Chapter 13 - finally.
Author's note: This is the last full chapter I have written out.
Everything else is in outline form and brief sketches. Sorry. FYI, I have
started a yahoo group. I've put all my Harry Potter and Pearl Harbor
stories on it, along with some misc. thoughts and character sketches I've
made for Smiling Back. I'll be posting new chapters there first, from now
on. I'm also in the process of uploading what I call, Smiling Back
Revisited. It's my rewrite of the whole series adding more details,
character insight and a bit of a Rafe/Evelyn storyline. If you join up
you'll receive an email when ever I update.
Kate paused for a long moment as she stood outside the McCawley house, not
quite ready to face anyone. She had thought over a multitude of things
that she might say when she arrived; words of comfort, of friendship, of
hope, of anger, of censure, and yet she still had no idea what she should
say. The situation with Danny had been brewing for so long, everything
that could have been said had already been said years ago, and in the
interim - silence.
How could you work through something that was so shrouded in silence? She
and Danny had talked about it like clockwork every summer as young Danny's
birthday drew near, but Rafe and Evelyn remained silent, and neither Kate
nor Danny had wished to stir things up in the already tense household.
It all had started with the best of intentions, as most things usually did.
"We'll wait until we're finally settled back at the farm," became, "We'll
wait until he is old enough to understand," and then nothing. Two weeks
before Danny turned eleven it had finally been confirmed that Rafe could
not father children. He and Evelyn had been devastated, but Rafe even more
so. He had spiraled into a dark depression that was still with him almost
five years later.
Seeing their pain, she and Danny hadn't been able to bring themselves to
hurt their friends further by telling them it was time to tell young Danny
the truth of his parentage. They couldn't take their only child away from
them, even figuratively, when their other hopes had just been dashed. So
the years passed. Kate noticed Evelyn sinking even further into denial and
Rafe becoming even more stoic.
Now it was too late. Danny knew now. He was hurt and angry and everyone
was at a loss to explain what had made so much sense all those years ago.
Physically trying to shake her doubts and insecurities away along with a
fleeting desire to say, "I told you so," Kate knocked on the porch screen
door. There was no point in dwelling on things. Now was a time for
action. Unfortunately she seemed to be the only one to think so because
there was no sound from within the darkened house.
Opening the door, Kate stepped inside letting her eyes adjust to the dim
lighting. Apparently someone had closed all the curtains. "Evelyn?" she
She set the leftovers on the kitchen table and walked into the living room
heading towards the stairs and the master bedroom, but a small sound
brought her attention to the couch. Evelyn was still there where Danny had
placed her, her face pale and her eyes red rimmed, but dry, as she stared
back at Kate.
"Oh Ev," Kate murmured, her heart wrenching at the desolate look on her
friend's face. "Where's Rafe?" she asked softly as she pulled the rocker
over to the couch, taking Evelyn's cold hand in hers.
With obvious effort, Evelyn sat up, the blanket pooling around her waist.
"I don't know," she admitted tonelessly. "I heard the truck drive off
awhile back. I don't know where he went or. or when he's coming back," her
voice breaking on the last word.
"Ev," Kate moved to sit next to her, pulling her into a comforting embrace.
"Oh Ev. It's going to be okay. It really is. You'll see. It will be
Evelyn said nothing at Kate's soft words. She simply sat there, her
breathing heavy as the tears began to flow down her cheeks once more, her
body too overwrought to sob anymore.
"How are you feeling?" Kate finally asked as her breathing slowed to a more
normal pace. "How's your head?"
"Fine. I'm fine," Evelyn replied bitterly, sitting up and wiping away her
tears with a corner of the blanket. "Why wouldn't I be fine? My son just
found out what a fraud his mother is. How I betrayed the only two men I
have ever loved. How I lied to him his whole life. And," her voice become
shaky again, "how I never wanted him to find out." She took several deep
breaths, trying to get control of her emotions once more.
"He had the right to know and I kept it from him for selfish reasons." She
wrapped her arms around her middle defensively, rocking slowly back and
forth. "What must he think of me? I wanted him to be Rafe's son. I
wanted to pretend that. that. that night with Danny never happened. How
will my son, conceived that night, feel about that?" she looked desperately
at Kate. "Will he think he's a mistake? That I didn't want him? That I
wish he. that I wish he was more like Rafe than like his real father? That
I see him lacking because he isn't Rafe's son like we've pretended all
"Evelyn stop!" Kate interrupted as Evelyn became more and more upset and
her ideas became wilder. "Danny knows that you love him, as himself. As
his own person. The rest can be explained. He won't think anything less
of you. He loves you. That won't change, I promise."
