AN: Hello it's been a long while, but I finally got this chapter out. I don't really know why but this chapter was a pain to write. I'd like to thank all of my faithful readers for putting up with my sporadic updating. Enjoy!
Living Through the Past
Chapter 12: Always Been Around
I had to stop thinking about the what ifs, they'll be the end of me. I took a deep breath looking out across the roads. The base was always filled with activity, even with a lot of the people being deployed. I was terrified about which regiment would go next. Would it be ours? I'd be left here with Ed. Grounded, illegal for a woman to be in combat. Raif, Danny, Gooz, Red, and even the new guy Tommy might would go off, uncertain if they'll be coming back. I hoped with my entire being that they wouldn't be deployed. It was a pipe dream, but it couldn't hurt to hope.
"Sky!" my head whipped to the side at the sound of my voice. Red and Tommy were in Red's car idly in the middle of the street. Red made a come here motion with his head. Wonder what they want. I walked to the car stepping off the curb.
"Hey guys what's up?" I saw Tommy briefly flicker his gaze upwards in confusion. It took all I had not to smile. He wasn't use to my mannerisms yet.
"We need y-you back at the air field." Red stated sounding slightly frazzled by something.
"What happened?" I asked as I vaulted myself into the back seat, using my arms as levers.
"Well, one of Captain McCawley's men was gunna test out one of the planes, when something misfired and it drove straight off the landing strip." Tommy explained to me while Red drove.
"Anyone hurt?" he shook his head. That was good, we were already
loosing people to the war we didn't need an accident on our home turf to kill any of us too. "So what's wrong with the plane?"
"Not a damn clue. It's a bit scuffed up now, but we got no idea why it misfired."
"R-raif told us t-to come get you." Red glanced at me from the rear view mirror.
"Aww, did you guys miss not havin' my genius around?" I grinned cheekily earning a chuckle in return. I could forget for a few seconds what had transpired the night before Raif and I.
It wasn't a very long ride to the hanger. It looked like the guys had managed to get the fitful plane back into the hanger. There were some pretty big tire treads off to the side of the strip making a smile quirk onto my lips. The moment Red got the car to a stop I jumped out of the back seat, ready to get to my mind numbing work. Raif was standing in front of a man I didn't know. He looked a bit scuffed up, must have been the pilot that crashed the plane. I hoped Raif didn't yell at him.
"Earl! Gooz! Find anything wrong with it?" I called to the other more qualified mechanics as I shimmied into my jump suit. Gooz cursed a bit before actually answering me.
"The wiring is screwy." he ducked out from beneath the plane wringing his greasy hands on an already dirty rag.
"No wonder you needed me." I grumbled joining Earl beneath the plane. My hands were smaller then everyone else's, so working the small complicated wires was usually put into my hands. I didn't fumble as much as the guys did.
"Looks like some kind of animal chewed through it." Earl informed me shining a light on the mess of wires. One of them was nearly split in half.
"Who the fuck checked this thing?" I growled loudly, wanting an answer. If the pilot managed to get this thing into the air it was liable to shut off while still in the air.
"I did." Raif's clear voice didn't deter my annoyance.
"How'd you miss that?" I demanded moving out from under the plane. I pinned him with a hard glare. "If that plane got into the air, one of your men would have died. It'd be on you."
"It looked clear when I checked it. There were no problems." he replied with a hard stare of his own, but I could tell he was a bit off kilter by what could have happened. I sighed moving to the tools and spare supplies.
Fixing the wire would take a while, seeing as I had to disconnect it untangle it from the other cords before replacing it. Not to mention I had to be careful about being shocked. Gooz, Earl, and Tommy helped me while I barked out orders. It was strangely empowering knowing that I had people at my beck and call. I worked through the lunch break. I went through an entire check with the plane while I was working as well. Raif never missed things when it dealt the with technical stuff.
When I did finish fixing the plane it was well into the afternoon. Some of the guys were going out for a drink. I decided to join them, because hey, I had nothing better to do. I was avoiding being alone with Raif, and I was still hopelessly in love with Danny. I lived in a house filled with women who didn't understand me. I was the only woman pilot in the air force at the current moment. I was living in the year 1943, and I would be born forty five years later. I had all the reason in the world to drink.
