Ruse and Recovery
A hoodie...My hoodie.
It was draped across my chair, the first thing I saw when I woke up. In my apartment?
I heard a clatter and flinched instinctively. Tom. Was it Tom in the kitchen?
"Tom?" His head appeared, looking around the kitchen door.
"Hey!...How is your head?"
"Throbbing a little but otherwise...fine." I smiled at him.
"Good," He grinned back "Breakfast?"
"Always." I got up and he hurried over, steadying me.
"Slowly." He looked up into my eyes when he helped me up.
"Come on, tell me what you think." He entered the kitchen and I followed him reluctantly.
The powerful smell of food overcame me and I sighed. I hadn't eaten yesterday and my stomach had already complained about the large amount of space it had.
"A frittata." Tom gestured towards one pan.
"Bangers and mash." He pointed at another pan and a pot
"And..." his hands drummed the granite kitchen counter "Eggs!" He said triumphantly.
"I didn't know you could cook!" I looked at him unbelievingly.
"Neither did I." He chuckled and scooped me up in his arms.
I squealed and he carried me to a chair, sitting me down and ordering me to "stay".
He then brought out the pans one by one, removing the pan and pot lid each time as if it were a silver platter cover. I laughed and he seemed glad that I felt better.
"What would her Highness like to dine on?"
"All of it, young squire. Now would you care to join me?" I gestured towards the seat opposite me and after he had put a little of everything on my plate, he took a seat.
But in that instant the events of last night came back to me and I remembered that I needed to find Aoife's ring.
"Oh no..." my fork clattered onto the plate.
"Sam, what is it? Is your head alright?" Tom was out of his seat and came to my side.
"No, it's-" I wrung my hands "It's Aoife's ring." He looked at me, a confused look on his face.
"She's engaged and I was supposed to look after her ring. I-I have no idea where it could be..." my voice cracked. My heart rate quickened and so did my breathing. I tried to get up but Tom sat me back down.
"That's. Easier. Said. Than. Done." I panted.
He told me to put my head between my legs and just breathe.
A few minutes passed and slowly, but surely my breathing slowed as my heart rate decreased to a calmer pace. I straightened myself slowly and looked up at him.
"Let's search the house then." He said and smiled encouragingly.
"It's about time we got to spring cleaning here anyway." I glared at that and he winked at me mischievously.
We had searched the whole house, from the kitchen table to the farthest, darkest, spider-ridden corner in the apartment and we had found nothing.
Neither of us wanted to admit it but it was clear we wouldn't find it. The apartment, however, was already a mess by that time; items of clothing were thrown everywhere and there were hundreds of book stalagmites growing out of the parquet floor, taken out of the book shelves and off the coffee table.
"Well..." Tom broke the silence "We only have one other option..."
He said, deadly seriously.
"Tell her?" I asked carefully but he shook his head, still looking at me.
"We have to buy another ring."...