"Mommy!" Mickey yelled. He ran to Margaret and wrapped his arms around her leg. Margaret threw Hawkeye a puzzled glance. Daniel gave Hawkeye a look that told him to get Mickey away from Margaret and also told him to explain why his precious grandson had just called Margaret his Mom. "Mickey, you should be in bed," said Hawkeye. With that, Hawkeye made Mickey go upstairs with him. "Daniel Pierce, I hope you're happy," said Margaret as she turned to leave. At home, she laid down on the couch and started to cry. How could Dan Pierce do that? About ten minutes later, she went upstairs so she could go to bed. She sat of the edge of her bed and stared out her window into Hawkeye's. She saw something move. It was him! She leaped for her phone and started to dial his number, but changed her mind. What if Daniel beat Hawkeye to the phone? She'd be a dead duck if that happened. So, she just put her pajamas on and went to sleep.

*The Next Morning*

Margaret awoke to the sound of the telephone ringing. She stumbled out of bed and answered the phone. "Good morning!" exclaimed a cheerful voice at the other end of the phone. "That's what you think, Pierce," she said.

"You sound happy on this lovely morning."

"Well...hey, how did you get your dad to let you call me?"

"He's out. So, I was wondering if you wanted to come over here."

"I just woke up."


"Well...would you give me a minute to wake up? Then, I'll be over."




