The Missing Diamond

It was a dim and drizzly night in the lively streets of Britain . Ladies and their fine men could be seen roaming the streets laughing and buzzing around, unaware of the bitter rain. From the rooftops to the sidewalks, lights of the city could be portrayed like paintings in the reflections of the freshly dampened pavement. The smell of rain filled the air as well as a hint of freshly brewed coffee coming from the luxurious Marbella restaurant down the lane. The Marbella was so elegant and refined; only the wealthy could dine there. Inside the Marbella violins played as the sounds of hushed voices carrying bits of gossip from that day swirled around the room. Among the wealthy were Annabelle Higgins and her best companion Eliza Jenkins. This time being the first time for Annabelle to be at the Marbella, she and her companion took a booth close to the windows, but far enough from the entrance so they could marvel at the extravagance of the restaurant.



Annabelle was quite the catch indeed, with her long brown hair, emerald green eyes, and her freckles that seemed to dance across her face. With her eyelashes so thick and long, and her skin as creamy as silk, it was hard not to look at her. Though her beauty was far from unnoticeable Annabelle seemed unaware of the attention her beauty brought her, especially on a night such as this. Her companion Eliza was lovely as well, with her golden blonde hair and bluish gray eyes, but nothing could compare to Annabelle.



“Annabelle, do you even hear me?” said Eliza impatiently.



“Hmm?” said Annabelle, blinking her eyes as if to have been awoken from a dream. “I’m sorry Eliza, did you say something?”



“Yes I did, I was telling you about what happened in the office today” Eliza said with much enthusiasm. As she continued to ramble on about her day Annabelle tried to stay focused on what Eliza was saying. Every day it was the same thing, the cute new accountant across from her cubical was hitting on her again, but Annabelle knew better. The cute new accountant was not hitting on Eliza, he just talked to her because he needed the new reports and it just so happened that Eliza always had the new reports since this cute new accountant started working on her floor.



“Annabelle did you hear me?” Eliza said.



“Yes, the new accountant was hitting on you again.”



“No, I said that man over there is checking you out!” Annabelle turned her head around coolly to observe said man, and there he was, a tall, tan, and handsome man at that. His name was Diego Montebello, with his wavy black hair and sun kissed skin he was hard to miss. His blue eyes gleamed like the ocean at sunset while his jaw line was thick and defined. He wore a black button down shirt that hugged his abdominals in all the right places. When Annabelle made eye contact with Diego she felt her face flush, so much so that she turned around quickly as she covered her face with her hands.



“Wow.” Annabelle whispered, “He looks incredible, I wonder who that is.” She said as she turned around for one more peek.



“That my friend is Diego Montebello, the most charming, and handsome man in our little town since he arrived from Italy . From what I hear, he’s single.” Eliza said with a hint of mischief. “Annabelle, he looks like he’s coming this way! Turn around, turn around!” Annabelle turned around quickly as they both picked up their menus and pretended to decide what to order. Annabelle was a curious one though, as Diego walked past their booth she snuck a glance at him, only to find that he had been smiling at her as he walked past. Her heart skipped a few beats as her stomach filled with butterflies.



Across the room where Diego was headed sat his partner in crime, Russell Peters. In comparison you would have never imagined these two would have even known each other, Russell was a stocky, short, man with a full beard and wore a worn out suit. Everyone else in the Marbella was wearing new clothes or their Sunday bests, Russell fit in, but just a look at him you could tell he sort of stuck out. Russell was sitting alone at a booth in the back, observing his menu until Diego slid into the booth. Diego’s grin had vanished as he began to talk in hushed tones to Russell.



“Those two over there sir?” asked Russell, “They don’t look rich, they seem too ordinary.”



“Who’s the boss here?” asked Diego restlessly. “Why not them? They’re young, beautiful, and obviously too dumb for their own good. I already had the brunette taking me in, I’m sure they have something valuable in their purses. Just remember what I said, once I get my arm around one of them then you go in for the kill, take the purse back to your booth, and look around in it and if you find something keep it. And make sure you bring the purse back to the booth this time, we don’t want to get caught do we?” Diego said with a bit of bitterness as he leaned in and grabbed the collar of Russell’s shirt.



“No boss, I mean, yes boss, I mean” Russell gulped



“Shut up you moron. Now let’s do this.” Diego pushed himself out the booth and sauntered back to the ladies with full confidence and that award winning smile.



“Look Annabelle! He’s coming back this way; invite him to sit with us!” Eliza whispered.



“Are you crazy?!” hissed Annabelle, but Eliza was already flagging down this mysterious stranger she had never met before. His grin was just as charming as before as he set his hands on the table and introduced himself to Eliza.



