Author's Note: Sorry it took so long for the new update. I think it was the shock and awe of all of the Glee goodness that threw me off my game. I didn't have to fantasize anymore because it was all canon and real on my TV and computer screen. I am so grateful for the writers that are finally taking Sam and Mercedes storyline seriously. I am a firm believer that- if you are going to write, then always, take your own story seriously; but I suppose that was my own little soapbox I just stepped up on. The two songs in this chapter were originally sung by Billie Holiday titled "The Very Thought of You" and "The Man I Love." Please forgive any mistakes.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters.
Sam had not been back on the ship for a week before he was bombarded by Ace and his bragging about his fiancée at home and all the baked goods she would send him every month. He actually became the best friend of almost everyone on board as long as he was willing to share any of those sweet morsels that she had sent. Sam didn't really care for the food but he would admit he was jealous of how Ace was allowed to bring up his girl and there would never been any problem associated with it. Sam was feeling kind of resentful when he finally received a letter from his wife- Mercedes.
How are you? I love and miss you and hope you are well. It is a sad time 'round here. The owner of the boardin' house has passed. It seems she left the boardin' house to her niece Sandra; ceptin' she is not allowed to do anything with it until she is 20; accordin' to her final will. They are closin' the boardin house up until she can come back then and claim it. We are all gonna be leavin' by the end of next week. I will write to you as soon as I can.
I love you,
"One week?" Sam felt this sinking feeling in his heart. Was their some sort of conspiracy going on against him? Why did he and Mercy always have to be separated? He was frustrated, but he had to pull it together, he had to figure out what would be his next move. He needed to talk. He needed to talk to Joseph. It wasn't easy to get time alone when you shared a barracks with 13 other individuals but tonight was movie night on board and maybe he could get him to stay back with him and talk; he knew that together they should be able to come up something. He hoped.
It was 7:35 pm when Buddy stuck his head in the barracks and told everyone there that the movie was going to start at 8:00pm on the dot; newsreels, serials, and all; and they all had better hustle if they wanted to get good seats. Sam pondered how the right sort of words strung together could empty out a room so quickly when he noticed the wave of white uniforms came running past his bunk, being up high, he could see all the tops of their heads and their hats, heading out of the door. Sam then called out Joseph's name before he allowed Joseph to get caught up in the departing crowd.
When the barracks emptied out Sam attempted to bring Joseph up to speed. "Joseph, I got a letter from Mercy today and she told me that Sandra's aunt died; she owned the boardin' house." Sam said. "I know, I know, tough break isn't it?" Joseph responded. Sam was puzzled. "How did you know?" "Because Sandra wrote and told me." Joseph said. "Sandra wrote to you?" Sam asked; surprised. "She's a nice kid and she's up for anything; I kind of like that about her." Joseph continued. "Joe, that means that Mercedes will be leavin' in a weeks' time. What am I gonna do?" Sam asked. "Sam, you are going to deal with it." Joseph whispered but his voice became slightly hardened; but he continued. "Do you have any idea of what you've done? You married a colored girl! Do you know how crazy that is? And yet you went on ahead and you did it." Sam then interrupted him. "Well you know what? I happen to love that colored girl, probably always have, we have history with each other, and we grew up together. That's a lot more then I can say for some marriages." Sam defended himself. "You need to face the facts; you are not going to be able to have a regular marriage like everyone else—so you might as well get used to it- right now." Joseph shouted.
Joseph felt himself becoming upset, because he felt that Sam did not think this through; or see clearly, enough, the danger in his decision; but then he calmed himself down and spoke again attempting a last ditch effort for Sam to see reason. "Sam, you married her and- I assumed- you got what you wanted right? I mean- the weddin' night and all." Joseph's tone became somewhat hushed; then he continued. "Isn't' it out of your system by now? Can't you just, you know, move on? If you found yourself some nice white gal right now- no one would be the wiser-I promise; I wouldn't tell a soul. You could start over and get married again with no one even havin' to know." Joseph said. Sam looked disappointedly at Joseph. "I would know and Mercedes would too." Sam said. Joseph just lowered his head and shook it. "I thought you understood me Joseph; I told you that I loved her, she means everything to me. I would never do that to her; or to myself." Joseph watched Sam for about a minute but then he walked over and patted Sam on the shoulder. "You've got it bad Sam." He stated. "But, I said I would help you and I meant it; so don't worry we will try to figure something out and if we can't then I will be here to listen anytime you need me." Joseph then extended his hand to shake Sam's hand and Sam shook it.
