"School Days Part Three: What A Pair!!"
Author's note: The very end of the "School Days" trilogy. Please note that parts of this story are probably impossible. I don't even know for sure, though. I put some funny moments (I hope they're funny at least) in there as well as some very serious ones. Well, just the same, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!!
*August of Nineteen Fifty Three*
"Margaret! Hawkeye! If you want to eat, get down here!!" called Daniel. He'd never heard two people make so much noise coming down the stairs as these two. "YO!" Daniel yelled, rather loudly. Hawkeye stopped dead half way down the steps from being so surprised. Margaret ended up running into him causing him to lose his balance and nearly fall down the steps. Margaret grabbed the back of his shirt just in time. "I shoulda let you fall," she replied. "QUIET! You two go back up those stairs and WALK down like two CIVILIZED human beings!" commanded Daniel. Hawkeye turned around and put his hand on Margaret's back and started to gently push her up the stairs. "Let's go. Daniel The Almighty Has Spoken," he said. At the top of the steps (out of Daniel's sight), Hawkeye winked at Margaret. She knew what he had in mind. "After you," Hawkeye said. "No. After you."
"No, after you."
"AHEM!" That was Daniel. Hawkeye gave Margaret another wink. "Oh, Hawkeye," she giggled, rather convincingly. "Mmm..." he sighed. "GET DOWN HERE!" It worked. They'd fooled Daniel. "We're too good," Margaret commented. They walked down the steps. "Congratulations. You took ten minutes to get down here," Daniel snapped. "Sorry," they muttered in unison. Both had their fingers crossed, however. That day, Hawkeye and Margaret had been impossible. Some days, it just didn't pay. They weren't acting like adults...more like five-year-olds. Hawkeye set a goal that day: annoy the living h*ll out of his dad. Oh, and gross out Margaret. Two very mature goals, if I say so myself. It was now or never if he was to gross out Margaret. He crammed a spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth and tapped Margaret on the shoulder. When she turned to look at him, he opened his mouth. "You forgot something," she said, "you're supposed to say 'Do you like see-food?' Then you open your mouth. Remember?" Hawkeye was about to ask Margaret that when Daniel interrupted. "I thought you two got over that in high-school." "Not really...at the four-oh-seven-seventh, we started a food fight," answered Hawkeye. He still had a mouth full of mashed potatoes. "Swallow, please," commanded Margaret. He did. "Thank you," was her response. Daniel was going to mention the food fight, but thought better of it. Hawkeye made it through supper without doing anymore special stunts, but afterwards, he said something downright mean to Margaret while they three of them were cleaning the dishes. "I am going for a walk," declared Margaret. She walked out the back door and on her way out, slammed it. She was gone ten minutes when it started rain. And thunder. Of course, what kind of rainstorm would be complete without lightning? "Dad, I'll be back," said Hawkeye after a particularly bright flash of lightning and loud clap of thunder. Before Daniel could ask where he was going, Hawkeye had opened the closet door, grabbed an umbrella and his coat and Margaret's. He was gone in a flash. Jeeze, I hope he finds her, thought Daniel.
Hawkeye realized he'd forgotten a flashlight. He didn't want to go back though. He saw the woods up ahead and decided she wouldn't have gone in there when it was almost dark out. However, she probably did head towards the area that was close to town, only a few miles outside of town, actually. He walked along the old road that was made of bricks. He saw the Old Bridge, as it was called. He also saw someone standing on it. Margaret. He knew it. She was dripping wet. She was standing there throwing pebbles into the water from the bridge. "Margaret!" he called. "Hawkeye?" came the response. He ran towards her. He tried to figure out what she was feeling but her hair was in her face and he could barely see her face. He moved closer and put her coat over her shoulders while holding the umbrella over her. It wasn't an easy task, but he managed. "Listen, I'm sorry about earlier. It was a dumb thing to say. I didn't think before I said it," he didn't want to repeat what he'd said. "It's okay. I should have know you were kiddin'," she replied. "It was mean. Next time, I'll think before I say something," said Hawkeye. They started to walk back home. It took about half an hour because the storm had taken a turn for the worse and it was getting hard to see. They made it, though, they made it. Daniel heard them running up the porch steps. His initial thought was to yell at Margaret, but when he opened the door and saw how wet and cold she was, his anger turned into concern. However, like his son, he turned his concern into a joke. "Margaret, I do wish the next time you run off, you'd pick nicer weather to do so in." "Dad, can you save the jokes and get a few towels. Well, more than a few. A bunch of towels," said Hawkeye. He was mostly dry, however, Margaret was drenched. "Are you as cold as you look?" asked Hawkeye. Margaret nodded. "I get cold just looking at you," he commented.
