A Question of Holmes – Brittany Cavallaro

THAT MAY, IN THE WEEKS BEFORE THE BUSINESS WITH DR. Larkin and the Dramatics Society, the messages in the floodlights and the stripped-down production of Hamlet and the orchids, the orchids everywhere—before Jamie Watson came to stay and my life, as it often did, grew infinitely stranger —my uncle Leander took to throwing parties again. At first I wasn’t sure of the reason for it. May in Oxford is a milky, diluted affair, with little natural cause for celebration. Not to mention that my uncle was serving in loco parentis to me, a girl who had long passed the age when parenting was necessary; I must have been a burden to him. I was seventeen, after all, and I had ruined several lives, not the least of which was mine, and I had had my own bank account for ages. Surely that disqualified me from needing a father. And still I found myself reveling in it: the hiss and splutter of the electric kettle first thing, and the double-knock on my bedroom door that meant eggs and turkey bacon on the stove; the issues of New Scientist in the post, a magazine my uncle didn’t read, but I did; how sometimes I’d return home from the library to find my shirts and socks spinning in the little washing machine in the kitchen when I hadn’t put them in myself. How we had a childhood friend of Leander’s to dinner, and he walked in with a bottle of white wine and a carrier over his shoulder, and inside, making a small ruckus, was my cat Mouse. At my uncle’s request, she had been liberated from my father’s “care.” I was excused from dinner to take my cat to my room for immediate cuddling, and there, on the blue-and-white rug I had chosen because its pattern looked like fractals, as I buried my nose in Mouse’s soft white belly and she batted my face with her paws, I realized that I had been dismissed from the adults’ party like a child, and that, surprisingly, I didn’t mind in the least. These were not weighty things, taken separately, but together they covered me like a blanket, and just as I began to grow used to my mail sorted out on the counter and Leander, on the sofa in suit and American collar, watching Murder, She Wrote while eating handfuls of caramel corn, our days shifted once again. I was due to begin my summer courses in a few days’ time at the precollege program in St. Genesius College in Oxford University before enrolling there in the fall, and I suppose the first party that Leander threw was intended to prepare me. That is to say, he thought that inviting over a number of Oxford tutors to drink cocktails and eat miniature puff pastry in our kitchen would be comforting, and productive, and that I wouldn’t immediately blurt out that one of them was having an affair with their dog groomer or blow something up on the stove—that I would, in short, have some civilized fun.

When I wrote to tell Watson of my uncle’s plan, he responded What on earth is he thinking? You hate parties. Has Leander gone entirely off his tit and, if so, do you have an escape plan? Maybe through the sewers? It was reassuring, remembering I wasn’t broken for not wanting to eat fun-sized sausages with strangers. I can tell him I’m just ducking out for the night, I decided, and that thought took me as far as the kitchen, where people had already gathered. I hadn’t even heard the front door opening and closing. I was that far away from my former self, the girl who noticed everything. And there, in the thick of all those tweedy people, was my uncle Leander, half-illuminated by the track lights, telling some improbable story about his time at the Sorbonne to two men in blazers and penny loafers. Standing in the doorway, I realized it’d been some time since I’d seen him with that look. That performing look, that is, something of a raised eyebrow and a half smile, something of an off-balance lean that meant my uncle had an adoring audience. I sighed, put a pile of sausages on a plate, and went to introduce myself to a woman—drama lecturer, divorced, two dogs—who was staring forlornly at the empty gin bottles on the counter. It seemed as though we might have something in common, though it had been some time since I’d indulged in my old vices.

The night passed slowly. I was quite happy to go to bed. I willed myself to believe that that was the last of the parties, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. (Obvious evidence. As in, a carrier bag full of cheeses on the counter, and my uncle, the Bach aficionado, humming a Justin Bieber song. Still, a girl could dream, etc.) Should I have been surprised when, that Friday evening, Leander interrupted my violin practice and asked if I perhaps wanted to do something with my hair, as we had company on the way? I did nothing with my hair. I put away my sheet music (the Hof man barcarolle, exquisite) and skulked out to the living room in leggings and my slippers. “Charlotte,” Leander said, laughing, as he positioned a pair of speakers on the mantelpiece. “Really.