“Why hello Eliza it’s good to see you again, popular joint isn’t it?”



“Indeed it is, oh Diego where are my manners, this is my friend Annabelle Higgins. Annabelle, this is Diego Montebello.” Eliza said with full emphasis on Diego’s name.



Diego’s gaze fell upon Annabelle, as she began to blush the deepest shade of red. Diego took her hand in his and held it close to his lips.



“Good Evening Mrs. Higgins” he said as his warm breath hit her delicate hand just before a light kiss. Annabelle began to melt like butter before she responded almost too quickly “Miss! It’s Miss Higgins.” She said with a giggle.



“My apologizes Miss Higgins, do you two care if I join you?”



“No!” Eliza and Annabelle chimed at the same time, both girls looked at one another at that moment, as if to call dibs on who would have the honor of sitting next to Diego, but as Annabelle had hoped, he chose to sit next to her.
“You can call me Annabelle.” She said with a smile
“Alright, Annabelle” Said Diego.



“So Diego are you still enjoying Britain , I hope we haven’t bored you too much, in comparison to Italy . Italy sounds far more fun than this rainy old place.” Eliza said as she twirled a single golden curl of hair.



“Actually Eliza I’m quite enjoying myself here, it is a little more relaxed than what I’m used to but I’m sure we can liven it up a little, what do you say girls?” Diego asked with a little mischief in his sparkling blue eyes, Annabelle couldn’t help but look down at her lap. His eyes were very lovely, but one look at them she would soon feel as if she couldn’t look away.



“What do you suggest?” Annabelle asked avoiding eye contact with Diego.



“Well, if it’s alright with you two I would like to buy you fine ladies a bottle of this restaurant’s finest wine.” He said as he tilted his head to look into Annabelle’s emerald green eyes, as if to look for a confirmation in his request.



Feeling a little bit of a third wheel Eliza chimed “Yes we would love that Diego! You’re so generous; it must be the Italian in you. You know, I hear Italians are well known for their generosity.”



“But of course Eliza! It would be very rude if I didn’t. Waiter!” he raised his hand and as soon as he did three different waiters arrived offering whatever help they could to this fine gentlemen. “You, fetch us a bottle of wine. You, take our order. And you bring me two of your finest roses for these lovely ladies.” As he said this he kept complete eye contact with Annabelle, as Annabelle and Eliza giggled at his charming words.



After their fabulous meal the trio was stuffed. Not only did Diego order the two women wine, but he also ordered practically everything off the menu. This may have seemed like an elegant evening to you or I, but as the laughs carried on and the evening progressed, Diego’s plan had only begun to unfold. Annabelle was having such a good time; she couldn’t help but feel flirtatious. Perhaps it was because of the wine, or the spell she fell under when she first laid eyes on Diego, but whatever it was, Annabelle would only be a pawn in Diego’s plan.



Eliza being a tad tipsy said “you know you two should go out more often, you certainly do make a cute couple! Wouldn’t you agree Annabelle?”



“Hush Eliza, I think you’ve had a little too much wine.” Annabelle said with a giggle.



“Oh Annabelle don’t be so modest, I saw you looking at me when I first came in!” Diego said as he rapped his arm around Annabelle, at first it was a natural gesture, nothing at all to do with his plan to rob these ladies, for a moment Diego had forgotten what he was actually there for. A quick glare from Russell changed all that though, as Russell approached the booth to continue with the operation at hand. Annabelle and Eliza continued to laugh and chat with Diego unaware of what laid ahead, as Russell approached their table. He then bent over as if to tie his shoe and moved his hand under the table, trying to feel around for Annabelle’s purse, only to grab Annabelle’s leg!



“Oh my” Annabelle exclaimed! “Diego are you playing footsie with me? I think that I’m not drunk enough for those kind of actions.” Annabelle said with a joking tone.



“Oh my dear I’m terribly sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.” He said smoothly as he reached for her hand and kissed it a second time. “I promise it won’t happen again.” Diego said with all honesty as he stomped on Russell’s searching hand. Russell let out a small cry of pain as he finally found the purse. He snatched it and hid it under his coat as he stood back up and returned back to his table. He then gave a look to Diego for some kind of confirmation for his deed and all he got was an annoyed glare from his boss. At that Diego rose from the table and excused himself.



“I’ll only be a moment ladies” Diego said with a sly smile as he retreated to Russell’s booth, out of sight of the ladies. Diego slid into the booth next to Russell only to find that he’d already begun to search the purse and find a few credit cards, useless makeup, some cash, and one very expensive diamond ring.



“Look at this boss this has to be at least ten grand!” Russell said as he observed the ring.



