By Devin Bourdain
Disclaimer: The ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ characters are not mine, just borrowed for this story.
Reviews are always welcome.
Also posted at fanfiction.net
The amazing beta job was done by Red Aurora
The Wild and Crazy Adventures of Sparky and Flash
The shutter of the plane was accented by the clinking of the ice in the little plastic cup filled with bourbon. The sky was dark and angry outside and the turbulence was not only shaking the private jet, but Jamieson’s nerves as well. The plane shook violently again and the doctor dug his fingers into the armrests.
“I knew there was a reason I didn’t join the Air Force,” spat Jamie.
Nelson chuckled at his friend’s misery. Not being a fan of Nelson’s little yellow toy, as Jamie had put it, the doctor had agreed to go to a medical convention in Colorado if he could go on the Institute’s private jet instead of FS1.
Will tightened his seatbelt a little more and tossed back his drink. It was going to be a long flight. To take his mind off the current roughness of their journey Nelson thought back to another flight the pair had taken together.
Some thirty odd years ago
“This better be worth it Harry,” Jamie threatened through clinched teeth. His hands were gripping the armrests and his eyes were squeezed shut.
“You need to relax, Will, before you burst a blood vessel,” commented Nelson from the seat next to Jamieson. “The likelihood of us crashing is astronomical. Once we get to those beaches this will be all but a distant memory. You’ll see.”
Jamie cracked one eye open, “There’s not enough booze in all of Mexico to make me forget this trip! If men were born to fly, they’d have wings, Harry.”
The plane shuttered one more time before the Captain came on the speaker and announced their arrival. Soon the landing gear was kissing the tarmac. Shortly after that, so was Will.
“Come on Jamieson, if you spend the whole afternoon worshipping the ground, we’ll miss meeting Chase. Now grab your bag and let’s go,” shouted Nelson.
The pair was on a two-week leave and decided to give Mexico a try after some persuasion by their friend, Chase Monroe. Sand, hot weather, booze, and beautiful girls were the promises made to get the gang back together.
Nelson and Monroe had attended Annapolis together while Jamieson and Nelson had become friends serving together on the Alabama. Monroe was definitely the wildest of the three and decided that next leave they had together, they were going to do something epic, an adventure that would be told by people for years to come; what better place for the young men to party than down in Mexico. Joining them would be Nelson’s childhood friend, Phil Connors, who also attended Annapolis with him and Zack Salinger, who was currently serving with Chase.
The twenty-five-year-old Harriman dragged Will over to a waiting taxi. Their destination was a small touristy cafe not far from the airport. They were just a short drive away from the two weeks that would start the rest of their lives.
“Glad you could make it boys!” shouted Chase over the music as he put his arms around both Harry and Will’s shoulders.
He quickly escorted the new arrivals over to a table in the corner of the cafe and pushed two glasses in front of them. Clear liquid sloshed over the side of the glasses, the pink umbrella bobbing up and down as the contents of the glass began to settle.
“Boys, you remember Zack,” introduced Chase. “Zack, this is Will, this old dog is Harry, and we all know Phil.”
The men shook hands and sat down at the table. The cafe was filled with tourists, most of whom appeared to be young college kids away for spring break. The ceiling fan rattled as it twirled, doing nothing but move the oppressively hot air around the cramped space.
“How was the flight down?” asked Zack as he pushed his sunglasses further back on top of his buzz cut black hair.
Ignoring Jamieson’s dirty look, Harry answered, “Rather uneventful.”
“A toast, gentlemen,” exclaimed Chase as he raised his glass high above their heads, “to the best weeks of our lives. No more drills, no CO’s, just sun, sand, booze and babes!”
“I’ll drink to that,” agreed Phil as he raised his glass.
The rest followed suit and clinked glasses. They all downed their shot of tequila and tried to hide their faces of disgust from one another.
Nelson was forced out of his reverie by a tremendous drop in the plane’s altitude and alarms blaring from the cockpit. Before he had time to comprehend exactly what was transpiring he felt the floor drop again and the plane begin to nose dive. The drop was punctuated by the sound of crushing metal, then blackness.
Cold. Cold and pain were the things that brought Nelson back to awareness. After blinking a few times, the world came into focus and he realized it wasn't the tree that was upside down, but rather him.
Fumbling around, the older man finally found the clasp to his seatbelt. Nelson less than gracefully released himself from the seat and crashed onto what had been the roof of the plane. Surveying the scene before him, he carefully moved in the direction Will Jamieson had been seated. The world seemed to sway and every move he made appeared to occur in slow motion.
Metal chunks, papers, luggage, branches, and rubble were scattered amongst what was left of the main compartment of the private jet. A huge piece of the left side of the plane was ripped away, exposing those inside to the harsh wind and snow that was blowing outside.
It was slow going, but eventually Nelson made it over to where Jamie should have been. Unlike the Admiral, the seat the doctor had occupied was not upside down. It was, in fact, lying on what was the roof of the plane. Nelson could just make out the shape of his friend underneath the dislodged chair. With great trepidation, he reached a shaky hand forward to see if his friend had survived. Jamieson was cold to the touch but there was a pulse beating under the skin. The Admiral said silent thanks and released a trembling breath that his friend had survived and then very carefully moved the chair off of the crumpled body.
Jamie was unconscious and didn’t stir as Nelson removed the object pinning him down. The bumps, bruises, scrapes and scratches covered the doctor but the points of immediate concern were the nasty gash covering his forehead and the compound fracture of the left arm. Neither wound seemed to be bleeding heavily. The Admiral lightly patted Jamie’s cheek in an attempt to bring him around. With a groan, Will turned his head away from the irritant. His eyelids fluttered when Nelson started to call his name.
“Will. Come on, Will, open your eyes,” coaxed the auburn haired gentleman.
“Mmmmm. Five more minutes, Lillian. I swear I’ll get up in five more minutes,” murmured the ailing man.
“Lt. Commander Jamieson, I need you to open your eyes now,” insisted the Admiral.
Jamie dutifully opened his eyes and tried to focus on the blurry blob looming over him. His right hand immediately reached over and grabbed the lower portion of his left arm. Pain raced its way up and down the arm radiating from the breaking point. Turning his head slowly, Will caught sight of the sharp, white object protruding from the middle of his forearm.
Taking a deep breath, Will asked, “What happened?”
“The plane crashed. How do you feel?”
“Like I was just in a plane crash!” came the sarcastic reply.
Nelson raised an eyebrow and continued to stare at his friend.
“My arm is throbbing, but it’s obvious why that is. The world is spinning and I’m freezing to death,” complained the doctor. “How are you?”
“Just a few scratches, nothing serious. You’ll have to walk me through fixing that arm.”
“Trying to take my place as medical officer, are we?” asked Jamie in an attempt to provide some levity to the otherwise dire situation. “What about the pilot?”
Nelson had seen the wreckage of the front of the plane when he righted himself from his seat earlier. There were definitely no survivors. If they didn't find better shelter and help soon, they probably wouldn't survive either.
