Can't Keep Secrets

Russell Townsend

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Say It Isn't So!
"Did you hear that Rhydin?
That sound was husbands
and boyfriends letting out a
sigh of relief. While females
gasped in astonishment. One
of Rhydin's Top 100 Most
Eligible has been captured
on the streets hand in hand
with an unknown blonde! Last
week our photog snapped
pictures of Russell Townsend
a.k.a. Ian Rutledge leaving
Michelle’s Restaurant and
later entering one of the
Helston shops. Oh my!
A long while later the
two were seen exiting
with purchase in hand.
Just outside the doors
the mystery woman
laid a kiss on T.V.’s
hated heel that left us
speechless. Not really!
Read more on page 8. We’ve
included the pictures!”


“‘ey mack! Ya keep readin’ ‘n Imma start chargin’ ya by the word.” The salty newsstand owner ripped Russell’s eyes away from the print. For a moment he simply stared.

“My apologies. How much?” Shifting to reach into pockets where he kept loose change.

“Wha’cha go’ there?” The older gentleman leaned and strained across the counter to have a look at the periodical. “Ah, onne’a them? One crown ‘n we’re square.”

Not bothering to haggle over the price Russell forked over the asking price then went about his business. Folding and tucking the paper under arm he started for his destination. A side of him wanted to show the article to his handler so he could be there when that face was made. His other side wanted to wait for the inevitable phone call and the voice on the other end. Both options had his smirk permanently affixed.

Then there was the woman in question. How would she react to the possibility of her life being turned on its head? It was a good thing he was going on an incognito grocery run now. This could give him time to gather his thoughts of how to break the news that the rest of city would know.
 

Selene Brooke

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BOOK SALES GO THROUGH THE ROOF

Ladies across Rhy'Din have suddenly renewed their desire to enjoy the written word.
And who do we have to blame for it? None other than Russell Townsend. After being
snapped in the arms of local bookshop owner, Selene Brooke, Mr. Townsend has been
unavailable for comment, but it seems pretty clear that he's definitely a man who likes
the old-fashioned sophistication of a well-written classic.

That could be given as a description of Miss Brooke herself. The daughter of prominent
landowner George Brooke and his wife, Ethel, Townsend's new belle of the ball is
certainly well educated, having attended the prestigious Rhy'Din Girls' Academy from the
age of nine, and gaining a Masters in English Literature at Oxford University, in
England, Earth. Well monied, and clearly with an eye on her own future, she returned to
Rhy'Din six years ago, eschewing her father's offer to work in his own businesses in
favor of taking a job with antiquarian Nilus Wedge in the Temple District. Raising her own
capital, she then went on to create The Word on the Water, a floating bookshop that can
be found moored along the south bank of the river.

With this information firmly in hand, Townsend's legions of fans seem to have suddenly
regained an interest in the written word themselves. Perhaps there is speculation that
all Miss Brooke has to offer is an appreciation for the masters of fiction? If so, they are
likely to be disappointed. The notoriously private Mr. Townsend has been seen often in
the company of Miss Brooke over the past weeks; if this is anything to go by, chances
are the hopes of his fans for a romance that burns bright and fast could well be
unfounded. Could it be that Forever Rhy'Din's resident Mr Smooth and Nasty has finally
met his match?




Selene groaned quietly to herself as she skimmed the article, rolling her eyes. For one thing, how had this reporter managed to squeeze her life story down into a single paragraph? For another, had Russell had approval of the article before it was published? There was information in there that she hadn't actually shared with him yet herself - her parents' background, for example. Well, at least those adoring fans of his couldn't level the gold-digger charge at her.

She smiled at the thought of the fans she'd met. There were always a few in the sudden upsurge of customers she was getting on the Word these days, and not one of them had been anything but unfailingly polite and pleasant with her. Admittedly, she did now have a small collection of fan letters under her strongbox, shyly handed to her in the hope that she might give them to Russell, but she'd made no promises, and they had not demanded any. She couldn't help wondering, though, how polite they would continue to be if they knew they were regularly missing him entirely among the customers at the end of the day.

Setting the paper aside, she looked around at her busy boatload of browsing customers, and felt an odd surge of pride. Yes, most of them were here because they'd only been made aware of the Word thanks to her relationship with a famous actor, but they were all more interested in the books than in her. She loved to see that - even better, to see children as young as eight or nine with their parents browsing the shelves and asking for advice on what they should read next. It was all thanks to Russell.

She'd have to see what she could do to thank him.
 
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