A rude buzzer could be heard from the back as Regan stepped into the pawn shop, and a man looked up from his table behind the counter where he was cleaning something. “Mornin’, love! Whatcha got fer me this mornin’?”
“Hi, Freddy. I’m not sure I have anything for you. I’d just like you to look at something and tell me what it’s worth.”
“For you, love? No problemo! Let’s take a look at it.” Regan handed over the necklace, and Freddy flipped down his magnifying glasses and peered at it.
“Oh, lovely! That’s worth a couple a bucks, that’s fer sure. Just don’t ask me to take it.”
“Why’s that, Freddy?”
“Word’s goin’ round that these pieces are special. Seems the owner’s only ‘loaning’ them, not givin’ them away. There’s a reward bein’ offered for any that are turned in — a number to call ’n’ everythin’. Real strange, but the guys in the Diamond Dealers Club say it’s legit. The guy’s got some sort of special relationship with them or somethin’.”
“How do you know this is one of those pieces?”
“A couple a things. First, take a good look at that stone.” He handed her a magnifying glass. “See those little strands runnin’ through the stone like silk threads? See how they reflect the light as you turn it? That shows that this is a genuine ruby that hasn’t been treated in any way and not a manufactured stone. And that deep red color is called pigeon’s blood red, the most desirable color. I could probably sell that stone for a thousand, maybe fifteen hundred bucks.”
He then flipped the pendant over and showed her the back. “This setting is how I know it’s one a the special pieces. It’s enameled silver, of all things, with a crest engraved on the back.” Regan was becoming a little frightened. Why had Julien given it to her? Was he going to claim she stole it and have her arrested? Could she give it back? How?
“Do you have that phone number?” Maybe she could use it to track him down somehow.
“Sure. Let me dig it up for you.” He dug around in a drawer and soon came up with a card that he handed her. “I think you havin’ that necklace is some sort of test, so take good care of it!”
“I will, Freddy, and thanks!”
“Any time, love!” The buzzer went off again as she left the shop, and Freddy turned back to his work.
Next chapter -> At the Playground