Jack Gets Her Back – But At A Price Which Startles Even Him.
Summary: How a crooked ring brings one bad luck after another on a heartbroken lover
“Maybe I should not have called her today. I was depressed already, and her words dimmed my mood all the more.”
A visibly shaken Jack gave one long-eyed look at his cellphone’s call history, and then slumped on his chair, trying to recover himself from what he’d heard a moment ago, his head resting on his shoulder in a way as if he was beat:
“Why the hell are you calling me again?”
“I just called you to check if you are well or…”
“What is it to you whether I am well or not? You don’t have to worry about me. I don’t want you to call me again, got it? Nothing is ever gonna happen between us, I told you already.”
“But, did not you promise to marry me?”
“Why are you trying to create an issue now based on what I said to you in some distant past? Does any sane person ever do that?”
“But you repeatedly said you would marry me, not just once. And it was certainly not in the distant past; you’d said it even a few weeks ago.”
“Whatever I’d said, it’s all over now, and I told THIS AS WELL many times already. How can you remember one thing and not the other?”
“Okay, if you don’t want to marry me right now, let us forget about marriage. How about live-in?”
“LIVE-IN??? Look, there is a new man in my life now and I am LIVING with him as a matter of fact.”
That last sentence had startled Jack quite a bit, but he continued, “Did you have your breakfast?”
“What is it to you again if I have breakfast or not? It is none of your business.”
“Okay. I am sorry you feel that way.”
“Forget about me. Think as if I am dead. ”
“Could you not be so cruel to me?”
“You IRRITATE me with your calls.”
The call had ended abruptly from her end, before Jack could even press the power button of his mobile phone. The days when he fell for her priceless beauty, her exotic charm—the time when they began to date, online and offline, and also the moment when she sent him a SMS message informing him that she wanted to breakup with him—all of them started revisiting him one by one. Everything happened so sudden and fast that it was hard to believe that the same girl who had insisted on marrying him and even was prepared to go against her parents’ wishes could ditch him like that on a whim. He’d laid his big dreams on her—who knew that it could come to this.
He’d found her charm irresistible—he still did—and with each passing moment his restlessness only grew further, so did his pining for her. He wanted to marry her right away and live with her for the rest of his life. He wanted to forgive her for the unceremonious way she’d dumped him, because it was impossible for him to live without her. Just impossible.
The smell of her breath, her armpits, her putty—he needed to get back all of them right now. He couldn’t, for the life of his, live without her. He wanted to enjoy her beauty—not just now but forever. And ever. It would be quite a day when they would get wedded, the wedding vows they could exchange and the way she would look like in her wedding dress—they were all worth the wait. She would certainly make the heart of every man standing there go bonkers.
As he loitered aimlessly along the city street he found different advertisements and posters pasted on the walls across the sidewalk. One of them with the picture of a square-faced bearded man caught his eye. This man had grown a black, thick beard, and an equally thick mustache and unibrows. The advertisement read, “Are you a loser in your love life? Unable a get your dream job? Always entangled in disputes and litigations? Many problems, ONE solution—Dr. Chakrapani Akkikeni.” Jack called up the number published on the ad. The man on the other end asked Jack about himself—his full name, date of birth and what he wants to achieve, all of which he answered truthfully. Finally the man offered him the address of a jewelry store in the city and when to visit there. When Jack asked him how much it would cost him to get his girlfriend back, the man said, “Don’t worry, it would be within your budget only.” The man continued, “I am preparing a spelled item for you right now but if you fail to keep your appointment for some reason, your situation would become worse. So if you don’t intend to come, say it right now.”
“I will come sir, don’t worry. I need her badly. I will come for sure.”
Jack collected a few bucks from his own earned money and stole a few more from his mother’s savings. It would be enough to pay for the item; if not, he could always withdraw from his father’s savings bank account. Nothing else mattered to him more than getting Jane back. Once again she would be a part of his life, and no price he’d to pay for that could be too much.
“Who are you?” A bearded man raised his head and exclaimed, as Jack entered.
“I am Jack. You had asked me to come here at this hour, so, here I am.”
“Oh I see, Jack…hmm, okie. Take your seat. What was your problem again?”
“MY uh, my girlfriend left me.”
