Chapter Five: Morning Serenade
Olivia awoke, her deep blue eyes opening slowly, flinching slightly as the dim light entered her retinas. Red clouded her vision, and for a moment Olivia felt panic enter her at the sight of the unfamiliar room that she was in. That brief moment passed, and Olivia remembered where she was. Excitement bubbled up in her chest, and she had to suppress the squeal that was threatening to escape her at the fact that she was really here. The place that from moment she had left it all those years ago, had wanted to come running back. If she really thought about though, she had always found an excuse not to come...
Her father had always offered her a trip to London, but she had always claimed that she was busy. She needed to just solve this one case. Her friends had invited her to go to France. Oh, she just couldn't her school had a trip to Spain. Her homework is just to much this week... The spring cleaning in the shop has to be done! Always an excuse. One way or another, Olivia had managed to skip the trip to London for eight years... And why? Because she wasn't ready. She still had so much to learn before she came. She couldn't come here for just a visit, she just couldn't. Even as an eight year old Olivia had known that if she came to London and couldn't stay there forever, that she would fall apart afterward. So she had waited. And waited, and learned as much as she could cram into her brain, and had solved as many cases as she could before she thought she was ready.
Olivia sighed, part of her thinking she still wasn't ready. She was a sixteen year old girl, and she knew that she wasn't an adult just yet. But something this year had been different, thought Olivia, swinging her legs out of the soft, and warm sheets, wanting nothing more than to just crawl back under them and sleep for another eight hours. When school had ended last term, only a week ago, something had made Olivia pack her suitcase, and buy a train ticket. Something inside Olivia had told her that now was the time. Something had complied her to abandon everything in her life in Scotland, and come here.
She glanced around her, taking in the charming, but simply furnished room. It was of course, as Olivia noticed before, completely covered in the color red. The walls were covered in a scarlet wall paper, with burgundy ascents. The floors, like the rest of the flat were made of a dark wood, though again the red theme continued by the addition of a plush round carpet. Even the only furniture in the room was made from a deep cherry wood, from the small vanity to the impressive bed. Which, was covered in plush velvet cover, red of course. The nightstand, also of cherry wood, beckoned her with the sight of a pitcher of water, and a small glass. Parched, she reached out and poured herself a glass, once again observing her surroundings with care.
It wasn't a large room. But it wasn't small. It was charming, with all its monochromaticness... She found herself liking it, imagining curling up on the desk by the window, a blanket over her as she poured over notes. As she looked over to the vanity, Olivia flinched, cringing at the state of her hair. As always, no matter how many times the night before she had pinned and braided, her hair the next morning was in a state that she was sure that some of her bird friends would take a liking to it. It was horrible, and she wonder how her hair could even stick up like that, if by all the laws of gravity it was suppose to come down. She sighed, grateful that for most of the time, her hair behaved like hair was suppose to. Though, every morning it was a battle...
Olivia set herself to getting ready, just noticing that she had been standing around in a male bachelor's home in just a night gown. Even if she was in the her own room, Olivia felt that Basil could be a tad... enthusiastic... when he was excited. Meaning that he could be coming to her room at any moment during her stay, and she couldn't be as relaxed. Honestly, it didn't even matter to her, plenty of men had seen her in various states of inappropriateness when in came to what she was wearing, after all being a detective lead to her wearing disguises. But she felt that Basil was one of those mice that got embarrassed easily, and he would not be overjoyed to see her in a night gown.
With that in mind, Olivia started getting ready for the day. The contents of her suitcase were soon laid out in front of her, and she found her brush, picked it up, and began tearing it through the bird nest that was her hair. With a few well-practiced strokes, soon Olivia had her hair in a state that would not frighten the masses. One battle done, she then proceeded to the next battle of choosing what to wear. She unfortunately had many dresses to choose from thanks to a friend of her's, Lenora, that insisted she have a dress of every shade possible and for every occasion. She was sorely tempted to wear her male clothes today, if just for the comfort. The image of Basil's face when he saw her would be quite a funny sight, but she deiced not to scare both him and Dawson away with her peculiar habits just yet.