You know, it’s good to be acquainted with one’s professors. Think of it as an opportunity to gather material, if you have to.” “Blackmail?” I thought briefly of Mr. Wheatley, Watson’s high school writing teacher, who had bugged his dorm room to “gather material.” “Noted.” “Chin up. That Dr. Whatsit woman you were speaking to the other night will be back. She was quite taken with you.” A small part of my brain was always at war: Of course she adores me, I thought, simultaneously thinking, that poor dumb woman.

My therapist had been working with me on this duality with limited success. I truly hated parties. Still, I helped Leander light the clusters of candles in the windows, breathed in their scent when he asked me to, said, Yes, that amber one is lovely (not because it was, but because I loved my uncle); I arranged the miniature cheeses on a platter (Everything in miniature at parties, I thought, people should make themselves bigger); I changed into my boots but kept the leggings, and then took up a position in the armchair by the door. The same people again. Some dons in shirtsleeves, a pair of philosophy graduate students studying the bookshelves. My uncle listening intently to—yes, there it was, to an ebulliently handsome man in the kitchen, one who had been here the time before. Now he was touching Leander’s shoulder with a slim hand, as though for emphasis. It wasn’t for emphasis. Well done, Leander, I thought, and closed the case, as it were, on the mystery of the many parties. Pity, though.

To my surprise, I found that I had been hoping for something a bit more sinister. I was studying my uncle’s suitor from a distance (blue-eyed, single, last boyfriend had given him terrible feedback on his hair) when the drama lecturer plopped down on the ottoman beside me. “Charlotte,” she said. Her name was Dr. Larkin. “Your uncle was just telling me about your interest in Shakespeare.” “My interest in Shakespeare.” I wasn’t uninterested in Shakespeare, I supposed. I liked the language. I liked the pageantry.

I liked above all the disobedient girls that populated his plays, and I told Dr. Larkin that. She tucked her hair behind her ears. “We’re doing Hamlet, you know, at the precollege Dramatics Society this summer. We do quite a bit of Shakespeare. It goes off just fine, usually, though the precollege program is always under-enrolled and in turmoil and, well, a bit on fire—” “You’re not selling it all that well,” I said, not unkindly. Dr. Larkin laughed. “I’m not actually asking you to audition,” she said. “Though I suppose, in a way, I am.

We had a series of . incidents last summer, and so much of the program is returning— faculty and students and crew—and, in the end, we never quite figured it out.” “What, exactly?” But she was looking just past me, her eyes gone suddenly hard. “I’m invested in it not happening again,” she was saying in a hollow voice. “The business with the orchids, that is.” The party had grown louder; someone had put on the Rolling Stones, and a few people were dancing. A girl in the corner was reading my uncle’s copy of Middlemarch. Across the room, Leander and his suitor were peering out the windows at the night, their shoulders barely touching. None of it mattered. Something was stirring in my blood.

“Begin at the beginning,” I told Dr. Larkin. “And tell me, please, that you don’t want me to play Ophelia.” Two “THEY WANT YOU TO PLAY OPHELIA?” WATSON ASKED, hoisting his duffel bag over his shoulder. His suitcase was already on the curb. “Isn’t that a little, like, on the nose?” I thumped the roof of the cab, and it trundled back out into the road. Six on a Sunday, and the city was quiet, the sun still not entirely up. Flights fromAmerica always came in with the dawn. For once, Watson didn’t look the worse for wear. He never fared well on planes across the Atlantic, sleeping fitfully or not at all, but this morning his hair was so extravagantly tousled, I knew he’d spent the whole flight unconscious.

Though the red lines near his temples (striated; elastic?) flummoxed me until— “You had on a sleeping mask,” I said, delighted beyond all sense. “Tell me, was it one of those with the eyelashes printed on it? Was it silk? Was it your mother’s, or—” He pulled it from his pocket and tossed it to me; I caught it one-handed. Black silk, sans eyelashes. “You’re a jerk,” he said, laughing. “I bought it in the terminal.” “Why would I be a jerk? I’m only asking about your beauty sleep.” “Did it work? Am I more beautiful now?” His white shirt was rumpled—why on earth had he worn an oxford on an international flight?— and he still had his medicinal-blue flight pillow around his neck, and everything he was thinking, every last thing, played out on his face: anticipation, happiness, a little fear. Knowing what he did about the way I worked, what I observed, he still wore it there for me to see. Of course he was beautiful. “Of course you aren’t,” I told him, but I was smiling.

