The investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Jenny Harrison was closed four months after her abandoned car was found. I, and I suspect a few others, thought it premature, but the decision was made and life resumed.
Jenny was married to Henry Harrison, his family prominent since gold rush settlement. Her car was found on a quiet road, the driver’s seat splattered with blood.
I’d purchased the local hairdressing salon five years earlier, a new challenge for a young gay man seeking to forget an unhappy upbringing. The townswomen flocked, excited by the idea of a gay hairdresser; very Hollywood-esque. Men were slower to come around, eventually discovering I provided the styles they wanted but basically ignoring me as I cut and trimmed, bantering with waiting buddies instead. They never attended alone.
Most of the women simpered and flirted, and I dropped enough names like Kim and Khloe, to keep them happy. Jenny was different, sincerely grateful for my efforts, and my silence. She squeezed my hand tightly each time she left. I saw the purple bruises below her necklines when I placed the protective cape around her shoulders, felt her wince when I inadvertently bumped her shoulder.
After the investigation closed, Henry began dating a colleague but I doubted it was his first dalliance with her. Townspeople accepted it; the poor man must have been lonely.
Two years later I sold the salon to my former apprentice, her limited experience unimportant as she was another Harrison.
I headed east, opened a new salon and relocated Jenny Harrison to the back of my mind.
I met Dean and accepted his proposal six months later. We honeymooned at a popular seaside resort. One afternoon, browsing the market, I spotted a familiar face. A smiling, happy, carefree face.
Our eyes met as they often had via the salon mirror, apprehension replacing the sparkle.
Jenny drew a sharp breath. I reached out and took her hand, squeezing it tight. The sparkle returned. Her breath exhaled.
Dean called me to a souvenir stand. And Jenny was quickly swallowed up by the crowd.