Evelyn shook her head. "You don't understand, Kate," she protested. "I
have only loved two men in my life. Rafe and Danny. I betrayed Rafe when I
slept with Danny. And I betrayed Danny when I didn't tell him that I was
"But you thought Rafe was dead," Kate interjected, not liking to see her
friend castigate herself. Obviously her time alone had let her worry too
"It doesn't matter," she protested, "because I was still in love with him.
I used Danny. I knew he felt more than I did, but I let it continue. I
played along because I was selfish. I did come to love Danny, but not. not
enough," Evelyn whispered guiltily.
"When Rafe came back I was so torn. Seeing him there alive - it was
suddenly like being alive myself. Danny kept me going. He made me smile
and laugh. He made me care again. But seeing Rafe made me feel alive.
Can you understand that?" she questioned, her eyes beseeching Kate.
Kate could only nod in response. She desperately wanted to stop Evelyn
from saying any more, but she recognized that her friend had to get this
out. She had a feeling that these thoughts had been slowly tearing Evelyn
apart over the years.
Evelyn stared off unseeingly. "I had just realized I was pregnant the
night Rafe came back. I was pregnant with Danny's child and yet I wanted
to run after Rafe and beg him to forgive. He figured everything out right
away. As soon as he saw Danny at the hospital he knew about us.
"During the attack, with all the confusion and stress and bombs dropping I
thought. I actually thought that if something caused me to. to miscarry,"
her whole body shuddered at the thought now, "it would be a good thing."
More tears began to stream down her face as she closed her eyes in pain.
"I as good as wished my child dead so that Rafe." she trailed off, her
"And afterward, Danny was so. caring. He didn't pressure me, but he was
there to give me support when it got so hard. in the hospital. all those
men dying. Danny worried about me and I had wished his child dead!" she
"You did no such thing," Kate interjected harshly, grabbing Evelyn's hand.
"You were scared and confused and in the middle of a horrific attack.
Thoughts of death and injury are natural - you're a nurse, you know that.
You didn't really wish to miscarry. I know you, Evelyn. You didn't. Not
Evelyn sighed wearily and sat back, her head resting against the back of
the couch as she stare hopelessly at the ceiling. "Maybe not really, but
the thought did cross my mind. What kind of woman am I? What kind of
mother? To even think it. it's terrible."
"It's normal," Kate told her vehemently. "You were in an unusual
situation, but you still cared for Danny, if only as a friend. You would
never have wished your child dead. No matter who the father was, you would
never have wished your child dead."
Something in Kate's tone made Evelyn look at her curiously. She was
obviously taken aback by the vehemence behind Kate's words.
Drawing a shaky breath, Kate turned to face Evelyn. "We've never really
talked about Michael, have we?" Evelyn shook her head, her eyes wide, her
tears finally slowing. "I married him when I was barely 18 years old,"
Kate told her, her tone oddly flat. "Grace was born when I was twenty-one.
In the three yeas between I had three miscarriages." At this new
information Evelyn gasped.
"All of them were caused by Michael. He was. not nice," she smiled
humorlessly. "He was an alcoholic and abusive. He'd hit me, kick me, once
he pushed me down the stairs. I hated him, but I was powerless and alone
in a foreign country where wives were considered little better than
property. But as much as I hated Michael, I loved my babies. I feared for
them, and it did cross my mind that it might be better if they weren't
born, but I still loved them and wanted them. Do you think I love Grace
any less because her father is Michael? Do you think I don't wish that she
is Danny's biological child sometimes?" Kate looked hard at Evelyn and
Evelyn finally shook her head. Of course Kate didn't love Grace less
because of her father.
"You see, none of that matters," Kate continued, "because Danny is her
father in every way that counts. You were in a tough situation, but I know
you, you never really wanted to miscarry. You loved your child, no matter
who the father was, too much, even in all the confusion and upheaval."
Evelyn stared at her friend in shock, her thoughts no longer on her own
troubles, if only for a moment. "I never knew. I never would have guessed.
"Of course you didn't know. I haven't told anyone except Danny," Kate told
her. "At first I didn't want anyone's pity and then. I just wanted to
forget. You don't think that I haven't wished. that I don't pretend that
Grace is actually Danny's child and not Michael's just as you pretend Danny
is Rafe's son? That sometimes I look at her and I see something of Michael
- a gesture, a movement, and it shocks me because I have convince myself
that he never even existed?"
