Hawkeye sat in the dark kitchen while contemplating getting up to retrieve another beer from the icebox. Unfortunately, the unexpected call from BJ left Hawkeye with a bitter taste in his mouth that even a strong brew couldn't wash down.
Jesus, not even BJ's happy. This goddamn war screwed everyone over.
Hawkeye knew—or at least guessed—that Margaret was unhappy with the prospect of whatever it was she had planned. But then Margaret never seemed to content with where she was. BJ, on the other hand, always seemed the least affected by the war. Hawkeye had always assumed the man would easily morph right back into civilian life. Apparently living the American dream wasn't as easy or fulfilling as it looked.
We're all just wandering around aimlessly with no idea what the hell we're going to do next.
To solidify this thought with an action, Hawkeye stood up, hesitated as he deliberated where he was going, and then sat down heavily into the chair.
I can't even decide if I'm going out or staying in. How the hell am I going to figure out the rest of my life?
He contemplated calling his friend back and offering his home for the weekend but he grimaced at the thought. He didn't want someone's own problem's on top of his own. Hawkeye was welcomed home by his father with open arms and tears of joy, but Crabapple Cove wasn't the idyllic town he remembered.. He had been prone to exaggeration, as so many people are, as he reminisced about his old haunts. No that he was back in the town where he grew up he was harshly reminded of the busybodies who constantly lecture him about his behavior, his language, and his drinking habits. He was reminded of the potent smell of fish that wafts upward from the harbor. He was reminded of the girls who were either too young or too old to escape their town (neither of which attracted his attention). But most of all is was a constant reminder of the fact that he had failed as a surgeon. Oh he knew he could still operate in circles around any other doctor in the state. But he had lost the determination to be the best; lost the thrill he got when faced with piecing a person back to life.
The humdrum life of a family physician could be fulfilling to some but for Hawkeye it was just a daily reminder that he could no longer do what he felt he was born to do.
"C'mon tell me!" Andy insisted, pulling Margaret closer to his side as they sat on the small sofa in her hotel room. "Who did you dream about?"
"Why are you so curious? An actor is an actor!" Margaret smiled and pulled back slightly so she could look into his handsome face.
"Quite the contrary, Margaret. If you tell me who you dreamt would sweep you off your feet and carry you into the sunset that will explain not only what you want in a man but who you picture yourself as." His charming smile coaxes a similar expression from Margaret.
"You should be a psychiatrist."
Margaret laughed in disbelief. "Oh please."
"I am!" he protested.
"You have a degree in psychology?"
Margaret laughed again, this time not out of disbelief but out of surprise. "Well you're full of surprises."
"Well now it's my turn to be surprised. Who was your dream man?"
"Nothing about me is very surprising," Margaret said quietly with a gentle smile. She was tiring of this subject. Andy was starting to pry again.
"Why do you take everything so personal? There's nothing shameful or too revealing about telling me who your dream man is."
"But you just said—"
"Oh, who listens to a psychiatrist?"
Margaret laughed, finally willing to play his game. "Fine, but you have to guess."
Andy grinned and studied the lovely woman beside him. "Gable." He finally guessed.
"As in I'm Vivian Leigh?"
Andy nodded with a sheepish grin.
"That hurts." She teased him with a mock frown and encouraged him to guess again.
"A firm no."
"Beautiful, but no."
Andy threw up his hands in mock exasperation. "Now what the hell is wrong with Cary Grant?"
Margaret laughed and pulled her legs underneath her on the cushion. "Nothing."
"Exactly. Nothing is wrong with the man! He's tall, he's handsome, he's suave, he's British, he's American, he's even a republican! What can you have against him? If you won't take Grant how the hell are the rest of us guys supposed to measure up?"
"He doesn't make me laugh." Margaret said with amusement.
"Why Lieutenant, you're not a Chaplin fan are you?"
Eyes sparkling, Margaret leaned in to kiss him. "He's funny, he's cute, and he doesn't say a word."
"You know that really says a lot about—" Margaret silenced him with her lips.
"You should learn to keep quiet too."
"Where's Margaret?" Daniel asked his son as he walked into the dark kitchen, flipping on the light-switch.
"How the hell should I know?" Hawkeye growled.
Daniel stared sorrowfully at his son. He knew his son was hurting and he had no idea how to help. He might have a clue if Hawkeye would talk to him but ever since the young man came home he had all but refused to discuss Korea. It seemed he had banished even the good memories. Daniel had hoped the sudden appearance of Margaret would help ease his son's troubled mind but it only seemed to worsen things.
The phone shrilled and Daniel heaved a heavy sigh as he went to answer it. "Who the hell is calling this late?" The aging man picked up the receiver and offered a curt hello. A dour smile appeared on his face and he waved the phone to catch Hawkeye's attention. "It's for you, Captain."
Hawkeye scowled at the name. He lurched towards the phone. "What the hell do you want, Hot Lips?"
