A/N 8/27/2018: This little gem took root while I was at work, and I must say, I am very excited for it! It has me practically giddy to write again! I think the inspiration struck once I found out Josh Hartnett is from Minnesota. I'm in MN! XD I hope y'all like it!
Updated A/N 8/31/2018: So it turns out. I hate writing in the first person. I don't like that you only get the feelings and emotions of one side, the person who's eyes you are looking through. It is an interesting perspective, I'll give that much, but I'm no good at it. So I am rewriting this story to be in the third person. Hopefully, I won't have to do so many time skips and I get more content from it. That is the goal and I'm sure the difference with me writing in the third person rather than the first. Also, it should make things more smooth as far as the story line goes. Fingers crossed people. Please review and let me know what y'all think.
Being without the one you love is a soul deep kind of torture. Bella assumed that was why old Mr. Walker and her got along so well. Both of their souls were screaming out for the loves they had lost. The only difference she could see, was that Mr. Walker had lost his love over 60 years previous during the bombardment of Pearl Harbor.
Their paths crossed at Newton's Outfitters while Bella was working one day after Edward had left her alone in the woods behind her house. She was trying, for Charlie. Mostly because she didn't want to go to her mother's in Jacksonville. However, no matter how much she seemed to try, she still felt dead inside. It was a look that was seemingly imprinted in her eyes and one Mr. Walker knew of all too well. She had notice him pausing at the entrance when he caught sight of her. He paled as though he had seen a ghost, to use a cliché turn of phrase, but he eventually managed to compose himself and go about his business. He gave her a sad sort of smile when he came up to the register to pay for his purchases, but he didn't speak until the transaction was done. When he did it was a quote.
"Ever has it been that love knows not it's own depth until the hour of separation," he said softly. Bella gave him a quizzical look. It was the first hint of interest she had shown in weeks, and she smiled back as she recognized the quote.
"Kahlil Gibran," she informed him. It seemed to knock the last remnants of her depression away. It wasn't the all encompassing pain of losing a soul mate, but it was the bittersweet pain of losing a first love. It still hurt, but not cruelly. At least not on that front. She still had abandonment and now, trust issues, because of the way Edward and the Cullen family had left her. She found a kinship with Old Mr. Walker, and from then on, they would meet regularly just to talk.
Sometimes they would meet at the local coffee shop, and other times at his home. After a point, she was spending as much time with him as she was with Jacob, who seemed delighted at her newfound zest for life. That was, until Jake had caught what she thought was the stomach flue that had been going around. Even Mike had caught it, and they all had to leave the movies once he started tossing his cookies. Then she had it. She had called to check up on Jake every day after she had passed the 24 hour period, but Billy seemed to get shorter and shorter with her, until eventually, he said that Jake would call her once he had gotten over his particularly bad case of Mono.
Bella missed Jake, but she found solace in Mr. Walker. Her visits had become practically daily, as she settled into a new routine. She would wake up and go to school, where she had begun reconnection with certain friends, the first being Angela. After school, she would immediately go see Mr. Walker and make sure that he was taking his meds and eating properly. After all, she didn't want him dying on her yet, even if he was in his late 80's. She had just befriended him, and he told the best stories.
Her life story, she felt, was over rather quickly. She hadn't done much, she thought, in her short 18 years of life. Mr. Walker on the other hand had a lifetime of stories. Sure, the Cullen's had all lived for decades, centuries even, but none of them really offered up much on what they had experienced. Carlisle did the most, but he didn't delve into his feelings during the circumstances he was telling. Mr. Walker was a born orator. He told her of his life growing up on a farm in Tennessee, which she gathered, was where his slight accent came from. He told her about his best friend, a man he saw as more of a brother really, and how they joined the Army Air Corpse just before America entered into World War II. He said he had even been stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack, with Rafe's, his friend's then girl friend, and Mr. Walker's girl.
Bella's heart broke for him as he recounted what happened while he was stationed at Pearl Harbor. From the idyllic peace of the islands before the attack, when he had gotten word that Rafe's plane had been shot down and he had been assumed KIA, how he had pushed away the woman he loved, and started seeing Evelyn. And then he eventually told Bella about the day of the attack by the Japanese. Mr. Walker weeped as he recounted him and his newly returned from the dead friend made it into the sky and shot down planes over Battleship Row. His sobs becoming nearly uncontrollable once he reached the part about finding his love, the girl he had left for Evelyn, dead, as she protected a friend from a falling bomb. It took some time after that for him to finish his story.
