Reo has been working in this jewelry store for fifteen years, and he’s never met a customer like the silver-haired foreigner that has just wandered in.
“Bigger,” the foreigner insists. He is staring at the respectable 4 carat ring Reo is holding out, the fifth one he’s shown the foreigner. Quietly, the shopkeep puts back the ring, switches to a larger one. The foreigner squints, blue eyes intent. “Shinier,” he concludes.
“Shinier,” Reo repeats, disbelieving. “Sir, maybe you could give me some specifics…”
“I want it to…” He struggles with the words in Japanese. “The gold, it should be like a flare. And every time the sun hits my boyfriend’s ring, I want it to be like a prism, to put out little rainbows.” He brightens. “Rainbow flags! And a ring flare!”
Reo accepts that he is probably doomed, and reaches for the biggest ring: 7 carats, a heart cut. “How about this, sir?” The foreigner reaches out, strokes the brilliant white, and– sighs with disappointment.
“Softer,” the foreigner insists. Reo has had it. What is that supposed to mean? “My boyfriend, he’s a figure skater. If he falls– which he won’t fall, of course, though he says otherwise– I don’t want the ring hurting him.”
Reo puts on his best customer-service smile, all teeth. “I’d have to insist he didn’t skate with the ring on– that’s dangerous.” The foreigner gasps in response, eyes widening in clear horrified disgust.
“We’re not having a ring he doesn’t skate with!” To nobody’s disappointment, he bounds off, hand still clapped over his mouth like Reo has ruined his life. “I’m coming back!” He calls, “right after a trip to Barcelona! And I WILL get rings!”
Reo really, really hopes he visits a different store. Even if Reo does work on commission.
Two months later, he spots a silver head of hair outside his shop. Oh no. Please no. But when he looks– they’re just window shopping, because gleaming on their right hands are two rings. Perfect, stunning in golden simplicity.
The foreigner’s black-haired fiance pulls him inside, smiling. “Can you believe people actually wear rings this big, Viktor? I can’t imagine. How excessive.”
“Uh,” says Viktor. He makes sudden, terrified eye contact with Reo, recognition dawning. “I can’t imagine…?”
“That’s strange,” says Reo, smirk growing, “because–”
“WHAT IS THIS,” Viktor says, pointing blindly at the glass case. If Reo didn’t know better, he’d say the statement is smooth, collected. Reo does know better.
“That’s a dog collar, sir. With a thousand dollars worth of gemstones.”
“We’ll take it!”
The foreigner is now Reo’s favorite customer. Their poodle, at least, seems to appreciate huge diamonds.