What they did not realize was that Ace, who had come back to sneak some treats for the other sailors to have during movie night, had been standing outside of the door to the barracks and had heard every single word.
Ten months had gone by and the end of 1940 had come and gone six months ago. The end of another year was rapidly approaching. Sam had still had his monthly shore leaves but it was so empty for him. He would try to hang out with his shipmates but he would slip away each time just to go by the boardin' house. It had wooden planks now covering the windows and when he walked around back, to visit their courtyard; it was now filled with even more overgrowth than it had before. That did not stop him though from just standing there and thinking back; he would think back to happier times and times of connectedness. He had even ripped down the boards which had covered her window and cracked it open just so that he could pretend that sometimes she would be there.
But she wasn't and the sad part was that for the first four months it was hard to pin her down; she would write to him but she would have to inform him not to attempt to write back because she would be leaving again to someplace new before his letter could arrive. If it wasn't for the fact that she had now had the songs that she sung playing on the radio; he doesn't think he ever would have survived.
He was having a hard time on the ship now though, especially from Ace, who kept commenting on why Sam's transistor radio had always seemed to be on those "Nigger" stations. Sam didn't know what problem Ace had with him all of a sudden but he had become really crass over these last ten months. "It is as if he is deliberately trying to pick a fight with me." Sam thought. "I have approached him several times to find out 'what gives?' only to have Ace walk away with a disgusted look on his face and no answer in sight." Sam continued contemplating.
Sam looked down at his watch, said his goodbyes, and then headed back up out of the courtyard and went back to the ship. When he entered the barracks this time there was no one there. Sam started liking solitude more and more. He would reach under his mattress and re-read some of the letters that she had sent him.
I am so sorry that I can't stay in one place long enough to hear from you. It makes it difficult to write when I don't know what you are feelin' about things. I wanted to tell you that I've been to my first recordin' studio and I have my voice on a record now! These men say that they will have me on the radio soon. When you hear me, please, know that I am lovin' you with every single note. I miss you.
Sam was so proud of his wife. She had become everything her father had desired for her. He knew that they were apart but he had still hoped, at least; for now, with this major development in her life that she would be happy. As Sam lay on his bed he pulled his small transistor radio off of his shelf and started scanning for the so called "Negro" stations to see if he could hear her voice again. He finally heard one station although the reception was pretty lousy and it had mostly been filled with static but he heard her; and her voice was making everything alright.
The very thought of you
And I forget to do
Those little ordinary things
That everyone ought to do
I'm livin' in a kind of daydream
I'm happy as a queen
And foolish though it may seem
To me that's everything
The mere idea of you
The longing here for you
You'll never know
How slow the moments go
Till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you,
The very thought of you, my love
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love
As Sam was cherishing her voice, those lyrics, and this moment in his heart; Ace entered the barracks slowly clapping. "Well, well, well that was the same darky that sang in 'Jade' wasn't it?" I thought that voice sounded familiar I just couldn't place it until just then. I suppose that nigger is movin' up in the world huh? Her bein' on the radio and all." Ace said. Sam turned off the radio and put it back on his shelf. "I notice you've been listenin' to those Negro stations more and more. What's the matter white folk's music ain't good enough for you no more?" Ace continued. "What do you want from me Ace?" Sam spat. Ace looked around and then he walked up to Sam's bunk and said. "I want to know why you would defile yourself by marryin' a nigger!" Ace's words reeked of hatred and scorn. Sam was shocked to hear what Ace just said but he was angered even more. "Tell me Sammy? How could you betray your own kind like that? I've been racking my brain to know for months and months now- why you would pretend to be a patriot, and join the Navy, and say that you would fight for your country and yet destroy it from the inside like this by mingling the races?" Ace said.
Sam jumped down off of his bunk and walked right up to Ace. Sam spoke through gritted teeth "I don't see how anything I do is any of your business!" Sam was too angry even to be worried about the outcome of Ace knowing, at this point, but he was not going to stand for anything Ace had to say. "Tell me Sammy, when you actually kiss her, (Ace looked around as if to see if anyone was watching) does all that darkness make her taste bitter?" Ace started to chuckle. Sam then reared back and struck Ace right in the jaw. The two of them began fighting and tussling around in the barracks making a mess of each other as well as damaging the property of some of their shipmates. Sam beat Ace so badly around his face and head that Sam actually broke his own hand in the process. The petty officer who had been making rounds heard the scuffle going on from the hallway, entered the room, and began prying Sam off of Ace who was now lying on the floor with Sam straddling him.
