Pictures and Reflections

Her picture sat there, smiling up at him. It was in black and white coloring, but he could tell that she had very light hair, most likely blond, and her eyes looked light too.

She was very pretty. The most beautiful thing about her was her smile. It was as if she had no reservations about smiling, her full lips turned upward into a picturesque thing of beauty.

Adrian Monk tried to flip the paper over and continue on to the next page, as he had been trying to read a story, but he soon found that he was still too drawn to her picture.

She was a new journalist to the San Francisco Tribune. There was a simple introduction piece to her, accompanied by the picture he was so drawn to. As much as change usually disagreed with Adrian, he had to admit that this change…wasn't so unpleasant.

He had read her profile with some interest….she had gone to Berkeley…just like me…he thought with pleasant amusement. She was twenty-three and said her favorite movie of the year was something called Back to the Future. He had never heard of that picture before, and was a little uncertain what it had to do with her journalistic ability.

Once again, he tried to turn the page, continuing to read the story he had originally began. However, something about her smiling face kept him drawn to her picture.

She was so pretty. So pretty that if he had seen her in real life, he knew he would've never been bold enough to approach her. She was leagues above other girls who, in turn, were leagues above him. But still…the picture was nice to look at…

Adrian glanced up at the clock on the wall. It was almost time for him to begin his shift down at the precinct. He was a detective for the San Francisco Police Department's homicide unit. The job was a source of pride for Adrian, who was beginning to earn a lot of respect among the officers in the unit. The last case he solved involved uncovering a corrupt lawyer, Dave Patterson, who had long been a thorn in the department's side, and this seemed to have gained the approval of his watch commander, Leland Stottlemeyer.

Finally tearing his eyes away from her picture, Adrian folded the paper neatly, smoothing it out so that all the corners were identical. He walked towards the door, pausing near his telephone, noticing that there had been a message left for him.

"Adrian…it's Ambrose." The message relayed, and his brother's voice sounded very concerned. "When are you coming home? Mom's worried about you. She hasn't said anything, yet, but—but I can tell. She's very worried. You should come home soon."

Adrian sighed, placing one hand to his eyes. He would wait to call his brother back. Ambrose meant well, he was sure, but there had been a reason he had left home after he graduated from college and got his own apartment. He had to get away from that place—and, as much as it pained him—his mother and brother to some extent. He had to try and live his own life, to try and find some semblance of normality…to try and escape...his childhood.

He shook his head, and grabbed his jacket, unable to focus on that right now. He had a big day ahead of him; there was a particularly challenging homicide case that he wanted a chance to solve. He thought perhaps his recent exploits would allow him to be assigned to the case, regardless of the fact that he was only twenty-six and had only spent a few years on the force as of now. He closed the door behind him, a bit smug at these thoughts, before realizing that one of the umbrellas he had kept hanging up on his wall had been turned in a different direction than all the other umbrellas.

That doesn't matter. It's not a big deal. Adrian thought, taking a few confident steps forward. But he soon found that all other thoughts had fled his mind, and as usual, the incorrect placement of the umbrella was the only thing he was able to focus on. Sighing to himself, he walked back to his apartment to correct it.

Leland Stottlemeyer was there to greet Adrian as he walked into the precinct doors. Adrian remembered how Stottlemeyer first intimidated him when he had first begun working for the department. Now he viewed him as a mentor, someone he was both eager to learn from—and impress.

"Well, if it's not our recent hero, Adrian Monk." Leland gave a small smirk, clasping Adrian on the shoulder. "I can't tell you how happy I am you nailed that creep Patterson."

"It—it wasn't a big deal." Adrian shrugged, modestly. But inside he was quite pleased with himself. "But thank you, sir."

"Keep it up, detective." He smiled, with a slight nod of his head. "However, crime didn't take a break. We got a body on Vinton St. I thought about taking you and Christy down there today, just to look around. Whattya think?"

Adrian felt his heart thud loudly in his chest. He had never been asked to take a look around before. He was definitely starting to impress the right people, especially with the solving of the Patterson case. He tried to keep his hands from fidgeting with his suit jacket. "Yeah—yeah, definitely. Yes, sir."

"Good. Grab Christy and let's go."