Under Jamie’s direction, Nelson was able to crudely set the broken arm. Using some of the clothes from their luggage and twigs from the surrounding branches, the Admiral managed to bandage and splint the arm. He also dressed Jamie’s head wound. The doctor was convinced he had a concussion as he was experiencing headache, dizziness, and blurred vision.
With Jamieson in no condition to wander the forest, it was up to Nelson to find shelter and a way to get help. The Admiral bundled himself and Will up in the clothing from their luggage, then set out to survey their immediate surroundings.
The resort was very impressive. There was easy beach access and several bars, restaurants, and clubs on the grounds. Nelson was quite taken with the accommodations. Each had their own room next to one another with spectacular views. The sheer size of the room made the dorms at Annapolis and his quarters on the sub look like closets fit for mice.
There was a small bathroom to the left when you walked into the suite and a kitchenette to the right. Beyond that was a bedroom with a large four-poster bed in the middle. After the kitchen was a living room with a large patio door leading to the balcony. The door was slightly open and the gentle breeze from the crystal blue ocean was causing the large white curtains to flutter into the room.
Will was equally taken with his accommodations, which were very similar to his friends’. He placed his suitcase on the bed and moved out to the balcony to take in the view. This was definitely a decent if not late present to himself for completing medical school.
His mother had always hoped to have a doctor in the family, while his father desperately wanted his sons to follow family tradition and join the navy. After graduating high school at sixteen, Will had found away to please both of them. He had decided to combine both occupations, had finished his schooling the year before, and was now serving as a medical officer aboard the Alabama.
Contemplating the possibilities for the next two weeks, Jamieson was glad Nelson had included him on this trip. Truth was these were Harry’s friends more so than his. He had met Phil a few times and the two seemed to get along rather well. Phil shared many of the same characteristics as Jamieson unlike Chase. Monroe was tall, well built with dirty blond hair and a devil may care attitude. Will often wondered what made Nelson and Chase friends.
Jamieson’s thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. He turned just as Chase strolled into the room. He was dressed in white pants and what had to be the most hideous Hawaiian shirt Will had ever seen in his entire life.
“We’re meeting down in the lobby in fifteen minutes to grab a bite then check out the bar scene. If you’re not there, you’ll get left behind,” chuckled the twenty-six year old.
Just as quickly as he entered the room, Monroe left. Since the group had no real plans to stray too far from the resort, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find the group if they did leave without Jamieson, but the doctor decided to let Monroe have his large-and-in-charge moment.
Ten minutes later, Nelson and Phil were waiting in the lobby watching the people come and go. Zack and Will had yet to come down and Chase was outside the door flirting with two young girls that had just arrived.
Phil leaned over to Harry and whispered, “Is that who I think it is?”
Nelson turned his attention to the door and the object of Phil’s inquiry. The lobby doors parted and in walked the most beautiful woman Harry had ever laid eyes on. She was wearing a large white sun hat, dark sunglasses, a flowing sleeveless white dress, and white high heels. Her long black hair and tan skin contrasted the white ensemble perfectly. She didn’t move through the lobby, she floated. People parted for her like Moses parted the Red Sea. Following in her wake were two women dressed in light blue uniforms and three men in bellhop uniforms carrying armloads of designer luggage.
She reached the check in-counter and extended her well-manicured hand to ring the service bell. As she waited for the clerk to return to the desk, the woman casually drummed her burgundy nails on the marble counter top. Ever so slowly, she turned her head in the young men’s direction and subtly eyed them up and down before turning her focus to the check in clerk.
Nelson had forgotten how to breathe when her amber eyes connected with his for that brief moment. Watching her slink over to the elevator, he finally turned to answer Phil’s question.
“It most definitely is.”
The two men let out a sigh as they remembered their many fantasies about the exquisite woman in white. She was Elaina Montcue, wealthy socialite and talk of the Birmingham Country Club to which Nelson and Connor’s parents were members. To say they had spent their summers as teens drooling over what they could only describe as the most perfect specimen of femininity, would be an understatement. Every woman at the country club wanted to be her and every man would kill for one moment with her. Of all the resorts in the world, Elaina had decided to vacation at this one at the same time as Nelson. There could be no surer sign from the gods above that it was meant to be. If this was the vacation of wild exploits, then Nelson had found his conquest. He would do what all men dared to dream about. He would romance Elaina Montcue.
Nelson crawled back into what was left of the plane.
“Well?” inquired Jamie.
“I found the first aid kit,” said Nelson as he held the white case in triumph, “and I think I found us a place to hole up until help arrives.
Will shifted himself up awkwardly as his friend sat down next to him. The Admiral tore open a pack of Tylenol and handed the tablets to Jamieson, who swallowed them dry.
“We’ll give the Tylenol a bit to start working then move out. I managed to gather up, some pieces of the radio. With any luck, I can patch it together and send out a distress signal. Hopefully the pilot sent one out before we crashed.”
Procedure dictated that the pilot should have sent out the distress signal and inquiries would have been made when the plane dropped off radar, but that still left a sizable search area. It would be up to the Admiral to keep the pair alive until help could reach them. The only problem was that the one person with vast medical knowledge was the one who was in need of those skills.
It was slow going and more painful than Jamie would confess, but they eventually made it to the cave Nelson had found about thirty feet from the plane wreckage. After settling Will in the cave Nelson grabbed a branch and returned to the plane. Using one of the spot fires amongst the debris, he turned his branch into a torch and returned to Will. Having a small fire in their temporary home would help ward off the cold.
After giving Jamie a quick once over, the Admiral returned to the crash site to retrieve the first aid kit and radio components along with anything else that might be useful during their stay.
“This . . . this is the best drink I have ever had,” stated Zack as he pointed to the bright pink drink in his hand.
Pushing down his sunglasses Nelson reminded him, “That’s what you said about the last drink you had.”
Zack swerved to miss a young boy that came running across the pool deck as he moved to sit down in the lounge chair beside Will and Harry. Phil followed close behind carrying an armful of beers for the rest of the gang. The group had decided to spend day three sitting beside the pool watching the young women work on their tans.
“Has anyone seen Chase this morning?” asked Phil as he handed a beer to Will.
“Last time I saw him, he was working the old Monroe magic on the smoking hot blonde in the blue dress at the bar last night. Pretty sure he left with her . . . soooo I doubt we’ll see him ‘til later. If we ever see him again!” answered Zack with both envy and enthusiasm.
Phil choked on his beer as he chuckled. Zack settled down in the lounge chair and began working on his tan. Realistically, he was going over his chances of hooking up with the red head working as a life guard.
Without taking his eyes off the prize Zack said, “Grow a pair already Will and go talk to her.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” was the doctor’s quick retort.
“The brunette. Wavy hair, blue eyes, yellow bathing suit; had her nose stuck in that book all morning, sitting at ten o’clock. Stop me when any of this rings a bell,” explained Zack.
