by: Raye


The headline was impressive.

"Very impressive."

"You say something, Twyla?"

"Nothing... nothing..." She blocked him out, searching for a few minutes of peace, but her mind was already swimming with ideas. More stories, more articles, but everything depended on, Jared.

She couldn't suppress the smile and tinted her lips with color. Jared Stone. Marshal Jared Stone. What an infuriating man! He turned her own words against her.

Twyla felt the heat of her blood rise to her cheeks as her fingers creased the edges of the paper in her hands. Jared Stone.

From a writer's standpoint it was a great name. Perfect headline material. It even sounded good. "Jared Stone." Again, a smile tugged at her lips. Good Lord, she'd gone over the edge. She was supposed to be angry at him.

Sure, he had given her the interview. Finally. True, it was in the Saloon, and respectable ladies... 'Wait a darn minute,' she thought, 'I'm a professional.' She brushed her hand against her cheek, pushing at a stray wisp of hair. 'If I need to go into a ... a place like that, I should be able to.'

"Twyla? You got anything more for today's issue?"

She spared a glance over her shoulder and pursed her lips together. "Hmm.. no, not today. Should have something more on the story tomorrow, though."

She watched his aged head nod a few times as he pondered the words. "You'll make something of yourself someday if you keep workin' like this. Keep pushin' yourself... it will be good to see you go somewhere."

"Thank you." 'Go somewhere?' She felt her shoulders sag. 'I thought I had. I'm a reporter here.'

'Here, Silver City. That's something, isn't it?'

Again that same distracting wisp of hair, pushed back by her insistent hand. 'Isn't there something to be said for that?'


He swung the door open and lifted a hand in greeting to the man in the back
of the office. 'What was his name again?'

There she was. Sitting at her desk, nearly hidden behind the stacks of
papers. Twyla. With the late afternoon light coming through the front window he finally got a look at her face. Sure. He'd noticed her before, but mostly he'd been interested in keeping her away. She certainly had a
habit of getting in his way.

She'd end up at every crime scene, asking question after question while he
was trying to do his job.

Now, the case solved, and Finch locked away in his office working on their
new case, he had a moment to head on over here and pick up a few more tidbits from Twyla. She was better and worse than the town busybody at the same time. A woman you didn't want on your back, but one you could turn to
for information. She certainly got under his skin. Which, at any other
time, wouldn't be so bad.

He cleared his throat and looked up at the old man in the back. 'What was his name?' He gave the man a shrug and a half smile as he waited for Twyla
to notice him.

Not usually a man that cared much for being recognized, this was, however, a different matter. He was used to trying to turn invisible around her, not
the other way around.

She tilted her head to the side to read something on the page before her and Jared found himself admiring the curve of her cheek. Well, not really the cheek so much... it was the smear of ink drawn across her cheek that
caught his eye.

'You know, when you really look at her,' he thought, nearly shaking his
head at the feeling, 'she's real pretty. In a smudged-with-ink sort of way.' He felt like laughing, but somehow he knew she wouldn't appreciate
the humor.

He cleared his throat again and smiled as she started up out of her chair as though someone had set off some firecrackers beneath it. Sure, he'd done
it before... not recently, but he'd done it.


He nodded and watched her struggle to straighten her smock. "Twlya."

"Is there something I can do for you?"

"Funny you should say that-"