"I leave tomorrow," Molly told him sadly.
"Let me take you to the bus in the morning," Hawkeye offered.
"I would like that a lot," Molly said, "Will you do me a favor?"
Hawkeye looked at his daughter, "Anything, Molly," he told her.
"Will you come to Boston for Christmas?" She asked him, "My mother doesn't know I came here. She was away on business. I've decided that you would be the best Christmas gift I could ever give her. She needs help on the Korea part of her memoir, too. Maybe you could work on it with her. Please?"
He looked at her pleading face. There was nothing that could make him say no to her. "Yes, I will come."
"Thank you," she said, and went back to the motel. Molly packed her things, and went to bed.
Hawkeye was in his car waiting to take her to the bus stop. The day was unusually warm for those in Crab Apple Cove, especially the days leading to Christmas "Hi, Molly," he said when she got into the car. "There are two bags by your seat. One has breakfast in it for us, and the other is lunch for you to take on the bus. You can open the breakfast up, I am starving." Molly opened the bag, and there were two bagels, and two bottles of apple juice. "What you were expecting orange juice? Molly I do live in Crab Apple Cove," he said emphasizing the apple.
The two sat in the car eating their bagels, and drinking their juice, and waiting for the bus to come. "What do you think of this heat wave?" Hawkeye asked Molly, "It is hardly this warm in the summer."
"It is pretty warm. It sure doesn't seem like the weather for Christmas."
When it came, Hawkeye followed Molly to it. She started to board the bus, and then turned around. She walked to her father, "Thank you, dad," she said in tears and gave him a hug.
"Molly," Hawkeye said to her, "I love you." He too was in tears. "I will be in Boston for Christmas. I promise." He patted to the breast pocket of his coat where he had Molly and Margaret's address.
The ride home was hard for Molly. When lunchtime did come, she opened the brown paper bag. Inside the bag was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off, and apple and a piece of chocolate cake wrapped in foil. There was also a letter inside.
Molly opened the envelope, and started to read it. The letter made her cry. Dear Molly, it started, I would like to start off this letter by thanking you for finding me. I am much more fulfilled after this weekend, and then I have been my entire life. I would like to apologize. I have had no practice being a father. I hope that I can be the kind that you have always dreamed of. I also hope that this trip was as meaningful to you as it was to me. Please, feel free to come and visit me whenever you wish. I had a lot of fun spending time with you. I know that this lunch really isn't much, and it certainly does not make up for lost time, but Molly, you have to realize that I have never packed a lunch in my entire life. I figured all children like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I only hope that you are not too old or sophisticated for them. I also know that no child likes the crusts of bread, and since I am a surgeon, it was a new and interesting task for me. I added a piece of chocolate cake from the lobster shack. I hope you still aren't sick of cake. There are few pleasures in the world, but this weekend I have gotten to know two of them. The pleasure of being a father, and the pleasure of eating the best chocolate cake in all of Maine with my daughter. I have much more to say to you, but I am afraid if I start writing more, I won't be able to stop, and cause you to be late for your bus. On a closing note, Molly, I love you very much, and I am so proud of you. Love your father, Benjamin Franklin Pierce.
Molly's mother came home from New York City, later that afternoon, and her daughter was there to welcome her home. "How was your weekend, dear," Margaret asked as she walked in the door.
"I think I had the time of my life," Molly smiled, "How was your trip?"
"I may have a book deal!" Margaret revealed happily.
"That's great, Mom," Molly told her.
"The editor is supposed to call after the holidays," Margaret informed her daughter. "You know tomorrow is Christmas Eve?"
"Yes, I know," Molly said with excitement, "It came quickly this year."
"I know," Margaret smiled.
"We are having a big dinner, right?" Molly asked.
"Of course," Margaret replied, "We do every year."
"That's great," Molly told her mother, "I hope you didn't mind, but I invited someone to Christmas dinner. They might need to stay in the guest room for a night or two."
"Oh?" Margaret asked, "One of your friends from school? Don't they need to be with their family?"
"Not exactly," Molly said, "It's a surprise. You'll find out on Tuesday."
"All right," her mother smiled, yet was confused.
"Mom, I have some last minute shopping to do," Molly said, "I'll be back in a little bit."
"Okay, dear," Margaret said as Molly left the house.