Harry and Phil immediately turned to see what Zack was talking about. Will just kept staring at Zack.
“You’re like a lost puppy, man,” added Salinger.
“I am not! And her eyes are green, not blue,” protested Jamieson.
“I don’t think that helped your case, Will,” said Nelson.
Will’s further protests were lost as all the young men silently watched the young women in question close her book and move back into the hotel.
“Shoulda went for it when you had a chance there, Willy,” snickered Salinger.
“We should have driven to the convention,” panted Jamie through waves of pain. The pain killer had taken the edge off but not nearly enough. The concussion wasn’t helping the situation either.
“Well, I promise, next time you can drive. I’ll take FS1,” commented the Admiral.
Jamie watched Nelson fiddle with the radio parts for awhile. If he was going to survive a plane crash with anyone, he was glad it was a scientific genius.
“So tell me, how bad is it?” asked the doctor.
The auburn haired man looked over at his companion before looking back at his work.
“The gash on your head isn’t going to help you pick up the ladies. You can always cover it with your hair though,” suggested Nelson.
The joke got a small chuckle out of the balding doctor that quickly turned into a gasp of pain as his broken arm shook from the laughter.
“Seriously, the situation, how does it look?”
“We need to stay warm and wait for help to arrive. The pilot would have sent out a mayday. I’m sure someone heard it and help is on the way,” assured Nelson.
The sentiment was nice but they had been friends for too long not to be able to read one another. Jamie knew the seriousness of his condition when left out here in the elements and he could read the doubt in Nelson’s face.
The sound of snapping twigs caught both of their attention.
“See, that could be help now,” guessed the Admiral.
Nelson put down the radio pieces and left the cave to go and investigate.
Soft music from the lounge’s piano filtered into the lobby of the hotel, greeting the well-dressed couples as they entered the double glass doors. The appeal of the lounge drew the older guests while the younger ones made their way to the bars and the beach party that was taking place that night.
The plan was to attend the beach party. Monroe had received an invitation from the pretty petite tennis instructor that had captured Chase’s attention yesterday. That had been the plan until Nelson spotted Elaina sitting on a stool at the bar in the lounge. Her emerald green dress was well fitted with a slit up the side that showed off her elegant legs. She sat there twirling her long hair around one finger while holding a delicate amber and ivory cigarette holder in the other. Harry was mesmerized as he watched the ruby red lips wrap delicately around the ivory end of the holder then blow out intriguing smoke rings.
“I . . . I’ll . . . I’ll catch up with you guys later,” mumbled Nelson as he sauntered in the direction of the elevator.
Before his friends could ask any questions, Harry was gone.
“What was all that about?” asked Chase with a somewhat disappointed expression on his face.
“Looks like it’s just the four of us tonight. Let’s roll boys!” said Zack as he led the charge through the lobby out to the beach.
The sand was still warm even though the sun had long since set. Torches and small bonfires decorated the beach. The party was in full swing. There were musicians playing acoustic guitars to groups of adoring fans all perched on logs near the fire. Others were playing volleyball by torch light. The more inebriated youth were engaging in skinny dipping. The whisper of the ocean was overshadowed by the cheerful giggles and boisterous shouts of the gathered crowd.
Connors, Jamieson, Salinger, and an attractive young girl sat drinking beers and watching some of the more enthusiastic party goers entertain their peers with a drunken stupidity that only youth can provide. The young woman had ocean blue eyes and long mahogany colored hair that was pulled back in a pony tail. She was Zack’s latest find and she seemed quite taken with the young sailor.
In his usual fashion, Chase had disappeared early in the night with several young ladies and was no doubt the shadowy figure in the water making a jack-ass out of himself at that very moment. Realizing the group instigator was MIA, Zack wasted little time in filling the role. The beers soon changed into a bottle of tequila and an inability to stand under one’s own power. Most of the night was spent sitting around the fire as a result.
The conversation was largely carried by Salinger and Amanda. Phil would offer a few points during the night but tended to keep to his introverted nature. Will spent his time searching the crowd with his eyes. Every once in awhile he would add a ‘that’s nice’ or ‘oh really’ to the conversation.
Finally, Zack spoke up, “Why don’t you just go look for her?”
“You want to find that girl from earlier. Just go look for her. I’m sure she’s somewhere. Just go and get it over with!” Zack insisted.
“I don’t know what you’re going on about,” shot Jamieson then he mumbled, “She’s not here anyway.”
The light from the small fire danced on the cave wall. It wasn’t much but it did provide a little warmth from the blizzard raging outside. The hope of help was dashed when Nelson happened upon a herd of deer moving through the area. Disappointed he returned to the cave to warm up.
The Admiral continued to try and patch together a means to communicate with the world but so far had been largely unsuccessful.
Jamie was curled up as much as his broken arm and battered body would allow. Nelson was letting him sleep for an hour at a time before waking him. Complications from the concussion were the Admiral’s largest concern. He had enough medical know how to deal with the broken arm for the most part but a head injury was out of his league.
The sleeping figure began to stir. The doctor’s lips were whispering something that didn’t carry to the other man’s ears. Nelson moved closer and gently shook Jamie’s good shoulder.
“Time to wake up, Will.”
“She’s not here,” mumbled the injured man.
“Who’s not here?”
“Lillian. She didn’t come.”
Slowly, the brown eyes opened and focused. A groan escaped his lips.
“Do you remember where you are?” asked a very concerned Admiral.
“I don’t think it’s something I’m going to forget anytime soon. A plane crash is one of those things that stays with you,” replied Jamie wearily. “Last time I let you talk me into anything!”
“You’re not going to convince me to do it!” assured Will as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Live a little, you stuffy shirt. Thirty years from now you’ll look back on this moment and be able to tell people you actually lived!” reasoned Zack.
“Ya man, dooo i-t,” slurred Amanda.
The doctor shot Salinger a dirty look and turned to Connors. Phil just shrugged. He was good with either outcome of the debate.
“Don’t punk out on us. This is supposed to be the week of epic-ness and what better way to achieve that then doing something wild like streaking.”
Steadfast against the idea Will just shook his head.
“Do it. Do it for all the times you picked the right thing over the fun thing. Do it for all the years you spent studying instead of having a life. Do it cause you’re not getting any younger and this could be the last chance you have to claim young stupidity,” Zack began to rise as his drunken speech continued. “Do it cause everyone here is too drunk and it’s too dark to notice. But most important –il-ily do it so at the end of the day you can say you did it.”
With his speech over, Salinger flopped back down into the sand in a less than graceful manner.
“If you did do it, it could be that one moment in your life that you could say was the most exhilarating moment of your existence,” offered Phil.
“Come on Willy, it’s time to man up and do something adventurous,” goaded Zack.
Maybe it was all the liquor or the constant taunting; hell it could have been that the drunken ramblings of a man that Jamieson didn’t even hold in high regard had actually stirred something deep within him, but the sudden urge to do something wild and crazy took over.
