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Morgan Phillips spun around to face the man running down the hallway of Channel 12's news station toward her. "Alston?" she asked, a question in her voice.
"I'm so glad I found you before Jamison did," her friend and cameraman said breathlessly.
Morgan's eyebrows furrowed in concern. "This sounds like bad news."
"You'd be correct," Alston said, nervously spinning his wedding ring around on his finger. He cast a quick glance over his shoulder before turning back around to face her. "Jamison's really pissed about your report from this morning." His face took on a pained look. "Come on, Morgan. A tap dancing St. Bernard?"
"I can't make the news, Alston! There has to be something interesting going on first for me to report it."
Alston shrugged as if this shouldn't be a factor. "I'm just giving you a warning. You may want to sneak out early before Jamison finds you, and for goodness sake, try to come up with something good for Monday."
Morgan bobbed her head in agreement, her heart fluttering nervously at the thought of running into her angered boss. Lowering her voice, she hissed, "It's just that there's nothing to cover around here."
"There's that string of extremely bloody, violent, and, not to mention, unsolved murders," Alston suggested, trying for nonchalance but failing.
Morgan gave him a look that spoke volumes. "You mean the case the police are being exceedingly tight lipped about? Those murders?" She rolled her eyes with a huff. "I wouldn't be able to get any information on that if the next victim was killed on my front lawn."
"You just need to trick someone into giving you a few minordetails."
"You want me to trick a cop into giving me secret information? Isn't that illegal or something?"
Alston waved her off with an unconcerned look. "That's called good reporting." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "There's that one cop I always say is sweet on you. The one who helped you up after you took a tumble down those stairs at that political rally."
Morgan shot him a dirty look for bringing back the memory of her lack of grace when she'd taken a fall in front of hundreds of witnesses. "Officer Audrick," she said, trying to ignore the excited thump her heart gave at the mere mention of his name.
"That's the one!" Alston said with a snap of his fingers. "We have our victim. Now all we need is to get you alone with him so you can sneak in a few sly questions."
"I don't know if I'm comfortable with this plan," Morgan said slowly.
"This is your career we're talking about. Sometimes you have to do underhanded things to get a good scoop. You might have to do stuff that would make a girl scout frown to get noticed by the important people upstairs."
Morgan's eyes lifted to the ceiling, looking up to where Jamison's office sat above their heads.
"Noticed for something besides being attacked by a squirrel on live television, that is."
"That squirrel was evil!" Morgan shot back.
Alston shrugged. "If you say so." He set her with a challenging look. "So do you have an idea on how to get Audrick alone?"
"Well..." A few weeks ago, she'd found out that Graham Audrick stopped at a tiny diner near her home every Friday at the end of his shift. She'd found out by coincidence because she herself ate at the same diner on Fridays.
She secretly looked forward to seeing him. She enjoyed his friendly smiles and the couple minutes of sociable chitchat they sometimes had. How pathetic was she? The highlight of her weekend was polite conversation from a total stranger. Steeling her face into a determined look, she said, "I can get him alone."
"Then I wish you luck," Alston said. "May you charm the pants off of him."
Morgan's cheeks flushed at that statement, but her eyes stayed confident. "I will."
Posted February 9, 2014