Two Weeks Notice
His blood rushed loudly past his ears and he cleared his throat several times before finally managing to speak. ‘Two weeks?’
The firm nod from his soon-to-be-former-assistant brooked no argument.
Sherlock Holmes, self-made business mogul and genius with a knack for going through PR reps like tissue paper, was, for the first time, utterly baffled.
‘I don’t understand.’ He stood and rounded his desk, a frown on his face, until he was standing in front of her. Molly Hooper. His assistant. His conscience. His voice of reason. The one person who, despite her diminutive stature and initial fumbling demeanor, had kept him in line and in good public standing for the better part of five years with a backbone of steel and an uncanny ability to charm even the most vicious reporter.
She wouldn’t leave him… she couldn’t.
‘Are you no longer happy here, Miss Hooper?’
She turned her head before he could read her face, but he didn’t miss her flinch at his formal address. She took a deep breath before turning her gaze back to him. ‘I believe my services would be better utilized elsewhere.’
‘That’s not what I asked. Tell me, why are you leaving me?’
She looked down at her cherry-patterned blouse, tugged it straight, and cleared her throat. ‘Mr Holmes, the terms of my employment were clear in that, should either party be so inclined to terminate said employment, a notice of two weeks must be given. No where in the wording is it required that a reason be given.’
Sherlock cursed inwardly. ‘Miss Hoop-Molly, I thought we had developed an efficient rapport, even a friendship. If I have done something to cause you distress, please inform me so that I may rectify the situation.’ He slipped his hands into his pockets and ducked his head. ‘I have very few friends in my life and I would sincerely be loathe to lose you from my life.’
‘It is nothing you can fix, believe me,’ she replied, smiling sadly.
Sherlock stepped toward her. ‘Molly-’
‘I’ve already begun vetting potential replacements,’ she interrupted, taking a step back. ‘Three months from now, it’ll be as if there was never any change. You’ll have forgotten all about me.’
Her smile was forced and a gnawing ache settled in Sherlock’s chest. No more chipper, bubbly smiles first thing in the morning as she brought him his coffee and handed him a folder with the relevant emails that had come through overnight. No more trying to hide his laughter in public spaces whenever she mumbled a sarcastic or morbid comment under her breath. No more watching her brilliantly smooth over his social faux-paus with a smile and perfectly-worded statements.
No more Molly.
‘What if I don’t want to forget you.’ His voice was dark and low.
She replied with soft resignation. ‘We both know you excel at deleting extraneous information. And when I leave, that’s what I will become. Your work and empire will continue, your new assistant will do everything I’ve been doing for you, and nothing else in your life will change.’
Then with the strength he’d always admired in her, she straightened her shoulders and adopted a cool professional expression. ‘With that out of the way, I shall be off. You have a meeting with the Board in a half hour and I need to prepare the conference room.’ She turned on her heel and left the room, pausing at the door to call over her shoulder, ‘Don’t forget to wear the cufflinks Mr Haversham gave you; keeps you in his favour.’
The door clicked shut behind her with alarming finality and Sherlock fell back against his desk, stunned.
Two weeks. Two weeks and she would leave him. Why? Why was she leaving? He hadn’t offended her lately, insulted her clothing recently, or God forbid, forgotten to pay her! She had given no sign of discontentment or unhappiness working with him. If anything, she had thrived in her position, going above and beyond what he had even expected of her.
So why would she leave?
Why would she stay?
The little voice that sounded a lot like his business partner, John, came unbidden to his mind. Sherlock froze.
Why would she stay? If she received a better offer, he would understand that. But she gave no indication that she was looking for or taking a new position and no other company would dare even consider poaching her from him.
His legs were moving before he even thought to, propelling him across the room in record speed. He threw open the door and stormed out, sending a frightened intern scuttling after a flurry of papers she’d thrown in surprise.
Sherlock paid the employees that parted around him like the Red Sea no mind. His singular focus was on finding his assistant and demanding a full explanation before talking her out of this irrational decision to leave him in the lurch.
The lift was too slow and he bypassed it entirely, opting to thunder down the stairs to the ground floor. The conference room was in the center of the atrium and completely encased in glass windows that rose to the top of the three story-tall room. Transparency was the core of his business success; no underhanded dealings or hiding secrets. Made for a bumpy ride at times, but paid off in the long run.
He straight-armed his way through the doors into the atrium; the steel doors slammed into the walls and echoed loudly in the tall room. Every head turned toward the sound and many craned their necks to watch as the C.E.O., President, and Notoriously Aloof Sherlock Holmes blew into the room with the force of a hurricane and narrowed in on the petite assistant who was speaking animatedly with the few board members who had arrived early.
He interrupted them unashamedly and furiously declared, ‘No. I refuse to accept your resignation.’
Molly looked over in surprise and a fierce blush stained her cheeks. Hastily excusing herself from the conversation, she hurried across the room.
‘Mr Holmes, please-’
‘No, no more Mr Holmes,’ Sherlock snapped, uncaring that every ear was attuned to their discussion. ‘We have been on a first name basis for two years. We are friends, Molly. And friends don’t just quit. Not without reason.’
Molly looked around at their gaping audience and lowered her voice. ‘Sherlock, it’s…’ She sighed and tucked her hair behind her ear. ‘It’s complicated. Okay? You don’t understand and I get it, I do. Just… respect my decision.’ Her eyes were suspiciously bright. ‘Please.’
It was in that moment that Sherlock saw what he’d ignored for so long. The dilation of her pupils, the longing in her eyes, the soft way she would smile at him, putting aside her own personal life to help him, canceling dates at his last minute request when he needed her… the love that was woven in every word she spoke to him and every thing she did for him.
And how deeply that love was reciprocated.
He reached out and caught her hand. ‘You’re wrong.’ He stepped closer and lifted his other hand to slip around the back of her head. Her breathing increased and her eyes widened. ‘I believe I do understand. Finally.’
‘Sherlock…’ The rest of her breathless words were stolen as he dipped his head and kissed her.
Around them, the onlookers awed and cheered. Sherlock tuned them out, focusing all his attention on the woman in his arms and kicking himself for ignoring his heart for all these years.
And when John Watson, Sherlock’s business partner, arrived with the rest of the Board members minutes later, he smirked at the sight before him. A quick check to the calendar on his phone only made his smile widen.
Seems he’d won the betting pool.