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Chapter Six
A Night Out With Liz

Two days later…

Wagner spent part of his afternoon training in the training room. Since he had nobody to spar with this time around, he practiced his fighting moves on a large punching bag, which was nearly as tall as he was. He wore a pair of black fighting gloves to protect his knuckles from breaking.

Not that it ever happened really.

A Godsmack CD was being played on max volume as he punched and kicked at the bag rhythmically. After a while of this, his favorite song on the CD began to play making him work harder;

What do you see in the dark
when the demons come for you

If only you could have seen
how fucked up my life used to be
then everything starts to change
supposedly healing my pain
I never thought I'd feel this way
I never thought that I'd see a day
I'd run away from anything or anywhere or anyone
Its all these demons haunting me
Its all these little things trapped inside of me
Releasing me from all my sin
Its taken me all of my anger
And taken me all of my hate
To learn how my life came together
Releasing the demons again

And now I look through my minds eye
And see where my past needs to rest
Its always disturbed by these voices
That echo inside of my head
Another way that I can hide
Another reason to crawl inside and get away
from everything and everywhere and everyone
NO!
Its all these demons haunting me
Its all these little things trapped inside of me
Releasing me from all my sin

Its taken me all of my anger
And taken me all of my hate
To learn how my life came together
Releasing the demons......again

Facin the days as I grow into my own
Loving and hatings the same
And three-fold I told you
it comes back with laughter
Over and over again
Its coming back

~Godsmack, “Releasing the Demons”

During some parts, flashes of Wagner’s memories played in his head. He was remembering how his mother would take him and sister out for ice-cream every Friday and how his father would take them to the park whenever he was home from his job. As the memories played like a movie, he punched at the bag harder.

At the end of the song, Wagner gave one more hard push at the bag. He had thought it would break, but it didn’t. He had been in full concentration that he did not realize he was out of breath or that there was sweat pouring down his whole body.

Wagner let out a big sigh. “I need to calm down a little,” he muttered. He walked over to the bench where his bottled water and towel were. He began to wipe the sweat off the face, then up and down his arms. When he did, he noticed that his biceps were quite developed since he last really looked at them. When he was first recruited to the Air Force, Guile had called him, ‘The skinniest boy in the Force.’

May no longer be that,’ Wagner thought with a small smirk.

It was then that he heard footsteps walking into the training room. Wagner looked up and saw Liz walk in. Wagner was surprised to see her in her regular clothes consist of a red T-shirt and blue jeans, not her gym clothes.

Liz looked around briefly before she turned her head to Wagner. She smiled and walked over to him. “There you are,” she said. “I’ve been looking for you all over the campus.”

Wagner looked at her a bit surprised. “Really?”

Liz nodded while keeping her smile. “Yeah, then I bumped into Guile and he told me you were at the gym.”

“Ah. So you came to lecture me about something.” He ended that sentence with a light chuckle.

Liz chuckled a little bit too. “Well, I could if you don’t accept my offer.”

Now Wagner was smiling too. “What kind of offer Sergeant?”

“Well, since we both have the night off, why don’t we go downtown together? It’ll all be my treat.”

Wagner had been sipping his water then and almost choked on it, but he regained his composure quickly. Sure, they have gone out before, but never alone. Usually, they were always with Jake, Debbie, and Cammy.

“You mean…kind of like a date?” he asked.

“Maaaaybe,” she teased.

He smiled more, this time his midnight blue eyes gleamed. “Well then, there’s nothing for you to lecture me about.”

“So it’s a yes. Great. Meet me by the garage at seven. Don’t be late.” Liz got herself up and lightly kissed Wagner on the cheek. Then, she walked out of the gym. Wagner watched her until she was out of sight.

Wow,’ he thought with delight. ‘I think she has a thing for me.’

The truth was, he too had a thing for her.

-

The night finally came. The sun had set for the day and all the night owls had come out from their hiding places for another night of fun.

Liz drove one of the Air Force’s jeep with the roof off. Wagner sat in the front passenger seat with the wind blowing into his face and his hair blown back by the force. He looked up at the sky and stared at the stars gleaming down on the world. He had thought he saw the big dipper, but he wasn’t too sure.

“So,” said Wagner. “Where are we going?”

“I was thinking Ray’s, that club and restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.”

“Sounds good to me.”

They drove for another ten minutes before they finally reached the club. They parked their car in the back of the building where the small parking lot was. Wagner had thought they weren’t going to find a space since the lot was so small, but they managed to find one near the back. Liz shut the jeep down and placed the keys in her small black purse.

