The Necklace

February 4, 2011
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“Can I see this bracelet here?” the woman asked, shaking her heavily-bangled hand at a rather ornate piece.

“Why certainly, ma’am,” was the reply. Joshua Parker had worked at Samson’s Jeweler’s for over two years now. It was not the most masculine job in the world, but he enjoyed it. If asked directly about his position, Joshua would say that it had good hours, good pay, and he liked his boss. However, those who knew Joshua well, which was very few, realized after the first couple months at his job that Joshua was in it for the ladies. Everyday, dozens of women, young and old, married and single, would stroll into the shop. Some on simple shopping sprees, others leading in a reluctant husband. And there was Joshua, everyday, greeting the newcomers and chatting with the regulars. He was an incredibly gorgeous creature, tall and confident, dark hair and fair skin. By the time he handed them their change, many had already fallen for his dark brown mop and alluring blue-green eyes.

At the moment however, Joshua was not making his move on the grandmotherly-figure in pink polyester standing in front of him. As he unlocked the sliding glass case, his mind fluttered back to yesterday, his last date with Sandra. He was going to break up with her today.
Shaking with anticipation, his normally steady hands took out the heavy gold chain adorned with crystal birds for his customer.
“What’s got you down, sonny?” the woman asked cheerfully as she tried on the bracelet. “You seem to be quieter today than usual.”

“I’m fine, Mrs. Sophia. I just have to break up with Sandra today, and I’m a little nervous on how she’s going to take it.”

“My heavens, whatever for? Sandra is such a nice girl, and so pretty.”

“Well…”Joshua paused for a minute. “I saw her with another man yesterday.” There was the lie, plain, simple, and sure to collect sympathy.
As if on cue, Mrs. Sophia, cooed, “Oh, you poor dear, you must be heart-broken! Don’t worry Joshy-boy, with your devilish good looks, you’ll snap up another one in a heartbeat. Cheat on you, my goodness! There not a soul alive as good a catch!”

Joshua smiled, he knew he could count on her. “Here’s your change, ma’am,” he said handing her a handful of coins.

“Oh, ma’am indeed! You know you are to call me, Mrs. Sophia. Now that’s twice you slipped up today,” Mrs. Sophia remarked in jest. “Good-bye, Joshy-dear! Good luck with everything!”

“Thanks, Mrs. Sophia! I’ll see you next week!” Joshua chuckled, as she left the store.

