Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, the blog hop featuring an excerpt from a work in progress based on a word or picture prompt. Last week’s tease was based on a picture and left everyone guessing. What did the mermaid give her? This week’s word is STRAP. Enjoy!
“But she must have given you a gift. If she takes something, then she must return to you something of hers of equal value. Have you checked your pockets? Sometimes, the sirène leaves her gift for you to find. The one who rescued my grandfather all those years ago took his gold hoop earring and gave him a beautiful abalone shell comb in return. It is one of my family’s prized heirlooms.”
Reaching for the strap of the bag she’d dropped at her feet, MJ pulled it onto her lap and opened it to remove the shorts she’d been wearing. In one pocket she found the three soggy ten-dollar-bills she’d put there. In the other, there was a small round disk. She held it up for Paul and Lucette to see.
The object was a thin, circular, gold coin about the size of a silver dollar. The outer rim was about a quarter inch wide and solid, while the inside of the circle resembled netting yet was made of gold with tiny holes pierced into it. In the very center was a small, oval, turquoise stone. There were no other markings on the object, its reverse side identical to the top one, minus the gemstone.
“It’s beautiful,” MJ said, examining the coin. “But what is it?”
Lucette shook her head. “I do not know. I have never seen anything like it.”
“Can I see that?” Mark asked eagerly, stepping closer to them. He’d been waiting to get Lucette’s attention. How much had he overheard? His eyes were bright, his eyebrows raised, the tip of his tongue sticking out slightly between his lips. He reminded MJ of a kid looking in a candy store window. Why would this interest him? Bill stood next to him.
Looking around the room, MJ noticed Melena and Christy sitting on the far side of the lounge. Melena’s color was back to normal.
MJ frowned, but unless she wanted to be rude, she had no choice but to hand the coin to Mark.
“Where did you say you found this?” he asked, his face more animated than she’d ever seen it. His eyes glowed and his jaw hung open. He licked his lips.
He was salivating? Over a coin? What the hell was it?
“I didn’t say,” MJ answered, not sure she wanted to share this discovery with him. He might be able to use her slow-wittedness to argue that she had indeed given him the vacation.
Schooling his features, Mark handed it back to her. “Nice forgery.”
Paul moved closer to them. “A forgery of what?”
“Just some old Incan money. The producers must’ve dropped all kinds of it around to lure us in. Where did you get this particular piece?”
“She found it near the tip of the island yesterday afternoon,” Paul lied before she could answer.
Frowning, she glanced at Paul’s frown, and in her peripheral vision, saw Lucette shake her head. Instead of correcting Paul, she finished her juice and stood, putting the strap of her bag over her shoulder.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had enough excitement and adventure to last me for some time. I’m kind of tired, too. It must be that unexpected dip in the ocean combined with last night’s storm. I’m going to lie down before dinner.”
Paul rose. “You never have to ask me twice to take you to bed.” He winked.
MJ’s cheeks burned, but she smiled.
“Wait,” Mark said, biting the inside of his cheek, the muscle in his jaw jumping. “Why don’t you leave the coin with us, and we’ll look it up online?”
Paul smiled. “Have you got your phone?”
Mark frowned. “Yeah.”
“Then here, take a picture. Take two, front and back, but I don’t think MJ is going to part with her good luck piece, are you honey?”
“Nope. It kept me alive today. I’m not going anywhere without it.”
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.