I got home pretty late that night. I wasn't completely drunk, but I was a bit tipsy. I waved goodbye to the guys in the car, Raif being the only sober one enough to drive. When I was in the house I tried my best not to make a sound as I stumbled my way up to my bed. I yawned kicking my shoes off and looking down at my clothes. The need to sleep was far more important then getting them off. I crawled on top of my bed ignoring the blankets and fell into the land of darkness.
The next morning I avoided all contact with Sandra. If there was one person I'd willingly spill the beans to, it would be her. She didn't treat me with the same weary respect the other women did. It was true when people said that women have more intuition then men. They all knew I was different, more then they could comprehend, but still they felt it. Sandra on the other hand treated me like an equal. I couldn't tell her the truth though, not after how Raif reacted to the news.
Work dragged, almost half the base was gone. I knew that soon my friends would be shipped off into the middle of the pacific to fight for the war. I wouldn't be allowed to go, I was just a mechanic, just a woman. I shook my head clearing my thoughts from going down that road. It wouldn't always be like that. Women would get their chances, we still weren't allowed in the front lines, but it was more then just being a nurse.
"Sky, Stop workin' and eat." I glanced over at Earl who was frowning at me chewing on a piece of gum. I sighed wiping my hands on the already oily towel and walked over to the small kitcheny area. I grabbed myself a sandwich and sat with the other guys, listening to their playful banter.
"Still got that headache Tommy?" Gooz jabbed at the newbie, who looked like he wasn't feeling to well. He grunted an reply. I set my sandwich down going over to the waters.
"Here, drink this, and go lay down somewhere I don't need you puking on everything." I handed him the water. Tommy nodded grabbing the water and wondering off.
"Told 'im n-not to take those shots." Red chuckled slightly.
"He'll grow an iron stomach, especially 'round you boys." I retorted with a cheeky grin.
"You out drink me every time!" Gooz said indignantly. I snorted finishing up my sandwich.
I didn't really talk to anyone expect for the guys at the hanger until we had the weekend off. I actually slept in which also meant that there was a line for the shower. I walked into the sitting area that was outside the bathroom. I sat down on the couch half listening to the conversations going on around me. Apparently Barb had a date with a sailor later today, and she had no idea what to wear. They were chatting about clothes, and make up styles something that didn't really interest me.
My shower was quick, seeing as most of the hot water was gone bby the time that I got in. I was in my room, trying and failing on what I wanted to wear. I had to go shopping today for a few feminine items. It was a relief that I didn't need to hide getting tampons and pads. I didn't know whether I wanted to dress more like a woman or a man. My tastes still differed from what was appropriate for a woman to wear in this decade.
"Hey Sky?" Sandra's voice drifted through the closed door.
"yep?" I answered still looking at my drawers.
"Raif's here to see you." her tone was quiet, even more so. My stomach tightened at the thought of having to talk to him. I had half the mind to tell her to him that I wasn't feeling well, but I quickly dismissed that thought. I was an adult, I could face unpleasant situations.
"Okay, tell him I'll be right down." I grabbed a soft yellow dress and slipped it over my head. My hair was growing even more. I brushed it out before slipping on a pair of heels, going panty hoe-less was almost a scandal in these days, but I didn't really care. I glanced at myself in the mirror deeming that I looked fine. Raif looked nervous standing out on the porch. He was dressed in a pair of slacks and a white t-shirt with a light blue button up over it.
"Hey," he greeted with a slight nod.
"Hi, um…" I pursed my lips having no clue what to say to him.
"Want to go on a walk?" he supplied his gaze glancing back at the house, where the girls were most likely listening in. He obviously wanted to talk about me being from the future.
"Sure." I let him take the lead. We stopped walking after a while, he stared out at the clear blue ocean, so many ships had been sent off, the bay looked empty.
"I…I wanted to apologize for how I acted the other night." his shoulders were tense.
