"When did you two get married." Trapper asked.
"The next weekend." His friend replied. "Margaret flew to Maine and we got married in Crabapple Cove."
"The next weekend?" Radar exclaimed in amazement. "Wow, that was fast!"
"Well, we figured that we'd wasted enough time." Hawk commented. "We didn't want to waste any more."
"What about her nursing job at Boston General?" Charles asked, work being a top priority in his life. "What did she do about that?"
"She got a transfer to an army hospital in Maine, about an hour away from Crabapple Cove." Hawkeye replied. "She worked there for about nine or ten months and then she received an army discharge."
"What for?" B.J. asked in surprise.
"She was six months pregnant with Rebecca." Hawkeye replied. "She'd informed them when she first found out, but it took them three months to get the paper work done. You know how fast the army is with its paper work." Everyone laughed.
"Wait, a minute." B.J. exclaimed, looking at Hawkeye in surprise. "Nine months after you got married, Margaret was six months pregnant!" Hawk nodded. "Boy, you guys sure didn't waste any time did you?"
Hawkeye laughed and nodded. "Rebecca was our first anniversary present." He hugged his oldest daughter to him and added. "And she was the best present I've ever gotten." Rebecca smiled at him and hugged him back.
"How did Margaret feel about being discharged from the army?" Potter asked. "Did she take it better than last time she thought she was going to be discharged? If I recall she panicked."
"You mean the time she thought she was pregnant in Korea." Hawkeye asked, looking at him seriously.
Potter nodded. "If I remember, she wasn't very happy about the thought of being pregnant and losing her army career. How did she feel this time?"
"She wasn't the least bit upset." Hawkeye replied. "Which surprised the hell out of me, just going by the reaction she had before."
"What happened?" B.J. asked, a puzzled look on his face. "And how come I didn't hear about this before?"
Hawkeye looked at him and replied. "Margaret thought she was pregnant, but at the time, she and Donald were having problems. She was worried about being discharged and losing her army career. She was also afraid of how this would affect things between her and Donald. The reason I didn't tell you was because she didn't want anyone to know. The only ones who knew were Colonel Potter, Radar and myself."
"So, how did she react when she found out she was pregnant for real?" B.J. asked curiously.
"She was thrilled." Hawkeye smiled, his eyes dancing with excitement. "She didn't care the least bit that she was going to be discharged because of it. In fact, by the time the discharge papers arrived, she was chomping at the bit waiting to be finished. Her entire focus was on the coming baby."
"I'm glad." Potter smiled. "I'd hate to think she was upset or resentful about it."
"How did you feel when she told you?" B.J. asked curiously.
Hawkeye looked thoughtful for a moment. "I was blown away." He replied. "I was happy, surprised and scared all at the same time." He started chuckling. "I'll never forget the day she told me. I was doing rounds at the hospital when she suddenly came running down the hall, calling my name. She had the whole floor in an uproar. Patients were poking their heads out of their rooms, doctors and nurses came running down the halls, wondering what the commotion was all about. I finally caught up to her and managed to get her to stop. By this time I was worried that something was seriously wrong. When she finally saw me, she stopped, smiled an enormous smile and then threw herself into my arms, kissing me in front of everyone. I was so surprised."
"Margaret?" Trapper commented, his eyes wide in disbelief.
"Margaret." Hawkeye nodded.
"What did she say?" Klinger asked eagerly.
"When she pulled away from the kiss she smiled broadly again and said, 'Guess who's going to be a Daddy?' I just gaped at her, so she added. 'I'm pregnant.' I was so surprised that I just stared at her. I had no idea that she even thought she might be. She'd kept it a secret until she was sure. I just looked at her with a goofy grin on my face until everyone around us started to cheer. Finally I picked her up and swung her around, laughing in amazement. I still couldn't believe it. I, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce, was going to be a father."
"What did your Dad say?" Potter asked, a big grin on his face.
"He was just as beside himself as I was." Hawkeye laughed. "I still see the look of pure joy on his face when I told him the news. He gave both of us a big hug and when he pulled back he said that we had made him the happiest man alive. Then he kissed Margaret on the cheek and told her that he loved her very much and thanked her for coming into our lives and making both of us so happy."
