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Missing Grace

By:S.L. Scott

Missing Grace
        Author: S.L. Scott

       
         
       
        
1


Ben Edwards


He remembered, almost like it was yesterday. It wasn't, but he relived every second of that morning like it was, hoping to find the one clue he missed . . .

She opened the door, but stopped before leaving. Large tears clouded the beautiful hazel eyes he could describe from memory. Every color reflected a different emotion, and he loved that he could read her so clearly. This morning the colors were blurred like their emotions. "I've got to go or I'll miss my flight." Her tone was remorseful and hurt, and he hated it. "Are you really going to let me leave like this, Ben?" A little stupid and a lot hurt, he didn't reply. "We'll talk later. I love you."

Like his attention, he withheld something he had always given her so freely, dead set on proving a point to her. He felt weak under the weight of the argument they just had. She would hear how wounded he was if he spoke, as the sound of his heart breaking would be evident in his voice.

He couldn't have that.

Ben had never demanded it be this year or even the next. He just wanted their relationship to be a priority in her life again. It was the promotion this year, but another opportunity would come the next, and where would that leave them? He had always been supportive. He wanted nothing more than for her to have the success she'd worked so hard for, but at what price?

The life they had planned together?

Him?

This time he would hold strong and remain silent. He would let her walk out without telling her how much he loved her and watch her go to the cab. Her shoulder-length chestnut-colored hair moved over her neck when she turned and looked up. The smile was faint, but he caught it.

Guilt settled in the longer he stood there, long past when the taxi had pulled away from the curb. It wouldn't change anything if he went to work, but he went anyway.

By the time he sat down at his desk to start on a new building design in Loyal Heights, he couldn't take it. It was only an argument. That's all. There had been others, and they had always resolved and recovered in the past. He was being hardheaded and could admit it, so he got online and ordered flowers. He wanted them waiting in her hotel room when she walked in. He wanted her to know he was sorry. She often said they had forever, and she was right. It was dumb to fight over something they had a lifetime to figure out.

They were getting married in a month. That was the continuance of the forever they already shared. She'd have the flowers for the three days they'd be apart and then he would shower her with more when she got home. She deserved it. He'd make it up to her so she felt cherished and heard. God, he missed her already.

Four hours passed.

Four hours. She didn't call when she landed, so he called her instead and left a message. "I was an ass. I'm sorry. I love you. Call me." 

Four hours and fifteen minutes.

There was no use in trying to work. He couldn't focus on the blueprint in front of him, so he called again and left another message. "I'm sorry. Call me."

Five hours.

"Hey, just checking on you. I thought you were going to Chicago, but maybe I've got an old schedule. Call me as soon as you land."

Five hours and thirty minutes.

"Call me. I'm starting to worry." He had been worried, but he didn't want to sound like a psycho for worrying too soon.

Six hours.

A bad feeling sank from his heart into the pit of his stomach. Sitting at his laptop, he looked up the schedule she sent last week in an email. Locating today's date, he said, "Chicago," confirming what he thought. Plugging her flight number into the airline site, there were no delays listed. The plane, in fact, had landed on time. Landed on time, three words that echoed through his mind.

She should have landed.

She should have turned her phone on.

She should have called by now.

None of those things had occurred.

Obtaining the hotel's number from the email, he called.

"No, sir, she hasn't checked in."

The verification crushed his hope. A few excuses of consolation came-traffic was bad today with the rain and worsening conditions-but they didn't comfort him. "We'll give her this message when she arrives."

Ben felt ill. Something was wrong. He knew it, felt it deep down. He needed to hear her voice . . . to know she was okay.

That opportunity never came.

She never called Ben.

Her cell phone was never turned back on.

She never checked in to her hotel room.

She never arrived to her business meetings.

Her family and best friend never heard from her again.

Grace was gone, and Ben was left to exist in what remained of their life.

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