Author's Note: I thank you all for your continued support and your reviews. I hope you enjoy please forgive any mistakes, I write a lot of words and they can all blur together when I try to edit and so I may be prone to miss something. Please review.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters.
It was early the next morning when Sam climbed back out of Mercedes' window and ran through the courtyard, up the stairs, and onto the road. He was elated, his body felt like he had been struck by lightning; he could feel every cell in his body vibrating. He felt so alive, vibrant, happy, and excited. He could feel that his hands were actually shaking and he took a leap into the air and clicked his heels together as he gave out a small "Yahoo!"
He found himself not walking anymore but running and laughing, going nowhere in particular but hopeful about everywhere and everything from this moment on. He should have been hungry; but he wasn't because love had been sustaining him and he felt completely full on that. He wanted to get something for her. He looked around at several small shop windows; although only a few of them were starting to open, it was extremely early, and the roads where practically empty compared to the tourist trap he had just experienced the day before.
Then as he walked up an incline he happened upon this one shop, it had just opened, and he saw something in the window that he thought would be perfect. "Ma'am?" He spoke to the shopkeeper, "May I have a look at that please?" as he pointed to a small bracelet that was hanging on a hook. "That sure is pretty; I ain't never seen nothing like it. What's it called?" He asked. The shopkeeper spoke as she brought the bracelet down off of the hook and placed it in Sam's hand. "This is a Kukui nut bracelet it is made from nuts that can be found on the island; it is a symbol for wisdom, protection and peace." Sam listened and pondered "Protection and peace? Ma'am I'd like to have it please." He said. She nodded her head and began to wrap a thin piece of paper around it and place it in a bag. Once Sam had paid for it and walked back outside he saw the sun shining and realized that while standing on this incline, and from this vantage point, he could see his ship off in the distance docked at port. Her turrets big and strong had been extended out toward the sky. Sam could not believe it "His two favorite girls were in the same port." He thought.
He quickly surveyed the area and the ship trying to assess what side of the ship that he'd need to be on to look toward Mercedes home. Many nights to come, he imagined that, he would be standing on the deck staring toward her direction and wondering what she was doing, and how she was spending her time. Sharing the same night sky and just knowing that she would be this close, and loving him; it was like a dream come true.
Then he saw her coming toward him from a distance, as he watched a smile form on her face; he was returning the favor when he felt a heavy hand smack him on his back. "Seaman Sam! What are you doing here? I thought you went back to the ship?" He heard Joseph's voice speak as he came along on the right side of Sam. Sam immediately resented his presence but quickly tried to come up with something to say. "Yeah, uh since I missed out on such a good time last night I wanted to start early this mornin' try to see some of this place before next month." Sam spoke, but by now, he was becoming surrounded by the others, all still dressed in their Navy whites, who had come off the ship with him earlier yesterday morning. Joseph spoke again. "Hey look – Ace, Richard, Buddy, everybody its Sam he is back!" Sam was met with cheers and chatter. "You missed a hell of a time-last night- a hell of a time." They all laughed as they smacked each other on the back and jockeyed for attention. Sam's eyes immediately looked in the direction of where he had seen Mercedes coming from and, as he saw her still approaching; he noticed the smile was now gone from her face.
The crowd of sailors brought a lot of noise with them on this early morning road and Mercedes could tell that these men must have known Sam. Her heart broke but she knew that there was only one thing left for her to do. As she reached the crowd she simply just walked on by. Sam's eyes were trained on her passing even though he tried to lower his head a little so that the fellas didn't notice; but Buddy screamed out. "Hey, isn't that the darky that sang at Jade last night!" Joseph whipped around and caught a glimpse of Mercedes as she was walking by, then he quickly grabbed her arm and stopped her passing. "Excuse me, miss." He said. As all the men in the group began whisperin' and snickerin'. Sam's heart sank. "C'mon, Joseph" He quickly spoke up "Let's leave her 'lone now." Sam said as he pulled on Joseph's arm to get him to let her go. "Just a minute Sam, just a minute." Joseph responded as he detached from Sam's grip. Joseph then immediately snatched off his hat and directed his attention to Mercedes. "Miss, I am sorry but my friends and I would like to know- where you that lovely songbird singing at Jade last night?" The gang continued to whisper and snicker as they looked her up and down.
