Chapter Seventeen: What will become of us? Part One.
Danny rubbed a hand over his tired face, glancing momentarily at his wrist watch, sighing at the time, their cabin was pitch black, the only light was the dim beams of the moon reflecting off the ocean and through their porthole. Sleep would not claim him tonight, knowing that sometime tomorrow or the day after they would have to take off to Japan and there was a big possibility that he wouldn't return. Rafe's light snoring made him look towards his best friend, there was no doubt in his mind that he would survive, he had told Evelyn once that Rafe had always been a hero but with himself he felt like a fraud in this uniform, he didn't feel brave, strong or heroic, it intimidated him and even scared him slightly. Ever since they were little boy they had both wanted to be pilots but Danny would have been quite content teaching lessons and crop dusting in the small town that he grew up in but Rafe he wanted more, he craved adventure and danger and Danny had followed him ignoring his own dreams. None of that mattered now, here he was on a air carrier heading full steam towards Japan, there was no going back.
Bonnie and Betty came to mind again, he had said he would go on this mission without really thinking about them, what pain would be caused to them if he wasn't to return, luckily Betty was still too young to realise what the pain of losing someone was like and he thanked god for this every mile the carrier got closer to Japan. Bonnie would be another story, she was so beautiful, loving and caring that he had no doubt that she would find another husband, a man to love and care for her and Betty when he was gone, however he doubted she would, he could picture her a still grieving widow at the age of 70.
As he closed his eyes he saw his two girls laughing and playing in the garden on a bright sunny day, Betty looked older about five and had the dame long golden hair as her mother, they both looked so beautiful a tear slipped down his cheek. He didn't want to leave them, he really didn't, he loved them too much to let go and right then he made himself and his girls a promise, he would make it home.
Bonnie laughed loudly as Betty beat down on the grass "oh my darling, it's only grass, it won't hurt you" she smiled placing a kiss on her daughters head. They sat together on the grass in the back yard of the nurses house in the glorious sun as they watched the busy harbor "That's a ship Betty" she said pointing to the ship in the harbor "can you say ship?" asked hopefully, but quickly laughed at herself "of course you can't you can only just sit up by yourself."
Barbara walked out of the house carrying two glasses of lemonade, sitting down she handed one to Bonnie "thanks hon" she smiled sipping the cool liquid "Harbours looking better" she commented.
Barbara nodded in agreement "it's startin to shape up again" she replied tucking her legs underneath her "So what do you think you'll do after this?" she asked.
The question caught her off guard, she honestly hadn't given it much thought, she had been too busy at the hospital recently to even think about what was going to happen at the future and so all she could offer Barbara was a small shrug "I don't rightly know if I'm honest. I always wanted to be a nurse but now that I'm a wife and a mother I can think of nothing better than owning a small house and taking care of them" she smiled starring off into the distance.
Barbara looked at her "Really?" she asked with an amused smirk "I thought you'd get bored" she stated.
Bonnie laughed and kissed her daughters head "oh no, I would love at least two more children before my time is up and have my own little vegetable garden" she smiled dreamingly "that's would be my heaven."
"That's a good dream" Barbara smiled "I used to have that dream with Billy" she choked emotionally.
"Oh Babs" Bonnie soothed pulling her friend into a hug and they stayed there for a while whilst Barbara sobbed into her shoulder.
As the days passed an unusual calm settled over the island of Oahu, many of the casualties of Pearl Harbor had been discharged or sent back to the main land, only the ones who were still too critical to move remained. The ships that were badly damaged were in the repair docks in hopes that they could be repaired and shipped off to fight the Japanese, but nothing was like before December 7th, for starters many of the sailors and army personnel had left the island to go to war and the ones who remained were hardly allowed to leave their post in case the Japs were to attack again, they were defiantly all on the edge and Bonnie was beginning to wonder if Hawaii was the safest place to raise a child.