It was only about ten minutes later, as Adrian and his partner, Joe Christy, walked around the recent crime scene, the body draped in white, but still uncovered. The woman had been hit in an apparent hit and run, but Adrian was already finding the crime scene suspicious.

He looked over the body with his hands held out in front of him—mentally taking a picture for himself—and noted a curious pale circle on her ring finger over her wedding ring.

"Dang, I guess I got partnered with the right guy." Joe smiled, walking in step behind Adrian. "All the guys are pretty jealous we're on this case. Lucky I'm with you, huh?"

"Well—you deserve to be here just as much." Adrian murmured, and although he believed Joe probably wouldn't be here if Adrian hadn't solved the Patterson case, he still valued his people skills and dedication to paperwork...which Adrian seemed to lack, but which indeed came into play at some crime scenes.

"Hey...we got the San Francisco Tribune here today." Joe whispered, giving Adrian a small shoulder bump to get his attention.

Adrian tore his gaze away from the paint chips that had been left behind by a car that apparently had tore away from the crime scene—that had been curious—and looked up in the direction in which Joe had indicated.

He felt his breathing slow to a crawl. The San Francisco Tribune was indeed at the crime scene; trying to press in as close to the police tape as they were able. There were two women there, notepads and pencils in hand; one was a brunette with wide brown eyes and the other...

Adrian suddenly wanted to hide, to run off and be somewhere else. She was here. She was here and she was even more beautiful in person...more beautiful than her picture in the newspaper had been. She was only about five feet from him and in living color—she had long, golden blond hair, soft blue eyes, and that smile—that same dazzling smile.

"You okay, Monk?" Joe asked, eyeing his partner curiously. Adrian realized he had been staring in the direction of the journalists for the past few minutes, and nervously dropped his gaze to his shoes...this crime scene was very muddy...he hadn't noticed that before...

" like her?" Joe smiled, some amusement making its way into his voice.

"Like—like who?" Adrian mumbled, wiping his suddenly perspiring palms on the legs of his pants.

"Who? The girl you been staring at. The blond." Joe gave a low whistle. "She's pretty easy on the eyes, huh?"

Adrian shook his head, his mind still reeling. Somehow the pressure had seemed to mount tenfold, he had to solve this case now, nab the suspect, and get everyone involved into custody as fast as possible.

"You should go talk to her." Joe mentioned, with a small smirk. "Or else I will."

Adrian shook his head, unhappy with both of those prospects. He tried to direct his attention back to the chipped paint, "Come on, we're at a crime scene." Adrian explained, trying to settle his mind once again.

A few moments later, Stottlemeyer approached them, one eyebrow raised at the young detective. "Notice anything?"

Adrian nodded, eager to share what evidence he had collected. "These paint chips...they belong to a green Volvo. You can tell by the type of paint used, it's only put on the Volvo models."

Stottlemeyer nodded his head, obviously impressed. "Well, at least we know what kind of car we're looking for." Then, as an afterthought he added, "Hey, Monk, I want you to do me a favor. The Tribune sent down some reporters, they seem like real rookies. You can handle them for me, right?"

"H—handle them?" Adrian asked, his head jerking to the side slightly, his fingers clenching and unclenching nervously.

"Yeah, just answer everything with a 'no comment at this time'. It'll be easy, alright?" Stottlemeyer gave Adrian's shoulder a slap, causing him to grimace slightly.

Adrian shifted his gaze uncertainly over to the women by the police tape. She was still there and now she was watching him expectantly, as if wondering if he would come any further than the few steps he had shuffled nervously.

Taking in a deep breath, Adrian made the rest of the seemingly long trek to the two reporters. When he reached them, he found that she was even more beautiful at this proximity, almost blindingly so. His mouth suddenly felt very dry and his tongue weighed heavily in his mouth.

The blond woman gave a small wave that accompanied a bright, but slightly unsure smile. "Hi." She said, tilting her head to one side, her small hands clasping her notepad.

"T—Trudy Ellison." He stammered, blinking quickly.

Trudy inclined her head to one side, before giving another one of her beautiful smiles. "Why, yes. Have we met before?"

"N—newspaper." It was the only thing that seemed to make sense at the moment.

The brunette gave him a look as if he were clearly insane; something he couldn't say he disagreed with at the moment, but Trudy simply gave a confused blink. "Pardon?"