So instead she chose to wear a lovely emerald dress, the airy fabric was just what her mood wanted. Before that, she decided to put away the mess of clothes she had left on the bed. Those quickly went into the closet that stood in the corner, along with her extra shoes and she smiled at the surprisingly large interior. If she ever cared to buy more clothes, something she seriously doubted she would do without her friend Lenora, she could fit them easily fit them inside. She then set out to personalize the room a little more, placing her brush on the vanity, along with her few cosmetics and carved jewelery box. Anything related to her work or writing went onto the desk, and she placed her draw-string bag of money under her mattress. She smiled when she was done, glad because the room looked a little more hers, instead of just a room that Basil had shoved her in last night.
Her musing were interrupt as the door opened, and Olivia wanted to hit herself over the head for still being in her bed clothes. Her worry was left unfounded, because a smiling Mrs. Judson walked in, a fluffy towel in her arms, along with a few other things Olivia recognized as soaps.
"Olivia, good morning, my dear!" said Mrs. Judson, her always harassed voice warm.
Olivia grinned at the motherly woman, reaching over to take away the towel and soaps, dumping them on the bed to embrace her. Mrs. Judson returned the hug with slight surprise, but nonetheless pleased at the affection she received from the younger girl.
"Oh, Mrs. Judson, good morning! I'm terribly sorry that I didn't greet you last night, my manners seemed to have escaped me!" said Olivia, pecking the woman on the cheek with a another smile.
Again, Mrs. Judson was pleased at the girl's affection. It was a little strange to believe that Basil and Dawson had not recognized the girl last night. The second she had laid eyes on her she had just known who she was. She supposed it was her motherly instinct, after all she had felt a connection to the girl all those years ago, like she had gained a daughter the moment she had seen that small, drenched girl. Seeing the tired girl yesterday had only made her motherly instinct increase, though of course she was ever so pleased to the see the girl. Eight years was really too long a time.
"Think nothing of it, dearie... Now I've drawn a bath, and as you can see, I brought you a few things, let me bring you to the bathroom." said Mrs. Judson, patting Olivia's cheek and slipping out of her embrace.
Olivia nodded, turning around to the closet to get her own bath things, showing them to Mrs. Judson with slight pride, as they had been rather expensive. Soon, Olivia had everything she would need for her bath, padding away bare foot after Mrs. Judson across the hall. Mrs. Judson beamed at Olivia as she opened the dark wooden door, gesturing for her to enter with a prideful flourish. On the other side the door, Olivia found something that made her feel slight relief, for she expected the bathroom to be quite worse for wear, after all it was a bachelor's home. A soft voice in her head reminded her that a very vain bachelor lived here, and he would never allow anything to fall into disrepair, if only for pride's sake.
With that in mind, Olivia padded on the cold ceramic tile, noting, that like in her own room this one comprised of just one primary color, though this time it was blue. Though the tile beneath her feet was mostly white, the smaller ascent tiles where a deep, rich blue. The color ran up the walls, in a elegant royal blue that made Olivia feel slightly calmer. When she caught sight of the claw-foot tub, though all thoughts of the decor slipped through her mind. She could feel the warm steam that was emanating from the tub, and Olivia couldn't help but beam at the sight of the warm, and surly to be relaxing waters.
"I leave you to it, dearie." said Mrs. Judson, nodding to her when she turned around. She shut the door as she left.
Olivia was soon inching into the tub, feeling her slightly tensed muscles relax as soon as the hot water touched them. She was pleased at the smell of lavender that entered her nose, and she was glad that she had decided to buy that expensive soap, because she just loved the scent. The same went for her freesia wash that she had bought for her hair in Paris, and she couldn't help but marvel at the way the wash made her hair feel. Her fingers ran through her hair, enjoying calming motion of combing through her hair. As Olivia dunked her head into the water, she heard the most peculiar sound.
It was a lively sound. It echoed through the walls with such energy and loudness that it made Olivia wrench upwards in surprise, blinking slightly painfully as the suds of her hair wash entered her eyes. She quickly splashed water into her eyes to ease the stinging, and pushed the foamy and dripping wet locks of her hair out of her face, still hearing the sound. After a few moments, Olivia finally recognized the origin of the sound. A violin.
