Julie squirmed in a lawn chair, facing her best friend, still wounded and angry that Brad didn’t respect her feelings.
Jerry was the only one she told her secrets to. He had never betrayed her trust so it was no accident that she would drive an hour to confide in him, rather than five minutes to be in the company of anyone else.
Jerry took a long drink of a cold beer noting that Julie looked like she was about to bust. He leaned forward to take her hand,
“What’s up, Jules?”
She threaded her fingers through his drawing comfort from his nearness, “He proposed, Jerry. My worst suspicion is confirmed. He had a ring.”
Jerry cocked his brow intrigued, wondering how she would answer. She was wicked-smart, had big dreams to fulfill and was clueless about men, “And?”
“And he doesn’t even know me!”
“Jules, come on now. He’s known you for years.”
It was horrible, Jerry! It was an enormous, gaudy diamond half as big as my fist! You know the sickening things that have happened to diamond miners and the wars in Africa. We have to make a start if it’s ever going to end. How often have I said ‘I’ll never accept a blood diamond?’”
“Yes well, there is that,” he offered, moving to the edge of her chaise, “What did you do, hit him over the head with a baseball bat, push him out of a speeding car, hire a hit man,” he asked, hoping to make her smile.
“I closed the box, pushed it away and said I would never want that ring! Honestly, he should know that by now. It’s obvious he doesn’t respect my convictions or me,” She turned tear-filled eyes away.
Jerry put a comforting arm around her saying, “Don’t worry, Jules. Brad is a good guy. He respects you.”
Julie sipped a strawberry wine cooler, sniffling as she asked, “You really think so?”
“Of course I do. This is just a miscommunication. Most people are all talk, but you live your convictions. He really thought you would want a traditional engagement ring, albeit an impressive one, but I think I can fix this.”
“Yeah? I think he’s gone forever,” She sobbed.
“No way. You just leave it to me. Now, go pick out a movie and I’ll things better,” He assured her, smiling at her youth, angst, ambition and fiery temper, thinking, Love is a bitch. It makes the most stable of us nuts.
Julie wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his forehead before hugging him to her. She rose and turned around while he resisted the urge to pinch her cute, little ass.
Watching her disappear into the house, he cleared his mind and hit the first speed-dial, “Brad?”
“It’s Jerry. Listen, buddy boy, it’s not about the ring,”
Brad cut him off anxiously, “It’s not? What then?”
“Like I said, it’s not about the ring, Brad. It’s the rock.”
“Oh man! Jerry, I knew that but it’s an engagement ring. It’s supposed to be a diamond. I guess. I fucked up royally.”
“No you didn’t. It’s love. There’s a reason they call it a sickness,” he chuckled, “We’re watching her favorite, sappy, chick-flick.”
“I should talk to her.” Brad said, more like a question than a statement.
“Trust me” Jerry grinned, “Not until after the movie. You owe me a beer, bud.”
“Jerry, I owe you a 12-pack. Thanks man, you saved our butts again.”
“Yeah, yeah,” He grinned, “Put it on my tab.”
Jerry pressed “End” muttering, And she’d beat me with a bat if she knew I helped you shop for it.