"Excuse me?" the deep, harsh voice on the other end of the line sounded near livid.
Hawkeye sighed in irritation but refused to recant the greeting. "Who is this?"
"Is this Captain Pierce?"
No," Hawkeye raised his voice considerably for emphasis. "Who is this?"
The man tried again. "I'm looking for Captain Benjamin Pierce."
"No one resides here by that name. We have a Doctor Daniel Anthony Pierce, Doctor Benjamin Franklin Pierce, and Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde make an appearance every once in a while but--"
"No see here, young man!" the voice roared. "I don't have time for your insolent nonsense. Is this Benjamin Franklin Pierce, MD?"
"Ahh, see? That's better. You dropped that silly army business. Yes, this is Doctor Pierce."
The man's fury had now reached boiling point. It didn't help that Hawkeye wasn't even attempting to conceal his laughter. "I'm inquiring to see if you recall an army comrade of yours—Major Houlihan."
Hawkeye was genuinely shocked into silence. "Sure," he finally managed. "I remember Comrade Houlihan." His voice was still slightly mocking and the man didn't fail to catch it.
"Are you informed of her whereabouts?"
Hawkeye now had an inclination as to who he was talking to. "Why you didn't misplace on of your soldiers did you Colonel? Or am I speaking to a star-spangled General?"
"You are speaking to General Marcus Houlihan. I've earned my position and I would appreciate it if you wouldn't make a mockery out of the service I deeply respect."
"Sorry General, I have no idea where Miss Houlihan is."
"Lieutenant-Colonel Houlihan," he corrected with a snap.
"Jeez," Hawkeye whispered under his breath. "What's with this family?"
"Excuse me?" the man strained to catch the words but couldn't.
"Like I said, I don't know where she is."
Hawkeye hung up the phone with a bang. He stood still for a moment, ignoring his father's curious gaze. And then in a flash he was tugging his jacket back on and opening the kitchen door. "I've got somewhere to go," he yelled over his shoulder.
The walk into town was a fairly good distance but it allowed Hawkeye to think over Margaret's actions and try and to piece them together with what he was going to say. He finally gave up on deliberations and let himself travel into full rant-mode. He walked down the quiet streets mumbling curses under his breath and rolling his eyes at imaginary comebacks.
Hawkeye decided to try the hotel first. He obtained a key from the receptionist without incident and quickly headed for Margaret's room. He deftly inserted the key, relishing the silenced laughter as he flung open the door, his head cocked lazily to one side.
"Sorry to interrupt," he greeted jovially. "Who is Marcus?" he stared directly into Margaret face, feigning disinterest. Hawkeye deeply enjoyed watching the color drain from Margaret's face. The annoyed expression that had been there only a moment before was now completely eradicated and replaced by—was it fear? No, not fear, rather a look of impending doom.
Andy scowled at his friend, irritated at the disturbance. He glanced at Margaret and noted his expression. "I don't think I'm necessary anymore," he yielded graciously.
Margaret comically jumped up and grabbed onto his arm. "No! You're fine where you are."
"Who's Marcus?" Hawkeye repeated evenly, still maintaining a light attitude as he nestled into the couch where the couple had just been seated.
The look that Margaret sent Andy demanded that he intervene. Fortunately, the man was intelligent enough not to get involved between the two violent tempers.
"I'll be around town tomorrow," he offered as a parting and quickly headed out the door.
Left alone with Hawkeye, Margaret was now forced to answer his question or risk him pestering her for the rest of the night. "I assume you're speaking of General Marcus?" she continued after a curt nod from Hawkeye. "He is my Uncle."
"Really? Now that's interesting. I didn't think I'd be getting calls from your relatives inviting me to brunch quite so soon. I mean, maybe after a couple of years of us sleeping together—but before the first date? That I'd never even imagined!"
"What did he want?" Margaret snapped furiously, her fists clenched at her sides as she struggle to keep from throwing something or hitting the man in front of her.
"Why Margaret! You don't believe—" Hawkeye quickly abandoned his jest when he realized how angry he had gotten the woman. He knew very well he would be pummeled if she decided to attack him. "You. He wanted to know where you were."
Margaret didn't move as she peered suspiciously at Hawkeye. "What did you tell him?"
"Lucky for me I didn't tell him anything. I said I hadn't a damn clue as to where you were and I hung up the phone."
"You hung up on him?" she shrieked, the noise making him wince. "What were you thinking? Do you have any idea what he's like when he's insulted? He—"
"Hopefully nothing like you," Hawkeye crossed his arms and stood up, attempting to intimidate Margaret with his tall frame—it didn't work and he took a quick step backwards as Margaret started towards him. He relaxed his body and tried a different approach.
"Why is he looking for you?" he asked softly.
The gentle tone caught Margaret off guard and she caved. She looked Hawkeye squarely in the eye, daring him to spout off again. "He's looking for me because I'm AWOL."