Portland, Maine, December 24, 1955
"Come on Maggie."
"I can't. I can't leave Charlotte alone."
"Never trust baby sitters. Why don't you leave her with Grace?"
"I can't sorry Katie." Margaret smiled. She had the little girl on her hip. "You know how Charlotte is. She doesn't know many people here, and isn't comfortable with them."
Kate looked at the baby, "Okay, maybe your mommy's date won't mind spending the night with you," Kate smiled taking Margaret's little girl. Charlotte looked at her Aunt and smiled. "Where did you get those eyes from?" Margaret smiled at her daughter. She had her mother's features, except for the eyes and smile. Charlotte was a chubby little girl who loved to eat. And play, with her food that is.
"That is a mystery. You better get ready." Margaret said taking the little girl back. Charlotte leaned into her mother. Margaret tightened her grip and gently rubbed her back.
"What is it Charlotte?"
"I'm hungy." She smiled.
"You are, you just ate."
"Hungy again." Margaret laughed at her daughter.
"Okay, something small." Charlotte smiled and wiggled out of her mother's arms. She loved to watch Charlotte. That little girl was her life. Since September 18, 1954, the day she was born, Charlotte had been her life. She reminded her of Hawkeye; the same loving spirit. And now he was lost. She hadn't seen him since Korea, he met her at the 8063rd, they had to see each other again. One night of heated passion and they went their separate ways.
"Mommy, oood." Charlotte smiled grabbing her mother's pant leg. Margaret smiled and picked her up and walked into the kitchen.
That night while Katie was getting ready Margaret was sitting playing with Charlotte. Katie's kids went over to their grandparents. Margaret didn't know them that well and Charlotte didn't want to go so Margaret was stuck with her daughter. She never minded though.
They told her date that she wasn't able to go, but he still wanted to meet her. He really didn't want to go either. But Claire and Daniel told him to go meet her, maybe she was the one.
Hawkeye didn't bother putting a suit on, just a pair of black dress pants and a red dress shirt. After all it was Christmas season. He met Jake and headed for his place.
When they arrived at the house, Jake and Hawkeye walked into the house to get out of the cold. "Come on, you'll love her." Jake smiled as the two men walked into the den where Margaret and Charlotte were reading. Charlotte was cuddled into her mother pointing to the pictures on the page as Margaret was reading. "Margaret this is my friend Hawkeye, Hawk this is Margaret," He started. The two stared at each other in surprise. He never expected to see her.
"Margaret." He whispered. Margaret placed Charlotte down and fell into his arms. They hugged for what seemed like an eternity. Charlotte didn't like it. She never liked to share her mother.
"Mommy." She said shyly. Margaret quickly remembered about the small girl and bent down and picked her up.
"This is Charlotte." Margaret smiled placing the girl on her hip.
"Hi Doll." He smiled. "I know you."
"You do?" She was surprised to say the least. She hadn't see him for 2 years, an he knew about her daughter.
"Sure do. Colonel Potter sent me her picture."
"I knew he would." Margaret smiled.
"And he also told me what happened with Greg." He said softly.
Margaret smiled slightly at the memory. When she got home she hooked up with her old boyfriend, and then discovered they were going to have a baby. Once he found out, he left her.
"You look good."
"Right back at ya," He smiled, then looked at the blonde staring at him. "You too Doll. You look like your mommy, but those sea blue eyes aren't hers."
"Greg's." Margaret pointed out.
"What are you doing here?"
"Visiting Katie for Christmas. She invited me last year but Charlotte was too little."
"Well I want to talk to you."
"Me too. It's almost bedtime anyway."
"Okay, I'll talk with Jake here. Night-Night Doll." He waved. Charlotte smiled and waved to the strange man and her Uncle.
"Okay. Be right back." Margaret said heading upstairs.
"What was that about?" Jake asked staring at his friend.
"You know her?"
"Sure do, that's the woman I love." He smiled.
Upstairs Katie saw everything and went to her sister.
"Maggie what was that?"
"What was what?"
"That, downstairs. Do you know him?"
