Still inside the tavern the Pierces and the McIntyres found themselves facing each other a trifle uneasily. "I guess that means it's just the four of us." Margaret laughed a bit self-consciously, trying to keep things light. Turning to McIntyre, she asked, "You know, it's silly but I'm not even sure what to call you. I can't very well use Captain McIntyre like I did before, and while Hawkeye calls you Trapper, Louise calls you John. Which do you prefer?"
"Most people nowadays call me John, but it'd be a cold day in hell before I'd let Hawk here call me that, so maybe you'd better stick to Trapper too."
"And sides of bacon will be flapping through the air before you could get me to call you anything else. That's one of the advantages of this dusting of snow on the roof: I'm too much of an old dog to be learning new tricks." Hawkeye ruefully ran his fingers through his now almost completely gray hair.
"Eh, you're just an old dog, period!" laughed Trapper. "Seriously though, Margaret, it's going to take a while for me to get used to calling you by that name. I can't say Major anymore, and your husband here has informed me that Hot Lips is off limits too." He shook his head, still a little shell-shocked. "Your husband. That one's going to take me some time too. Who would've ever thought back then that you two would make a match of it?"
Hawkeye exchanged a bemused look with his wife, the question being old hat by this point. "Yeah, we've pondered that a time or two ourselves." He chuckled, putting his hand over his wife's. "You know, there was a time when I thought maybe the two of you might get something going. Remember that time Margaret was drunk, Trap? She was all over you!" There was an embarrassing pause, and he felt a sharp pain in his shin as Margaret kicked him. Suddenly realizing what he had insinuated in front of the man's wife, he stammered out, "Not of course that anything ever would have happened! Trap would never do that, he had pictures of you and the girls up and talked about you all the time, and…"
Louise interrupted him, seemingly not fazed at all by his comments. "Don't worry, Hawkeye. I'm perfectly aware that boys will be boys, especially when they're away from home and I'd hardly expect John to be any different."
"That's my baby!" grinned Trapper. "There was never anything more than harmless fun." He changed the subject with a cavalierness that surprised both Hawkeye and Margaret. "So Margaret, Hawk's been catching me up on the past few years while you gals were jabbering. I hear you've got twins."
Margaret couldn't help but beam with a mother's pride at the mention of her children. "Yes, our little darlings."
"Or little terrors, depending on whether you catch them asleep or awake."
Lightly slapping her husband on the shoulder, she explained to the other couple, "Don't listen to him. The twins have him wrapped around their little fingers. Especially little B-Jane, only two years old but already daddy's little girl."
"You're lucky, you know, to have kids that young. I remember when Kathy and Becky were little and I was the only man in their lives. Now they're grown up young women, and dear old dad's an embarrassment."
"It's not that bad, John." Louise scolded him. "They're growing up and it's perfectly normal to be having boyfriends and dating. Becky might not give you such a problem if you'd stop interrogating every young man she brings home."
"Louise, we've been over this. I know exactly what every one of those punks has on their mind and a father's got to protect his daughters."
His wife only rolled her eyes, but Hawkeye answered, "Now that you mention it, I think I'm glad B-Jane won't be a teenager for over a decade. How old are your girls now anyway?"
"Becky's sixteen. She's a real beauty and going to be prom queen next year," he boasted. "Kathy's fourteen. She's quieter, but would be a knockout if she'd just put a little effort into it."
"They sound lovely." Margaret was quick with the praise. "We'd love to meet them sometime."
"Oh sure, we'll put together a barbecue or something." Trapper responded easily. "Where'd the name B-Jane come from anyway? It's a little out there."
"Oh, that's just a nickname. Her real name is Briana Jane, after a dear friend, BJ Hunnicutt. Our son, Charlie, gets his name from Charles Winchester and Hawkeye's father, Daniel."
"Hunnicutt, huh?" Trapper cast a glance at Hawkeye across the table from him. "Sounds like you two were pretty tight."
