Chapter Five: Everyone Says I Love You
The Best-Laid PlansMargaret stepped out of the bathroom, still looking a little green. "Of everything that comes with being pregnant," she grumbled, "I think morning sickness is the worst."
Hawkeye helped her sit. "Your doctor didn't give you any tips to help?"
"I haven't seen a doctor," she admitted. "Not unless you count the one who gave me the pregnancy test."
Hawkeye gave her a concerned look. "You should."
"What can a doctor tell me? That there's a baby inside me? I think I figured that one out already."
He grinned at her. "I've missed you, Margaret." That attitude was so uniquely hers, it reminded him how different his life had been without her. "God only knows why."
She whacked him with a pillow, and he laughed. He took another pillow and threw it at her gently. "Margaret, I want you to see a doctor. We need to make sure you - both of you - are healthy." He cupped his hand gently over her belly. "I don't want anything to happen to you or the baby."
"Why are you so worried?" she asked softly. "It's not like it's yours."
"But it's yours, and that alone means I care." He slid over a little until he could get his shoulder behind her so she could lean back on him. "Besides, I know that childbearing can be dangerous for the mother. I need to make sure you're safe."
He looked deep into her blue eyes. "Don't you know, Margaret?"
"I love you, Margaret. I've loved you for years. And if you don't stop me, I'm going to kiss you right now."
He leaned into her, covering her lips gently with his own. She was responsive, leaning in herself, deepening the kiss, feeling his lips move gently against hers, his tongue exploring her lips. She gave a soft gasp and pulled back suddenly.
"What am I doing?" she whispered.
"Whatever it is," he told her, remembering a nurse that had once caught his fancy, "I approve."
"Hawkeye, for God's sake, I'm pregnant."
"Baby's not going to be jealous." He pressed his lips to her forehead. "Margaret, what's wrong?"
"I don't know," she whispered.
"Does this feel wrong?"
"No. No. I can't remember the last time anything felt so right. But Hawkeye, I'm pregnant."
"I know, you said that already." He smiled. "What does it matter? It doesn't make you any less you. It doesn't change you from the woman I fell in love with."
"Even if I'm carrying someone else's child?"
"If the baby's father were starting up a relationship, would it make a difference that he had a child with you?"
"No. Of course not. I'd be surprised if he even mentioned it."
"So why should it matter to you? Because the baby is in your body and not his?"
"Margaret, I don't care."
She meant to say something, but instinct took over and instead she leaned forward and kissed him firmly. He pulled her close, and they shared a kiss longer than the one they had had next to the jeep the day they had said goodbye.
"Margaret," he whispered when they came up for air, "let's get married."
"Let's get married," he repeated. "We could be a family together."
"No. No, I can't."
"Why?" he whispered, his lips only inches from her ear.
"I promised myself I would never marry again for any reason except love," she whispered back.
"I do love you."
"I know. But you wouldn't have proposed today if I wasn't pregnant." She placed another, brief kiss on his lips. "I love you too, Hawkeye. And maybe someday I'll say yes. But when I do, I want to know that you proposed only because of love, not because of the baby."
"What did you say?" he asked breathlessly.
"I said I want to know you proposed solely out of love."
"No, before that."
She smiled. "I said I love you too, you goofball."
He pulled her close, relishing the feeling of her body against his. "Then at least stay here with me. Let me be a part of your lives - both of you. Please. I don't want us to be apart again."
"Niether do I."
"We'll teach the baby to call me Daddy," he said softly. "Then someday, when you're ready, I'll ask you the question again. And we can really be a family."
"You'd really do that? Be a father to my child?"
"You're a package deal." He grinned for a second before dropping all signs of joking. "Your baby deserves a real father, not a distant story about a man who didn't want to know him or her. I always figured I'd have kids someday. What better than to have them with the woman I love?"
"But it's not yours."
"Yes, it is." He laid his hand over her stomach. "It takes a hell of a lot more to be a father than getting a woman pregnant. I may not have created that child, but I'm going to be its father."
"Hawkeye." She met his eyes squarely. "Are you sure?"
"I don't break my promises, Margaret."
"That's not what I mean. It's just, I know you have issues with little kids."
"Had. I had issues. I was able to operate on that child in Korea. I'm able to be around the kids here in the Cove. And I will be a father to this baby."
She laughed lightly, and he gave her a quizzical look. "What?"
"All the time I was in Korea, I despaired of ever finding the right man for me, and I went through a series of jerks trying. I even married a jackass looking for that perfect man. And all the time, the man I was looking for was right in front of me."
"And I went through woman after woman looking for the one that was right for me, and all the time she was right there, holding me up when I was ready to fall."
Their mouths met in another passionate kiss that left them both breathless. "Margaret," Hawkeye whispered when he got his breath back.
"Don't think you've distracted me with this. I still want you to see a doctor."
