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David and Jessica met each other in college their freshman year. It was a new experience for both of them, as their feelings for one another grew stronger as the weeks passed by. David would spend his time day-dreaming of Jessica's long brown hair, and dark green eyes. Jessica constantly talked about David to all her friends, describing his warm and loving personality.
A year had gone by and they were now in their sophomore year. David had landed a job at a local pizzeria a few months earlier, spinning dough and buttering breadsticks to save for their upcoming spring break. They went to the coast with their friends, and split the money to rent a rustic old beach house on the ocean. Their days were spent basking in the bright sun and splashing each other in the sweet blue surf, while their nights were filled with the cliché taste of beer and roaring sound of stereo music.
One day, the youngsters decided to hit the boardwalk and tour the local shops. Like any true tourist-loving seaside down, these shops were stocked with your standard assortment of tacky t-shirts and overpriced seashells. However, as the couple held hands and walked through the crowds, alongside their ecstatic and obnoxious friends, Jessica noticed a small merchandise stand hiding between another so-called "surf shop" and an overrated burger joint. "What a dump..." David commented.
"It looks neat, let's go check it out!" Jessica said as she pulled his arm toward the heap of shiny jewelry and exotic cloths.
As they came to the stand, a strange figure emerged from the back. It was hard to tell if it were a man or a woman, their hair was long and gray, their skin was dark and wrinkled, one eye was shining a terrific crystal-blue, while an eyepatch covered the other.
"What can I help you with?" the crooked merchant asked in a strange accent, neither Eastern European nor Caribbean, but something in between.
"Just looking." scoffed David. Jessica, however, had already spotted a silver chain necklace with a ruby-red heart-shaped gem in the center.
"How much for this?" She asked.
"Eighteen dollars." The strange shop keeper answered.
"Eighteen dollars? It's obviously just glass made in China. I'll give you four for it." he then motioned as if he were going to smash it on the table to prove its worthlessness.
"No! No!" The merchant hissed. "You break it, I take it!"
David seemed puzzled by the awkward and self-defeating threat.
"I'll go ten for it." The merchant said before he could rebuttal. Their friends called for them in the distance and Jessica tugged at his arm.
"Fine. Ten it is." He said as he laid the money down on the crowded table. "You break it, I take it? What a goof!" he thought as he walked away, before placing the heart-shaped pendant around Jessica's neck.
When they returned life continued as normal. More studying, more work, and more stress. As time passed on, David grew tired and bored of his bland, yet vigorous existence. He began to spend time in bars and loud parties, time once spent with Jessica. The liquor which had once been a Saturday-night buzz kind of deal was now becoming a daily staple.
His eyes, which had once stayed loyal only to the soft face of his love now wandered underneath the skirts and above the tops of any mediocre woman to pass by. Jessica, however, was feeling almost the total opposite. She had been with him for three years now, and what was once a silly crush had evolved into full-blown love. Her mind now began to explore the idea of starting a life with him; he was the one, she could feel it.
Days went by, and with each passing day Jessica would wait for the following night, deep down secretly hoping this would be the one where he would pop the question; but more and more David was distancing himself from her, and slowly, unbeknownst to Jessica he began to seek the comfort of other women. One week Jessica grew suspicious and fearful of his declining interest. In response, David promised her a dinner date the upcoming Friday. The next week she could hardly concentrate as her mind filled with romantic fantasies of David sweeping her off her feet.
When Friday afternoon came around, David found himself skipping his last class of the day, wasting away in a sports bar. He gradually began to chat up a well-proportioned blonde eyeballing him from across the room. Minutes quickly degraded into hours, as David and his nameless interest grew drunk and loose. Meanwhile Jessica had gone out and bought a fancy white cocktail dress, and a shiny new pair of matching white shoes. She sat in her room and eagerly awaited him to come pick her up. She waited, and waited, and waited. She tried calling him from her cell, she tried texting, and all she would get were simple "leaving now" and "on my way" responses, but he never showed. David's advancement on the girl in the bar was distracted by her constant attempts to get a hold of him. Finally at about Nine O'Clock he responded to her constant nagging with a simple "we're done.", and she didn't bug him for the rest of the night.
David was awoken the next morning maybe and hour or so before noon. His one-night parter stood with a blanket wrapped around her, and she was talking to a uniformed policeman. Another officer crouched beside him and awaited him to come around.
"What's going on?" he asked as he grabbed his aching head, suffering a hangover.
"Sir, I need you to come with us." The cop told him as he let David get dressed.
David got in the police car and they drove to Jessica's apartment a few blocks off campus. Outside, there were multiple police cars, and her roommates were also wrapped in blankets, two were crying and the other stood shaking her head and covering her mouth. David pushed his way inside and came to Jessica's room. Beyond the plastic barricade of yellow police tape Jessica was lying on the bed, face up. Her arms lay by her side and she was still wearing the dress and shoes she had bought for their date. Her cold, dead eyes seemed to look beyond the ceiling. Dark red bloodstains broke the flawless white of her dress, as a large, deep gash could be seen in her chest.
"Single cut to the chest, heart appears to have been removed. No signs of struggle. No signs of forced entry, no suspects reported entering the room." two investigators observed and reported to each other.
Suddenly, David felt something in his back pocket, he reached his hand in and removed the heart-shaped pendant he had bought her the previous spring. It had been crushed into five small pieces, with the metal around it bent out of shape and the thin silver chain tangled.
He had broken Jessica's heart...