Hawkeye sighed internally. He hadn't wanted to get into this since things had been going well so far. "Yeah, BJ's a good egg. The next time he's out here we'll have to get you to meet him somehow. You'll love him."
"Yeah, we'll have to do that." Trapper eyed his old friend, well aware that he was dodging the question, and decided it might be a good idea to change the subject. "So Hawk, when'll you be in Boston next? We'll have to get together for a drink. Do some catching up without the little women around, if you know what I mean." This last was accompanied by a roguish twinkle in his eye.
The comment was so much the old Trapper that Hawkeye remembered that he again forgot his doubts of the moment before. "You haven't changed a bit, Trapper. You always were a scoundrel."
"So, whaddya say? Next week?"
"Sure. Hey! You know what we should do? Go to that little pub downtown where we used to go when we were in residency. Remember the dames that we used to pick up in there?"
"Oh boy, do I! Remember when I took you there right after you and Carlye broke things off?"
"Oh yeah! That couldn't have been more than a week after she walked out on me, and I was so depressed I was sinking through the floor." Hawkeye quickly picked up the thread.
"I had to practically drag you out of that apartment and down the street, and you were so sure you were just going to cry into your beer all night."
"And I tried pretty hard to do just that, you gotta admit."
"Oh, I admit it all right." Turning to the women who were listening in amused silence, he explained, "He was such a downer I was starting to worry nothing was going to pick him up. I mean, girls all over and he wasn't even seeing them! I knew something was really wrong when Hawkeye wouldn't even perk up at the sight of a fully loaded broad."
"Don't listen to him! He was more worried he was going to lose his reputation for being able to party his way out of anything than he was about me!"
"Eh well, maybe that crossed my mind. But there was some legitimate concern for my buddy there too!" Trapper grinned at Hawkeye, feeling the old rapport fall into place. "So then, just when I was thinking about giving up, in walks this woman with a body that just wouldn't quit. Long black hair all the way down to these curvy hips, these full, pouty lips, and…" He glanced at the women, grinning knavishly. "Well maybe I should stop since there are ladies present."
"Oh please, not on my account." Margaret had heard far worse before and was getting a kick out of hearing a story about Hawkeye from the days before she had known him.
Trapper however, noticed the look Louise was shooting his way and curbed his description. His wife let him get away with a lot, but only as long as she didn't have to hear about it. "Anyway, she was one hot cookie. Don't know where she came from, but she walks into the pub and every guy in the room has his eyes glued to her you know what's. Without so much as glance at any of us, she catches sight of Hawkeye sitting at the bar all by himself and beelines straight for him."
"She told me she liked a challenge." Hawkeye clarified, grinning at the memory.
"She must not have been too pleased with you then, cause it didn't take long before you were drooling over her like a puppy over a meaty bone. I never saw a man perk up so fast. Twenty minutes later they were out the door and I guess she worked her magic, because when I saw Hawk the next day the smile was back on his face!"
"Let's just say she was skilled, and leave it at that. My wife is present, and she might not take too kindly to hearing all the gory details. Would you, honey?"
"I don't think you need to be thinking about those details too carefully either!" responded Margaret lightly.
They all laughed, and Trapper asked, "Did you ever even find out her name, Hawk?"
"Pamela. Her name was Pamela."
"You knew that awfully fast for a one night stand from so many years ago! Have you been keeping something from me, Hawkeye?" Margaret teased him. Hawkeye's sexual escapades before they were together didn't faze her. She'd had quite a few herself, after all and, as long as there weren't any more, it was all just so much water under the bridge.
"What can I say? She made a big impression. In fact…" He glanced slyly at his wife. "If she had stayed until I woke up the next morning, she just might be sitting here now instead of Margaret." Receiving a sharp clap on the side of his head and a dirty look, he asked in his most innocent tones, "What? You never know what could have happened."
"See Hawk, this is why we need to meet without our old ladies. It'd make reminiscing much less dangerous!"
"I do see your point. This could get rather violent" Hawkeye agreed with Trapper, but at the same time snaked his arm around Margaret's waist.
