Hey there! I realise this story is five years overdue, but my muse was hit by Pearl fever over December.
This is just a quick two-post that I had to get out of my system. The story is a little changed and I've moved the dates around a bit.
The confrontation between Danny and Rafe the night before Pearl didn't happen – this story begins the day after Rafe returned to find out that Evelyn and Danny were together. This is my way of resolving the fight between Danny and Rafe and sort of sorting out the love triangle situation.
Well, here we go…If You Left
Chapter 1: Downwards
Evelyn leaned against the railing and sighed. It was a beautiful, sunny day – typical of Hawaii. She gazed out across the blue seawaters from her position on the pier as her mind drifted to happier times. She was dressed smartly in a white knee-length wraparound dress, wide from the waist, and a pair of white open-toed heels – not what you'd expect at the beach, then again, Evelyn wasn't there for the beach. Casting a glance down the pier, she caught sight of a group of fishermen. Some were young and upbeat, probably fresh cadets with some time off. The others were older; weathered seadogs who fished for a living - fished because it was in their blood.
Evelyn blinked back a few tears and sniffed, wrapping her arms around herself. A nearby fisherman noticed and walked up to her. The man was old and sinewy, with rough, weathered skin and a haggard grey beard. He squinted up at Evelyn.
"What ya cryin' about girlie? We's not in the war yet, ya know – and it sure is a beautiful day out," he said.
Evelyn said nothing and gave the seadog a melancholy smile.
"See? Ya can smile." He pointed upwards, at the sky, "Now ya see that sun? Why not get down to that there beach and frolic like you young things do, huh?"
Evelyn smiled in earnest, amused by the old man's comment and her mind darted to when she and Danny had sat in the parked car on the beach. She remembered sitting on the rocks, writing to Rafe, desperately hoping her would return. Her smile faded.
"Perhaps later," she said softly, "I'm…enjoying it here. Watching the waves crash down there, feeling the spray – it's calming; helps me think."
The man leaned closer to her. "You got a problem? I'm all ears if ya wanna talk?"
"I'd rather not," Evelyn said, "but thank you."
The seadog shrugged, "Okay, but a girl as pretty as you shouldn't be spendin' her time out here worrying like you are." He nodded towards the beach where Evelyn's friends were picnicking. Betty had asked Danny and the other pilots to join them all for a day off. Evelyn had been looking to spending time with Danny and her friends. 'Until last night, Evelyn's mind reminded her.
"You with them?" the man asked.
"Supposed to be."
"Well, don't be too long, ya hear – they'll be missin' ya."
Evelyn smiled at the seadog, "I won't – just until I've gathered my thoughts."
"As ya wish," he turned and walked a few paces before turning and pointing to the railing. A few metres away from where Evelyn was leaning was a broad gap. "You jus' be careful. I'm sure that fella o' yours'll be might sad if ya fall onto those nasty reefs down there!"
Evelyn frowned, "Reefs?"
The man nodded, "Can't see 'em under the spray but they's there alright. Guys falls off, breaks a coupla bones an' drowns."
Evelyn cringed at the thought, "That's terrible," she said softly.
The seadog shrugged, "It's also life. Ya never know when ya time's gonna run out."
Evelyn frowned at his remark, forced to face the grim reality of his statement, as she watched him walk away.
x x x x x
He crossed the road to the pier, just coming up to the beach to meet his friends, hoping earnestly that Evelyn would come, but certain the previous night's events would leave her needing time alone.
His eyes strayed to the horizon. It was a perfect day and his eyes eagerly drank in the sight of the sea, the beach bar and his friends, some on the sand, others already in the waves. His eyes fell on the pier, on a figure leaning against the railing. He instantly recognised the dark hair and white dress and his heart jumped. His eyes moved to the right, to another figure – a taller, male figure in a Hawaiian shirt and beige pants – which was quickly approaching the woman.
This was his chance! The three of them really needed to talk. He hurried off towards the pier.
x x x x x
Evelyn sighed. She knew that she would have to leave the pier eventually, but was reluctant to move. She glanced down at her friends on the beach, wondering if they had caught sight of her. She'd told them she wanted to stay home. They seemed to be having a good enough time, but her mind registered the distinct absence of Danny – perhaps he'd also felt like being alone. Suddenly, a warm hand landed on her should and she gasped in fright.
"Hello Rafe," her cheeks flushed as she turned to face him. "I didn't know if you'd want to see me again."
