It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chapter 1 of, "Past Regrets"



Their mission was over and they had returned to the space station that was the Galactic Security’s main headquarters. General Ginmatager Hardigan, better known as Ginger, let out a sigh of relief as she watched her brother, Josh, leave the ship. The ship was headed back to the main offices to report in with the Warrior Delegates on the success of their mission.

Since she was old enough to go into training at age eight, Ginger had been part of the Zogone Military. First, at the Academy, then as part of the Warrior Delegates, before becoming part of the Zogone’s main forces of the Galactic Security, and then reaching the rank of Security General.

Her main goal had been to be trained well enough to be able to go on missions, like the one she had just returned from. Her crew had just come back from a rescue mission on Earth, or rather a retrieval of a human with a secondary mission to annihilate one of the Zogone’s top ten dangerous criminals. It had been a dangerous mission that had required patience, brain and all her years of experience to pull off. Over five hundred years ago, her great, great, great grandmother had been brutally killed. Her killer was a minister-turned-vampire, better known as the Puritan Vampire, who believed Ginger’s grandmother had cursed him—and he swore to stop at nothing to kill her grandmother again. Somehow the monster knew she had been reincarnated, as if her smell or very essence could be felt in the air the moment she was reborn.

At the death of his young wife, Brian, her great, great, great grandfather had been cryogenically frozen and was re-awakened at the time his wife’s life signature was recognized in a present-day teenager. After being reincarnated, Colleen was renamed Arlene, and when she started college, Ginger and the Zogones had maneuvered her life. The first day in her new college town, she had met Brian and the memories started to pour in until Arlene remembered everything from her past life.

After bringing Arlene back into their lives, the Zogones’ last goal was to destroy the Puritan Vampire. Their mission was to stop the monster, so that he could never harm anyone again, though his victim’s list was disturbingly long.

Now with their mission complete, they had returned home to the space station. Brian and Arlene slipped by Ginger and headed back to the Science Department along with Arlene’s present day parents, Harold and Marsha Garnet.

Then there was Sam, another of the Puritan Vampire’s victims. His mother had been attacked, raped, beaten and left for dead, carrying a viral blood disease that killed her six years later, but not before she had born a child from the attack, Sam himself. He was half-vampire/half-human, thanks to the Puritan Vampire. Nevertheless, Sam had found his revenge, being the one to place a silver, holy-water-forged bullet in his father’s brains, killing him and ending the cycle of evil.

Like Arlene, Sam was a human, an Earthling and now a friend to them all. For Ginger, Sam was not just a friend or like a brother. No, Sam made Ginger feel things she had never felt before. Like an Adonis of Greek legend, he had long dirty blond hair and smoky blue gray eyes. An aura of mystery surrounded him. But unlike a Greek god, Sam was tall and almost gangly in his young man’s body, not quite fully grown at twenty years old.

Ginger had spent so long and worked so hard on training that she had never taken the time for a life of her own, never wanted a relationship with anyone, until now. Not until Sam had slipped into her life, with shared dreams and fears, forcing her to see there was more to life than just work.

It was terrifying and agonizing, but it gave her hope. Her grandparents had a love that had spanned the ages, undying and true to each other. Ginger could sense the same things could develop with Sam one day if she could find the courage to tell him how she felt, but being a novice in love she wasn’t sure how. Now that Brian and Arlene planned to renew their wedding vows, it just seemed to bolster Ginger’s courage and help her decide to try.

Giving him a small smile, she took his hand in hers and led him through the station toward the Galactic Security center’s dorms where her private quarters were located. Standing up straight, using her position of authority to bolster her confidence, she took both his hands in hers and let their gazes lock.

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you.”

His eyes flickered down to their clasped hands, then back up to her face. “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, too.”

“Good, so we are agreed this talk has been put on hold long enough. I’m not sure how you feel, but I would like you to stay with the Zogone people instead of going back to Earth.”

Lifting a hand, he brushed his strong fingers across her earlobe and twining them through her short red hair. “Why do you want me to stay?”

Twitching nervously under his gaze, she licked her lips before she could mumble around the lump in her throat. “I care about you and … well, I think you would be happier here.”

He watched her closely and for some reason she could tell both her actions and her words affected him as his breath grew shallow. “I have every intention of staying with your people. I don’t belong on Earth around normal people. I belong here where I can do some good.”

