"Ah, it is nice to hear the accent of a fellow American," the man said, passing her a glass of the fine wine. He had appeared seemly from nowhere, occupying the space that seconds before had been empty.
Artemis took the glass, raising a delicate eyebrow in a questioning manner. She had been forced to dress in the finest manner for the evening, but the slurp she took from the glass was far from lady-like.
This did not scare the man off, in fact it brought a grin to his face. Taking of his hat and tipping it to her with a slight bow of his frame, he continued, "Wallace West, pleasure to make your acquaintance."
As he straightened, she eyed him. All freckles and red hair, grinning in cocky way and standing out among this crowd of mostly older English folk. Taking another sip, she responded with a simple monotoned. "Artemis Crock."
Her general disinterested air did not seem to put him off. "Well Miss Crock, what brings you to this fine country?"
"The partridges," she answered truthfully, slowly being to find this encounter interesting, if only to see the extent to the man's persistence.
He grinned in recognition. "So you are the crack shot Mister Wayne discovered and brought to show off."
"He invited me, yes," she nodded, moving to make her way to another part of the room. Wallace matched her stride, remaining at her side. "And yourself? You have the look about you that you are better suited to a stetson than a top hat."
He chuckled pleasantly. "Friend of Richard's, actually."
This peaked her interest, so much so that she paused and turned, laying a gentle hand on his arm. "Did you meet…?"
"During the War?" he finished, a wince coming to his face and a hand subconsciously moving to rub his shoulder. "Yes, we both were boys in blue. As was Kaldar."
She followed his now gesturing hand to the other side of the room, to where Richard and another man stood talking. The hand still resting on one of his arms applied a touch of pressure. Turning to him with an understanding look in her eyes she whispered, "You must be ever so thankful you all made it out." Now lowering her eyes she said in an even lower tone. "I wish I could have been of help."
Her companion didn't seem to know how to respond. The conversation had taken an unexpected turn to say the least.
Suddenly she was moving again, skirts swaying. "That does not mean I did not try to enlist," she tossed over her shoulder, leaving him to ponder that, slightly dumbstruck at the implication.
And with that, a sudden thought occurred and he hurried to catch up again. At her side in a flash, he babbled out, "Where did you learn to shoot?"
The raised eyebrow was back, accompanied with a very unlady-like smirk. "Trade secret I'm afraid," was her reply. He thought he caught a final wink, the hint that this first meeting was only a beginning for them in her twinkling eyes.