Mercedes did not know what to think about this interaction and she felt for Sam and for the helplessness that she could only imagine he felt at this moment. She looked at Joseph directly in the eyes and said "Yes, I am a singer at Jade." Buddy then shouted out. "I knew it! Ha ha guys, I knew it!" Then Ace chimed in "How did they let you perform, in there, with all 'dem dare white patrons; huh girl?" Mercedes immediately commented "I reckon they was just showin' me a kindness, sir." Sam immediately turned around to face the fellas "Guy's c'mon now, enough, I already missed last night; why don't we get out of here and see this town." He said speaking animatedly while trying to deflect the attention from Mercedes. "Sam just give me a minute." Joseph said. "I just wanted to say that you have a lovely voice." Joseph said. "Miss…" (Sam said) "Please forgive my friends for distubin' you while you were on your travels this mornin'. Please allow me to give you this token ma'am for your troubles; and for that fine performance last night." Sam stretched out his hand that had been holding the small bag and presented it to her.
She looked at him and said "I don't know if I should." To which Sam quickly countered "Please ma'am I insist." He placed the bag inside the palm of her hand. Mercedes nodded and spoke one final time. "Gentleman" was all she said and then she began to continue her journey down the road. "Did you just give some colored gal a gift? Sam, what is wrong with you?" Richard spoke up as he grabbed Sam in a headlock, snatched off his hat and proceeded to tussle his hair. Then Richard let him go. Sam grabbed his hat back and spoke again. "I had to; it was the right thing to do, after y'all done accosted her in the street." "What did you give her anyway?" Joseph asked. "It was just a small bracelet that I bought for my ma. I will get my ma something else later; that's all." Sam said. Sam then breathed a small sigh of relief as the guys started to continue on their journey with him in tow; but in his heart, he was devastated that his final day on shore with Mercedes had been ruined. He knew she was worth all of it, but this is when he realized that this was not going to be easy-not at all.
Three days had already passed and Sam had waited anxiously every day for the delivery of mail. He spent so much of his time daydreaming and focusing on the glorious night that they had spent together. Sam had been working on helping with the modernization of the engine parts as well as learning the proper procedures to be carried out for their next mission. He had been informed that the ship would be a part of a large scale military training operation off of the Hawaiian Islands called "Fleet Problem XXI." It was an exciting time for the crew but as excited as he was about this new adventure; it was the thoughts that he had about Mercedes that truly warmed his heart.
"Mail Call!" He heard the petty officer call out. Sam was up within a moment and was the first person lined up in the face of the petty officer. "Seaman Sam, this is becoming a habit I see." The petty officer said. "Are you waiting for some vital information? Did you have a rich uncle die or something?" The petty officer quipped. "Not at all sir!" Sam shook his head. "Just looking forward to the mail that's all, sir." Sam said. "Well you're in luck to day seaman." He handed Sam an envelope. "Thank you, sir." Sam took the envelope from his hand and proceeded to his barracks to read the letter, just as he had hoped it was from Mercedes he knew her handwriting anywhere after all those years of going to school together. Cherishing just the fact that she had held the envelope in her hands; he raced up the ladder to his top bunk and opened up the letter; and he read its contents; "O" was all that was written on it. Sam eagerly flipped the note paper over to read the opposite side but there was nothing there.
"What's this?" He thought. Sam was confused and a little hurt. "Was she mad at him? Could it have been because of what happened with the guys on their last day together?" He had hoped that she had understood what he had to do under those circumstances. He looked at the envelope and it was mailed yesterday. He was at least happy about the fact that they could get messages to each other in real time -almost. The smell of her perfume wafted from the page. "Even if she was mad-at least she still sent something that was a good sign he hoped."
The next day another envelope came for Sam the contents being; "A". The day after he received an "L", and the day after that is was a "V". Sam was becoming frustrated and hurt but he couldn't write back to her yet because she had never given him an address and she hadn't placed one on any of the envelopes that she had sent to him. On the eleventh day he received an "S". That was it! He just didn't understand her at all. If she really understood what he had felt for her, she would never play with his affections in this way.