Her heart leapt, “I’m glad you are going to stay. I would like for us to … I mean, we could try and …”

Her words faltered along with the trembling confusion of her feelings. Each movement of his body, each tiny breath riveted her. Licking her suddenly dry lips again, she gasped as he moved closer.

Taking her agreement for granted, he pulled her tightly into his arms and slowly his head lowered until their lips touched. Unlike the morning at the campground where they had first kissed, he didn’t just touch her lips gently before pulling away. This time he advanced further, racking a hand through her hair, angling her head back and then took full possession of her mouth.

Last time had been comforting, sweet and a gentle caress. This kiss was wild, hot, stimulating and the desire that rocketed through her made her knees weak. Her stomach quivered and her hands trembled as they wound around his neck.

Her shyness vanished as her emotions took over. She let herself go on instinct, letting her body find the best position against him, snug in his embrace. Her hands slid over his shoulders, feeling all the hard muscles of his chest.

Their first kiss left her wondering, because it had been her first kiss ever.

However, this kiss made a world of promises that left her expectant.

Her skin felt hot like it was on fire, yet at the same time shivers raced down her spine as if her feelings were forming a mutiny to take control of her body, until she could no longer think.

There was a hard rap on the door and before Ginger and Sam could pull back. Her brother Josh let himself in the door. Josh loved to barge into Ginger’s room uninvited, because no one else could confuse the door locks. His genetic coding matched Ginger’s and confused the locking mechanism.

Pulling back beyond embarrassed, Ginger’s eyes met the confused emerald green ones of her older brother. “I don’t know what is going on here and I don’t want to know, either. I just came to deliver a message.”

Her voice cracked as she asked, “What message?”
“It isn’t for you.” Turning toward Sam he said, “Major Sharball is on a transmission line in one of the offices and he wants to talk to you. I saw you leave the dock with Ginger and figured I would find you where ever Ginger was.”

Turning to Ginger he shrugged, “Your assistant said you had headed this way.”

Not wanting to believe her own ears, she turned to Sam, “Major Sharball, the Major Sharball of the Warrior Delegates, Josh’s commanding officer? What does he want with you?”

Sam looked at Josh, “Give me ten minutes and I’ll catch up with you.”

Nodding gravely, Josh left the room, as Sam turned to Ginger. “I was planning to tell you. We just got a little sidetracked.”

Ginger stepped back shaking her head, “No, you said you were staying here.”

“I said I was staying with your people. I never said I was staying right here on this space station.”

Sam reached toward her, but she jerked her arm back. “You know damn well I thought you meant you would stay here … with me.”

Dropping his hands by his sides, Sam sighed. “I’m sorry, Ginger; this is just something I have to do. I would like to stay here, with you, but I just can’t.”

Balling up her fists tightly she gulped holding her anger in, but could hardly keep herself from yelling, “Why? Why can’t you just tell them you’ve changed your mind and stay with me?”

Sam’s eyes met hers again and she could see the desperation written on his face.

“Because I don’t deserve you. I’m a monster like my father and I have to make up for all the bad things before I have a right to call my life my own.”

Understanding his feelings, though knowing he was wrong she asked, “Isn’t there some way I can change your mind?”

“No, I’m sorry.”

“When are you leaving?” she asked through tight lips and barely hidden tears.

Turning his back on her, he mumbled, “In two days I’ll be leaving for Adrivar with Josh.”

As he walked out the door, she yelled back, “Fine go then, be a macho jerk and see if I care.”

It was the last thing she said to him, because he didn’t come back and she didn’t go after him. She did not see him again, before he left two days later, except from far off as he boarded the space ship with the other Warrior Delegates headed for their home planet of Adrivar.

That night she cried herself to sleep and promised herself never again would she let stupid little girl emotions rule her.

From that day, she amended to become the best General alive and forget about any relationship that was not linked by blood.

Chapter One

Every day and every night was spent on Galactic Security business, to the point where Ginger had no life except for the Zogone military. Over the last few years, she hadn’t even taken a real vacation, only taking a few days at a time to visit her grandparents on the science space station, called Swanson, two galaxies over.

Her excuse was that the war between the Zogones and the Baygers kept her busy, between training programs, delegations and actually going into battles. This war had become Ginger’s new personal vendetta to replace her grandmother

Four years had passed and through hard work, Ginger had gotten to the point of being ready to be promoted to Major. She wasn’t supposed to know about it, but the office gossip had a rumor that said her own superior officer was going to be approaching her soon. Ginger wasn’t cocky or arrogant; she just knew above everyone else she deserved this promotion.

