Steve despaired as he looked at the display case filled with necklaces of glittering diamonds, blazing sapphires, rich, blood-red rubies and sunny topazes. Bracelets and rings and earrings glowed under the store’s lighting.
He couldn’t afford a single one.
Oh, he could buy the least expensive piece and pay for months, even years, but that wasn’t very practical. Besides, his Angel deserved jewelry befitting a Princess.
“May I help you, sir?”
Steve looked at the salesman, seeing the knowledge in his eyes that this prospective customer was no customer, at least not on a major’s pay.
He sighed again. “I’m afraid not. I won’t waste your time.”
Steve left the jewelry store, hunching his shoulders against a gust of wind. Autumn was a beautiful time of year, his favorite, in fact, but could definitely get cold.
He trudged along the sidewalk, hands in his jacket pockets.
Diana deserved the best. It was their anniversary, after all. When he had crashed off the shores of Paradise Island, both their lives had changed forever.
The day deserved a special commemoration.
He headed back home, the city proper turning into the outskirts.
When he’d been first stationed in Boston, he’d walked around the city, and had found this neighborhood. It had reminded him of his old neighborhood growing up: modest homes, tree-lined streets, relatively quiet.
Of course that had been the suburbs and this was still the city, but the noises of traffic were muted. Steve relaxed a little as he walked past neat brownstones and houses, the trees shading the sidewalks.
A sign was tacked to a telephone pole: Yard Sale—224 Elm Street. Bemused, Steve found himself at the yard sale a few minutes later, smiling at the woman sitting behind a table of old stuffed animals and toys.
“These are in pretty good shape.”
“Yeah, the girls were good with their toys. Didn’t break ‘em too often.” She pushed back a lock of red-gold hair, looking with admiration at his uniform, silver wings winking in the sunlight.
“What’s in the box?” he asked.
“Oh, just some jewelry. All intact, nothing broken. They’re my daughters’ old jewelry.”
Steve looked through the box curiously. He saw the typical plastic kids’ jewelry, recognizing some styles that his sister had worn.
Steve carefully pulled out a charm bracelet, the silver-and-gold-painted pieces sparkling in the sunlight. The charms were little symbols: a star, a moon, a sun, Earth, a tree, and an egg.
“This is pretty.”
“Fifty cents if you want it.”
“I’ll take it.”
“You chose a nice piece.”
Steve put it into his pocket.
“Have a nice day, Major.”
Steve strolled down the street, reaching his house with a smile.
“Angel!” he said happily as he entered the house and saw Diana sitting on the couch in the living room.
“Hello, Beloved. I was afraid I would have to cancel our anniversary dinner but my mission has concluded.”
“Great! I’ll just shower and put on a fresh uniform and we can go.”
Diana was still in costume but she could change quickly. Her smile sent tingles through him.
After a quick shower he dressed, then went out to the living room.
“Angel…” he said softly, eyes wide.
Diana pirouetted, her long white satin skirt swirling in a graceful arc. A diamond necklace sparkled at her throat, a small diamond tiara in her hair. She pulled on white elbow-length evening gloves.
“Shall we go, my love?”
They arrived at a popular five-star restaurant, and there were candles, a bouquet of yellow roses in water from Steve, and they ordered stuffed lobster and linguini. Champagne was brought, and Diana produced a small white box.
“Happy Anniversary, Steve.”
Steve took the box and opened it. “Oh, Angel!” He lifted out the service patch. “It’s from the 654th Squadron, Korean War Flying Aces!”
“Correct. I found the patch in an antique store.”
“Thank you, sweetheart. This is one of the elite squadrons.”
Steve reverently laid the patch back into the box.
“Now, for you.”
He handed over his own box with a silver bow on top. He still felt a little guilty about it not being a diamond necklace or some other precious jewel. He held his breath as Diana opened the box.
“Oh, my love!” She lifted the bracelet out. “It is beautiful. This is what is called a charm bracelet?”
“It is lovely.” The candlelight glinted off the charms. “These are delightful.” She touched the star, the charm swirling prettily as the light reflected off the gold. “I love this.”
Steve relaxed. Expensive jewels were worthy of his Princess, but the simple beauty of a vintage charm bracelet meant just as much to Diana. He smiled at his beautiful Angel, who was captivated by the bracelet.
“They are Pagan symbols. Such perfection in your choice of this gift, my love.”
“Fit for a Princess.”
Her blue eyes sparkled. “So that must make you my Prince Charming.”
Steve laughed as he put the bracelet around Diana’s wrist and clasped it shut.
“Happy Anniversary, Angel.”