Love's Harmony Ch. 13bysimply_cyn©
Fatima was stretching on the floor when Brian came through the door, nervousness etched across his brow. She looked up, surprised he was here. "Hey, what are you doing here? I thought you and Jen were going shopping?'
"We are," he said. "But I need you to do me a favor first."
"What?" she asked, stretching down across her outstretched leg.
"Does Jennifer still have her engagement ring from Ty?"
"You mean that ring she was wearing when she first joined the company?" she asked, looking up in surprise. "Yeah, I think so. Why?"
"I need it," he said, looking around the room. "Can you get it for me?"
"Brian," she began, getting up from her position on the floor. "She hasn't worn that thing in months. You don't have to . . ."
"No, I know," he said, smiling at her. "It's nothing like that. I need it for sizing purposes."
"Sizing?" she asked, and then suddenly realizing what he was planning, she gasped, her hand coming up to cover her mouth. "Brian!" She laughed and ran towards him, hugging him into her embrace. "Oh, my god!!"
Brian smiled back at her. "So, are you going to help me out?"
"Of course," she said, hugging him again. "I'm so happy for you guys! Have you said anything to her?"
"No," he said, his face turning serious. "I want it to be a surprise." He stopped for a moment, glancing at his watch. "I can't get into it right now," he explained. "But I'll tell you all about what I'm planning . . . I promise."
"Okay, hold on. I'll go look right now," she said, hurrying back to the back of the bus. But as she fishing around through Jennifer's jewelry, she couldn't find it. Hurrying back to find Brian pacing the floor, she said, "I'm sorry Brian. She must have gotten rid of it."
His eyes showed his disappointment as she said, "Shit! Okay, well . . . I'll have to think of something else."
"You will," she said, smiling over at him.
"Well, I better go," he said, stepping back out the door but then stopped once more as Fatima called out to him.
"Good luck!" she called, hanging out the door.
"Thanks," he said, smiling at her. "I'm going to need it."
They were in Houston Texas and Jennifer began to get excited about being back on home soil. Just a few more days before their last concert in Dallas. Jennifer couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed since she had first met Brian and The Backstreet Boys, but here they were, on the last leg of their journey and she wasn't sure she was ready for it to end. She wasn't sure what was going to happen to her and Brian once they were not touring any more. She couldn't help but let her mind linger on what Ty had said about Brian just using her while they were on the road. But as she looked over at his smiling face, she knew that just wasn't the case. "Let's stop by F.A.O. Schwartz? I need to get a new watch battery before this one gives out all together. I've had to reset the blasted thing three times this past week."
Unlike most people who would dash into Walmart or Kmart to buy a new watch battery, Brian had to choose the most expensive jewelry store in town in which to purchase his. As he ushered into the elite shop, Jennifer couldn't help but chide him just a little bit. "Walmart would probably have the same one you're looking for at one tenth of the cost. Why come here when you know you're buying the name and not the battery?"
"Because I bought the watch at one of their stores," he informed her, "And I know they'll stock it." She shook her head at him as she followed him into the swank establishment. "Why don't you window shop while I see about the battery?" he suggested, waving her toward a display case.
"I don't know why I should," she replied in a low voice. "I couldn't afford to buy a speck of dirt off the floor in a place like this." But despite herself, Jennifer wandered around, peering into case after case, trying not to drool at the exquisite merchandise within the glass cases.
"May I help you with anything?"
Jennifer glanced up at the saleslady. "No, thank you. I'm just looking."
Brian stepped up beside her. "See anything you like?"
"Sure," she admitted ruefully. "Just about everything I see."
Ever so casually, Brian steered her over to a case containing rings - solitaires, engagement rings, wedding sets - any and every kind imaginable. There he stopped and leaned an elbow on the counter, as if totally unaware of its contents. "It'll be just a few minutes to install the battery," he commented, looking around the place. "You don't mind waiting, do you?"
"No, that's okay," she said. She glanced down into the case on which he was leaning. "These are just beautiful."
Brian looked over at her, a smile crossing his face. It was working! "Wow!" he laughed. "Look at that one over there, is that a rock or what?" he asked, pointing to the one that stood in the far right corner.
Jennifer stepped closer. "They're all beautiful."
"Which one do you like the best?" he asked, offhandedly.
"Oh, I don't know," she said, shaking her head.
"Well, if you didn't have to worry about the price, which one would you choose?" he asked, hoping she's fall right into the game he was playing with her.
She looked over them more carefully, nibbling on her lower lip. "That one," she said, pointing it out to him. She'd selected a round, brilliant-cut diamond of moderate size, flanked on either side by a smaller matching stone. All three gems were mounted over a brushed gold band.
"Out of all these?" he asked, his eyebrows lifting in surprise. "Remember, cost is no matter."
"It's perfect," she purred, peering through the glass at it. "Not too big, not too small. I mean, the center stone alone must be half a carat. And look at the way its cut. It reflects the light much better than some of these larger ones."
"She's absolutely correct," the saleslady agreed in her soft-spoken manner. "Your lady has impeccable taste," she offered, nodding at Jennifer. Jennifer stood upright, a smile spreading across her beautiful face. Unlocking the cabinet, she reached in and withdrew the ring Jennifer had selected. "You should try it for size."
"Oh no," Jennifer protested. "I shouldn't. It's not like I'm going to buy it."
"Just try it on," Brian pressed. "How many times in a day do you get to try on a rock like that." Jennifer smiled at him and slipped the ring on her finger, gazing down at the ring sparkling on her finger. Holding it at arm's length, she twisted her wrist this way and that, watching the light reflect off the beautiful stones. "It's absolutely beautiful," she sighed.
"Just like you," Brian whispered into her ear. She beamed up at him as he said, "You were right about it. Anything bigger wouldn't have looked right on your small finger."
"Absolutely," the woman concurred. "Except the band is about a half size too large. You want it snug enough that the setting won't slip off to the side."
Reluctantly, Jennifer removed the ring and handed it back. "It's lovely, but as I said, I'm just looking."
"Well, if you see anything else you'd like to examine more closely, let me know," she said, spotting another potential customer. "I'll be right over here."
Jennifer smiled in return as the gentleman that had waited on Brian motioned him to the other counter. Jennifer gave the ring one final covetous glance on her way to another display case, putting it firmly out of her mind. She was not about to torment herself with wanting something she couldn't have. Besides, if she was to get a ring like that, she was hoping it would come from Brian in the form of an engagement ring but she shook that idea as well. From the start her heart had overruled her head and any common sense she might have possessed had flown straight out of her head. Fool or not, god help her, she was utterly, irrevocably in love with the man standing across the room from her.