelligent, stubborn, and even if our life is never perfect, it will never be boring. Molly Elizabeth Hooper, would you do me the honor of being my wife?”
She was crying, tears dropping delicately off her lower lashes, and she frantically nodded. “Yes,” she gasped, and Jim slid the ring on her finger and stood up in one fluid motion, leaning her back and kissing her soundly.
He was probably not going to be assassinated for touching the future Mrs. Moriarty. After all, they’d need security for the wedding.