The Middle

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"So, let me just sum this up. You had the most amazing night of your life with a man you met two days ago, he freaks out about you leaving him for someone else, and then in the morning he's just...gone?"

Candace had hoped that explaining the night's event to someone else would help her make more sense of it, but Patricia's summary doomed the effort. There was nothing reasonable about what had happened. She'd fallen asleep in René's arms and by morning, he was nowhere to be found with no information left on his whereabouts.

"He's got to be married."

"He said he wasn't."

"Oh, right. Because no man has ever lied about that before. I say this as a woman planning her wedding with a leash. The first thing Bryan had to agree to when he proposed was no bachelor party."

"But, he introduced me to a lot of professionals that knew him, and it would be really strange to flaunt around a mistress if he was married. Don't you think?"

"Honey, if he's a big 'somebody', his ego is probably insane. I'd bet he assumed no one would say anything because he has dirt on them, too. Yeah. I'd put money on it."

"Thanks for the pep talk," Candace moped.

"Why don't you try to find out, for mental closure at least? His marital status is probably on the Internet if he's a person of importance somewhere. Did you look him up yet?"

Candace shook her head, kicking herself for not remembering to do so yesterday before the fundraiser.

"I don't know if I'm in the mood to right now. The sting of rejection is still pretty fresh."

"Oh, don't be so dramatic! You had a good time. Your body had a great time. It is what it is. Here, I'll look him up really quick, then we won't talk about it anymore."

She grumbled in agreement and decided to occupy herself by preparing a cup of coffee to distract her thoughts while she awaited Patricia's findings. A few minutes passed, and her impatience won out.

"Well?" Candace pushed.

"I...I don't know that I'm finding him. Like, there's a man coming up by that name, but he's a French guy teaching in Switzerland."

"Let me see," she jumped, reaching for the phone. The faces in the image results were unmistakably René. She acknowledged her identification of him, and pleaded ignorance of his living situation. "He only told me his occupation in terms of the research he did, not where he did it."

"Surely you noticed he had an accent?" Patricia swiped the phone back.

"Not really. I mean, it was proper-ish or whatever. He just sounded like maybe he traveled and kept things...you know...continental." She saw her friend wasn't listening to her anymore.

"Holy...what the..."

"Go on..."

"There's a news result that says he's been missing for a while."

"Well, that's interesting," Candace replied with the only description she could think of.

"Yeah, seriously! He never showed for class yesterday, and someone noted that they hadn't heard from him in like a week, so they're looking for info on his whereabouts." She kept reading, leaving Candace staring at her, waiting for more. "No mention of a wife or girlfriend or anything. So, there's that."

"Do you think I should contact someone?"

"Not to put anything into your head, but maybe he's on the run from something."

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