Hawkeye Pierce looked up from his paperwork and smiled as he saw his seventeen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, walk into his office. "Hey Lizzy; how was your day?" Hawkeye closed the file he was working on and pushed it aside, before leaning back comfortably in his overstuffed, leather chair.
"Oh it was alright," she said, shrugging her shoulders while sipping on a hot cup of coffee she had picked up in the hospital cafeteria.
"I'm just glad it's over. This break will be nice, even if it is so short."
While Lizzy had been talking, Hawkeye stood up, wrapped a red scarf around his neck, and pulled on his heavy wool jacket.
"Will you be warm enough in that dress?" he asked, wrapping one arm around her shoulders.
"I left my coat with the receptionist," she clarified. Hawkeye nodded and opened the door for her.
"Well let's go, I'm starving."
The pair headed outside to the cold December night and quickly walked two blocks towards a small Italian café.
"I love Boston at Christmas," Lizzy sighed, staring out the frosted window. Hawkeye smiled knowingly and pulled a chair out for her.
"So what are your suggestions this year?" he asked. Lizzy shook her head in amusement while chuckling.
"If I tell you will you actually take my advice?" she asked suspiciously.
Hawkeye opened his mouth in mock offence. "Are you implying that I don't take your advice?"
Lizzy laughed and rolled her eyes. "You're hopeless Dad."
The waiter came and the two placed their orders, without even bothering to look at the menus. The father and daughter knew the menus of every restaurant on the street by heart.
"So what should I get her?" Hawkeye asked again. Lizzy studied her father for a moment deciding what to tell him. Hawkeye watched his daughter and found himself smiling slightly. He couldn't believe how fast she was growing up. He could still remember her ribbons and curls and tiny mary-janes. Now she was the exact image of her mother in every way. Well except her eyes. For the longest time they had thought she had her mother's eyes, but now as Hawkeye looked into her flashing blue eyes they mirrored his own in both color and merriment.
"You know Mom always asks you for a sweater." Elizabeth replied flippantly. Hawkeye smiled.
"I've never once bought her what she asked for, why would I start now?"
Lizzy started laughing and she did her best to avoid spewing a mouthful of coffee onto the table.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh I was just thinking of Mom's face when she opened her vacuum cleaner last year." Lizzy wiped tears of mirth from her eyes while shaking her head in disbelief.
"It was a nice vacuum," Hawkeye mumbled. "She told me she liked it."
"Yeah well that's what she said while you were there," Lizzy said, rolling her eyes. "You should have heard her rant and rave after you went home."
Hawkeye shrugged. "So I made a mistake. Now are you going to tell me what to buy her or not?"
Lizzy sighed in defeat. "Well it all depends on how much you want to spend," she prompted.
"You know I don't care about the money."
"Good I was hoping you would say that. Now, if you really want you make her happy I would say buy her a ring."
Hawkeye smiled and nodded. "Jewelry is always good. I think I could manage to pick out a nice ring."
Lizzy sighed disappointedly and stared at the table somewhat nervously. She knew she was about to tread into dangerous waters.
"Actually I was referring to an engagement ring." She mumbled. Hawkeye frowned and leaned back in his chair.
"Elizabeth," he started sternly. "We've talked about this before. You know as well as I do that I am not going to marry your mother."
Lizzy looked about ready to cry. "I don't see why not." She said defensively. "You love her, I know you do."
Hawkeye sighed and his voice softened. "Lizzy I know you've always wanted us to get married but it just wouldn't work." Lizzy was now sniffling while staring at the table. Hawkeye couldn't stand to see her cry and frantically tried to make her understand.
"Lizzy your mother and I never married because… because…" he paused to try and formulate a reason. Lizzy used that opportunity to jump in with her own conclusion.
"Because you never asked her." She stated firmly. "The only reason you never got married is because you never asked her." Her tears had stopped and her eyes were flashing with anger now. Hawkeye saw this and quickly grabbed her hand.
"Lizzy come on. Don't get mad at me over something like this. Please understand it just wouldn't work." Lizzy looked back down at the table in defeat. Just then the waiter came back with their food and they spent the remainder of the dinner in an awkward silence.
After dinner Hawkeye walked Elizabeth back to the hospital, where her car was parked. As she was about to climb into her car, Hawkeye grabbed her and hugged her tightly.
"I love you baby." He whispered. Lizzy looked up at him and attempted a smile.
"I love you too Daddy." He kissed her cheek as she climbed in her car. Just as she was about to drive off she rolled down her window and shouted at him.
"Please think about it?"
Hawkeye plunged his hands firmly into his coat pockets and sighed. Thinking wasn't a promise, what could it hurt?
"Fine," he responded in defeat. "Fine, I'll think about it." Lizzy smiled brightly and flashed him a victorious smile.
"I didn't promise anything!" he shouted at her, but she was already speeding through the empty parking lot.
"Hey Mom," Lizzy shouted as she entered the house."
"Did you have a nice dinner?" she heard her mother respond from another room.
"Yeah, it was nice; a little aggravating though."
"How come?" Lizzy followed her mother's voice and found her seated at the kitchen table sipping on a steaming mug of coffee and browsing through a catalogue.
"Oh you know, just trying to pound into his hard head that a blender will not make a good gift."
Margaret laughed and rolled her eyes. "Oh god do you remember last years gift?"
Lizzy chuckled and nodded. "Yes Mom I remember." Margaret had a habit of using Hawkeye's gifts as her amusement for the year. She brought up his tacky gifts at least once a week.
"Stupid vacuum," Margaret muttered to herself. "It never even works right." Lizzy smiled and kissed her mother's cheek gently before heading upstairs to her bedroom.