PEN PALS- CHAPTER 11
Disclaimer- Radar, Klinger and all the other M*A*S*H characters are not my own. Nancy, her dad and Charlie Richardson are my creations.
After Nancy had put the Valentine card from Radar away in a dresser drawer, she went to her closet to find a dress to wear to Dr. and Mrs. Richardson's party. In ten minutes time, ten dresses had been thrown on her bed with a running commentary of "no, not that one, it's too tight" or "no that one's too plain". The litany of objections continued until she put her hand on a dress in the very back corner of the closet and pulled it out. It was the red velveteen dress she had worn at Christmas. Once the holiday was over, she had stuffed in the back of closet and forgot about it.
"Yeah, this would work. It's red. Red is the color for Valentine's Day, besides it's the only dress left in my closet." Nancy knelt down and dug around for her black high heeled shoes. Once she found them, she tossed them on the bed next to the red dress and headed to the bathroom to take a shower.
After the shower, she carefully applied a little bit of blusher, mascara and red lipstick to her face. She went in the bedroom and put on the dress and shoes. Taking a look in the mirror she evaluated the way she looked. It was o.k., but something was missing and Nancy couldn't decide what it was.
Mr. Greene came home at the usual time. Nancy had told them that Dr. Richardson was going to close his office early so he could go home and help Mrs. Richardson get ready for the party. He called out, "I'm home. Nancy, where are you honey?"
"I'm up in my room. Could you come up here? I need your advice," she called back.
"Sure thing." Nancy's dad ran up the stairs to her bedroom. When he saw her in the red dress, he said "Wow! Look out Airman Richardson!"
"Dad! Come on, I don't look that great. It's just a red dress, that's all. Besides, I feel like something's missing. Can you help me with that?"
"Hmm…" He walked around her a couple of times and said "hmm…" again. Then he smiled and said, "I know just what's missing. Wait right here."
He left her room, went down the hall to his bedroom. Nancy heard him rummaging around in one of his dresser drawers. He returned to her room, holding a strand of pearls in one hand and a pair of matching earrings in the other. "This is what's missing."
"Oh Dad are you sure I can wear these. They belonged to Mom, didn't they?"
"Yes Honey and I can't think of a better time to give them to you. Now let me put the necklace on for you." Nancy lifted up her dark brown hair and he put the necklace around her neck. After he fastened the clasp, she patted the necklace to make sure it was on straight. Then she took the earrings from his hand and put them on.
He stood back a few feet to look at her. "Now you look perfect. Are you ready to go?"
"Yes sir, I am."
"Alright Miss Greene, let's go. I'll be your chauffer to the party."
Nancy wasn't very short, she stood about 5 foot 3 inches in her stocking feet, but she sure felt that way when she met Charlie at the Richardson's Valentine's Day party. He was tall and lanky with wavy blonde hair and sky blue eyes. "Not bad," she thought, but looks weren't everything with her. She was more interested in how he behaved.
At first, both of them were uneasy and didn't say much. That changed when Mrs. Richardson brought out the hors d'oeuvres and place them on the table. Charlie was at the table in an instant. "Wow! Would you look at these horse drovers? I could eat a plateful of them by myself. I didn't realize how hungry I was until I saw them."
Nancy couldn't help but giggle at Charlie's pronunciation of the word hors d'oeuvres. "Um, I think you mean hors d'oeuvres. It's a French word for appetizers."
He turned red with embarrassment and stammered, "I don't care what you call them; they look good."
Nancy felt bad that she had embarrassed him. "Oh boy, I'm off on the wrong foot with Charlie! He'll probably never want to see me again," she thought.
"Charlie, I'm very sorry. I shouldn't have corrected you."
"That's o.k. Nancy," he told her between bites of hors d'oeuvre. "Now I know what the word really is. My dad always calls them "horse drovers" and he probably knew better all the time, but I didn't. So let's blame my ignorance on dad." He grinned at her and she relaxed. Maybe everything would be alright between them after all.
"Klinger, where did you get that big box of Valentine candy? I didn't think anyone in camp got candy from home for Valentine's Day."
"It didn't come from home. It came from the PX in Seoul. I swiped it when I was on leave a month ago. I get to go on a three day pass in the middle of a freezing January. What was I supposed to do? I sure couldn't have fun outside. "
Radar rolled his eyes and asked, "Don't you ever get anything by paying for it?"
"Nah kid, what's the challenge in that?" Klinger responded.
"Well, if the MP's come looking for you because of that stolen candy, don't expect me to lie for you."
The Lebanese corporal opened the box of candy and waved it under Radar's nose. "Are you sure you wouldn't accept a bribe? First choice of anything in the box."
The smell of chocolate made Radar's mouth water. He hadn't had any candy since Christmas. His head said, "No, you shouldn't" but his stomach said, "Shut up head, let him have the candy." The stomach won and he reached in the box for the chocolate covered cherry. He popped it in his mouth and smiled.
"So what do ya think Radar? We could sell a piece of chocolate for a buck. There's fifty pieces, well forty nine now. We could split what we make. How's that sound?"
Radar shook his head. "Rotten. First you steal the candy and then you want to sell it? You're unbelievable!"
Klinger shrugged. "It's called free enterprise."
"It's a rotten thing to do to a bunch of people who would give you five bucks for a piece of candy. You give it away and I won't squeal on you that you stole it from the PX in Seoul."
"Alright Radar, you're no fun. I'll sell it for 50 cents apiece."
"O.K., a quarter a piece."
Klinger saw that Radar was steamed and he laughed. "Alright, I'll give the stuff away, but I had you going there for a minute. " He gave Radar's cheek a playful smack. "You're beautiful when you're mad." He held out the box of candy to him, "Wanna another piece? It's on the house."
My humble apologies dear Readers. I intended to post this chapter on Valentine's Day. I'm only 11 days late.
Thanks so much for reading!