“It’d take a longer nap than that, surely.” Upstairs, we settled in on the sofa, his feet propped up on his duffel. The soles of his trainers would leave a mark there, but at least they weren’t on the couch. Leander would have had kittens. “So. Ophelia,” Watson said. “Isn’t there another part for you to play?” “Not for my purposes.” “I guess it isn’t much of a stretch for you.” He knew he was annoying me, and he was enjoying it. I could tell from his left eyebrow.

“I’m not sure if you’re aware of this,” I said, “but I have no plans to drown myself because of you. I don’t see how my playing Ophelia is ‘on the nose.’” He tipped his head against the cushion. “You are the smallest bit tortured, you know.” I grimaced. “Less so, now. Therapy. Lots of therapy. And I’m eating breakfast. I’m a healthy, sound person.

” “I’m sure that Ophelia ate breakfast.” “Pedant,” I said, and pulled my legs up to my chest. “I’m just not particularly interested in playing a character whose most striking characteristic is her virginity.” Watson reddened, which was fascinating, and so I studied him until he began to squirm. Finally he said, “But you’d be doing it so you can solve a mystery, and also you’ve always wanted to be an actress. I mean, like, you are an actress. A good one. You have a literal wig box under your bed.” It was now in pride of place on my dresser, but that was beside the point. “It will be an interesting exercise,” I allowed.

“And anyway, I’m not playing Ophelia straight out, I’m understudying. Less time onstage, more time backstage. I need that freedom of movement.” “At least it isn’t Macbeth,” Watson said, hugging a pillow to his chest. “I thought we did Macbeth last year, you and I.” “What, starring Lucien Moriarty? In the Scottish access tunnels? Sherringscotland? What does that make you . MacHolmes?” “And you Lady MacHolmes?” I snorted. “I think those are the technical terms, yes.” “So what about me?” Watson asked. He was struggling to stay awake; his eyes were half-closed.

“How do I help with all of this?” “Well, I’ll be quite busy. I’ll need someone to do my poetry homework,” I said, and he roused himself enough to poke me with his shoe. “No, there are a few different options to get you in. You could assist with the production. Set painting, lighting, et cetera. You could write a piece on the precollege Dramatics Society. Make up some American college newspaper to do it for. Or you could audition, but I doubt you’d want to, or—” “I could be a good Hamlet,” Watson murmured, and with that he fell asleep altogether. I watched him for ten minutes or so before I went to go organize my lockpicks. Later, closer to noon, Leander knocked on my door.

He went for a luxurious lie-in some weekend mornings, and today wasn’t an exception. “Breakfast?” he asked, popping his head in. “Breakfast,” I confirmed. There were hash browns and sausages on the stove, and I perched in my usual seat at the counter, twisting back and forth on my stool. It was childish to do it, but we had nothing this whimsical in my house growing up. A seat with a mechanism! In an attempt to stop “paying my whole bank balance to Starbucks,” as he put it, Leander had invested in an espresso maker, and this morning, he was making the two of us cappuccinos. Despite its racket and the smell of the fry-up on the stove, Watson stayed asleep on the sofa, his arms around one of the paisley cushions. “It’s going to be a bit different for you two,” Leander said, following my line of sight. “Different how, exactly?” I stopped turning about on my stool. I wasn’t willing to have a conversation about my love life with Watson sleeping five feet away.

No matter how much breakfast I was bribed with. He tipped the tomato he’d sliced into the skillet. “Oh, come,” he said. “You’re both of age. You’re both finished with school. You’re free to run around setting things on fire as much as you’d like.” “We were more or less doing that before.” I padded over to pick up my cappuccino. “And now, my little arsonist, you have three months to figure out your next move,” Leander said, stirring the baked beans. With his other hand he peeled bacon out of the package.

I made to help him, but he brandished his spoon. “I’m defending this little fiefdom,” he said. “Sit. Have your cappuccino.” “University,” I said, obediently taking a sip. “Oxford. That’s what’s next. That’s been settled. I sat A levels. I forged papers so I could sit A levels without having taken the classes.

