Clamping his lips together, Cheyenne Holt fought the tears that threatened to spill down his cheeks as he smoothed away the stray raven curls that framed Ginny Mayweather’s pale face.
“I’m so sorry that I couldn’t save you,” he whispered softly.
Gazing down at her prone form, he wanted very much to trade his own life for hers. He hated himself for failing to protect her. It was the one thing that she had asked of him. The one request that he had not been able to fulfill. Ryan Creed had made sure of that.
Yet he could not help but admire Ginny’s bravado. She’d taken a stance against his nemesis, knowing that she risked her life in order to save them.
Burying his face within her hair, he began to cry. “Forgive me, Ginny. I couldn’t 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 that 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 away from Caplan Industries, keeping her hidden so that her daughter would not fall into their sordid schemes.
Ginny had been the last of the Aegeres, ancient beings that were meant to heal Gaia’s wounds. The loss of her life had been the price for her trying to do just that.
Taking a deep breath, he wrapped his arms around her and picked her up as gently as he could. Slowly, he walked towards 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 that had played 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 that no other woman ever had. She’d left a gaping hole inside of him; one that he hoped would heal some day. He’d come to love her, treasuring every moment that 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 that she would find her way into the heavens above for she’d filled a void that no one else had.
Leaning over her, he pressed a kiss onto her cold lips; several tears spilling 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.”
He shielded his eyes momentarily as Ginny’s body began to glow. A soft hum reverberated throughout the canyon as she was lifted into the air by an unseen force. Falling back into the water, he watched as she began to spin; the light that encompassed every inch of her growing brighter. Thunder roared high above as lightning split the sky.
Whirling about, his eyes widened 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 luminescence that circled his beloved’s body swung outwards, 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 standing before him. A loving smile played about her lips as she knelt over him, her small hands smoothing back the errant curls of his blonde hair that framed his face. Staring into her eyes, he smiled and allowed the darkness to claim him.