She smiled a little. "Ah, you've seen right through my scheme."
He grinned back, placing a light kiss on her nose. "Seriously. If it's going to be my baby, I want it to be healthy."
"All right," she conceded finally. "Who delivers the babies around here?"
"My dad, usually. Don't worry, he's the best. Believe me. I've known him my whole life."
She giggled a little. "All right. Fine."
Hawkeye had sent her in alone at her request. She wanted to have the examination done without the whole weight of everything between the two of them hanging over it.
"You're very lucky," he said softly. "You're six weeks along, you really should have seen a doctor before now."
Margaret hid a smile. He really did sound just like his son. "But the baby's okay?"
"The baby's fine. There is one thing that's odd, though."
"What?" She was surprised at the sudden worry that ran through her. "What is it?"
"Well, either your baby has two hearts, or -" he trailed off, waiting for her to make the connection.
"Two babies?" she gasped. "Twins?"
He grinned, and it struck her strongly that he had the same smile as Hawkeye. "Twins," he confirmed. "You and your husband are going to have your hands full."
She felt her heart sink a little at the reminder. It must have showed on her face, because Daniel Pierce's smile dropped instantly. "I'm sorry. What's wrong?"
"I, uh," she flailed for an answer and finally settled on the half-truth she had used when asking for a pregnancy test. "I'm divorced."
"I'm sorry," he said again. "Will you be staying around here for awhile?"
She raised an eyebrow in surprise, and he smiled. "In a place like this, everyone knows everyone. I've never seen you before, so I know you're not from here. Don't worry, I don't care. Our arms are open to everyone."
She had to wonder just how open his arms would be when he realized her connection to his son.
Daniel Pierce looked up. "What's up, Hawk? You don't work today - do you?"
"No, Dad." He couldn't help smiling at the slightly panicked look on the older man's face. "Your memory's fine. I need to talk to you."
"Sure. What's up?"
"You had a patient today. A pregnant woman you've never met before."
"I sent her." He saw the look on Daniel's face and barely stifled a laugh. "No, it's nothing like that. But that woman is Margaret."
"I know her name -" then he faltered as his brain caught up with his mouth. "From Korea?"
Hawkeye nodded. "I hadn't seen her in months and then she appeared on the front walkway last night and told me she was pregnant. The father ran out on her."
He frowned. "Is that what she told you?"
"Now that I think of it," he admitted, "no. She implied it. I made a mention of a husband, she told me she was divorced. I just assumed she meant it was the father."
"As I'm sure she intended." He smiled now. "She's really something. I, uh, I told her she could stay with us. The army booted her out when the test came back positive. You don't mind, do you?" he asked anxiously.
"Of course not. I owe her." He knew that Margaret was a major part of the reason he'd gotten his son back in one piece after everything that had happened to him. Even now, he could see a subtle change in his son, as if a weight had lifted from his shoulders.
"And you should know, I've told her that I intend to raise her baby as my own."
"Are you sure?"
He sighed. "Yes, Dad. I'm sure. Just because I had the breakdown -"
"That's not what I'm talking about. I just think you may be getting yourself into more than you realize."
Margaret nodded, surprised at how happy she felt. "Come June, we'll have two additions to our little family."
He kissed her firmly on the mouth and then pulled her close. "Can I tell BJ now?"
"How often do you two talk anyway?" she laughed. "Sure, go ahead."
"I love you so much," he whispered.
"How many times are you going to say that today?"
"I'm making up for lost time. I couldn't say it in Korea, and then for months I didn't see you at all. Until I've said it for all the times I never did, you'll have to put up with it."
She smiled. "I'll manage. Somehow."
"I got it." BJ hopped up before his three-months-pregnant wife could try to get off the couch. "Hello?"
"Hawkeye! What are you doing calling so early?"
"I've got something to tell you. You sitting down?"
"Well, sit down."
"Okay." He frowned a little and sat. "Now, what's up?"
BJ was glad he was sitting when he heard what Hawkeye had to say, but it didn't stop him from dropping the phone and having to scramble for it. "You're joking," he sputtered when he finally got it back to his ear.
"Even I couldn't make this one up."
"When's the baby due?"
"June. But it's babies, not baby."
BJ almost dropped the phone for the second time in as many minutes. "What?"
"Twins. She's having twins."
"Only you, Hawkeye, could fall in love with a woman and have her show up on your doorstep pregnant with twins. How are you holding up?"
"Couldn't be happier," he replied honestly. "Well, actually I could. But that's only because she won't marry me."
"You actually asked?"
"And she said no?"
"She said she wanted to be sure I wasn't doing it because she was pregnant."
"In other words, maybe later."
"Right." BJ could almost hear Hawkeye's smile. "I think I'm starting to understand why you went so crazy being away from your family."
"Hawkeye Pierce, settling down. I never thought I'd see the day."
Hawkeye laughed again, and BJ joined him.