20

A thought suddenly occurred to Hawkeye. Looking at Margaret his eyes danced mischievously. "You know who we forgot to invite." When she shook her head he continued. "Old Ferret Face."

"Ferret Face?" Daniel repeated with a laugh. "Who's that."

"Frank Burns." Margaret replied with a smile. "He's more of a weasel than a ferret." Looking back to Hawkeye she asked. "Why would you want to invite him? I thought you hated him."

"I do." Hawkeye confirmed. "But I just thought it might be fun to rub his nose in the fact that you're going to be MY wife the Sunday after next."

"As tempting a thought as that may be." Margaret chuckled. "Let's leave Frank out of this. If I never see that twirp again it'll be too soon."

"So who's going to be your best man, Hawk?" Daniel asked curiously.

"BJ, of course." His son replied eagerly. "I wouldn't have anybody else."

"And how about you, Margaret?" The older man pressed. "Who's going to stand for you?"

"I'm going to ask my cousin Carrie." Margaret replied. "After all, if it hadn't been for her setting us up, we might never have gotten together again."

Hawkeye shuddered slightly at the thought and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

"So what are your plans for today?" Daniel asked as he got up from the table and started gathering the ingredients to fix breakfast.

"I was going to take Margaret down to the hospital and see if Jake has a job for her." Hawkeye replied. "I don't think they'll be much trouble, he was commenting to me not that long ago that the hospital needed more nurses for OR. After that I have to drive to Portland to pick up Beej, Peg and Erin."

"What time are they arriving?" His father asked curiously.

"One-thirty." His son replied as he rose from his chair and started to refill his coffee cup. "I should be on the road by eleven just in case I run into any traffic in Portland."

"What time will you be back?" Daniel asked as he mixed some milk and eggs into a bowl.

"Well, if there isn't too much traffic I should be back by three or three-thirty." Hawkeye replied as he offered Margaret some more coffee.

"I wonder what I should make for supper." The older man commented, more to himself than the others.

"I was wondering if I could make supper tonight." Margaret piped up, a little hesitantly.

"Oh?" Daniel replied, looking at her for a moment. At her eager expression he smiled and said. "Well, I don't see why not. After all, this is your home now too, so you might as well cook if you want to."

"Thank you, Dr. Pierce." She gave him a warm smile.

"Please call me Daniel." He told her. "Even my patients call me Daniel."

"Very well than...Daniel." She gave him a bright smile.


"Morning, Rachel." Hawkeye greeted the receptionist as he and Margaret pushed their way through the hospital's front doors. "How are you today."

"Fine, Hawkeye." She greeted warmly as they approached. "How are you?"

"Doing great." He replied eagerly. "How was your weekend?"

"It was good." She replied. "Ellen and I went down to visit our baby sister in Portland this weekend. She just had a new little baby, so we went down to meet our little niece. She is just the cutest little thing. She has Brenda's nose and Stephen's mouth and eyes. She's just a little doll. How was your weekend? How did your date with Brad's girlfriend's cousin go? Did you have a nice time?"

"How did you hear about that?" Hawkeye questioned despite the fact that he already knew the answer.

"Ellen told me." Rachel replied with a sly twinkle in her dark eyes. "She overheard you and Brad Millar talking about it the other day." Looking at Margaret she added without skipping a beat. "Ellen's my twin sister not my identical twin sister since she looks more like Mother while I take after Father. We both have the Walsh nose and ears though, not to mention the Murray figure." She smiled warmly, showing off her deep dimples. Margaret couldn't help but smile back. She had a feeling that this woman would be a lot of fun to get to know. "Anyway," Rachel looked back to Hawkeye as she continued. "While she was in the lunch room the other day she overheard the two of you making plans. So it went well you said."

Hawkeye tried to control his smile as he replied. "Yes, it went very well. Carrie's cousin was very nice and we had a wonderful time."

"That's great, Hawk." Rachel told him warmly. "Ellen and I were both saying the other day that you need to get out more. Did you know that you haven't been out on a single date since you came home."

