Stone Cold Heart
Peacemakers™ USA Networks Fan Fiction
by Aimee DuPré
Category: new scene, angst
Pairing: (sort of) Stone and a new character: Katie Owen’s Aunt Emily
Tom Berenger as U.S. Marshal Jared Stone
Summary: Marshall Stone has a chance for romance but something in his past keeps his heart cold.
Disclaimers: The characters in this story are the sole property of Peacemakers™ USA Networks in association with Michael R. Joyce Production. This is a work of fan fiction that intends no infringement on any copyright or trademark.
Warnings: Romantic sap
Notes: This idea is from a scene in The Witness where Finch is showing off his new Edison wax cylinder machine. Stone tells Finch, “I like to see ‘em play the piano when they’re playin’ the piano. What am I supposed to look at?” The story also uses some background material from Legend of the Gun.
Stone Cold Heart
By Aimee DuPré
Emily Jordon stood in the Owen’s kitchen and rolled out sugar cookie dough, using the rim of a glass to cut out the circles. She began thinking about the marshal as a remedy for the boredom of the task.
Jared Stone, United States Federal Marshal. Marshal Jared Stone. Jared.
She loved his name. She loved him.
She had to face the cold hard facts of her case of infatuation. The emotions that raged inside her were indicative of love. She’d tried to rationalize them away. She had used logic to try to force herself from them. Yet there they were, pointless emotions, useless and unrealized.
She loved him.
And no matter how hard she tried, she could not stop loving him.
Love. How irrational. Especially since she’d only known the man a month or less. Her love for him somehow made her feel worthless. He’d never want her! Obviously he had a penchant for the younger ladies -- the beautiful, strong-willed women like Katie, her sister’s eldest, and like Twyla, the editor of Silver City’s Sentinel newspaper.
Oh, Emily had been in the street that day. She’d seen how he had looked at Twyla when she reached up and given him her colors to wear in the big race up Red Mountain Pass. She’d watched Twyla tie the colored ribbon to Stone’s saddle. He’d been surprised but not adverse to her attentions.
And Katie. It was terrible to be jealous of her own niece, fifteen years younger. Why, Katie was probably twenty years younger than the marshal – certainly young enough to be his daughter. But no one could doubt there was an attraction beneath their working relationship. Their friendship was growing every day.
Then there was Luci, owner of the local drinking establishment, where the marshal often went for a beer, a whiskey, or for Luci’s tender attentions. Emily dreaded allowing her fantasies to even wander in that direction. She had no right to be jealous of the man. She should thank God he did want a woman, at least once in a while. It meant all his parts were still in working order.
She shook her head to clear her thoughts from the path they were headed.
Now don’t you go wanting a man like that, she sternly said to herself. He could be killed at any moment. There you’d be at his grave, crying your heart out, unable to live without him. Just think of the benefits of unrequited love. Look at how God is protecting you. You can love him in your mind and in your fantasies as you lie in your lonely bed at night. And he’ll never hurt you, never break your heart, never make you cry.
She started crying at the thought.
“You’re so stupid,” she said aloud.
“Who’s stupid?” a man’s voice asked from behind her.
It was his voice. She had memorized his every inflection, so she immediately recognized the voice of Jared Stone.
She quickly brushed her hands across her eyes to wipe away the tears, unknowingly coating her face with the white flour from the sugar cookies. Then she turned around.
“Why, Marshal Stone! I didn’t hear you come in. I guess you caught me talking to myself.”
She brushed her hands on her red plaid apron and left white streaks there, too.
Stone stared at the sight before him. The widow Emily Jordan was elbow deep in cookie dough, flour all over her face and the front of her apron. Her thick, wavy hair was tied up in a mass of tangled mahogany curls on top of her head, little wisps coming loose all around her neck. She was beautiful in the flickering light from the kerosene lamps on the kitchen table and counter she worked on. Quite a handsome woman, yet he knew she had no idea how comical she looked. He couldn’t help himself. His handsome face broke into a big smile, and he laughed out loud, a hearty laugh.
“I haven’t heard a man laugh for a long time,” she told him, looking down shyly and catching a glimpse of the flour on her apron. “Guess I’m quite a picture.”
She smiled back at him as she realized her face probably looked like her apron. Then she laughed, too. “As a matter of fact, I haven’t laughed for a long time myself,” she said. “Did I ever tell you I hate cooking, but I love to bake?”
She knew her nervousness at the sight of him was making her prattle on way too much.
He took a big sniff of the air.
“Apples and cinnamon,” he commented.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “My pie.”
She spun around and grabbed the oven handle to pull It open, but it was hot and she jerked back with a “Yeow!”
Stone rushed over and took her hand in his, looking it over carefully. He gently felt her reddened palm, and she jerked away from his touch. It was not from pain but from the thrill of it, but how could she explain that to him? That just the touch of his hand sent her blood racing and made her embarrassed at her own reaction?
“I don’t think you got burned,” he said. “Here,” he said as he grabbed a hand towel. “I’ll use this.”
She stepped back and watched him open the oven and retrieve her two apple pies. He quickly kicked the oven door closed with his knee.
“See how stupid I am,” she told him. “I can’t remember anything any more.”
“I guess forgetfulness comes with age,” he said.