A few days after finding out what happened to Mr. Walker's girl, he told Bella the rest of his story. How, in his grief over losing his love, he never named her, and Bella, knowing the pain saying the name of a lost loved one can cause, never pushed, he had joined in the Doolittle Raid to retaliate against Japan for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He had managed to survive crashing his plane in China, survived being shot as he protected Rafe, only to come home and see Evelyn had been carrying a child. Assuming the child to be Rafe's, seeing as he and Evelyn hadn't been involved after Rafe returned, he immediately requested a transfer to the front, where he served out the rest of his deployment with the RAF, and then lost all contact with his friends. He couldn't take seeing Evelyn after losing the love of his life. Especially since he had never been able to make it right.
Both Bella and Daniel, he had said she could use his name, given how she had now seen him at a very vulnerable moment, cried on each other. Bella coming to the realization that what she had felt for Edward had paled embarrassingly in the face of the love Danial still carried for his girl, even 64 years after her death.
Bella became obsessed in finding Daniel's friends for him. He said that he had wanted to get back in touch with them, but at first he was unsure about the reception he would get and then he felt that too much time had passed. Bella asked if she could try to find them for him. He agreed, but only because he wanted to set things right now that he was at what he thought was the end of his life. Bella set to work immediately, and with a vigor that she never put into her school work. Sure, she got good grades, but she didn't particularly enjoy the work. Finding Daniel's friends, she felt, was so much more of a calling for her than her school work, however.
She combed through the internet, trying to track everyone down, particularly Rafe or Evelyn. She eventually lucked out on Facebook of all places. She had found a Rafe McCawley who looked to be about the same age as Daniel. His generation at the very least. Taking a chance, she sent him a message.
Dear Mr. McCawley,
You don't know me, but I am hoping to locate a long lost friend for someone very important to me. He has told me such stories of him and his friends in his youth. Stories that have made me laugh until I cried, and others that broke my heart beyond all reason. I feel as if I have friends in those I have never met, in a completely bygone time, all because of one man. Someone who managed to break me out of my own heartbreak over a boy who couldn't be bothered to break up with me properly, and in whom I have found a true and wonderful friend. The man I am looking for served as a pilot in WWII with the Eagle Squadron in England. He was then stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack by the Japanese, and participated in a Raid under Colonel Doolittle as a retaliatory measure. Please, if you are the Rafe McCawley I am looking for, if you are the same man who dated a one Evelyn Johnson, and had friends named Gooze, odd name by the way, Red, Anthony, Billy and a Colonel Doolittle, please write back to me. My friend, a one Daniel Walker, really misses the man he once considered a brother.
Awaiting anxiously for your reply, Yours most sincerely, Bella S.
Bella was anxious for the rest of the week. Finally, as she checked her notifications for the 6th time that day, she saw she had a reply. She was so shocked she finally got a reply, that she ended up staring at the screen for an hour and a half, just biting her lip. She was anxious. Hoping to every deity she knew of that this was the right man, but scared that it was a reply politely telling her that she had the wrong man. Taking a deep breath, she gathered her courage and opened the reply. She read the first few lines, and let go the breath she had unconsciously held, having it all come out in one loud gust.
I do believe I am the Rafe McCawley you are looking for. I served with the Eagle Squadron, and was in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor. It came as quite a shock to me and my wife, Evelyn, to receive you message. We had tried keeping in touch with Danny after he transferred off island to the front, but he never returned our letters, and after the war had ended, he seemed to fall off the face of the world. We had searched and searched for many years, but eventually gave up hope that he had made it out of the war alive. Your letter, it filled me with that hope once again, miss., as well as a nervous anticipation. He kept his distance after we landed home from China, and I didn't even know he had transferred until it was done. I had to ask Colonel Doolittle himself where Danny had gone. You see, neither my wife, Evelyn, or I got to tell him some rather important news. Danny, my Danny, has a son. Evelyn was pregnant when we left, but she asked me to keep it secret until we had got home safe, wanting to tell him herself. By the time we returned four months later, she was showing. I could see the shock on Danny's face, and I can only assume that he thought the child was mine, and didn't want to get in the way of any happiness Evelyn and I might try to find together.
Please understand that this was a conclusion that both my wife and I came to after many many years. But what he didn't seem to realize is that he was rather a large part of our happiness as well. We waited until after we had given up hope and come to the conclusion he had died in the war, before we resumed our romance once again and marry. His son, Danny Jr., is a retired Army pilot himself, and is now running a charter service out of Tuscon.
We, that is me, Ev, and D.J., and all of our friends that are still with us, would love to see him, as we miss him greatly. Please, tell us where we can locate him, so we may visit.
