Alistair Deacon is on the hunt for the perfect engagement ring for his girlfriend, Emma. When he and his workmate, Dee, find it in a tiny shop in Covent Garden, the old shop woman there makes a startling prediction. Now Alistair may have got more than he bargained for.
The Perfect Ring is a short story of 3700 words or about 18 pages which should appeal to fans of contemporary romance and romantic comedy.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A writing contest inspired this story. One of the parameters was a character needed to have a unique ability. This story won second place in the contest.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Like most of my other characters, they popped into my head fully formed and started talking.
We find the perfect ring at the last shop Dee drags me into, a quaint little place in Covent Garden. We’ve found others I’ve liked as well at Harrods and Selfridges, but none of them, she says, are perfect for Emma. Too big. Too small. Too cheap. Too expensive. Too posh. Too tacky. I can’t tell the difference. A half-carat solitaire is a half-carat solitaire.
But this one, she assures me, is perfect.
“If it’s the one, then it’s the one,” I say, watching the facets flash like a sparkler on her left hand.
Dee casts me a wicked smile. “Well, we could carry on to a few more shops if you like. But I don’t think we’ll find anything more perfect than this.”
“I think I’d rather not, actually.” I turn to the old shop-woman who’s been hovering over us with an expectant smile pasted on her fuchsia lips ever since we walked in. “We’ll take this one.”
“Lovely choice,” the woman purrs, taking the ring from Dee and popping it into a box. She pauses for a moment, admiring it, then squares it on the counter in front of us. “You know.” She leans forward as if to impart a great secret. “My husband and I have owned this shop going on thirty-five years. In that time I’ve developed a bit of an unusual talent. You see, I can usually tell whether or not a couple’s marriage will last by the type of engagement ring they choose.” She raises an eyebrow, regarding us over her peacock blue reading glasses as if she’s waiting for this revelation to sink in. “And I can tell the two of you are going to have a very long and very happy marriage.” With a knowing wink, she whisks the ring box off the counter, snaps it shut, and carries it over to the cash register.
I glance at Dee. Her face is a similar shade to the old lady’s lipstick. I imagine mine very well is too.
“We’re not—” I start to say, but Dee grabs my arm and shakes her auburn curls. “Don’t worry about it, Alistair. Just get your ring.”
“Right.” I follow the shop-woman and hand over my Visa card, wishing she’d hurry up with the transaction.
At last she tucks the small box into an equally small bag and hands it across the counter with my receipt. “Congratulations,” she says with another knowing wink. “The two of you will have beautiful babies.”
I hurry Dee from the shop, my ears burning.
“Last time I take you ring shopping,” I say.
“Oh, it wasn’t so bad was it?” Dee laughs and links arms with me. “It’s only natural she’d mistake us for a couple.”
“Yes, but I’d rather think about having beautiful babies with Emma. No offence.”
“None taken. Dee Deacon sounds horrendous anyway.”
“Still, what load of rubbish. Predicting a couple’s marriage by the type of ring they choose.”
“She probably says that to all her customers. Gets more sales that way.”
“I’d rather she hadn’t said it at all.”
“Wouldn’t we both.” Dee rolls her honey-coloured eyes. “Well, I’m going to make a prediction right now.” She looks at me as if over the tops of reading glasses and tries not to giggle. “You and Emma will have a very long and very happy marriage. And will make beautiful babies together.”
“If she says yes.”
“Of course she’ll say yes, you bloody fool.” Dee punches me in the shoulder. “She’s mad about you.”
Rachel Elizabeth Cole writes a mix of genres–from heartfelt literary and women’s fiction, to laugh-out-loud chick-lit, to quirky contemporary middle grade fiction. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines both online and in print, including Cahoots, Literary Mama, and Flashquake.
When she’s not writing, Rachel works as a graphic designer specializing in book covers. Her favourite season is autumn, she prefers tea to coffee, and she wishes every morning began at ten a.m.
Even though she hates the rain, Rachel lives just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, their two sons, and two very spoiled house rabbits.
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