In the end, it was another one of her husband’s ‘breaks’ that finally decided the issue. Sherlock screamed and pouted and Mycroft’s mouth twitched in the way that was basically a tantrum, but their disapproval went unheeded. A nanny was hired, and Violet Holmes was finally free to return to her own work.
The decision to take on one Martha Hudson was one that she made easily. There was something about the spark in the woman’s eyes that appealed to Mrs. Holmes, a reminder of her pre-family life before violin lessons and discussions of advanced mathematics from a child still struggling to master the ‘th’ sound without lisping.
“I’m here as a nanny, not as your housekeeper,” Martha Hudson had reprimanded when Violet had suggested some extra duties and, far from being put off by the scolding tone in her employee’s voice, Violet felt something warm and unfamiliar settle in her stomach.
“I’ve hired a nanny and am returning to work,” she told her husband calmly over the phone one day, ignoring the raucous sounds from the other end of the line.
“Oh good,” he said placidly. “Is she nice?”
Violet thought of green eyes and greying hair and replied, “Yes. I think so.”
Her return to her academic life went much easier than expected, a feat that Violet assumed was entirely masterminded by one Martha Hudson. Sherlock was… well, not calm exactly, but he hadn’t set anything on fire in the month that the nanny had been with them and even Mycroft seemed pleasantly settled. Meals were prepared, the boys were neatly groomed (well, Sherlock was. This was nothing new for Mycroft), and even Redbeard was behaving remarkably well. The woman was obviously some kind of benevolent witch.
“Do you like the nanny?” she asked her sons one day, watching Sherlock carefully disassembling the toaster oven as Mycroft tutted his tongue at the politicians on the silent TV set. Sherlock had been fiddling with the volume controls last month and since then the machine had stayed resolutely mute. Violet had considered replacing the set, but since Mycroft and Sherlock were both adept at reading lips, neither seemed overly bothered by the silence. Sherlock made a noncommittal noise and shrugged, a rousing recommendation from the boy who usually vented his feelings at a high decibel and with fire to boot.
“She is efficient,” Mycroft responded, turning solemn eyes onto her.
It was satisfaction, she decided, settling back in her chair and considering the warm sensation. Satisfaction at how well Martha fit into their lives.
That was all it could possibly be.
Her hand swayed ever so slightly as she sloshed the wine into her glass with uncharacteristic clumsiness, topping up Mrs. Hudson’s at the same time. Her nanny tilted the glass in her direction in a casual toast, a smile curling the corner of her mouth. They were taking advantage of a rare day without the children, both having been bussed off to visit their father in London.
“I don’t actually mind his ‘breaks’,” Violet said, leaning in close and admiring the curls of her nanny’s hair. “The house is peaceful without him and he always comes back once he’s done. The boys have been ever so well behaved this time around as well. Normally Sherlock can be such a pain without his father around.”
“Sounds very one sided to me, love,” Martha replied with a disapproving glare over the rim of her glass. “Him gallivanting about, you home with the children. I understand men, you know, I had a husband.”
A bubble of something at the word ‘had’ and Violet suddenly felt mildly in over her head and very drunk. She shifted uncomfortably, squeezing her thighs together and very aware of not only her flushed skin but also her housekeeper’s discerning gaze.
“Oh, I do take advantage of our breaks too,” she admitted, thinking of the young man last fall and Sherlock’s violin teacher all those years ago. “Never really found what I was looking for though, I’m afraid. Found the whole thing rather unappealing.”
Martha’s hand touched hers, warm and smooth, and Violet thought to herself that perhaps the problem was that she had been searching in all the wrong places.
In the end, it just happened.
The boys were at school, and Violet had decided to stop home for lunch, patting Redbeard on her way in the gate and exchanging pleasantries with Mrs. Hudson as she pottered about the bedrooms straightening bedcovers absently. Violet had leaned against the gleaming counter in the kitchen, the back of one hand pressed against her forehead in an attempt to stave off a growing headache, sensing Martha’s presence suddenly. She dropped her hand and gave a tired smile to the other woman, eyes catching on the gentle curve of Martha’s throat. Maybe it was because this break was taking longer than usual and she was lonely or maybe it was because Martha had taken extra care with her appearance today and looked absolutely stunning.
Or maybe she was just tired of lying to herself. She stepped forward, running a soft finger along that pale skin, and humming gently in the back of her throat at the mischievous glint in her nanny’s eyes. Liquid heat pooled in her groin and she made a decidedly unladylike noise, leaning in to brush her mouth against the other woman’s.
Then there was a firm thigh between her legs, the counter was digging into the skin on her back and clever fingers were inside the silky fabric of her blouse. Martha’s lips tasted like tea and lipstick and mint soothers. The scent of her perfume, maddening.
There was no time to be shy, and when Martha tucked her nose against the hollow of Violet’s neck and nipped gently, Violet pulled her close and thought that maybe this was what she’d been looking for all along.
Sherlock was, as always, determinedly oblivious of the fact that other people existed as he carefully separated the peas from the mash on his plate so the colours didn’t mix. Mycroft was looking from the ties on Martha’s skirt to Violet’s ear with a bemused expression. Violet sipped at her tea and ignored the both of them. “Have you prepared the boy’s lunches for tomorrow, Mrs. Hudson?” she asked with a cool nonchalance.
When Martha brushed by her to stop Sherlock from secreting beans in his sleeve, her touch lingered. She turned back and raised stern eyebrows in Violet’s direction, her green eyes wicked.
“Not just your housekeeper, dear,” she scolded.
Mycroft choked on his tea.