Emerald Chapter 3


An Emerald Marks the Spot
© Copyright 2005 Kimberly J. Fish

Chapter Three

Kali Cavanaugh looked at the wild flowers springing through the pasture and wondered what to make of Brad Williams statement. He’d been at her goat farm less than an hour and with little more effort than watching cheese cure, he’d knocked her world off its axis.

“What do you mean you set me free and I didn’t come back?”

Brad shrugged. “You know the old proverb, you love something, but if you want it to love you in response you give it freedom and then it comes back on its on accord, instead of being stifled into a relationship.”

“This was your life philosophy?” Kali asked, as she drug her feet through the dust underneath the swing making the rocking stop. “What happened to we were going to pray about making our lives mesh?”

“Hey, don’t get mad at me, your precious Aunt Annalise swore to me that you had to go to Washington and that if I truly loved you I wouldn’t tie you down to a farm right after graduation.” Brad stood, pulling his sunglasses off his face as he paced through the tall grass. “But you never called. You never even looked back to see if I was still waiting for you.”

Kali stood, forcing her shaking hands to sit on her hips.

“You could have come after me. I can’t tell you the months I prayed to God that you’d walk away from that ranch just long enough to come find me. That you would miss what we had more than you loved those stupid cows.”

Brad stared at her.

Remorse settled on her heart’s scab. “I waited a long time, Brad. But I never forgot you.”

Brad’s gaze finally lost a chunk or two of ice. “I didn’t forget you either, Kali. But I didn’t come here to rekindle something that wasn’t meant to burn.”

Kali looked at scuffed toes on her Converse sneakers. Gathering hurt feelings around her like an old shawl, she pulled shutters over her eyes and when her heart started to chill, she looked again at the man who’d been her standard for every man she’d met since that last year in college. “So why did you come here, Brad. We both know this is about three hundred miles out of your way.”

Sighing as if it were his last breath, Brad said, “I’ve come to ask for the ring.”

“The ring?”

“The, uh, antique emerald I gave you when I asked you to marry me.”

A swarm of bees took nest between Kali’s ears and she had to sit on the swing or she’d tip over. She remembered how heavy the ring felt the night he slipped three emeralds and ancient gold filigree onto her left hand. Her third finger ached in barren empathy. She sat on the swing. “Brad, I don’t know what to say.”

Hurrying to sit next to her, he wrapped his palms around her empty fingers. “I know this is terribly unconventional, but there are some extenuating circumstances. Please know that I’d never ask for the ring to be returned if there weren’t a really good reason to do so.”

“Your grandmother gave it to you on her deathbed and made you promise to give it to the woman who would love you forever.” Kali could almost quote the story verbatim. “Her grandfather had brought the emeralds back from India when he’d been in the British Army and given them to the only woman he’d ever loved. The one who’d waited from him to return.”

Brad looked at Kate’s hands clasped by his calloused ones. “It’s a beautiful legend. And I’m sorry I made you listen to the whole sappy story before I gave you the ring. You’ll be happy to know I’ve learned a thing or two about finesse since then.”

Kali looked at the grey woven into his dark brown sideburns. “But would you still have asked me to marry you?” 

Brad smiled into her eyes. “I’d never regret the most wonderful day of my life.”

She felt a hundred different emotions fighting for leadership in her quaking soul, but the one that came to the forefront was curiosity. “Why now? I tried to give you the ring back the night you told me we were too young to get married.”

Letting go of her hands, he fidgeted with the sunglasses dangling from his collar. “You’re going to laugh when I tell you,” he said.

She doubted she’d laugh again for a long time. “Try me.”

“It’s Mom.” Brad turned in the seat to face the long distant barn. “Since I’ve never married, she wants to wear the ring until she dies. Gran never let Mom wear the ring because she always expected my mom to leave my dad thereby proving Gran’s theory that they weren’t meant for each other. But Dad died three days after their thirtieth wedding anniversary.”

Kali had never seen a lot of true love in her fractured growing up years, but even she recognized that Brad’s parents had a unique bond. Sadly Kali’s intuitiveness had never compensated for a general lack of suitability. Kali stood again and walked away from the swing, and Brad, so she could think. She had not looked at the ring since the night she ripped it off her finger, but she could remember every detail as if she’d worn it yesterday. “I’d love to help you out, Brad. Really, despite how things ended between us I don’t hold animosity to your mother. But,”

Brad shook his head. “I knew it. I knew you’d sold it.”

“Excuse me?”

Brad followed Kali toward the ambling river’s easy edge. “It’s what I would have done had someone given me a two hundred thousand dollar ring.”

The mushy ground underneath her sneakers sunk deeper into moss. “The ring was worth. . .two hundred thousand dollars?”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t know that at the time either. But when going through Gran’s papers I found a jeweler’s appraisal putting it at that value, but that was about fifteen years ago. Who knows what emeralds that big would fetch now?”

“Oh, my word, I feel faint.”

Brad reached out to steady her arm. “Do you remember who you sold it to?”

“Brad, I didn’t sell the ring,” she said fanning her face. “I’ve lost it.”

Go Now to... Chapter 4

© copyright 2005 Kimberly J. Fish

This is a work of fiction

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Emerald Chapter 3


Emerald Chapter 3