Sabrina sipped at the champagne offered and tried not to feel out of place in the international terminal’s first class lounge at LAX. If Canadians ran the world, there would probably be no such thing as first class. She glanced around the room with its strategically placed lighting and whisper quiet wait staff and concluded that first class wasn’t half bad.
“How did you manage this upgrade?” Sabrina asked her boyfriend of the last few months. She swept her feet half under her bum, getting comfortable on the plush sofa. Might as well enjoy it.
Henry’s long, lean body filled the leather club chair, his legs and feet extended in front of them. He drained his flute—he’d chosen a mimosa—and carefully placed it on the glass top table in front of them.
The half smile playing around his gorgeous lips told her there wasn’t a lot of truth in that.
Sabrina sipped again the bubbles tickling her nose. She tilted her head a little to the side and fixed him with a semi-serious stare.
His smile was full. He reached across the small table and took her free hand in his. Sabrina felt a little lightheaded at his touch or the alcohol or both.
“It’s a gift from my grandmother,” he said. “She waited until this morning to tell me because she knew you’d find a way to weasel out of this gift she wanted to give you.”
She didn’t give truth to that. His grandma was right. Gracious acceptance of the generosity of others was something Sabrina was working on. Being humble was one thing, but not letting other people do for you was another.
Sabrina was learning that being self-sufficient didn’t mean not accepting the help and love from others. She’d started trying this out with her parents and their relationship was better for it. They trusted her to make the right decisions. She trusted that their concern was out of love and not an attempt to control her.
“Aw. That’s lovely. I really enjoyed meeting them. I wished we could have spent more than a weekend in Ojai.” Henry’s grandparents were everything Henry was, kind, warm, generous, and accepting.
“They loved you too. They were really keen on your ideas for the store.”
“I’m so glad Glen all went over well—the Food plus Glen and Wine plus Glen ideas. I was so worried they’d think I was stepping all over their legacy.”
“They’ve always been forward looking. It’s that boldness that made them take a risk on buying that property when Los Angeles was a Western outpost before it became what it is now.”
Sabrina sat forward a bit. Most days she was as excited about the future of the store as Henry.
“And they’re okay overseeing the renovations while we’re gone?” she asked.
“They probably wouldn’t admit it, but I’m pretty sure Grandpa doesn’t mind too much about being pulled out of retirement for this.”
“It’ll be amazing to see it all in place when we get back. I’m super excited that you get to have your wine store.”
“It wouldn’t have been possible without you.” Henry squeezed her hand. “I was so set on West Hollywood when this perfect opportunity was right under my nose.”
“Have your mom and dad come around yet?” There’d been a lot of raised voices and long silences during Henry’s video calls to them.
“They will. It’s funny that my mom who came into the family business was more attached to it than Dad.”
From what she could gather, Chuck Barnhill had been his usual easygoing and affable self, while Henry’s mom had turned up the drama.
“Are they coming back to Los Angeles?” Sabrina knew Henry missed his folks, but she kind of wanted them to see the store when it was up and running and successful so they couldn’t derail what Henry was destined to do.
“Not for a couple of months at least. Mom’s doing yoga teacher training. Dad’s catching up on all the books and movies that he’s missed when he worked nights and weekends.”
Relieved that he’d get a chance to see Glen come into being, she let go of his hand and leaned into the leather and drained the bubbly. The intercom squawked and Sabrina looked up toward the ceiling listening.
“KLM flight six zero two to Amsterdam Schiphol is now boarding,” the disembodied voice started. “Please make your way to the concourse and your gate.”
“That’s us,” Sabrina said, popping up immediately. She placed her right hand over her heart. It was beating quickly. Henry stood and placed his large hand over hers.
“You okay?” he asked, his voice just above a whisper.
Grateful at his discretion, she answered, “I haven’t been this nervous since the last few awards ceremonies.”
“Everything went off without a hitch though. You have more commissions than you ever have.”
“I know. It’s just that I’m happy, I guess. I have everything I’ve ever wanted. And I’m going to climb a huge mountain. What was I thinking? Who climbs mountains?”
“You do, Sabrina. You go for your dreams with full hearted determination.”
The way he looked at her was like a balm. She was brave because she had to be. Because she’d learned that life could throw a girl one heck of a curveball, and it was better to catch it than duck. She turned her palm outward and intertwined her fingers with Henry’s once again.
“I love you, Henry Barnhill, soon-to-be mountain hiker.”
“I love you, Sabrina Lynch. You’re the bravest woman in the world, and I can’t wait to go on this adventure called life with you.”
When Sabrina Met Henry: A #meetcute Interview
Sabrina: I used to go to Corey’s Discount Pet Center.
Henry: To buy dog food for Spencer?
Sabrina: And to spy on you.
Henry: You noticed me?
Sabrina: Who didn’t notice you? The hot young son of Chester Barnhill. With biceps that make you want to shout ‘hallelujah!’
Henry: You like my arms? (laughing quietly). Yeah, you like my arms…
Sabrina: Hefting boxes and stocking shelves at Canyon Country Mart did you proud.
Henry: I may have sold her food and wine. More than she needed just so I could keep talking to her.
Sabrina: And I may have bought all that food to keep talking to you. It’s too bad I got too tongue-tied to ask you for coffee and when I think I finally worked up the courage, well, then you disappeared for months at a time.
Henry: (shrugging) Sommelier training took me all over the world.
Sabrina: Ultimately, it was a little cameo that brought us together.
Henry: You really believe that? I vote for Spencer having brought us together.
Sabrina: My dog?
Henry: He literally wrapped me up in his leash and brought me to my knees before you.
Sabrina: (grabbing Henry’s hand in hers) Whether it was the cameo or the dog, I don’t know. But I’m glad we finally found each other.
Henry: You bring out the best in me.
Sabrina: Same here….
Check out the other #meetcute stories at meetcutebooks.com