August 3, 1944
Jason glanced over to see his best friend scribbling away on a pad of paper. He shifted and looked out the window of the train taking he and his fellow soldiers across the country.
They’d left Port Charles earlier that morning for the three day trip to California where they’d get on the aircraft carrier they’d be serving on for the time being. He’d spent far too much time at Kelly’s the night before and as a result was in no mood for a long train ride.
He let himself reflect on the intriguing young woman he’d met the night before. Elizabeth Webber was unlike anyone other girl he’d ever met. Vivacious, independent, and pretty. They’d talked over coffee until the early hours of the morning. He’d learned all about her grandmother who’d run the diner before her and he’d told her more about growing up in Wilmington, Delaware.
When they’d noticed the sun coming up, he’d had to hightail it back to the base, but they’d exchanged addresses and he’d kissed her on the cheek. For the first time since his enlistment, Jason had an urge to actually worry about coming home from the war.
“You look like you’re thinking about somethin’ important,” Michael “Sonny” Corinthos said finally. “You ain’t said word one since we got on board.”
Jason frowned. “Just thinkin’.” He glanced back over to the other man. “You writin’ to Brenda again?”
Sonny grinned. “She gets worried if I don’t write daily.”
Jason snorted. “She’s gonna have some problems when we get to the Pacific.”
“Nah. Not if I write a letter daily and date them accordingly,” Sonny replied.
Jason shrugged. “Whatever works for you.” He twisted in his seat. “You got some paper and a pencil I could borrow?”
“Sure,” Sonny replied, ripping off a sheet and fishing in his pockets for an extra pencil. “Who you writin’ to?”
Jason pulled a travel book about Hawaii about of his bag to lean on. “A girl I met back in Port Charles,” he reported, dating the letter. “I met her the last night I was there.”
“You met someone?” Sonny asked, skeptically. “For real?”
“Yes,” Jason said, crossly. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothin’. You just kept to yourself the entire time we was in Port Charles. Kind of weird you met someone your last night. What’s she like?”
“She’s nice,” Jason replied.
“Nice. You wanna give some details?” Sonny pressed.
“She kind of owns Kelly’s, that diner on the docks,” Jason finally told him. “Her grandmother left it to her. She’s really great. Good listener, fun to talk to–”
“What’s she look like?” Sonny cut in.
“She’s pretty,” Jason admitted. “Curly brown hair. Blue eyes. She’s kind of short, though. Only comes about to my shoulders.”
“Ah, a petite girl. She kind of sounds like Brenda without the blue eyes.” Sonny nodded. “So you like her?”
“Yeah, I’m writin’ to her, ain’t I?”
“Jeez, you ain’t got to get so testy,” Sonny replied. “Look, I’ll write my letter, you write yours, okay?”
“Okay,” Jason agreed.
— August 10, 1944 —
Elizabeth strode into Kelly’s, clutching a stack of mail with one hand and the other perusing a newspaper. She set it all down on the counter, shouted a hello to Lou and started the coffee.
“Bill, bill, junk,” Elizabeth murmured flipping through the stack of mail. Her eyes lit up when she saw a personal letter postmarked from Iowa and the return address was Sgt. Jason Morgan.
“You look mighty happy there, Bethie,” Jake Holden remarked, sliding onto a stool.
“I am thrilled,” Elizabeth said happily. “Coffee’s not ready, though, Mr. Holden.”
“Now, Bethie, we done had this discussion about a hundred times,” Mr. Holden began.
Elizabeth slit the envelope open, ignoring her elderly customer and pulled the letter out.
August 3, 1944
I’m writing this on my train trip to California. There’s a stop somewhere in Iowa, I think so I’ll probably send it from there.
I’m about ready to drop, I’m so tired. But it’s a good tired, you know? I can’t remember the last time I sat up all night talking to someone. Sonny–he’s the friend that’s got the fiancée–he was kind of curious about why I needed paper to write to someone. So I had to tell him about you.
Sonny–his real name is Michael though he’d knock us out if we called him that–is from Chicago. He’s been seein’ his girl Brenda since they were in grade school. Says he can’t wait to get home to see her again. Never met Brenda, but since Sonny wants me to be his best man at the wedding, guess I will.
Once I get to California, I’ll be there a week. You’ll have to address your letters to the address at the bottom. Once I’m off the carrier though, I can’t promise they’ll get to me. Sounds awfully assumptive of me…I don’t know if you’d actually write. I guess I just needed something to do on the train.
It’s kind of nice traveling by train. Never been this far west before. Lot of cities, not much else. Maybe California will be better.
“Who wrote ya?” Mr. Holden asked, leaning forward.
Elizabeth sighed and set the letter back down on the counter. “You remember the soldier that was in about a week ago?” she asked. “When we talked about Sadie and Vista Point?”
“The night before they got shipped out?” Mr. Holden asked. “Yep. What, did the two of you hit it off or somethin’?”
