by SaRa, Lilith, Megan, and Nsalem
Authors' note: In this story we use some elements from Mulcahy and "The Girl Next Door". However it is not necessary to read those to understand this story.
Hawkeye Pierce is twelve and Margaret Houlihan is thirteen. They go to the same school in Crabapple Cove, Maine. The school is Crabapple Cove Middle School, know to it's students, or inmates as they call themselves, as jail. It's a typical reaction for seventh graders so the teachers don't say anything to them about it. It's around the middle of September in Maine, so it's a little on the cold side. On this particular day it's also raining. The rain was freezing cold so the classes were stuck inside during lunch and recess that day. Margaret was good in math so whenever someone needed help they asked her. And that's exactly what she did at recess. She helped the kids, mainly the boys, with their math homework. I much rather be talking to June and Jade and Kate about what the other girls have decide to wear to school, but at least I do get to talk to some boys about something. Even if it is math she thought. One boy in particular always asked her about the math every day even though he understood it perfectly. That boy was Hawkeye. I wonder if he likes me Margaret wondered. Nah, I'm too much of a tomboy. No one likes a tomboy. Or a brain. Or a girl who could beat up all of the boys in the class. All of these qualities describe me. I'm so lucky. I wonder if I can get Margaret to be my friend, not agirlfriend, but a friend Hawkeye thought. I'll ask her. The worst she can do is laugh at me. "Hi," he said as he walked up to her desk. "Hi, Hawkeye!" "I was wondering, would you like to be friends? Not girlfriend and boyfriend, but friends," he asked quickly. "Sure. I'd love to," she said. What the heck am I doing? Margaret wondered. "Great." He had a huge grin on his face. "Wanna come to my house today? I live on Crabapple Cove Road," he said. "I'd like to, but I don't know if my dad will let me. Why don't you come to my house? I live on Shady Lane. A few blocks away from you," she replied. "Okay. Dad'll let me. I'll be there at three thirty. Sound good?" He asked. "You bet," she smiled.
Hawkeye and his dad show up on her porch, umbrella in hand. It was absolutely pouring outside. He knocks on the door. "Hold your horses!" Margaret yells. She opens the door. "Hi!" "Hi!" "Come on in," she said. "Okay. Dad, I'll be home in an hour and a half," Hawkeye said. "Ok. Have fun," said Daniel as he left. "Wanna see my cats and dogs? They're all over the place, we can go on an animal hunt," she said. "Ok. Where do we start?" Hawk asked. "Follow me," she said. They go into the kitchen where Hawkeye and Margaret find two huge Golden Retrievers. "This is Hay and this is Honey," she explained as she pointed to the bigger one first and then the smaller one. "Hi, ya," Hawkeye said to the two huge dogs. "They won't hurt ya," Margaret says. "Okay, let's go find the cats. How many are there?" Hawk asked. "Four." "Whoa. Why do you have so many animals?" he asked. "My parents are never home so all these pets keep my company," she explained. "Oh." The two ran up the stairs in search of the cats. Hay and Honey were on their tails - so to speak. She led him into a room, which he guessed was hers. All four cats are on her unmade bed asleep. "Who's who?" he asked. "This is Cupcake, this is Houlihan, this is Bear, and this is Clissy," she said as she pointed to a grey striped cat, an orange and white cat, a cat that looked just like a Maine Coon, and a black a white cat; in that order. "Let's go back downstairs," she said. Back downstairs she they talk until he has to go. "I'm sorry I couldn't come to your house, but I absolutely cannot cross the street," she said as he left. "That's okay," he said and then walked home with his dad.
After two weeks of this routine they take a break for a few days. Then one Tuesday they had a History test and Margaret found out her grade later that day when they passed the papers out for the seventh grade to take home. Hawkeye found out he got a seventy five. Oh well. He'd live. Margaret got an eighty. Dad is gonna kill me! Margaret thought. As she trudged home from school she hoped her dad wouldn't be home that day. He was though. "How did you do on that history test?" Alvin asked. She handed him the paper. "Maggie! An eighty?!? How?" He almost had a cow. Margaret was not to thrilled herself. This was the second time it had happened in three weeks too. She knew what this meant. Margaret decided not to face her dad's wrath. She ran out the back door, into the garage, grabbed her bike and took off. She didn't know where she was going. She kept riding it in the pouring rain until she got to Hawkeye's house. This was where she was headed? She didn't know. So, she got off her bike and knocked on their door. "Who's there?" called Hawkeye. "Me!" she cried. "Margaret!?!" He threw open the door. She was soaking wet. He knew she wasn't supposed to be there. "Hi." She tried to smile. It didn't work. "Your house is huge!" she exclaimed. "Yeah, well, we're kinda rich, but I don't want anyone to know,k?" "Yeah," she answered. "DAD!!!! MARGARET IS HERE!!!" he yelled. "Ok, son," said Daniel from the other room. He came into the hall where Hawkeye and Margaret were standing. "You're soaked! Let's dry you off before you get sick," Daniel said. He didn't question why she was there even though he knew she wasn't supposed to be. "Margaret whats wrong?" Hawkeye said in his nice soft concerning voice he has. "My father is going to kill me." "Why?" Daniel asked has the same tone. 'Thats where Hawkeye gets it' Margaret thought. "I got a B on my test." "That's why?" Hawkeye asked. "Yes. I got scared coz this is the second time it has happened. I ran out of the house, got on my bike, and came here. Really fast. Not knowing what I was doing," she said as she dissolved into tears. "Hey, it's okay. He can't hurt you. You're here. He's there," Hawkeye said. "Yeah, but when I go home he can," she said. Hawkeye came up with the perfect solution. "Don't go home," he suggested. "Stay here with me and Dad." He looked to Daniel for permission. Daniel jumped in. "I think Margaret's parents would worry. Why don't you two go play and I'll talk to Alvin about this, okay?" He smiled warmly. "Thanks, Dad," Hawkeye said, leading Margaret up the stairs by the hand. Daniel goes to call Alvin. "Hi, Alvin, it's Daniel Pierce. I was wondering-"
"Do you know where Margaret is? First she gets an eighty on a test and now she runs away?!? Boy, is SHE in trouble."