“Oh I see. Look dude, getting back this girl is no big deal for me. I can do it in a jiffy. But I also have a piece of advice for you: girls, as a matter of fact, don’t settle for just one man, ever. Getting a girl back is no problem, but keeping her is. You understand what I am saying?”
“Very well then,” the man continued, “A girl is a very ambitious creature; even when she finds a good man, she does not just settle for him and starts searching for someone better. When the girl finds someone ‘better than her previous man’, she continues looking for someone even better, although she does it all rather subconsciously. Anyways, I have a fix for your problem and it would cost you, umm, a thousand and five hundred. You got the money?” His eyes suddenly found an attraction outside his shop and he started twirling his mustache; Jack turned around to notice a woman wearing a crop top and a pair of tight blue jeans looking at the shop’s window.
“Yeah, I got the money.”
“Okie, give it to me and let me count.”
Jack hesitated for a moment at the idea of giving cash to a complete stranger. But then he realized that he’d no choice either. “Oh well, what I would not do to get that beauty back into my life.”
“Okie, this looks great,” the man’s face brightened after counting all the bills in the bundle, “Okie, now as for your problem, the solution is this ring. You must not wear it right now though. Keep it submerged in a bowl of rosewater for three days and three nights, and then chant your girlfriend’s name three times before wearing it on your left hand’s third finger. Remember, don’t wear it now.”
“Okay thanks,” Jack pondered on the shape of the ring for a while as he was ready to take leave. It was a little crooked in one corner. When Jack questioned the man about it, he replied that it was like that “by design”.
“Okay, but how can I wear my wedding ring, then?”
“Well, once you get her back, you can discard it in any pure waterbody near you. It could be a river or sea. Just remember to chant Goddess Venus’s name thrice before discarding it into the water.”
“Bye. Take care.”
He gripped the ring with such ferocity in his clenched fist as though he was gripped by the fear of losing it as soon as he’d acquired it. Suddenly, an influx of anger clouded his mind.
Was he the same Jack? Spells? Seriously? Had he gone insane? A year ago he did not even believe in magic. Love for Jane had truly impaired his ability to think straight. Jane!
Jane! He took his mobile phone out of his pocket and typed a SMS message to her hurriedly; would she appreciate it? —”I have never seen a more cavalier girl like you. You should not have done this to a nice guy like me. Do you even know how it feels when I think of how my soulmate has become someone else’s? God bless.” Irascibility was a trait Jack shared with her. Whether she’d read the message or not was something Jack could not tell, but he started feeling a lot better after that. He should not have been fooled by her beauty; he should not have fallen for her promises. He would have been a happier person if only he’d resisted her…
“Who is it? Jane? I can’t see your face in the dark. And why have you covered yourself with that shroud?”
“Here I am Jack. Give it to me Jack.”
“Give to you what? I have nothing more to give you. You took away everything from me.”
“The ring Jack. That ring. I want it.”
“I like it, I want it”
“NO. It’s all I have got. I ain’t giving it to you.”
“If you don’t give it to me I would forcibly take it from you.”
A man he could not recognize emerged from behind her, babbling “Hello Jack, meet the guy who currently enjoys the smell of her armpits, her breath, her putty” in an impish manner. He then took a knife out of his pocket and started brandishing it in front of Jack’s face, “Out with it. Give it to her as she says or else.”
The beeping of his phone continued, so much so that it took Jack away from his dream world. “I can hardly believe I had this odd dream. I had never even met her new bf. Whatever.” Jack picked up the phone.
“We are fine, I and your dad. You alright dear?”
“Yeah, I’m alright.”
“Hey listen to me Jack. Your uncle insists so viciously that it seems we just have to stay back for a few days more. You know, I can’t help it. Okay I am only kidding; he is a very nice guy as you know. Do you think you would be able to manage on your own?”
“That sounds perfect, mom,” rather too happy at not having to explain the appearance of a crooked ring in the house. Jack’s mom had a tendency to go overboard whenever she spotted any crooked object in the house: apparently, she seemed to suffer from this very strange notion that “things which don’t look like they should” were inauspicious and ill omen for the house.
“Okay then, thanks Jack.”
“Bye mom,” this time Jack was only too ready to end the call himself, “I need to get rose water for the ring. FUCK!”