I did an interview with a tutor and solved maths problems on a whiteboard for an audience.” “I encouraged it,” he reminded me. “I still think it’s an excellent plan. But I want you to understand the possibility here. Sometimes I worry that . ” I waited for him to finish, but he was looking up into the hood above the stove as though the rest of his sentence was kept there. “This,” Leander said finally, “is where your map runs out, Charlotte. We’ve reached the edge of the page. Nothing about you has ever been traditional, and so a traditional education might be precisely what’s on order, starting with this summer program. But allow room for possibility.

I know you don’t need me to tell you this, but Lucien—” My hateful, treacherous heart began to hammer just at the sound of his name. “—is locked away. You don’t need to make your decisions on the run. No one’s hunting you.” “He’s not the only Moriarty,” I reminded him. “Remember?” “Yes,” Leander said, “but Philippa’s hardly going to round up the producers of her antiquing show and set them on you with machetes.” “You never know,” I said darkly. He took down plates from the cupboard. “And Hadrian isn’t after you. He sent you a bloody graduation card, God knows why.

” “He might be trying to get back in your good graces,” I said. “Didn’t you snog him in—” “Finish that sentence,” Leander said, “and I’m feeding your breakfast to Mouse.” He arranged a plate for me and pushed it across the island. “All I’m saying is that you’re on the other side now. It’s summer. Jamie’s here. Go have some fun. Do easy things, things that make you happy.” I looked at him over a forkful of hash browns. “I picked up a case,” I said.

“Yes.” Leander braced his hands on the counter. “But is that what makes you happy? Do you know what does?” I CONSIDERED WHAT MY UNCLE HAD SAID AS I WASHED UP the breakfast dishes. I’d left Jamie’s on the coffee table, within wafting distance, and he was beginning to make grumbling sounds in his sleep. Leander had run out “on a work errand,” though I knew that, since January, he’d dropped absolutely everything to watch over me. His income from his rental properties had been buoying us along, though we were both aware it couldn’t forever. Leander was a world-renowned investigator, fast on his feet, charming, vaguely debonair. Last week, I’d overheard him turning down a case in New South Wales (something delicious-sounding—I’d heard “circus,” and “throwing knives”), and he’d gone out straight after to his club, a racquet clutched in his hand like a bludgeon. I’d felt bad for the racquetballs. But there was no reason, now, that he couldn’t be back to his usual business.

I was well again. Well enough, I should say. I would always be an addict, but right now, I was one in recovery. I had a plan. A good one. It occurred to me that I should inform Watson of his role in said plan. “Good morning,” I said to him, perched on the arm of the couch. He blinked his eyes open. “Good morning,” he said, stifling a yawn. “Is that bacon?” We moved to the leather armchairs by the window, and I curled up there, studying him, as he sorted through his plate with his fork.

“What are you thinking?” I asked him. He looked surprised. “That’s usually my line,” he said. “All the same.” With a forkful of tomato, he regarded me steadily. “I missed you,” he said. “I’m thinking about that, and how nice it was to wake up just now to you saying good morning.” “And to breakfast,” I said. “And that,” he laughed. “I’m thinking I’d like to hear you play your violin later, and that we could take a walk by the river.

And I’m not sure exactly what I am to you, right now, but . ” He shrugged. “I think we have lots of time to sort that out, if we want to.” Once, this sort of emotional honesty would have sent me running to my chemistry table, needing a good loud explosion to clear my head. Today, I only curled my toes and then uncurled them, basking a little in the sun. Watson wolfed down his breakfast and set the plate aside. “What are you thinking?” he asked. “Turnabout, fair play, et cetera.” “Oh,” I said, stretching until my fingers brushed the curtains. “I was just refining a few points.

” “Points?” “Of the terms and conditions of our relationship.” “The what?” Watson coughed. “Sorry?” “Do you need a glass of water?” I asked, concerned. “No,” he said, “but a clarification would be nice.” “That’s the goal.” I sat up, steepling my hands under my chin. “I spent the last few weeks drawing it up on a legal pad. It’s only about twenty-three pages long—” “Only.” “And I tried to keep the addendums to a minimum.” I was also attempting to keep a straight face, but I didn’t want Watson to know that.

I had given this matter significant thought. I certainly hadn’t written us up contracts. Lawyers were far too expensive. He raked a hand through his hair. “Okay. Hit me.” “Sorry?” “It’s an expression,” Watson said, and poked me with his foot. He’d done that earlier. Was that something we did now? “What are these terms and conditions? What exactly am I agreeing to?” I took a deep breath. I knew, empirically, that it was best to begin with something small.