With extreme gratitude,
Bella was in shock once she finished Rafe's reply. Evelyn had had a child by Daniel. Bella felt the merest hint of jealousy at the knowledge that Evelyn would be back in his life. It was completely irrational. For one, Daniel was approaching 90. Way too old for her. But it was the thought that another woman would have a claim to his affections, romantic, friendly, or otherwise. It didn't help that the two had a son together.
Bella sighed, squashing the feeling relentlessly, and printed Rafe's reply for Daniel. The news that he had a son was too important to just leave as a surprise for when they arrived. Daniel was going to be surprised as it was, she figured. As predicted, Bella had to make sure that he wasn't having a heart attack when he found out. He was, of course, extremely shocked, but there was a sad sort of happiness in his eyes as he reread Rafe's words for the dozenth time.
Bella and Daniel spoke until lunch, when Daniel had to remind her that he couldn't let his blood sugar fall too low. That was as bad as it being to high! On her way to the kitchen to make them something to eat, insisting that he remain in his chair, she saw that he had put up more pictures on what she liked to call his wall of memories.
"You have new pictures up," she remarked as she studied the new additions. Daniel got up out of his chair and made his way beside her.
"I do. I've been going through a stint of nostalgia, and decided to dig out some old pictures," he said.
"Do any of them have you in them. I swear, you are more camera shy than my father," she joked. Daniel chuckled and nodded, pointing to a photo of a young man in uniform. Back lit as only those old photos could be.
"That's you?" she asked incredulously. "Holy Buckets Batman! You're hot!" Bella exclaimed before remembering her filter and slapped her hands over her mouth, trying to cram the words back in. She blushed, and Daniel gave a loud guffaw.
"I knew it too. I was a horrible flirt in those days, but was awful at actually mustering up the courage to ask a girl out. I practically screamed it at my girl the first time I asked her. I was surprised she understood me with all of the words mashed together." She smiled at the sweet little scene in her head where a blushing Daniel was asking a beautiful Navy Nurse out on a Date.
"Who is that?" she asked, pointing to the photo of what looked like another rather handsome soldier.
"Ah. That's Rafe. He had more confidence when it came to asking girls out, but still made a fool of himself and managed to break his own nose asking Evelyn out," he told her. It was Bella's turn to laugh loudly.
"Do you have any pictures of your girl?" Bella asked. Daniel nodded.
"Just one. She wasn't much for taking pictures, so her face is half covered," he said pointing to a picture next to Rafe's. She was gorgeous from what Bella could see. Long dark hair, half blown over her face on a windy day. "I had to sneak that, and she only let me keep it because you can't see all of her face. Even though she was the most gorgeous creature I ever beheld, she still thought herself less that what she was."
Next to the photo of Daniel's girl was the picture of another dark haired beauty.
"That's Evelyn. I had to bribe a friend to get that for me. Betty, she was the one my- she was the one she pushed out of the way of the bomb when she saw it falling," he said thickly, blinking rapidly in the vain hope of dispelling the tears. Bella put her arm around Daniel as he started to cry once more for his lost love, and steered him back to his chair, covering his legs with an old blanket.
"Would you still like me to make you something for lunch?" she asked. Daniel was silent for a while as he composed himself.
"No, thank you. I'm afraid I've lost my appetite. I am tired. I think I may just rest here for a while. Why don't you go out and enjoy the rest of your day. You are an angel as it is looking after a love sick old man such as I," he says.
"You are my best friend, Daniel. Why wouldn't I come see you? I'll come by tomorrow after school. And make sure you have an appetite then, because I am making my gran's lasagna," she tells him in an attempt to liven his spirits. It works a little as he gives her a genuine smile, but he is still thinking on his love.
Bella left, heading home, where she sent a reply to Rafe before heading to bed. The next few days were rather uneventful for Bella as she corresponded with Rafe and kept Daniel company. Daniel was ready to go and see them, but it seemed unanimously agreed upon by his friends that they would all come and see him. However, considering their ages, the fact that they were driving and needed frequent stops, it took them another month to get things together and arrive.
They managed to hit town that Friday night according to the phone call she had received from a man named Gooze,who seemed a screw loose upstairs, but they had decided to wait until the next morning. Deciding she wanted to celebrate, for no other reason than to celebrate, Bella went to the store so she and Charlie could indulge in steak and potatoes and berry cobbler. The cobbler was good at the diner, but there was something about fresh homemade cobbler.
The store was relatively quiet for a friday evening, but she wasn't going to complain. That meant she would easily be able to get the good steak at the back of the display, knowing they put the slightly older cuts up front, wanting them to sell. Bella found the two she wanted, but had to embarrassingly lean so far into the display so as to look like a cartoon character stuck in a trash can, to reach them. But reach them she did, and once she was able to stand up straight and pull them out, she did a little happy dance. A dance that seemed to be witnessed as she heard chuckling behind her. Turning around, she saw three elderly people, two women and a vaguely familiar man watching as she hit paydirt.