It was too hot outside. Jack was careful to avoid the sun by walking along the other side of the street which was full of tall buildings, offering ample shade and immunity from the sunlight.
It was not all bad between him and Jane, however. One time the two were crossing a little forest, smiling at each other, holding hands together and swinging them playfully at intervals. Both of them were happy. Jack was happier.
“Do you think it would remain the same when we get married?”
“Nope, I DON’T think it would remain the same. Especially, when we would have our little children, it certainly would not be the same between us. It would just get—BETTER.”
“Children? So you want children too?” suddenly she stopped, looking at him straight in the eye with her motionless eyes and creased eyebrows.
Jack was alarmed. Was she mad at him because he mentioned children? “Yes but I didn’t mean NOW, of course, dear,” he stammered, “I meant, in the future.” Jack then took her face in the cusp of his hands and looked at her with deep, longing passion which was begging to get satiated and which perhaps only he could have felt at that moment. Jack’s lips were fluttering in the excitement—they were eagerly waiting to kiss the future bride.
“Why do you stare so intensely at me?”
“You are worth looking at.”
“I’ve got nothing in me.”
Suddenly, he embraced her, “You’ve got everything my girl. Everything that I need. You are my perfect girl.”
He rubbed his moist eyes and looked upward at the sky: the sun was blazing even hotter than before. Thankfully he was closer to home now.
He looked at the ring in the bowl of rose water closely. He was supposed to wear it just where he should have his wedding ring. How ridiculous. Just bad luck—was the best way Jack could describe the way events had unfolded since the last few days. The shiny glaze of the ring was something that made it difficult for him to take his eyes off it. The crooked part of the ring looked just like those matchless, sexy curves of Jane. He dipped his left hand into the water. Should he wear the ring? It all seemed ridiculous. How could a mere ring bring back his love? Was the magic real? What’d rose water got to do with it all? The longer Jack looked at it, the more he marveled at its beauty. He was helpless—as helpless as he was months ago in the face of Jane’s irresistible charm for which he’d fallen, hook line and sinker, when they first met at a coffee shop. One thing led to other but Jack would have never imagined even in his wildest dreams that things could ever come to this. One thing was for sure, the ring’s proper place was on his finger, not in the rose water. He’d got no wedding ring from Jane, which was unfortunate, but there was nothing keeping him from making up for the loss with this ring.
With an odd determination in his mind, he took the ring out of the bowl, gripped it into his fist with a strange kind of fury—worse than he’d felt at the time of writing that angry SMS—and immediately wore it on his left hand’s third finger as instructed by the astrologer. If the ring was as powerful as he said, why must he wait for three days and three nights? He could go meet her right then. He would like to see the ring’s power in action. He knew the joint she frequented after her office work. In his heart, he was confident that if it had any real power, it would work anyway; a mere rose water could not do much to affect its power either positively or negatively.
He dashed outside, but not before stubbing his toe on the threshold of his door and falling there. His hurt forehead only strengthened his resolution to go and meet her. If not THEN, it might be NEVER.
The joint—a good old-fashioned eatery-cum-bar, was shining bright that night—not just with luminous lights but also with plenty of footfalls from customers. Finding Jane among them was tough, but Jack had planted himself just across the entry door to make sure he did not miss her. He would spot her as soon as she arrived there, no doubt. The turban-wearing doorman frequently asked him to move left or right, depending on which position he was at and where the maximum number of people were entering the restaurant from. The doorman had a big mustache, although not as thick as that of the astrologer, and he certainly did not have unibrows; on top of that, his eyes were smaller too. He tolerated Jack’s presence for sometime before telling him bluntly that he was “obstructing business” and asked him to “move away.” Jack smiled and replied that he would not stay there beyond the next few minutes.
But his ‘minute’ never came—he waited there for three long hours—without partaking in either food or drinks—however, his former ladylove could not be seen. Perhaps she’d gone straight home after her office—a notion that seemed implausible to Jack, given her habits, but with her new lover in tow, how could he know how much she’d changed from the Jane he used to know? The astrologer said that women always look for ‘better’ men: maybe they change themselves frequently too as a result, to be able to approach different kinds of men? Or maybe she’d left before his arrival—that seemed a more plausible explanation to Jack. Either way, she appeared smarter than he was.