Ace lay on the ground coughin' up blood when he blurted out "He is married to a nigger; to a nigger!" Ace coughed and spat the blood in his mouth onto the floor. "He needs to be arrested! He's breakin' the law!" He said as he continued to cough up more blood. The petty officer who was holding on to Sam by the arm looked at Sam in disbelief as Sam began lunging again at Ace only for the petty officer to restrain him. "Ace, can you walk?" The petty officer asked. Ace attempted to stand but wobbled and fell again. "Ace, can you stand? " He asked again. Ace attempted for the second time and then stood up on to his feet. "I need you to report to medical, now." The petty officer said. Once Ace staggered to the door and down the hall; the petty officer looked at Sam. "Seaman Sam? Are these accusations that have been brought against you true?" The Petty officer questioned. Sam did not answer. "ARE THEY TRUE?!" He yelled as he requested an answer again. Sam looked him dead in the eyes and spoke, loudly, clearly, deliberately when he said… "YES Sir, it's true!" The petty officer's face displayed such horror and disbelief; but he had to compose himself, as he led Sam from the barracks to the Brig.
It was now December 6, 1941 and Sam had been in the Brig since June he was unable to leave, send or receive any mail and he had been desperately missing Mercedes. He figured that they had searched his bunk and footlocker by now, so they had probably found her letters and the certificate of marriage which he had hidden there. He also had not even heard from Joseph, he could not tell if Joseph had spoken up or had just pretended not to know anything. It was only that afternoon did he finally have an actual visitor and it was a military appointed lawyer who had to come in from California to deal with his case.
"Mr. Evans I am your legal counsel in this matter, LT. Scott Dorn." The man said. Sam raises his hand and salutes and then responds to Lt. Dorn's motion to sit down. The man proceeds then to shuffle around a stack of papers in a folder and then finds something of interest that allows him to pause and re-read the documentation. "As it stands I have investigated this issue and it seems to me that you have been falsely accused of the breaking of the Anti-miscegenation law and the indictment may be thrown out on three possible counts; but it could also be upheld because -I do have a witness that says that you confessed? He spoke with a questioning tone. Sam did not understand what this man was saying. "How could he say that he was falsely accused?" He thought. "Now, number one, I can argue that during the moments right after an altercation that you were not in your right mind, when questioned, and may have just answered in haste; if argued properly I may be able to have the confession thrown out." "I don't….." Sam started. Lt. Dorn forbade him to speak by raising his hand. "It would be in the best interest of all of us involved -if -I did all the talking." Lt. Dorn replied. "I attempted to track down this woman in California at the last dated address from your correspondence and turned up nothing." He stated. It worried Sam that he didn't know where Mercy was or when the last time she may have written him. He hoped that she hadn't settled down somewhere and thought that he just wasn't writing back to her.
"Number two, I also have two witnesses who will come forward and testify that the wedding certificate was actually falsified as part of some pranks which had occurred that evening; a - Seaman Joseph Barnes and a Miss Sandra Kelly." Sam stiffened a little and didn't know what to do; if he were willing to keep his mouth shut, this would all go away. The only problem was that he would have to deny Mercedes in the process and he was becoming real tired of doing that; and so he decided that he wasn't going to do that anymore- no matter what consequences may come. "That is not true, it was not a prank I did marry her; I love her." Sam spoke up. It was at that moment Lt. Dorn put down his piece of paper and placed it back into the folder. "I thought I told you Seaman Sam that it was better for you not to speak." He chided. "I am not goin' to deny my wife anymore, not to the military, not to the government, and not to you." Sam said defiantly.
Lt. Dorn rolled his eyes and then put the folder away and replaced it with another one. "Is that your final say on this matter?" Lt. Dorn questioned Sam. "Irrefutable, Sir." Sam responded. "Then I need you to sign here (and he then flipped to another page in the multi-page document) and here on this document. " Sam glanced at the paper set before him. "Do I have time to read it sir? " Sam asked. "There's no need Seaman. The third option that I could rely on to get your case dismissed was the fact that there are no anti-miscegenation laws in the territory of Hawaii. Even if you did marry this woman, here- in Hawaii, it is not illegal." Lt. Dorn said as he handed Sam a pen. "What?!" Sam said. "That's right, you did not break the law- not here anyway; but allow me to give you some legal counsel. I suggest you stay in the territory of Hawaii because if you try to move anywhere else with that bride of yours- it will be considered a crime- and you both will be arrested and charged. You may not have committed a crime in Hawaii, but understand- this is considered a crime in poll of public opinion and that will last a lot longer than a jail term. "Lt. Dorn pointed where Sam was to sign and then he requested that the guard release him and send him back to his barracks.
