"What are you doing here?" Margaret whispered excitedly as she and Hawkeye settled into the back of Brad's car.
"I was going to ask you the same thing." He replied as he turned to face her. "I can't believe that you're here. I feel like I must be dreaming."
"Me too." She echoed, her tone even softer than before. The amazed pair smiled at each other as Brad pulled the car out of the driveway and headed for the banquet.
"What are you doing in Boston?" Hawkeye asked her eagerly, still keeping his voice low. He was trying to keep their conversation as private as possible.
"I came to visit Carrie." Margaret replied, her tone just as excited as his. "But what are you doing in Boston? I would have thought you'd be in Crabapple Cove with your dad. I was under the impression that you were going to settle there and never leave."
"Actually I have settled there." Hawkeye told her. "I'm only in Boston as a favor to Brad. He asked me to escort you to the banquet tonight. Though, when I agreed to do it I didn't know that it was you, I thought it was someone else...not that I wanted it to be someone else, I just never expected it to be you, even though I wanted it to be..." Margaret flashed him an amused smile as he chuckled nervously and added. "Is it hot in here or is it just me?"
Margaret couldn't believe how wonderful it felt to be with Hawkeye again. She had thought about him constantly the last six months: Where he was, what he was doing, whether he ever thought of her?
As if reading her mind Hawkeye reached over and gently touched the side of her face saying.
"I've missed you. I've missed you very much."
"I've missed you too." Margaret admitted, placing her hand over the one he had placed on her cheek.
Hawkeye hesitated for a moment, his eyes deeply searching hers, before he leaned closer and placed a tender kiss on her smiling lips. Pulling her to him in a warm embrace he whispered into her ear. "I've been wanting to do that for months." Margaret felt her cheeks blush with pleasure at his earnest confession.
"I'm so glad you're here." She whispered into his ear as she hugged him tighter. Closing her eyes she breathed deeply, taking in the different emotions that she was feeling. Her heart had started to pound against her chest so hard that she was sure he could feel it too.
"I'm glad I'm here too." He replied, also relishing the feelings he was experiencing from holding her so close again.
After a few moments they pulled away slightly, keeping their arms securely around each other as if afraid that if they let go for a second the other would vanish as suddenly as they had appeared.
"Its funny, I've been dreading this evening ever since Carrie told me that she had arranged a date for me." Margaret told him honestly. "I fully expected some stuffy old doctor that I'd be spending the evening fighting off with a stick."
"Well don't get too relaxed yet." Hawkeye teased, his eyes starting to twinkle with mischief. "The evening is still young and I do seem to remember you beating me off with a stick once or twice."
"I don't have a stick now." Was her bold reply, causing Hawkeye's eyebrows to shoot skyward with surprise.
"What did you have in mind?" He asked slyly, his smile widening and his eyes dancing more. He couldn't believe what was going on between him and Margaret. She was actually flirting with him and inviting him to do the same with her. It was such a drastic change from Korea where she frowned on his attempts to flirt with her.
Carrie was the one now sporting the frown of condemnation, not the least bit impressed by what she was seeing. She couldn't believe what was going on between Margaret and Dr. Pierce. Why, the two of them were all over each other like a couple of animals. What on earth did they think they were doing?
Carrie decided to use the driving time to find out all she could about this questionable friend of Brad's. She still didn't know what to make of the impulsive kiss that had erupted between him and her normally no-nonsense cousin when they'd first been introduced.
"So Brad says that you two are colleagues." Carrie began, turning in her seat in the front so she could see Hawkeye and Margaret more clearly. "How long have you worked together?"
"About six months." Hawkeye replied as he and Margaret turned to face Carrie, their arms still securely around each other. "My father just semi-retired, so I took over most of his practice."
"I see." Carrie nodded. "And you've lived in Crabapple Cove your whole life?"
"Most of it." Hawkeye replied with an amused smile. He had quickly figured out what Carrie was up to. "I grew up there, but I lived in Boston while I went to Medical school and during my residency." Then he looked at Margaret and tightened his grip on the hand he was holding. "Then I left Boston and spent the last three years in that Korean butcher shop."
"You were in Korea?" Carrie asked with great surprise. Then apologizing for her tone she added. "I just don't picture you the soldier type."
"Oh, trust me, I'm not." Hawkeye laughed. "In fact I was voted ‘least likely to be a soldier' during my initial training." At Carrie's confused look he added. "I didn't volunteer, I was drafted."
"Hauled to Korea kicking and screaming, right Hawk?" Brad laughed knowingly.
"Exactly." Hawkeye nodded.
"Margaret was a nurse during the war." Carrie informed Hawkeye, looking at her cousin proudly. "She worked in a M*A*S*H unit for three years."
Hawkeye looked at Margaret, pretending to be surprised. "You don't say. That's very impressive, Margaret. Hard work, I understand. Scary too – being so close to the front and all. I bet the noise from those shells was unbearable at times." Margaret gave him a mildly amused smile, completely understanding his reference.
"Didn't you work in a M*A*S*H too, Hawkeye?" Brad asked curiously.
"That's right." Hawkeye nodded in confirmation. "There were a few of those hospitals scattered along the front."
"It's a shame that you two never got a chance to work together." Brad ventured. He had his eyes on the road so he missed the amused look that Margaret and Hawkeye exchanged behind his back. Carrie noticed it, but before she could ask about it Margaret replied.
"Yes, it is a shame." She boldly placed a hand on Hawkeye's cheek and added. "I think that it would have been fun."
Hawkeye couldn't help the look of surprise that spread across his face as he realized that Margaret was now getting in on his little game. Having seen the looks of surprise on Brad and Carrie's faces after the kiss that he and Margaret had shared he'd decided to keep them in the dark for a little while concerning the true nature of their relationship. He was hoping that Margaret wouldn't say something to clarify the matter for the other couple until he could enlist her help, but now it seems clear that she too had the same idea. At that thought Hawkeye felt his heart soar as he realized how much a like they had indeed become. Margaret was certainly no longer the strict, no nonsense taskmaster of their early M*A*S*H days, but had finally allowed her wittier, fun loving self to shine through. With a sly smile on his face he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him.
"Yes, I think it would have been." He echoed, looking into her sparkling eyes. Out of the corner of their eyes they noticed the look that Carrie gave Brad in the front seat.
"Uh, so, Hawkeye." Carrie started, clearing her throat uncomfortably. "What are your plans now that you're back home in Crabapple Cove?" Hawkeye gave Margaret one final squeeze before releasing her. Looking back to Carrie he replied. "Well, someday I figure I'll take over my father's practice, he's hoping to retire in a couple of years. I'd also like to get married and have a family."