It was useless to last any longer at this restaurant—the pressure from the doorman was too much to handle, and the situation before Jack was eviscerated of any hopes he had earlier. It was time to move on, indeed.
Jack signaled a cabbie to stop, and after negotiating the fare, hopped into it. The cabbie was silent, so was Jack, albeit for different reasons. After wheeling for a few miles, the automobile was stopped by the raised thumb of a red-haired woman with ruffled hair, holding a chocolate-colored handbag and looking exhausted. Jack flinched at the idea of sharing seat with this woman—was she another woman threatening to purloin off with his independence? He looked at the cabbie with a rather sharp expression, “Am I not supposed to travel alone? That is how cabs work right? They don’t take another passenger in the middle of the road.”
“Shut up boy, or I will throw you out. That rich-looking lady can pay fares for both of you ha-ha. Business has been terrible tonight already and now you have started your babbling as well.”
“Hey, at least take less from me then. This is not fair.”
The woman had by then made Jack relegate himself toward the right end of the seat so she could settle in her place there.
“What is not fair? Everything is fair. If you have a problem you get out and get another cab and see how lucky you are. I would take only half the fare from you if you do that right now,” then he softened the tone of his voice, “Business has been bad for me for the last few days anyway. Call it some jinx. It is all because of those damn car manufacturers who have been making more and more cheap cars and the equally fucking bankers who give out car loans too easily. Why would anybody take a cab anymore? I did not mean it to be this way, I usually don’t do it, but I have to, tonight. I have been without passengers since evening. I got to make up for that loss.”
He was right in a way. In this dead of night, it was hard for anybody, much less Jack, to find a cab back home, without getting overcharged, if one was lucky to even get a cab, that is. He’d got to get back home; he had got no other place to stay in that broad city.
“Where are you from? What’s your name?” the woman had just settled herself in her seat.
“Jack. I am right from here,” he was not even looking at her. If only he was sharing his seat with Jane, he would feel much happier.
“You mean, you live right here?”
“I mean, I am from this city only. No, my house is just a few miles away.”
“Oh well, my name is Isabella.”
“Oh. Hi… Isabella.” Jack shyly produced a fake smile and looked awkwardly at her.
“What happened to your head?”
“I tripped and fell.”
“Oh. Are you here for any business?”
“No, I was at Rappie’s.”
“Oh, you were at Rappies’s?? When? I was at the bar too but did not notice you.”
“Oh yeah, I did not notice you either. Odd, isn’t it?” He could not, for the life of his, admit the reality. He would lose his face, won’t he—if he told her that he was merely loitering around like a typical dolt who was dumb enough to believe in the magical powers of a ring? Jane… how could he meet her again? How could he have her back? There MUST BE a way—some way—to get back with her.
“So what were you doing there?” It was only proper for Jack to get the conversation going to lighten up the dull moments of the present situation, as well as to take his mind off Jane’s memories, at least for a little while.
“I was there with a guy. He kept buying me drinks, then all of a sudden, he proposed that I move into his room for the night. I was appalled and threw the next drink he’d served me—right on his face, then spat on him and left. How disgusting. The guy had no manners.”
“Yeah, I guess…”
“He was a dick really. I fail to understand why sex is always on a guy’s mind the moment he meets a woman at a bar.”
“I suppose there must be a connection.”
“There is NO connection. I was not looking for sex partners at the bar. I was there to have a good time. The guy was a dick; he ruined it all for me.”
“Was he good looking?” Jack was, for some reason, rather amused.
“Good looking my ass. In fact my ass looks better than him. He was just average.”
She took out her purse and began to count the money in it. Bills and coins, she had it all in there. Inside the purse, Jack noticed a small purple-colored box too, “What’s this?”
“Oh, it’s my stock of rubber. I always keep them around, just in case I meet someone…”
“You are afraid of STDs?”
“Who is not?”
“I don’t know. I always found condoms awkward.”
“You should get used to them. They protect you from harm, like SHIELDS!”
“I guess they do.”
“Are you married?”
“Nope. Have not found anyone yet.”
“Will you marry me?” She started stroking his thigh.
That was rather odd and shocking for Jack at the same time—he could hardly believe his ears. The girl was clearly sloshed; she definitely did not know what she was talking about.
