Eric tried to hurry his last lesson for the evening so he could convert the bracelet into some quick cash. His last student for the night, Ruth Harrow Benson, was everything on the floor that Sylvia was not. Ruth’s prowess had never gotten much past the beginner level, and worse yet, he had already extorted every spare penny she had been able to lay her hands on.
For the fourth time that lesson, she stepped on his toes. Her sharp stiletto heels nearly pierced the leather of his shoes, and it felt like she had managed to break the big toe on his right foot with her last clumsy maneuver.
Eric shouted, “Enough. You are impossible. I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to give you any more lessons after tonight. You are a clumsy and untalented cow.” It was his standard brush-off when he had finessed a student’s available funds, but this time it happened to be true.
Instead of breaking down and sobbing, begging for another chance as his previous students had done, Ruth simply smiled.
Eric was about to ask her what was so amusing when two uniformed officers broke into the studio with their guns drawn. Sylvia was two steps behind them.
She cried out, “There he is. Arrest him. He stole my bracelet.”
Eric looked up in disbelief. “You gave it to me. I didn’t take it.”
She sneered at him. “I did no such thing. He’s a liar as well as a thief. Search him, officers.”
Eric held the bracelet out. “Here, I’ll give it back if you’ve changed your mind.”
One of the police officer’s said, “Just put your hands down slowly, Slick. It doesn’t work that way. You’re not getting out of this one. We’ve heard about your little act, but no one’s been willing to press charges until now. Cuff him, Harry.”
After Eric was led out of the ballroom in handcuffs, Sylvia walked over to the woman who had stood quietly by watching the entire thing.
Ruth reached out and hugged her childhood friend. “You were wonderful, Syl. Didn’t he suspect a thing when you ‘learned’ to dance so quickly?”
Sylvia laughed. “I’m sure he thought it was because he was such an excellent teacher.” Her expression turned serious for a moment. “You know you’ll never get your original jewels back, don’t you? After the trial they’ll turn the bracelet over to me, but the rest is long gone.”
Ruth grinned. “It’s worth every penny he forced out of me to see him go to jail. At least he won’t be able to go after anybody else while he’s behind bars.”
Sylvia took off the remaining jewelry and handed it to her friend. “It was nice being rich, if only for one night.”
Ruth hugged her again. “Money doesn’t make me rich, but having a friend like you is absolutely priceless.”