"No, I should be the one apologizing. I'm the one that lied the entire time." I said hurriedly. He shouldn't put the blame on himself. "Your actions are justifiable, you trusted me and I broke that trust." I frowned up at him. He still looked troubled by it. "Raif, how you acted is the same way I would have if someone I've known for years suddenly wasn't all they said they were."
"Still, I could have thought more rationally about it. I probably would have done the same thing if I were you, you were just trying to save yourself." he did look at me then, and I knew that he not only believed me but he was okay with it too.
"I'm going to hug you now." I stated throwing my arms around his middle. Raif laughed wrapping his arms around my shoulders. "I was kind of lonely with no one to really talk to this week."
"What are you talking about? You're always chatting it up with the guys." I rolled my eyes at him as I took a step back. He knew what I was talking about. Danny and Him were the first friends I made when I first came here and that meant something important. I'd confided more in him then even Danny.
"Well you already got me out of the house, how about some lunch?"
"You're always so hungry." he muttered with a smile.
"Shut up." I stuck my tongue out at him.
Lunch was fun. Raif had been hard at work with his men, they were getting ready for the war, even more so then normal. No one in our regiment had gotten the notice yet, but it was looming over all our heads. We talked about the base gossip some too, though both of us didn't know much about it. We compared the food to his mom's cooking. I swear that woman had magical powers or something.
"How are you holding up?" I asked as we were walking back to the nurses house. He sighed heavily running a hand through his sandy blonde hair.
"As best as is expected." he finally answered after a moment of silence. "And you?"
"I'm still trying to get use to the fact that they asked me to be R.J.'s god mother." I shook my head in disbelief.
"Why? Other then the obvious reasons, you're perfect for the title." I rolled my eyes as his compliment. "I'm being serious. They know that no matter what you'll be there for R.J. if anything happens to them."
"That's the same reason they chose you." I retorted.
"That's the point Sky, we're reliable." he shook his head at me.
"No, I mean, why would they choose the woman that's in love with Danny? I mean, I'm honored, but it doesn't make sense." I shrugged cracking my back in the process. Raif didn't answer, I don't think there really was an answer to that. We neared the house. "Thanks for lunch." I smiled hugging Raif goodbye.
"We still going to that new movie tomorrow?" he asked with raised eyebrows.
"Duh," I smiled, "Bye Raif." I waved walking up the steps.
Things fell into a peaceful kind of rhythm. I went to work, and spent my free time with Raif, Danny, and Evelyn. It was getting easier and easier to see them together. They were so happy with one another, I couldn't allow myself to come in between that. When the married couple wanted to have a night off R.J. was usually put into mine, Sandra, and Barbara's care. That also meant Raif was over. The little boy was growing bigger every day.
At first I had thought that Raif finding out about me being from the future was a huge mistake, but it turned out to be an okay thing that happened. We were closer now that I didn't have to hide that from him. He also never stopped asking me questions about what the future was like. Sometimes we'd spend hours just talking about what the world would be like in a couple of years to decades in the future. I think something that was the most outrageous to him was the internet. He just didn't really understand it, no matter how much I tried explaining it to him.
I even explained to him what his problem with letters were. He was pretty opened mind to what I had to say. I think Raif just liked knowing that having dyslexia didn't make him stupid. A lot of people had it in the future, and some were extremely successful people. I had no doubt in my mind that a lot of people had it now as well.
It was another somewhat slow day at work. There wasn't much to do today, but it was mandatory that we work, so work we did. The day was unpleasantly humid. My hands kept up a steady sheen of sweat making it hard to handle the tools. I had tied a strip of cloth around my head to keep the sweat away from my eyes. My hair was tied back in a low ponytail. I don't know why I hadn't cut it again, but I was more focused on the bolt I was tightening.
"Hey Sky," I glanced to my side where Tommy was working as well.
"Ya?" I wiped my hands on my dirty jump suit.
"What's hiding your gender like?" he asked honestly. His question left me momentarily stumped, no one had ever really asked me that.
