Lady Ditheo was a lady with rich gestures as she spoke. And everytime she held up her hand in the air, a rock sized jewel glittered on her finger. Compared to that, all Eugene had around her finger was a plain ring.
He was no expert, but he knew the size of a jewel doesn’t always proportional to what it’s worth. Moreover, everyone has different preferences. And that particular red, walnut sized rock ring around the lady’s finger didn’t seem like it would look good on Eugene either.
Stll, he couldn’t help but feel uneasy deep down in his heart. And he can’t recall exactly when, but he did make a mental memo that she was very much fond of jewelry.
‘Right. I believe it was the day we went to the treasure house.’
How she couldn’t quite take her eyes off from the necklace, which was designated as a national treasure, along with a graphic exclamation of delight, flashed on Kasser’s mind all of sudden. He reproached himself for not thinking of giving her a necklace as a gift. But come to think of it, he hasn’t given any gift to his wife before.
Lady Ditheo’s huge ring must have caught Dana’s eyes as well, since Kasser could faintly hear his mother-in-law asking the lady about the ring.
“My ring? I guess it’s a little too extravagant, isn’t it? To tell the truth, I only got it from my husband on my birthday after much begging and pleading. Wouldn’t you think it would have been wonderful if it was a surprise gift from him? Men really are thoughtless.”
Lady Ditheo started to backbite not only her husband, but how thoughtless and insensitive all men could be, at length. And her every word reverberated in Kasser’s ears, along her loud, resonant voice.
Feeling uneasy, Kasser averted his gaze from her. He was about to turn away when his eyes caught sight of the attendant who was attending to another lady. The male attendant was showing the lady a necklace which was carefully laid on the velvet fabric in a tray.
After having observed it with interest, he looked around his surroundings to call for an attendant. A male of middle age was fast to notice and went up to his side. The man happened to be no ordinary attendant but the assistant manager of the shop. He had been keeping his eyes on the workers just in case they commit discourtesy before the honored guests.
“Is there anything you are looking for, Your Grace?”
“Do you carry jewelry here as well?”
“Yes, Your Grace. We do carry a range of jewelry with the best designs which could also be bespokely made to satisfy the sophisticated tastes of our customers—”
“Do you have anything which will suit my taste right now?” Kasser held up his hand and intervened before the man could get carried away with self-flattery.
“Ah…” The man heard a bell chime in his mind along with a strong hunch as a businessman. Indeed, whom he was dealing with now was a major customer who would likely appear once in years, or even a lifetime.
No matter how wealthy the tycoons in the Holy City are, they would be no more than a firefly under the sun when compared to a king. And so the man interpreted the king’s phrase, ‘which will suit my taste’, as, ‘which only I could purchase’. He also raised the limit of prices he had tentatively set in his mind for his special regular customers to the maximum.
The assistant manager bent his back and said with the utmost courtesy.
“We have our best jewels specially stored. If you would please come with me, Your Grace.”
A secret passage was revealed behind the thick purple curtain as the assistant manager drew it aside. Kasser followed as the man ushered him in. Eugene turned her head around just in time and saw him disappear beyond the curtain.
‘Where is he going?’
Eugene suppressed her urge to ask the attendant about where he was going since he could have only left to use the men’s room.
“What do you think of this, Anika Jin?”
“Jin. What about this color?”
Eugene had to turn her head back around when she was called by Madame Janette and her mother consecutively.
Eugene’s mind had long been befuddled after being surrounded for a good while by three ladies. Janette explained ceaselessly every time she showed her new dresses and goods while her mother chimed in and urged her to try everything on. And there was also Lady Ditheo, who kept horning in as if she had been their company all along.
Dana swiftly leafed through the design book that Janette handed to her. Almost everything Eugene had tried on today was drawn inside the book.
“Take this and that away. And make the waistline slimmer for this one. This hat did not go along with this at all. It seemed too stiff.”
“I must admit you have such great eyes for fashion. I couldn’t agree more about the hat.”
It seemed like the opinion of the person who would actually be wearing all the clothes wasn’t important to them in the least. Eugene couldn’t erase the feeling of being pushed away from a part of the heroine to a pedestrian. Still, it didn’t feel bad at all to play along as her mother’s doll. As her mother must have always dreamed of spending her time with her daughter, just like today.
Eugene had no idea when he came back but Kasser was speaking with a middle-aged man when she turned her head around again. After seeing that her mother was pretty occupied with her discussion with Janette, Eugene went up to Kasser. The middle-aged man excused himself as soon as he noticed her approaching.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting. We’re almost done now. I think my mother is the one who’s most excited although we are here for my clothes.” said Eugene apologetically as she drew near him.
Eugene couldn’t help but to let out a chuckle since his choice of word was unexpectedly precise. “Should we pick out some clothes for you as well?”
“No, I’m good.” Kasser’s prompt reply had somehow made Eugene chuckle once more. She was about to turn her head around after having checked that her mother was still in the middle of her conversation with Janette, just before she caught sight of the showcase nearby. She went up to the showcase as if she was seized by the glittering goods on the display.
Eugene had to look down to the showcase as it came up only to her waist. And inside, there were various types of jewelry being displayed under the glass lid.