“I told you they were too dumb for their own good.” Diego said half heartedly. “ This is what we’ll do, lets charge the meal with their credit cards, keep the ring, return the purse to their table and I’ll tell them that they made my last night in Britain worthwhile. Its fool proof, that way we’ll never see them again and we can return to Italy.” But as Diego finished explaining their exit route a shriek could be heard from the other side of the restaurant.



“My purse! Eliza! My purse is gone!” Annabelle shrieked. “My mother’s ring was in that bag, what am I going to do? Where’s Diego maybe he could help us search?”



“Let’s call the Police! Does anyone have a cell phone, there’s been a robbery!” Eliza slurred as she arose from her seat, only to fall back down on her butt.



Diego cursed under his breath as he began to shove the cash in his pockets and then looked over to his partner in crime and demanded “Swallow the ring Russell!”



“Are you a mad man? I can’t swallow that!” Russell cried.



“We don’t have time, let’s get out of here!” Diego shoved the ring into Russell’s mouth and left before he could tell if he had actually swallowed it or not. He hurried back to the ladies’ booth and apologized for his absence. Diego being calm with his words and very witty strung together a story that he had just received terrible news about his mother back in Italy and had to return to her as soon as possible.



“Oh Diego that’s dreadful, let us at least drive you to the airport” suggested the very tipsy Eliza.



“Eliza you can’t, you’re not well enough to drive, and we have to find my purse! Oh Diego the worst thing just happened. My purse has been stolen and I must find it, my Mother’s diamond ring is in there.” Annabelle began to tear up, but this didn’t stop Diego.



“My dear Annabelle that’s terrible but I can’t stay, my Mother really needs me. I had a wonderful evening ladies but I must go now.” Diego gave Annabelle a quick goodbye peck on the cheek and dashed for the entrance, where he found Russell already pulled up in their car at the entrance of the Marbella. Diego got in the car and instructed Russell to drive quickly. The rain hadn’t stopped and continued to fall down; each drop that hit the windshield was only a reminder of what the two men had just committed. Diego looked out his window on the passenger side and could see Annabelle and Eliza in the marvelous Marbella.
Annabelle was oddly calm as she watched Eliza try to summon some assistance. The waiting staff surrounded their booth and tried their best to help, but Annabelle’s once soft, delegate face turned into a blotchy stream of tears and smeared mascara. Though her facial expression did not once shift from its calm exterior, Diego knew she was hurting, but so was he.



A hint of guilt hit Diego as Russell drove away; causing his vision to blur as the rain fell down, swirling around the lights of the city. As he sat in his seat he began to ponder if what he had done was wrong. Annabelle had never done anything to him. How could he have taken advantage of such a lovely woman, not only on the outside but on the inside as well? Their conversation at the dinner table that night had substance and wit, something that Diego had never experienced in any of his other heists. Perhaps the women weren’t as dumb as he originally thought, though sometimes referring to his victims as dumb helped soften his guilt, but not this time.



“I did as you asked sir,” Russell said as if to break the silence that suddenly filled the car. Typically the two men would be boasting and cheering about their accomplishment but tonight, the only thing that could be heard was the pitter-patter of the raindrops that fell from the dark and dismal sky. Diego soon began to feel as if he was a raindrop: cold, small, and a feeling of falling hit the pit of stomach as he began to think of Annabelle’s blotchy, teary face. Russell began to ramble, to insure his boss and himself that what they did was alright, and like always they wouldn’t get caught.



It wasn’t until the sound of a police car that Diego realized the consequences of what he and his partner had done. The red and blue lights of the police car swirled around them, as if it were a search light to Diego’s heart. He had known what he had done, as he saw the shadow of the Police officer approaching the car. Russell being completely hysterical couldn’t have handled the situation any worse. He began to seek help from Diego, shaking him and asking what they should do. Diego simply said with a tired look in his eyes “Did you do what I asked you to do, back at the restaurant?”



“Yes sir,” Russell said with a blank expression, not understanding the significance to the question.



“The one time you actually do what you’re told,” he said with a small laugh. “I can’t ask much more from you than that my friend.” Diego began to feel numb, knowing that he had taken advantage of Eliza and Annabelle’s generosity and kindness. He had never felt like a criminal before, not until this very night. Of course the two men were arrested and charged with the robbery of Annabelle Higgins’ diamond ring, and the police did eventually find the ring…in Russell’s stomach, thanks to an X-ray.
The true loss here was not of the diamond. Oh no, it was the loss of a possible love. Diamonds are indeed lovely and are appealing to the eye; with their value attracting us the most. You could buy all the diamonds in the world, but the loss of love never ventured is truly the missing diamond.





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