"How have you been? How's life in Crabapple Cove?" she tried to start a conversation.
"Oh great, great, everything is doing just fine..." She didn't believe him but let him continue. " The practice is running smoothly, and the work at the hospital is okay. And how are you doing, still together with Ricky."
"Yes, I'm pretty well. Police academy is a little rough but I like it a lot." She told him. "How about your social life?"
"He..." He stuttered. "Well, no, I'm not engaged or married if you mean that. Not short of offers though but there wasn't the right one." Saying this he started looking around. "By the way Margaret didn't come?" He seemed to be disappointed.
Jay grinned when she realized that the feelings for the former head nurse stood written in his face. He loved her, no doubt about that. But did he himself realize?? "No, not yet. She wanted to but..." she replied.
They danced for a long time, then went back to the bar and had a couple of drinks and went back onto the dance floor. The later it got the more alcohol both of them drank. They laughed, fooled around, hiding pretty well what was going on in their minds. Hawkeye seemed to drink that much only to get rid of something and Jay just accompanied him. But she actually drank to get over this damn fight with Ricky. Nevertheless she still noticed that Hawk wasn't as happy as he pretended to be. He was quite a good actor.
"I need some fresh air." Hawk suddenly said and put an arm around Jay's waist. "Let's go outside. OK?"
"Sure." Jay said and both went through the door.
There they stood in front of the club looking the street right before them. It was dark already. Suddenly Hawkeye took her by the shoulders and turned her towards him. 'What are you doing?' she thought but it was too late to say it loud. He lifted her head with his hands, waited a moment starring into her eyes, then bent over and kissed her. Jay was confused, she didn't really know what to do. In a way she really liked it although she knew it was wrong. She wanted to push him away but he held her too tight. "Hawkeye, please, let me go!" Jay asked, her mouth still close to his. He loosened their hug and looked at her strangely. "What the hell you think you're doing?" She shouted madly, running around and gesticulating wildly. "Why did you do that? I can't believe it."
"I'm sorry, it's just that I thought it was the right moment." Hawkeye was confused and drunk. His feelings were all mixed up. Was it that wrong? "And you did kiss me back!"
"I know." Jay admitted. "I was confused. I had a big fight with Ricky this morning but now I realize that I still love him from the bottom of my heart. I love you too, Hawkeye but like a brother, like a best friend and nothing more."
"I think...I feel the same way. Actually I don't know what to feel." Hawkeye looked down a little ashamed. "There's too much going on in my mind right now. Too much has happened in the last years. It's weird. Tonight I drank too much and I saw signs where there weren't any. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." He lifted his head and Jay saw that he was crying. What has happened??
"Hawkeye, it's okay." She embraced him. "Now talk to me. Why are you acting so strange? The war hit us all pretty hard, I still have nightmares. I know about your stay at the insane asylum but I don't think this is the reason why you behave like this. What happened to you? I guess it's time to talk medicine. You're not the same person that I used to know and that is the person I miss. ..."
They took a seat on the first step in front of the door and Hawkeye started to talk.
"Yes, the war was hard on me but that's not the reason. I mean I'm not insane, at least not more than usual. I have nightmares, too, but that's normal I guess. Everything was so nice when I came back home. My dad was there and all of my friends. I loved my work at the hospital but there was something missing in my life. It took me a while to realize what that was. I couldn't believe it myself."
Hawkeye nodded a little surprised. "Yes, I love her. I know that by now but I guess it's too late. I never really have gotten over that."
"But that's not the only reason." Jay saw something more. "There's another thing bothering you."
"You would have made a great psychiatrist." Hawk tried to smile. "You're right. A year ago my dad died. It was as if somebody had ripped out my heart. He was my lifeboat when I was in Korea, the person I adored more than anybody else. He died of a heart attack and I couldn't save him. Damn, I saved so many lives in Korea why couldn't I save his or Henry's? Why do the people I love die?" He started crying again. This time it were not only tears of sadness but also tears of relieve. He hadn't talked about this. After the funeral he took over the practice and still did his work in the hospital. He tried to drown his pain with work. That helped for a while but not for long. "I felt so lonely in that big house on the one hand. On the other hand I didn't want to see anybody, didn't want to talk to anyone. I isolated myself totally. At first I didn't even want to come here, didn't want to think about Korea anymore, didn't want to meet the people. Nothing would bring back those three years I could have spent with my dad... But now I think coming here was the best for me to do." He looked up and saw tears rolling down Jay's cheeks. He wiped them away. "I feel better now. Much better. You really are a good therapist." He smiled at her.
