Chapter   Twenty-Seven

“What do you guys think of this one?” AJ asked. He pointed to an engagement ring on display.

“I like it. It’s beautiful,” Destiny said. “What about you, Kev?”

Kevin looked at it for a second. “It’s nice, but not what I’m looking for.”

AJ looked at Destiny and rolled his eyes. “Kev, we’ve been to six jewelry stores, looked at every single engagement ring in them, and you still haven’t made up your mind. Maybe you just have one custom made.”

“No, that takes too long,” Kevin shook his head. “I want to do this next week. Guys, I know you’re trying, but what I’m looking for, we haven’t found it yet. I want it to be perfect for Kristin. I know it’s out there. We just have to keep on looking.”

So, the three of them kept looking through the rows and rows of engagement rings. Two more stores later, they still hadn’t found anything. Then Destiny spotted one that would be perfect for Kristin. Now if only Kevin would agree.

“Kev, Alex,” Destiny called over to them. “I think I found it.”

The two guys came over and looked at the ring.

“That’s it,” Kevin said. “That’s the one.”

AJ gave Destiny a grateful look. He was about to punch Kevin if he didn’t find one in this store. Kevin called over the salesperson and asked to see the ring with the ring with the heart-shaped diamond with the opal edging it. They all looked at it and knew they’d found what they’d been looking for. The sunlight reflected off the diamond making it sparkle and the opal showed off different colors just underneath its surface. It also had two small diamonds embedded into the gold band.

Kevin looked at the salesperson. “I’ll take it.”

“Wonderful,” she said. “Will that be cash or credit?”

“Credit,” Kevin said as he pulled out his Visa card. “Never leave home without it.”

The salesperson laughed. She rang up the sale, packaged the ring in a velvet box, and put it in a little plastic bag. She handed it to Kevin and he walked over to AJ and Destiny happily.

“I knew it was out there,” Kevin said. “Thanks for helping me, guys.”

“No problem,” Destiny said. “We really should be getting back to the house. The boys are probaby driving Estella and Hope crazy.”

“Not my sons,” AJ said. “They’re perfect little angels.”

“Ha, so you think,” Destiny told him. “You haven’t been around for one of their temper tantrums.”

AJ laughed and was about to say something when a ring caught his eye. He pulled Destiny over to it. “What do you think of this?”

“It’s beautiful,” Destiny said.

“It’s perfect for you,” AJ said. “Sir, could I see that ring right there?”

“Certainly, sir,” the salesperson said. He unlocked the cabinet and took out the ring.

AJ took it and put it on Destiny’s right ring finger. It was a heart-shaped garnet surrounded with small diamonds.

“This ring is truly amazing,” Destiny said.

AJ looked at the salesperson. “We’ll take it.”

“Alex, you don’t have to buy for me. It’s too expensive.”

“On the contrary, miss,” said the salesperson. “We have the lowest prices anywhere. That ring would cost $3,500 anywhere else. $4,000 tops.”

“How much does it cost here?” Destiny asked looking at him skeptically.

“$2,500,” he said.

“$2,500?! No way. Alex, that’s too much.”

“No, that’s a bargin,” AJ said. “Come on, Destiny. That’s almost half the price anywhere else.”

“No, Alex, I don’t want it.” Destiny took it off and placed on the glass case.

“Would you excuse us for a minute,” AJ asked the salesperson. He nodded. AJ pulled Destiny aside. “Come on, Destiny. Let me buy it for you. I want you to have only the most beautiful things because you deserve it.”

“But I don’t need expensive jewelry, Alex.” Destiny looked at him. “I have everything I want. I don’t need anything else.”

“Just accept it,” AJ said. “Please? Simply because I love you.”

Destiny looked at him for a minute, then gave in. “All right. It is a really beautiful ring.”

“Okay, great.” AJ walked over to the salesperson. “We’ll take it.”

“Will that be cash or credit?”

“Credit.” AJ took out his Visa card. “You’re the only one who carries around one of these babies, Kev.” Kevin laughed.