He was fumbling for words and started stammering, “Well, we just met, and uh, you seem to like me a lot, but…”
“Yeah I know. I like you a lot that’s why I was just wondering if you would.”
“Well, we will see.”
“I need a YES or NO as answer, right NOW.”
“Okay then, yes.”
“Okay yes, tomorrow then, meet me at the church.”
“Very well then. DO you think you could live with me?”
“Well, you are much better off than the scores of other guys I have met. You really know how to talk to women.”
“Did you have any affair previously?” She squinted.
“No. Nothing of that sort,” Jack was stammering again. It was useless for him to think or talk about Jane: Jane was a past which was best forgotten. Maybe providence had arranged his meetup with this woman. Who knows, if he rejected her then, he might have to live like a bachelor for the rest of his life. She was no match for Jane for sure; she could never be her substitute. She looked more like a mashup of the middle-aged versions of Kathy Bates, Sally Struthers, Carnie Wilson and Kelly Le Brock and the comparatively slimmer Jack seemed to look like he was her son. She was rather puffier compared to Jane, and her hair was also not as organized and well-done as Jane’s, but what mattered more than all those things was that he’d found at least someone he could share his life with and this was his opportunity to beat the loneliness that was killing him. He carefully looked at her tummy which was bulging from underneath the cover of her white shirt and black jacket. Jack took a rather strange liking to her round head, her smile and her ruffled, red hair. There was no point languishing in old pains; it was beginning to get tiring. If there was no Jane, okay, fine, there was at least Isabella for him. Besides, it was one way he could get even with Jane who’d shamelessly moved on to a new lover without any consideration for him.
All of a sudden, she asked the cabbie to stop, and before getting out, gave a rather threatening look to him, “Remember, the church, at 8 am sharp. Don’t forget.”
“I won’t,” he again faked a smile, no longer as shy as before.
“Stop. Wait, I need to get down here. My home’s a little off the road. I walk on foot from here.”
“Okay,” The cab stopped.
Jack then rummaged through his pockets to find his purse. He could not locate it, either in his pockets, the car seat, below the seat, or under his butthole… nowhere. He was stunned. He was sure he had his purse intact when Isabella showed up. Where could it vanish all of a sudden? “I’ve got no money man,” Jack was rather timid.
“What do you mean you got no money? Why did you hire a cab then?”
“I mean, I HAD but… now I dunno, but it seems to have vanished.”
“Vanished? Has it got its own legs? Come on now, enough of this bullshit. You know it, and now I know it too: you NEVER HAD any money. Curse my luck. You just wanted a free ride.” He could hear the cabbie utter a soft “piece of turd” swearing under his breath.
“That’s not true. I HAD this money. And come tomorrow right here, I will pay you off for sure.” Mothefucker.
“As if I don’t have anyone to pick up tomorrow, right?” He stroked his chin for some time and after some careful consideration, he proposed, “Okay, gimme your number and I will call you up tomorrow. We will fix a meeting spot. You come bring me the money okay?”
Give him THE number? No way. What if… mom might not like this act, “Fair enough.” Jack gave a number that was actually the property of Jane; sure enough, this was one way he could get back at her for treating him like a piece of shit.
“Okay great.” The cabbie then sped off. Did he make the right decision by sharing Jane’s number with him? What was she gonna think of him? She hated him too much already. Well what did it matter by then anyway? She did crap to him, so it was revenge time. She did not do it right either by breaking up with him. She would never ever get another nice guy like him. Pretty soon enough, he was going to have his biggest revenge on her: by marrying Isabella tomorrow. He looked carefully at the ring. Pretty soon, he is gonna get rid of that crooked mothefucker that was bringing him one bad luck after another. Mom was right about crooked objects, after all. Tomorrow morning, his luck would really shine.”
Jack threw his body on his mattress and tried calling up Jane on the phone to inform her of what he’d done, but there seemed nobody at hers to pick up the call. After trying three times, he gave up.