The young man stood up defiantly started to rip off his red t-shirt to the enthusiastic cat calls from his friends. The cheering ended as the pair of shorts smacked Zack in the face causing him to spill his drink. When Salinger managed to untangle himself from the shorts, his view was of the rather white backside of the doctor as he took off running down the beach.
“I don’t believe it,” said a slack-jawed Chase when he saw Jamieson streak past him further down the beach.
The sheer exhilaration of the rebellious act had driven Will down to the end of the party area. It really was the most outrageous thing he had ever done. Where the courage came from for such an act was unknown but the driven professional was relieved for it. But now what? Turn around and run back to his friends, assuming they were still there and had his clothes?
In for a penny in, in for a pound. Jamieson took a deep breath and decided to make the dash for a side door to the hotel. He’d gone this far, might as well continue the wild streak. Jogging around the bushes, he saw his goal in sight. He pushed the heavy silver door open and ran right into a young woman. Not just any young woman, but the girl from the pool deck.
There Jamieson stood in all his glory staring into the shocked green eyes he had longed to gaze into. If there had been a contest to see who could turn the brighter shade of red, it would have been a close call. Still flustered, Will started mumbling an apology and staggering backwards right into the waiting arms of two security guards.
Frustrated the Admiral threw down his makeshift tool. He kept running the odds through his head. Being stranded in the forest was challenging enough, but injury and cold raised the odds against them. Jamie was in no condition to walk to civilization and neither would hold up long in this blizzard. If Nelson left to get help, would Jamie still be there when he came back? Could they take that chance?
Nelson threw another branch on the small fire. That fire was going to be their life line. No matter what option they chose, it was a risk. Freezing to death was a possibility with either option. If they persevered and left, they could get lost. When waiting for rescue you’re supposed to stay in one spot for rescue crews to find you. Staying meant they could be there for a long time with limited supplies.
Risks and gambles; the Admiral had done both many times in his life and his career. He weighed the odds again and again. After a great deal of deliberation, he made a decision. They would have to stay in this cave and hope the weather let up soon. Someone would come. He had a whole crew of dedicated men that would not rest until they were found.
Harry remerged from the elevator dressed in uniform. Monroe had demanded they all bring their uniforms so they could impress the woman at the resort. At the time Nelson had thought it was a childish idea, but now he was thankful for Chase’s idea.
He boldly moved to the door of the lounge and peered in through the glass. Elaina was still there. She was sitting on her bar stool smoking her cigarette and drinking a glass of red wine. Her right leg was crossed over the left leaving it fully exposed by the slit in her emerald green dress. Her foot bobbed in the air to the rhythm of the piano.
Pausing for a moment for an internal pep talk, Harry reached a slightly trembling hand to the door. He had dreamt of an opportunity like this ever since he first laid eyes on Elaina one fateful day at the country club. She had been a vision in blue. The tight t-shirt and shorts hugged in all the right places and the white head band contrasted beautifully with her luscious dark hair. Every powerful stroke of her tennis racket elevated the sport to a new level of grace. To the fifteen year old sitting at the restaurant table mesmerized by the figure on the tennis court, it was magical.
This was a moment that every young man at the country club had dreamed about since Miss Montcue joined. Projecting an air of confident casualness that in no way reflected the internal nerves he was fighting, he took the seat next to the bombshell.
As she reached for a match to light a new cigarette Nelson reached over with a suave move that would make the smoothest Hollywood star jealous and waved the flame from his lighter under the smoke.
Elaina turned to look at her champion. She blew out a puff of smoke and eyed the young man before her.
In a sultry voice she asked, “To whom do I owe the pleasure?”
A choir of angels couldn’t compete with a voice like hers. It took a moment before the reality that the beauty was actually speaking to one Harriman Nelson registered.
“Nelson, Harriman Nelson.”
“Well thank-you very much Harry. What brings a young stud like you to a place like this and does your mother know you’re out past ten o’clock?”
Elaina smiled to herself. Young boys often thought they could come in and sweep her off her feet. She was rather shocked when instead of running away with his tale between his legs, he stayed and continued to turn on the charm.
“I’m on leave from the Navy and thought I’d see what Mexico had to offer. And at twenty-five, my mother would be disappointed if I didn’t make the effort to become acquainted with such marvelous lady such as yourself.”
Continuing with the romantic gentleman theme, Nelson picked up Elaina’s delicate hand and kissed it lightly.
“Charming. So you’re old enough to buy a drink, but believe me I’m too old for you Harry. Don’t you want to go to the beach party with the rest of the children?”
“The ambiance is much nicer in here. And you’re only as old as you feel, which puts us both around twenty-nine?”
“Twenty-nine, huh? That was a few years ago, sweetheart. But if you insist on hanging around, why don’t you buy me a drink.”
Nelson grabbed the waiter’s attention and signaled him over to their seats. The man was dressed in a crisp white suit and black bow tie.
“What can I get for you this evening?”
“I’ll have a glass of cognac and the lady will have a glass of sherry.”
Elaina smiled as the waiter moved down the bar to retrieve their beverages. She had nothing pressing and this pup might be good entertainment for the evening. The waiter brought their drinks over and placed them on black glass coasters. She picked up her drink. Miss. Montcue doubted Nelson had ever had cognac before and was waiting for him to try and choke it down.
Nelson picked up his glass and tossed it back. The liquid burned on the way down. Not wanting to betray his inexperience with finer alcohols, he forced himself to continue drinking.
“Smooth,” he choked out afterwards.
The howling of the frigid wind woke the Admiral. He was cold and stiff, muscles protesting as he tried to stretch them out. Nelson wasn’t sure how long he had dozed off, but his dream was far better than reality at this point.
The fire had died down and the Admiral broke another branch in half and placed it on the glowing embers. With fresh fuel, the fire sprang to life once again. He pulled his jacket up closer around his neck as a shiver ran up his spine.
He moved over to wake the ailing doctor when he noticed Jamie was already up. He was pale and shivered frequently. Will offered his friend a small smile.
“Wouldn’t happen to have any more pain meds in that first aid kit, would we?” asked Jamieson hopefully.
Nelson reached into the kit and did a quick inventory of their medical supplies. There were six packets of Tylenol left. How were they going to ration that? The Admiral opened the pack and pulled out one of the two pills. Jamie gladly swallowed it.
“I see you’ve given up on the radio,” observed Will.
“Not given up. I’m taking a moment to think. If I attack it fresh I might find the solution. It works in the lab all the time,” offered Nelson.
If the Admiral could lie to inspire hope, then the least Jamieson could do was buy it.
“Sounds like a reasonable plan.”
Nelson pulled out one of the water bottles he found in the wreckage and twisted off the top. He took a small sip and passed it over to Jamie. The doctor reached out for the bottle but his grasp was an inch or so too far to the right. Will tried to grab the bottle again but his coordination was still off.