"I read...I read you in the newspaper." Adrian nodded, his hands twitching at his sides. He suddenly became terribly hyper aware of those hands, struggling to know what exactly to do with them so that he appeared calm. "I—I mean, I read about you in the newspaper."

The brunette turned to Trudy with her bewildered expression, still confused at this apparently disturbed officer, but Trudy now gave another wide smile.

"Oh, they ran that today? How was it...I mean, they asked me so many stupid questions. Like my favorite movie and stuff like that..."

"Back to the Future sounded like it was an exceptional picture film." He said, trying to be conversational. He swallowed quickly, realizing that his voice was still coming out a bit raspier than he had wanted it to.

Trudy gave a soft laugh. "You really paid attention to the article, didn't you?"

"I remember everything I read." Adrian explained, giving a small shrug.

"Hmm." Trudy nodded, and just for a moment, just for a fraction of a second, their eyes seemed to meet. It was only for the faintest of moments though, as soon after Trudy diverted her gaze again. " a few questions for the Tribune. Um...first, what's your name?"

Adrian shook his head, trying to gather his thoughts. The moment their eyes had met was still seared in his memory; he had never seen eyes as blue—or sincere—as hers had been. He opened his mouth to speak, and words hurriedly spilled out, " comment at this time."

Her laugh startled him; he certainly hadn't been expecting it at all. "That's a good one." She grinned, bringing her notepad up and still looking at him expectantly, as if his initial statement had been a very well received joke, not an awkward mistake.

He gave a hard swallow. "Adrian...Adrian Monk."

"Adrian Monk." Trudy smiled, a light shining in her blue eyes. "Now that's not a name you hear every day."

"I'm sorry." He offered, feeling his efforts to appear cool and collected in front of her had already failed miserably.

The brunette was now visibly rolling her eyes, but Trudy had let out another loud laugh. "You are funny."

Adrian's eyes widened in disbelief. He wasn't trying to be funny...and yet somehow she thought every painfully awkward and horrible thing that managed to find its way out of his mouth was actually funny.

"What can you tell me about the victim?" Trudy asked, chewing on her pencil as she did. He realized that this drew attention to those full, pink lips...he shook his head quickly to clear his mind.

"I—I'm sorry, there is no comment at this time." He murmured, his eyes still trailing those pretty lips...

"Well, what happened at the crime scene today?" Trudy pressed, her face shrouding in disappointment.

"No—no comment at this time." He said again, but this time he tried to give her a little smile, however, he wasn't sure if it only came out as an uncomfortable grimace.

Trudy pouted her lips, looking up at him with big blue eyes. "Well, what can you tell me today, Mr. Monk?"

"N—nothing." Adrian shrugged, apologetically. "I'm sorry, I really wish I could, but my watch commander said..."

"I understand." Trudy gave a small, but clearly disappointed smile. He felt his heart sink in his chest. "Well, if you ever can release anything about the murder, would you do me a favor? Could you please call me first?" She rummaged through her purse before handing out a business card.

"No problem." He whispered, taking it from her. His hand brushed hers for a fraction of a second and he felt a heated blush spread across the bridge of his nose. He wetted his lips, nervously. "Is this your...home phone number?"

"No, no, that's my number at the Tribune." Trudy explained, before flashing him a vibrant smile. "I hope to hear from you, Mr. Monk."

And then—she winked at him. She actually him. Adrian quickly turned around, seeing if anyone was standing behind him. But there hadn't been, the wink had clearly been sent in his direction and meant for him to see.

Adrian quickly made his way back towards Stottlemeyer and Joe, his head still reeling from the events that had just taken place.

"Well, you talked to them for awhile." Joe smirked, giving Adrian a quick nod. Adrian gave a small nod back, he was sure it was probably some kind of 'bro code' but he hadn't the faintest of what it could mean.

"I—I didn't tell them anything." Adrian replied, hurriedly, giving a quick glance in Stottlemeyer's direction.

"You get the pretty one's name?" Joe murmured, as he and Adrian fell in step behind Stottlemeyer as they headed back towards their car.

"Her name is Trudy." Adrian whispered back, almost unsure as to why he was sharing this information, and in such a private tone of voice. "Trudy...Ellison."