Bonnie and most of the other occupants would panic if a large amount of planes were to fly overhead and that couldn't be healthy and she heard that children could be extremely impressionable, she didn't want Betty to feel her fears, children weren't suppose to have fears. Remembering that day brought back many painful memories for everyone who was there but Bonnie thought it better to remember than forget and she wanted more than anything to talk about the people they had lost that day, Betty and Billy but it was like opening a can of worms at times, she felt isolated with her thoughts, surly it was better to talk about their friends than to pretend that they never existed, no matter how painful the memories were, right?
Standing with a mug of coffee in her hands Bonnie stood at the back porch looking out to the harbor, it was early morning on the 18th April and today was shaping up to be yet another beautiful day in Honolulu, hearing someone enter the kitchen behind her Bonnie turned around "Morning Ev" she smiled "you not at the hospital this morning?" she asked upon noticing her friend not dressed in her nurses uniform.
Evelyn shook her head and proceeded to make a cup of coffee; Bonnie raised an eyebrow and stared at her, sensing that something was up "Is everything alright?" she asked with a hint of suspicion.
Looking over her shoulder Evelyn gave Bonnie a quick, curt smile "of course, why wouldn't it be?" she asked.
Bonnie shook her head and took a seat at the kitchen table "no reason, you just seem a little on edge is all" she replied shrugging away any doubt that she previously had and started to flick through her LIFE magazine.
Evelyn let out a quiet sigh when Bonnie started to read her magazine, she knew she would have caved under her friends tough scrutiny and this was a top secret mission, so she couldn't afford to let slip. Two weeks ago she had gone to see a Major Jackson, whom she had saved from a bad neck injury about possibly getting a position on the staff about the mission Rafe and Danny were on, he had reluctantly agreed and today was the day the mission was planned for and she had gotten up early in an effort to avoid people so they wouldn't see her nervousness, however she happened to run into the one person she had specifically hoped to avoid. It wasn't that she wanted to keep this a secret intentionally but she honestly didn't know how Bonnie would react with knowledge that she had done this to get first word on Danny, after all he was the father of her child.
Checking the time on her watch Evelyn quickly finished the remainder of her coffee before putting the cup in the basin and grabbing her purse "I'm just heading out, I'll see you tonight."
Bonnie looked up briefly from her magazine and smiled "See you later, have a good day."
Danny jumped down from his bunk when alarms started sounded and guns started firing, rushing to the port hole he looked out "I think it's the Japs" he shouted back to Rafe who hurriedly pulled on his trousers 'All hands, man your battle stations' a PA announcements sounded throughout the ship.
"We better get up on deck" Rafe patted Danny on the shoulder. Grabbing his flight jacket Danny placed the photo of Bonnie and Betty into the inside pocket of his jacket before following Rafe out of the cabin.
Up on the bridge Doolittle rushed forward towards the captain "Jap's one mile away, they've reported our position" The captain said quickly lowering his binoculars.
"We're supposed to launch 100 miles away, how far away are we?" Doolittle asked grabbing the binoculars to take a look for himself.
"365 miles" The Captain replied.
Doolittle rubbed his head "Jesus" she mumbled.
"What do you want to do?" The captain asked.
Doolittle looked back at Lt Richards who was mumbling writing down figures, looking up he shook his head "Colonel, I don't know, I don't know if the planes can carry enough fuel to make it to China" he spoke anxiously.
Looking out the Jap ship's Doolittle nodded "Now. We launch Now!" he shouted leaving the bridge to the deck.
"Colonel!" Richards shouted following him out "We're too far out to make it!" he shouted over the sound of explosions "They need more fuel but can't get to heavy!"
Doolittle grabbed Red as he went to board one of the B-17's "Strip everything out of this plane you don't need now!" Red nodded as Doolittle went to the front of the plane and looked up at Rafe "Start Pre-Flight! Let's Go!"
Richards reached out to a passing pilot "Add 10 cans of fuel to each plane, every plan! Each Plane!" he commanded.
Danny walked up on deck holding two painted broomsticks "We got brooms for tail guns" he shouted to Rafe in disbelief.
Rafe couldn't help but chuckle "Yeah, maybe it'll scare em" he stated "Listen, you take care of yourself up there" he said holding out his hand.