Basil was playing. She had only ever heard him play once, and at the time he had been majorly depressed. He had played a rather sad melody back then, so full of his disappointment at not being able to find Ratigan. But today was different, today the sound that emitted from his violin was lively, happy and seemed to Olivia to be a very freeing melody. She finished her bath while his violin serenaded her, unknowingly wearing a smile on her face throughout it.
When she was dressed, she padded once again barefoot back to her room, slipping inside to put on her boots, lacing the complicated laces carefully. With that done she quickly brushed her hair, tying it back with her red ribbon, still listening to the complex melody that echoed through the walls of the flat. The song ended, and Olivia felt a slight lost as it did, but soon rejoiced as another one started, this time with more complicated wavering notes. The new song seemed to make the last one comparably simple with all the long sweet notes, and the even faster pace of the song. It guided her, taking her down the hall, down the stairs and stopping in front of a door, the sound of the violin louder than ever as it reached a pinnacle point in the song, the already impossibly fast tempo of the song getting even faster.
Olivia opened the door with the lightest of touches, trying not to make a sound and interrupt the beautiful song. The sight on the other side of the door made her breath hitch, eyes mesmerized by the creature in front of her. He was truly a sight, with his eyes closed, and his brows furrowed, Basil played his violin with such emotion and intensity that it made her just stand there, breath locked in her throat as she looked on. Looking on at him as the long, spindly fingers of his right hand moved across the top of the violin with a practiced grace, his left hand moving the bow in a fierce movement, almost as if he was making the bow dance across the strings to produce the song.
It was such a powerful thing, to see Basil play. Olivia knew that if she watch him for hours, she would never tire if he played like this all that time. With a startlingly realization, Olivia knew that Basil was truly a genius, not only as a detective, but as just a mouse. How she could think any thing different, after watching him play like this? She watched him quietly, taking in his almost pained face, of how his mouth was pulled into a strained scowl. After what seemed like a bewitching eternally, Basil's song came to an end, and his arms dropped down in a unceremonious, and slightly clumsy movement, breaking the spell that had come over Olivia.
His emerald eyes opened slowly, his usually glowing eyes flat and almost hallow looking as they stared out into the world. They flickered to her for a brief moment, before flickering back to stare at their previous position. It took his brain a moment before he really realized she was there, and his eyes widen comically as he looked back to her, his mouth slightly a gape with surprise. He spluttered wordlessly for a moment, color rising into his cheeks at the look she was giving him.
"You play beautifully, Basil." Olivia said, trying to ease his embarrassment, if only a little.
The sound of Olivia's voice broke Basil out of his surprise, making him straighten at the sound of her Scottish lit. His cheeks cooled, and he smiled as debonairly as he could to the girl, wanting to hit himself over the head at the fact that he hadn't heard her come in. His mind wandered, and he found himself thinking of how she walked, so silently that even he couldn't hear her. In truth, she walked almost as if she was gliding, her steps small and delicate, never making a sound. He responded to her compliment, looking at her and still finding it hard to believe that this young woman was the little girl he had meet so long ago;
"My dear Miss. Flabbergin, thank you. I really only dabble in the art of the violin. My detective skills are what are truly beautiful."
To his surprise, the girl laughed, the bell like sound caressing him with its melody. It was different from the one he had heard last night, neither the girlish giggle, nor the tired chuckle he had hear.
"Modesty from Basil of Baker street, what an odd thing." she teased, once again laughing.
He found himself embarrassed, and once again surprised that she had remembered his slightly vain manner, and that she was teasing him! He simply huffed at her, feeling once again annoyed , just like he had been all those years ago when he had first met her.
"And my name is Flaversham. Honestly, you could never get it right." she said, shaking her head fondly at him.
He shrugged, rolling his eyes, in a uncaring manner, muttering, "Whatever."
That only caused another laugh, and for the strangest reason Basil fond her laugh to be a wonderful thing to listen to. Unconsciously he smiled.
"What a sight you are Olivia!" cooed a voice, making the both of them look up in surprise.