*An Hour Later*
They were sitting in the living room talking. Well, Hawkeye and Daniel were, anyway. Margaret had fallen asleep. Jeeze, my arm is numb, thought Hawkeye. He knew why this was, though. When Margaret had fallen asleep, she was leaning on Hawkeye's arm. He didn't want to move, for fear he'd awaken her. After a while, he and Daniel ran out of things to say. "It's getting later. I think we should go to bed," commented Daniel. "Only if I can take my dolly with me," joked Hawkeye. They laughed. Lord, she can sleep through anything, Hawkeye thought. "I'm going to bed," said Daniel and then he was gone. Oh, sure. He leaves me here to deal with this, thought Hawkeye. He tried to move his arm, but this time she woke up. Well, for a minute anyway. Ten minutes later, Hawkeye too, was asleep.
*The Next Morning*
Daniel came downstairs after discovering his son wasn't in his room. Neither was Margaret for that matter. Daniel found them where they'd been the night before. "Time to wake up," declared Daniel, rather loudly. He was greeted by groans. Well, only from Hawkeye. Margaret was still dead to the world. However, Hawkeye knew how to get her up. He kissed her. She sat bolt upright. "G'morning," said Hawkeye and Daniel. That afternoon, Hawkeye declared he and Margaret were going to the park and would be back by dinner time. They walked hand in hand the whole time. Hawkeye and Margaret both knew they should be having a heart-to-heart talk at that time, but just continued walking around. It could wait for ten minutes, surely. "Hawkeye-" she started just as he said, "Margaret-". "You go first," they said to the other in unison. He nodded in her general direction. "Hawkeye," she began, "I hope you know that the 'brother and sister' stuff, well, uh, I think I'm trying to say, we're not related. Basically, if you asked anyone else, they'd just say we live in the same house. It's been that way for about what? Anywhere from fifteen to twenty years, I suppose." "We're not that old are we?" Hawkeye groaned. "Well, if I lived with you for that long, I must have lived there in a previous life. I ,mean, I'm not even twenty-five yet," she kidded. "Typical woman. Won't admit when she's going on older - than - dirt...or over the hill, whatever you want to call it," he teased. "Ha! I doubt it! But remember, you're only a year - not even, actually - behind." Hawkeye made a face after she said that.
"You have to first."
How, time flies! I could have sworn it was only August a minute ago! "Now, don't get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow," warned Daniel as he watched Hawkeye and Margaret go up the stairs. "We're not in seventh grade anymore. We're not gonna run downstairs to see 'what Santa brought,'" said Margaret as she rolled her eyes. "Yeah. We're gonna get up earlier," put in Hawkeye. "Go on," Daniel replied, obviously banishing them to their rooms. "Margaret, meet me in my room as soon as you're ready for bed," Hawkeye said. "Why?" she questioned. "Just be there," was the reply. He pulled the door to his room shut. Margaret shrugged and went back to her room. In his room, Hawkeye dropped down on his hands and knees and peered under his bed. Great! It was right where he'd left it all those years. About ten minutes later, Margaret came into his room. "Sit," Hawkeye patted the area on his bed next to him. He was going to have to concentrate really hard if he was to go on with his idea. But, man, is it me or has she gotten more beautiful in the last ten minutes? wondered Hawkeye. She was wearing some of Hawkeye's old clothes (as she often did): black and white plaid flannel pants (only a few sizes too big for her) and a T-shirt that had "ARMY" written across the front in bold black letters. Of course, the shirt was hers. Hawkeye had once said that he would never own anything like it. Hawkeye finally stopped thinking about her and how she looked and concentrated on this idea of his. "Okay, you're going to think my idea is stupid and child-like, but I know it will always make you remember tonight...I have something better to make you remember tomorrow, though," he mumbled the last of this very quietly to himself. He pulled out a ratty book from under the sheets on the bed. When he opened it, Margaret recognized it immediately. It had been something she used to read all of the time when she was younger. "'T' was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,'" read Hawkeye. But, then he put down the book. He started to recite it from memory, "'The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced through their heads. Mama in my 'kerchief and I in my cap had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap...'" he stopped to take a breath. Margaret
started reciting it with him, "'When out on the lawn arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash...'" they continued this for about ten more minutes. A third voice joined them for the end though, "'He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and a way they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,'" at this point, the third voice disappeared, "'Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good - night,'" they finished. "Wow. I can't believe I remembered that for this many years," commented Margaret. "Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow morning..." Hawkeye said. They kissed good night. He couldn't wait for the next morning. He had a big surprise for her; surely it would be the best thing she ever got for Christmas. Actually, he had two things up his sleeve. He fell asleep with thoughts of Margaret in his head.