"But you hated Michael," Evelyn protested. "I cared for Danny. He was the
best friend I had ever had. And I betrayed him. I never told him he was
going to be a father - I told Rafe. And even when I told Danny that I
would wait for him, a part of me was thinking of Rafe." Both woman sat
there silently for a moment. Kate unsure of what to say to ease her
friend's guilt. None of this was going to help Danny, but it seemed that
Evelyn had to work through her own thoughts and feelings before she could
help her son.
"During the raid," Evelyn began softly, "I prayed for their safety. Both
of them. But when Rafe stepped out of that plane months later I didn't
even think of Danny. Not once. Not until I noticed the look in Rafe's
eyes. Not until I saw his pain.
"I missed Danny. I mourned him, but a part of me was relieved that I
didn't have to give up Rafe. Until you turned up I had felt so guilty.
Like it was my fault Danny died. Like God looked into my heart and saw
that I wanted Rafe more, so Danny had to die. If I had told him about
being pregnant. If I had loved him more." her voice broke once again and
no more words came, even though she tried several times.
"Evelyn, you are being silly," Kate told her. "You are only a woman. You
don't have the power of life and death. You felt guilty that Danny died.
How would you have felt if he had come home? If he had married you and yet
you were never able to truly love him, your love for Rafe would have always
been between the two of you?" Evelyn actually looked stunned at Kate's
words, and Kate decided to push her advantage, hoping to get through to
"You and Danny loved each other, but it wasn't the kind of love that could
sustain a marriage. You know that. You would have had a good marriage.
An amicable one. Maybe you'd even have had a couple more children, but
Rafe would have always been between you. What if Rafe had married someone
else? How would you have felt? Or if your marriage to Danny had
effectively ended their friendship? How would you have felt? Can you
imagine your life without Rafe in it? Or Rafe's life without Danny? You
know what it's like to really love someone heart and soul. Could you
honestly live a life only half way? Would that have been fair to you? To
Danny? To Rafe?
"Maybe God planned it this way. Maybe He knew that Rafe wouldn't be able
to have children, so He gave you a son. A son from the one man that Rafe's
loves more than life itself. The one man that is closer than a brother to
him. Maybe God knew that Grace and I would need rescuing so he sent Danny
to us. Maybe He had everything planned for us and all we have to do is
follow our hearts," Kate challenged, her cheeks flushed with the
forcefulness behind her words. She desperately wanted Evelyn to see that
life had many paths and there was no sense in trying to figure out the
'what ifs' and 'could haves.'
"I didn't think you were a religious type," Evelyn finally said, her brow
furrowed as she pondered Kate's words. She was no longer crying and Kate
took this as a good sign.
"I'm not," Kate told her with a smile, her shoulders releasing their pent
up tension. "I can't stand the holier-than-thou attitudes of most of the
religious types in this town who hide their bigotry and snobbery behind God
and their church. But that doesn't mean I don't believe in God and that he
has a plan for us all. I just don't believe in their God." She paused and
smiled gently at her friend, grasping her hand. "Do you see what I'm
saying though? Everything turned out the way it was meant to."
"I guess," Evelyn agreed hesitantly. "But we still should have told."
"Hush," Kate cut her off. "That is enough 'should haves.' What's done is
done. Give Danny time. He's a good kid. Once the shock has worn off
everything will be fine. You can talk to him. It will be okay. Now," she
said, standing up and crossing the room. "I'm brought food over. Are you
hungry?" Evelyn shook her head. "I didn't really think you would be, but
I want you to drink this," handing her friend two fingers of whiskey. "No
complaining. Then I'm going to make sure you get to bed. Lying here on
the couch won't do you any good. You need a decent night's sleep.
Tomorrow you can talk to Danny."
"Danny!" Evelyn started, "He."
"Drink first," Kate interrupted. "Then sleep. Don't worry about Danny,
he'll be fine. It's not the first time he's slept at the clearing." She
watched as Evelyn quickly downed the whiskey and shuddered lightly. "Now
upstairs with you."
Upstairs Kate quickly found Evelyn's nightgown. Sending her friend to the
bathroom to get ready, Kate turned down the bed and closed the drapes.
Five minutes later Evelyn slipped under the covers, her face pale and
Before Kate could leave, Evelyn reached out a hand. "Could you. Could you
take some food out to Danny? He didn't want anything earlier, but I'm sure
he's hungry by now."
"Of course I will," Kate replied, squeezing Evelyn's hand. "Of course.
Now you get some sleep. Things will be better in the morning."
Evelyn nodded, her eyes already drooping.
"Good night, Ev," Kate whispered, turning off the light.
"Kate?" Evelyn called just before the door closed. "Tell him. Tell him I
love him. And when he's ready."
"I will," Kate reassured her. "Good night."