The diamond wasn't anything amazing. That's what made it so painful.
In fact, the stone was so small it could hardly be distinguished from its silver setting. No dramatic glints of light played off its facets, there were no flashes of iridescent color. It wasn't ugly, but it wasn't dazzling either.
Just what a career-transitioning guy like Charlie would choose.
Amy tried to shove her heart into reverse.
Amy remembered the rock that Bart had bought for her. To him, it was a symbol of his manly ability to provide, a symbol of his net worth. To Charlie, the cheap ring would mean something very different - a sacrifice in the name of love. A symbol of his ability to transcend his own cash-flow problems to honor the woman he adored.
It was romantic. Even moving. The problem was the ring sat on Danielle's finger. The fake blonde delivery chick with the railroad spike in her navel. And Danielle was now working for Mike's Mega Pizzas, standing behind the counter instead of Charlie.
At great personal cost, Amy had convinced her mother to baby-sit again so she could go and see Charlie. Mother had demanded a night on the town just the two of them - so they (she) could talk. Amy had agreed.
Now Amy was staring at Danielle's ring. Danielle frowned and popped a piece of Trident sugarless gun in her mouth. "It's busy today. Do you know what you want?"
"Charlie," said Amy.
"Not here today. I'll take your order."
"Where is he?"
"Who are you?"
"Amy Franklin." She paused. "Amy Dellaconta Franklin."
"Oh yeah," said Danielle. "I remember. The ice cream lady with the rude kid."
Amy wanted to get angry, but instead she just felt rattled.
"Look, can you just give me his phone number."
Danielle shook her head. "Look, uh, Amy, don't you think you're a little old for him?" She laughed. "Anyway, it's too late." She waved her ringed hand in the air. "I noticed you noticing."
Amy steeled herself to reply, but found she could say nothing.
"Get real," said Danielle. "Charlie and I are getting married. So why don't you find some other pizza place to pick up men, OK?"
Danielle turned her back to attend to one of the pizza ovens, showing her tight buns in hip-hugging workout shorts to Amy. Amy did not move.
After a minute, Danielle turned back. Sweat beaded on her brow from the ovens. She unzipped her sweatshirt to reveal sculpted cleavage. She made a face at Amy to show her impatience.
"Are you a stalker or something? Do I have to call the police?"
Amy waited a few seconds. Then she beckoned Danielle forward and lowered her voice. "Breasts,"
she said. "Asymmetrical. If I were you, I'd demand my money back."
Danielle reflexively looked down and zipped up her sweatshirt. By the time she looked up, Amy was gone.
For those who are new here, A is for Amy & Adonis is a serial internet novella which tells the story of the romantic redemption of Amy Franklin. The aim is to provide a fun and fast read with characters you can connect to emotionally. And, as you probably noticed, it's all free.
The chapters are short. So it's easy to catch up.
READ EARLIER POSTS (just click on the one you want)--
Nota Bene -- All the chapters will be archived on Huffpost so people will be able to catch up with the story no matter how late they come to the novella.
I have decided to post two chapters a week. So, if you like what you read here, stay tuned with Huffpost email alerts or follow me on Twitter. --Steven
Follow Steven Crandell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stevencrandell