Margaret turned and fled to her tent, all thoughts of making up with her sister vanished from her mind. She immediately kicked off her boots and curled into a ball under her blanket. As she lay facing the canvas wall she felt hot tears pricking the back of her eyelids. She sniffled and wiped her tears away angrily. Her tears soon subsided and she tried to decipher the source of her feelings. What was it exactly that had caused her to begin to cry? That certainly was a question she had asked a lot lately.
Someone knocked lightly on the door of her tent and Margaret's eyes jerked open. She looked around the tent trying to make out how long she had been asleep. It was dark already and she could hear laughter coming from the Officer's Club. She sat up and she heard Kaitlyn whisper excitedly outside her door.
"Margaret are you in there?" Margaret quickly crossed the room and opened the door. Kaitlyn practically danced inside the room and hugged Margaret. Margaret took a step back in shock; she certainly hadn't expected this after what she had said this afternoon.
"Kaitlyn, I wanted to apologize for the…"
"Oh nonsense," Kaitlyn exclaimed cheerfully. "I was being rather nosey anyhow." Kaitlyn grabbed both of her hands and led her over to the cot and turned on the lamp. A sudden cloud flickered over her face.
"How long have you been in here?"
Margaret blushed and looked away. Kaitlyn took the hint and changed the subject. "Maggie you will never believe what just happened! I am the happiest woman alive!" Margaret studied her sister's joyous expression and a sick feeling filled her body as she recalled why she had been sulking in her tent to begin with. She tried to smile brightly and squeezed Kaitlyn's hand.
Kaitlyn laughed loudly and nodded. "I never was able to keep secrets from you Maggie." Margaret laughed as she wanted to cry. Luckily Kaitlyn, who normally was an expert at reading Margaret's true feelings, was too caught up in her own happiness to see Margaret's exact thoughts. Margaret leaned forward and hugged her sister tightly. As she did two tears unwillingly slipped down her cheeks and she sniffed. Kaitlyn pushed her back and looked into her eyes.
"What's wrong Maggie?" Margaret sniffed again and smiled.
"It's nothing," she lied. "I just can't believe my baby sister is getting married!"
Kaitlyn accepted this answer and the two women talked for several minutes before Margaret stifled a fake yawn.
"Tiered?" Kaitlyn asked. Margaret nodded and Kaitlyn stood up. ""Well I guess I'll excuse you tonight; but only because I'm dying to see my fiancée again." Kaitlyn laughed and Margaret nearly lost her composure at the word fiancée. As Kaitlyn bounced out of the room Margaret let her tears flow freely, all the while chiding herself for doing so. What is the matter with me? What kind of sister am I; crying over her happiness? I should be thrilled that she is engaged to such a wonderful man as Pierce. I'm acting like such a child, crying for no reason at all; no reason at all!
Margaret cried herself to sleep and the next morning she awoke with a splitting headache. She sat up wearily and groaned as someone knocked on her door.
"I hate you, go away!" she moaned. She tensed as she heard Hawkeye's familiar laugh outside her tent. She sat stiffly as he entered and sat beside her.
"Mornin' Princess," he greeted cheerfully. Margaret gave no response, not trusting her voice. What did he want with her anyway? Hawkeye sighed at her silence and picked up her hand, lacing his fingers through hers.
"What's wrong Margaret?" he asked her gently. Margaret shook her hand and attempted to pull her hand away. A thousand thoughts raced through her mind; the main on was wondering how the hell she was going to live the rest of her life with Pierce for a brother-in-law.
"So what do you think of your new in-law?" He asked playfully as Margaret cringed inwardly. She only nodded and smiled as Hawkeye slipped onto the floor in front of her so he could look into her eyes.
"Margaret I thought we were doing so much better than this; as friends I mean. I was hoping you would at least be willing to talk to me." Margaret said nothing so Hawkeye continued. "I'm dying to know what I've done to make you hate me so much."
For the first time Hawkeye saw a little bit of emotion enter her countenance as she gasped. "I don't hate you! I…I uh…" Margaret stopped herself and closed her eyes. Hawkeye watched her closely and soon saw a small tear form at the corner of her eye.
"I'm glad to hear that," he responded softly. "I wanted to tell you that since your sister came here I've seen a side of you that you've always hidden before." He paused and licked his lips nervously. "I've fallen in love with that side of you Margaret."
Margaret's eyes flew open and she jerked her hand away from his. She bolted up from her seat. "How dare you!" she screamed. "How dare you do this to her!"
Hawkeye stared blankly at her. "Who?" he asked dumbly.
"Kaitlyn! How could you do this to her? She loves you!" Margaret was hysterical now and her face was red with fury. Hawkeye stood up and walked towards her.
"She loves me?" he asked incredulously. "If she loves me then why the hell did she accept his proposal?"
At this question all the color drained from Margaret's face. "Whose proposal?" she asked weakly. Hawkeye looked at her strangely.
"I thought Kaitlyn told you last night!" he exclaimed.
"Whose proposal?" she repeated in a monotone voice.
"Charles'!" he exclaimed, as if it was so obvious. "Kaitlyn is engaged to Charles."
Hawkeye stared in wonder at the transformation that came over her face. Margaret sat down heavily in her chair and began to laugh and cry at the same time. Hawkeye smiled and approached her cautiously. Margaret wiped her tears and tried to catch her breath.
"It was just that I saw you…I mean I saw…" Margaret was smiling brightly although she was trying her hardest not to as she conveyed what she had seen. "I saw the ring…you had it." Hawkeye laughed merrily as he realized what Margaret had been thinking. He reached into his pocket as he once again knelt in front of her.
"This ring?" he asked as he pulled a worn velvet box from his pocket. Margaret blushed deeply and glanced away. Hawkeye would have been disappointed if she didn't have a bright smile still glued onto her face.
"Now back to what I was saying… I fell in love with you Margaret, and it's been torturing me that you can scarcely bring yourself to look at me. Now I know you've been hurt, but please give me a chance." Margaret stared at her hands that were lying limply in her lap. She slowly lifted her gaze into his eyes and smiled.
"Can I see my ring?"
Hawkeye breathed a sigh of relief as he opened the box and placed the glittering ring on her finger. He quickly scrambled to his feet and pulled Margaret up. She wrapped her arms around his neck and she laughed happily as she felt herself being lifted. Hawkeye wrapped his arms tightly around the top of her legs, holding her up. Margaret bent her head down and kissed him fiercely on the lips.
Hawkeye broke off the kiss and smiled wickedly. "Ohh hot lips!"
You have a twisted mind Maggie!" Kaitlyn exclaimed that night. Margaret had just finished recounting her mistake resulting in much laughter from both women.
Margaret leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her knees and Kaitlyn watched her sister carefully.
"Oh Katie, he's so perfect for me. I mean we're both so pathetically stubborn and willful and yet he always can manage to make me smile, no matter how angry I am at him. And for the first time in quite a while I know that this relationship isn't from lust. I t was built on a friendship; a friendship that I could trust."
Kaitlyn smiled and stood up, placing a quick kiss on her sister's forehead. "I'm glad you finally figured it out."
Kaitlyn walked across the room and opened the door, laughing as she saw Hawkeye preparing to knock. She stepped outside and turned back towards her sister and smiled. "The meaning of love."