She instinctively leaned a little closer to him, glad that he seemed to have forgotten his previous anger with Trapper. And as for herself, her dislike for Trapper had been founded a very long time ago, under very different circumstances and she was relieved to find that very little of the former animosity had been carried over. Of course, she could do without him referring to her as 'the old lady' or 'the little woman,' but that was little enough to tolerate in the interest of friendship. They stayed for another forty-five minutes, the conversation remaining animated, with Hawkeye and Trapper making plans to meet the following week before leaving.
30 October 1959; Boston Mercy Hospital; Boston, Massachusetts
Trapper whistled under his breath as he leaned against the wall waiting for his companion to join him. It was a Friday afternoon and he was meeting Hawkeye later at their old hangout, but that wasn't for over an hour and he had no intention of wasting the time in between. It was looking like he had finally played his cards right and would get a chance at a little action today. He had every reason to whistle.
A little ways down the hall, Abby Jameson slipped out of her office, smiled nervously as she saw Trapper waiting for her, and headed towards him, her high heels clicking noisily on the tiled floor. "Hey there, handsome. You waiting for me?" Her voice contained more bravado than she really felt; she was no innocent, but married men were still a new thing for her.
"Unless you know of another beautiful blonde secretary who's looking for a little one on one time with everyone's favorite surgeon." Trapper leered appreciatively at the woman's low-cut dress.
"Oh, I'm afraid you'll just have to make do with me. Now come on, before someone sees us."
Trapper casually draped his arm about Abby's shoulders as they walked out of the building. "Don't worry so much, babe. King Charles already left for the day, and no one else's gonna care if you're helping the star surgeon practice his relaxation techniques."
Her giggle was high pitched, but she looked up at him adoringly. "You're so amazing. Always an answer for everything. I wish I could do that."
"Well then I'll teach you. Knowing me comes with a few added bonuses. Now you said you had a place we could go to?"
"Uh-huh. My apartment's just a couple blocks from here and I live alone."
"That sounds just perfect, hon'. I couldn't have planned it better myself." Heads close together, they started down the street.
30 October 1959; Kilarney Pub; Boston, Massachusetts
Hawkeye Pierce checked his watch for the fifth time in as many minutes. "Where the hell is he?" he muttered under his breath. It was a full twenty minutes past the time when he had been supposed to meet Trapper here. Wondering why he even bothered, Hawkeye resolved to wait ten more minutes and if Trapper wasn't here by 7:30 then he was leaving. Taking a sip of the martini sitting on the bar in front of him, he started to check his watch again when he heard a familiar voice behind him.
"Hey Hawk! Didn't wait for me before ordering, I see." Trapper breezed into the bar and slid onto the barstool next to Hawkeye.
"Where in the hell have you been? I was just getting ready to leave, thinking you'd stood me up!"
"Jeez, what are you, my wife? Bartender, give me one of whatever he's having." McIntyre shrugged off his friend's complaints. "Besides, I've got a killer of an excuse…" His voice trailed off as he noticed Hawkeye's furious glare. "What's wrong with you?"
"Oh, that's typical. You glide in here, not a care in the world, and don't even give a thought to anyone else. I'm sick and tired of your inconsiderate bullshit!" Hawkeye didn't even bother to attempt to contain his anger, even as he realized that very little of it had been caused by today's events.
"Whoa, Hawk, slow down! Okay, I'm sorry I was a few minutes late. There's no reason to turn into Mt. Vesuvius over it."
"Don't you ever think about anyone besides yourself? This is just like when you left Korea! Just do what you want and don't think about the consequences!"
"Is that what this is about? I thought you were overreacting a bit for being late." Trapper fiddled with his drink. He had known that this topic would come up sooner or later and he hadn't been looking forward to it. "I don't know Hawk, what do you want me to say about that? My orders came and I had to go."
Hawkeye felt some of the air go out of his sails. "I know, and I wouldn't have kept you in that hellhole for the world, but you just left, without saying good-bye! Couldn't you leave me a lousy note? Or even call once you got back to the States?