Danny shook it with a small smile "Yeah, I will" he said.
"Danny, you be careful, ya hear me?" Rafe said seriously.
"Yeah, I will" he reassured his best friend "I'll see you Rafe."
Within minutes everyone was where they needed to be, Danny sat in the cockpit with Gooz next to him, reaching into his breast pocket of his flight jacket he pulled out a picture of Bonnie and Betty placing it in a visible place would help him draw hope if need be, turning his head to his friend he patted him on his shoulder "you ready?" he asked.
Gooz cleared his throat and nodded slowly "As I'll ever be I guess." Nodding Danny couldn't help but agree, they had five weeks training and personally it didn't feel enough, there were still little aspects of the mission that Danny felt uneasy about but he figured he would still be uneasy even if they had been training for a year, it was now or ever. And although he doubted how much of an effect this raid would actually have in the war he knew it would be good for morale.
Danny watched anxiously as Rafe's plane began to move forward on the runway of the aircraft carrier, quickly gaining speed it approached the end and dipped slightly before gaining height and continued to climb into the air and Danny let out a shaky breath of relief when his best friend made the take off. Seeing his plane's number on the board he nodded and placed his hand on the throttle "Let's do this" they started moving forward "Max Power!" he called and Gooz helped him push the throttle further forward as the hurdled towards the end of the run way, pulling back on his controls Danny's heart began to race "come on" he repeated trying to get his aircraft off the deck, as they reached the end like Rafe's turn they had dipped before gain height, the crew cheered joyously but Danny knew this was probably the easiest part of the day as he flew towards Japan.
Evelyn sat behind her typewriter pretending to type as her eyes were fixed on the operations room on the other side of the room as men rushed in and out, she knew the mission had begun the activity within the room told her that for a fact. Standing up she picked up a few pieces of paper and slowly walked over to the pigeon holes near the room, she was too anxious to what she may hear if she walked any faster but the anticipation was also too much to just stay sat at her desk. Evelyn could honestly say she had never been this nervous, reaching the pigeon holes she looked through the open door, monetarily hearing Danny's voice shout "bombs away" and her heart beat quickened once more, catching eyes with the lieutenant who's life she had saved, her eyes silently pleading for more information but as a Sergeant walked into the room he closed the door and Evelyn fell back against the wall, closing her eyes and placing a hand over her growing stomach. Danny immediately came to her mind, its true she did not love him as she loved Rafe but it was still his child that grew within her and yet he still didn't know, she couldn't bear the thought of never seeing any of them again and she did not want the last words she heard from Danny's lips be "Bombs Away" that would surely haunt her.
Bonnie was sat at a desk finishing up some paperwork for a sailor who had been transferred to a rehabilitation centre back in San Francisco, the poor man had lost both his legs and part of his left arm in the attack, she felt such anguish for the boy of 18, who had previously looked forward to an adventurous life but know was confined to a chair to be constantly cared for till the end of his days. It seemed cruel that a young boy with so much life inside him would now be defined by the chair that he is confined too, she had listened with a heavy many-a-times as her told her stories when he use to go horse riding, climb trees and play baseball with his brothers and then comforted him when he broke down at a life lost.
Dropping her pen she placed her head in her hands and rubbed her throbbing head, nothing about this war was fair, how many young men were going to get maimed, how many families were going to get torn apart, how many children without…. no she refused to think about that. Letting out a small sigh she looked down the dimly lit ward, out of the fifteen beds, seven were still filled.
"Bonnie" one the Doctors spoke walking over to her.
"Dr Richards, what can I do for you?" she smiled politely looking up at the older man, with a small box in his hands.
The Dr sighed and placed a box down in front of her "I've been meaning to give you this, but with it being so busy around here I completely forgot" he explained.