To pop the frog into the pot of water before one set it to boil. “Your nails,” I said. Watson glanced down at his hands. “What about them?” he said, flexing his fingers. “Quite often you have dirt under your nails,” I said. “When I first met you, I thought you might be a gardener.” “I was living in a dorm,” he said patiently. “Where would I have been gardening? The roof? Mars? Wait, actually—don’t answer that.” I frowned; I’d already come up with one or two sensible locations. “I’ve left a nail brush for your use in the en suite bathroom.

Yours is green. Mine is black. Please don’t use mine.” Watson bit his lip. “So this is one of your stipulations, then. Clean nails.” I squirmed a little in my chair, then forced myself to settle. “You’ll . if we are dating, you’ll sometimes touch me, and it’s good for me to not have anything to focus on that I can be repulsed by.” To Watson’s everlasting credit, he didn’t recoil at the horrible thing I had said.

I hadn’t meant to use the word “repulsed”; I had meant to say “made skittish” or some phrase that reflected the fault of it back on myself. But the truth of it was that, after my assault, I struggled to stay in whatever romantic moment I was in, no matter how I was enjoying it. There was always the undertow pulling at my feet, pulling me away, away. It was best to chip away at those things we could control, now, than to run screaming from him after he touched me. “Jamie, I’m sorry,” I said instantly. “I am. You know this has everything to do with me.” “With the both of us,” he said, and reached out to touch my knee. “I’m fine with it. The green nail brush, huh? My favorite color’s blue.

” It was a very sad attempt at banter, but I beamed at him as though he were both Abbott and Costello. He wasn’t hurt. I was getting better at not hurting him. “That’s point one,” I said, affecting unaffectedness. “Points two through ten have to do with that ridiculous list your father made you as to how to deal with . me.” Watson had the grace to wince. His father had given him a strange little journal into which he had compiled a list of suggestions for how to handle one’s Holmes (as though I were a small-breed dog or similar), drawing not only from Dr. Watson’s own accounts but also from his own efforts with my uncle Leander back when they’d been flatmates. This was absurd on many levels.

Leander was very easy to live with. He hardly ever stalked around anymore with a pistol in his bathrobe pocket. I knew about this journal because my Watson had written about it, and we shared our accounts with each other, warts and all. This wart was particularly large. “For instance,” I said, running the curtain through my fingers, “I seem to remember an item along the lines of ‘Do not allow Holmes to cook your dinner unless you have a taste for cold, unseasoned broth.’” Watson coughed delicately. “Holmes. Have you ever made . anything?” “I have made you at least four cups of tea.” “In the last two years.

” “I dislike cold, unseasoned broth, and my uncle Leander is quite a . foodie”—I despised that word—“and your father has quite the talent for hyperbole. I can’t believe that Leander once made him clear, tasteless soup. I will make you no broth. Verbum sap.” “Noted,” Watson said. “I’m not proud of that journal, you know. I’m not proud of a lot of things my father has done.” James Watson had a habit of boosting his son from class to go listen to his police scanner in the Walmart parking lot. He was a bit of a rogue, a bit of a bad influence, a bit of a silly suburban dad.

The last I’d heard, he’d been fighting with Jamie’s stepmom, Abigail, over his friendship with Leander. They’d been gallivanting about together like schoolboys, leaving Abigail to take care of her and James’s kids and the minutiae of their lives. “You’re still not answering his calls,” I ventured. Watson sighed. “They’ve split up. For good this time, I think. He keeps leaving me messages . I think he’s been spending time with my mom and Shelby in London.” “Interesting,” I said. It made a certain kind of sense.

Jamie’s parents had a reasonably good relationship for a divorced couple, and Grace Watson had just gone through the harrowing, absurd experience of being duped into marriage by a Moriarty. I imagined they were both feeling somewhat fragile right now. “Ten-year-old me would have died and gone to heaven at, like, the suggestion that my parents might get back together. But now . ” He shrugged a bit too forcefully. “I don’t care.” I touched his knee, and he put his hand over mine, and said, “You know, these aren’t . unreasonable things to ask for. The things you’re asking for.” “Compared to your parents?” I asked.