"I'm sorry about your dad, Hawk. But it wasn't your fault, don't blame yourself." Jan Mei said. "But I'm also disappointed. I thought we had something special. You helped me through a hard time in Korea - remember, I lost my mom and got wounded. You really pulled me back up. Why didn't you call me when that happened? I would have listened to you...Or B.J., you could have called him..."
Hawk shrugged his shoulders. Then he wrapped his arm around her and so they sat for a while. Hawkeye felt life coming back to him what made him smile. "Let's go back inside." He suggested and they rose. Before they turned around towards the door he hugged her again. "Thanks, for everything!" He whispered.
"You're welcome." Jay grinned and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"Hey, hey, young lady. Who is that guy you're kissing?" shouted a voice she knew as good as her own from the other side of the street.
"Who is it?" Hawk asked as he saw someone walking over to them. "Ricky?"
Jay nodded. She didn't know what to do.
"Go to him, girl. You love him, don't make the same mistake I did with Margaret." Hawkeye encouraged her. "Don't be afraid. You'll see, he'll have forgotten about the fight."
Jan Mei ran over to her boyfriend, hugged and kissed him. She definitely was happy that he finally managed to come. They walked towards the club. "I guess you know this guy."
"Oh yes, you're Hawkeye. Nice meeting you again." They shook hands. "How's the party going?"
The three went back in the house.
The party went on for a couple more hours. Everybody reveled in memories. And now Hawkeye's laughter came back - this gorgeous, unique sound that infected every person. He was happy again but still couldn't stop thinking about Margaret.
It was midnight when Ricky who had talked to B.J. for a while came over to Jay who was sitting at one of the tables in the corner. He kneeled down in front of her.
"What are you doing, honey?" Jay was looking at him eyes wide open.' No, you won't do what I think...' she thought. "Are you drunk. What is going on?"
"No, I'm not drunk." Ricky answered grinning. He took her hand and saw that she blushed, tears started to fill her eyes. "We are together now for more than four years and I still love you as much as on the first day. We met in hell. The war is not the best place to start a relationship but somehow we managed it. We've been through so many ups and downs so far which made our love even stronger. I knew from the beginning that you are the right one for me. And that's why I ask you tonight: 'Will you marry me?'" He opened the small box in his hands and revealed an engagement ring. He looked into her eyes, she was crying just like him. All the others suddenly stopped talking and watched the couple.
Jan Mei stood up and pulled Ricky towards her. Then she said: "Yes!" They kissed and everyone cheered. Ricky took the ring and put it on her finger. She smiled happily, tears still rolling down her face. "I can't believe it."
Hawk was the first one to congratulate. "I'm so happy for you." He hugged her.
"Speaking of being happy." said Jay. " Ask B.J. for Margaret's address. She's living right here in San Francisco. Sorry, I should have had the idea earlier." Hawkeye was shocked, then he kissed her and looked out for B.J. He talked to him for a while then said good-bye to everyone.
"I see you tomorrow at B.J.'s house." Hawk said, opened the door and quickly went outside.
The others were wondering why he was leaving so early. That usually wasn't Hawkeye's style. Only B.J. and Jay were grinning and blinked at each other.
It was three o'clock in the morning when Ricky, Jay and B.J. returned to Mill Valley.
The other guests of the party were gone also. The hotel they checked in was just a few blocks from the club. So there was a crowd of laughing people entering it around 3 a.m. with one exception, Hawkeye. He had taken another direction two hours earlier. He had walked for about an hour and then stood in front of a small house with a little garden in front. He went up onto the porch, his heart pounding faster as he lifted his arm ready to knock on the door. 'Should I really do this?' He thought to himself. ' It's 2 a.m., Margaret'll rip my head of if I wake her up.' He just wanted to turn around and walk back when he saw a light through one window and heard footsteps. Then the door was opened and there she stood, beautiful as ever. He was speechless but words weren't necessary this time. He walked into the house and she closed the door behind them.