"Well, I must say, so far you've been the life of the party, Margaret." B.J. teased giving her a big grin. "What with the little sideshow out here and then the fight inside. Do you have any other surprises up your sleeve for later? You're not going to go into labor or something like that are you?"
Margaret laughed good-naturedly and rubbed her rounded stomach. "No, I think my performing career is over. It takes too much out of a person." B.J. and Peg laughed. "Besides, I don't think that 'Junior' is ready to make an appearance just yet."
"I don't think that 'Junior' will be waiting much longer." B.J. observed, taking in the size of his friend's belly.
"Hawk figures next week sometime." Margaret replied, resting her hand on her stomach and smiling.
"I bet you can't wait." Peg commented, excitement in her own voice.
Margaret nodded. "I'm dying to find out whether it's a boy or a girl."
"Do you have any names picked out?" Peg asked curiously.
"We have a few ideas." The mother to be nodded. "If it's a girl, I'd like to call her Victoria."
"That's a pretty name." The other woman agreed. "What if it's a boy?"
Margaret smiled and looked at her husband. "'Benjamin' after his father."
"And then you can call him 'Geronimo' as a nickname." B.J. teased, shooting his friend a joking smile.
"Or 'B.J.'" Peg added, "'Benjamin Junior'."
"At least his 'B' and 'J' would stand for something." Hawkeye commented, shooting a mock annoyed look back to his friend.
"My 'B' and 'J' do stand for something." B.J. replied. "They stand for..."
"...anything you want." Hawkeye finished. "I know, I know." B.J. smirked amusedly.
"So, how many years have you two been married?" Peg asked curiously.
"It'll be eight years in September." Margaret replied. "Rebecca will be seven."
"Who's Rebecca?" Peg asked.
"Our oldest daughter." Hawkeye replied. "She's over there with your son playing on the slide." Both couples turned to watch as Rebecca and Ben slid down the slide together, laughing loudly.
"You mean you had Rebecca around your first anniversary?" Peg exclaimed in surprise, looking back to Margaret and Hawkeye. "Wow, you guys sure didn't waste anytime having kids, did you?"
"No, I guess we didn't." Margaret laughed and looked lovingly at her husband. "We both wanted kids, and we decided that we had wasted enough of our lives on other things, that we didn't want to waste anymore. So, when we found out I was pregnant with Becky, we were both ecstatic."
B.J. shook his head in disbelief. "I still can't get over it."
"Get over what?" Hawk asked his friend, a confused look on his face.
"You and Margaret...married...to each other. Parents...to the same kids." His friend replied. "I still can't believe that you are the same two people who use to fight and call each other names. Hawk, you used to love nothing better than to make Margaret upset. And Margaret, you used to hate everything that came out of Hawk's mouth."
Margaret and Hawkeye smiled at each other. "I know, it must seem odd to you, to everyone." Hawkeye acknowledged. "But, what can I say." He put his arm around his wife and smiled at her. "Once I fell, I fell hard. There was no turning back." He turned his attention back to his old bunkmate and with an apologetic smile he said, "I'm sorry I didn't get around to telling you about the wedding. But actually, I did try. The week of the wedding I must have phoned your place about thirty times, but there was never any answer."
"We must have been away." Peg commented, looking at B.J. Then, looking at her new friends she added, "Some times in the fall we take a couple of weeks and go to a friend's cottage on the beach."
"Well, I'm sorry I missed the wedding." B.J. said, a sad smile on his face. "I would have loved to have been there."
"I'm sorry too." Hawkeye replied sadly. "I was really hoping that you could have been my best man."
"Who did you end up having?" B.J. asked, almost feeling jealous of his replacement.
"My Dad." Was Hawk's reply. "He was the only other person I felt like having stand next to me. Besides Margaret, of course." He teased gently hugging her to him. "But, I'm truly sorry I didn't get in touch with you. After the wedding things were very busy, I was working, so was Margaret. Then we found out that she was pregnant with Rebecca and that made things even busier. We had to inform the army, who then had to process papers and forms and more papers and more forms."
"Each one in triplicate no doubt." B.J. laughed knowingly. He looked at Peg and added. "With the army you couldn't even go to the latrine without filling out a form and putting in a request - in triplicate."
"Exactly." Hawkeye laughed in agreement. "Anyway, to make a long excuse short, I always meant to phone, but things kept coming up."
"I understand, Hawk. There's no need to apologize." B.J. assured him. "After all, I didn't exactly stay in contact either. I got busy in my practice and was trying to forget that the Korean war had even happened. I thought of you both a lot, wondered how you were doing, but I kept thinking back to the horrible things we'd been through together and thought it might be best to forget everything in connection with the war. Even my best friend." He looked at Hawk and smiled sadly. "And that was one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made. I've never met anyone else that I would even come close to considering as close a friend as you are. You are definitely the best friend I ever had. I've missed you."
"I've missed you too, Beej." The two men leaned forward and embraced, tears in their eyes. Peg let the tears that she was trying to hold back slip down her cheeks as she watched her husband and his friend hug after years of separation.
When they parted, they both wiped their eyes and smiled a little goofy at each other.