He took this "so called" letter and began to place it under the mattress along with the others when a spring got caught on the mattress and Sam needed to use extra force to free it. Once he had all of the papers flew down and on the floor of the barracks. As he flipped the pages over, letter side up, he noticed that when you placed a few of them together they started to spell a word. He started rearranging the sheets of paper and then he finally saw it. It read "I love you Sam". He could not contain the smile that formed on his face. He felt like such a fool for doubting her. He ached to see her but he still had at least two more weeks. As he picked up the papers and their envelopes he finally noticed that on the back of this last envelope her address was written on it.
Sam immediately hid the letters and climbed back up on his bunk and began to write one in return.
'You have no idea how long I have waited to speak to you, and to really hear your words speak to me. I am sorry I didn't understand before what you were doing but I finally read and understood your letters. I thought you may have been angry at me about our last day that we should have spent together. But now I see that I was just crazy to doubt you. You make me so happy.
I have shore leave again in another two weeks I can disembark from the ship that Friday at 4pm sharp. Remember to leave the window open. Please reply with a letter once you have received this. I want to know how and what you have been doing to pass the time. I am hoping though, that you have spent most of the time thinking about me as much as I have been thinking about you.' 'I love you.'
He wrote. Within two days he received another letter.
'You should know by now that I could never really stay mad at you for long even if I wanted to be. I was not mad, just sad and disappointed that's all. I am glad to know that you are safe. I cannot wait until I get to see you again. I miss you. Please remember as these two weeks go by that you take my love with you into each new day.
And as for the way I spend my time? It is the same way that I have spent it before seeing you again; sewing an' a singing; and always wondering and thinking about you." "Nothing has changed; you are still always on my mind and close to my heart.' 'I love you too.'
The next two weeks were hard but time moved quickly and Sam felt it must have been due to all the time that he just sat willing it to do so. He had one more hour and he would be off of this ship and in the arms of the woman he loved. "Seaman Sam" Joseph called. "So are we painting the town tonight?" He asked with a look of anticipation on his face. Sam needed to find a way to work this out. He had to come up with something , so that his time was not expected to be spent with the fellas-every time that he left for shore, it was time he had a heart to heart with Joseph.
"I have to tell you something." Sam said as he called Joseph to the far side of the empty deck. Sam had spent many days over this last month looking over this railing and in the directions of Mercedes roomin' house; wondering how he could bridge the gap between the Navy and her. "What's up?" Joseph asked as he took a cigarette, lit it, and took a puff. "I can't hang out with you guys on shore." Sam said. Joseph looked puzzled. "Why not?" Had been Joseph's only response. "I met a girl the last time I was here and we are going to meet up tonight." "Sam Evans you sly dog! I thought you said you were sick the last time you were here." Joseph countered. "We met before that." Sam said. "Well don't be shy, bring her along, unless you feel she will forget about you once she sees my ruggedly, handsome good looks." Joseph began stroking his chin and grinning in a Cary Grant kind of way. "I'm terrified, stop kidding, I really like her and I just want to see where this goes-so, can you keep the guys off my back if I want to go to shore on my own for a while." Sam asked. "I suppose, we don't need you around to have a good time anyway." "I am glad you know it too". Sam laughed and spoke again. "Thanks again." Then Sam walked away all ready to spend time with his girl.
The next seven months was filled with love and laughter and planning for the future. Sam was always good at saving money and he had been saving most of his pay for the last four and a half years. He fully expected that within the next year or so he would have enough saved to buy them a house somewhere; the only problem would be where they could go. America's attitude toward coloreds seemed to be getting worse not better according some of the things he would see on the newsreels that where played for them on the ship. If they were willing to leave America, all together, they may be able to move to Paris. They seemed to be kinder to their colored folks over there than anywhere else; but he didn't know what Mercedes would think about that.
But Sam had to figure something out, they had already had a few close calls with some drunken Army brats who happened to see them walkin' together in the middle of the night. Once it was dark and they had been holding hands, as they were walking to the incline were they almost met before, he wanted to show Mercedes the ship "while it was a lit up at night", and all of a sudden there they were; three of 'em.