After they hung up, she walked over to her closet and grabbed a pair of faded, ripped jeans, a white sweatshirt, and her sneakers. She was still dead tired, though. I'd better go anyway, she thought. Even though it was freezing cold, she found Hawkeye and Mickey waiting for her on their porch. "Ya'd think you guys hadn't seen me in a year," she commented when she saw them waiting for her. "Margaret, I left dad a note on the kitchen table and told him I was going out for a while, so, we can do whatever we want to," Hawkeye said. "Well, not exactly whatever we want to do," she teased. "Oh, yeah," Hawkeye said, thoughtfully. "Hey, didja notice that it's snowing?" asked Margaret. "No, you're kidding," replied Hawkeye. "Nope. Only a few flakes here and there, but if we're lucky, maybe we'll get a snow storm," she said. "I'd like that," said Hawkeye. "Me too!" exclaimed Mickey. "Jeeze, it's cold out," stated Margaret. "Sissy. You were out in California in the sun for so long, you can't adjust to this beautiful Maine weather," Hawkeye teased. "I'd like to see you survive for a day with the temperature over one hundred ten degrees," she shot back. "I'd love to see you survive a day that was twenty below - or colder," Hawkeye replied, and he stuck his tongue out at her. "Mature, Hawk, really mature," she said rolling her eyes. "Are you sure you don't want to spend some time at my house?" asked Margaret. "We-ell...I guess it wouldn't hurt," Hawkeye said. "Hey, what's that over on your porch?" he asked. She turned around to look. "I don't see anything," she said. Hawkeye took off running for her house. "Hey!" she yelled. "C'mon, slow poke!" he called from her backyard. She ran to where he was standing and in a split second he took off towards the wooded area behind the houses on that street. "Aw, you're kidding me!" she yelled, trying to sound annoyed. By the time she finally thought to run after them again, Hawkeye and Mickey had disappeared farther into the woods. When she reached the spot where she'd last been able to see them, she stopped and listened for voices. "You think she'll find us, Mickey?" Hawkeye asked. How stupid does he think I am? Margaret wondered. They were hiding behind a tree that was only a few paces in front of her. Quietly, she walked off the path and walked forward about four yards. The she walked towards where they were standing. Hawkeye was looking towards the path to see if he could spot her. She snuck up behind him and wrapped her arms around him. "Gotcha," she whispered. Hawkeye jumped about ten feet. "Jeeze, you scared me!" exclaimed Hawkeye. She smiled at him. "I know. I was trying to," she said. He made a face at her. "Jeeze, it's cold. I think we should head back to my house now," she said. "Yeah, let's," replied Hawkeye. As they walked out of the woods into her backyard they saw Daniel...and he was headed their way. "Margaret, I'd get outta here if I were you," he said, gently pushing her in the direction of her house. "Uh-huh," she agreed as she started walking. "Where ARE you going?" called Daniel. Margaret stopped dead in her tracks. "No where?" It was a question, not a statement. "Right. I'd like to talk to you, Benjamin Franklin and Margaret," said Daniel. "Uh, I think I forgot to do something at home, I'll see ya around," said Margaret. She was desperate to get away from Daniel. "Whatever it is, I'm sure it can wait," said Daniel. "Uh, right," Margaret agreed reluctantly. "I thought I told you I never wanted to catch you with her again," said Daniel. "Uh, well, I, um," stammered Hawkeye. "Maybe it'd be best if we just moved away," continued Daniel. "Doctor Pierce, Hawkeye has every right to do whatever he wants to. He is not a little boy any more," stated Margaret. "I did not ask for a woman's opinion, did I?" came the sharp reply. Hawkeye realized that his dad didn't know how mad that would make Margaret. "What did you say?" she asked while making her hand into a fist. "I said I did not want a woman's opinion. In other words, what you say does not matter - at all," snapped Daniel. "You're gonna be sorry you said that," retorted Margaret. She still has the infamous Houlihan temper, thought Hawkeye. "What are you going to do to me?" asked Daniel sarcastically. "You know, it's a proven fact that women can't fight," he continued. 'Dad, uh, I wouldn't -" Hawkeye started to say. "Shut up, son," commanded Daniel. Daniel, too, made his hands into fists. "I guess I'll have to prove it," he said, sighing. He took a swing at Margaret who ducked just in time. Hawkeye prayed that Mickey wasn't watching. He wasn't. He was investigating the edge of woods, looking at leaves that were still on the ground. Margaret kicked Daniel in the shin. Daniel wasn't expecting that, and muttered a few swear words because he didn't move fast enough to avoid it and was now in pain. He shoved her hard and she fell, but she managed to get up before he came up with a plan. He had one, though. As soon as she was on her feet, he punched her...really hard. She stumbled at started to fall backwards, but Hawkeye managed to catch her. Hawkeye wrapped his arms around her and then said to his dad, "Stop it. It's my fault, not hers. Leave her alone." "No. When I start something, I finish it," replied Daniel. Hawkeye continued to hold onto Margaret, not even considering letting her go. Margaret tuned her head and gave Hawkeye a look that told him to let her go and that she'd be fine, no matter what Daniel thought. He shook his head.

She sighed and squirmed her way out of his grip. "Margaret," he hissed. "So, you decided not to back out," taunted Daniel. "No, I wasn't trying to back out. Your son just cares about both of us too much to allow one of us to get hurt," she replied, calmly. She was trying to talk her way out of the fight, but it wasn't working. She looked away for a second, and Daniel realized this and thought it the perfect opportunity to get her. He threw a hard punch that was accurate as well. She fell down and landed hard. Daniel got ready to kick her while she was down, but Hawkeye quickly interfered. He shoved his father out of the way and yelled, "Leave her alone!" Quickly, he picked her up, walked over to where Mickey was, told Mickey to come with him, and quickly walked over to Margaret's house. He let them in and locked the door. "We're staying here for a while," he announced. Mickey gave him a questioning look, but Hawkeye was walking towards the living room. Mickey followed, curiously. Hawkeye laid Margaret down on the couch. "You okay?" he asked. "Yeah," she fibbed. "Are you sure? That was a heck of a fall," Hawkeye said. "I'm sure," she replied. "Not even scared or shaken up?" he asked. "Well, okay, I'm both of those," she replied. "You're not hurt are you?" he questioned. "No, daddy," she joked. He put his hand to her forehead. "Why are you doing that?" she asked. "You told a joke, I thought that you had a fever that was making you delirious," Hawkeye stated in mock seriousness. She stood up. And sat down again. "I'm not even going to guess how come my ankle hurts," Margaret said. "Well, it was probably from when he tried to trip you," said Hawkeye. "Naw, I don't think that was it...it was probably when I fell down the steps this morning," she said sarcastically. "Well, lemme see it," Hawkeye ordered. "It's fine, I just twisted it," she protested. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Yes. Give me five minutes and I'll be fine," she said. "Daddy?" asked Mickey. Hawkeye knelt so he was at eye level with Mickey, "What?" "Why were Grampa and Mommy fighting?" asked Mickey.