Every day and every night was spent on Galactic Security business, to the point where Ginger had no life except for the Zogonrescue obsession.

The expected summons came from Colonel Daimlar during one of Ginger’s unusually slow days, making it easy for her to leave her office and make it in time for her meeting. With a professional and not over-eager smile planted on her face, Ginger was shown into Daimlar’s office.

Wearing the long blueberry blue-and-white robes of the Galactic Security Academy, Diamlar looked very sophisticated, very colonel-ish with his short light-brown hair and age-carved skin. He was tall and willowy, stooping slightly and looking like a giant humpback.

Saluting each other smartly, middle finger and index finger held together then tapped to the forehead, Daimlar motioned for her to take a seat. “I’m sure you’re curious why you’ve been summoned here today.”

Nodding politely she answered, “Yes, I was sir, but I’m sure you’ll alleviate that curiosity.”

“All of your commanding officers have noticed your hard work since the restart of this war with the Baygers and we would like to reward you for everything you have done.”

Trying to act surprised Ginger replied, “Why thank you, but no reward is needed. I work hard for our people, for their protection and happiness.”

Reciting part of the Galactic Security mandate.Linking his fingers on the desk in front of him, Daimlar nodding. “But of course no reward comes without judgment. The colonels all agree that in order to get your promotion you need to prove you are completely ready to be a major.”

With a smile, she nodded sweetly, though she was fuming inside, “Of course sir, whatever the colonels think is best.”

Grinning widely he answered, “I knew we could count on you, General Hardigan. We have a very important mission for you. The youngest son of Colonel Qualtose was aboard the luxury ship Lasondra when it was attacked by one of the Baygers’ squadron last week.”

He held out a small rectangular handheld computer system. “Here is all the information we were able to receive on his kidnapping. Your mission is to go to the Baygers’ main military headquarters on their home planet and rescue young Mr. Qualtose.”

Scanning the first page of information Ginger automatically went into general mode.

“How many men will I be taking for back-up?”

There was a pause, one Ginger was used to preceding unwanted information, so looking up she watched Daimlar as he tapped his desktop nervously. “Just one man. The Warrior Delegates have a newly promoted captain who they believe needs a chance to prove himself, so they are giving him that chance by sending him with you.”

Shocked beyond belief, Ginger dropped the computer device in her lap and stared across the desk at Colonel Daimlar. “You expect me to sneak into the Baygers’ main headquarters, rescue some rich, pampered, whiney kid and make it back here alive? But I’m supposed to do that with one hot-shot rookie warrior who has a thirst for adventure, but not enough sense to keep himself alive much less cover my backside?”

Holding up both hands, he waved them at Ginger. “Now just wait a minute, there is no need to jump to conclusions. Do not judge the situation yet. We would not be sending you if we did not think the two of you could successfully complete this mission. Now the warrior captain will be here soon and the two of you can work everything out.”

For the next few minutes, Ginger went over each minor and major issue of the case. Diamlar showed her maps of the planet where Qualtoes was being kept. Ginger started a list of the equipment that would be needed for the rescue mission.

There was a knock on the door and one of Diamlar’s secretaries stuck her head in, “The Warrior Delegates’ captain is here to see you, Colonel.”

Ginger kept entering figures into her handheld, while the door was shut and reopened, then she looked up as Diamlar said, “Good afternoon Captain, so good of you to come all this way.”

Ginger was half way out of her chair before she realized what she was doing, then instantly sat back down. There wasn’t going to be any warm welcome from her.

Diamlar waved the captain into a chair before making the introductions. “General Ginmatager Hardigan, Galactic Security. Captain Samuel Paddington of the Warrior Delegates.”

Ginger barely nodded, refusing to show familiarity at all. “Captain.”

Sam on the other hand spoke up with, “Yeah, I know Ginger. If you look at my file you’ll see I work under her brother General Jomafash Hardigan and all three of us worked together on a mission before I joined the Delegates.”

Scratching his head Colonel Diamlar shuffled through a folder in front of him. “Ah, yes I see that here. General Hardigan even left a note in here saying the two of you worked great together. I hadn’t realized, but someone must have seen this and taken it into consideration when partnering you two for this mission.”

