What was going on? Did she have the wrong room? Who was this woman on her husband's lap? Oh, God. It was Donald, and she was in the right place. As if from miles away, she heard her name being called. She turned to the direction from which the sound came. That shocked her more than the noxious sight of her husband cavorting with a slut. "Hawkeye?" she gasped.
"Margaret, I'm so sorry. I tried to get here first, I tried to stop you..." he trailed off.
"What are you doing here? What are you talking about? You knew?" What was this? Some sick nightmare induced by booze, she decided.
"I'm so sorry." He couldn't think of anything else to say.
She finally looked back to Donald, who was frantically pulling his pants on. "How could you?" she asked in a raw whisper. Her voice grew louder. "How could you?" she screamed. "You son-of-a-bitch, how could you do this to me?"
"Margaret, it's not how it looks--" he started.
"What else could it be, darling?" she asked, sneering the last word.
"I, uh..." he trailed off. There would be no talking his way out of this one. He went on the offensive. "Well, you do it all the time. You had a million and one boyfriends when we met."
"Wh--" Was she hearing correctly? Had she just caught her husband with another woman, and he was attacking her? She said the first thing that came to her mind. "Maybe before we were married, but not after!" she exploded.
He was warming to the topic. "So you say."
"You scum-sucking weasel! How dare you? You're cavorting with some doxy in your hotel room, and you have the balls to turn it around on me? You go to hell." She was almost numb from the shock she'd received.
"You can't deny that you were a slut before we met. Go ahead and try." He looked so smug and complacent that Hawkeye couldn't stand it.
"You schmuck." He crossed the room in three long strides and grabbed Donald by the unbuttoned sides of his shirt. Penobscott was much larger than Hawkeye, but Hawkeye was much angrier. When Donald took a swing at Hawkeye's head, Hawk was expecting it. He ducked, and the men took a step away from each other. Hawkeye threw a jab at Penobscott, which was blocked easily. He followed with a viscous kick to the other man's groin. Donald squealed like a woman and doubled over, clutching the injured area. Hawkeye wasn't finished. He sent Donald reeling with a punch to the mouth.
The bimbo screamed, and Margaret grabbed Hawkeye by the back of his already tattered shirt. "Stop this immediately!" she shrieked. "Do you want to be arrested?"
He growled at the whimpering Lt. Col. "Eat shit, Penobscott."
Jail was unpleasant. He frowned at the rest of the men occupying the holding cell. Every one of them a serviceman being held on a D&D charge. And Drunk and Disorderly they all were. Three of the four others had already puked up the cheap whiskey that had gotten them arrested. The fourth was stumbling about, jabbering nonsense.
"Pierce!" the guard barked.
"Yo!" was his sarcastic return.
"Some skirt's here for you. You're free to go." The guard opened the sliding gate that cordoned off the holding area.
"Yeah, thanks." He got up gratefully and shuffled out the open door.
Margaret was waiting for him. She smiled when she saw him. "That was damned stupid of you. Come on. Let's go home." He held the door for her, and they walked out into the warm night air.
"No flights! That was the last one?" Hawkeye looked ruefully at the plane lifting off from the landing strip. "No choppers, I assume."
"No, Sir. They don't fly after dark." The fresh-faced Corporal looked at Hawkeye uncertainly. "Sorry, Sir."
"It's okay, Corporal. Can you find a couple of rooms for the night?" He motioned for Margaret to come over as the Corporal picked up the phone.
"What's wrong?" She dumped her duffel bag on the ground unceremoniously.
"No flights. We need some rooms for the night."
The Corporal hung up the phone. "Sorry, Sir, only one room in the whole city."
"That's okay, we'll take it. I'll take the couch."
"Well, uh, it's the honeymoon suite at Uncle Chang's Chang Gri La hotel..."
"Martini, please. Scotch on the rocks for the lady." Hawkeye gave the order to the waiter as he and Margaret sat at a corner table in the Officers Club down the street from their hotel.
As the waiter walked away, Hawkeye looked across the table at Margaret. Things had happened so fast today that he had no idea what she was thinking or feeling right now. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah, I think so. I'd just about given up on us anyway, when I heard about this weekend. I knew that this was our last chance. That if things didn't work out now that they never would. I had divorce papers in my bag, in case things turned out the way I'd feared they would. I'm not surprised that we didn't mend the fences in our relationship, I'm just surprised at how I found out. Call me naive, but it never crossed my mind that my husband would have two weeks in Seoul, and spend them bedding every female within a ten mile radius. How did you know?" The question had been uppermost in her mind since he'd burst into the room earlier that day.
"You know the new nurse? The stupid one?" At her nod, he continued. "I had a date with her, and just before things got out of hand, she told me that she collected high-ranking men, and that her latest catch was some Lt. Col. in Seoul named Donald. I knew who it was. I tried to call him, but he had requested that the desk not bother him with phone calls. It was Klinger, Charles, and I who tried our best to ruin your travel plans. We wrecked the Colonel's jeep, nixed your request for one, did everything humanly possible to keep you from leaving. We were even going to make Baker fake an attack of appendicitis to keep you there, but you left too soon. Come to think of it, how did you get past the MP's waiting for you at the airport? We stole your travel orders, too."
She smiled. "I made the chopper pilot take me directly here. I totally missed the airport. Thank you, Hawkeye. For caring enough to try, that is."
He squeezed her hand under the table. "I'm sorry, Margaret. Sorry that I couldn't stop you from seeing that."
"No, it's better that I did. I'm getting a divorce. Even if he'd been sorry, or at least embarrassed, about being caught like that, I'd still be leaving him. That I walked in on his little seduction scene, and he had the nerve to call me a slut, among other names, just makes it that much easier. You know, I guess he's right, though. I did sleep around before I met him. He was right." She stared over Hawkeye's shoulder at a picture on the wall.
"He was wrong. I sleep around, too, Margaret. That doesn't make me a slut, does it?" It bothered him to hear her talk about herself that way.
She barked a laugh, but it wasn't a pretty sound. "Oh, no. That makes you a rogue. Doing the same thing makes me a slut. That's the difference between men and women. A man who sleeps around is "sowing his oats." A woman who sleeps around is easy. You're a rogue, I'm a slut. That's just the way it is." She laughed again bitterly.
He hated to see her feeling this way, but at least it was better than her previous show of uncaring bravado. He finished his martini and stood up. He left enough money on the table for he drinks and a tip. "Come on, Margaret. Let's go get some sleep. Things always look better in the morning." He didn't believe it, and neither did she, but she stood up anyway.
"I hope so. I've got dibs on the bed. You get the couch. And Hawk?" He turned around questioningly. "Thanks for charging to my rescue today. It meant a lot to me."
"You're welcome." He held the door and allowed her to step through ahead of him.