"That's so sweet." Radar commented with a smile.
"So, how did you celebrate?" B.J. asked curiously.
"We went out to dinner that night." Hawkeye replied. "You should have seen Dad, it was so funny. He was going from table to table, after all, he knew almost everybody at the restaurant, and told them the good news. The owner gave us a special dessert on the house as congratulations. It was one of the happiest moments of our lives." He hugged his daughter to him tightly. "We all just love our little 'Peanut'."
Rebecca grinned at her father and threw her arms around his neck. "I love you too, Daddy."
The group smiled softly as they watched the two embrace.
"It's a shame that Margaret had to give up her nursing." Charles commented, returning to his previous concern. "She was such a wonderful nurse."
"Well, actually she hasn't given up nursing all together." Hawkeye replied. "When Rebecca was a year old, she decided that she wanted to be more than just a housewife and mother. So, she found a job at the senior's home next door to the hospital I work at. She works three or four days a week for about six hours a day. She loves it."
"And it doesn't bother you that she works, even though you have children?" Charles asked, surprised by the situation.
"Why should it?" Hawkeye asked, surprised by the question. "Margaret's worked all her life. She was working when we met, she was working when we got married. She would be unhappy if she couldn't. And when we got married, I promised her that I would always support her and that I would never do anything to make her unhappy. Besides, Dad's retired now and it gives him something to do looking after the girls."
"You know, Hawkeye," Father Mulcahy commented with a sly smile. "with your gentleness, your compassion, I always knew that you'd make a fine husband."
"Thanks, Father." Hawkeye smiled back amusedly. "I do my best."
"Well, you must be succeeding." Potter informed him. "Margaret told me when she arrived that her husband was the greatest one anyone could ever hope for, and that these last seven years have been very good years. I told her that I wanted to meet this wonderful man so I could personally thank him for taking such good care of her. Of course at the time I didn't know that she was talking about you."
Hawkeye laughed. "Does that change things, Colonel?"
"Greatly." The Colonel replied. "Now I won't be thanking a stranger." Then, putting a hand on his former chief surgeon's shoulder he smiled warmly and said. "Thank you, Hawkeye."
Hawkeye returned the smile and replied. "Thank you, Colonel."
"It sounds like you have a wonderful life, Hawk." B.J. smiled happily. "I'm so happy for both of you."
"Thanks, B.J." Hawkeye smiled. "I do have a wonderful life. Better than I could have ever hoped for. You know its funny, I never thought that I would ever get married."
"Why not?" B.J. asked, a teasing look on his face. "I thought you liked women."
"It's not that I didn't want to." Hawk replied, his face serious. "It's just that for me medicine has always been my first love. And I developed a bad habit of putting it ahead of everything else." He looked at B.J. and quietly commented. "That's why Carlye left me when I was in medical school and then at the 4077th. I had a hard time putting anything else ahead of practicing medicine."
"So, what changed?" B.J. asked, his low tone matching his friend's.
"The fact that I found someone that I loved even more than medicine." Hawkeye replied. "And I tell you, Beej, it's an amazing feeling."
"I know." His friend smiled.
"I know you do." Hawkeye smiled back. "And I finally understand the unwavering devotion that you showed for Peg and Erin while we were in Korea. But, I must admit, it's one thing to see it, but its another to feel it."
"I gather that Margaret hasn't had the same experience with you as she had with Penobscott." B.J. commented.
"Not in the least." Hawkeye nodded. "In the words of a very wise man that I know... 'It's not because God will send me to hell without an electric fan or because it isn't the right thing to do, I simply don't want to'."
B.J. and Hawk smiled at each other for a minute and then B.J.'s smile turned sly. "Ever been tempted?" He asked.
Hawkeye's smile turned mischievous as well. "Tempted's another subject." He laughed.
B.J. chuckled amusedly, "Ah, so you have been tempted."
Hawkeye's eyes sparkled in fun. "Never, but it is another subject." The two men laughed heartily.
Potter leaned over to Klinger and Trapper. "I have a feeling that was a private joke."
"I'm getting that impression." Klinger agreed.
"They have a lot of those." Trapper muttered jealously.
"Actually." Hawkeye continued after he could speak. "There was one time that if I was ever going to be tempted to stray, it would have been then, but I wasn't in the least."
