Cheyenne Holt clamped his lips together as he fought the tears that threatened to spill down his cheeks as he smoothed away the stray raven curls framing Ginny Mayweather’s pale face.
"I'm so sorry I couldn't save you," he whispered softly.
He gazed down at her prone form and ached to trade his own life for hers. He hated himself for failing to protect her. It was the one thing she’d asked of him. The one request he had not been able to fulfill. Ryan Creed had made sure of that.
Yet he could not help but to admire Ginny’s bravado. She’d taken a stance against his nemesis, knowing she risked her life in order to save them.
He buried his face within her hair and began to cry. "Forgive me, Ginny. I wish I’d been there to save you. I wasn't able to get there in time to keep you from getting hurt!"
He yearned to breathe life back into her. Yet he knew it would not be so. She was gone and nothing would ever bring her back. Her fate had been guaranteed the day her mother had whisked her away from Caplan Industries, keeping her hidden so her daughter would not fall into their sordid schemes.
Ginny had been the last of the Aegeres, ancient beings who were meant to heal Gaia’s wounds. The loss of her life had been the price for her trying to do as she’d been instructed.
Cheyenne took a deep breath and wrapped his arms around her as he picked her up as gently as possible. Slowly, he walked toward the lake. His tears broke the surface of the water as he lowered her body into its depths. All the while, he said his good-bye's to her.
Images of the night in which they’d met surfaced as he recalled the broad smile playing about her lips as she’d sold him a flower on the corner of Marlene’s Square. Her raven tresses had fluttered gently within the slight breeze, her green eyes twinkling with mirth.
Ginny had impacted his life in a way no other woman ever had. She’d left a gaping hole inside of him; one he hoped would heal some day. He’d come to love her, treasuring every moment they’d spent together.
His was a love that would never be reciprocated, but at least he knew the emotion for what it was. He’d given her a small measure of happiness and he prayed she would find her way into the heavens above.
He leaned over her and pressed a kiss upon her cold lips. Several tears spilled down his cheeks as he held her close one last time.
"Good-bye, Ginny,” he said as he allowed her body to sink into the water. “I love you.”
As her body sank, it soon began to glow. He shielded his eyes momentarily as the luminescence grew stronger. A soft hum reverberated throughout the canyon as she was lifted into the air by an unseen force. He fell back into the water and watched as she began to spin. The light encompassed every inch of her and grew brighter. Thunder roared high above as lightning split the sky.
He spun about, his eyes wide as he searched for the voice’s source. “Ginny?”
“How?” he cried, reaching towards the glowing orb that was now her body.
“Believe in me.”
“I always have.”
The phosphorescence encircling his beloved’s body swung outward, throwing him against the canyon’s wall. Several of his bones cracked as he crumpled into a heap at its base. A delicious warmth seeped into his skin as spots of color danced before his eyes.
“Ginny . . .”
“I’m here,” she said.
“Don’t leave me . . .”
He reached towards her, his mind unable to process the fact that she was now alive and standing before him. A loving smile played about her lips as she knelt over him, her small hands smoothing back the errant curls of the blond hair framing his face. He stared into her eyes and smiled as he allowed the darkness to claim him.