“Here we are,” Liz said to Wagner with a smile.

Wagner smiled back. “May I escort you inside?”

Liz’s smile seemed to brighten more. “Sure.”

They locked the doors and began heading into the restaurant with their arms linked. The hostess inside welcomed them. They both decided to go into the restaurant part of the club to eat first before hitting the dance floor. Both of them sat in a booth table made for two to sit in. The lighting in the room was dim nearly setting a bit of a romantic mood. The bass of the music in the dance hall could be heard.

“This is not a bad place,” said Wagner after their menus were handed to them. “How did you end up finding this place?”

“Last year,” Liz replied. “My cousin Janie and I were looking for a place and we decided to go to a place I’ve never been to before. And so, we ended up here and we just had so much fun. I haven’t been here since, and I thought about it today and wanted to take you.”

“I’m honored. So, what kind of food do they have here?”

“Everything that a steakhouse would have.” Liz began looking through the menu. “I think I’ll have the grilled salmon. How about you?”

“Hmmm.” Wagner looked through the menu for a bit. “Everything seems so good, I’m not sure what to get. I think I’ll go random when I’m asked what I would like to order.”

The waitress soon came and asked if they would like any drinks. Wagner resisted getting a margarita. He didn’t think it was a good time to even get tipsy. Instead he got a soda while Liz got water. When the waitress came back with their drinks, Liz ordered her food.

“And you?” asked the waitress looking at Wagner.

Wagner made his pick. “Stuffed shrimp.”

“Coming right up.” The waitress took their menus and walked away leaving Wagner and Liz alone.

It was then that Liz let out a little chuckle. Wagner looked at her a bit funny. “What’s so funny?” he asked with curiosity.

Liz managed to stop chuckling to speak. “I was thinking about the first time we met.”

Wagner gave her a small smile. “Really?”

“Yeah. It was the night Colonal Guile got a promotion and a party was thrown for him. He and my father knew each other already. We were seventeen when we were introduced by the both of them and we seemed that we hit it off right away.”

“Yeah…say, didn’t we almost kiss that night too?”

Liz almost laughed. “Oh my goodness, we almost did. But then I ruined it when I saw Cammy go in that taxi.”

Wagner sighed remembering the event. “Yeah. But don’t worry about it, none of it was your fault.”

“I know…say, what happened that night when Cammy went in that taxi cab?”

“She snuck out of the party to attend a tournament we didn’t know she was attending. That night, she got her ass kicked pretty well and I dragged her home to get her stitched up. A lot happened after that’s pretty personal.”

“Must all be hard for her,” Liz said.

Wagner nodded. “Cammy and I went through a lot, but we have pulled through. The thing is, she’s very good at hiding her fears. Then again, we were all trained to hide our fears, but sometimes, you have to show them or else you’ll end up going crazy.”

“I agree. But Wagner…I don’t think I’ve ever seen you afraid.”

She was right. He never showed any fears in front of anyone except Guile and Cammy. “I have no fears,” was his reply to her. A lie, but something he didn’t want to discuss to her right now.

To their surprise, their dinner arrived quicker than he had thought. They ate as they talked about past events during their time in the Air Force. Then, they made their way to the dance hall. They danced together to the music for a couple of hours before they both grew tired. Both of them got a glass of water before returning to the jeep. They drove back to the base and back to their dorms. Wagner’s room was where they decided to go to say goodnight.

“I had fun Liz, best time I had in a while,” said Wagner.

Liz’s smile came back on her face. Wagner couldn’t help but to smile back. Indeed, she had a nice smile, one that would brighten up anyone’s mood.

“I’m glad you did Wagner,” she replied. “Well, I should be heading off for the night. I have to do some studying for a quiz tomorrow.”

“Definitely do that. Well, I’ll see you tomorrow at lunch?”

“Sure. Goodnight Wagner.”

“Goodnight Liz.”

Liz did have the urge to kiss Wagner at that point. For some reason though, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Perhaps it was the guilty conscience of what her father would think. Instead she gave Wagner one last smile before leaving.

Wagner watched her until she was out of sight. He unlocked his dorm room and went in. He turned on the light and was about to take his jacket off when suddenly, his memories of his childhood came back to him. At first they were happy memories…then it was the moments and the little details of when his family was murdered. That repeated in his head over and over again like a cycle.

When he couldn’t take it anymore, Wagner suddenly fell to the floor and passed out.

To Chapter Seven

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