HOPE'S CALLING- CHAPTER 12- HAVE A LITTLE FAITH

"Come on Klinger, can't you go faster than 15 miles an hour?" Hawkeye's anxiety was getting the best of him.

"Look Hawkeye, this thing can do 40, tops. But we don't wanna do that. We could wind up in a ditch and we wouldn't be any good to Hope and Father Mulcahy." Right after he said this, he had to swerve around a pot hole. "See what I mean."

"Yeah, yeah… I know you're right," Hawkeye sighed.

The five minute rest lasted a half an hour. Hope looked over at Francis every few minutes to make sure he was awake. She could tell he was really struggling. "I'd give a month's pay for a box of toothpicks!"

Father Mulcahy asked, "Why in the world would you want toothpicks right now?"

"To prop up our eyelids! It's getting harder and harder to keep our eyes open," she laughed. Then the tone of her voice got serious. "Francis, do you think anyone will find us before long? "

"Hope, I could say yes and make you feel better, but I don't know. We just have to have faith that we'll be found. All we can really do is pray and wait."

"Yeah, you're right. I either don't have much faith or much patience. Maybe I don't have any of either one. If this is some kind of test, I didn't sign up for it.!" She pulled her legs up to her knees and rested her head on them.

"Most people don't exercise the faith they have until they're tested. There's a saying that "faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding on to," he told her.

"I don't want to exercise anything, I just want to get the heck out of here!'' she whined. Seeing the crestfallen expression on his face, Hope realized she was behaving like a cranky child that badly needed a nap, which she did; an 8 hour one. "I'm sorry Francis. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that. I know you're right."

"It's alright. People often say things they don't mean in very stressful situations. It just shows you're human." Without thinking, he reached over and patted her shoulder. Hope reached for his hand but he quickly pulled it away, realizing what he had done.

"Francis, why did you pull away your hand from my shoulder? I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that. Weren't you just trying to comfort me? Did I do something wrong when I tried to hold your hand? You're my friend; please tell me what's wrong."

He didn't answer her right away. What could he tell her? "I'm a priest and I'm falling in love with you. That's not supposed to happen. Touching you sure doesn't help matters!" Instead he only told her, "I'm sorry Hope, you didn't do anything wrong."

Klinger slowed the jeep down to a crawl of about 5 miles an hour. "Klinger, why the hell did you slow down this jeep? Are you trying to drive me crazier than I already am right now?"Hawkeye yelled.

"No Hawkeye, I don't think that's possible. Seriously, I thought if we went real slowly, maybe the headlights would help us see things along the sides of the road. Our goal is to find the Father and Hope. Have a little faith I know what I'm doing, O.K.?"

"Yeah, yeah, as usual, you're right," Hawkeye sighed.

An uncomfortable silence developed between Hope and Francis. They both sat there listening to the sounds of the night; insects chirping, creatures moving about in the undergrowth. Neither one of them really wanted to know what kind of things were making those sounds. Hope finally broke the silence by saying, "The only sound I want to hear right now is the sound of a jeep coming down the road. Well, let me qualify that by saying the sound of a jeep from the 4077th."

"Shh… listen Hope! What does that sound like?"

"A jeep! A jeep! That's what it sounds like! If I could stand up, I'd jump up and down and wave so they could see us. Let's hope they're going slow enough for their headlights to shine on us."

As Klinger steered the jeep around a curve in the road, its headlights shown on what looked like two figures sitting against a tree. He slowed and stopped the jeep but left the engine running. Hawkeye was out of the jeep, his medical bag on his shoulder, before Klinger could say, "Look over there, I think that's Hope and Father Mulcahy."

"Yeah, it's them. Bring a flashlight with you. Hurry up!"

Both men took off running towards the tree. Hawkeye knelt down in front of Hope and Father Mulcahy. At the same time Hope and Hawkeye said the same thing, "Oh God, I'm sure am glad to see you two!"

Hawkeye started looking at Hope for injuries. She put her hand up to stop him. "I'm sure my right ankle is broken. Francis is pretty banged up and I'm sure he has a concussion. There wasn't much I could do except keep him awake."

"Yes, Hope was pretty good at that, we told stories, we talked and sang," Mulcahy told him.

"I'm jealous Hope, you spend the night with a guy and it's not me!" Hawkeye teased.

Hope laughed, "Oh Hawkeye, you're awful! Can we go home now?"

"Yes madam, you chariot awaits you," Klinger told her.

"Klinger wait, before we leave we've got to find Francis' glasses. They've got to be around near here. I would have looked for them but my busted ankle and the dark stopped me."

"Sure thing Hope." Klinger started searching for them with his flashlight. A few minutes later he had spotted them. "Found them. They're bent up, but amazingly the lens aren't broken!" He brought them to Father Mulcahy, who managed to straighten out the glasses enough to be able to wear them. He sighed and said "Thank you Lord for three miracles; Hope and I are alive, Hawkeye and Klinger found us and my glasses are intact."

Hawkeye scooped up Hope in his arms. Klinger helped Father Mulcahy to the jeep. Once Hawkeye had Hope sitting next to him in the back seat, he said," Let's go home!"

Finally, Hope and Father Mulcahy have been rescued! Wonder if Francis will tell Hope what's bothering him? Dear readers, thank you so much for your support and your reviews. A new chapter to follow soon. : )