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The strongest and hardest mineral. Commonly used in engagement rings to symbolize the unbreakable bond between a man and a woman.
For the next few weeks, I spent my time job-hunting. I tried to steer clear of weddings for now. I know that I’m still in pain, but acknowledging the pain doesn’t really mean adding up to it or provoking it in whatever way.
But by end of the week, I still have nothing. I am still the same clueless girl I was weeks ago.
“Hang in there, sweetheart.” Nicole said to me one night we decided to check out the new bar in the city called Oil Rig. “You’ll find one. Although, you would have found one already, if you just went back to wedding planning. You were famous before. People loved your work. It is easy to get a job with the competition.”
I rolled my eyes. “What’s the point of planning other people’s weddings when I don’t believe in love anymore? If my own wedding is being realized by someone else?”
“Speaking of that, are you… going?” John asked.
“Hell no!” I replied quickly. “Why will I come to the wedding of my ex-fiancé and my ex-best friend? Especially if they didn’t have the decency to change a thing that I planned when I was supposed to be the bride? Geena is a classic! She stole my fiancé! And she stole my wedding ideas! She’s… a…” I sighed. “She’s a… I don’t know the word!”
“A thief?” Dannie suggested sarcastically.
“More than that! She’s a lying, stupid, conniving bitch!”
“He’s a cheap, indecent, spineless son of a bitch! They really deserve each other!”
“Great!” Nicole clapped her hands. “We’re getting somewhere! At least now, you hate him enough to admit that you need to get back at them for what they did to you.”
“How can I get back at them?” I asked.
“By showing them that you are happy.” John said. “That you’re beyond this. That you’re over him. That you’ve moved on. And you’re a lot happier now than when you were with him.”
I snorted. “Okay. So I’ll get my revenge in… five years! Tough! They won’t even remember me by then!”
“They may not even be together in five years, who knows?” Nicole muttered.
“You don’t have to be really happy. You just have to show them that you are. Even if you are still breaking inside. You don’t have to show them that. You just need to let them see that you are happy, even if you aren’t.” John said.
“You mean… for the show?”
“Yes.” Dannie said. “But the minute you start feeling better about it is the minute you will start getting over him! And you can do it, doll.”
I smiled. A new sense of excitement filled me. And for the first time in weeks, I felt a little lighter and little bit happier.
I raised my bottle to them. “Cheers?”
“Cheers!” They agreed and we all took a gulp of our beers.
“So, how about pawning that ring?” Dannie said. “It can get you out of Adam’s apartment.”
“Come on, sweetie. No need to hold on to it. He isn’t worth it. The memories aren’t worth the pain that came afterwards.” Nicole said.
And just like that, I decided that… I will cash in on Bryan’s memories. The bastard deserved it for all that he did to me. After all, he owed me for the flowers on his wedding!
The next day, I was feeling a bit more cheerful than usual. I wanted to know how much Bryan’s engagement ring was worth and I felt excited that maybe it’s time for me to move out of Adam’s apartment. I can’t be in the charity of the guy forever. And I know I was putting him in a difficult position with his family since Geena is his sister.
I met with Nicole and Dannie and we went to the mall to get the ring checked.
“Okay, my frame of mind should be… I am over him and I have a new boyfriend.” I said, smiling dreamily.
“Hmmm… the first part is easier to believe than the second. Who is this mystery guy? Or don’t tell me you have totally sold out your values and you decided to hook up with Adam.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Adam? Eeww!!! Incest!”
Nicole laughed. “So who’s the man?”
I shook my head. “No one yet. But if I accidentally run into Bryan or Geena, that’s what I will tell them. It doesn’t have to be true. But I’ll raise my chin and that’s what I’ll say. I’m happy as a bird! And I’m no longer a virgin! I’ve given myself up on a steamy night of passion with my boyfriend, who I am very much in love with!” “What’s the name of your boyfriend?” Dannie asked challengingly.
“None of their damn business.” I replied chirpily.
“Bravo!” Nicole said pulling me to the next jewelry store she saw.
I reluctantly gave my ring for appraisal at the jewelry shop. The guy at the counter gave me an apologetic smile. Instantly, he was able to deduce that it was an engagement gone sour.
“I’ll see what rate we can give you.” He said.
We waited for five minutes, looking at the rings and trinkets around us. I could only heave a sigh looking at the diamond engagement rings in front of me. I must admit that Bryan’s ring, apart from the big stone, didn’t really have much style.
“Excuse me, Ma’am.” The guy finally called us.
We approached him. My heart was pounding. Somehow, doubts came back to me. That ring showed how much Bryan valued me, or loved me. Pawning it doesn’t say much about how much I valued him no matter what he did to me. And God knows I did value him… too much!
The guy looked at me uncomfortably. “I’m...” He took a deep breath. “I’m… sorry. But we cannot buy this.”
“What? Why?” Nicole asked.
The guy lowered his voice so that only me, Dannie and Nicole can hear him.
“Because, I’m afraid that this is a fake.” He said. “The diamond is not real.”
“What?” I asked in shock. I knew my face was turning crimson. “That can’t be!
I picked up my ring and looked at the engraving inside to make sure that they did not switch it. It’s still there—the date that Bryan proposed to me.
“Ma’am… this is cubic zirconia. The value of which is… I don’t know… a couple of hundreds?”
“What?” Nicole asked, completely shocked.
“You didn’t notice?” The guy asked. “I’m afraid that even the band… was just plated.”
“I’m not a jeweler, how am I to know?” I asked sarcastically.
“I’m really sorry.” The guy said. He smiled at me ruefully
I took my ring back. I thought I was going to faint any minute. How could I have been so stupid? He proposed to me with a fake stone? What? He really thought I was so stupid that I wouldn’t notice? That no one would notice?
How cheap did he take me for.
“Ma’am…” The guy at the counter said. “I’m really sorry.” He handed me a card. “Do come and visit us again. We’re giving you a privilege discount card which you can use on your future purchases.”
I nodded, trying to prevent tears from rolling down my cheeks. “Thanks.” I said weakly.
“Let’s go.” Dannie said to me.
I seemed to be floating mindlessly towards the exit. I wasn’t looking in any direction, wasn’t actually seeing anything when I collided with another customer who was entering the store
I caught a whiff of sweet masculine perfume as I felt strong arms wrap around me in an iron grip, preventing me from falling flat on my butt. I leaned my head on his broad shoulder and for a moment there, I felt comfort… just when I needed it the most. I held onto his shoulders and quietly let the tears seep out. Because I needed it. I needed a shoulder to cry on. Someone to hold me as I let reality slice through me. I needed someone to be strong for me at that moment when I felt the weakest… when the pain enveloped me ruthlessly.
“Are you alright, Miss?” I heard him ask, his solid chest rumbled beneath my face as he spoke.
Slowly, I turned my head upwards and found myself staring at a pair of pitch dark sunglasses. His black bangs fell over his dark brows, one of which is raised as he stared down at me.
My mind went blank as his face and his presence filled my senses. I took in his handsome face, the sweet masculine scent of him, the hint of concern in his voice and the feel of his arms around me.
“Are. You. Okay?” He repeated, this time louder and with more emphasis to every word.
I nodded as reality slowly returns to me.
Slowly, he released me, making sure I was steady enough to stand on my own. Then he took a step back. It was only then that I saw what he was wearing. White shirt and black leather jacket.
“Take it easy, okay?” He said. And with a final nod, he went inside the store, leaving me standing outside, still in awe.
“Okay, enough embarrassment for the day.” Dannie said, pulling me away.
To be continued....
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