A Ring Under the Bed

Faye was turning to reach for the light when her elbow slipped, knocking into the book still lying open and then, painfully, into the wall. She cursed and sat up, rubbing her arm. The book had slid over and then flipped up to drop neatly between the mattress and the wall, and she could see the pages splayed on the floor through the crack. Her arm didn’t quite fit. The bed was heavy, too, and the mattress was scratching her skin.

With a sigh, she pulled herself out of bed and knelt on the floor, craning her neck to look under the bed. There were a couple wrappers and some tissues scattered there. The book was leaning against the wall, the farthest from her it could be. She could feel the irritation heat her face, and with a grunt she dropped on her side to the floor. Her head on the carpet, her shoulder stretched out and the book was only a few inches away. She could almost reach it.

Her fingers brushed against something small and cold, and her hand grasped it like a reflex. She curled a couple fingers to hold it to her palm and reached just a bit farther until she felt the pages tickle her skin. The book in hand, she withdrew her arm from under the bed and sat up, back against the edge of the mattress. Carefully unfolding the bent pages and closing the book, she hauled herself up to the bed. The floor under there would need to be cleaned out, and she pressed a reminder into her mind. Maybe she would remember tomorrow.

With the book retrieved and put away, she could look at whatever she’d grabbed. It was still folded in her hand, and when she spread her fingers flat she saw a golden ring. It gleamed at her, and she blinked. It was beautiful, if a bit silly-looking, she thought. All gold filigree, intricate and curling, with a diamond nestled in the center. She turned it over, studying the shape and rubbing a thumb over the dips and whorls of the metal.

It looked like it might fit her. She wondered how it could have ended up under her bed – a hiding place for jewelry, maybe, or a proposal gone terribly wrong. The smoothness of its inside rasped against her skin as she toyed with it. She held her hand out before her, feeling a bit silly, and then she slid it onto her finger. She admired the shine of the metal and the glint of the stone against her hand for a moment, and then everything disappeared –

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