Lily turned around and she saw one of the people in the other Singaporean group. She recognized him as being the father of the one with permed hair. His name was Chai. There were three of them and she never got around to saying hello. Lily looked at the girl and she seemed distinctly miserable.
What did she lie about?
Lily inclined her ear ready to take in the other part of the conversation.
“I am sure you have lost it,” Chai said to the girl.
“Shall I put up an advertisement?” the girl asked.
“Whatever for? The thief won't return it,” Chai paused for a while then continued.
“Forget about it,” Chai waved his hand dismissively and put the conversation to an end.
But the girl still looked dazed as if struggling to recollect her thoughts. Lily was tempted to go up and console her. Obviously she lost something valuable.
The opportunity came for Lily to talk to the girl when she was alone with the girl at the dining table. The rest of the diners at the table together with her father Chai had gone to collect food at the buffet table. Pierre had gone to the restroom.
Lily leaned over to the girl and began, “I heard you lost something ....”
“Yeah, it belonged to my mother,” the girl did not attempt to hide.
Then the girl suddenly grabbed Lily’s hand, “Can you help me find it?”
Startled, Lily quickly said, “What is it?”
“It is my mother's jewellery,” the girl replied.
“I know it is your mother's jewellery, but what item is it?" Lily was impatient to find out the damage, not that she thought she could help her.
“My mother passed away last Christmas, it was Christmas Eve, everywhere was playing ‘Silent Night’ and she would have been forty-seven on Christmas Eve.”
“That was young,” Lily couldn't help making the remark.”
“What did she die of?" Lily ventured a guess, “Cancer?”, it being the most prevalent cause of death nowadays.
The girl seemed lost in her thoughts, then she added, “My dad was having another woman.”
“Ah I get it. This woman stole your mother's jewellery.”
“Yes, I think so, maybe that is why my father couldn't care less.”
“So how are you going to get it back?” Lily next logical question.
“I have no idea," with that they ended the conversation.
On the sixth day.
By now it seemed certain that the marriage between Pierre and Miss Fiona had irretrievably broken down. When Lily walked passed the gift shop with Pierre in the afternoon again Pierre brought her inside. He took out a credit card from his wallet and he gave it to the salesgirl.
“No need to wrap,” Pierre said and the salesgirl took the jade from the glass case.
“I knew that it would look nice on you,” he commented after he put it around her neck.
“I knew that it would look nice on you,” he commented after he put it around her neck. The salesgirl said, “We don’t issue receipts for credit card transactions since it is already recorded on the card.”
“Now we don’t have to keep coming here,” Pierre turned to Lily.
No one has ever bought Lily such an expensive present. Lily felt a little awkward as such an item would not justify a small cruise ship. This was not the Titanic. Besides it didn’t go with her cheap clothes.
They drifted to the promenade once again and as Lily allowed herself to lean on the railings. Pierre took out his iPhone, “There, let me take a picture of you,” using the camera he took a shot.
There was no harm in it, Lily thought.
Lily suddenly felt like a queen and she couldn’t believe her good fortune.
Could this man have fallen for me? What did I do to deserve this? And what did he see in me? I haven’t even put on my swimsuit, so it could not have been my figure.
Lily wanted to ask Pierre to send her a copy of the photograph he took of her, but she felt it best not to, in case he accused her of being insincere. She was just too happy about the state of affairs.
I have caught a big fish!
Lily felt like a new bride as she stepped into the dining room with Pierre. She was sure that once the ship docked at Ho Chih Min City he would pop the question.
From there they could just take a flight back to Singapore to get married. Of course Pierre would have to annul his marriage first. But that won’t take too long.
As Lily was dreaming away she heard Lyn’s voice,
“Dad, this is mom’s pendant!” Lily looked at her and realized that she was referring to her jade.
Horror and paralysis seized Lily instantly. At once she knew that she had been framed. If Lily said that Pierre gave her this pendant, then she would have to disclose the fact that they were together. Lily did not set up to seduce Pierre. She looked at Pierre and waited for him to say something but he refused to look at her. Why did Pierre not own up himself?
He could have broadcast the fact that he bought her this item from the gift shop. He had her picture in his iPhone. That would be sufficient evidence that it was acquired legitimately. Did he still want Miss Fiona? Lily sat there wondering and praying to God at the same time.
Pierre was completely silent. Then Lily realized that the jade was stolen property and that was why no receipt was issued. So Pierre knew it and hence did not want to confess to the purchase.
Did he know that beforehand?
Was he the one who stole it from Lyn?
If he stole it why would he pay for it again?
And if he did he won’t have told Lily to wear it. There was no reason for him to frame Lily. Someone else stole it from Lyn and Pierre had paid for it. So the only person who could stand as Lily’s alibi would be the salesgirl. But she was nowhere to be found. The gift shop was closed. All eyes were on Lily waiting for her to confess to a crime that she did not commit.
No, I can’t do this. Lily told God.
In a fit of rage, Lily put her hands behind her neck and unhooked the gold chain. She took the pendant down and put it on the dining table. She had nothing to say. Pierre had betrayed her. He refused to defend Lily and to admit that he bought it for her from the gift shop. That would have exonerated Lily from culpability straight away. No, it would appear as though she stole it from Lyn.
How it was stolen Lily had no idea for she did not do it. But only Pierre, the salesgirl and herself knew that Lily was not the culprit. Pierre still refused to look at Lily. She became enraged and her hands were trembling,
“You can have it back.” Lily shouted.
That was all she said before she left the dining table and stormed off into the open deck to greet the night breeze.
In a daze Lily walked towards the promenade. She pushed open the heavy door and found that it was raining. The wind was strong and she found herself fighting it to walk straight. The deck outside was wet and Lily had no idea if she were on the port or the starboard. She walked on even though she knew that she was heading nowhere. This was a ship, after a while she would have to turn back and walk along the other side of the deck.
Thank God no one was after her. They must have gone back to their dinner after having solved the mystery.
They might even decide to call the police to arrest me.
Lily recalled the events that took place. If Pierre didn’t give a statement she would be found guilty. Lily wished she hadn’t accepted this gift from Pierre. She couldn’t have afforded it in the first place.
Why has God done this to me?
Lily decided that she could still go back to the cabin. She walked around the deck until she found the gift shop again, and then she used it as a reference point to walk to her cabin. The shop had a sign with the word ‘Closed’ displayed. Once inside her cabin she opened her luggage and she found her swimming costume. Lily put it on with determination. In the small toilet she could only see the upper half of her body.