Jenna pulled the gem out of her bra and looked at the gleaming, giant, flat Stein Sapphire in the palm of her hand. 52.263 carats, it was hefty. She carefully placed it in her purse, then calmly left the women’s bathroom. Easy-peasy, how every job should go. She went to the ballroom to get a flute of champagne and celebrate by herself, but she was suddenly intercepted by the host of the party.
“Hello, madam.” He said, lifting her hand to kiss it.
“Hello, Mr. McNally.” she said.
“Please, Adam is fine. You look absolutely ravishing, Ms. Carter. I’m honored to have such a beautiful woman as yourself attend my humble party on this little party yacht.”
“Oh my, no this party is lovely. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!” she said.
“You are too kind. Why don’t you humor an old man like me with a little dance?”
“Oh I would, Adam. I appreciate the offer, but unfortunately I stubbed my pinkie toe this morning, and it’s taking everything I’ve got to not break out in tears.”
“That’s too bad. Perhaps next time, then.”
“Next time indeed. Have a good evening, Adam, and don’t forget to introduce me to your friends who are fine art aficionados. I’m quite the aficionado, myself.”
“Haha will do, Ms. Carter. Enjoy the party.”
Jenna wiped the sweat off of her brow. She was glad that he didn’t offer to show off his collection of rare gems. That would have been embarrassing. She made one more attempt to grab some champagne before heading off the boat. There wasn’t all that much time, but what’s success without celebrating?
Then Casey walked up. Her heart fluttered and then sputtered. He was the most handsome man she had ever laid eyes on. Just one flash of his smile made her knees weak. There was another feeling that emerged. She wanted to stab him so many times that a chunk of pumice would be jealous.
He walked right up to her. She was dumbstruck. In the time it took her to decide whether to run or grab the knife, he already had his arm under hers and held her other hand. He pulled her close and started dancing. His smell was intoxicating, Clive Christian 1872. She was transported to another time, not unlike this one, before the gems and the jobs, when they were just two lonely Wall Street brokers looking for something interesting. He’d worn the same cologne then too, and that smile, that made her feel like nothing was wrong or would ever be wrong. They danced like lovers until the song ended. She pulled away.
“What are you doing here, Casey?”
“You look beautiful as ever, Jenna.”
“No seriously. How did you get on this boat?”
“I know some people. I noticed that you never replied to my letters.”
“I never read them. They went straight to the trash.”
“You…” Casey bit his knuckle and took a deep breath. He swept her up in his arms again and resumed dancing. She didn’t resist. She couldn’t.
“I think we can make this work.”
“We can’t. Is there another time we can talk about this?”
“Another time? When? The last time you said that was 12 months ago, before I went to jail.”
“Any time, really. I just can’t talk right now.”
“Why? Do you have somewhere to go? What’s the rush? Where’s the fire?”
“Now is not a good time, that’s all.” she said. She wanted to pull away, but she didn’t know when or if she’d ever get another chance to hold Casey and be held by him. On the other hand, she could smell smoke in the air. Judging by the nervous looks on some of the other guests faces, they were beginning to smell it too. She lit the fuse twenty minutes ago…
“I need to go now.” she said. But he didn’t let go, and she didn’t push away.
“Is there someone else you’d rather be talking to? Adam McNally?”
“Then where are you even going? The yacht isn’t in port. Are you going to swim?”
“There’s a scuba suit waiting for me on the port side, all the way aft.”
“Ohhhhh I get it. I get it now. This is a job. Probably one of the McNally family jewels. You’ve been doing jobs while I was in jail.”
“Well you did cheat on me.”
“That was one time, Jenna.”
Someone in a stairwell shouted, “FIRE!!!” People scurried this way and that, frantic to get a quick look at the fire to tell their friends about it, and then figure out how to put on a life jacket on.
Jenna and Casey held each other close. Now they had the dance floor to themselves. It wasn’t long before it started to get hot in the room.
“You should go, Casey.”
“I want this moment to last forever. You are so special to me. Can we meet up on land?”
Fire flashed in Jenna’s eyes. She remembered that line, “I want this moment to last forever.” It was the same one she read on his phone to some whore.
“You know what? No. Because you mean nothing to me.”
“What? How can you say that? What about all of those nights we spent together? What about our trip to Paris. None of that means anything?”
“Nothing! It was all a trick! I just needed you to show me your tricks so I could branch out on my own. You’re a useless, lazy, boyfriend, and I hope you die on this boat!”
She shoved him to the floor and ran to her scuba suit. She went to put the Stein Sapphire back in her bra before putting on the suit, but suddenly realized she didn’t have her purse. She ran back to the dance floor, which had become a raging inferno. No purse and no Casey in sight.
“Damn it, Casey! He’s probably on a lifeboat right now.” she thought. “Damn it, Casey.” She put on her scuba suit and dropped backward into the water below.