His face showed little emotion, but his eyes screamed at Evelyn, "We need to talk – about what's happened, about where things go from here."
"Mind if I join you?" Rafe turned to see Danny behind him, his hands in his pockets.
"Sure," Rafe said, " I'd love to hear just how quickly you got over me."
"Rafe," Evelyn said, trying to calm him, "You died. It was three months – we had to move on."
"On boy, did you?" Rafe snapped, growing annoyed. He looked at Danny, "You just don't waste any time, do you?"
"Rafe," Danny tried to show that he understood how his friend was feeling, "Please be reasonable. It's not like we did it on purpose. It just happened – you know that. You know you can't control love."
"Do I," Rafe paused, frowning, and took a step towards Danny. "I knew you were my friend. I knew you'd never betray me, forget me," he turned to Evelyn, "Hell, I thought I knew you too, Ev." He noticed tears brimming in her eyes. She bit her lip to suppress them and his heart ached. His body cried out to embrace her but he ignored it and continued, turning back to Danny.
"And now I am," he threw his arms up, "Alive and back – back to find you've stabbed me in the back, you of all people Danny! Turns out, everything I 'know', is lies."
Danny winced. "Rafe, man, I wish I could say I'm sorry, but I can't. Just like I can't change what's happened. I wish that things had turned out differently. God, I wished every day that you hadn't gone to England – that I'd wake and you'd be there, next to me. But that's no how things turned out and I hope we can still be friends?"
Danny held out his hand to Rafe. Evelyn glanced nervously, hopefully, at Rafe.
For a second, Rafe considered taking his hand, forgetting what had happened. He lifted his hand, but caught Danny glance over at Evelyn. Rage replaced his calm and he swatted Danny's hand away.
"Don't talk to me like I'm a child."
Danny looked shocked. "Come on Rafe, you're being irrational. Can't we at least talk this through?"
Danny grabbed Rafe's hand to try make peace, but Rafe recoiled and pulled his hand away.
Anger and frustration showed on Danny's face. "Damn it Rafe! We suffered too, ya know. You're a brother to me goddammit and I lost you – I shoulda' stopped you when I had the chance but I didn't. I lost my brother because you were restless, lusting for the rush of battle! And Evelyn," he gestured to where she stood, tears openly flowing from her eyes, "she lost the love of her life. You took a chunk of her heart and she won't ever get it back. God Rafe, she still loves you – can't you see it! This is tearing her apart – how can you be so cruel, to let it continue?"
He looked at Rafe with pleading eyes and took his hand. "Come on," he said.
Rafe frowned, "Me? Cruel? How dare you!" It was far from the reaction Danny had expected, and he was caught off guard when Rafe's fist connected with his face.
Rafe moved to punch him again, but Danny caught hold of his wrist. Rafe lashed out with his other arm and Danny did all that he could to defend himself, before his own pain and anger surfaced. Soon, the two were in a full-on fight, fuelled by their despair and frustration – both with each other and themselves.
"Stop it!" Evelyn yelled, hurrying towards them, "Rafe! Danny! Stop! Please!"
The two ignored her and she rushed forward and tried to pull them apart. Suddenly, one of them, in an effort to free up at limb, lashed out. Evelyn was thrown backwards – straight through the gap in the railing.
Her body felt light, her lungs, compressed. A shrill scream escaped her lips, silenced as she plunged into the water.
Danny and Rafe broke apart at the scream and rushed to the railing.
"Evelyn!" Rafe yelled.
"I dun told her to stay away from there!" The two spun around to see an old fisherman
Rafe quickly pulled his shoes off, "I gotta save her!"
"Ya can't jump off there – there's nasty reefs down there, there is!" the man warned.
Danny and Rafe glanced over the railing and saw only white foam as the waves crashed against the rocks. No sign of Evelyn.
The man pointed down to the other side of the pier. "You'll have to jump in and swim from over there."
Rafe moved to run but Danny grabbed his arm. "No use both of us going – I'll get help." He paused, "And Rafe, be careful!"
Rafe nodded and looked over the railing once more. His eyes fell on Evelyn. Her body was limp in the water. Blood rushed down the side of her face, slowly staining the water around her.
Adrenaline overwhelmed his system. There would be no hesitation from there onwards.Chapter 2: Rescue
Danny's lungs burned as he sprinted across the beach towards his friends.
