Fin

The concierge told them of the little village fortified by an ancient, impregnable castle. “You will not see a more beautiful view,” he assured them.

The towers were stunning white against a cerulean sky. Tourists outnumbered the natives and no one was in a hurry. Rick absent-mindedly took the bite of bread smeared with sweet honey Susan offered and smiled as if caught sleeping. “We can leave,” she offered, but he shook his head.

They came to the door of the church whose bell they’d seen as they approached the village. “Would you mind?” Susan asked and Rick again shook his head, but he did not follow her.

Susan dropped a euro into the box and lit a candle. She knelt and prayed for guidance and strength and discernment. When she looked toward the doorway, Rick’s back faced her, but she could see his shoulders tight and his arms folded protectively over his heart. There would be no happy ending.