Five days searching through jewellery shops across London finally led Henry to the pendant necklace. Practically identical in every way, his heart skipped at the sight. The jeweller draped the white gold, ruby cluster, across the glass counter in front of him and his eyes lit up at what was the perfect replacement. His debit card leaping into his hand seconds before he almost baulked at the price.
His mother’s face resurfaced in his mind. Her sobs the day the original went missing and her aged frailties had brought him close to tears. The tremble in her voice, knowing the wartime treasure gifted by his late father would eventually fade in withered memories, along with so much else she held dear. To see the sparkle return to those fading eyes would be worth a month’s pay. He had to have it.
Returning home, he devised a way of getting it to her without suspicion. Setting his alarm for two in the morning, he woke, dressed, and cupped the necklace into his coat pocket, making the short drive to her place. Using a spare key, Henry crept inside. It felt weird being here while she slept, but her smile would outweigh his underhanded tactics. Placing the necklace in plain sight, Henry locked up and returned home, satisfied with his nefarious night’s work.
* * *
The phone jolted him awake after seven.
“Henry, you won’t believe it!”
A smile touched his tired lips. “Mum?”
“I found my necklace.”
“That’s great, where did you find it?”
“Well, I was rearranging the bottom drawer in the kitchen and there it was! Hidden behind the tinned peas. It must’ve slipped off, last time I cleaned.”
“Even better. I put it on straight away, sat down in the living room with a nice cup of tea and you’ll never guess what I saw.”
Henry’s head fell back into the indentation of his pillow, his face pained.
“What did you see?”
“Only another necklace, exactly like mine! Isn’t that wonderful?”
“Your father must be looking down on me. I thought I’d best let you know, in case you decided to go out and do something silly like buying me another. I know how good you are, but now I’ve got two, you’ve no need to worry.”
“Isn’t it? Well, I’ve got to get on. I’ve decided to bake your favourite cake for the next time you visit.”
“Thanks, I’ll be over later this afternoon,” He sucked in a breath as he spoke. “I’m glad you found the necklace, Mum. Love you.”
“Me too sweetie, see you later.”
The second the phone went dead, Henry let it slide from the bed and thump onto the floor. All that time searching, and money spent. Sighing he exhaled and began to chuckle. In the end, his mother sounded happier than he’d heard her in ages, and at least he had a tasty slice of rich chocolate cake to look forward to.