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Chapter 17

When Ben had first met Jennifer, they were in college. He was a sophomore and she was a freshman.

His friends had dared him to go talk to her and ask her out. He had finally accepted.

He walked over to Jennifer, who was with her roommates. They were laughing. Jennifer looked at him.

"Who are you?" she asked.

She's definitely out of my league. Ben had thought. She's probably going to reject me and laugh about it with her friends the next day. I'm going to kill James and Zack for this.

"I'm- Ben, I think."

Jennifer and her roommates laughed.

"You think?"

"N-No, my name's Ben."


"We should leave you two alone for minute." one of Jennifer's roommates said with a smirk.

Jennifer tried to get them to stay.

"No, you can't leave me here with this-"

They were gone.

Jennifer turned back towards Ben, and glared at him.

"What do you want?"

Well this is off to a great start. Ben thought.

"I- um-"

"Yes?" She looked at him angrily.

Ben turned around to see his friends laughing at his failed attempt to ask her out.

He turned back to Jennifer, who was still angry.

"My friends over there, they um, dared me to ask you out."

"Well, you're doing a great job at it." Jennifer muttered sarcastically.

"Anyway, um, we both know you're completely out of my league, so you can just say no."

Jennifer looked at his friends.

"They look like idiots."

"They are, believe me."

"Well, then I guess we'll have to prove them wrong. Here's my number. Call me."

Ben was shocked.


"Yes. I believe this isn't how you normally act around women."

"Only when they're like you."

"Look, you don't have to keep unsuccessfully flirting with me. You already have my number. Now go over to your friends."

Ben nodded and walked over to his friends. They, like him, were shocked.

He and Jennifer had dated for 3 years, before breaking up for a few months. Then they dated for 2 more years before getting engaged.

Jennifer had never talked about the miscarriage, but one day, before the asteroid, he saw her crying. She had hid her feelings completely after a few months, and their relationship wasn't the same.

Fortunately, they had chosen to forget about it after a year.

They were always completely in love, even though they had argued in the past. They had decided to get married in 2 months. And then the asteroid came.

And now, this same woman was sitting on his couch, having no idea what had happened before.

"Ben?" Jennifer asked.

Ben turned from the holo-tv to face her.

It had been 3 months now since Jennifer found out about the miscarriage, and none of the members of Thunderstorm had found her yet.

"Sorry." Ben responded. "I was just.... thinking. Have more of your memories returned yet?"

Jennifer nodded. "Some. I remember what happened to me.... there were two women there...." She sighed. "I can't remember all of it. But one of the women mentioned something about.... Operation 77, whatever that is."

"It made you lose your memories." Ben said, more anger showing in his voice than he intended.

"Ben...." Jennifer said softly, and part of his anger went away after hearing her voice.

"Sorry." Ben apologized again.

Jennifer was closer to him now.

"Ben, I'm okay. Just because I don't have all my memories doesn't mean that I'm not still me. I remember our relationship. I just can't remember everything."

"But they took your memories away from you! Are you saying that you don't feel angry at all about this?"

"There's nothing either of us can do about this. I know you feel like you have to protect me, but I'm okay. You don't need to protect me."

"They're still looking for you. If they find you-"

"They won't. If they are going to find me, it will be when I turn myself in."

"When?" Ben stood up. "You're not actually suggesting that you're going to turn yourself in?"

"We can't stay here forever, Ben. It will be easier if I turn myself in. I can't risk you getting hurt trying to protect me."

"I will always protect you, Jennifer." He took Jennifer's hand and brought her up towards him. "Always."

"And if our positions were reversed, I would do the same for you."

Ben held her closer to him, and they both resisted the urge to kiss the other.

Jennifer rested her head against his chest. Ben held her in his arms for a few more seconds, then they sat back down on the couch.

"What else do you remember?" Ben asked.

"Not much else. I remember arguments we had, and when we broke up." She sighed. "I can't believe we were actually broken up for just 4 months. It felt like an eternity."

"I can't believe I was crazy enough to let you go."

"Can you imagine what would've happened if they didn't save me from the asteroid?"

Ben shook his head. "I'd rather not. I don't know what I would've done without you."

"Would you have gotten married to another girl here?" Jennifer asked jokingly.

"Of course not. Our generation was mindless enough, can you imagine this one? They have even more technology now than we did before."

"They are mindless. Especially the girls, they've come up with an acronym for practically every word and phrase now."

"It's not just the girls that are mindless now." Ben gestured towards the holo tv, which was playing yet another video game championship.

"I thought the season was over."

"So did I. Apparently they have one every 2 months now, since this generation can't seem to wait for anything."

"I remember you wished that football was like that."

"Because that was an actual sport."

"Don't they still have-"

"No, they don't. I checked." Ben sighed.

"I'm sorry. Anyway, I don't remember much else besides that."

"You don't remember your childhood?"

"I remember I had a sister.... Veronica."

Ben nodded, remembering her older sister.

"I don't really remember anything else." Jennifer admitted.

After a long silence, she asked, "Do you think the rest of my memories will ever come back?"

"Yes. You won't be like this forever, Jennifer."

She nodded slowly, and Ben could tell she was still nervous. He stroked her arm, and let her rest her head on his shoulder as she slowly fell asleep.

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