"You know, it's probably a good thing I wasn't at your wedding." B.J. commented, a teasing tone in his voice.
"Why's that?" Hawkeye asked an amused smile on his face.
"Oh, I may have done something to you similar to what we did to a certain Lieutenant Colonel." B.J. laughed, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
"Oh, no you wouldn't have." Hawkeye objected, laughing at the memory.
"What makes you so sure?" B.J. asked, chuckling.
"For many reasons." Hawkeye replied. "For one, I wouldn't have gotten drunk on the night before my wedding. It's not a good idea to get married with a hangover. And two, I definitely wouldn't have gotten drunk on the night of my wedding with you around. I know your tricks."
"Is that so?" B.J. laughed tauntingly.
"That's right 'that's so'." Hawkeye stated in mock seriousness. "Because I taught you everything you know."
"Can I ask one question." Peg broke in.
"What's that?" Hawkeye asked, looking at her expectantly.
She looked from Hawkeye to her husband. "What did you do?"
The two guys looked at each other and laughed heartily before replying. "After, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott passed out cold on the Swamp floor during his bachelor party and we hefted him onto B.J.'s bunk..."
"...and onto B.J..." B.J. added with a smirk.
"...we decided to pull a little trick on him and Margaret." Hawkeye explained.
"Margaret?" Peg repeated in surprise. Then nodded as she recalled something. "That's right, I remember B.J. telling me about your marriage, but he seemed to have left out a few details, including the joke that he played on you."
"Well, it wasn't anything major." B.J. commented, "It was just a small practical joke."
"A small practical joke!" Margaret exclaimed in mock annoyance. She was frowning, but her eyes were dancing. She looked at Peg and asked, "Do you know what these two characters did? They put a body cast on Donald from his chest to his ankles and told him that he had fallen and broken his leg."
"That's awful!" Peg cried, looking at her husband she scolded. "That was cruel. Poor Margaret and Donald."
"It's okay, Peg." Margaret smiled reassuringly. "They wired me in Tokyo and told me it was all a joke."
"We tried to tell her before she left." Hawk commented. "But she wouldn't listen to us."
"We probably shouldn't have waited until she was IN the chopper, about to take off." B.J. laughed at the memory of them yelling to Margaret over the whirring of the chopper that the cast was a fake.
"I gather you got the cast off." Peg commented with a laugh.
"She must have." Hawkeye commented. "She thought she was pregnant once."
Margaret shot her husband a deadly look. No one else knew about that except Colonel Potter and Radar.
"Yeah, you mentioned that earlier." B.J. commented, a thoughtful look on his face. "I don't remember that though, when did that happen?"
"Do you remember when Margaret snapped at Nurse Bell for not getting your patient under quick enough." Hawkeye commented, trying to trigger his friend's memory. "He kept pushing the mask away."
B.J. thought long and hard for a moment. Margaret was always snapping at one nurse or another for something she felt was wrong. It was hard to remember each and every incident. But suddenly another, even more memorable event popped into B.J.'s head. "That was about the time that one of my patients desperately wanted to go home via 'Hostage Airlines'."
Hawkeye nodded. "That's right."
"Okay, now I remember." B.J. announced and looked at Margaret, "I gather you weren't pregnant."
"No, I wasn't. Thank goodness." Margaret replied her face showing profound relief.
"But I thought you said that you wanted kids." Peg remarked, slightly confused.
"I did, but not at that time." Margaret said. "It was bad timing then. I was in Korea, Donald and I were having some serious problems with our marriage, one of them being that I was in love with Hawkeye not Donald, though I didn't realize it at the time. Donald never did know."
"Thank goodness." Hawkeye breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief. "I hate to think what he'd have done to me if he'd have found out. He was not exactly a small guy."
"Not like Frank Burns." B.J. remarked with a chuckle.
"Nobody's like Frank Burns." Hawkeye replied with a mischievous look.
"Thank heavens for that." B.J. said in a tone of relief.
Margaret shot both men an amused look and then addressing Peg continued. "I just wasn't ready for motherhood then. I probably would have messed up big time." She paused and smiled warmly at Hawkeye and reached over to squeeze his hand before continuing. "Now things are so different. I have a secure home, a loving husband and a strong marriage. The time couldn't be more perfect."
"That's wonderful, Margaret." Peg smiled. "I'm so happy for both of you."
"Thank you." Margaret smiled back at her. Then looking from her to B.J. and back again, she asked. "So, how have things been for you these last ten years?"
"They've been wonderful." B.J. smiled, putting a loving arm around Peg. "I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be back home again."
"Did you find it hard to adjust at first?" Margaret asked curiously, leaning back against Hawkeye.
B.J. smiled sadly and his eyes clouded slightly at the thought of his first year at home. "I found it very hard to settle back into my life in Mill Valley when I got back. I felt like I was a stranger in my own home. Things seemed to have changed so much during those two years that I had been away. Some nights I'd wake up and have no idea where I was. A couple of times I woke up screaming because a police siren had gone by and it made me think of an air raid."
"I had the same problem." Hawkeye admitted, sadness in his blue eyes. "Remember that time I called you in the middle of the night, just because I needed to hear a familiar voice."