Holmes’s eyes surveyed me up and down, in a way that would have seemed hella sketch in any other guy. But I knew he was looking for clues.
“The water leaking from your eyes suggests that you have been sad recently. And from your heavy scent of deodorant and body odor, I can tell you haven’t showered in a while,” he observed, letting me in. “But that rectangular, apparently mechanical device in your hand … what is that?”
“Just a GPS app,” I sniffled, handing him my iPhone. “Dude, it was really hard to find this place. Why don’t you guys have street signs, anyway? I get that locals don’t need them, but this is friggin London, you must have tourists.”
“Can it be?” mused Holmes. “It seems impossible, but when one spies hoof prints and has determined there are no horses in the area, one must look for zebras. Are you … are you from the future?”
“Great Scott!” I shouted. “Holmes, you’re a genius!”
“Great Scott!” Holmes shouted back. “You’re a fucking time traveler!”
“I need your help,” I said. “My boyfriend said he’d be over for dinner, but it’s already, like, nine. Plus, he’s been hanging out with this girl lately, and he says they’re just friends, but like, why would he even feel the need to tell me that if—”
“Did you invent a time machine?”
“Uh, I’m pretty sure he didn’t use the time machine; it would have showed up in the history centrifuge. Unless he turned on the incognito gear, that bastard …”
“Good gods! Tell me about the future! Or wait, let me try and deduce it first. Humans seem to be amassing technology and multiplying at an alarming rate, while our ability to empathize with one another remains fixed. Will there be some sort of unbelievably destructive worldwide war?”
“Yeah. In my heart. I’m just so dependent on him, but I get the feeling that he’d be sad for maybe an hour if I disappeared.”
“You have already disappeared. You must be changing the past now, which must be changing the future, which means you must be a second incarnation of your time traveling self, as the first one would have been modified by your own—”
“I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe all this suspicion is actually just my subconscious telling me that we’re not meant to be together anyway. And I should just break things off, and then be alone again, as usual. But what am I supposed to do? Just sit around, lonely, waiting for my soulmate?” I sobbed, launching into another round of tears.
“Let me make you some tea,” he said, taking a kettle off the stove. “You’re definitely not God, right?”
“Dude, if I was omniscient, I wouldn’t need a private detective,” I whimpered.
“Actually, I work with the Scotland Yard. Which I should probably be alerting right now. Or the Parliament? The Queen?” He carefully dipped a teabag, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon with his pale but steady fingers. He flashed me the sort of awkwardly honest smile that some men pull off so well and dropped a spoonful of honey into the tea, just the way I liked it. I smiled back.
“Can I … Can I call you Sherlock?” I asked.
As I watched him mix the honey, I realized that Holmes was the type of guy I always fall for. Thoughtful, sensitive. Brooding, but deeply optimistic underneath it all. Smart, the sort of smart where you can tell his mind is always running through all the information he’s ever learned to try and figure out the present. The kind of co-conspirator you feel like you could team up with to solve all the mysteries of the universe. His sort always only half falls for me; that’s why it never works out.
I stand up and head for the door.
“Where are you going?” he asks.
“Your sensitive tea-making made me realize something,” I explain. “I have to treat men like butterflies: hold out my hand and let them land only if they want to. Chasing after them across time and space just leads to heartbreak. Holmes, thank you for everything.”
“But there are so many things I must know! Does industry lead to more happiness? Do we find a cure for tuberculosis? Does burning coal negatively affect the environment? Because if so, we could definitely stop—”
“Here,” I toss him a quarter. “This is probably worth a million dollars or something at this time.”
“This isn’t English currency; it’s worthless to me.”
After I robbed him blind with a gunshot sound app, I realized that I’d given Sherlock the one case I should have known a perpetually single detective couldn’t solve: love.