"Um…" I started but trailed off, trying to look for the right words. "Well it's like…" I stopped again. With a huff I tried one more time, "If you're doing it for the right reasons, then you don't really mind pretending to be someone your not, like me hiding the fact I was a girl. But if you're hiding yourself to keep others happy, then I think it'd really suck."
"Oh, that makes sense." I hoped I answered his question. We worked in silence for a little bit longer, until the phone rang. Earl got it.
"Boys!" Earl called all of us to attention. Tommy and I stopped working and got out from under the plane. The other guys in the hanger stopped what they were doing as well. "Pack your bags, we're being shipped out tomorrow morning." I felt a lead weight drop in my stomach. "Sky,"
"Yes?" I knew what he was about to say though. I wasn't going to be going, I'd be staying here. Earl shook his head at me. I nodded. I could feel the guys staring at me, they knew as well. I was a woman, not allowed to fly, or be in combat. I couldn't wait to get back home, I had to talk to Raif.
I knew that I'd find him at Danny and Evelyn's place. Sure enough they were all in the living room. Danny had R.J. in his arms, Evelyn sitting beside him. Raif was on the arm chair, looking at the coffee table. They all looked up when I entered.
"Are you-?" Danny started.
"No," I cut him off already aware of what he was asking. "You're all going, but me." I moved to one of the kitchen chair and sat down.
"Maybe it's for the best, war is no place for a woman." Evelyn said trying to make me feel better. I resisted my urge to snap at her for being so ignorant, but she was just stating what she'd been taught to believe.
"I just wish they would have given us some more warning." Danny murmured looking down at his sleeping son.
"We've known this day was gunna come for months." Raif stated the first thing he's said since I got there. "We lived through the bombing, right? Who's to say it won't be the same now?" he asked, almost challenging us to disagree with what he had to say. In times of trouble Raif had always been the one to take charge. "We'll be gone for a few months then be back before you know it."
"Ya, Your right. Everything'll be fine." Danny gave a small smile to Evelyn.
"Except, Sky won't be there. What if something goes wrong and your both hurt?" Evelyn sniffled. I had half a mind to tell her that I only saved Danny's life before because I knew what was going to happen. I was just as much in the dark about their safety as the rest of them.
"Red'll be there, so will Gooz, and Tommy, Earl too. Raif's right. Everything will be fine." I stated with a confidence I didn't really feel. I was terrified what could happen to them out there. "Evelyn? How about we cook something for dinner?"
The other woman nodded kissing Danny on the cheek before following me into the kitchen. I didn't know what would happen in the months to come, but I could be there for my friends. I kept up idle chatter with her while we prepared dinner. I was trying my best to get her mind off of the fact that her husband was going off to war. If Danny died, she'd be left a widow to raise her son without his father. I had prevented that from happening once, it hurt knowing I wouldn't be able to help this time.
Dinner was quiet, none of us really knew what to talk about. R.J. got a bit fussy after a while becoming the focus of Danny and Evelyn's attentions. Raif and I cleaned up, letting the family have their moment. We worked pretty well as a team of cleaners.
"I'm scared." I murmured quietly as I dried the dishes he was handing to me.
"Don't be, everything will be fine." it sounded like he was stating a mantra, I began to doubt that Raif believed his own words. Still I nodded in agreement with him. There was no point in me arguing with him at the moment. He and Danny would be gone by tomorrow afternoon. I'd be left with an empty hanger, and a bunch of women who thought I was off.
"I think I should head back to the house." I told everyone when Raif and I finished with the dishes. I didn't really have a place here.
"I'll drive you." Raif volunteered. We drove in silence. There wasn't really anything to be said that we didn't already know. When he pulled up to the house I didn't immediately get out. "Come here." he tugged on my wrist pulling me to him. I hugged Raif tightly knowing I couldn't hurt him. "I'll keep him safe."
"You too," I frowned. He nodded. I turned my head into his shirt, relaxing in the comfort of his arms. "Bye Raif." I nearly whispered pulling away, I almost didn't want to let go. He smiled softly at me.
"Goodbye Skyla." I got out of the car and hurriedly made my way to the house. I stopped turning around and waved before heading into the house.