When he noticed the look she gave him, he knew he’d said the wrong thing.
“I mean, ma’am, that I’m gettin’ so forgetful myself I have to write things down, and then I forget to look at my notes.”
He smiled at her, hoping that eased her mind. She seemed overly sensitive about her age. For some reason, most women did. They either thought they were too young or too old, in his limited experience. Thank God he wasn’t like that. He was quite comfortable with who he was and how old he was. Well, except for needing glasses to read. That was a little disconcerting.
“Thank you, Marshal,” she said, interrupting his thoughts. “You do that well.”
“I’ve had to fend for myself for quite some time now.”
“Had to or wanted to?” she asked before she could stop herself. She held up her hand before he could reply. “Please. You don’t have to tell me. I shouldn’t have asked.”
He smiled at her. “I wasn’t goin’ to.”
Stone couldn’t help but recall a portion of his past that he tried long and hard to put out of his memory. He had a real good friend from the war years who’d found a wonderful woman to marry. Then, ten years later, she’d been taken captive out of revenge for something her husband had done during the war. He’d help his friend track the kidnappers for several months, and when they found his wife dead, tortured, he’d seen his friend’s heart broken and his life shattered. He vowed right then and there that he would never drag an innocent woman into danger.
His expression became stern as he pointed his finger at her.
“And I don’t ever want to hear you call yourself stupid again, Mrs. Jordan. Understand?”
She nodded and then noticed the merriment in his blue, blue eyes as she realized he was kidding around with her, so she smiled.
“Marshal, the least I can do is offer you a piece of pie.”
She glanced at his beautiful features and noticed he was intently staring at her, as if it was the first time he’d ever really looked at her.
“I can’t stay,” he said, suddenly uncomfortable with his feelings. “I was lookin’ for Katie, and when I saw she wasn’t here, I was leavin’ when I thought I heard cryin’ . . . I mean, I thought I heard something,” he corrected. He seemed to understand she’d be embarrassed again if he knew she’d been crying.
“She’s having dinner with Larimer Finch tonight at the hotel restaurant. Did you want me to give her a message, Marshal Stone?”
“No. I’ll catch up with her tomorrow. Where’s Amy?”
“Visiting her cousins in San Francisco.”
“So this is what you do when you have the house all to yourself?” he asked with more than a little curiosity.
“I needed to get these pies baked for the church picnic tomorrow. If it were up to me, I’d be playing the piano. Some of what Mr. Finch calls my boring music.”
“What kind is that?”
“Old songs from the south, slow, passionate, Irish folk songs about lost love and broken dreams.”
“Ah!” Stone said. “The good ol’ days.”
That brought another smile to her face, and he suddenly had an idea.
“Mrs. Jordan, why don’t you let me finish these cookies. I’ll put them in the oven while you get, well, the flour off of you. Then you can play me a couple of those boring songs. I’d like to hear you play the piano. It’s like I told Finch when he showed me that new-fangled recording machine, I like to see the piano player when she’s playin’.”
Emily nearly ran out of the door but she stopped in the doorway and turned back.
“I won’t be long, Marshal,” she told him, and it was very difficult for her to keep from running up the stairs to her room.
She quickly stripped and pulled on a pretty green dress that she’d been told complimented her green eyes. She wiped the flour off her face and resisted the urge to put on a smattering of makeup. If the marshal wanted that, he’d be at Luci’s. He might as well see her in her natural state. Glancing in the mirror, she became sad again, wishing she were more beautiful, slimmer, younger.
“If wishes were horses,” she softly said to herself, “then beggars would ride.”
She smiled and pulled her hair out of the clips that held it up. As she looked at her thick and deep red tresses, she realized that was too much, as though she were inviting him to more than a piano recital. She grabbed a black velvet hair ribbon and quickly tied her hair back. Then she tried to contain her excitement and maintain her dignity as she returned to the kitchen.
“Marshal?” she called, but there was no answer. “Mr. Stone?” she asked as she entered the kitchen.
The cookies were still on the table, unbaked, and Jared Stone was nowhere to be seen. There was a scribbled note on the table, a page torn from the marshal’s notebook.
came up and I had to leave.
I missed the sad songs.
She got a wry smile on her face as she clutched the note to her breast -- a short, quickly written note that would be cherished and kept for the rest of her life.
“Thank you, Lord,” she said aloud as she once more turned to her sugar cookies. “You have saved me from throwing myself at him and making a fool of myself when he rejected me. Thank you, God.” The tears came easily now.
And on the dark streets of Silver City, Marshal Jared Stone chastised himself for being such a coward when it came to a lady he respected and admired, maybe even could fall in love with. He ought to come right out and tell the lady he could never make her a part of his life. It was too dangerous. He didn’t want her to end up tortured, dead. And he didn’t want his heart torn apart, shattered when it happened. He was supposed to be so brave and fearless, yet a woman like that could almost melt his stone cold heart.
As he crossed the still busy street, he decided to head to Luci’s to listen to the latest gossip. Maybe a whiskey would fortify the wall he’d built around his heart. Maybe it would warm him up inside so he could get some sleep. Maybe then he could quit thinking of the temptation Emily Jordan had become. Maybe then he could quit thinking of what might have been.
This page was updated Tuesday, April 11, 2006 03:34 PM