"I must be really drunk!" Sam recalled one of them crying out "….because it looks like that white man is holdin' on to that nigger's hand! " He shouted. Sam hated hearing that word and it was started to be shouted out more and more lately. He remembered how immediately Mercedes attempted to let go of his hand; but at that moment Sam had refused to do it. He was tired of feeling like he had to hide her or apologize for being happy. But, because she didn't want Sam to have to deal with another conflict on account of her, she immediately stopped walking, which stopped him as well, and flipped his hand over and pretended to be writing directions in his hand with her pointer finger. She began to speak loudly "Sir, you should just walk straight down here down the road, and then make a right sir." Then she quickly dropped his hand.
"Hey, Nigger! You don't never grab no white man's hand, you hear me!" The man from the Army shouted again. She looked at him and just shook her head in submission. That was the last straw; Sam was not willing to have her do this. He was fully prepared to take the brunt of the ridicule for their relationship but what he noticed, more and more, was that any ire there had ever been- had been directed toward her and not to him. Sam's chest swelled up and he turned to the three men who had been walking up behind them.
"I don't recall invitin' you into my business." Sam replied. "Look- you Navy clowns may not know how it is done, because you guys are in the water all the time, but on land a nigger needs to know her place. " The Army man spoke again.
Sam had already gone over with Mercedes what she was to do if something bad was about to happen while they were together. He told her on several different occasions as they spent time together in the courtyard or in her room that she was to immediately come back to the boardin' house and wait for him. He re-assured her, all the time, that he would always come to her.
Sam glanced quickly at her to put that plan in motion and she began slowly backing up. "Well I say that her place is with me and I suggest that you stay out of it." Sam said as he advanced toward them in an attempt to get them not to notice Mercedes retreat. "David" One of the other men spoke up. "How do you know maybe he owns her; we got no right tellin' a white man what to do with his own property." His facial expression had been dripping with disdain, only matching the level in which his snide remark had been made. Sam walked over to the man and struck the first blow. Mercedes covered her mouth to muffle the scream as she saw the three men attempt to fight Sam.
Sam grabbed one from behind and punched him in his side and he crumbled to the floor. He then ducked and oncoming blow and upon rising he punched the man in the breadbasket and he also dropped straight to the floor. The last man tried to take a running swing at Sam, who lowered his body and, grabbed the man by his legs and flipped him entirely over his own (Sam's) body and onto the ground; and it was done. The three men were left lying and moaning on the street as Sam deeply breathed in and out and slowly walked in the direction of the roomin' house. Mercedes who was supposed to have been there as soon as the trouble started in reality had just arrived seconds before Sam climbed in through her open window.
She ran and pulled him close to her. "Are you alright?" She asked. "I'm fine... and you?" He said as he felt her pull away from him "Sam, I'm angry! What were you doing?! You could have gotten hurt!" She bickered. Sam was surprised by her reaction. "I was standing up for the woman I love, that is what I was doing." He answered. "Sam you know that you can't do that!" She spoke again. "I am not going have you walk around any longer taking the brunt of all the hate. You don't deserve that! I initiated this relationship and I want others to know it too!" He grabbed her arms as he spoke. "Sam I don't mind… (She then continued) … I knew what this was gonna' be like when we started this. I told you then that I would be willing." She said. "Well I am not willing! " Sam said. His frustration was now boiling over. "I didn't know!" He shouted. "I didn't realize how the woman that I loved would be forced to cower before these jerks- who don't even deserve to utter your name!" He raised his voice again. "I had no idea of the jealousy that I would feel when my shipmates begin showing off pictures of their girlfriends and I have to hide yours; because, the truth is, you are more beautiful than any of them!" "And, I hate how powerless I feel-but just now-standing up to those jerks, I felt powerful again; like I finally could deserve you." He said as he pulled her into his arms and whispered into her ear. "I love you, Mercedes and I want you to be my wife, but I don't deserve you, if I can't protect you." Mercedes held on to Sam as tightly as she could she spoke to him as tenderly as she could "Sam, love- you don't deserve me." Sam's heart sank and tears began to form in his eyes. "You don't deserve me (She continued) because I am not your reward Sam. I am your destiny. We could never deserve each other-we are just meant to be grateful to have each other; that's all. Sam's pain began to recede into gratitude. "And, I would absolutely love to be your wife." She said.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading and please review. Anna