Once Sam had returned the first person who had been their waiting for him was Joseph; who gave him a big hug. "You lost weight; did you go on a hunger strike in there?" Joseph asked. "I guess I just couldn't get the seconds that I am used too." Sam smiled. "Joseph, where's Ace?" Sam asked. "Now, don't worry about him. He got all riled up about not wanting to be in the barracks with a race mixer and so he got a transfer to another ship; a couple of the other guys left too." Joseph added. Sam felt disgusted by these men and their choice to leave over something like that but, he knew there would still be some sort of fallout. "So everyone on board knows now, huh?" Sam questioned. "Yeah, pretty much but, hey look at it this way-at least now we have more room here in the barracks to spread out." Joseph smiled. "Oh, I tried to save your things for you." Joseph said as he handed him his transistor radio, his letters, and some other odds and ends. "Thanks, Joseph do you still speak to Sandra?" Sam asked. "Funny you should mention that, we are engaged." Joseph smirked.
"What did you just say? I must not be hearing correctly after all that time in the Brig." Sam said. "We are engaged, smartass." Joseph quipped. "We have been meeting when I come to shore and things- well let's just say that they have progressed; if you get my meaning. I kept telling her about Illinois and she wants to see it with me; so we are getting married, settling down and even thinking about starting a family." He added. "What about your military career? It would have been nice to have one, if I weren't trying to settle down, but I have a family business that I could go back to- the lumber business." He said.
Sam's mind started running a mile a minute. "Joseph, if it is alright with you, I'd like to buy the boardin house from Sandra." Sam said. "I have been savin' up for a place and if you are not goin' stay here. I'd like to take it off your hands." Sam explained. Joseph just shrugged "I'll talk to her about it-oh- Sam, I want you to know that I told Sandra everything about -what happened that night; she knows. But, she also knows that you are my friend and that I promised to help you; she won't say anything, as a matter of fact-he chuckled-she thought you were smart and romantic about the whole thing." Sam just nodded, "I want to thank you for what you two tried to do for me with the lawyer; but it's alright. I didn't break any laws, not here in Hawaii anyway; so this is where we are going to stay when it's all said and done; and I'd like it to be at the boardin' house if she will let me have it. As a matter of fact; when is the next shore leave? There is something that I need to do over there." Sam replied. "Well, this is our weekend for leave you are free and clear so you have permission to leave the ship. I'll even go with you and buy you a drink at 'Jade' for old times' sake." Joseph grabbed onto his shoulder and lead him out of the barracks.
Joseph watches curiously from the courtyard, he knows that they have had quite a bit to drink but this seemed strange even for him; and the explanation that Sam provides isn't much better; but what he could say it was his buddy Sam. It was almost 2:00am when they go back to the boat. "All the time?" Joseph whispered to Sam. "All the time." He assured. "It means a lot…" Sam said as he drifted off to sleep holding his transistor radio in his hand.
Sam awoke to a fierce shaking underneath him; the rattle went through his whole body. He shot up in his bunk. His head hurt and as he tried to focus his eyes on what was around him he felt another fierce tremor followed by a deafening sound. The entire ship rose upward and motioned downward. Joseph immediately jumped from his bunk and asked "What was that?" Only to be answered by screams from other sailors passing their door requiring all hands to battle positions. The sound of rapid fire piercing the metal of the ship helped them to recognize the unrecognizable. As they attempted to grab their shoes and make it to their positions; they gave each other a knowing look. They had been on the ship together for a long time, and no sailor in the Navy works with someone that long without a personal battle plan. When all was said and done after this day, after this attack you need to know that there is one person on this ship who is looking out for you and will take word to your family if the worst should occur. They were that person for each other; once this day was through, if either of them survived it, they would scour what was left of the battle positions and find any trinket to send home if they were unable to find them alive and possibly just injured.
Joseph went to handle the Turret 1 while Sam had to go deep into the ships underbelly to help maintain the engines. Information was scarce and fear was plentiful as several hundreds of sailors on the USS Tennessee scrambled, attempted to avoid destruction, put out fires which had been rapidly consuming the stern, wash burning oil from the decks, battle darkness, the lack of coherent commands, and take two direct hits to Turret 2 and Turret 3. The attack went on for what seemed like hours and the whole time Sam tried to fight to keep the engines running to attempt movement and not allow her to be a sitting duck when it came to the possibility of a torpedo hit. Unfortunately, the Arizona was already as good as sunk and it wedged the USS Tennessee in such a way that most of this work was done in vain; the ship would not move from its location until December 16th, but no one knew that at the time.
