She watched Victoria with Rebecca and James, one on either side of her, and Abigail chattering away at her in her babbling toddler talk with a smile on her face. Victoria wasn’t her mother-in-law yet but it seemed to make no difference to the woman; as far as she was concerned, Molly was as good to her as a daughter. Victoria reached over Rebecca and patted the seat next to her and motioned for Molly to sit down, and after a moment Molly did, picking Rebecca up and settling her on her lap. “You must be exhausted, dear,” Victoria said.
“To be honest, it isn’t so bad,” Molly said with a smile. “Sherlock has his cases, but not as many, so he’s here to help.”
“Are you doing all right financially?” Victoria asked with a slight frown.
“Yes,” Molly said. “Abigail’s stipend from the trust from her mother helps. I don’t know if Irene would have wanted the money used for the entire family, but I doubt she would have minded. And with Mrs. Hudson having given us the home at a song, well, the rent is one less bill to worry about. So we’re just fine, don’t worry.” She looked down at Rebecca and ran a knuckle along her cheek. “And it helps that you come visit often, and John and Mary are here a lot. There’s usually always someone about when it gets a bit overwhelming to give us a break.”
“Well, I know from experience what it’s like to have two,” Victoria said warmly, reaching over to pat Molly’s knee. “I can just imagine three all under the age of two.”
“I hope you don’t mind that this is all you’ll get,” Molly said.
Victoria chuckled at that and squeezed her knee gently. “I’d have been quite surprised if you let my son touch you ever again, to be honest. Surprise twins? No one asks for that.” She removed her hand and then picked James up, settling him on her lap. Her good mood dimmed a bit. “He seems to be busy when I’m here. I never really get to chat with him these days.”
“Well, even though he takes less cases, he still has them,” she said. “He just takes more fours and fives these days, more easily solved ones so he can be home more often. I think he’d go mad if he didn’t exercise that great brain of his.”
“That is true, isn’t it?” Victoria said, tilting her head. “He’s been that way since he was a boy. Though he has settled a bit since becoming a father. I just thought he’d settle more since having three young ones.”
“Maybe when they’re a bit older,” she said as Rebecca began to stir and whimper slightly. “Oh, I think she’s about to wake up. I suppose I should check her nappy.”
“I suppose he’ll be up shortly after?” Victoria said, nodding to James.
“Only if I don’t take her to their nursery,” she said with a smile, carefully standing up with Rebecca in her arms. “I’ll be back.” She carried Rebecca out of the sitting room and went to the stairs to take her to the nursery and to the changing table to check on her, pondering on what Victoria had said. Sherlock hadn’t been purposefully avoiding anyone, she thought, or at least she hoped, but she could talk to him, she supposed. Encourage him to spend more time with his mum. She was close to her family and she was glad for that, and she should encourage him to spend as much time with his, or at least the family he liked, before his was gone. She knew his relationship with his mum wasn’t bad, for the most part, since Abigail had been born, and perhaps it just needed a nudge to be better. She could work on him and Mycroft getting along later.
Once she’d checked Rebecca and changed her nappy she went back to Victoria and they had a pleasant rest of the afternoon together before Victoria went back home. Sherlock came home an hour later, and she met him at the door. He gave her a quick kiss before hoisting up two plastic sacks of takeaway. “I thought I’d treat you to an evening where you didn’t have to cook,” he said. “Persian.”
“Oh, you are a dear,” she said, beaming at him. “Rebecca and James went down as soon as their grandmum left and Abigail is currently occupying herself with some toys in the sitting room, which means we should hurry up there before she gets into trouble.”
“Of course,” he said with a nod. They made their way up the stairs to the sitting room and she took the food while he picked up his daughter and swung her around for a moment before peppering her face with kisses, much the her delight. She giggled and tried to kiss him back, and then he set her in the playpen before he went to join Molly at the table. She took out the various containers and then went to get plates and forks for them. “I got all of your favorites. I thought you could either eat in moderation, as your diet allows, or have today be a cheat day.”
“I’ve been good,” she said with a smile. “And I lost just over a stone at my last weigh-in.”
He looked impressed at that. “How long was it in between weigh-ins?”
“Two weeks,” she said. “So that’s about half a stone a week.”
“All that with three young children,” he said. “I think that deserves a celebration. I think we should go out soon. Perhaps to a film or a play.”
“That would be nice,” she said,” setting a plate and fork in front of him. “Though if you’d like to do something that would really make me happy…”
“Am I actually going to like this?” he asked warily.
“Spend some time with your mum,” she said.
He frowned. “I’m not avoiding her,” he said.
“She rather thinks you are,” he said. “She’s here with the children a lot, and with me, but…not with you. So, maybe, take her out for an outing?”
He looked up at her for a moment, studying her. “Would that really make you happy?”
“Yes,” she said, reaching over to set a hand on his shoulder gently. “You know I have a wonderful stepmum who I adore, and I’m glad she’s in my life. And I love my dad because he’s one of the best men I’ve ever met. I’m proud they’ve influenced who I am as a person. And I know you haven’t had the same kind of relationship with your mum, but…it’s different now, now that you’re a dad. Our parents are older now and they won’t be there forever, and we should spend as much time with them as we can and learn what we can from them and…” She trailed off and shook her head. “I’m getting all sappy and sentimental. It’s just…it would make me happy if you spent more time with your mum. Made it a point to take her out to lunch or dinner once a week or something. Away from the children and I.”
He set his hand over hers and curled his fingers over her hand. “Do you wish you remembered your mum?” he asked.
“I do, sometimes,” she said after a moment. “But she left us. Fame and fortune were more important to her. And I love my stepmother very much. She’s an amazing woman and I am lucky to have her in my life.”
He nodded at that. “All right. I’ll take my mother out to lunch soon, at some point this weekend. But only if you’ll still let me take you out as well.”
“I can agree to that,” she said with a soft smile before leaning in and giving him a lingering kiss. He moved his hand off of hers and tangled it in her hair for a moment and she smiled against his lips. It was a good start, him agreeing to lunch. Hopefully he would try and make it a standing date, and he could get closer to his mum. That would make her quite happy indeed.