The admiral scooted closer, grabbed Jamieson’s hand and placed the bottle in his grasp. Will took a couple of sips and then handed it back. They still had three more bottles before they would have to start melting snow.
“I see you’ve given up on the radio,” stated Jamie.
A red flag shot up in Nelson’s head. Jamie was exhibiting more and more signs of a concussion as the day progressed.
“I’m just taking a break, Jamie,” said the Admiral.
Smooth was the theme of the night. Elaina eventually let down her guard and thoroughly enjoyed Harry’s company. Despite his lack of years, the young man was well-versed and highly intelligent. Elaina marveled at his quick wit which rivaled her own.
What started as one drink turned into two, then four, then a slow intimate dance beside the grand piano. Soon the lounge was closing for the evening and, not wanting to part company yet, the twenty-five-year-old sailor asked the thirty-eight-year-old socialite up to his room.
Room service brought up a bottle of expensive champagne, candles, roses and chocolate covered strawberries. Nelson poured Elaina a glass of champagne and escorted her out on to the balcony. As she stood taking in the breath-taking view, Harry retreated inside. He masterfully placed rose petals over the bedspread and dispersed the lit candles around the room. When his task was complete, he stopped to take in the sight of his desire standing on the balcony.
Elaina turned and slinked back into the room. The moonlight framed her every move. She walked past Harry and brushed her hand across his chest as she moved towards the nightstand.
Knowing what she was after Nelson beat her to the pack of cigarettes and pulled out two. He lit the first one and passed it to Elaina. He then lit the second one. Trying his hardest to maintain the illusion of the suave hunk rather than revealing his status as an amateur, he took a long pull off of his smoke. Sheer determination kept him from tossing it way.
Nelson reached over and pulled Elaina into his arms. Once she was tight in his embrace they shared a passionate kiss. It was nothing like Harry had ever experienced before. The eligible bachelor had his share of girls hanging off of his arms but this was no girl he was kissing; this was a woman.
So preoccupied with their entangled embrace, Harry forgot about the cigarette he held in his hand. In the fit of passion the smoldering end connected with the white billowing drapes and ignited.
The heat built up until Elaina had to break away. The kiss was intense, but it didn’t warrant the heat she was feeling. Pulling back away from the young man, the flames from the drape caught her attention.
“Oh my god, it’s on fire!”
Still looking at Elaina, Nelson replied, “I agree that was intense.”
Montcue slapped Harry on the shoulder and pointed towards the fire, “Not us, you idiot! Your hotel room!”
Before Nelson could spring into action, the sprinkler system and fire alarm activated. The sprinklers put out the flames. By the time the couple made it to the door, they were drenched. Harry opened the door to reveal not only members of the fire department but hotel security.
“We’re going to be listed as AWOL if we don’t get back soon, Harry,” insisted Jamie.
“We’ve got plenty of time Will. Don’t worry about it,” replied the Admiral.
“I’ve hit my quota for wild and crazy this trip. It’s time to go back to calm and normal. Let’s go home, Harry,” mumble Jamieson.
“I think you should try and get some rest.”
Jamieson was getting worse and Nelson was at a loss for what to do. The doctor was clearly somewhere else in his head.
The wind had died down, but as night fell so did the temperature. Fighting for survival in the Colorado mountains wasn’t something Nelson thought he would ever have to contend with. He was resourceful enough to survive being lost at sea. He had survived for days on sheer ingenuity and stubbornness. Those same skills would get him though this. The trouble was Nelson wasn’t the only one who had started out on the improvised raft. In the end, he had been rescued, but he had failed to save the other survivor.
Failure was not an option this time. They would hold on until help arrived. Lee would come. Lee had to come.
A soaking wet Nelson took a seat next to a blanket draped Jamieson. They sat in silence on the wooden bench staring at the cold white walls. The only sound was the creaking of the ceiling fan.
Without taking his eyes off the wall, he decided to break the silence, “Why are you naked?”
Staring at the same spot on the wall Will replied in a cold tone, “Why is the fire department here?”
“Touché. I imagine it’s the same reason you’re naked.”
“Stands to reason.”
“Then we’ll never mention this to anyone?”
Jamieson just nodded his head. “I’d appreciate it.”
The hotel manager and Elaina Montcue walked into the room. The manager frowned at the two young men in his office. He was used to wild behaviour from guests but even this was a first for him.
Turning to address Elaina he asked, “So you are taking financial responsibility for the fire and this young man here?”
The manager pointed to Nelson and Elaina nodded her consent.
“What about his friend the streaker? You gonna take responsibility for that one too?”
“Sure why not. If I’m going to mother one I might as well adopt two,” she reached over and shook the manager’s hand. “Now it looks like I owe you one, Juan, for overlooking these two little transgressions.”
“Transgressions,” snorted the manager.
“Let’s go boys; it’s past your bed time.”
With that Elaina swayed out of the room with both sheepish looking Navy officers in tow.
The night had gotten colder and the fire was doing little to warm them. Building a bigger fire would use up what little kindling Nelson had gathered and since most of the available branches were wet from the snow, they would have to make do with what they had. To conserve heat the two huddled up together.
“D-d-d-do you re-re-remember Elain-Elaina?” slurred Jamie.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget,” said the Admiral. He looked down at Will and noticed he was having a hard time keeping his eyes open.
Nelson hadn’t thought that often of Elaina in the past few years. There was a time when all of his thoughts revolved around the bewitching beauty. That was then and so many things had happened in that time since.
Curiosity flickered in the Admiral and he asked, “What made you think of her?”
“She was nice and very good at getting us out of trouble. I think we could use that right about now, don’t you?”
“I don’t think we can count on Elaina saving the day this time. But hold on Will, Lee’s coming.”
“Lee’sssss he –he-here?”
Before Jamie could hear the answer he drifted off to sleep.
“Soon, Will. Very soon.”
The sun was shining and the pool deck was packed. The day was perfect for everyone except the two men doing the walk of shame to their table. The second Jamieson and Nelson came into view Zack, Amanda, Phil, Chase, and the two girls Chase had met the night before stood up and delivered a round of applause.
Will and Harry quickly sat down to avoid the glares that were being thrown in their direction. As soon as they were settled, Chase and Zack started to sing the chorus of Ray Steven’s The Streak.
Will forced a small smile, “That’s really cute guys.”
“Come on now, he had a rough night,” explained Nelson.
Chase smiled and held his hands out so they formed a square in which he framed Jamieson’s face. “Come on. I bet it was that Kodak moment. If only we had been there to take the picture!”
“Oh don’t think we forgot about you Sparky! We heard all about your night too,” interrupted Zack.
“Looks like the Flash isn’t the only one who had a little excitement last night,” continued Chase.
“Ya, it sounds like sparks flew for you,” added Zack.
“The romance burned hot,” threw in Monroe.
“It was a combustible relationship,” furthered Amanda.
“They were brought together by their firey passion,” suggested Zack.
“Clearly they were burning the midnight oil,” suggested Chase.