“This is a letter from him,” Elizabeth confirmed. “He didn’t have any family or a girl to write to, so I suggested we write to each other.”
“That’s mighty fine of you to do,” Mr. Holden declared. “He seemed like an upstanding young man. If you had any common sense, Bethie, you’d have gotten a ring on your finger before he left town.”
Elizabeth smirked. “I knew Jason for twelve hours before he left town. That’s barely enough time to exchange vitals much less get engaged.”
“Nonsense,” Mr. Holden waved off. “I knew my Sadie for twenty minutes before I decided she was the woman for me. Sometimes you just know.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Sometime you do,” she agreed. “But sometimes, it needs to develop on its own. Jason seemed like a great guy. I’m sure he’ll make a woman very happy one day.”
“Comes to mind that you’re the one he’s writin’ to, Bethie. See, I knew Sadie was the one…but well, she took some convincing.”
“Girl, I ain’t gonna tell you again!” Mr. Holden remarked. “It’s Jake or nothin’.”
“Jake,” Elizabeth grinned and shook her head. “Jason didn’t have anyone else to write to.”
“But he’s writin’ to ya now.”
“Because I suggested it,” Elizabeth reminded him.
“A man don’t have to listen to anything he don’t wanna do,” Mr. Holden said firmly. “That’s the problem with young girls today. You don’t put any faith in the men in your life. Always looking for an excuse or an explanation. Sometimes things just are the way they are.”
“All right, Mr. Holden. Tell you what, if I ever marry Jason, I want you to give me away,” Elizabeth told him.
“You start callin’ me Jake and we got a deal,” Mr. Holden responded.
— September 10, 1944 —
Jason looked up from his bunk at the sound of Sonny’s voice. They were currently en route to the Phillippines on an aircraft carrier and this was the first time there’d been any mail.
“You get a letter from Brenda?” Jason asked, sitting up.
“Yep. I got five of them,” Sonny said proudly. He set his aside. “Zander’s got three from Emily,” he paused to toss them to their dark-haired friend. “Johnny’s got two from Chloe.” He handed it to Johnny O’Brien who wandered away to his own bunk to read them. “Hey, you got one.”
“I did?” Jason asked, surprised.
“Yep. Postmark Port Charles, New York. August 11, 1944,” Sonny reported. “From your waitress friend.”
“I didn’t know you had a girl in Port Charles,” Zander Smith said from his position on the top bunk across from Jason and Sonny. “I bet Emily knows her.”
“Probably does,” Sonny replied. “Everyone knows everyone in that town. Now Chicago–”
“Sonny, give me the letter,” Jason interrupted impatiently. Sonny grinned and handed it to him. Jason wasted no time ripping it open and unfolding the letter.
August 10, 1944
I stopped work right in the middle of my shift just to write this. Mr. Holden wouldn’t let it go. You should write to that soldier boyfriend of yours, he kept saying. Honestly. Kept trying to explain to him that we only knew each other a few hours, but the man’s a hopeless romantic. The way he talks about his wife…wow. What I wouldn’t give to have someone talk about me like that.
So you had to tell Sonny about me, huh? What did you tell him? Some crazy waitress begged you to write her? He sounds great though.
Life goes on here in PC. The base has closed down so of course the girls in town are depressed. Honestly, you’d think the most exciting thing here were the soldiers.
I hope this letter reaches you, but one of the girls who works here–Courtney Quartermaine–her husband is in Europe and her letters almost never reach him, but she’s always getting something from him. She can be a little annoying though–always sitting around crying for him.
Mr. Holden is sitting in front of me, jabbering away about if I had had any sense, I would have gotten a ring before you left town.
Oooh…Lou’s giving me a nasty look. Should probably get back to work. You know for someone who owns the place, I sure do more work than anyone else.
“Can I read?”
Jason looked up from the letter and glared at Johnny. “No.”
“Aww, I let you read the ones from Chloe,” Johnny whined.
“You read yours out loud,” Jason replied, almost disgusted. “No one wants to hear that stuff.”
Johnny shrugged. “So, can I read it?”
Jason rolled his eyes and handed the letter over to him. Johnny scanned it. “She sounds nice. She begged you to write her?”
“Nah. I ate at the diner she owns the night before she got on the train,” Jason replied, hopping down from his bunk and fishing through Sonny’s bunk for some paper and a pencil. “Told her I didn’t have anyone to write to back home and she told me to write to her.”
“She owns a diner?” Johnny asked. He whistled. “You got yourself a sugar mama, Morgan.”
Jason scowled. “She inherited it when her grandmother died and it’s not like that. She’s just a friend.”
“You got a picture?” Zander asked, eagerly.
Johnny glared at him. “How long you been listenin’?” he demanded.
“No, I don’t got a picture,” Jason replied. “We only knew each other a few hours.”
“You should get a picture,” Zander said, knowingly. “Somethin’ to keep you warm when you’re bein’ shot at.”
Johnny rolled his eyes. “Ever the fucking optimistic, huh Smith?”