Bella blushed at having been seen doing something so childish, but completely missed the shocked and frozen looks of the three in front of her.
"Sorry about my display. I needed to get to the good cuts of meat for supper with my dad." she explained. When none of the three in front of her answered, she began to fidget.
"Well, see you guys around," she said, turning to leave.
"Wait, please," said a silver haired beauty. She looked to be in her late 70's maybe early 80's.
"I'm Betty," she said. "I'm sorry for our reactions. You just look so much like an old friend of ours," she said and Bella couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that. She suppose everyone had a doppleganger out there somewhere. Then her name reminded Bella of the story Daniel told her about losing his love.
"Betty. Betty Bayer?" she asked.
"Sweetie, I've been Betty Winkle for the past 60 years," she said. "I take it you are Bella."
"Yes. I had planned on meeting you tomorrow with Daniel, but I suppose even after a long trip you need to eat," Bella said holding out her hand as she introduced herself. Betty shook her head and bypassed Bella's outstretched hand to give her a hug. Bella froze for a moment, not liking a stranger in her personal space. But she eventually did return Betty's hug. Betty was just so likable.
"These two statues behind me that have yet to find their tongues are Rafe and Evelyn McCawley," Betty introduced. Bella's breath caught in her chest, seeing the two most important people to Daniel. She had to force herself to remember to actually speak to them.
"I—it's nice to meet you," she said, holding a hand out to Rafe. Both he and his wife seemed to finally shake off the last vestiges of shock, and he took her hand gently but firmly in both of his, as Evelyn had tears gathering in her eyes.
"It's lovely to meet you as well, Bella," he said in a low voice with an accent very similar to Daniel's. Bella smiled at the man, enjoying the sense of security he seemed to put off.
"Daniel has told me so much about you guys, I'm sure I know more about you than myself at this point. He's had a rough day though. He was telling me about some new pictures he had put up today, and was telling me about his girlfriend. He misses her so much. It's a good thing everyone decided to meet tomorrow," I tell them. Rafe and Evelyn nodded in understanding, and Betty began lightly crying in remembrance.
"She was truly such a compassionate soul," Rafe said thickly, and gave a light squeeze to Bella's hand before letting it go.
"Well, I'm sorry to meet you and run, but I have to get home and make supper before my dad's shift at the station ends. I want this to be a surprise for him," Bella said, holding up the basket that contained their supper. "It was great to meet you all."
"It was nice to meet you as well, Bella. We will see you tomorrow?" Evelyn asked in a strong but questioning voice. Bella nodded and beamed at them all.
"I wouldn't miss it even if I was hog tied naked in the middle of downtown New York during rush hour," she said, blushing at her analogy, but the sentiment behind it was nonetheless true.
"There's an image. We'll see you tomorrow, then, Bella," Betty said as Bella turned to the registers to make her purchase.
Bella's rather impromptu celebratory supper was a success for Charlie, even if he didn't know the occasion. Bella spent the rest of the night and the next morning in high spirits. She was moved to tears when Daniel got to see his friends again for the first time in over 60 years, and laughed at all of the stories that followed. Danny Jr. was quite like his biological father. In both looks and personality. Both were rather soft spoken and to the point when they spoke. They had the same brown hair and dark brown eyes, though Daniel's were clouded more with age.
Seeing this and riding the high of the good mood in the atmosphere, Bella decided to drive to La Push and visit her slightly estranged friend. She didn't care if he had Mono, she wanted to talk to Jake. It started to pour as she made her way there and she was slightly surprised to see he was leaving his house. She was slightly angry, as she was told he was too sick to call her back, let alone leave the house in the pouring rain.
Bella got out of her truck and ran, tripping slightly, to catch up to him.
"Jake! Hey," she called as she came even to him.
Jake turned to her and she was surprised at the changes in the young man.
"You cut you hair off? And got a tattoo?" she asked, seeing the ink on his shoulder.
"Bella," he said. Her emotions started getting the better of her and Bella couldn't hold back the storm she wanted to unleash on him.
"I thought you were too sick to come outside. Or pick up the phone when I call," she said with an edge to her voice.
"Go away," he said softly, but she had a hard time hearing him over the falling rain.
"What?" she asked.
"Go away," he repeated a little more loudly.
"What happened to you? What's wro—Hey!" she said, grabbing his arm as he turned away.
"What happened? Did Same get to you? Is that what's happening?" she asked. She knew that he had been afraid of becoming one of his clones.