Due to the damage to ship several injuries to sailors had occurred and one of those injured happened to be Sam Evans; while working to help to try to keep the 6 boilers running for optimum power an explosion in Turret 2, which had been dived bombed from 10.000 feet, caused the shattering and splintering of the metal quarter deck; the flying debris buried Sam Evans.
Once Sam was finally found by a hurt Joseph he was taken for medical help which determined that Sam was alive but due to a head injury that he suffered he could only be monitored to see if he would regain consciousness. When Sam finally emerged from his coma another month had passed. He found out that his ship was gone, it had moved on to Puget Sound Naval Yard for repair, and that he had now suffered from a type of amnesia which he heard the doctor call "Source Amnesia." They explained it to him as the fact that he may know certain things but he won't know how he actually knew it.
Because of this he had to be released from the military with a medical discharge. One person who always seemed around was his friend Joseph who due to a leg injury had also been medically discharged. He knew that the country was apparently at war; or at least that is what he was told, and he could recognize the damage to Pearl Harbor itself as if it had been a war zone so he believed it to be true.
It was February, 1942 when Joseph picked up Sam and explained that he was going to stay with Joseph and his new wife Sandra at a hotel for a few weeks. Just until Sam got a better idea of his surroundings again; Sam tried to connect with the kindness of Joseph and Sandra and although something about them both seemed slightly familiar he could not tell for sure what it was. He only knew that he enjoyed walking around a particular neighborhood in the island; and he seemed to do it quite often. He would just "end up" there although he didn't quite know why.
It was June 1942 when Sam convinced Joseph and Sandra that they no longer had to watch over him. That he was not willing to impose on their newlywed status any longer; and that the plans that they shared to go to Illinois, should stop being a fantasy and turn into a reality. It was then that Joseph gave Sam an envelope and he told Sam that when he finally felt up to dealing with his past; he could open it. Sam placed the mysterious envelope in a drawer in his room and left it there.
By the time July 1943 came around Sam was known for being the helper for the servicemen and the life of the party for all wounded soldiers who had come through. Sam thought all was well except for one thing that he just couldn't understand. He called it "his peculiarity" whenever he started to discuss it- but he found himself, not doing that very often at all.
The day it all started finally making sense to him was in the middle of August, 1943. He was about to walk into the recreation room; he was wheeling a newly injured solider in a wheelchair to beat him in a rousing game of Pinochle. When he was stopped in his tracks by the form of this woman who had been standing at the far end of the room; she was beautiful but she was also extremely familiar and yet he had no idea why.
She was colored, so he doubted he knew her, but there was this feeling of something that he could not let go of. She was a part of the USO show that had come there to perform for wounded soldiers. She had on a female version of a military uniform even including her hat and he could not deny that she filled out that outfit perfectly. "She was a real looker." He thought. She was about to sing a song.
The music begins and she begins to sing
Someday he'll come alongThe man I loveAnd he'll be big and strongThe man I love
(He knew her voice…was it from the radio?)
And when he comes my wayI'll do my best to make him stay
He'll look at me and smileI'll understand
Then in a little whileHe'll take my handAnd though it seems absurdI know we both won't say a word
(Her voice was amazing, but it was more than that; he knew her)
Maybe I shall meet him SundayMaybe Monday, maybe notStill I'm sure to meet him one dayMaybe Tuesday will be my good news dayHe'll build a little home
(She was important to him; he could feel it in every fiber of his being she was…)
That's meant for twoFrom which I'll never roamWho would, would you?And so all else aboveI'm dreaming of the man I love
(She was…. She was… Why was he was remembering her as? She was…. his wife?)
Maybe I shall meet him SundayMaybe Monday, maybe notStill I'm sure to meet him one dayMaybe Tuesday will be my good news dayHe'll build a little homeJust meant for twoFrom which I'll never roamWho would, would you?And so all else aboveI'm dreaming of the man I love
(And then he remembered her name…."Mercedes?")
Author's Note: Yay! We finally got to the last scene which was my interpretation of what was happening in the Tumblr prompt picture. I look at his face and I see dawning of a memory -while he is mesmerized by her; standing before him performing. So to me they had a history, a past, and something that he most definitely desired to reclaim; once he had recognized that it was lost. I think I have one more chapter after this and that will wrap up this story. Thank you so much for reading and your support. Please review.