"You're...you're...you're getting married?" BJ finally managed to blurt out.

"That's right." Hawkeye nodded as he pulled the car to a stop and turned to look at his shocked friend. "And I'd like you to be my best man."

"But...but...what about Margaret?" BJ questioned anxiously. "I thought...I thought... you were in love with her."

"I am." Hawkeye assured him seriously. "I happen to be very much in love with her."

"But you're marrying the woman that you went out on a blind date with the other night?" BJ remarked, his face full of confusion.

"That's right." Hawkeye nodded in confirmation as he opened the door of his car and got out.

"But how can you do that?" BJ asked as he followed his friend out of the car and around to the trunk. "How can you be in love with one woman and yet marry another."

"Who said anything about marrying another." Hawkeye asked as he pulled the suitcases out of the trunk of his car.

"Hawkeye, you're not making any sense at all." His friend exclaimed in exasperation. "When we spoke last week you were mourning the fact that you didn't know where Margaret was or how to get a hold of her. You were going on about how much you loved her, how much you missed her...don't tell me you forgot that so quickly."

"Of course I haven't." Hawkeye told his friend firmly as he started toting a couple of suitcases towards the house. "I meant every word of it last week and I mean every word of it this week. I love Margaret very, very much. There will never be a woman that means as much to me as she does."

"Then why are you engaged to someone else?" BJ remarked, his tone rising along with his confusion.

Hawkeye didn't comment. He just opened the door of his house, motioned for Peg to enter with Erin and then carried the two suitcases he had inside. BJ followed mutely behind. As he set the suitcases on the floor Hawkeye called. "Meg, honey I'm home."

BJ shook his head and said, his tone dripping with disbelief. "I just don't understand you. You..."

"I'll be right there, Darling." A voice called from the kitchen. At the sound of the familiar voice BJ turned and stared at his friend, his mouth open as he tried to get a grip on what was going on.

A moment later the owner of the voice appeared at the kitchen door. "BJ!" The woman cried excitedly, causing the owner of the name's eyes to widen even further.

"Margaret?" He exclaimed in profound disbelief as he was grabbed in a warm embrace. Pulling back he looked into her smiling face. "I don't believe it! What are you doing here?"

"Didn't Hawkeye tell you?" Margaret asked, looking at Hawkeye expectantly.

"I was trying to." Hawkeye informed her. "But he was having a hard time figuring out how I could marry the woman that I went out on a blind date with Friday night when I'm suppose to be so in love with you." He planted a kiss on her rosy cheek.

Margaret laughed and remarked. "Ben, can't you just once tell somebody straight out that were engaged without making it a such a big, confusing ordeal?"

"I could try, but it's much more fun my way." He told her as he nodded towards BJ's wide-eyed expression.

Margaret chuckled at the look on BJ's face and then turned to Peg. "Since your husband seems to be tongue-tied and my husband-to-be is busy keeping him that way, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Margaret Houlihan and I served with these two adorable fools in Korea."

Peg smiled warmly at the other woman and accepted the hand she offered. "Ah yes, you were the Head Nurse. BJ's told me a lot about you."

"And I've heard a lot about you too." Margaret replied. "In fact I believe everyone in camp has heard about you. BJ talked about you and Erin incessantly."

"So I understand." Peg blushed slightly as she looked at her husband lovingly. "All good things, I hope."

"Oh, nothing but." Margaret assured her with a small chuckle. "BJ sang your praises well." Then gesturing towards the living room she encouraged. "Please come on it and sit down. You must all be tired after your long trip. Here, let me hang up your coats." BJ raised an eyebrow as he shrugged out of his green winter coat and handed it to his old comrade. He was surprised at how at ease Margaret seemed about playing hostess in Hawkeye's house. If he didn't know better he'd swear that she'd been doing it for years already.

Margaret chuckled slightly when she recognized the coat that BJ handed her bringing BJ out of his musings. "I thought you'd have gotten rid of this after you left Korea."

"I kind of did." BJ replied with a soft smile. "I threw it in a box along with all my other olive drab wardrobe and stuffed it in the back of the garage. But when we decided to come to Maine in January I figured I would probably need it again. It's not exactly easy to buy winter clothes in California."

"No, I suppose it isn't." Margaret chuckled as she took Peg and Erin's heavy sweaters and went to hang them up.

"Though I must say that there certainly isn't as much snow here as I had expected." BJ continued. "I thought for sure we'd be wading at least knee deep in the fluffy white stuff."

"Oh, don't get too disappointed yet." Hawkeye remarked as he led them into the living room. "It's only the middle of January. We could still have a few good storms before spring arrives." The group settled down on the plush couches before the crackling fireplace.

"You have a very beautiful home, Hawkeye." Peg remarked as she looked around the room.

"Thanks." Hawkeye smiled proudly. "But I can't take the credit. It's my Dad's house, I'm just a border who won't go away."

"Where is your dad?" BJ asked eagerly. "I'm anxious to meet him."

"I'm not sure." Hawkeye commented with a slight shrug. "He's usually home at this hour. Do you know where Dad is?" He asked Margaret as she came into the room.

"Ah, yeah." She nodded as she sat down beside him. "He's at the hospital. A patient of his had a mild stroke earlier this afternoon and had to be admitted. Your Dad went down to check up on him."

"Did he say who it was?" Hawkeye asked anxiously.

"Yeah, a Mr. Lawrence I believe." She looked thoughtful for a moment as she tried to remember the name. "Samuel Lawrence, I think."

"Samuel Lawrence?" Hawkeye repeated, his expression turning even more concerned.

"Whose he, Hawk?" BJ asked curiously.

"Samuel Lawrence is my dad's best friend." Hawkeye told them all. "He and Dad grew up together, went all through school together. In fact, when they were seventeen they both had an enormous crush on Mom. Did everything they could to out do each other for her attention."

"And your Dad obviously won." BJ commented with a broad smile. Hawkeye just smiled back in response. His friend regarded him and Margaret for a minute before shaking his head slightly. "So you and Margaret are finally getting married. I always hoped the two of you would make a match of it."

"You did?" Both Margaret and Hawkeye exclaimed in surprise. Looking at each other they chuckled slightly.

"Why did you hope that?" Margaret asked after a few moments.

"Because you seem perfect for each other." BJ replied simply, giving them both a warm smile. "Hawkeye needs someone who can control him and you need someone to lighten you up."

The new couple looked back at each other and smiled again. "That's true." Margaret admitted softly.

"Can I see your ring, Margaret?" Peg asked hesitantly. She'd been sitting quietly beside BJ, content to just listen as the three old friends spoke easily among themselves.

"Certainly." Margaret leaned forward and extended her left hand so that the other woman could admire her engagement ring.

"It's beautiful." Peg told her sincerely, giving her a warm smile.

BJ took his turn admiring the exquisite piece of jewelry. He looked at Hawkeye with surprise written on his handsome face. "That must have set you back a healthy fortune."

Hawkeye brushed the comment aside with a wave of his hand. "It was worth every penny." He put his arm around Margaret as she leaned back against him. "And so's Margaret." He kissed the side of her head lovingly.

Back | Forward