The Story of The Missing Ring. A Saturn Herald Short Tale by Penny Nair Price.
When Judie and Ravi got engaged, Judie got quite a small solitaire diamond which was in keeping with Ravi’s constant obsession to keep his millions secret from her. He had told her though that however small the diamond was, it was a top class cut stone and very valuable. He knew Judie was genuine because he had never let her know how rich he was and she loved him for what he was – an everyday friend and now fiancée on a joint cruise round the Nordic coast. Even though they had known each other more than six months, Judie would occasionally feel truly miffed after arguments and throw what could be described as a “strop.” On the occasion of the “strop” on the cruise where the boat was now moored for an overnight stay, the row was caused by Ravi paying far too much attention to a blonde barmaid who was taking orders and delivering desired after supper drinks to people on the deck. Ravi flirted with the sassy waitress, asked her where she came from, admired her hair and was generally ignoring Judie and looking lovestruck with the waitress, his eyes popping and his eyelashes flashing. Judie told him he had come on too strong with the blonde, and declared “ Ravi, I am going for a walk round the deck now. I hope that waitress has brought the new drinks and gone by the time I get back. Bye!”.
Judie climbed up to the top deck and raised both fists into the air and punched the sky. She ran back to the top of the stairs she had just climbed and saw that Ravi was still talking to the waitress who had put the drinks on the table but was adoring his attention. Flushing with rage, she looked around, and noticing only one or two people on the top deck she angrily pulled her engagement ring off her finger and rolled it around between her two hands in a frustrated manner.
“This is the last time….the very last time…” she said to no-one in particular and taking the ring in her right hand, she went to the edge of the cruiser and looking down the side of the boat she dropped the ring overboard, straight down deep into the sea. What Judie didn’t see was that Ravi was just reaching the top deck on the staircase and he had seen her throwing the ring by the edge of the cruiser, but sneaked back down again without her noticing.
Judie cried into a hanky from her handbag then checked her face in her compact, applied a bit of light pink lipstick, straightened her blouse and skirt, smoothed her hair and went back down to the next deck to join Ravi. She was a good looking lady but modest in dress and grooming.
Two majestic cocktails were on the table. Judie was right handed. As she joined Ravi to sip away at their exotic drinks, she hid her hand away and studiously tried to hold the shimmering cocktail drink by the stem with her left hand. Of course Ravi had his secret that he had seen Judie throw her ring into the sea and when he excused himself to visit the gents, he quickly spoke to one of the crew and paid them handsomely to fish for the ring and get it back by lunch tomorrow. Ravi was gone so long that Judie had finished her cocktail when he rejoined her.
The ship was due to go on to the next port of call at 2.30pm the next day. Ravi knew that, so he was nervous about the ring – which was far more expensive than it looked:- Judie had no idea of the ring or Ravi’s real worth and was being her usual pouty self after he’d flirted with any woman at all – miserable.
Ravi had arranged to meet the man who was going to dive to search for the missing ring at 7.30 a m the following morning on the upper deck. He could not risk a phone call. He knew they would have available locally, if not on the cruiser, all the equipment to search underwater for the ring. He had also decided to take some time to mention that he could see his fiancée’s ring was missing, and that he had seen her throw it over the side of the cruiser. By early morning on the next day the ring should be back if all went well. He certainly hoped so and made a strong mental note to try to stop his flirtatious ways as Judie was his chosen wife to be and she needed to be happy, and he did know he loved her passionately and devotedly.
Then he had another great idea! When Judie went to the cabin, Ravi checked his wallet and finding he had over three hundred pounds of the local money, he made his way to another part of the ship to continue formulating his plan…..
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By 10 pm that evening as Ravi and Judie were getting ready to go to bed in their shared luxury double bedded cabin, Ravi decided to ask Judie where her ring was.
“Hey darling, you’ve had your shower, did you leave your ring in there? Where is it sweetness?”
“Oh – its somewhere – not sure – can you help me look for it?”
For some twenty minutes Ravi helped Judie look for the ring – and they both knew they would never find it in the cabin!
“I guess you’re really mad with me Ravi. And I am really missing my ring. Are you insured hunnybunny?”
Judie had much temerity in her soul. Even though she could occasionally have a tantrum, she rarely if ever got her case across to Ravi about why she was vexed on any event at all. She really just wanted to shout at him – “I threw it over the side of the ship because you’re always flirting around with “beautiful” women.” But instead she said, “Ravi – I feel so guilty I’ve lost your ring and I do want us to get married. I will save up and beg or borrow some money from my mum to buy a new one – promise!” She cupped her face in her hands and began to sob…..
Then she said, surprising herself…”I hope it’s not a sign that we shouldn’t be together?” knowing how naughty she was being in saying that. She lowered her eyes to the floor wiping her tears and stared at Ravi slowly putting her arms around him.
Ravi thought carefully about what he knew about Judie’s jealousy. He started to remember his nights out with the boys and how most of his friends were married now and were loyal and faithful to their wives. The boys would love to chat up young women years ago and find someone to couple up with but now they were men with responsibility and working hard for their money. That was one thing he didn’t need to do – he was a secret multimillionaire and that was a surprise he was going to give Judie after a fairly humble and low cost wedding. The honeymoon was going to be on his private yacht which had a luxury interior and a helicopter pad. He could hardly wait to know what his wonderful Judie would say when she saw it. He was still trying to decide exactly when to tell her he was one of the super-rich. Perhaps he should wait until she was comfortably pregnant or maybe on their first night on the yacht?
The couple went to sleep after a little loveplay and Ravi had set his watch for 7 the next morning. He told Judie he was going to do some exercises and would be back in the cabin by 8.30 a m in time for breakfast.
