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Lost Number

“Oh, good, it’s you.” Robert’s voice was light, friendly. “I wasn’t sure if I had the right number.”

On the other end of the phone, Callie’s eyes were flat.

“It’s the same number we had for ten years, Robert.” She was telling him what he already knew. Robert didn’t do anything by accident.

“Oh, is it?” He acted surprised. “I actually had to use the phone book to look you up. Can you believe that?”

No, she couldn’t. Robert was just doing what he did best — twisting together stories, making her less important.

“It’s surprising how many Callie Millers live in this town,” he went on. “Maybe you should have kept my last name!” He chuckled a little.

Callie touched the necklace around her neck, remembering the day Belle gave it to her. Robert’s mother had been a good woman.

“So, anyway,” Robert said, playing off Callie’s silence, “I wanted to give you a little news before you heard it on the streets.”

Callie sighed. She hoped it hadn’t sounded like a whimper.

“I’m getting married!” Robert exclaimed.

“Really?” She knew this day would come, but didn’t think it would happen so soon. It hurt even more than she expected.

“Sure am.” Then, after a beat “Say, Callie … didn’t my mother give you a necklace? A locket?”

Callie popped open the clasp and looked at the picture of Belle and Steven. They had been so sweet to her, even in the bad times. Robert looked like both of his parents but had lost their humanity somewhere long the way.

“Maybe. I don’t remember.”

“Sure, sure,” he said. “She gave it to you while we were still dating. Had pictures Mom and Dad in it.”

“Sounds vaguely familiar.”

“Well, that’s a family piece, Callie. And I was thinking, maybe it would be best if Tracie had it now.”

Tracie. So that was her name.

“If I ever had it, I don’t now.”

“Oh.” His tone deflated. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Times are hard, Robert. I’ve had to pawn a lot of things.”

“Where did you sell it?” Anger flared in his voice.

“I don’t remember,” Callie said. “It was one of the pawn shops here in town, though. They’re all in the phone book, too.”


Published inFlash Fiction

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