"When was that, Hawk?" B.J. asked seriously.
"When Carlye showed up again about six months ago." Hawkeye replied. "She had just been transferred to a hospital in Portland and had decided to look me up. She and Doug Walton had gotten divorced a few years ago, so she decided to see how I was doing."
"So, what happened." B.J. prompted.
"We went and had a cup of coffee in the hospital cafeteria." Hawkeye continued, "We talked about general things, the weather, the war, Crabapple Cove, Portland. The she told me why she'd come. She said that she'd been thinking a lot about me lately, about the good times that we'd had, and wondered if maybe we could give it another try."
"Wait a minute," Trapper interrupted, looking at Hawkeye with a puzzled look on his face. "Who's this Carlye?"
"She was an old girlfriend of mine." Hawkeye replied. "We'd lived together for a year or so during my surgical residency in Boston. That is until she left me."
"How come I never heard about her?" Trapper asked, his voice betraying his hurt feelings.
"Because during the time I spent with you I was trying to forget her." Hawkeye replied, his eyes showing the dept of sadness her memory created. "I was so hurt and angry when she left me. I was really in love with her."
"So, what happened?" Trapper asked.
"She showed up in camp one day. She was assigned there as a nurse." Hawkeye replied, his look thoughtful.
B.J. laughed, partly at the humor in the memory he was going to share, and partly to try to cheer up his friend. "In all the months that I had known Hawkeye, I had never known him to hide from a nurse, but that's exactly what he did. He actually hid his face as she walked by the Swamp so she wouldn't see him."
Trapper looked at Hawkeye in disbelief. "You hid?" He chuckled. "I don't believe it. So what happened?"
Hawkeye shrugged, "We got back together for a while, until she requested a transfer. She said that she didn't want to take the backseat to my love of medicine again. So wanted to be number one, so she left. And I never heard from her again until she showed up six months ago."
"So, what did you tell her when she wanted to get back together with you?" B.J. asked, his tone low and serious.
"I told her that I appreciated the offer, but that things had changed a whole lot in my life since that last time I had seen her." Hawkeye chuckled. "You should have seen her face when I told her that I was happily married with two beautiful daughters. I don't know if she believed me or not until Margaret showed up with the girls. You should have seen Carlye's face when she realized who I was married to."
"What did Margaret think when she saw you having coffee with Carlye?" B.J. asked curiously.
"She was surprised." Hawkeye replied, "I had told her all about Carlye a long time ago. She knew that Carlye had meant a lot to me in the past, but I had assured her at the time that she meant a lot more to me. Later that night I told Margaret all about my conversation with Carlye. I had learned a long time ago that it was best to tell Margaret about things like these, otherwise if she'd found out from someone else, she gets her back up thinking that your trying to hide something and then you're really in trouble."
"So that's as far as it went?" Trapper asked, a little disappointed. To him fidelity wasn't something important. He'd fooled around continually while he was in Korea and he still did so on occasion. "Just a cup of coffee?"
"That's it." Hawkeye nodded, shooting his friend an annoyed look. He was well aware of Trapper's views on affairs and faithfulness. He'd witnessed it for an entire year. At the time he didn't think much of it, but after having bunked with B.J., who was the complete opposite to Trapper on this subject, he had seen that there was a definite benefit to being true to one's mate. B.J. was a man who was completely devoted to and in love with his family. And that was something that Hawkeye had always envied him for. Now that he had it, he wanted to make sure he held onto it.
"I'm proud of you, Hawk." B.J. commented, shooting Trapper a thoroughly disgusted look. He couldn't believe that the other man was actually disappointed that Hawkeye had done the right thing.
"Thank, Beej." Hawkeye smiled warmly at his friend. "I'm proud of me too." He hugged Rebecca to him and added. "I love my family very much and I don't want to do anything that'll chance loosing them."
"Margaret is a lucky woman to have you." B.J. smiled. "She certainly found the best."
"Thank you." Hawkeye smiled back.
"And then when she realized I was taken, she settled for you." B.J. teased, his tone immediately light and teasing.
"Oh, you want to play do you?" Hawkeye laughed sarcastically. "Well, two can play those games."