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Nearly two weeks had passed since that first meeting of Blair and Gary. As Blair lay in bed on that morning of December 8, she realized they had seen each other only a handful of times because his duties often took him out of town. He was involved in training new Filipino recruits, and often they went on training missions in the jungle. In a way, this was a good thing, because it forced them to rebuild their relationship slowly. But it was an exercise in patience for both of them. Blair wondered often just how they would know when the time was right, when they could once again reclaim the marriage that had been lost.
Stretching in her bed again, she was about to swing her legs out when the beaded curtain parted and Claudette entered, carrying a tray.
"What have you there, Claudette?" she said, a touch of scolding in her tone. How many times since taking the girl in as a maid had Blair tried to stop her from waiting upon Blair hand and foot?
"Relax, Miss Blair. This is your day off"
"You are not serving me breakfast in bed!" For emphasis she flung back the covers and fairly leaped from bed. "Take that tray back out to the front room, put it on the table, and you will eat with me."
"But that is not how it's supposed to work!"
"You have seen too many movies, Miss Claudette. Now march!"
A bit dejected, Claudette scurried back through the beads. Blair grabbed her wrapper and was about to join her when the phone, located by the bed, rang. Blair picked up the receiver on the third ring.
"That you, Blair?" came a familiar voice at the other end of the line.
"Gary! I am so glad you called. Today is my day off and"
"Blair, listen, okay? I gotta hurry. Just a few hours ago, the Japanese bombed Hawaii. This is war, Blair."
Stunned, Blair plopped on the edge of the bed. "Was it bad?"
"We can't get details. But bad enough, I'm sure. The thing is, the Philippines will be next. I don't know why it hasn't happened already. Probably the weather in Formosa is stalling the Japs. Blair ... are you there?"
"Y-yes," she squeaked out. War. She couldn't believe it. Sure, everyone talked about it all the time. Gary had said it was only a matter of time. But no one really expected it this soon or believed that the Japanese would actually have the gall to attack the United States of America. Blair had never given a hoot about all the war talk. It had always been far away, never a part of her world. That was Cameron's world, not hers.
But now was she about to be right in the middle of it?
"Gary ... what should I do?" Sudden helplessness consumed her, wiping out the independence she'd worked so hard at maintaining around Gary so he didn't need to feel sorry for her. Now her voice shook, and she thought she might cry from fear.
"Just stay put for now. The Japs are going to concentrate on military targets. I think Manila itself will be spared for a time. But there are some things you can do without going far. Are you with me, honey?"
Honeythe word indeed sounded sweet. He'd never called her that before, and in such a gentle, soothing tone. Like a husband.
But she mustn't think of that. Other matters pressed upon her like a vise. War!
"I'm here, Gary." Her voice sounded far away even to her.
"Okay, listen. If you have money in the bank, get it out now and change it all to American dollars."
"W-why?" she managed.
"I've got to be straight with you, Blair. Anything could happen now. We were depending on the Pacific Fleet to protect us from the Japs. With it destroyed ..."
His voice trailed away, and she thought she heard a shudder across the line. If he was shaken, what was going to happen to them?
He continued, his voice once again firm and confident. "You have to be prepared for any number of contingencies."
She purposely did not ask him to enumerate those "contingencies," and he went on.
"Go to the market and get whatever tinned meat and nonperishable food you can afford. Also, buy first-aid supplies, as much quinine as you can get. Then pack a few personal necessities, no more than one suitcase each for you and Claudette, and a suitcase for supplies. I'll see if I can get you a car."
"Then we'll be going away?"
"You need to be prepared for that. But should Manila fall, your choices would be to stay, be an enemy alien and almost certainly be interned, or to evacuate."
"What would you do, Gary?"
"Evacuate." He didn't even hesitate.
"Oh, g-goodness!" her voice trembled.
"But look, that's only the worst case. It isn't going to happen. Still, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. I'll try to come to you later, but I don't know if or when I'll be able to get away. I'm up at Fort Stotsenberg right now. We are all on alert. No leaves."
The very idea that he might not come to help her crushed her, made rubble of her so-called independence.
"I'll do everything I can."
"Please ... Gary!"
"Be strong, Blair. You can go to Reverend Sanchez. He'll do anything for you."
The pastor of the little Baptist church in Manila that she had attended with Gary was a nice man, soft-spoken, very intellectual. A widower with two sons, one in the Army and the other sixteen, he had impressed Blair more as a person than as a minister. She rather expected fiery sermons from a preacher and secretly thought that's what she would need to find God. Fire and brimstone stuff. But Sanchez delivered sermons that were more like college lectures. They made Blair want to look things up in the little Bible Gary had loaned her, but they didn't shake the rafters of her soul. Still, that's not why she took little comfort from Gary's words now.
She didn't want Reverend Sanchez. She wanted Gary! She needed Gary. She couldn't face a war alone. Internment by the Japs or evacuation? These were not things she had been prepared to face in her life.
"I have to go now, Blair. Just remember, God will be with you."
She managed a strangled good-bye, but as the line clicked dead, all she could think was that his promise of God being with her was weak indeed. She had been trying so hard to work out her faith, but thoughts and doubts would always snake around her mind and make her question. Reverend Sanchez said there was a balance between blind faith and questioning, though he did seem to believe questioning was all right. But she thought her questioning was different from the kind Gary sometimes did. He always came out with assurance. She came out more confused than ever.
"Miss Blair, the coffee is getting cold." Claudette's voice broke into her thoughts.
Her head jerked around. "Claudette, there's war!" she blurted out. "The Japanese have bombed Hawaii, and we're next."
"What're we gonna do, Miss Blair!" exclaimed Claudette. Blair had hoped Claudette would be the steady one. She forgot that the girl's tough street-urchin persona was little more than a veneer, as much as was Blair's independent act.
"I don't know! We could be bombed at any time. I ... don't know!"
Somewhere a Song (DAUGHTERS OF FORTUNE, Book 2) by Judith Pella
Copyright � 2002, Judith Pella
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.