Grace Saint-Dreyfus’s legs, crossed at the ankles, swung carefreely from the high barstool where she sat at the window booth at her favorite café. It was her favorite sort of crisp fall day—the trees had turned Boston golden, the biting wind had warranted digging out her wool coat and favorite hand-woven scarf, and the steaming cup of Liddy’s apple cinnamon cider was just the icing on the cake.
She was blissfully happy.
Her phone buzzed on the table in front of her, and she couldn’t help the grin that crossed her face. “Henry!” she squealed into the phone. “Are you almost here?”
Grace recognized his tall, lean form in the window, dressed in his own hip-length, double-breasted wool coat, and the wind lifting the curled ends of his dark hair, as he stepped into her view in the front display window, his bright cornwall blue eyes twinkling back at her, and gave her a little wave and that big grin he reserved for her. “Hey, babe.”
She grinned back at him. “Hurry inside. I got cider, but I didn’t know what you wanted. I have to leave for a late-afternoon rehearsal in fifteen minutes.”
She disconnected the call as he reached for the front door handle.
Grace loved Henry. She loved how he loved Shakespeare and Hugo and helping people with equal measure, the lingering lilt of his British accent, left over from his formative years spent in southeastern England. The way his heart was too good to let him remain a cop. He’d moved to Boston as a part of an international task force to prevent terrorism before it hit, but he stayed because of Grace. Not too long after moving to Boston, he had formed a non-profit organization to support missions in Middle Eastern countries, as well as provide real economic and academic opportunities to the youth and encouraging self-confidence, motivation, and self-worth from young children all the way up to the elderly. It was incredibly hard—and dangerous!—work, and Henry faced more obstacles than success, but he was more passionate about it than anything in the world, and Grace loved that he was bringing lasting change to the world where it really mattered. Henry had a heart bigger than the Atlantic, with the passion to do something about it, and this man with his golden heart loved her more deeply than he loved anyone.
He believed in her, supported her, spoiled her, understood her. She wasn’t loud or flashy or flirty, like other girls. Henry saw her timid heart, and somehow found her beautiful. He filled her days with laughter and peace, and she couldn’t wait for the day when he asked her to be Mrs. Henry Gallimore. Nothing would please her more.
Grace glanced at the dark, stained oak door, surprised he hadn’t made his way inside yet, but still nothing. What was he doing out there? She could no longer see him from the window, and the wide entry to the coffee shop blocked any view of where he might have been. She hadn’t seen anyone Henry might have known, to distract him from coming inside, but she hadn’t really been paying attention to anyone but him.
She attempted to peer around the wall onto the front stoop of the café, but was unable to see anything. Where was he?
Grace hopped from her seat on the barstool and walked to the front door, leaving her cider sitting on her table. She tried to peek through one of the three small windows in the dark door, but, still seeing nothing, she pulled it open. “Henry?” she queried.
He wasn’t on the front stoop at all, or anywhere within sight. Where could he have gone? “Henry!” she shouted.
There was no reply.
She fished her phone out of the pocket of her coat, dialing Henry’s number from her favorites. It went straight to voicemail.
Her hand slightly trembled as she dropped the phone back into her pocket. It wasn’t like Henry to just disappear. His phone was always on. He had just gotten off the phone with her—there was no reason for it to be off. There was nowhere to hide, and she would have seen him if he’d wandered off. If something had kept him from coming in, he would have told her.
She couldn’t keep the tremor from edging into her voice as she shouted into the empty street. “Henry!”
Where was he?