Luke Stone couldn’t remember the last time he’d bought a piece of jewelry for a lady, although lots of ladies had bought jewelry for him. He wondered how in the hell this sweet young girl with sparkling blue eyes had gotten under his skin so quickly. He imagined what it would feel like to run his fingers through her long auburn hair and speculated that it must smell like sweet blooming flowers.
As he stood at the counter in one of the finest jewelry stores in Abilene, he asked the clerk, “What would you suggest for a very sweet young lady that I just met?”
The clerk immediately brought out a tray of necklaces. “These are all very nice, Mr. Stone.”
He looked them over and spotted a small gold heart on a very delicate chain with a tiny diamond set in the middle of the heart. “This one oughta’ do.”
The clerk placed it in a black velvet box and Luke paid for it. He blinked when he walked outside into the bright sunshine. He wasn’t accustomed to being out of bed at ten a.m., much less cleaned up and purchasing jewelry. Again, he questioned himself as he drove to the ABCO Boiler Factory.
Darlina sat at her desk typing a contract on an IBM Selectric typewriter this particular Monday morning, her back turned to the door.
The bell rang, announcing someone’s arrival. She half turned. “May I…” She paused in mid-question, shocked to see Luke standing there with the trademark crooked grin on his face. “…Help you?” she finished.
“That is exactly what I’ve been asking myself,” Luke replied.
“What are you doing here?”
“I came to see if you were for real or a figment of my imagination.”
Luke’s smile widened, “Yes, for real. You see, I thought maybe I’d just made you up so had to come and see.”
Darlina didn’t reply and Luke quickly continued, “I brought you a little something.”
She stood and walked to the open window that separated her and Luke. “Okay, what did you bring me and more importantly, why? After all, you barely know me.”
She wondered what kind of strings might be attached to any gift from Luke Stone.
Luke fished the small box out of his pocket and handed it to her. Their hands briefly touched and an electrical current passed between them. She looked up at Luke, then down at the box.
“Open it,” Luke encouraged.
Darlina gasped as she opened the box to find the delicate gold heart necklace. “Oh Wow! This is beautiful. I’m not sure what to say.”
“Well, you could say thank you, and you could say that you’ll have dinner with me, just me, and you could say that you’ll give me a chance to redeem myself.”
“Okay,” she said hesitatingly. “I guess so.”
“Okay to all of it?”
Words spilled out of her mouth before she stopped to think. “Okay to all of it on one condition.”
“On the condition that you won’t ever ask me to sleep with you and Mary again.” Her voice trembled slightly and she could feel the blood racing to her face.
Luke chuckled, “You’ve got a deal, little lady. Now put the necklace around your pretty neck and get back to work. I’ll see you at the Silver Spur tomorrow for the audition and then we’ll go somewhere, just you and me. I promise you I won’t do anything that you don’t wanna do.”
She looked directly into his eyes. “That’s something I think you’ll have to prove.”
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