The Handkerchief of Guilt

Summary: A night of unexpected passion plunges Ginger into feelings
of guilt. "Patriots" inspired this very short missing scene
Homefront story.

Disclaimer: Homefront characters belong to their creators. No
copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made.

I dedicate this story to Sharon whose incredible HF reviews continue
to accentuate the positive about this very special show.

Author: Tracy Diane Miller
E-mail address: Handkerchief of Guilt

It was very early in the morning when the sun awoke from its
nocturnal slumber, stretched high into the sun, and cast a quiet
light on River Run.

In the attic of the Metcalf house, she had been awake for a few
minutes. She held the sheet tightly up to her chest to cover her
nakedness, almost as if she were willing the cloth to miraculously
cover her badge of shame.

She watched him sleep. His chest moved slightly with each breath,
the affect of its involuntary rhythm hauntingly hypnotic to her. An
errant wisp of his dark locks fell clumsily against his forehead. He
looked so handsome, so peaceful. Yet, there was something silent but
so full of meaning etched upon his face, something that she couldn't
deny: a smile. What unspoken truths did that smile hold? She
wondered. In his state of inertia had he journeyed into the realm of
a happy dream, a dream of blissful contentment? Did all men sport a
smile after…like a victor savoring the glow of his accomplishment?

She decided that she hated him. Then, the absurdity and
irrationality of the emotion left her just as quickly as it had
come. She couldn't hate him, not him. He had taken nothing from
her, nothing that she hadn't knowingly and so readily given. She had
dropped her "handkerchief"; he had willingly, yet so tenderly, picked
it up.

How many times had Mother warned her? A man can not pick up a
woman's handkerchief until she drops it. Mother's words were a
powerful sermon, an almost daily diet that resonated in Ginger's ears
from the moment that she reached adolescence. Mrs. Szabo was
determined to safeguard her only daughter's virtue. To supplement
her lectures, Mrs. Szabo told Ginger all of the horror stories of
young women who had compromised themselves before marriage. The
unforgiving rumormongers in River Run kept their own tally of the
trollops. Most of these fallen women had fled River Run before the
consequences of their indiscretions caught up with them in a visible
way, lingering shadows of embarrassment and ridicule remaining their
constant companions. Often, their senior family members became
enablers of the lie: for the women who did courageously return to
Ohio months later, the mysterious baby, the newest addition to the
family, was explained to the community as a "cousin". But everyone
in River Run knew the truth. And everyone talked about it.

Up until now, Ginger had been very careful and had religiously heeded
her mother's advice.

Once, when she and Charlie were engaged, they were sitting on her
front porch swing. Charlie had kissed her. In that moment, with the
sound of a sorority of crickets filtering the still air seemingly in
a serenade to the young couple's love, she found herself thinking
thoughts that she shouldn't have. Then, Charlie gazed into her eyes;
and she knew. Ginger knew that he was thinking the very same
thoughts and an unspoken conspiracy was forged between them. Her
parents weren't home. It would have been very easy to surrender to
their mutual carnal desires. But in the end, Ginger clung to her
convictions and she sent Charlie home.

Why had the potent combination of beer and vulnerability robbed her
of her sensibility and allowed her to discard her morality last night?

Jeff stirred slightly. Dear God, please don't let him wake up!
Ginger desperately prayed. If he woke up, if he looked at her right
now, Ginger knew that she would just curl up into a ball and die
right there on the spot. She needed to get out of there before that
happened.

Where were her clothes? The answer to her rhetorical inquiry
presented itself in the heap of clothing strewn haphazardly on the
floor. She stealthily crept from his bed, collected her belongings,
and quickly dressed.

As Ginger made her way down the stairs, the steps creaked, the noise
almost incriminating her to the other occupants of the house. Her
stomach churned violently. Dear God, please don't let Linda and Mrs.
Metcalf wake up! If she ran into them now, she would just kill
herself! As it was, how could she ever face them again? Surely, they
would know just by looking at her. How could she face Jeff again?

Mercifully, Ginger was able to leave the Metcalf house undetected.
As she walked down the street, her mind burdened by feelings of
guilt, she saw a curious sight, a sign from God, perhaps—for there,
on the ground, lay a women's handkerchief. Some stranger had dropped
it.

The End.