Nodding, Ginger cut in, “If that is all, Colonel, I need to get back to work.”

Handing her the file folder in his hands he nodded, “Yes that will be all. I expect a detailed list of your requirements in the morning. I would like you to leave in two days max.”

“Understood Colonel.” Nodding at the two men she mumbled, “Captain.” Then she walked out the door.

Ginger fumed all the way back to her office. No one had ever busted their butt harder for the Galactic Security Academy, yet she had to prove herself in order to get a promotion she had more than earned years ago. Then to be sent on some rescue mission to save some useless rich punk was a complete slap in the face!

But the worst offense of all was being sent on some suicide mission and being stuck alone with Sam for goodness only knew how long. Sitting behind her desk, she spent the next twenty minutes cursing him.

Damn him for coming back! Damn him for walking back into her neat organized life. Moreover, may the ceiling fall down around his head for looking like some blond Adonis god of her deepest-most-secret desire.

Burying her head in work and war hadn’t removed the hurt and humiliation of having handed him her heart and having him stomp on it, before walking out on her. She was not the same weak-kneed girl she had been four years ago. People had even gotten to the point of whispering behind her back. The usual was that she was a relentless hard ass who only cared for the military.

Ginger was definitely not the sweetie pie college girl Sam had met on Earth. She had become General Hardigan, heart and soul. As long as he was around that was the side she promised to show him, there would be no more love-sick stupid little girl in front of him ever again.

Taking a deep breath, she told herself to let it go and not let it bother her. Carefully she filled out a list of equipment she would need for the mission.

1. Transmitter equipment
2. Portable tracker equipment
3. Four laser rifles
4. Two bedrolls, weather watch ones to control nighttime unknown temperatures
5. Two lightweight backpacks
6. Military rations for two including water cantinas: about three days worth
7. Two fire resistant uniforms with built in invisibility busters and utility belts
8. Security detectors with inferred and heat sensors
9. Miniature explosives ranging in different special abilities
10. Detailed maps and floor plans (if they managed to get them in time)

Nodding, Ginger stood up, thinking the list would do. Leaving everything on her long silver metal desk, except for her list, she walked out of her office. Catching a messenger, she had them run the list back up to Colonel Diamlar’s office with a note saying she would be ready when the supplies were ready, as well as the Warrior Delegate’s captain.

She stopped off at her secretary’s office long enough to let the young blond girl know to send all messages to her private quarters. Putting everything out of her mind, she headed toward the dorms, knowing she needed to rest up for the mission ahead. It sure was not going to be easy physically or mentally for that matter.

“Maybe I’ll send a transmission to Gran and Pop tonight. I’m sure they’ll be worried when they find about this mission.”

But she wouldn’t be surprised if her dear brother Josh had already told them.Thinking it was probably a good idea, she nodded to herself as she flipped a lock of fire red hair absentmindedly behind her ear.

Yeah, she could do that, and then have some dinner before bed. Anything else could be put off till tomorrow.

Saying and actually doing were two things, though. Her mind automatically went over her list and the new information she had covered that afternoon. War tactics and training programs swirled around her brain in a confusion of techniques she could use on her rescue mission.

Distractedly she stopped in front of her door and placed her thumb on the DNA coding lock, to let herself in. Pulling the military required flat-blue hat from her head she dropped it on a near by metal end table along with the tiny silver General wings pen from her left shoulder.

Kicking off her shoes, she headed to her bedroom, then down the hall to her private bathroom. After a quick shower, Ginger slid into a long black silky nightgown, then pulled on a matching robe.


Why of all the Warrior Delegate’s captains, did they have to pick Sam for this mission?

Not to get her wrong, she knew Sam probably made a fabulous captain and would easily advance in the ranks with the Warrior Delegates. After all, Ginger had worked side by side with Sam on her mission to Earth four years prior and had watched as he overcame all odds to defeat the monster that had ruined so many lives like his and shaped others like her own.

As a partner in war, he was great, but any other captain would have been ten times more welcome. Any anonymous rooky would have been easier to deal with than Sam.

Though she hadn’t wanted to admit it even to herself, every tiny change in Sam had drawn her in, making her notice each insignificant tiny thing. The last time she had seen Sam his dirty blond hair had been brushing the tops of his shoulder blades in an almost shaggy wave. Since joining the Delegates, he had cut it an inch or so above his shoulder, taking off a good half foot, leaving a smooth even line.

