Author's Note: Here is the next chapter. This takes place much farther apart from the last chapter than any of the other chapters have so far. It is about a week or so after the murder of Dr. Robinson that Muff Potter is blamed for by Injun Joe. That is why Huckleberry and Tom are acting so strange. However this is before they run off to the island by themselves. Hopefully that all helps you know more about the setting of this chapter. Although this chapter is a bit on the shorter side, I hope that you enjoy it still.

Disclaimer: I don't own Tom Sawyer or any of the characters from the book by Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens.

Days passed by before Mary had any interaction with Huckleberry Finn. For one thing, she had numerous chores and responsibilities around the house along with a timid personality which meant she did not get out much. Secondly, everyone was in the town was in a big uproar about the murder of Dr. Robinson by Muff Potter. Although Muff drank steadily, the innocent girl found the situation hard to believe. How could something so vile and terrifying happen in this little village? Because of this occurrence, the anxious young lady constantly remained on guard and extremely cautious everywhere she ventured. But the final and main reason that Mary never crossed paths with her cousin's friend was that he himself had become scarce in public. Even Tom no longer seemed to sneak around with that troublemaker. Ever since the disturbing crime, both boys hid from the public eye and seemed drained of their impish spirits. Although her usually cheery relative forced on a silly grin and clowned about, the genuine gleam of mischief seemed to be zapped from his eyes. This concerned the caring young woman greatly. However the similar feeling also mixed with a strange longing that she felt for Huck alarmed Mary greatly. Why on earth would she want to be around that good-for-nothing scalawag? All of this troubled the Sawyer girl as she made her way to town on Saturday to buy a loaf of bread for supper. As she wandered down the gravel road lost in her thoughts, her mind drifted back to the events of the previous Sunday. So much had happened since then but for some odd reason she remembered her meetings with the Finn boy the clearest. How had he made such a huge impact on her? There were plenty of better-mannered young gentlemen who she saw much more often. But no matter how much she tried to ignore her feelings, there was something about the troubled teen that intrigued her as no other did.

"Distracted as always I see." Startled, Mary's head snapped up at the familiar voice. Warmth filled her heart as color filled her cheeks as she met the eyes of Huckleberry. However she stuffed the feeling down and quickly ducked her head to stare at the ground. Even as she took her eyes off the boy though, she noticed something different in his eyes. Instead of the playful carefree glint, a wariness and alertness shone out behind his lazy stare. What could have happened to him and her cousin terrified them so much? As much as she longed to ask, Mary was far too shy. To her surprise, he continued to try to engage her conversation. "What you up to? Buttering up the old grumps in town in hopes that they have a wealthy sophisticated nephew off in some far away city? Wouldn't you like to be an uppity lady with refined manners who looks down her nose at the likes of me?"

"I'm much too good to even spare one extra thought for a troublemaker like you!" Once again, Huck brought out the fierceness in the sweet girl that no one else saw. Her bright blue eyes widened as she clapped her hand over her mouth. Not only had she been rude, but she had told an outright lie. Guilt engulfed her as she started to dash away past the bold boy. However he reached out and easily grabbed her small arm to stop her. Although he had touched her on several occasions, the forwardness of his action caused Mary to freeze as she stared at him openmouthed. Both just stood staring into each other's eyes for a few minutes. Then suddenly Huckleberry opened his large mouth and began to laugh for the first time in a few days. Instead of the coarse jeering that the nervous lady expected, this loud noise swelled with pure unadulterated joy like a child opening a present on Christmas Day or a plump robin chirping out the arrival of spring. As the hearty laughter continued, Mary found her lips fighting their way to curl upward like a late-blossoming tulip and then a giggle escape her mouth. Both of the young adults, however different they might be, allowed their worries to fly away on the wind with the notes of their chortles as they forgot the burdens of their lives for a few precious minutes. Just for that moment, Mary stood with her slight shoulders heaving with unbridled mirth as she allowed herself to be engulfed with his abandoned delighted laughter.

However the magic of the moment shattered too soon as Huckleberry abruptly stopped, stiffened as he stared warily at something behind her, and turned briskly to dash off. Reaching out a hand, Mary almost grasped him to bring him back and ask what troubled him. Luckily, she drew back her arm as if burned rapidly and whirled around curiously to try to glimpse what had upset the Finn boy. Like a frail tree branch in a mighty wind, the Sawyer child shuddered as she perceived Indian Joe sauntering along toward her. Following the drunkard's son's example, she lifted her skirts lightly and darted off the path to make her way back home. Although her reasoning was unknown to even her, that tall strong man frightened her terribly for some reason. Even more than Huckleberry Finn ever did. Trying to forget that strange pest, Mary practiced different excuses for not buying the bread for supper. However, that moment when she had first heard into Huckleberry Finn's laugh replayed in her mind. Just for that moment, something special and unexpected had happened that Mary was at a loss to understand.