It was Mrs. Judson, and she stood in the doorway with starry eyes, gazing at Olivia with the utmost fondness. She walked over and beamed at her. It looked as if the older woman was trying anything in her power not to tackle Olivia into a hug.
"What?" I asked Olivia in slight confusion, tilting her head to the side.
Mrs. Judson merely kept up her smile, and tugged on the flowing and sheer fabric of Olivia's dress.
"Your dress is lovely, dearie, You look just like a doll!" responded Mrs. Judson cooing fondly, just loving the girl.
Olivia ducked her head, heat rising in her cheeks at the compliment. It wasn't often someone commentated on her appearance, and it was always something that made her very self-conscious. It wasn't as if she was pretty, no it was her friend Lenora that was pretty, truly. She knew that she wasn't hideous, but compared to Lenora she was surly plain. Lenora had more of fashion sense then her as well, in fact she had chosen the dress. Even bought it for her when she had point blank refused too... She dismissed her wandering thoughts and responded to Mrs. Judson sheepishly;
"Thank you... My friend Lenora bought the dress for me, claiming that it was made for me... I think I almost killed her when I saw the price... And I look nothing like a doll, trust me, my father has made enough in front of me that I know this..."
Basil snorted, muttering, " Nonsense..."
This did not of course, help Olivia's rising color, being complimented by her hero on her appearance was almost too much. She wondered dryly how she would react at him complimenting her on her detective skills... She would probably be able to die happy she supposed, after she spontaneously combusted in happiness. She rolled her eyes at both Basil and Mrs. Judson.
"I'm not a doll." she said it almost tiredly, remembering that most of her friends called her that, despite her many protests. She could never get them to stop!
Again, Basil only snorted, shrugging his shoulders, and waving his hand dismissively at her comment. She could say all she wanted on the manner, he still agreed with Mrs. Judson, she really did look like a doll. What else could she look like when she had those big blue eyes, and that slightly round face? She did look like a living doll, truthfully.
"As I said before Miss. Flibbershiver, nonsense, false modesty will get you nowhere in this house!" he said with a teasing smile, triumph in his eyes at the fact that he was making her uncomfortable, as she had made him only moments ago.
"Flaversham." she intoned, pouting at the fact that they where ganging up on her.
Both Mrs. Judson and Basil found her face to be highly amusing, and they couldn't help but tease her further.
"Whatever!" chorused Mrs. Judson and Basil, grinning at her with a mischievous glint in their eyes.
Olivia huffed, thinking that the sweet Mrs. Judson had been around Basil for far to long, he was starting to reflect in her personality. She shook her head.
"Whatever indeed. How would you like it if I got your name ever time I spoke to you, eh, Barley?" she snapped a little snidely.
Basil only smiled at her, a smile that was full of superiority.
"Then Miss. Fishwisher, I would call in Dawson to get a good look at you, for you clearly would be ill to get my name wrong." he said laughing internally at her slightly peeved face.
Mrs. Judson watched them squabble for a few more moments, eyes flickering back in forth between the both of them as if they were an interesting badminton match. She was quite surprised, she hadn't seen Mr. Basil act like this since he was a young teenager, and it was so odd to see the grown man act like this now. It wasn't a bad thing she reflected as she watched his eyes glittering with mirth as he and Olivia traded mild insults. In fact it was nice to see that the girl could make him react this way. What was that old saying her father used to say? The young keep the old young... Or something along those lines. She smiled at their banter, but knew sadly she had to interrupt them.
"Olivia, Mr. Basil, if you would stop your bickering for a moment please?" she asked laughing as they looked over to her, cheeks high and color, but their eyes glittering at the exchanged they had just had.
"Yes?" they intoned together, eyes flickering to each other for a moment to throw in a playful glare.
Mrs. Judson laughed again, thinking how the two of them were oddly alike.
"Breakfast will cool at the rate the both of you are going, come along now." she said, walking to the door and leading them away from the parlor.
Both Olivia and Basil followed, a little sheepishly as they felt a tad embarrassed. Olivia because she had fought, if only mildly with her hero, and Basil because he had fought with a teenage girl. It didn't help his ego at the fact that the girl had held her own against him. They entered Basil's slightly worn dining room, which Olivia loved the second she entered.
