Until he was 31, Eric’s constant ambition in life had been work. Seeing each promotion not as a stepping stone but as a challenge, he’d worked diligently in his chosen profession and delighted in heading to work each day eager to take on a new challenge.

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Until he was 31, Eric’s constant ambition in life had been work.  Seeing each promotion not as a stepping stone but as a challenge, he’d worked diligently in his chosen profession and delighted in heading to work each day eager to take on a new challenge.

Although ambitious, Eric always made time for friends.  They were a close-knit group of four men and two women that had grown up together and even when they acquired girlfriend’s wives, significant others, they remained close, spending a large portion of their free time together.  The party simply got bigger encompassing more people. 

His friends were forever trying to set him up with the “perfect woman” touting, “love at first sight” which was absolute poppycock, he’d thought!  Until the day he met Sabrina.  It had taken him weeks to persuade her to go on a date with him and when she’d finally agreed he’d been ecstatic – could it be?  Was he delusional?  No, no, she’d definitely said yes!  He remembered prancing around his living room, fisting the air, his excitement and elation so high he was surprised the room hadn’t caught on fire.  He’d meticulously courted and wooed her with class style humour and as much fun as he could pack into every given moment.

He knew exactly where their first date should be…at the fairgrounds…she loved the rides and he’d gone out and bought tickets to all her favourites and even doubled up on the two she loved most. The date had gone well; seeing the joyful stars in her eyes had his heart melting. 

They’d never looked back from that point on.  They’d vacationed everywhere sharing magnificent travels to foreign countries, which included hiking, skiing, enjoying – enjoying life to the fullest together. 

Until that fateful day, he’d returned home from work filled with eager anticipation wondering what delightful surprise she’d dreamed up for the evening.  He’d taken his suit jacket off, loosened his tie and instead of hanging them up as was the norm had dropped both on the sofa as he strode by as if instinctively knowing something was seriously wrong. 

The house was dead silent.  Eric stopped to listen.  Unless Sabrina was working in her studio, music emanated from whatever room she was in.  He hurried through the house checking room by room as he went but she was nowhere to be found.

He’d parked beside her car upon arrival and Sabrina rarely went anywhere without informing him regarding her whereabouts and when she expected to return.  It was one of the thoughtful things she did he counted on and treasured. 

Settling on the edge of the sofa beside his discarded suit jacket, he dialled her cell phone.  Its insistent cheery ringtone came from the kitchen.  He hurried through the door and noticed it immediately, laying in front of the coffee maker.  It struck him as odd for she loved her early morning coffee but rarely drank any through the day, opting for some sort of herbal drink, unless she expected a client and to his knowledge, she didn’t have any clients scheduled until next week.

She’d been wearing pj’s and a housecoat when she accompanied him to the door and planted a mouthwatering kiss on his lips so enticing and promising he’d nearly stayed home from work.  She smiled joyfully into his eyes, grabbed his tush and squeezed.  “I’ll hold you to that!”  he’d promised.  She’d laughed outright and he’d headed off to work, a truly happy man. 

Eric dialled one friend after another asking if they’d seen her in town or if they’d heard from her but to his dismay, no one had.  Dead end after dead end had him pulling his hair out.  Trying to tamp down his growing panic, he called the cops and told them his girlfriend was missing.

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