The salesperson rang up the sale. AJ told him not to put it in a velvet box because Destiny would be wearing it. He got the ring back and placed it back on his wife’s finger.

Destiny’s eyes teared up. “Thank you, Alex.”

AJ was about to answer when he noticed a man standing behind her. AJ tried to pull her away, but the man grabbed Destiny, putting his arm around her thoat and held a gun to her neck.

“Everybody put their hands up where I can see them and back up or I shoot,” he said.

“Hey, mister,” AJ started.

“Do you think I’m kidding?” The guy jammed the gun harder into Destiny’s neck, making her cry out in pain.

AJ and Kevin both kept their eyes on Destiny as they stepped backward. AJ saw the fear in her eyes. AJ couldn’t stand to see that look in her eyes. The guy walked slowly over to where the cash register was, pulling Destiny with him.

“Now, open up the register and give me all the cash. You have two minutes or the lady dies.”

Tears started falling down Destiny’s face. AJ was about to move, but Kevin put his arm out in front of him to stop him. The salesperson threw all the money into a plastic bag as fast as she could and handed it to the guy.

“Now don’t even think about trying something,” the guy said as he backed up towards the door. He was about to open it when he heard sirens. “Damn it!!”

He stepped away from the door and went over to one of the glass cases. A security guard burst through the door and pointed his gun towards the guy.

“Drop your weapon and step away from the woman,” he said.

“I don’t think so.”

The guy cocked the hammer on the gun and got ready to pull the trigger. Destiny started to struggle, but couldn’t get free. AJ was now struggling to get out of Kevin’s grasp. This can’t be happening, he thought. What do I do? I have to save Destiny.

The guy pointed the gun at the security guard. “Why don’t you drop your weapon?” The guard didn’t move. “I’m not afraid to shoot. Now drop it!!” He pointed the gun back at Destiny.

The guard knew he wasn’t above shooting an innocent woman, so he threw down his weapon and slowly walked over to the rest of the people that were in the store. The guy walked over to the backdoor. When he got there he gave Destiny a bruising kiss on the mouth, then pushed her away. AJ moved to catch her before she fell over. Then everything happened so fast, he couldn’t believe it happened at all.

Right before he made it to Destiny, the guy pointed the gun at her and pulled trigger. The bullet got her right in the stomach and she fell to the ground.

“Noooooo,” AJ yelled. He ran at the guy and tackled him.

The two of them struggled for a while before the gun went off again. AJ fell onto his back, blood flowing from a wound in his chest. The security guard ran towards his gun and fired, getting the robber in the shoulder. The robber lost his gun and the guard shot him in his leg. He ran over to the guy and handcuffed him as fast as he could. AJ slowly turned his head and looked at Destiny. He saw that she had her eyes closed and it looked like she wasn’t breathing. Kevin was holding her in his lap. AJ slowly crept his way over to her, grunting in pain. But he passed out before he could do more than grab her hand.

Soon, the store was full of police officiers talking to witnesses. Kevin never left his friends sides, tears flowing down his face. AJ saw everything happening from above. He watched as the paramedic worked on him and Destiny.

”So this is what an out-of-body experience is,” AJ said.

“It’s time for you to be your sons’ angel, Alexander,” God said. “You and Destiny.”

As he said this the paramedics started getting frantic, for they were losing him and Destiny.

“But my sons are only two months old,” AJ said. “At least let them have their mother. Let them have Destiny. Please.”

“Are you willing to give up your life to save your wife?”

“Yes. Take me. Don’t take Destiny.”

“And so it shall be.”

As soon as AJ made his decision, Destiny’s heartbeat started and she was stabilized. But they were unable to do the same for AJ. The paramedics tried to restart his heart for as long as they could, but nothing worked. His heart monitor remained flatline. Kevin started crying even more as he watched one of his best friends die right in front of his eyes. Meanwhile, the medics got Destiny on a stretcher, put her in an ambulance with Kevin by her side. He didn’t want to leave AJ, but he didn’t want to leave Destiny either. Kevin said a short prayer in his head and got into the ambulance with Destiny.

Chapter Twenty-Eight
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