Molly needed to find the perfect Christmas gift for her father. She walked down the main streets of Boston looking for the right shop. She went into a bookshop and looked through all the shelves. Her father had mentioned he liked to read, perhaps she could find something there. A book on the shelf intrigued Molly, and she decided to buy it as part of her father's gift. The title was 365 Days of Chocolate Cake. Molly thought that he might enjoy it. She continued walking down the streets of Boston, where she found a small shop full of clothing. An object in the window caught Molly's eye. IT was a scarf. She was sure her father had many of them, but this was the same color that the twos eyes were. Molly had noticed her father's eyes were the same exact shade of blue hers where. She purchased the scarf, and went home.
On Christmas day, Molly got up, and straightened out the guest room. She wanted everything to be perfect when her father arrived. Margaret began cooking in the kitchen. Each year she made a ham, and all of the fixings for Molly and her dinner. Molly set the table with three settings, and then put her Christmas presents under the tree.
"Are those packages for me?" Margaret asked.
"Actually, Mom," Molly started, "You present hasn't arrived yet." Margaret looked hurt. "No, Mom, it's not like that. It will be here for dinner. I promise." As Molly finished the doorbell rang. "I think it may be here, right now."
"Oh," Margaret said.
"Why don't you get the door, Mom." Molly suggested.
"All right, dear," she said, and then went to the door. Molly followed. Margaret opened the door to a man with a travel bag in one arm, and Christmas presents in the other. Margaret stood speechless for a moment.
"Merry Christmas, Mom," Molly said.
"Hawkeye?" Margaret said. "How-" She didn't get to finish her question, because Hawkeye kissed her. When they finally pulled away. Margaret let Hawkeye come in.
Molly ran to him. "Dad," she said embracing her father.
"You two have a lot of explaining to do," Margaret said a bit angrily. The three walked into the living room, and Molly began to talk. "Mom, don't be mad at him. It was my idea. I asked him to come. I know he is my father, and he knows I am his daughter."
Margaret looked at Hawkeye. "It's true, Margaret. We have a very brave, very intelligent daughter," he told her.
"Mom, I have been doing some investigating for awhile," Molly started, "I needed to know who my father was, and I wanted to meet him. I was sure if I would ask, you would not tell me everything. This past weekend I went to visit Hawkeye in Crab Apple Cove. We spent the weekend together making up for lost time. I asked him to come for Christmas. Mom," Molly said noticing her mother in tears, "Don't be made at us. If anyone should be mad, it should be Hawkeye. He didn't know about me until this weekend."
"I am sorry, Hawkeye," Margaret said, "I should have told you, but I was scared. Molly, I am sorry that you never got to know your father when you were growing up. Will you ever forgive me?"
"I think I might," Hawkeye said giving Margaret a hug, "I love you too much to be angry."
The three spoke during dinner. Mostly the conversation was about Molly's childhood, but Hawkeye and Margaret spoke of Korea as well. Molly noticed that her parents were still very much in love, and that made her happy.
"Let me get dessert," Margaret said when the table was cleared. "Molly, I made your favorite, chocolate cake." Molly looked at her father, who was looking at her. They both groaned and started laughing. "You too already have inside jokes, don't you?" Margaret asked when she brought the cake in.
"Happily, guilty as charged," Hawkeye said with a smile. The three exchanged Christmas gifts, after Hawkeye and Molly ate most of the cake themselves. Margaret looked at the two with disbelief as they finished the cake off.
"We've had practice," Hawkeye said laughing, "haven't we Molly?"
"We sure have, dad."
Hawkeye could not have been happier with his gifts from his daughter. When he opened the scarf he looked at Molly, who told him, "That is so I am always close to your heart, Dad. The blue is the color of our eyes."
"I know," Hawkeye said wiping a tear from his eye.
Hawkeye gave Molly a scrapbook of her parent's time in Korea. "I promise I will make it up to you, Molly," he said to her, "It was a short notice, and I didn't get time to shop properly. I thought you might like it though."
"Dad," Molly said embracing him, "I love it."
Although, Molly and Hawkeye enjoyed their gifts no gift was as special as what Hawkeye gave Margaret. He handed her a small wrapped box. "Margaret," Hawkeye said to her, "I bought this a long time ago, but you never gave me the chance to give it to you. I know now, that actions speak louder than words. My daughter proved that to me."
She carefully unwrapped the present, and gently opened the small black box. Inside the box was a diamond ring. "Margaret," Hawkeye said, kneeling down beside her. "Can we be a family? Marry me, please, Margaret."
Margaret Houlihan looked at her daughter who smiled, and nodded her head, and then she looked at her daughter's father. The only man she ever loved. With tears running down her face she said, "Yes."