Isabella hung up the phone. The last thing she wanted to do was finish counting heart pins, necklaces dotted with semi-precious stones and glittery bracelets. She'd much rather call her friend Vicki or Lauren and talk about their classes, their hot crushes, the mean Mrs. Ryan. Having to work after school on a Friday afternoon was a real downer.

Especially when Isabella's older sister, Anna, had the luxury of being tutored three days a week. All she had to do was sit in the classroom and pretend to listen. She got out of all of her chores by playing at being incompetent, stupid and unreliable. And Isabella didn't believe for one moment that Anna would actually show up tonight.

But after all, Isabella wasn't really in a position to complain. Her mother had walked out on them when Isabella was a baby, forcing her father to raise them with Aunt Tallulah's help. When he died last year of a sudden heart attack, the responsibility of the two teenage girls fell to her aunt.

Still sometimes Isabella felt sorry for herself. Other girls had two parents, and if they did have part time jobs, they got paid for it. Yet without Aunt Tallulah, both she and Anna would probably be in foster care.

A hard rap on the front door interrupted Isabella's thoughts.

Isabella's immediate reaction was fright. From where she was standing, behind the glass counter, all she could see

was a huge shadow looming on the front doorstep. She stood frozen, unable to move. She pictured a vicious robber with a black stocking over his face, and a gun pointed straight at her.

Another loud knock jolted her and then Isabella saw the silhouette was carrying something in its arms. A package too large to be a weapon. Unless it was a bomb.

Isabella's first impulse was to run and hide, but then she remembered that the door was locked and it might be Anna, who often forgot her keys. After all, a stranger would see the CLOSED sign and move on.

Isabella edged closer to the door.

A lady with a fur coat and a desperate expression on her face stood on the front steps. Isabella shook her head and pointed to the sign, but the lady, in turn, pointed to the package she was carrying and mouthed "please."

Isabella's decision was quick and final. Even though her aunt had warned her time and time again not to let anyone in the shop when she was alone, surely this woman was not about to rob her. Isabella could see that right away, when she got a glimpse of all the jewelry the woman was wearing—a huge diamond ring, a diamond tennis bracelet, and pair of diamond crosses on her ears.

Marianna Heusler © 2007 •  Home •  Sitemap •  Contact