The hunched, stressed look of maltreatment had melted from his body to be replaced by a strong confidence. The angry wariness had been replaced by a sickeningly sunny disposition. In the old days, Sam had been dark and threatening, now he just seemed human. Maybe loving and losing made her romanticize him into a man who had never really existed. His dark mysterious prowess was now just a blond god or rather just a man, another soldier like any other.

Unimagined by her, he still edged up to almost six feet tall. His eyes were still that heated blue gray from her memories and, if possible, his body was even more muscular and lean than her dreams. The sexy, rough stubble that seemed to persistently rein on his hard-sculpted chin was now gone—he had a clean-shaven look. The change wasn’t really that bad, though she could still feel the bristles racking across her sensitive face as if he had only kissed her moments before.

Straightening her shoulders and glaring with all the authority she possessed, Ginger growled.

“Oh well, it really doesn’t matter. It was his choice to leave. His own fears were more powerful than anything he felt for me, so it’s his loss.”

However, Ginger knew it wasn’t true; it was her own loss, as well. Sam’s fears had cost them both so much, time, experience and true love. In her own way, Ginger did understand. Sam had never felt like he deserved Ginger and everything she was offering him.

Ginger hoped that when their enemy was destroyed, Sam might come to her and share his love, but she had been wrong once again. Sam destroyed the monster known as the Puritan Vampire, but didn’t think he had done enough to deserve her. He felt as if he had to pay back the galaxy for all his sins, as well the sins of the monster he had destroyed.

The thing was, the Puritan Vampire had been his father and he himself was half vampire/half human. In leaving Ginger and joining the Warrior Delegates, he thought he could do enough good to deserve Ginger. But honestly, when would it be enough? When would he stop paying for the sins of his father, a man who had raped and beaten his own mother?

Ginger had given up hope waiting for Sam. Now that he was back it would be pure hell to be around him and even worse to be alone with him for so long. She promised herself that she would not let him see how deeply he had hurt her and how much she still cared about him. Pride might be a dull companion for the rest of her life, but it was all she had left. She wasn’t about to let Sam trample her heart again.

From this point on, she would act like the uptight general and be all business. For Sam there would be no more Ginger, just his commanding officer General Ginmatager Hardigan. Using all of her abilities, she would quickly complete their mission.

Then, they could return to base and she would never have to see him again. Her soul might bleed a little more each day without him, but she was strong and knew from the last four years that she would survive.

Trying to force Sam from her mind, she remembered her idea of contacting her grandparents. Ginger smiled just thinking about them. Her mission with Sam four years ago had also included her older brother Josh, better known as General Jomafash Hardigan of the Warrior Delegates. Also on their trip was her grandfather Brian, a scientist specializing in alien communication.

Brian was technically her five-hundred-and-twenty-six-year-old great, great, great grandfather, although he now lived in the body of a twenty-six-year old. After the brutal murder of his wife Colleen, Brian had chosen to be cryogenically frozen until the day their computers could spot his wife’s life signs again after she had been reincarnated.

Six years before, the computers had located her on Earth. Ginger’s mission was to go to Earth help the girl known as Arlene Garnet regain Colleen’s memories and destroy the Puritan Vampire who had not only killed Colleen, but promised to destroy Arlene, as well.

It sounded strange that her grandparents were each actually over five hundred years old, but lived in bodies of twenty-something’s. Arlene and Brian had been remarried and transferred back to his science department on Space Station Swanson just out of orbit of the Zogone’s home planet Adrivar. On Earth, Arlene had become more than family to Ginger; she had become her very best friend, her first true friend.

Ginger sat down in a big squishy chair in front of a bare wall in her living room. Then waving a hand in front of the blank wall, a large screen appeared.

“Communication to Space Station Swanson to Dr. Brianeth Hardigan’s private quarters.”

The screen blinked, beeped twice, and then suddenly it was zooming in on a purple silk-covered hip. Ginger grinned as Arlene slid into the chair opposite her own screen.

A happy flush covered Arlene’s face as she grinned back, comforting Ginger with the simple gesture.

Arlene was only twenty-two and still held the bright look of youth, an ecstatically happy one at that. Being head-over-heels in love with the man of your dreams looked great on her, but seeing how much he loved her in return was even better. Some times Ginger thought Arlene was the luckiest woman in any galaxy.