*The Next Morning*
Hawkeye sat up in bed, grinning. He couldn't believe the day was finally here. He looked at the clock. Good, it was nine o'clock so he could wake them up without hearing them say it was too early still. He got his favorite (and well - worn) red robe out of his closet and went to wake up his dad, but in a minute he realized he was already up. However, Margaret was still asleep. Hawkeye walked into her room, walked up to her bed and tapped her shoulder. She groaned and rolled over. She never had been a morning person. "Time to wake up...you do know what day it is, right. Oh, dad's already up," he said, rater loudly. She sighed and sat up. "I'm up, happy?" she snapped. "Not yet. Go get dressed," he'd learned to ignore her bad attitude in the morning. He left and went downstairs, greeted his dad, and went to get his surprises ready. A few minutes later, Margaret walked down the steps, apparently still half asleep. "G'morning, Margaret," Daniel greeted her. "G'morning," she replied. Hawkeye ran into her in the hall. "Good morning. Ready?" he greeted. "Well, I'm awake, out of bed, and dressed. What more do you want?" she asked. "Just wondering. DAD! C'MON!" Hawkeye called. They walked to the living room where they'd set up the Christmas tree around the day after Thanksgiving and wouldn't take down until the second of January. "Okay, who opens first?" asked Daniel. Margaret pointed to Hawkeye, Hawkeye pointed to Margaret, and Daniel rolled his eyes. "Hawkeye, you first," Daniel said. "Well, Hawkeye I think this will suit you perfectly," said Margaret as she handed him a package. He opened it and shoot her a look. "What is it, Hawk?" asked Daniel. Hawkeye held it up. It was a Hawaiian shirt that was a lot nicer than the one he'd had in Korea. "Margaret, are you implying my fashion sense stinks?" he asked. "Maybe," she grinned wickedly. "I'm afraid to see the other stuff you picked out," he teased. "Hey!" she exclaimed and threw another package into his lap. This time, he was thankful for his gift. It was a short book she'd written for him about their childhood. He had tears in his eyes as he flipped to the back of the book. "'Through all these years and all the changes, one thing has stayed the same; you were there for me, and I'll always remember that,'" he read. He leaned over and hugged her. "Thank you," he whispered. She hugged him tighter. After five more minutes, Hawkeye stood up to get surprise number one. "I'll be right back," he said. He ran up the steps to the guest room where the surprise had been and then stopped in his room on his way back downstairs to get the other surprise which he slipped into his pocket. He walked down the hall. "Margaret, close your eyes!" he called. Daniel walked over to her and put his hand over her eyes, just in case. Hawkeye came in, "I'll give you a hint: it's alive and goes 'meow.'" He set the kitten down in her lap and Daniel took his hand away from her eyes. "Hawkeye! It's so cute!" she exclaimed. "'It's a she. Name her whatever you want," Hawkeye said, smiling. "I think she looks like a phantom...that's her name then. Phantom," said Margaret. The kitten was tiny, and did resemble a phantom with black and white markings on it's face that looked like a mask and still more markings on it's back that looked like a cape. He'd decided to get her a kitten because the pets she'd had when she was younger and moved in with the Pierces' had since been, well, killed by Alvin shortly after she'd moved out. He needed something to abuse, it seemed. She'd never told anyone (not even Hawkeye!) how her mother had died. Just thinking about it made her sick. And grateful. She was happy she had a safe place to live, away from her father. No one knew exactly how evil he was. No one but his own daughter who'd witnessed the worst of him. She heard her mother crying sometimes late at night, but wouldn't admit to herself why that was. She'd had the same problems with Alvin as her mother had, the only difference being she was still alive to tell the tale. Well, on a happier note, Hawkeye reached into his pocket and pulled out the last surprise he had for Margaret. One he knew could change both of their lives - permanently. He told her a shortened version of their lives together so far before the most important thing they ever would be able to share. He'd practice this little story for months and prayed it'd help convince her, "We had a lot of dreams when we were younger, they thought we were crazy, but we had the hunger. We made a lot of friends, skipped a lot of class, been on top of the world and knocked on our -" "AHEM" that was Daniel. Hawkeye skipped over that part and said, "We lost touch, we lost in love, we lost our minds when things got tough, but beatin' time is a losin' fight, so I guess we're doin' alright. I want better than that, though." This is it, the moment where he could lose it all or gain it all, "Margaret Jean, will you marry me?" Margaret just stared at him. Tears filled her eyes as she answered. "Yes. Ben Pierce, I love you. Now and forever."*April Nineteen Fifty-Four*