“Alright, I think we get it,” Nelson said.
“No wait, I have one more,” laughed Chase, “Sparks really flew for you guys.”
“Say what you will, but I did something most people only ever dream of,” offered Harry.
“I will give you that,” agreed Phil.
“Well it won’t be as exciting as last night but there is the dance tomorrow. I think we should all go. Zack has Amanda, I’ve got Molly and Beth here, Sparky can bring his bombshell, and Flash can sit and pine over pool girl. We just have to find someone for Phil here,” announced Chase.
The inaction was wearing on the Admiral. He was a man of action; he didn’t do helpless. Their current situation had forced helpless upon him but he wasn’t going to take it lying down.
Nelson had designed and built the might Seaview. He had created a whole institute devoted to scientific endeavors. He had time and time again built devices that had saved his sub, his crew, and even the world. This broken radio didn’t stand a chance.
The Admiral picked up the pieces again determined to create something that would let search parties know where they were and that they needed immediate medical attention. He was Admiral Harriman Nelson after all; he made the impossible possible.
The dance hall was packed. The band was playing all the current hits. Chase’s uniform trick was working if the impressive line of young ladies at their table was any signe. Zack, Chase and Phil had spent most of their time on the dance floor while Harry and Will decided to hang back at the table, their embarrassment over the previous night’s events having not yet faded.
“Except for the biggest embarrassment of my life, I think this trip didn’t live up to the hype,” commented Will as he put his empty beer bottle down on the table.
“Not our finer moments. But you do have to admit they started out great,” replied Nelson.
That brought a small smile to the doctor’s lips. The silence that followed lasted a few moments before Will stood up and pushed his chair in. Nelson looked up at his friend with curiosity.
“Unfortunately I’m not in the mood for dancing. I’m going to call it a night and head back up to my room. I’ll catch you at breakfast . . .” Will paused as he counted the empty bottles and glasses spread out on their table, “make that lunch tomorrow.”
Jamieson wasn’t one to believe in love at first sight. He was a man of facts and science. He hadn’t met the girl by the pool, hadn’t had the pleasure of her name even. After the other night’s fiasco he was sure he’d never get the opportunity to get her name. Why couldn’t he get her out of his head?
He was so caught up in his thoughts that he walked right into the person entering the dance hall. The two collided in a heap of flailing arms and legs. After untangling themselves they both looked up and spoke at the same time.
“I’m sorry,” was the unified response that died on their lips as they realized who the other person was.
The other recovered faster, “It’s you! I almost didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.”
Seeing the blush creep up the doctor’s neck she extended her hand out towards Jamieson. “I’m Lillian Ross.”
All of his senses seemed to slow and it took a minute before he actually reached up and took the young woman’s hand.
“Will Jamieson. It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you.”
“Well, I figured since I’ve seen more of you than most, you at least owed me your name. What do you say we get out of here and you can buy me a drink?”
“I’d like nothing more,” answered Will as he followed Lillian out of the dance hall, his embarrassment yielding to confidence.
Harry smiled to himself as he watched Will leave with the girl. If Jamieson was going to get the girl then he was too. Nelson slammed back a little more liquid courage then set off to finish what he started the other night. After all, this was supposed to be the greatest week of their lives.
The Admiral rummaged around the wreckage pulling out components and wires from any console he could pry open. He had to get the radio device working. His efforts were slow due to the fact that he had to search by torch light and go back to the cave frequently to check on Jamie.
Nelson returned to the cave down the well worn path through the snow he created and began trying to fix the radio again. His hands shook from the cold as he fiddled with the wires. He rubbed his hands together and blew on them to help warm them. The action didn’t really help. It was more the idea that it helped that kept the older man doing it.
“I knew there was a reason I didn’t join the Army,” came the raspy voice of Jamie.
The Admiral grabbed the water bottle and placed against the doctor’s lips. He managed a few sips then pushed the bottle away.
“Why didn’t you join the army?” asked Nelson.
“I hate camping! There’s no take out, your clothes smell like smoke and you have to huddle near a fire for warmth.”
“Yes, I agree. Give me the open ocean any day.”
The Admiral crossed the red wire with the blue wire in his hand and the sound of static reverberated through the cave.
“Huh,” snorted the Admiral, “looks like I can get this radio to work after all.”
“Things are looking up then. I want the presidential suite and a day at the spa when we get back to civilization, Harry. Make sure they get my reservation,” Will said before he slipped into unconsciousness again.
“What do you think?” asked Will as he held out the velvet box.
“They’re very nice, but shouldn’t you be thinking about a wedding ring instead of earrings?”
“That’s a life altering step that I don’t know if we’re ready for yet.”
Nelson looked at the pair of diamond earrings nestled in the blue box then back to his friend. He held his gaze hoping Jamieson would spill his real reason for not purchasing a ring. He was not disappointed.
“Ok, ok, stop looking at me like that. What if she says no?”
“I don’t think she’d say no.”
“But what if she does! I don’t think I could handle that.”
Nelson reached into his pocket and produced a blue box of his own. He handed it over to his friend. Will opened the box and let out a small gasp.
“You’re going to propose with your grandmother’s ring tonight?”
“That’s the plan. I have reservations at eight o’clock. I’ll let you know tomorrow what she said.”
Jamieson put the boxes down on the counter and opened a bottle of wine. He had just moved into a new apartment and hadn’t unpacked much yet, including wine glasses. With no other option he poured the wine into to plastic cups and handed one to his friend.
“A toast, to an accepted marriage proposal and a wonderful anniversary dinner.”
“I’ll drink to that,” agreed Nelson.
The two men downed their drinks. After a brief conversation Harry grabbed a blue box off of the counter and went to pick up the woman who was to be the future Mrs. Nelson.
Will pocketed the other box and started to get ready for his dinner. His friend’s words tumbled around in his head as he thought about how wonderful it would be to spend the rest of his life with Lillian.
“This restaurant is the most popular in the city. How did you manage to get reservations on such short notice?” asked Elaina as Nelson pushed in her chair for her.
“I have my ways.”
The pair enjoyed a delicious French dinner by candlelight. With the last bite of dessert Nelson knew this was his moment. He pulled out the velvet box from his pocket and passed it over to Elaina.
“Elaina, I can’t picture spending my life with anyone else. From our first date to this moment the only one I have ever loved has been you.”
Elaina cautiously opened the box as Harry got down on one knee.
“Elaina Montcue would you do me the exquisite honor of being my wife?”
“I would; call me old fashioned Harry but aren’t you supposed to propose with a ring?”
Lillian smiled as Will nervously drummed his fingers on the white linen table cloth. Jamieson had been over thinking the night ever since he has talked with his friend. He and Lillian had been dating for almost three years. Maybe it was time to trade in fancy bobbles for an engagement ring. He had been so sure when he picked out the earrings that they were the right choice for the night but perhaps Lillian had been expecting a ring. What if she was tired of waiting for one and was planning to call it quits if Will didn’t hurry up and commit?
