It was nothing special, and it was perfect.
The necklace glistened in the display case. Glistening was, perhaps, too strong a word. The unassuming piece of jewelry was certainly shiny; it wasn’t a dull, drab thing, but it didn’t have enough clout to glisten.
That’s the one, he thought. That’s mine.
The salesperson standing behind the counter put the average, perfect necklace to shame. Her eyes did glisten, or they would have when they looked up into yours on a star-filled night. She was good at her job as well, and made a commission that couldn’t entirely be explained by the purchases of hopeless, hope-filled men. She approached the necklace’s devotee with the perfect mixture of hesitation and helpfulness.
“I believe you’ve found something you liked, sir. Can I help you?”
He pointed a long, pale finger at the display case. “I would like to purchase that necklace, please.”
She nodded, her dark, shimmering hair transforming florescent lights into the rivals of heaven.
“I thought that would be the one. I can’t think of a girl in the world who wouldn’t like that one. The diamonds have a cut second to—”
“No, no, that one.” He jabbed his finger at the case again, but this time his hand picked up a slight tremor of adoration.
She looked down at the case again, and her eyes refocused, seeing the necklace that she had missed before, the adequate strand that was everything. Most people would be visibly confused by someone’s insistence on such an uninteresting piece of jewelry, but she was too good a saleswoman for that.
“Of course, sir. Silver is always a classic choice. Let me get it out of the case for you.”
Her small, delicate hand reached into her left pocket and pulled out a snub-nosed key. As the key clicked into the lock under the counter, the tremble in the large, yet still delicate hands on the other side of the case increased. The white shock of hair on the top of the worshiper’s head almost visibly stood on end, and his eyes bulged over a slightly open mouth.
Well-oiled runners whispered as the saleswoman pushed open the glass door. At this moment, she looked up at her client, and the overwhelming look of greed and hope on his face disgusted her. Her composure almost faltered, but she kept it. She was good.
His eyes never left that necklace. He followed its slow path over the edge of the counter, and drank in every gleam of every link of silver as she laid the trinket in front of him. The knight eyed his conquest.
The saleswoman was utterly astonished. She certainly was no stranger to desire and lust. She noticed countless men’s eyes devouring every patch of her skin and every curve of her figure that her clothes revealed. What was so surprising was that, to this man, she might as well have not existed. The necklace consumed his attention.
His eyes raked the necklace up and down. He stretched out his hand to touch it, and quickly jerked it back. His eyes looked up at the saleswoman for the first time. They had a sickly, jaundiced look to them, and the irises were so dark that she could barely distinguish them from the pupils.
“May I?” he quietly, desperately asked.
She nodded, and picked up the necklace to place it into his hand. He stretched out his hand again, and she trickled brushed silver over his spindly fingers.
As he raised the necklace up to eye level, she had a sudden flashback to her sister’s wedding day.
The church had been beautiful, with vaulted ceilings that nearly disappeared amidst the rising columns. She had been proud to stand in that sanctuary as the maid of honor. She particularly remembered her sister’s slow march up the aisle, and how her father’s eyes filled with tears as he put his daughter’s hand into that of her husband-to-be. The groom took his bride’s hand with that perfect balance of tenderness and surety, and her father stepped away. That gesture seemed to change everything.
Her customer had taken the necklace exactly as her brother-in-law had taken her sister’s hand. She had heard strange stories of people falling in love with inanimate objects, and now she was seeing this bizarre phenomenon unfold before her eyes. A thousand reactions clamored for her will, from disgust, to intrigue, to fear, but she was a businesswoman, and she had a job to do. “If you’re ready, sir, I can ring you up over—”
His left hand, which was not holding the necklace before his eyes, placed several wadded bills down on the table. He took his hand away, and she quickly flattened out the money.
“$500? Sir, the necklace is only—”
He walked away from the counter, as if carrying a bride over a threshold. He didn’t notice any of the other customers swirling around him; he didn’t notice several annoyed glares as he marched a slow, straight line toward the door.
He stepped outside, and the saleswoman caught her last glimpse of him through the glass exit doors. The afternoon sunlight illuminated his prize possession as well as his pale skin. For a moment, he was holding more than a necklace, and those glass doors became a window to a mystery she could never hope to explain.
“Ma’am, could you help me with this watch?” The saleswoman looked away briefly and instinctively replied, “Of course.” She looked back to the exit. The door was just a door again.