Next morning Ravi made his plan with the the kitchens and hob nobbed with the head chef who was going to do their special lunch after receiving the ring from Ravi. Previously that morning, Ravi had met the man he spoke to the night before who had dived into the sea with breathing equipment and a torch at the exact spot where the ring had most likely fallen below where he had finally found the sparkler. Ravi had paid him handsomely for this “adventure” and his plan was working well. He saw the beautiful blonde waitress and studiously avoided doing anything more than a quick nod – no flirting, no eyes popping out, thinking that he had nearly lost his beloved Judie through his flirting and how it had led to him to come up with his plan to lure Judie back into trusting him. He even felt a shiver of dislike for the blonde who had inadvertently caused all the problems but he disliked himself as well for the effect she had on him. Once his plan had worked, he knew he could never go back to being the flirting gadabout who made women he chatted up feel so good about themselves.
Ravi went back to the cabin and he and Judie had breakfast delivered to them. “Did you find the ring yet?” asked Ravi. “No – no sign of it.” Judie bleated looking a tad remorseful.
“Well sweetness – I am sure it will turn up. Let’s just wait and hope. I’ve been to lost property” lied Ravi, “and they have not found it yet anyways.”
“Oh God Bless You Ravi – I’ve come over all romantic. Let’s spend the rest of the morning in bed” and then she flushed at her confidence, wondering to herself where it came from.
The engaged couple found time for tender loveplay before they went up to the restaurant and specially allocated table for lunch. Ravi was so attentive to Judie that she began to feel much more confident and in love with him than she had ever done before. Ravi had his fingers crossed that his plan would work and that into the bargain there would be an apology from him too.
“It’s one of your favourite dishes for lunch today, I arranged it, and there’s a nice surprise for you too” cooed Ravi to Judie.
“Oh thanks Ravi darling,” replied Judie as a platter on a trolley was brought with a large cod cooked whole, wheeled up with an array of salads and vegetables in mini dishes. The handsome male waiter said to Judie. “I have to open up the deboned fish to show you something special inside but first I will pour you both a flute of champagne. He expertly popped the cork of the champagne on the trolley and then poured out the enchanting refreshment. Then he opened up the fish with a huge silver fish slice and let it lie for a moment for Judie to examine as he asked her “how much of the fish would you like Madam? Take a close look.”
“Oh Gosh!” cried Judie – “Is that my missing ring in the middle of the fish?”
“Heavens Above!” declared Ravi. “I know they do fishing over the side of the liner whilst it’s in port, but how did your ring get inside that fish?”
The waiter had plopped the ring into the champagne flute and Judie was fishing for it with her fingers, then sucked it, wiped it with a napkin and put it back on her engagement finger. She was blushing profusely, and her fingers were just slightly trembling.
“You know all the fish being served for lunch today were caught by holidaymakers fishing over the side of our cruiser don’t you?” said the smiling waiter. They’re all cooked in the best Danish butter and fresh parsley with tender loving care from our staff in the kitchens.”
“Yes! This is my sparkler – oh Ravi I owe you an apology…. and how did you……?” Judie was fighting for words whilst she examined her sparkler back in its place on her engagement finger.
The waiter having served up the meal receded with his trolley, leaving the champagne in a cooler on the table.
“Just believe one thing darling. You got your ring back that’s for sure. Now whether the fish ate it up and then got caught on a line or whether some other more “magical” antics were involved, it proves we are together and heading for a wedding soon.”
Judie was trying to hide her astonishment at the happenings of the last several minutes. The previous afternoon she had seen guests on the cruiser fishing over its side, which was a highlight of the Nordic trip. So… she thought to herself….Ravi thinks the cod ate my ring somehow…but he would want to know how? She was deep in thought as she tucked into her buttery cod when she saw Ravi gazing at her attentively. What was on Ravi’s mind was whether he should give Judie the matching diamond bracelet he had bought at the same time as the ring, or whether it would alert his devoted Judie’s attention to his wealth – and did it matter, now they had made up and were more in love than ever after his secret antics to rescue their engagement?
Ravi was a man of words when he wanted to be. “Judie. I love you so much and I don’t want to make you jealous of other women who get my attention anymore. From now on I will make sure you are the absolute apple of my eye and I won’t flirt about with any girl woman or lady – is that understood? “Yes darling Ravi,” replied Judie in a soft and soothing voice. “Sometimes making me jealous makes me try harder to please you, but thanks for expressing your feelings.” Her cheeks turned a fetching shade of pink.
“I think we should get married as soon as we get back to England.” said Ravi, and he had his hand in his jacket pocket caressing the jewellery box with the real diamond bracelet in it. “Then we can rush off on another holiday which will be our honeymoon, and there will be more surprises.” His love for Judie was welling up in him from deep inside his heart. Yesterday’s situation and what it had led to had made him more enchanted with Judie than ever.
“I think I am growing to really love surprises.” Cooed Judie. “And I will try not to throw any more of my silly tantrums. Right now I am so glad the ring came back to me. I know it means we’ll be together forever.” Ravi at that point realised the error of his old ways. He had matured and grown up all of a sudden. “You make me feel like I am a real fully fledged man now. I Love You Judie and Bon Appetit.” They clinked their champagne flutes and tucked into their meal.
Time would tell what happened when the devoted and sometimes jealous Judie found out the man of her dreams was a multi millionaire… and when she would receive the diamond bracelet…, AND whether Ravi could stop his flirtatious ways with the opposite sex, except of course, when flirting with his wife…… . It all seemed to spice up their relationship anyway…..!