It like the parlor held a much used feel, and some of the green wall paper was charmingly peeling off in some places, reveling a nicely contrasting blue wall paper bellow. The chandelier was simple, and the woven brass of the design glowed faintly in the morning light. Bellow it, a oval table of dark wood stood covered with a white linen cloth, surrounded by a couple of mismatch chairs. The room, all and all gave a very causal feel, and Olivia had a feeling that Basil rarely entertained. It was lovely nonetheless, and not for the first time since entering this house, Olivia felt her stomach give a loud growl at the smell of the small feast that was laid out in front of her.
The food, like the dinning room, was very simple and humble. It was a light meal, an assortments of fresh fruits, toast, and various jams. A dish of scrambled eggs was in the middle of the table, with everything else surrounding it. The heaviest thing Olivia could see on the table was a small plate of six spiced sausages. She resolved to eat that along with some fruit, and she blushed as her stomach gave an even louder growl, alerting her companions to her hunger. The incredulous stare of Basil and the surprised one of Mrs. Judson made her chin lift slightly defiantly. Just because she was a girl didn't mean that she wasn't a big eater, in fact if she could recall right she could beat anyone back home with the sheer amount of food she ate. It just wasn't her fault that she was so hungry all the time.
"Hungry, dearie? Why don't you take a seat?" said Mrs. Judson, grabbing her arm and guiding her over to a seat to the left of the head of the table.
Olivia took it, and folded a napkin into her lap with a much practiced movement. Basil and Mrs. Judson soon took their respected seats, Basil at the head and Mrs. Judson at his right. They ate their meal in relative silence, save for the few rare moments they asked for something to be passed, or when Basil and Olivia fought over the last sausage. After scolding them for making the fat sausage stain the once very white table cloth, Mrs. Judson cleared the plates, dismissing Olivia's offer to pick them up herself. She shooed both Basil and Olivia out of the dining room, pushing them with a firm shove to the parlor, her face warning them to not come near the dinning room, unless they wanted a very cross Mrs. Judson on their hands.
Both Basil and Olivia walked with a little shame toward the parlor, surprised that they had acted so childishly. Part of them couldn't bring themselves to regret the action though, because it had been so fun to verbally spar with someone that was up to their level. They seated themselves on the armchairs, and somehow Basil did not find himself in is favorite chair, but in the green one as Olivia shuffled slightly in his red armchair, getting herself comfortable before looking up to him with an expectant expression.
"What?" he asked, in an almost bored tone as she simply continued to look at him.
"What? What do you mean what? Last night we stopped talking, and you said that in the morning we would continue to talk." she said, with a little bite in her tone.
Basil tried not to show his amusement at her annoyance. He somewhat failed as a smile was unconsciously on his face.
"Then talk away my dear." said Basil pleasantly, his hand moving in a grand gesture, some part of him still wondering just how he had ended up in the green chair.
Olivia ignored her simmering annoyance, and decided to keep her temper in check. She needed to talk to Basil calmly about this. Her future was at stake. Basil looked on at Olivia as her demeanor changed completely, suddenly looking older than the sixteen she was, looking at him with the utmost seriousness.
"Basil. I want to know for how long you are going to allow me to live in your home. I want to know if you where serious when you said I would be evaluated before I was made into your's and Doctor Dawson's partner. I want to know if you take me serious or not, and if you think me a ditzy little girl that has no idea what she is talking or asking for. And I want to know now." Olivia said this evenly, making sure her voice held no true emotion and her eyes held a steely glint as she looked straight into Basil's emerald eyes.
Her chin lifted slightly in defiance and her shoulders squared, readying for what ever was coming. Basil himself gulped a little, taking in the solemn girl in front of him and knowing his answer would determine whether or not he would receive any bodily harm today. So, he choose his words with care, keeping silent until he was sure he thought of the right answer.
"Your allowed to stay here to the end of the summer... Now, don't look at me like that … You still haven't graduated school have you?" He spoke as calmly as he could, trying not alert her temper.
