Margaret couldn't believe her ears. Her heart beat quickly as she looked at him in surprise. "Really? I never would have pictured you the marrying kind."
"And why's that, Margaret?" He asked, giving her a sly smile. "Because I'm handsome and charming and apparently completely devoted to my career?"
"No, because you're flirtatious and opinionated and completely devoted to foolishness." Margaret replied, her teasing smile belying her words.
"Well, at least you're a good judge of character." Hawkeye laughed good-naturedly.
"That's a good trait in a wife."
"Thank you." Margaret replied sarcastically.
"Hey, now there's an idea." Hawkeye exclaimed, his eyes dancing in mischief. "What do you think, Margaret?"
"About what?" She asked, her expression expectant. 'What was he up to now?' She wondered curiously. She couldn't help but smile at the look on his handsome face.
Turning towards her, he took both of her hands in his. With a broad smile and a wicked glint in his eyes he asked. "What would you think about being my wife?"
Margaret's eyes widened in surprise. "Are-are you serious?" She stuttered, searching his face eagerly. 'Was he really asking her to marry him?' Her heart was beating out of control as she looked deeply into his eyes. 'She had dreamed and hoped that he would some day ask her that question, but was he serious or was it just part of his game with Brad and Carrie?'
Seeing the expression in Margaret's face the expression on Hawkeye's changed. He had originally posed the question in fun, as another part of his joke on his friend and his girlfriend, but when he saw the look of hope in Margaret's eyes his heart started to race and he clasped her hands tighter. With a soft whisper that only she could hear he said. "I'm dead serious." Then he added. "I love you."
That was all she needed to hear. Margaret threw herself into his arms and wept joyfully on his shoulder. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" She exclaimed loudly as she hugged him tightly. "I would love to marry you!" In a low whisper she added. "I love you too." Hawkeye tightened his arms around her and dropped a kiss on her cheek. Margaret pulled back, looked into her love's eyes and then leaned forward to kiss him on the mouth.
Brad and Carrie exchanged looks of alarm as the couple in the back of the car engaged in a long and loving kiss. Not knowing the true nature of Hawkeye and Margaret's relationship, as far as they knew the couple were on a blind date and were now engaged after having only known each other ten minutes.
"What are we going to do?" Carrie asked Brad anxiously as she glanced back at the couple who were still kissing each other passionately. "They can't be serious, they don't even know each other."
"I don't know, honey." Brad replied his tone concerned. "I've heard that war does strange things to people, but I've never seen anything like this before."
Meanwhile, in the back Hawkeye and Margaret finally came up for air. Looking deeply into Margaret's eyes Hawkeye whispered his tone unsure. "Are you positive that you want to go through with this? I'm not joking, I'm really asking you to marry me."
Margaret smiled and lifted a hand to brush back the lock of hair that insisted on falling across his forehead. "I'm positive, Hawkeye. I love you and want to be your wife more than anything in the world."
"Really?" He raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"Really." She nodded. "Now kiss me, you fool."
"Yes sir, Major Houlihan sir." Hawkeye teased as he leaned forward to kiss her again.
"That's probably the first order I've ever given you that you've obeyed." Margaret whispered before his lips touched hers.
"If you gave more orders like that than I would have obeyed you more often." He told her before capturing her mouth with his. Hugging her tightly to him he kissed her with all the feelings that he'd kept pent-up for so long.
When they came up for air Margaret smiled and said a little breathlessly. "If I'd have know you would have followed my order so well I would have given it to you sooner." Hawkeye chuckled slightly before resuming their kiss.
Brad and Carrie just looked at each other with hopeless despair.
"Margaret, you know that I don't like to stick my nose into your business." Carrie commented to her cousin as they touched up their make-up in the woman's washroom. "But how can you seriously consider marrying someone that you've only just met?"
"I've done it before." Margaret joked as she refreshed her lipstick, which had managed to get very smudged on the ride over.
"Yes, and remember how that turned out." Carrie pointed out. "You and Donald got divorced before you were married three months."
Margaret couldn't help but cringe at the memory of her disastrous marriage with Donald. But then the memory of someone else appeared, taking away a lot of the bitterness the first memory had created. She remembered how much support and comfort Hawkeye had given her during that time. He had been there for her every step of the way, from the time that she had discovered that Donald was cheating on her to the moment she'd gotten the official divorce papers. And even after that, he was always there for her whenever she needed comfort or help or just a friend to talk to. He was a very special guy and she loved him very much.
Looking back to her cousin she said. "I know that it may seem strange to you, but Hawkeye is really a wonderful guy. He's warm and caring and a wonderful doctor."
"How would you know that?" Carrie protested, her eyes searching her cousin's face anxiously. "You've only just met him."
"He had quite the reputation in Korea." Margaret replied, a mischievous smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Keeping it under control she added. "He was Chief Surgeon of his unit, a unit which had a 98% survival rate I might add. You don't get statistics like that if the doctors and nurses don't care about what they're doing."
"That may be true." Carrie conceded. "But don't you think that you should get to know him a little bit more before you make a lifelong commitment to him."
"Don't worry, Carrie." Margaret assured her cousin. "I'm a grown woman, I know what I'm doing. Now why don't we go and join our men, they're probably wondering what happened to us." With that Margaret turned to leave the bathroom with a not much comforted Carrie following behind.
Meanwhile, at their table Brad was having a similar conversation with his friend. "Hawkeye, I know that you have been under a lot of stress lately and that you haven't been out with anyone in months, but are you sure you know what you're doing? I mean what about the girl that you lost in Korea. I thought that you were going to try to find her."
"That's probably just a waste of time anyway." Hawkeye replied, hiding his smile in his drink. "She could be anywhere by now. I think that you and Dad are right, Brad, it's time that I got on with my life. I can't pine away for someone forever."
"Yes, but to ask the first woman that you go out with to marry you?!" Brad exclaimed anxiously. "Isn't that rushing things just a bit? I mean you two hardly know each other. What if you aren't compatible? What if you like to do one thing and she likes to do another? Then what?"
"We compromise." Hawkeye replied simply.
"I still think that you should take things slowly." Brad advised. "And I wouldn't give up on trying to find your friend, it sounds like you two were meant to be together."
"Who was 'meant to be together'?" Margaret asked as she and Carrie joined the men.
Hawkeye looked at Margaret and replied. "Me and the nurse that I fell in love with in Korea."
"Oh?" Margaret's eyebrows raised momentarily in surprise. She felt her heart twist slightly. "Which nurse was that? And how does Brad know about her?"
"When Brad asked me to escort you to this here little shindig I was very hesitant, for two reasons: one, I'm not a big fan of these stuffy black tie affairs..."
"Yeah, I meant to ask you about that." Margaret commented with a sly smile. "You didn't strike me as the kind to love these little dinners."
"I'm not, but I came to help a friend in need." He shot Brad an amused smile.
"What was the other reason you were hesitant about escorting me?" Margaret pressed her expression curious.
Hawkeye looked at her and smiled softly. "Because I've been spending the last six months pining for a girl I left in Korea."
"Oh?" Margaret pressed her heart hopeful.