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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2193098
What would you spend for a ring that's perfect?
Dark blue with a distinctive lighter starburst at its center, the antique ring’s star sapphire drew her. She stopped beside the case to stare. The silver needed polishing but otherwise, it was perfect. “Can I see this one?” she asked the clerk, tapping the glass case over the ring.

Without speaking, the clerk unlocked the case and took out the ring in its velvet box. She could barely look away. Jude would be so excited. She reached to touch it, then paused and the clerk nodded blandly. She turned the ring around in her fingertips, then asked, “How much?”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” the clerk murmured in a low voice that made her think of purring tigers and a boa’s fatal, restrictive hug. “How much is it worth to you?”

Despair pulled on her and she whispered, “I only have a hundred to spend. I really wanted to propose this weekend.”

The clerk shook his head with a cat-like smile and tapped his temple. “What’s it WORTH?” Confused, she shook her head and stared until he rolled his eyes. “Tell me why it’s important and it’s yours.”

“My…girlfriend’s grandmother had a star sapphire ring. She used to talk about it all the time. One of her cousins sniped it from the estate. It broke her heart.”

The clerk’s eyes glittered with avarice. “Give it to me.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I can’t take it. You have to give me the memory. Or you can’t afford this ring.”

She tilted her head and focused on the memory of Jude’s face when she talked about her grandmother and the ring that got away. It faded and she found herself walking down the street, ring box clutched in her hand and her heart full of confusion and excitement.

She wondered why.

Word Count: 299
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