“Will, are you ok?” asked Lillian lightly.
Will turned the box over in his hands one more time. He was about to put it on the table when the waiter approached the table.
“Excuse me, sir, but you have a phone call at the front desk. The caller says it’s urgent.”
“You better take that Will,” said Lillian.
“I’ll be right back.” Jamieson got up and absentmindedly placed the object in his hands on the table before he followed the waiter to the phone.
He picked up the phone and greeted the caller.
“Will! You have the wrong box!”
“Harry is that you?”
“The boxes got switched. You have the ring!”
“What are you talking about? What do you mean I have the ring?”
“Somehow you ended up with my ring and I have your earrings. Just hold on to the box, Elaina and I are ten minutes away; we’ll switch and you can get on with your night.”
“Alright, just hurry, Harry.”
Jamieson walked back to the table contemplating what a disaster the night could have been if he had presented the box to Lillian. A wave of relief washed over him as he sat down at the table.
Lillian was all a glow and her excitement burst forth, “I will!”
Confused, Jamieson asked, “You will what?”
“I’ll marry you!”
His hands immediately went to his empty pocket.
“I know I should have waited but I couldn’t help but peek when you went to answer the phone.”
Will started to breathe heavy. He had left the box on the table. The sounds of the restaurant were drowned out by the buzzing in his ear; then a thought hit him. She said yes. Sure it wasn’t his ring, but she did say yes.
Nelson took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. He had managed to create a means to communicate but he felt doubt creep into his mind. All the possibilities of what could go wrong were dancing around his in his brain. Worst case scenarios were playing themselves over and over again.
He chastised himself for dwelling on the negative. There was no reason to believe this wouldn’t turn out with a happy ending; of course, there was no reason to believe this situation would end happily either.
Jamie had mentioned Elaina; something the two of them had not talked about in years. The four of them had been inseparable when their careers allowed them to be together. When he and Jamie were gone, he knew that Elaina and Lillian spent a fair bit of time together. As things tend to go, the group began to spend less time together and focus on their own interests.
Not only did the group start to spend less time together but Nelson and Elaina started to spend less time together. He always had something on the go. She grew tired of watching him in a lab and began to travel and write articles for a travel magazine.
He used to focus on the positive possibilities when he was younger, but age had caused him to realize that things didn’t always work out the way you wanted. His relationship with Elaina had demonstrated that fact many times over.
“Stop pacing or you’ll wear out your shoes,” shot Harry as he pulled out a cigarette from his pocket.
Will stopped and glared at his friend for a moment before he continued pacing the length of the room again.
“It’s natural to be nervous. I was on my wedding day,” reasoned Nelson.
Jamieson huffed but didn’t stop. He and Lillian had been a couple for four years. He had been absolutely sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her when she agreed to marry him last year. His only concern now was what if she didn’t feel the same way still? Lillian had accepted the proposal but what if she had a change of heart when the priest asked if she would be his wife. Will had never been this nervous when operating or at any other point in his life.
Sensing his friend’s distress Nelson walked over and placed his hands on Will’s shoulders to stop the pacing.
“I promise you everything will be fine. Just relax and enjoy your day.”
“Thanks Harry. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
The only moment of the day that registered in crystal clear clarity was the moment that the bride took her first step down the aisle. At that moment, all Will could see was the way the light reflected off of the crystals on her elegant dress; the way her hair was pulled back falling in chocolate-colored waves down her back. He had never seen her so happy before.
When Jamieson slipped the silver band onto her finger he vowed not only to love her forever, but to make sure she was this happy for the rest of her life.
The reception afterwards was lovely. The dinner was excellent, the cake turned out perfect, and during the first song the doctor only managed to step on the blushing bride’s feet once. When the best man gave his toast everyone raised their glasses to salute the happy couple. When Elaina put down her wine glass she knew the newlyweds would be just as happy as she was with Harry, the best man indeed.
The small fire sputtered and sparked as Nelson put more wood on top of the glowing embers. Will came to for a few moments and seemed to know where he was and what was going on. Nelson gave him some more pain medication and water.
They had already spent the night here; if help didn’t arrive soon he was going to have to go and scavenge for food. Years of survival training ran through his head providing many unappetizing possibilities for lunch.
How long the Admiral tried to contact someone, he could not say. Every turn of the dial brought more static and no replies. The ray of gleaming hope was slowly fading away to the first rays of sunlight stretching over the mountains.
Determination would not let him give up. Elaina had said he had determination. Was it determination or obsession? And when did she stop seeing it as an admirable trait?
The forest was filled with the waking sounds of its inhabitants. The cheerful songs of birds floated through the air competing with the chirping of various insects. If one did not see the plane wreckage, they would never have guessed there had been a violent intrusion of man the day before.
The picturesque scene was shattered by the crackling of the radio. Beneath the static in broken intervals was a voice. The message was unclear and the signal was shaky but it was contact.
The Admiral sprang to life and grabbed the homemade microphone.
“Mayday, mayday. This is Admiral Nelson, can anyone hear me?”
Static was the only reply. Nelson repeated his new mantra several times to no avail.
“We’re going to be late, Harry,” snapped Elaina as she hurried up the stairs to the church in her high heels and yellow summer dress.
“They will understand. Besides as godparents I’m pretty sure they have to wait for us to start anyways,” remarked Nelson in a vain attempt to lighten the mood.
When they entered the church they were greeted by an overly excited three year old. The boy had short dark hair and a huge smile plastered on his face. He ran up to greet the couple. Though dressed in a suit with little black dress shoes the child had managed to lose his jacket and his shirt was no longer tucked in.
“Uncle Harry, Auntie Elaina,” shouted Oliver as he jumped into Nelson’s arms for a hug.
The pair escorted the little boy back down the aisle of the church. The proud parents of Amelia Harriett Jamieson were waiting to begin the christening. The ceremony was lovely and the newest bundle of joy looked very pretty in her christening gown.
Despite the joyous occasion with their close friends, Elaina couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. She had tried to ignore the feel but it was persistent over the years; and after the christening it came to a boiling point.
Nelson was very aware of the tension between them for the last few years. The Navy and his passion had kept him very busy and even when he was home the couple spent the time fighting.
They arrived at the Nelson family home in which they had lived since Harry’s parents had passed away several years ago. The car ride had been filled with a silence that had stopped being uncomfortable many months ago. Without a word Elaina marched upstairs and into her room. She watched Harry enter in the mirror as she removed her earrings.
Elaina took the opportunity to speak first, “I want a change Harry. Let’s pack up and spend a month in Monaco. We’ll spend some time gambling in Monte Carlo . . .”
Nelson cut her off, “You know I can’t just pick up and leave. I have commitments here. I . . .”
“I’m tired of being second to a blob in a beaker in your lab. I’m not going to ask you to chose between me and your career. It just wouldn’t be fair. But mostly we both know the answer and I just don’t want to hear you say it. I’m done Harry. I’m not getting any younger and this isn’t how I want to live anymore. I want a divorce.”