Bonnie raised an eyebrow "oh, thank you" she said as he walked out of the ward. Lifting the lid off her eyes widened, it was the clothes she has been wearing the day of the attack, picking up her blue pencil dress; she saw the dried patches of blood and dropped it immediately. In there were also her heels and a folded up piece of paper, raising an eyebrow she picked it up and unfolded it:
Words cannot describe how lucky I am to have you as my wife, I've loved you ever since high school and you have given me not only years of happily married life but also three amazing children and I cannot thank you enough. If you're reading this, I guess it means I've only got a one way ticket over here. I really wish I could give you all one more kiss but remember god has everything planned out for us and there's no doubt in my mind that we will see each other again, I hope it won't be for a long time, but we will, I promise. Tell the children how much I love them and that I'll check in on them from time to time. I Love you so much baby don't ever forget that.
All my love forever,
A hand flew to her mouth as she remembered being handed this letter by the dying man on the Oklahoma and couldn't believe she had forgotten about it. Standing up she grabbed her jacket off the back of the chair and hurried out of the ward and towards the main reception "Carole, I have to go home can you get Barbara to check my ward?" she asked the receptionist who nodded. Bonnie had to send this letter tonight; the guilt was nearly unbearable for her.
The next morning Bonnie sat on the back steps overlooking the harbor, chewing the end of a pen and occasionally looking down at the blank piece of paper. This could possibly be one of the hardest letters she's ever had to write, having found out that the sailors family lived in Ohio, ruled out any opportunity of her delivering it in person, like she had hoped, so she had wanted to make this letter compassionate and personal, but she honestly had no idea where to start.
Hearing crying coming from inside the house, Bonnie let out a small sigh standing up to walk back into the house, walking upstairs she walked into her room to see Betty bawling her eyes out in her crib, picking her daughter up Bonnie held her close to her chest "there, there my darlin" she cooed placing a kiss on the baby's head.
Wondering over to the window Bonnie looked out, her eyes focussing on a military car driving towards the house and her heart sunk into the pit of her stomach, balancing the baby on her slim hip she wondered down the stairs. Passing Sandra on her way down "Bon what's wrong?" she asked.
"There's a car" she muttered "here take Bee" she said handing her crying daughter over to her friend as she hurried down the stairs, followed closely by Sandra. She tore open the front door and rushed out onto the front porch, the car had come to a stop and she watched the people climb out, first was Evelyn, seeing her tear stained cheeks, her heart sank further as her hand flew to her mouth. Bonnie sank to her knees seeing a preacher and Captain step out "no" she whispered with a shake of her head as the tears fell down her cheek.
Evelyn and the preacher stepped forward, Evelyn sat next to her placing an arm around her a yellow telegram in her hand "you have to open this" she spoke softly placing the piece of paper in her friends hand.
Bonnie stared at it momentarily before her shaking hands fumbled to open it, unfolding the paper she read through blurry eyes, before looking up at the captain "Missing in action? What do you mean?" she asked.
The captain sighed "All the planes either crashed landed or were shot down and at this moment we don't know where your husband is" he explained.
"You are the god damn US Army! How can you not know where he is!" she demanded screwing up the yellow piece of paper throwing it to the ground, standing up she stalked towards the captain "Is my husband dead or alive Captain?" she asked through gritted teeth.
Taking off his hat he sighed lowering his head "I can't tell you for certain but he is presumed dead."
Bonnie's eyes closed as she heard those words, she felt like her whole world was crumbling around her, this wasn't supposed to happen, they were suppose to grow old together in a beautiful little beach house, it wasn't supposed to end like this! Turning to walk back towards the house she leaned against the post for support, feeling as though her legs were about to give way from beneath her "when shall I know for certain?" she asked turning her head back slightly.
"They are due to arrive back next Wednesday, I'm sure your husband's friends shall know more."
Nodding she quietly thanked them and walked back into the house passing her daughter and Sandra, walking up to her room, she collapsed onto her bed as the tears fled down her cheeks.
AN: Wow, well emotional chapter, huh? But let me apologise for not posting this sooner, it has actually been ready for a while, honest to god I have no idea why I didn't post it, hope y'all can forgive me, I promise the next one won't be much longer, I can't leave you hanging can I? But to be perfectly honest I'm not sure how to, or if too end it, I have grown very attached. So I'm letting you guys in on a little secret, I'm planning a sequel!