I didn't sleep very well that night. I kept tossing and turning, waking myself up every few hours. I was worried that something bad would happen. I couldn't help but imagine the worst. The ship being bombed, being shot out of the sky, and being taken prisoner. I didn't know what would be worse. I didn't know what would happen. That might be what scared me the most. Since I saved Danny I didn't know whether the ending of the movie would play out. Would Danny die like he was meant to? Would Raif be killed? I don't know what hurt worse to think about.
I decided not to see them off. I didn't want to go through that pain. I was a coward, and I knew it, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to see them get on that ship not knowing if it'll ever come back. I twisted myself further into the covers of the bed. I wished I could stop thinking about it. The pain in my chest hurt worse then I'd ever felt.
I felt like crying, but the tears wouldn't come. Why was I acting this way? I mean, I've seen them go off to war before, but then I had been too. This was the first time that I'd be alone. There was no one from my regiment that would be here, except me. I'd be left here, to do nothing. I wonder how Raif felt when he left to be in the RAF.
The thought of Raif made my stomach flip uneasily. I frowned slightly, why was the thought of Raif not being here absolutely terrifying? When did I start to rely so heavily on his presence? I curled tighter into a ball on my bed. He'd been there from the start. When I first appeared, when I started feeling for Danny, when I had broken down, and even knowing my secret. He was still there for me. Last night…I didn't want to let him go. I didn't want him to go. I wanted to stay in his arms. I practically hurled myself out of bed nearly tripping over the blankets as they tangled around my legs.
"How could I be so stupid!" I muttered to myself shoving the blankets off my legs. I had to get to the ship before it left. I couldn't let another door close. I ran down the stairs as fast as I dared. The moment my feet hit more solid ground I dashed out the front door barely noticing that Barbra was in the kitchen.
He'd been there the entire time. He'd never left, he was always there for me. He helped me forget the pain of loving Danny. He made me laugh when I felt like crap. He wallowed in misery with me. He made me feel like tomorrow could be a better day. God I was so stupid.
I pushed myself to run faster. They weren't schedule to leave until 8:30, maybe I would get there before he boarded. I had to. The air burned my lungs as I took large breaths. I knew what ship they were taking. I knew where it was. As I neared the area I could see Evelyn, Danny, and Raif. He was walking away.
"Raif!" I yelled my feet slapping the pavement as I ran towards him. I passed Evelyn and Danny without a glance. Raif himself turned around, and I jumped into his arms. I didn't even think, I just kissed him firmly on the mouth. His arms that were encircling my waist, holding me up, tightened. When I broke the kiss I looked him straight in the eyes. "Come back to me alright?" I asked panting slightly. A dazzling smile broke out on his face.
"You know I will." and he kissed me again, this time with less urgency then the first time. Afterward he slowly set me down, I could feel the reluctance in him. I smiled up at him, getting a smile in return. Someone from the ship shouted it was time to leave. Raif glanced backwards before looking back down at me. His eyes clouded with emotion.
"Just be safe okay?" I hugged him tight around the waist, and felt him lightly kiss the top of my head. I pulled away and pushed him towards the ship. "Now go be a soldier." he laughed nodded and grabbed his bag he had dropped in order to catch me and walked away.
While I was walking back I nodded to Danny. He gave me a soft smile and a wave. I stopped when I was beside Evelyn. In her arms was four month old R.J.. She was tearing up but keeping them at bay. I guess watching the man she loved go off to war was a lot on her. I barely came to the conclusion of loving Raif about seven minutes ago. Gods I was so oblivious.
"Hey Sky?" I looked over at her to see her looking me over.
"Yes?" I asked with a slightly suspicious feeling.
"You realize your in the shortest night gown ever seen right?" I blinked and looked down at my attire. I had forgotten I was in my improvised nighty. I checked around me, and sure enough everyone was staring. Crossing my arms I pursed my lips.
"Well…I can explain that." Evelyn laughed at me, probably because my face felt like it was on fire. We watched the ship sail away. Going off into the war. At the very moment I despised being found out as a woman.