A ridiculous grin crossed his face when he heard her answer. They had a private joke that he had to use at this moment, "From here to eternity?" It made no sense to anyone other than them. There was another part to it, but they'd shortened it to that so no one knew - and no one ever will (well, except for this story's teller...). She nodded seriously. Then, both started to laugh. Daniel was confused, not knowing what their little joke meant. They reached for each other and hugged. The tears in Margaret's eyes from minutes before finally spilled over. They were not tears of joy. Anger. Regret. Sadness. That's what they were from. "Hawkeye, I have to tell you something you aren't gonna like," she said through tears. Daniel started to leave. "No. Stay," said Margaret. He obeyed. "My father, as you know, is a horrible person. You don't know how bad until
you hear what I have to say. A few years ago, when my mother died I cried for days, didn't I, Hawkeye?" she asked. "Yes. I remember," he responded. "You thought it was because my mother had died, but it wasn't. I was happy, sad, and afraid at the same time. Happy I hadn't been there. Sad she was gone.
Afraid because I knew how she had died. Alvin. God, you don't know how bad it was! There were days I didn't know if I'd see the next morning. I'd just lie in bed, afraid to face him," she was sobbing too hard to go any further. Hawkeye made her just sit in his lap and he rocked her back and forth. Daniel got up and left the room. He had something to ask her, but had decided it could wait for quite awhile.
"Oh my God!" exclaimed Hawkeye. This was an experience he'd remember for the rest of his life. About all fifty seconds of it that were left. It was a tornado. In Maine. In April. Talk about a freak of nature! He'd just spotted it when he'd looked out the window. It was a terrifying site. Margaret, Daniel, and Hawkeye had been sitting in the living room talking about plans for the wedding when Hawkeye first noticed the tornado. Hawkeye quickly informed them of this and told them the hallway was their only hope of surviving this tornado. They ran for the far end of the hallway which was as far away from the lone window, which was at the other end, as possible. The tornado would hit there any second now. They were sitting there in dead silence waiting for the worst to happen. It did. At the same time, it didn't.
*Two Days Later*
They were walking through the remains of the house looking for anything that was still intact. "Hawkeye! Come here!" cried Margaret. Hawkeye went as fast as possible without tripping. "What is it?" he asked. She kicked an battered shutter and a few shingles out of the way and said, "I think this is the most important thing we will find here." Indeed, it was. She picked it up. It was Hawkeye's copy of The Last of the Mohicans. She opened to the middle of the book and a single wild flower fell out of the book. Images of that final day in Korea flashed through their heads. "Do you remember?" she asked softly. He nodded slightly. They went back to work digging through the mess the storm had left behind. Meanwhile, digging through the mess of memories Korea had left in their minds. One more thing was found: Phantom. She had been hiding in the rubble left by the storm for two days. When Hawkeye saw the kitten, he called for Margaret.She came over to where he was standing. "Look down there," he said. Margaret then spotted Phantom. She dropped to her knees and grabbed the cold and wet kitten out from her hiding spot. The book and the cat were all they had found, but the important thing was they were all still alive.
*August of Nineteen Fifty Four*
"What's your most vivid memory?" Daniel asked Margaret when they were gathered around the fireplace in their new home talking about memories. "Finding that book after the storm and opening it to reveal the wildflower," she answered without hesitation. A single tear ran down her face as she looked across the room at the wall where the shadow box she and Hawkeye had made containing the book and the flower that had been in it.
I would like to take this time to dedicate this story to my friends who helped me with this story. I did it for you Nsalem, Lilith, and Megan!! Thanks for your help with "School Days" Also, this story is dedicated to my Dad, one of my best friends.