Murder by the Written Word VI
Tiffany stood outside the Daily Gazette before the doors were even opened. She had temporarily landed the story since it was still under investigation. She did wonder though if she had “bitten off more than she could chew.” Tiffany knew something was very wrong. It worried her that Dale appeared to be hiding more than she realized. He certainly did not want it known that he knew Marvin. Not only that, why would Dale have held her head down in his car so she wouldn’t be seen by Montgomery? Tiffany’s thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a voice that was jam-packed with arrogance.
“Just because you have one good story under your belt doesn’t mean it’s time to take a break!” Tiffany turned to see her boss, Richard Grendel, standing behind her with a cigarette pinched between his forefinger and thumb.
“I thought you had a story that needed completing? I may not be the smartest guy going, but I don’t believe you will find out anything standing around here like a tourist.” Richard’s cheeks literally caved in as he drew hard from the half smoked cigarette. Although he thought that Tiffany was becoming an outstanding journalist; he would never tell her so.
“What a creep,” Tiffany thought. She held back a grin while thinking, “This guy could suck a golf ball through a garden hose.”
“You might want to get a move on,” Richard said. Smoke exited his mouth filling the air with the stench of stale tobacco while he spoke.
“Yes sir,” Tiffany said as she turned to walk to her car. In no time, she was headed towards the Andrews Estate. She had only driven about seven or eight miles when she heard a loud bang. It was only seconds before she realized it was not a gun shot.
"Damn it! I don’t have time for this”, she shouted. Tiffany quickly turned on her four-ways. They began to blink keeping the same pace as her heart beat. She crept to the side of the road and exited the car. She had blown a tire. Tiffany found herself standing at the front of her Lexus with a look of bewilderment on her face. These were new tires.
“Son of a biscuit eater, who in the Hell has been trifling with my car?” Tiffany said. She had promised her dad she would control both her temper and her language.
Then a familiar voice sparked her attention.
“Need a hand?” Tiffany turned to find Dale standing tight behind her.
“You startled me!” Tiffany said.
“Do you have a tire iron and a spare?” Dale asked. Without even blinking, Tiffany stared straight into his seductive eyes.
“I want to know how you know Marvin Montgomery. You are hiding something from me and I want to know what it is! Not only that, you had to have known Martin Andrews worked as a bartender at the Venus on the Hill! Now, you tell me what you know!” Dale admonished while trying to keep his composure.
“I am not the only one hiding something here, am I Tiffany?” Dale accused.
Tiffany ignored his question and said, “It just so happens, I have some information that you just might find interesting.”
Dale stared back at her uncertain of what she knew and silence became the third party in their conversation. The quietness seemed endless until Tiffany broke through it asking ...
“What’s the matter Dale? I have never known you not to have a sardonic comeback.”
Dale bent down to take a better look at the tire. He discovered that it had a small puncture hole in the sidewall. He surmised that this was the reason Tiffany could drive such a distance before it blew. It was definitely the work of someone who didn’t want her to reach her destination. But who and why? Turning he asked.
“Not to change the subject, but where were you headed, Tiffany?”
“Oh, come on now... you must have been tailing me from the Gazette building.” Tiffany responded.
“Guilty as charged!” Dale stated.
“So, how long have you been stalking me, Dale... and for what reason, may I ask?” Tiffany questioned feeling a bit uneasy.
“Well, I wouldn’t call watching out for you stalking, but if you must know, it’s been since this case opened,” Dale replied.
“What?” screeched Tiffany. “Tell me what business it is of yours, to be following after me like a puppy dog?” she questioned belligerently.
“Now hold on Tiffany. Don’t be jumping down my throat. I was worried about you,” Dale admitted.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. What gives you the right to even think about me? You’re the one who walked out of my life.”
Tiffany’s voice broke; tears welled up in her eyes. It’s all she needed... for him to notice them and realize she still cared.
“Well, I don’t exactly remember things that way. You were the one who all of a sudden, during our wedding plans, told me you needed more time... without any kind of an explanation... I must add. How do you think that made me feel?” Now Dale was the accuser.
Tiffany nodded her head, then turned quickly to walk in front of her car. She didn’t want Dale to see her tears flowing unceremoniously down her cheeks.
Tiffany remembered the situation well. It had been a turbulent time for her. She had witnessed her best friend being raped and then shot in the head by the assailant. She would have been next if she hadn’t had a gold-plated letter opener in her pocket.
It had been a gift from Carol to open all those "well-wishes" cards. When the man grabbed her; she was in perfect proximity to inflict great harm. Then when he dropped his gun; she grabbed it and proceeded to empty it into his body.
Tiffany had never taken a life before. The double trauma of killing and watching a killer caused her to withdraw from Dale who faced life and death daily. Staying away from him was hard, but she couldn’t deal with the thought that she could lose him to a bullet so she gave him the feeble excuse of needing more time.
Besides, after all the passing months, even though her heart still pined for him; she was positive it was too late for them to reunite. Now, with her tears ebbing, Tiffany felt safe in turning back to see how far Dale had gotten in changing her tire. Much to her surprise she saw a tow truck pulling up behind her car.
“What do you think you’re doing now, mister?” Tiffany asked Dale in the harsh voice she’d grown accustomed to using towards him.
“When I removed the tire I noticed other damages to your car. It’s not safe to drive so I called AAA to come haul it away. Someone was dedicated to the proposition of ending your days. You have truly incurred the wrath of somebody. You’re going to have to ride with me. I assume you were heading to the Andrew’s Estate?”
“Well, yes that is exactly where I was heading! But I don’t need your help. If someone is after me—there is no need of you being an accompanying target.” Turning with her head held high; Tiffany stomped up the highway.
“I’ll walk, thank you. I’d rather get blisters in these stilettos than ride with the likes of you,” Tiffany pronounced still not wanting to deal with the possibility of losing him permanently.
To be continued