The church was, thankfully, not too crowded that Sunday. The day was perfect to get married. Except for a few friends, Jack had no one else to invite. The marriage was so sudden that he could not muster enough courage to inform even his parents. Isabella soon arrived there with her parents, smiling; her parents, however, displayed neutral expressions when Jack looked at them. The purse incident of the previous night was yet to loosen its grip on Jack’s psyche. How could it happen to him when he was wide awake? The last thing he remembered was Isabella stroking his thigh and talking to him. But no, she won’t do such a cheap thing. She was a good girl. But then, who could have taken his purse right from under his nose? It certainly could not have gotten snatched before the cab ride as he was very much sure he had it in his pocket.
That grand moment had finally come, when the dreams of both Jack and Isabella were going to merge together. The most precious moment of a wedding ceremony: when a couple exchanges vows—was there. The priest gave his nod. A loud cry of a female uttering the word “STOP.” was heard from the church entrance. Everyone was stumped. The priest’s expression showed that he anticipated trouble. It was almost a month-long wait for Jack before he would meet his ex-sweetheart once again. Jane had never been this good at grabbing so many eyeballs at a time. Dressed in a milky white maxi skirt made of silk that covered even her toe along with a long, white shirt, she looked ravishing with that fishtail hairdo.
“JANE…” Jack screamed, “What are YOU doing here?”
Isabella screamed in a higher pitch as if she was trying to outdo them both, “WHO THE HELL IS THIS WOMAN??”
“Lady, I am this man’s wife, the one you are going to marry,” Jane was calm and composed, “We had a secret church wedding ceremony. He never acknowledged me as a wife and now he is trying to do the same to you.”
“Wow, what a crock of shit Jane. I always wanted to meet you but never like this. You are not my wife, although I wish you WERE,” he turned to Isabella, “Believe me, she is not my wife. This woman is lying.”
“You don’t know her?”
“I know her, but… she is not my wife as she says. Believe me.”
“I could hardly believe you any more after this. Bastard, I asked you to tell me honestly if you had any affair previously and you lied to me. You LIED. Bastard.”
“Look, I lied about the affair alright but she is NOT my wife. I dunno why she is saying all these crap here,” he then turned to Jane, perplexed, “I always wanted to marry you but it was you, who dumped me and then went to bed with that other guy, remember? Remember how rude you were the other day during our phone conversation? You remember them all, right? But now I have found this beautiful woman I want to share the rest of my life with,” he swallowed his saliva, “Please don’t spoil things for me now. I wish you all the best with your new guy.”
“Who is spoiling what? YOU are spoiling MY life. How can you get married to her when you are still married to me? Are you even a man or a pair of pajamas?”
“How dare you harass and humiliate me like this after being so unfaithful to me! If I have married you, as you say, show me proof. Show me marriage papers.”
“Marriage papers? It was done in secret, you remember jerk? You were afraid of your parents.”
“You are LYING again. SHOW me papers.”
“Well you are never going to get ME for sure,” Isabella tore a part of her wedding gown, “Good that I got to know your true nature before it was too late. I have got a special gift for you for doing this to me—and you might even LIKE it,” she gave a tight slap on his left cheek which left the priest even more startled than Jack, “JERK.”
“Look Isa…Isabella, you are wrong. Just wrong. You have got to believe me, this woman is just lying. She surely wants to ruin my life.”
Jane took a step further toward Jack and slapped him in the other cheek, “Trying to make out with two women, are you Jack?”
“Oh well,” Isabella heaved, “I am done with this JACK.” then she raised her head, “But wait, I am not done with him yet,” Isabella slapped him on both his cheeks, spat on his face and left in a huff. Jane started following her, but not before whispering into Jack’s ear, “This was for making me hear the abuses of that slimy cabbie you gave my number to and spoiling my mood this morning. Have a good one,” she gave a puckish smile and spared a look for the priest who still had his jaws wide open. Jack immediately took off his ring and threw it in Jane’s direction in an attempt to hurt her, but she dodged it and made faces at him before leaving.
About The Author
Writer says about himself: What inspires me to write? Hmm, pretty hard to answer that one! Hmm, maybe the dream of becoming rich and famous one day! 🙂 Seriously, although I consider myself to be a jack of all trades, I feel that writing is the only thing I can do, and do well, without any restrictions! I am a slow writer and more of a seat-of-the-pants type! One I am done with my book I’d regret about not having a proper plan or method etc., but when I am about to write my next book I am back to square one again.