“Compared to anyone.” Generally speaking, I had no real basis by which to judge relationships as reasonable or unreasonable. My family was composed of a number of odd, sad adding machines who lived in a lonely house on the sea. They weren’t precisely role models. And as for Watson—we’d smashed our friendship into bits and rebuilt it from the ground up. It resembled nothing, now, other than itself. “Good,” I said, for lack of a better response. “Well, then, I also take issue with the idea that I don’t give you compliments. Your father claimed that I would give them to you every ‘two to three years.’” Watson bit his lip again.

He was going to do himself an injury. I ticked them off on my fingers. “For someone who does not style it, you have very good hair. You are better at French than you think, though your written syntax is appalling. And you have developed an excellent right hook.” “Thank you,” Watson said gravely. “You’re welcome,” I said. “That should tide us over for at least the next six months.” He leaned back in his chair with a rueful expression. “Is there anything else? I know you said that you’d put together, like, twenty-three pages of this stuff, but I was sort of hoping we could walk around the college—” “I want to date you,” I said in a rush.

“I want to, and I have no idea how to do it, even if I am behaving as myself. Whoever that is. And now I’ve picked up this case, and so often in the past we’ve played at being together to extract information that I’m not sure where that fake relationship begins and our real one ends. Or vice versa.” I fidgeted, then forced my hands to relax. “What’s worse is that pretending . it makes it easier. It lets me try out things that I might want to do for real, and there aren’t the same sort of stakes. Because the stakes are very high. It’s you.

” “I’m not going anywhere,” Watson said in a low voice. “They’d have to drag me away from you. They’d have to put a gun to my head, and even then . ” He made a helpless sort of shrug. “I mean, Holmes, the worst has already happened, and look. We’re here. We’re together.” I reached out to take his hands, warm and calloused and gentle. “I don’t want to pretend about anything important. But is it okay, if sometimes .

I pretend to be a girl who would want to go dancing at a disco?” “Is that pretend, though?” Watson asked. “Because I remember a homecoming dance when—” “Or,” I hurried on, “if I pretended I wanted to hold hands while walking to, say, play mini golf.” “Mini golf,” he said, like it was a delicious, awful thing that he would lord over me for months. “Mini golf.” “That is not the point.” “You with a little putter, whacking away to get the ball through the tilting windmill—” “Watson. Focus. Holding hands.” “Like we are now?” “Yes,” I said, and he brought them up between us. “You can pretend whenever you like.

But how do I know when you’re pretending, and when it’s real?” “We’ll need some sort of code word,” I said. “Something we wouldn’t ever say otherwise. Like ‘kumquat.’ Or ‘asymptote.’” “I can do that.” He regarded me over our clasped hands. “Can I add one term myself?” “Of course,” I said, though I could feel myself tense. “Once a week, we have to do something that cannot possibly kill us.” Then he smiled, a bit wickedly. “And once a week, we have to do something that probably will.” In that moment, I loved him more than anything else. “And that’s all right?” I asked. “All this is all right?” Watson considered it. “I . I don’t have any agenda this summer. I feel like the last year has wiped me completely clean. I’m so tired of just surviving,” he said. “And in three months everything is going to start, the whole train ride straight into adulthood, and I just . I want to lay around on the couch in your flat, and watch dumb television, and write stories, and I want to solve this mystery you’ve got. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have a bloody Moriarty at the other end. So it’s a chance to try out solving a crime without our necks on the line. We can try our hands at being detectives for real.” “For real,” I echoed. There was something to that idea: the last few years had felt like fiction. “I agree to your terms. I’d like to give these terms seven to ten days, then renegotiate if needed.” “Or call the whole thing off?” He said it lightly, a cord of uneasiness just below. I tried my best not to hurt Watson. I also tried my best not to hurt myself. “Yes,” I said. “Should we shake on it?” Below us, a pair of taxis went by like racehorses loosed from their gates. A tangle of pedestrians were peering into the windows of the souvenir shop, their umbrellas up against the light rain. I knew they were tourists for that; the rest of the city threw up their hoods, or a newspaper, or simply squinted their eyes and pushed on forward as the clouds gathered and the wind picked up. And above it all were the towers and turrets of the university, rain-washed, sharp-edged against the sky, some commingled promise of what was past and what was to come. It would start, it would start soon, and if Watson was hurt, he was also happy, and that was the way it always went, with us. “Shake on it?” he asked, disentangling our hands. “I sort of think we already have.”

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