Arlene’s long reddish-brown hair was a touch darker than Ginger’s own red mane. Ginger thought that Arlene must be growing her hair. In her previous life, Colleen’s hair had grown down to the back of her waist. Arlene must have remembered that fact and regretted the loss of the glorious locks.

Like Ginger, Arlene had pale skin, enhanced with bright emerald green eyes. Though Arlene was a respectable five-foot-six inches, Ginger still won that race by a few inches, climbing almost to five-nine. It was amazing how much alike they were. Both lean, though Ginger was more muscular from being in the military so long. And because of Colleen, Ginger was one-sixteenth Earthling, but Arlene was a full-blooded human.

“Oh, Ginger, I’m so glad this was you.”

“Hi, Gran! How are you and Brian doing these days?”

Grinning like an impish fool Arlene answered, “We are absolutely fabulous as you can imagine. Life with Brian just gets better and better.”

Then stopping with a frown, she added, “Though we have been worried about you. Josh called us yesterday to tell us about your new mission. Do you think this is such a good idea? I mean you shouldn’t have to prove anything to those people, for goodness sake! You work yourself to death for those ungrateful, little—” she started fuming, cursing under her breath.

Her temper had obviously been inherited from Colleen’s Scottish roots. Just watching Arlene growl furious remarks about her commanding officer made Ginger feel ten times better. She congratulated herself on her decision to contact Arlene, because she always made Ginger feel better about any situation. Then again Arlene wasn’t just her best friend, but also her grandmother so it was a given that she would contact her regularly. It was still a little hard to grasp that her great grandparents were so young, especially Brian who was well over 500 years old now. Odd as it may be she still loved them both dearly.

“It’s okay Gran. I’m sure it is nothing I can’t handle. I will be in and out in a few days with no harm done. I am more than qualified for this type of mission. But you’re right; the Colonels just need a lackey to clean up after them, and I was lucky enough to be picked.” Twirling a finger in the air beside her face she added, “Wow! lucky me.”

Arlene frowned, but Ginger could tell she was trying to cover a grin. “I’ll try not to worry, but don’t bet on it. At least I’ll sleep better knowing Sam will be there with you.”

Stopping, Arlene’s eyes flickered over Ginger’s face obviously looking for a reaction, because Arlene had always known how Ginger felt about Sam.

“How do you feel about having him back here?”

Not meeting her eyes, because she could never lie to Arlene, she answered, “I don’t feel anything. We have a job to do. We will get it done, and then he’ll go back to Josh and the Delegates. No big deal; life goes on.”

A loud clearing of the throat brought Ginger’s attention back to the screen. “Well, I do think it is a big deal. Why don’t you take this assignment as a helping hand from destiny? Talk to Sam and tell him how you feel. I mean, it has been four years, Ging; maybe Sam is ready now, too. Maybe the two of you can work it out now.”

Shaking her head, Ginger leaned back in her chair with a sigh. “No, it’s too late. Sam never felt the way I did and I have more pride than to throw myself at a man who doesn’t want me. Besides it has been four years and maybe I didn’t have the patience to wait for him.”

Nodding sheepishly, Arlene smiled, “Four years is nothing. You are just as stubborn as your grandfather and he waited over five hundred years for me.”

Kissing her hand, she waved it at Ginger. “You think about that, sweetheart. Bye baby, keep me posted on what happens between you two. I‘m sure it is going to get interesting one way or another and I can‘t wait to see what happens.”

Arlene disconnected and the screen went blank before vanishing from in front of Ginger back into the wall. It was true that Brian had chosen to wait for Colleen to be reborn, but he had been frozen all that time. He didn’t have to live each empty lonely day, wishing and wanting something that would never come. Brian had known one day that Colleen would be reborn. Ginger had no reassurance that Sam would ever give up his salvation mission and come back to her.

Shaking her head, she said the words aloud to make sure she got the point across to herself.

“No, if Sam had really wanted me he would have never left. If he wanted me now, he would be here. But he doesn’t, so he isn’t. It’s over, forget about it. Go on with your life, Ginger, you’ll survive!”

Nodding at the blank wall in front of her, she hopped up and headed to bed. Forgetting to eat didn’t seem to matter. Ginger was more interested in sleeping and putting this day behind her and being that much closer to watching Sam leave when the mission was over.

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