Jake looked at her with a touch of anger in his eyes. "Sam's trying to help me. Done blame him. But if you want somebody to blame, how about those filthy bloodsuckers you love, the Cullen's."
Bella paled a bit. Both at the fact that he seemed to know about the Cullen's being vampires and the fact that he had said their name aloud. It didn't hurt as much as it did, She could say their names and remember the good, but she would always feel the abandonment keenly.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she tried to dodge, but Jake was able to see through her.
"No, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You've been lying to everyone. Charlie, But you can't lie to me. Not anymore, Bella."
"Jacob," they heard a call from the tree line. They both looked to see Sam, Jared, Paul, and Embry at the tree line, waving to him. "Jacob."
"Look, Bella, we can't be friends anymore," he said. Bella moved her arm so it was wrapped around her. It was Edward leaving all over again.
"Look, Jake, I know that I've been hurting you. It's killing me. It kills me. I just need...Maybe give me, like, some time, or something," but he cut her off.
"Look, don't. It's not you," he told her. Bella scoffed.
"It's not you, it's me, right? Really?" she asked, as if she couldn't believe he would go for such a cliché line.
"It's true, It is me. I'm not good. I used to be a good kid. Not anymore. This doesn't even matter. All right? This is over," he said with finality.
"You can't break up with me," Bella said desperately.
He was her sun. And Daniel. While Jake shed light and warmth into the dark and darkening corners of her heart, it was Daniel and his stories that used the light to super glue her heart back together.
"I mean-, I mean you're my best friend. You promised me."
"I know. I promised I wouldn't hurt you, Bella. And this is me keeping that promise. Go home and don't come back or you're gonna get hurt," he tells her sternly before turning and running to the boys that stood at the edge of the wood.
Tears began to fall, mixing with the rain. Bella couldn't help but feel that she had made a massive mistake. She blindly made her way back to her truck and somehow managed to get on the road again. She tried to wipe her tears away with her sleeve, but more just seemed to take their place. She had just crossed the La Push/Forks boarder when something ran into her truck with such force, it was like she had run into a tree. Bella went flying through the windshield, having forgotten to buckle herself in in her grief.
Glass shards littered her body, but it was the particularly deep gash in her neck with a large piece of glass suck in it that was to be the end of her. As she lay there, sprawled half in and half out of her truck, she saw a familiar red head approach.
"Finally," Victoria said. She didn't elaborate what she was there for. Bella already knew.
"I am ever so glad I get to watch you die, Bella. I'm even going to video tape it, just as my Jame was going to. Maybe I'll get lucky and we'll have a supporting cast," she said as she produced a video camera. Bella saw the little red light indicating that Victoria was recording.
"Now zoom in on the wound," she said before she reached out and yanked the shard of glass as painfully as possible out of Bella's neck. Bella cried out as the pain shot through her, and then she saw the world tilt as blood started leaving her body with every pump of her heart.
"Ooooh, the extras have arrived. Good. I better get some good seats. I would say it has been a pleasure meeting you Bella, but truth be told, I'd rather have my James than you in the world anyday."
Victoria then disappeared as a car made it's way around the bend and stop near her truck.
"Oh my god, Bella!" she heard the familiar voice of Daniel call out. Betty and Rafe were with him as they made their way to her. Daniel and Rafe gently pulled her the rest of the way out of her truck, and Betty immediately put pressure on her neck.
"I don't know how long this has been bleeding," Betty said hurriedly. Rafe took out a cell and called 9-1-1, as Daniel tried to comfort her.
"Hang on, Bella. We're calling for help."
"Dani-" she managed, trying to say good bye. She could feel herself dying.
"Don't talk. You can tell me later," he pleaded with her. Bella shook her head as much as she could.
"I—it's ok-okay," she said, feeling and tasting the blood pooling in her mouth. That's never a good sign. She had to get this out quick.
"Y-you were m-mmm-mmy t-t-ugh-truest f-fff-fffriend. T-thank y-yo-you," she finally managed. She could only just make out Danny shaking his head as the edges of her vision darkened.
"No. No, Bella. You were my truest friend. One I could never deserve. You gave me back my family. I will never be able to repay that. Certainly not if you're dead! Stay with me!" he urged.
Bella's breathing became softer and more shallow. She gathered the last of her energy, forcing her hand to squeeze his with half of it and using the rest to tell him one last wish.
"I wish I had met you sooner. I wish we had more time." And with that, Bella's body went lax in death. Daniel, Rafe, and Betty were all crying.
"No! No, not again. Bella? Bella, c'mon," Daniel tried to rouse her. "BELLA!"