Hawkeye's eyes twinkled slightly as he remarked. "You don't say."

Rachel nodded her head and added. "In fact, Ellen and I were getting so worried about you that we flipped a coin the other day to see which one of us should ask you to the movies."

"Oh, really." Hawkeye leaned on the edge of the counter and looked at the woman sitting across from him. "And who won?"

"I did." Rachel confessed, her eyes sparkling even more. Then in a teasing tone she asked. "So, what do you think? Would you like to go to the movies with your old babysitter some time. I may be forty-five, but I'm still a really fun date."

"I wouldn't doubt it." Hawkeye laughed heartily in reply. "But the only way I could say 'yes' is if I can bring my fiancee along as well." His eyes sparkled with mischief as he awaited her reply.

"Your fiancee?" Rachel exclaimed in complete surprise.

"That's right." Hawkeye nodded in confirmation, his eyes continuing to sparkle with mischief.

"You're getting married?" She remarked in increasing disbelief.

"That's what usually happens when you get engaged." He commented with a laugh.

"I can't believe I didn't hear about it!" She commented, mostly to herself.

"Maybe your branch of the grapevine is broken." Hawkeye commented teasingly.

"When did you get engaged?" She pressed curiously.

"Friday night." He told her.

"Friday night!" She repeated thoughtfully. Then looking at Margaret she asked. "And this I take it is your fiancee."

"That's right." Hawkeye smiled proudly as he looked at Margaret.

"What's your name, dearie?" Rachel asked eagerly.

"Margaret Houlihan." Margaret replied as she tried unsuccessfully to suppress an amused smile.

"Houlihan?" Rachel repeated, her expression thoughtful once again. "Not from around her, are you?"

"No." Margaret replied. "I was born in California."

"California?" Looking at Hawkeye she asked. "Isn't that friend of yours that's arriving today from California?"

"That's right." Hawkeye nodded, his amused look still firmly in place.

"See, I'm not totally out of the loop." Rachel quickly pointed out.

"No," Hawkeye acknowledged then added wickedly. "But you were this weekend."

Rachel thought for a moment before a big grin spread across her face. "Ellen and I were in Portland this weekend visiting our sister. Remember, I told you that."

"Well than that explains it." Hawkeye exclaimed, slapping his hand lightly on the counter.

"No, no it doesn't." Rachel recanted, looking suddenly deflated.

"Why not?" Hawkeye questioned, a mock puzzled look on his face.

"Because Marjorie Simpson was suppose to phone us if anything noteworthy happened this weekend." Rachel admitted sadly. "Ellen told her Friday we were going to be away."

"Maybe Mrs. Simpson didn't hear either." Margaret suggested comfortingly.

"Maybe." The somber gossip replied, brightening up a little. "Who have you told so far?"

"Well, aside from the fifty or sixty people Dad announced it to at the Resort last night, nobody." Hawkeye told her.

Rachel's face took on another look of deflation. "Marjorie would have heard. Her sister-in-law's cousin was at the Resort last night with her husband. They were celebrating their fifteenth wedding anniversary."

"Oh, yes." Hawkeye nodded in confirmation. "I remember seeing Jeff and Sarah there last night."

"I can't believe she didn't tell us!" Rachel exclaimed.

"Well, I'm sorry too." Hawkeye tried to console her. "You'll just have to give Mrs. Simpson an earful." Hawkeye reached over and grabbed Margaret's hand and started down the corridor. Calling over his shoulder. "See you later, Rachel." When the pair were finally out of earshot Hawkeye started laughing heartily. "Good old Rachel Murray. She'll never change."

"She seems like an interesting woman." Margaret commented as they reached the elevator at the end of the hall.

"Oh, she is that." Hawkeye agreed with an amused twinkle in his eyes. "Rachel and Ellen Murray are a couple of old maids who love to know everything that is happening in Crabapple Cove and they get extremely vexed if someone knows something that they don't. I love egging them on."

"So I see." Margaret commented with a smile.


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