Part X of X http://www.deviantart.com/art/Skeleton-Keys-130788426 by LiveFast-x
NOTE: This final installment is a little longer than the usual flash piece. Enjoy.”
Ying opened the door to the antique shop. “You’ll love this place.”
“I already love it. It’s where I met you!” Jason kissed her cheek as he entered.
Inside, Eleanor was at the counter cashoug out a customer. She nodded at Ying, acknowledging her presence. In the background, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata played. It was a little heavy for Ying’s taste but played as softly as it was, it made for a relaxing stroll around the store. Ying inhaled the scent of lemon polish and bees was, detectable but not overwhelming. It provided her a feeling of quiet and comfort.
Jason stopped inside the door and looked around. Ying couldn’t help noticing, even with her annoyance at being manipulated, how nice he looked in his Dockers and polo shirt.
“I can see why you like it here. Lovely things surround you.” He turned and smiled. “Have you bought anything yet?”
“Not yet.” She threaded her arm through his, the one with the watch, and led him to the Chinese screen she’d noticed on her first visit. “What do you think?”
“It’s gorgeous! What are you waiting for?”
Ying shrugged. “It’s kind of pricey.”
“Nonsense. You should get it. It’s perfect.” He dropped her arm and stepped to the screen to examine it.”
Eleanor joined Ying. “Hello.”
“Eleanor. You’ve met Jason.”
Jason stepped away from the screen and held out his right hand, the watch clearly visible on his bare wrist. “Nice to meet you under better circumstances.”
“Yes. It is.” She glanced at his watch. “What a lovely watch.”
He pulled his hand back, left hand covering the watch. “Thank you. A family heirloom.”
Eleanor exchanged glances with Ying. “Would you mind if I looked at it? Professional interest, you know.”
Ying thought he looked uncomfortable. He spun the watch around his wrist several times. She was waiting for the rush of warmth but it never came. Jason was looking at Eleanor, who suddenly looked confused.
“Eleanor?” Ying put her hand on her friend’s arm.
Eleanor gave herself a little shake and smiled at Jason. “I won’t damage it, I promise.”
It was Jason’s turn to look confused. He glanced at the watch.
“Go ahead, Jason. She’s an expert.”
His eyes met hers, then back to Eleanor’s. “Umm, I suppose.” His reluctance to unclasp the ltach and hand the watch to Eleanor was obvious in his slow movements. Jason lay the watch in Eleanor’s outstretched palm.
Eleanor hefted the watch. “Gold, I presume?”
Jason nodded. “It was my great-great-great-grandfather’s.”
“The style is certainly old. Let me get my lupe.” Eleanor turned and strode to the counter.
Ying watched Jason dart after Eleanor as though she were stealing the watch. That was inconclusive proof that the watch was magic. He would do the same if it were simply what he claimed. She followed them to the counter.
Eleanor had laid the watch out on a square of black velvet. Jason’s hands hovered at the edge of the cloth. Ying had to admit it was a handsome watch. The face, also gold, had gold hands elaborately pointed and engraved. The face had what looked like diamons at 12, 3, 6 and 9 with the following numbers in ruby and the last four numbers in emeralds. Mystic symbols were engraved on the face. The antique dealer fixed her lupe to her eye and without touching it, examined the watch closely. She already had her book of artifacts open on the counter beside the watch.
“It’s a beautiful piece, late 1800’s? It must have cost a great deal. Watches for men were only just coming into style.”
Jason nodded. “No one ever said how much it cost.” His voice was tight – as though having the watch on the counter was painful.
Ying put her arm around his waist. “A wondful keepsake, Jason.”
“Hmm,” was his response. He watched Eleanor flip through her book.
“I don’t see anything like it.” She took the lupe from her eye. “It must have been custom made.”
Ying watched Jason stiffen as Eleanor flipped the watch face down. She studied the back. “a lovely sentiment is engraved on the back. ‘To my darling Husband, Love and Long Life, Mary’” She looked up. The elaborate script is right for the time frame. “Your three greats grand-mother? What was her maiden name?”
He sighed. “Mary Whitten. It was her wedding gift to him.”
Eleanor pulled another book from the shelf and began flipping pages. “Ah, here she is. An accomplished woman, your grand-mother.”
Jason picked up the watch and put it back on. “Yes, she was, in her day.”
Eleanor looked him in the eye. “You know she was considered a great Spiritualist?”
“All table knocking non-sense, of couse.”
Her eyebrow rose. “You think so?”
Ying noticed Jason begin to fidget.
“Nice to have met you again, Eleanor. Ying, I have a meeting back at the office.” He twisted his watch.
As the warm glow came over her, Ying clasped the key. The nausea and the glow fought for a moment, then they both disappeared. “I know the watch is magical, Jason.
He stopped and turned back to her. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that I know the watch has magic. You twist it on your arm whenever we meet or when you want me to do something. A few minutes ago you tried to use it on Eleanor.” Ying raised an eyebrow at Eleanor. “I’m not sure why it didn’t work on you.”
“We’re trained to resist magic used on us.” She shrugged at Jason. “Your watch’s magic isn’t very powerful against trained people.”
Jason stared at both Eleanor and Ying. “You’re magicians?”
Ying shook her head. “No. but I carry a powerful artifact. I could feel it every time you used the watch.” She saw his face fall. “It wasn’t necessary, you know. You’re charming, funny, smart, I’d have gone out with you without the manipulations.”
Jason closed his eyes and sighed. “I thought so but you’re so high-powered, I didn’t think you’d take the time.” His eyes focused on the key around her neck. “You have an artifact? A magical piece?”
Her hand crept up to the key. “Yes. I found it. Or it found me. It’s good with business.”
The two stood staring at each other. Ying was certain he would break up with her and she realized she wanted him to stay.
Eleanor cleared her throat. “I think, if I may be so bold, that the watch is making it possible for you two to be together.”
It was Ying’s turn to be puzzled. “How so?”
“Just a guess, really.” Eleanor glanced at Jason. “No other documented owner has had a family. So something has changed.” She made a pointed look at zjason’s watch. “The watch has to be the difference.”
Ying reached out and stroked Jason’s watch. It was warm to the touch, nothing at all like touching metal. She smiled at him as the familiar warm glow washed through her. “I think this could work.”
End Part X of X: 1186 Words
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