The word echoed off of the walls and through every room of the large home. The idea was like a punch in the gut, though not unexpected. Nelson was a man of science; there was always a solution, something that would make things work out the way you predicted. There were no words to make this right and any actions were long past due. The truth was out there, and it hurt.
Nelson stood there as he watched Elaina sashay down the staircase and out the front door for the last time.
Jamie awoke to find Nelson staring at the radio.
“Did I miss something?” Will asked in a weak voice.
“What? Oh, no, you haven’t missed anything Will.”
The Admiral couldn’t bring himself to share his disappointment or the fact that the situation was wearing down his resolve.
“I want you to do something for me, Harry.”
“Whatever you want, Jamie.”
“I’m serious here. This is serious.”
“Alright, let’s hear it, Will.”
“I want you to make sure the kids are alright. Oliver’s . . .”
The Admiral cut off the doctor.
“It’s not time for one of those speeches yet. Help is on the way. It won’t be long now.”
Jamie locked eyes with his friend. Nelson couldn’t remember a time the man looked more serious than at that moment.
“We both know the odds. Now, Oliver’s almost done with medical school. Make sure he goes and does something wild and crazy like we did to celebrate. It could change his life. That boy studies too hard, he needs to live a little.”
“He takes after his old man.”
“And Amelia. Make sure she finishes school and doesn’t settle. And when she gets married, make sure it’s to a nice boy. Someone who will treat her right. You should walk her down the aisle, Harry.”
“You’ll be there to give her away Will you just need to hold on a little longer. Helps on the way.”
Jamie just smiled, “Sure they are Harry.”
Nelson’s pleas for Jamie to hold on had long since fallen on deaf ears. The only response from the ailing man was the trembling from the cold.
The Admiral knew his friend was unconscious but kept repeating the optimistic words. They were as much for Jamieson as they were for himself at that point.
The sound of voices reached the Admiral’s ears and he turned to look at the entrance to the cave. Did he dare hope or was his mind playing tricks on him?
The voices got louder; not only voices but the crunching of snow under boots. There was something familiar about the voice. It was Lee! Lee had found them.
As gently as possible, Nelson lifted Jamie off of his shoulder and leaned him against the cave wall.
“Jamie, Lee’s here. He found us. Just hold on a little longer,” whispered Nelson.
The Admiral then got up and left the cave to find their rescuers.
Commander Nelson raced down the hospital halls in a frantic search. After receiving the emergency call he had caught the first flight out of Washington. He hadn’t been looking forward to this moment and couldn’t imagine how the family was dealing with it. He desperately wanted to sneak outside for a cigarette to calm his nerves.
The figure at the end of the hall broke his heart. He had never seen Will so run down before. Harry strode over to his friend and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Jamieson needed a rock right now and that’s exactly what Nelson was going to be.
With tear-filled eyes, Will said, “The kids are in with her right now. They don’t give her much time, Harry.”
“They’re sure then?”
“It’s just a matter of days now.”
Will shrugged off Nelson’s hand and stormed over to the wall. All the frustration of the last few months came out as he put his hand through the wall.
“God damn it, Harry. All my medical training and there isn`t a thing I can do. My wife is dying in there and there isn`t a single thing I can do!” raged Jamieson.
Nelson steered his friend back towards the hard waiting room chairs. At the very least he could keep his friend from harming himself further. Harry pulled out a handkerchief and wrapped it around Jamie’s bleeding knuckles.
Will put his head in his hands.
In a quiet and defeated tone, he whispered, “I can’t do this on my own. I don’t know how to go on without her, Harry.”
Nelson just put his arm on Will’s shoulder.
“We’ll get through this just like everything else, Will. You’ll do it for her and you’ll do it for those kids. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for.”
Kowalski and Sharkey carried the stretcher containing the barely conscious Jamie. They made it to the chopper and loaded their precious charge; immediately one of the crew’s corpsmen began tending to the doctor.
The Admiral climbed in with the aid of Lee and sat beside Jamieson.
“Stay with me, Will. You’ll get through this just like everything else. You have to hold on for the kids, Jamie. Just hang in there,” encouraged the distraught Nelson.
The Admiral was checked over and cleared with nothing more serious than a few bumps and bruises and a very mild case of hypothermia. Having been told to rest for the next few days, Nelson’s personal assistant, Ryan, dutifully cleared his schedule for the next week.
Nelson let out a sigh when he saw Jamie was only hooked up to an IV, his arm had a cast and he was covered with several warm thick blankets. He sat down next to the bed relieved that Will was going to be alright. Dr. Jacobs said Jamieson could be released by the end of the week and put on light duty. Considering his arm was broken, that pretty much meant the only thing Will could do was dictate what he wanted typed in a report.
A groan from the figure in the bed grabbed the Admiral’s attention. Slowly the brown eyes opened and looked around the room.
“You did it again, Harry,” came the raspy whisper.
Nelson reached over and picked up the cup of water off of the side table. He put the straw to Jamie’s lips and let the man sip at the cool water.
Putting the cup back, Nelson asked, “What did I do again?”
“You saved the day. You always save the day.”
“We cut it pretty close this time, Will.”
“I had faith. And for what it’s worth, even if it didn’t work out this time I want you to know it’s been one wild adventure. I wouldn’t change it, Harry.”
The Admiral walked up to the reception desk and greeted with a bright smile. Nelson took a seat and waited for his page to be answered.
The phone at the desk rang and the cheery receptionist answered. After a few minutes, she put the phone down and leaned over the desk.
“He’ll be down to meet you in a moment. If you’ll just have a seat over there,” explained the young woman.
Nelson sat down and waited. He could understand why Jamie gave up his career in the Navy for a permanent position at the hospital after Lillian died. It was better for him and the kids to have a permanent place to call home and a father with a set schedule.
The Admiral was nervous; he hadn’t really talked to Jamie in two years. For the first year after Lillian’s death they had both made the effort to keep in touch and support one another but when Will left the navy they just fell out of touch.
“To what do I owe the pleasure, Admiral?” asked Jamie as he moved into the waiting room.
The two men shook hands.
“Is there some place we can talk Will? I have a business proposition for you.”
They sat in the cafeteria while Jamieson looked over Nelson’s proposal.
“That’s quiet the venture, Harry. Building your own sub and expanding your research facility.”
“It is. But I believe it will benefit all mankind. At the very least it promises to be an adventure,” added the Admiral.
“And just what do you require my services with?”
“My medical facility could use a good doctor Will. And I can’t think of one better. When I get Seaview built, I’m going to need someone I trust to look after my crew. You have the naval experience and the medical training. What do you say? Will you join me?”
The doctor thought about it for a moment then nodded.
“Sure, Harry, I’ll do it. What else am I going to do? Retire in a few years?” Jamieson ran his hand through his full head of hair with a smile, “You’re option should prove to be a worthwhile adventure.”