"That's the man I love." Margaret smiled. "Have for a long time." She admitted as she laid Charlotte in her bed.
"He's the one isn't he?"
"Yeah, the one I lost. But I found him."
"You love her?"
"Yeah I do. I thought I lost her all those years ago, but I found her and I plan never to let her go."
"She's the one you were talking about?"
"Sure is." He smiled. Jake shook his head and looked at Katie and Margaret who just walked in.
"Well we have to go now. You two have a good time."
"We will." Margaret smiled giving her brother-in-law a hug. Jake hugged her and shook hands with Hawkeye, then left.
"Look at you; I can't believe you're here."
"Neither can I."
"Claire was right."
"Who?" Margaret asked as they sat down.
"Claire. My friend. She said I would find you."
"Were you looking?"
"Yeah, I really was. I was worried."
"There was no need to be, I took care of myself."
"I see that, you have a little girl."
"Charlotte Anne Houlihan." Margaret smiled.
"Such a pretty name."
"Thank you." Margaret smiled. "What have you been up too?"
"Oh just living. I work at Portland General. My dad is there right now, he just had surgery."
"Don't be. Now what have you been up to? I only hear things from the Colonel, and I think he tones them down."
"Well, I don't know what he exactly told you, but I'm working in Boston and taking care of Charlotte. That's my life."
"That's all he's told me too." Hawkeye smiled. He looked at Margaret, 'God she's beautiful' he thought. "Margaret I have something to tell you."
"What is it?" Margaret asked with a smile. He smiled and took her hands in his own,
"Margaret, I want you to know how much I care for you, not just care, but love you. I've been miserable for the past two years. You made my life bearable in Korea, and I thought that when I got home, that things would turn back to normal. Well it didn't. I thought about you while I was in the cracker factory, you were the one that made everything come clear. When I returned home, it was the saddest thing I experienced. Margaret I love you and can't live without you."
Margaret stared at him, staring hard. Did he mean all this? Or was he trying to get into her pants. No, he wasn't. The look of sincerity in his eyes told the truth. She looked deep into the blue eyes in front of her and smiled. "I love you too." She smiled. Hawkeye smiled brightly and kissed her. When they pulled apart she opened her mouth to say something, but Hawkeye stopped her.
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting to hear those words." He smiled.
"I do. About the same time I wanted to hear them from you." She smiled leaning into him. The two sat there not moving or talking until they both feel asleep. When Jake and Katie got home they saw the two sleeping on the couch in each other's arms.
"He loves her you know." Jake commented.
"She loves him." Katie said with a smile. "They love each other."
"They belong together. Just look how peaceful they seem."
"They do look peaceful. But what about Charlotte, she's not going to like the idea of sharing Maggie."
"Lets not worry about it." Jake smiled, and led his wife upstairs.
The next morning Margaret was woken up by the crying of Charlotte, she pulled herself out of Hawkeye's arms and ran to the small girl who started laughing when she saw her mother.
"Hi Mommy!" She said happily. "Who dat?" She asked pointing to Hawkeye.
"That is Hawkeye honey, you met him last night."
"I member. Ead wif me?" She asked reaching her arms out. Hawkeye smiled and took her.
"Sure. Why not. When is Santa coming?"
"Wen Anna an Mike comes ome."
"Oh, where are they?" He asked as they walked downstairs.
"Dere gammies." She smiled.
"Uh huh." She smiled. "Otty?"
"Oh Margaret why don't you take her?"
"Sure." Margaret smiled reaching for the blonde little girl.
"No, tay wif Hakeye." She said hugging his neck.
"Okay Doll, lets go to the bathroom." He smiled. Not once did he ever imagine saying that to a toddler. Margaret smiled. Maybe she wouldn't have to worry about Charlotte. It seemed like the little girl already liked him. It was a good thing. Life didn't turn out exactly how either of them thought it would, but better. They found themselves in each other. And Charlotte was a part of both their lives.
That's how Margaret remembered it. And always would. A 'Match made in Heaven', was a 'Match made in Hell'.
To be continued...