Later that afternoon, he couldn’t wait any longer. With trembling hands he picked up the phone and dialed Sandra’s number, having to redial it twice because of his scampering fingers. As it rang, he had to force himself to sit down.
“Hello?”
“Sandra, hey it’s Josh.”
“Oh, Joshy! How are you? It’s great to hear your voice so soon. I know we just talked at dinner, but you left in such a hurry I thought something was wrong. I miss you, baby. What time are you coming over…”
Most men would have cut Sandra off after the first couple sentences, but not Joshua. Hearing her gush through the phone almost made him change his mind. But he knew it was time, and there would be more.
“Listen, Sandra. We have a problem.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“I just…I just can’t see you anymore. Last night was wonderful but I can’t keep up this charade any longer. I’m so sorry, but it’s over.”
“Oh my god, no! Joshy, why are you doing this?” her voice was immediately choked with tears. “I though everything was great, I thought you loved me. You told me you loved me!”
“Oh, Sandra, darling, I didn’t mean for things to end this way. It’s just not fair to you that we continue. I can’t explain it. Things have just gone too far. I’m an easy-going guy, and this has just become a little too permanent for me.”
“But you said you loved me yesterday! Sandra was half crying, half screaming into the phone. “Why are you doing this, darling? You said we’d always be together, forever and always. Forever and always, Joshy! That is what you said.” She was clinging to the phone as if she could hold him there forever. “Is it something I did? I can change. I saw you looking at that brunette at the restaurant. I can dye my hair, will that make you happy?”
Joshua smiled behind the phone. His hands twitched, as if wanting to hold hers. He had to force his voice steady. “I’m sorry, my love, it isn’t working for me. I don’t want to sound cruel, but there is something about this that isn’t connecting for me.” Then he added, losing his composure a little, and almost laughing. “Please don’t be upset.”
Her screech was like that of a wounded animal, knowing that soon death would come. Then it softened, as if she had realized the inevitable, but could not seem to accept it. He could barely hear her though her sobs and pleading. “No, no, no…” He heard her muffled voice, repeating in the background. “I can change, I can change…Don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.” Then there was the sound of running feet. When Sandra’s voice got back on the line, it was shrill and hysterical. “I can’t live with out you, Joshy!” she cried. There was the chilling sound of a gunshot, and then, silence.
“Sandra? Sandra?” Joshua called through the empty phone. There was no answer. Frozen to the spot, Joshua stared unseeing at the floor, as if trying to conger up one last image of his beloved Sandra. He smiled, remembering her long blond hair, her neat and perfect body. “What a waste,” he said aloud. Then, as if recalling a good joke, he began to laugh. Not simply a chuckle, but a deep, belly laugh that escalated into an elated crescendo. It continued until it no longer sounded innocent in nature, as it slowly began to evolve into a hideous cackle. His face twisted and distorted, could not contain his bursting ecstasy. His blue eyes, still sparkling in the afternoon sun, were now filled with ice so cold, it would have taken out anyone who walked in at that moment. His hair was whipped across his face, shining with sweat and tousled with madness. But as quickly as it had begun, it was over. Hair brushed neatly over his forehead, eyes just as warm and inviting as they had been ten minutes before.
Hopping into his 1967 Chevy Bel-Air coupe, he drove over to the home of the late Sandra Duncan. At the door, he pulled out his spare key and walked into the house as if he belonged there always. No one knew anything was up, he had been around nearly everyday with roses or chocolates for Sandra. Entering the house after the incidents had always filled him with more excitement than trepidation. He skipped jauntily into the kitchen, like a young boy home from school. Her blond hair was the first thing he saw, long and shiny still, spread out around her head like a golden halo. His lips twitched slightly over this thought. Walking around the central island, he saw her crumpled form. Her legs bent at an odd angle as if they had simply collapsed under her grief. In one hand she still held the phone, its cord wrapped around her thin wrist and across her slim, well-dressed body. In the other hand rested the gun. Her eyes were flung open, not in surprise, but in fear. Their chocolate brown color held its hue even though all the life had left them. Then he saw the blood. A little puddle seemed to be growing just underneath her head. Its scarlet red color, contrasting sharply with the dull sage floor tiles, had already started to soak into her perfectly pressed white collar. She had dressed up for him, waiting for his return from the store.
He looked down at her, with eyes showing a mixture of pity and disgust. “Who knew you’d crack so fast, Sandra,” he whispered coldly. Without another word, he reached down and unclipped the diamond pendent that hung around her neck. Casually and blissfully, he walked quickly from the house, and strolled down the front sidewalk, swinging the pendent around his finger as he went. “You sure can do amazing things, my dear,” he said, as he kissed the crystal-cut diamond.

“Can I help you with anything, ma’am?”
“Well yes, I was looking for something to wear to my friend’s birthday party tomorrow.” The young woman tried to keep her eyes on the cases of crystal in front of her, but the reflection of his blue eyes continued to distract her. When she couldn’t take it any longer she looked up. “Can you suggest something?”
“As a matter of fact, this pendent here is a classic. It will go with everything you wear. In fact,” he paused, “some customers say they never take it off.”
“I’ll take it,” the woman replied but she was not looking at the necklace.
“Very good then, maybe you would like to try it on?”
The young woman nodded as he walked around the counter. With gentle hands he lifted her auburn-colored hair, and expertly fastened the clasp around her milky-white throat.





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