"Hey Danny!" Red called, waving to him as he came up to them.
"What's up?" Betty said, frowning at him as she pulled Red's arm around her.
"Yeah, what's the hurry man – you're white as a sheet!"
"Evelyn!" Danny panted, leaning over to gather his breath.
"Oh Danny, I'm sorry! Ev's not coming," Sandra said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"No!" Danny stood upright, "Get help," he paused to gather breath, " she fell…off the pier!"
"What?" Betty yelled, "Oh my God!"
x x x x x
The water was cool around Rafe but he didn't notice. The current tossed him around, spraying his face with saltwater but he kept his eyes on the small body bobbing on the top of the waves.
"Ugh! Damn it!" Rafe moaned. His legs kept hitting the coral and his arms scratched against the rocks. Finally, he reached her.
"Evelyn!" She was unresponsive, her eyes closed and her body limp. A long gash ran from her left elbow up to her shoulder – Rafe guessed it was from being tossed against the rocks. Blood was flowing from a cut on her forehead and Rafe panicked, "God, no!" He took hold of her body and began the gruelling swim to shore.
Danny and his friends were waiting as he stumbled onto the sand. Evelyn lay like a rag doll in his arms, her shoes gone and the skirt of her dress torn into shreds. Her hair hung in sopping brown tresses and her face was pale, her ivory skin, icy.
"Oh my God, Evelyn!" he heard Sandra cry as he laid her down on Betty's beach towel. Sandra recoiled against Danny's chest and he put a comforting arm around her.
"I don't think she's breathing!" Rafe said, kneeling down beside Evelyn.
Martha hurried to his side and checked, "No, you'll have to do CPR."
"Hang on baby," Rafe said, bending over Evelyn.
It was a tense moment. At first, nothing happened, but Rafe persevered and suddenly, Evelyn began coughing and spitting out water. She gasped for air and opened her eyes a little. They were glassy and confused.
"Ev – it's okay. I got you, it's all gonna be fine!" Rafe cried as he pulled her into his arms.
"Rafe?" Her voice was faint.
"Yeah, I'm right here. Danny and the girls too. Everything's gonna be okay!"
Evelyn smiled and closed her eyes once more.
"Ev – Evelyn! Come on, wake up!" Danny panicked.
Sandra put an arm on his shoulder, "She might have a concussion. Looks like she hit her head pretty hard," she explained.
Betty and Red came running up with a First Aid kit. Betty pulled a swab from the box and handed it to Rafe.
"Here – put this on that cut," she said, gesturing to the cut on Evelyn's forehead.
Rafe nodded and sat down, carefully placing Evelyn's head in his lap as the nurses went to work on cleaning up the smaller cuts.
"Looks like this'll need stitches," Betty said, gesturing to the gash.
"Just keep it clean – careful you don't get sand in it," Sandra replied, concern evident in her voice as she tipped a bottle of disinfectant onto a fresh swab and handed it to Rafe.
"Jesus, Ev," Betty sighed, "Why did you do this?"
"It was an accident?" Danny said uncomfortably. He cast a look at Rafe, who looked back with guilty eyes.
"What in the hell happened?" Martha said, exasperated.
Danny cast his eyes downward, "Rafe an me, we had a…disagreement on the pier over there. Evelyn tried to stop us. She got knocked over the edge, through the railing gap."
Red shook his head, "It's damn ridiculous, keeping gaps in that railing."
Rafe looked from Evelyn's pale face to Danny. His eyes said what his voice could not. I'm sorry, I acted like a real fool.
Danny sent back comfort and warmth before turning his eyes to Sandra. She was wearing a simple black one-piece and Danny noted how it accentuated her curves. For the first time, he noticed how smooth and even her skin was and how her eyes shone with compassion for her friend. It was alluring, attractive – gentle and very appealing.
A strangled cough brought Danny back to reality and he quickly diverted his eyes to Rafe as he crouched over Evelyn's still form. Rafe's face a flushed a deep red, his eyes frantically scanning her face as he clutched her hand. In that moment, something in Danny twigged. He turned his eyes away.
A/N Well, that's the first part done. The next will follow soon.
PLEASE NOTE: I don't have anything against Danny. He's a lovely, sweet-hearted character who does nothing wrong. I just think he would be a very nice match for Sandra. I like things to work out nicely for everyone and I think he and Sandra would be close to perfect together.