1 hour earlier…….
“Are you sure this is the right place?” Ian asked his cousin, who was busy with the locks on the shutters, “A jewellery shop?”
“It’s not just any jewellery shop,” Jenna replied “There’s something we need to find.”
“Right. Find something in a jewellery shop at midnight; when we have no idea what!”
“I wish you wouldn’t say that.” she replied “Now help me with the shutters.”
They raised the shutters together. The moonlight gilded the room, giving an eerie atmosphere.
“Nice place.” Ian muttered.
“It’ll be a nice place as soon as I can find the lights.” she said, flashing the torch “and umm…close the shutters so no one can see us. You can do that, right?”
“Whatever,” he replied.
She switched on the lights.
“Right, good job. Now what do we do?” he asked, looking at the jewellery on display. But something was wrong.
“There’re fake, aren’t they?” he said, surprised. “Which means that all of this was pointless, unless we want to steal fake jewellery.”
Jenna didn’t answer him. She had entered the next room, the staff room. She was looking at the floorboards, knocking on them.
“What…..” Ian began
“Shush” Jenna silenced him “There’s supposed to be a hollow floorboard where I’ll find my stuff.”
“How do you know it’s under the floorboards? You said you didn’t know where it was or what it is.” he asked, looking around the room.
She sighed. “Fine, I’ll tell you a few things if you promise not to make a fuss.”
Ian nodded “Why do I feel I’m not going to like this?”
“Okay, now…listen. I don’t exactly know much. During my stay in Vermont last year, I was able to find out some old family secrets. If what I heard is true, there’s supposed to be an emerald necklace worth 1 million dollars hidden under the floorboards of this room.”
“How can you tell it’s this room?” Ian asked, failing to keep the excitement from his voice.
“They mentioned a shop that sold fake jewels,” she replied. “They were discussing jewellery.” Later I found out that Zy’s family supplies jewellery to a shop…Klorel’s in New York. And they source their jewellery from this place, this shop.”
“So…what are you saying? Klorel sells fake jewels?”
Jenna looked up at him “Later. All you need to know right now is that we find the emerald and make a run for it before…” she trailed off at the sound of a loud bang from the front of the shop.
“Did you or did you not close the shutters?” she asked sharply.
“You idiot!” Jenna said angrily.
She pulled out the gun tucked under her shirt and pushed past Ian towards the main room of the shop.
“You’ve a gun” Ian said nervously, eyeing the Glock 17.
She crouched behind one of the display stands. “What are you waiting for, an invitation? Or do you want to get shot?” she asked sarcastically.
As Ian joined her behind the cabinet, the men walked in. He held his breath, his heart thumping hard. He could hear heavy footsteps echoing in the silence.
“They’ll be here” a loud voice said. “Find them.”
Jenna fired the first shot.
When the guns grew silent, she was dead.
The man dressed in white shirt picked him up by the collar and asked only one question, “Where is it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking out” Ian replied nervously.
The man shook him hard “Answer!”
“It’s all right, leave him, Kurt” said a loud, commanding voice. He came into the light and Ian saw a tall blonde man.
“Tell me what Jenna told you and I promise you wouldn’t be hurt. You’ll be allowed to go and I’ll disappear from your life.”
Ian looked at Jenna’s dead body and then looked at the man.
“I…she didn’t say anything.”
The man sighed “We’ll start again, shall we? Let me introduce myself. I’m Zy.
“Zy?” Ian asked, surprised.
“I’ll explain everything after you tell me what Jenna said.”
Though reluctant at first, Ian told him what he knew. Zy nodded from time to time.
“Well…that’s true enough, but I guess I should make things more clear,” Zy said, picking up one of the fake jewels on display “My family used to own this place and sell fake jewellery which they manufactured themselves. One day your grandfather came to us. He was a legend in his time, one of the greatest jewel thieves. The police never managed to catch him. He’d stolen the emerald necklace and it was too hot to sell. He asked us to keep it safe amongst all the fake jewellery. In return he would help us in our business.”
“You mean the emerald is actually here and you already knew about it.” Ian trailed off. Obviously it was foolish of Jenna to expect it to be still here.
“You know” Zy continued, examining the jewel in his hand “these are actually pretty good. When your grandfather came to us, business was slow. Family money was depleting.”
“But why the fake jewellery business?” Ian asked.
“It is …let’s put it this way, a family business. Earlier these were even better, exceptionally good as a matter of fact. People were easily fooled and…”
“You know what?” Ian interrupted,” I don’t really want to know how your family fooled customers.”
Suddenly Ian found himself a few inches above the ground. “No one interrupts Zy Romano, understand?” the one called Kurt growled at him.
“Let him down, Kurt” Zy chided “He’s only a kid. Your grandfather took our fake jewels to people who were better in selling than us. They agreed to help, for a percentage, of course. Not bad, eh?”
“So now you have the emerald?” Ian asked.
“No, we lost it. No one seems to know where it is now. I thought Jenna would know” he said. “We’ve been tracking her for a long time.”
There was a long silence.
“You should go now. Don’t worry about Jenna. I’ll take care of everything. Now go”
Ian wasn’t needed to be told twice. He ran out into the chill night without a backwards glance, fully aware of his good fortune in still being alive. Zy must have a soft spot for the old man.
30 minutes later...
Ian is in his bed, staring up at the ceiling. It was an odd night. He wasn’t sad that Jenna was dead. He’d never really liked her. Besides, he had barely missed a similar fate. But he was now free of everything. He only needed to worry about his life and his next month’s rent. He felt something digging into his left hip. He put his hand inside his coat pocket. He felt a hard object. He pulled it out…the emerald sparkled in the faint light.