To his surprise, Olivia smiled, a small blush appearing on her cheeks as she looked on at him.
"I graduated this summer... Early placement." she said with as much modesty as she could, trying not to show off.
A smart girl then, thought Basil, leaning forward, placing his fingers on his chin as he leaned forward.
"Really now? But the length of time still remains Miss. FrankerFur, you have to understand that a young lady such as your self should be living with her father, not with a bachelor."
He expected a tantrum, for the little of what he knew of this grown Olivia is that she was a tad sensitive about her gender, he could see that every time she was compared to anything feminine, he sadly thought that at some point in her detective days she must have been criticized by her gender, and by the looks of it she had become almost malevolent to those who made her seem at all feminine. Not, that she made an effort to look masculine, thought Basil, checking over her very feminine dress and manner. But nonetheless, the girl nodded, if a little sheepishly.
"My Headmistress would simply kill me if she knew. But, I can assure you Basil, it matters not to me of how I am perceived by the public, but if it is for your image's sake, then I understand and will move into my own flat nearby."she said this calmly, though he could see a little hesitation in her eyes.
Basil frowned a little at the thought of him caring for his reputation. He had never cared about it, in fact he found it a ridiculous thing, his reputation. Though he himself followed most rules to a T, he felt that the rules of society to be to suffocating. He never followed them, and dash all who dared criticize him for it. So, no he didn't care for his reputation, he could be seen as so many things by public, to a genius to a madman, and he knew that this would keep happening for a long time. But Olivia was young, and he knew younger people tended to say they didn't care, but in reality they really did care. He couldn't risk her being hurt, so the least time she stayed in his flat the better. He did hate to turn her away though. He nodded to her comment after a moment, hating that his mind had wandered off, again. Basil also deiced to answer the rest of her questions, feeling that now would be the best time to do so.
"My dear young lady, I in no way find you ditzy, and I feel that you are completely serious in these matters. And yes...You will be evaluated to be my... Mine and Dawson's that is, partner. On our next case your more than welcome to tag along... Purely to observe, of course." as he spoke he kept a careful eye on Olivia, seeing as her eyes sparkled, and how she was simply oozing happiness.
Though he did become slightly wary when he said for her to only observe, because for what he could tell by that darn glint in her eyes, she would do anything in her power to make sure she did more than that.
"Thank you. Basil, you really don't know how much this means to me." she said, beaming at him.
Basil was once again stunned by the fact that she wasn't a little girl. In all the years he hadn't seen her, every time he thought of her he would picture that small little mouse that had annoyed him so much. He had come to love her in the short time he had known her, and to see her so grown up, and not to mention so different made him feel strange. Part of him though her to be a completely different person, that reminded him if only briefly of Olivia. Another part of him mourned the fact that he was getting old. It was a rather sobering thought, that he really already was twenty six.
He was interrupted from his musing when he heard a knock at the door, and out of pure habit he scrambled up, fixing his attire and noting faintly that Olivia was hot on his heels as he opened the door. He held back a very loud groan at the sight of the mice on his front porch.
Dawson was one of them, holding his companion's hand, looking slightly sheepish as he looked on at Basil, apologizes sparkling in his dark eyes. His companion spoke, her soft voice steady, and highly amused at Basil never failing reaction to her;
"So, where is this Olivia girl my David won't stop talking about?"
Olivia felt curiosity fill her at the woman's words, and wondered if this was the ever mysterious Genevieve. She raised her hand, if a little timidly. As the woman's light blue eyes caught her's, Olivia felt something click, and found herself liking the woman in an instant, remembering that she had managed to make Basil afraid of her. Though the next words that came out of the woman's mouth made her want to slam her head against something.
"Oooooh! You are so precious, just like a doll!" screamed the woman, running up to Olivia and giving her a kiss squarely on the cheek, beaming.
Olivia smiled back in return, letting the doll comment slid just this once, because she felt that she and this woman would be great friends. Basil, on the other hand felt dread fill him at the sight of both Olivia's and Genevieve's sparkling eyes, already fast friends. He had a feeling that his life would become very troublesome indeed with the two of them together, and suppressed another groan.