Prompt: Fake


“It’s fake,” said Marcus, sneering. “Do you think I would waste good money on a diamond bracelet for you?”

My good money,” Envy said, turning the bracelet round and round on her wrist, tears stinging her eyes.

“Your money? What did you do to earn it? Mommy and Daddy’s money, not yours.”

The wind gusted and her hair whipped around her eyes. She found she was clasping the railing, knuckles white. She had an impulse to hurl herself over the balcony into the impossibly black water, flecked with the churning white of the ship’s wake. She might have jumped, if her affairs were in order. Marcus was still in her will — his inheritance diminished but still significant. He had persuaded her to give it — them — one more chance. This cruise was meant to heal their wounds, but instead had ripped them open.

Now was not the time to wonder what went wrong. She couldn’t blame him for being shallowly attracted to her wealth — she had been equally, shallowly attracted to his Hollywood handsomeness. Perhaps he had also been drawn to her shyness and inexperience, as she was drawn to his gregarious charm.

She indulged his narcissism: wasn’t it just a dash of male ego? His lies were little white ones. His financial recklessness, a passion for life. His new-found contempt for her, restlessness. His cheating, her fault.

She had excused his elaborate gifts for her, bought on her credit card. The leather coat, the fur shawl (she returned it), the weekends to luxurious spas, the jewelry, including this exquisite vintage bracelet, which he told her (and her parents, who were there that Christmas) was composed of diamonds set in platinum. The gifts made him feel more manly, or something. They made him feel important and in control, after growing up in poverty. They impressed her family. They impressed their friends.

It only took a second for her to decide what she was going to do.

Envy turned to him. “Fake? You bastard.” She unclasped the bracelet from her wrist and tossed it, in one grand and graceful gesture, over the balcony, where they watched it sparkle briefly in the ship’s light, then disappear into darkness.

He grabbed her arm, but was too late. “You stupid, stupid bitch!” he cried. “It wasn’t fake. It was real. It cost a fucking fortune, you– god damn it!” He hung over the balcony as if he could resurrect the bracelet by sheer willpower.

Envy watched him, and a slow smile crossed her face. “Marcus, I know it wasn’t fake. I had it appraised. It was worth about 35 thousand dollars.”

“Then why–” he stared at her in shock. She thought she saw a tear of loss, frustration, and even horror, pool at the corner of his eye. He had tried to hurt her, and he had succeeded. But for once and for the first time, she had turned the tables.

“I wanted to see your face. If the bracelet was fake, you would have laughed. I’m tired of being laughed at.” She leaned over the railing, and they stood side by side, staring into the sea. “Bye-bye, bracelet,” she said. “Bye-bye, marriage.”