E. Paige Burks
Jewels for Gemma - Part Two
Part One - Go back and read the beginning. I'll wait til you get back!
Light was beginning to pierce the blinds, lazily trailing across the floor of Gemma and Jared's bedroom. Gemma hadn't slept a wink, unable to stop staring at her purse. She'd dropped it on the dresser like she always did, but all night long a paranoia had kept her awake.
What if someone came for the jewel? What if someone tried to take it while her eyes were closed?
No, she couldn't let that happen.
So she'd laid awake all night, watching and waiting. Jared stirred beside her, turning over in his sleep, and her hand tightened on the cold metal of the pistol underneath her pillow. Her heart was racing, and she tried to tell herself that she was being irrational; Jared would never try to steal from her.
He groaned softly, turning to put his arm around her middle and pull her close. Her breath hitched in her throat as he sleepily kissed her neck.
"Are you awake, love?" he asked.
Gemma released her pistol, turning to look over her shoulder at him. "Unfortunately," she said, forcing her voice to remain calm.
Jared smiled. "Damn military programming," he responded playfully before flipping the covers away. "Guess Benny'll be up soon too."
Gemma nodded as she watched him shuffle into the bathroom. Once the door closed, she breathed a heavy sigh of relief, looking back to her purse. She could almost feel the jewel inside staring back at her. She needed to do something with it.
The day was sunny and beautiful. Jared had gone to his job as an analyst for the GLOW off-world communications department. Even though they were both out of the service, they still had close ties to the Galactic Law Enforcement Over-Watch.
Gemma held Benjamin's hand in her right hand, clenching tightly to the strap of her purse in her left. They were on their way to the park, where she took her son to play every morning.
"Mommy, when can I go to Ham-min-sit?" he asked.
Gemma looked down at him, annoyance flashing through her. "Hyacinth," she corrected a bit more sternly than necessary. Her heart twisted at the way his little face turned down in a frown. She forced a smile, wondering what the hell was wrong with her. "Soon baby. We'll talk to Daddy about taking a trip soon." Why did she talk to her greatest love like that?
Benjamin was all she had ever wanted with her life. She never thought she'd have him after the destruction of her home planet of Hyacinth. GLOW had been the only reason she'd survived, and had brought things to her life she never thought she'd find.
Fleet ships had come shortly before the nuclear fallout permeated the atmosphere of Hyacinth, taking all the survivors that they could. Gemma, only a small child at the time, had sworn that she would be one of them one day. She would help save people, too.
She liked to talk to her son about her home planet, but didn't have the heart to tell him it was nothing but a wasteland now. It had once been beautiful, similar to Earth's Egypt, but greener and more wonderful than Earth words could describe. Tall pyramids of granite and sandstone stood stark against the horizon, where two suns shifted in and out of each other's shadows. It was said that the first travelers to Earth were from Hyacinth, which is how the Egyptians gained the knowledge they possessed.
Gemma's attention turned back to Benjamin as the park came within view. Excited, he yanked at her hand.
"Hurry, Mommy!" he yelled. "I want to slide!"
Gemma laughed. "I'm coming," she said as he hopped around her feet. She should have expected it, but she gasped when his small body tangled around her legs, causing her to trip.
Everything was chaotic for a moment as they crashed to the ground, her purse sliding from her grasp and her son crying out in pain. Gemma's heart leapt into her throat, scrambling to grab her bag.
"Oh my god," she breathed, yanking the bag open to make sure the jewel was still inside. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the faint blue glow.
"Mo-mo-mommy!" Benjamin suddenly cried.
Gemma felt everything inside her shatter at the sound of his quivering voice. She spun around quickly, pulling him into her arms. "Are you okay, my baby?" she asked quickly.
Benjamin threw his arms around her neck, holding onto her tightly. He seemed fine, save for a scraped knee and skinned-up palms.
Gemma felt like she wanted to die. Had she really checked on the jewel before she'd checked on her own son? She was breathless as she held her child closer. She knew something was wrong with the thing in her bag, and she knew she needed to tell Jared.