"Well, Margaret isn't your mommy, really, you know. She's just my friend, but she and Grampa had a disagreement and weren't adult enough to settle it with words instead of fists."

"Why were they fighting?"

"Margaret and I did something your Grampa didn't like..."

"Were you bad?"

"Well, your Grampa thinks so. He doesn't like the fact that Margaret and I are friends and doesn't want us to do things together."


"Does that tell you what you wanted to know?"

Mickey nodded.

"Hawkeye, does Mickey like cats?" asked Margaret. "Yeah...why?" he replied. "Well, there was this stray cat that came around sometimes and I'd feed it...after a while, I felt bad for it and took it in. Her name is Daisy and I was wondering if Mickey would like to play with her," Margaret answered. As if on cue, Daisy came down the steps. She really wasn't a stray; she was a Russian Blue, but what Margaret knew about cats was very, very basic. "Margaret, she's beautiful...I don't know much about cats, but I do know that Daisy isn't a stray," said Hawkeye. Daisy had almond shaped eyes that were a vivid green; perfect for Saint Patrick's Day. She was medium sized with a blue coat. "Hey, I know I have a book with cat breeds in it somewhere around here," said Margaret. She stood up, and then went upstairs to return moments later with the book. She also found the Mickey was using his father's shoelace to entertain the cat. Margaret sat down next to Hawkeye and opened the book. "If she's a pedigree, she's definitely not a Persian," said Margaret. Hawkeye stared at her blankly. "Longhaired cat," she clarified. "Oh," he answered, feeling like an idiot. "By no stretch of the imagination is she a semilonghair either. Here. Shorthairs." She paged through, passing by the British Tabbies and the British Bi-colors, but stopping to stare at the beautiful picture of a British Tortoiseshell. She paged right past the Domestic Shorthair because Daisy had no pattern on her fur unlike the Domestic Shorthair. "No, not a Manx...daisy has a tail," grinned Hawkeye. "Aw, they're so cute! Hey, her it says that a legend about why the Manx is tailless is because it was late getting on the Ark and Noah slammed the door on its tail," she laughed. When she got to the Abyssinian, Hawkeye stated how much the name reminded him of Henry. "Hey...it looks kinda like a Korat...it says that the breed came to America in the fifties," said Margaret. "No, Daisy isn't that type of cat. It says it has a "broken" coat - one that stands up a bit along the spine. Hey, this has to be her. A Russian Blue. She looks just right. Green, almond shaped eyes, a blue coat, and long, slim legs, as well as medium sized body. Yup, this has to be daisy. So, she's not a stray after all...she's a pedigree that either got lost or someone left behind because they didn't care," reasoned Margaret. "Yeah, that's gotta be it!" agreed Hawkeye. Hawkeye looked down and noticed that Mickey had fallen asleep with Daisy next to him. "Hey...look," Hawkeye said, poking Margaret. "Aw...they're so cute!" she exclaimed quietly. The phone began to ring. Margaret stood up and walked to the hall where the phone was. "Hello?" Hawkeye could hear her end of the conversation. "Yeah? You're not serious!" I wonder what that's about, thought Hawkeye. "I have to go...thanks....'bye," she said as she hung up. "Who was that?" asked Hawkeye. Margaret's face fell when she looked at Hawkeye. "I, um, got a job," she said, not telling the whole truth. "Oh, that's great!" exclaimed Hawkeye as he stood up and walked over to her to give her a hug. "Yeah...there's one problem though," she said. "What is it?" he asked. "The job I got is in," she paused for a second, "Washington, DC" "Uh, that's quite a commute from here," stammered Hawkeye, not wanting to hear what she had to say. "That's why I'm moving," she said, quietly. "Moving? You just got here," he said, lamely.

"I'm used to it...but in a way, I'm not...this is sorta a first."

"How is this a first?"

"I never had a reason to stay somewhere before."


"Not until now, at least."

"And that reason would be?"

"You. I also have a reason to go, though."

"What's that?"

"Your dad. The two of us don't seem to get along."

"That's only because of some of the dumb things you've done."

"You went along with them!"

"Hey, they were your ideas."

"Maybe, but - hey, why are we fighting? I don't want to remember this as the last thing we did together."

"What do you mean 'the last thing we do together?' When are you leaving?"

"A coupla days"

"Oh, no. No way. I'm coming with you."

"No, Hawkeye. Don't."

"Why not?"

"I don't want you in the same position as I'm in with your dad."

"Margaret, c'mon. It's okay....I'm sure he won't mind."

"Right. And pigs fly."

"I guess I was wrong."

"Yeah, you were. I'll be fine."

"I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you, too."

"I don't want you to leave," interrupted a third voice. The voice didn't belong to Mickey, for sure. It was Daniel. "Dad?" asked Hawkeye. "Where'd you come from?!" exclaimed Margaret. "That doesn't matter. So, when are you leaving?" Daniel cheerfully asked. "Soon," she snapped. "Touchy, touchy," put in Daniel. "Well, it's been lovely chatting with you, Doctor Pierce, but you must be leaving now," Margaret hinted. He took the hint (as well as Mickey) and left. "Want help packing?" Hawkeye asked in a voice that was burned out on life. "No. Not yet," she said, staring at the floor. Hawkeye could tell she felt like dirt because they had finally been getting along (most of the time) and now she was leaving. A tear ran down her face, but she didn't bother brushing it away. He opened his arms to her and she walked over to him. She buried her face in his shoulder. "I don't really want to leave, but I have to," she said through choking sobs. "Shhh..." he whispered. They just stood there for twenty minutes. "Maybe I should stay...maybe I could find a good job here," she said. "No, go to Washington...I'll come with you," Hawkeye said. "You don't have to," she replied. "I love you, Margaret. Where you are is my home," he replied.

"Hawk, spare me... you love it here. Stay."


"If you're happy, I'm happy. You'd be miserable in a big city. Stay here."

"I'm coming with you, Margaret!"

"Hawkeye, stay here. Please? For me?"

"No, I'm coming with you."

"I haven't got time for this!"

"Me neither."

"Good-bye," she hinted.

"You wish," he replied, smiling.

"What does it take for you to get the picture?"

"It takes a Polaroid...with film in it, of course."

"Shut up!"

"We need to talk... really talk, that is."

"How about same time, next year?"


"Jeeze, just a minute ago, you were the one cracking jokes and now you're unhappy that I'm jokin' around."

"Can we talk?" he asked impatiently.

"Sure. Fine. Whatever you want."


She did as he requested.

"I'm coming with you, Margaret. Nothing you say can convince me otherwise."

"Why? What if I just left without you?"

"I'd find you."

"Bad news, Hawk: you couldn't find your way outta a paper bag."

"Ha ha. So funny."

"Please, stay here."


"I'll be fine!"

"We might never see each other again."

"Hawkeye, lemme put it this way; if you ask your dad or at least tell him, I don't care what you do."

"Fine. I'll be back later!" he exclaimed as he headed for the door. "Better start packing," Margaret said to herself.

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