"Um, no, I don't know where she is," Daniel lied.
"If you find her, send her home. That little twit..."
"Uh, okay. Good-bye." And good riddance, Dan added in his head as he slammed down the phone.
"Hawkeye, what if I have to go home? What happens then?" Margaret asked. "I - I don't know," he said. "MARGARET! HAWKEYE! COME HERE!" yelled Dan.
"Yes dad." They say at the same time.
The two kids came into the kitchen and sat at the table with Daniel.
"Margaret, I spoke with your father."
"Do I have to go home?"
"No. He doesn't know you are here either.We're going to keep Margaret for a little while till Alvin calms down and I'm going to keep you and Ben home for a few days.There are going to be a few people here to talk to you.Ben, Fix up the other bed for her in your room. I'll clean out the spare room tomorrow. Go get cleaned up for dinner."
Hawkeye and Margaret washed their hands.Margaret noticed an odd look on Hawkeye's face.
"He is really worried. Something serious is happening."
"How do you know?"
"He called me Ben. He hasn't called me Ben since I was 9 when my mom got sick. She died when I was 10."
"Margaret, something is really wrong. I'm worried." Margaret hugged him.
"Its ok Hawkeye. Your Dad won't let anything happen to you."
"Its not me he's worried about. Its you."
"I don't know why. As long as I'm here I'm safe. But what I wouldn't give for Hay, Honey, Clissy, Bear, Houls, and Cuppy to be here with me."
"I wish they were, too. I could use an animal to cuddle with right now. But it isn't going to happen. Not yet, anyway."
After they ate, Margaret and Hawkeye went back upstairs. Hawkeye walked over to his closet and got out a puppet! It was a wolf and boy, did it look like areal one except for the size. "Heh,heh,heh. I'm Mister Wolf. Heh. Want a tour,heh, of the house? Heh,heh," Hawkeye asked in a funny, deep, hoarse voice. Margaret grinned and nodded. "Heh, let's start on this floor,heh," He had decided to give the tour as the wolf. "This is my, er, Hawkeye's room,heh. The only other interesting thing, heh, up here is, heh, heh, this spare room,heh. Soon to be yours, heh-heh." Margaret couldn't stop grinning at the voice he was using. "Ok, downstairs now, heh. Heh, heh. Ya already know where the,heh,heh, kitchen is. This, heh,heh, is the most important room in this house. Heh." He had led her into a room with over-stuffed furniture, a grandfather clock,a fireplace, and a thick, soft carpet. It was warm and inviting. "How's about a tip for your tour guide, heh,heh?" She playfully punched the wolf. Hawkeye messed up Mr. Wolf's face to make it look like the poor wolf's jaw was broken. He moved it's mouth around until it was in the right spot. At this point, they had sat down on the couch. Hawkeye, Margaret, and the wolf, that is. "Good aim, heh,heh. Now I have to eat you, heh,heh!" He used the puppet to tickle her and she started to kick hysterically as well as laugh. She was laughing so hard so fell off the couch with Hawkeye right behind her. "Stop!" she yelled in between laughing and gasping for air. "Heh, never!" exclaimed the wolf.
Daniel watched with a big grin. He saw some people coming up the steps.
"Margaret,Hawkeye, remember when I told you some people- hey...you two." They were laughing hard. "Hawkeye! Margaret! Ahh....I give up." He went to the door.
"Are you Daniel Pierce?"
"Yes. You're here from social services?"
"Yes." He invited them in. Hawkeye and Margaret were still playing and laughing very loudly. "I see your son and the Margaret Jean get along."
"They're best friends."
"Well, we looked into the complaints and the Margaret Jean's medical records. She's had a few broken rib....every few months. Her arms have both been broken a couple of times. We think her father was responsible for most of the injuries. Show up to court with the kids tomorrow and we are almost sure the judge'll give you custody."
"You can't take my daughter! I'm taking this to a military judge."
"Not in this lifetime Al. I watched her suffer for years but we never had enough to take her away until now. Get out of my courtroom."
"Margaret, you get to live with us!" Hawkeye whispered. Margaret hugged him. She was happy. Actually overjoyed, but she couldn't show it for some reason. "You okay?" he asked. "Yeah! What could be better than moving in with you?" she asked. " Okay. I thought something was wrong. Obviously not. Dad? Can we leave?" Hawkeye asked. "Yeah. Sure." Daniel said. He wanted to get away from there.
"Home sweet home, right Margaret?" Hawkeye said when they got home. "Yeah! I love it here!" Margaret said. "Wanna do something?" Asked Hawkeye. He didn't want to waste one minute. "I guess. What is it that you have on your mind?" Hawkeye grabs her hand and yells to his dad, "We'll be back in about an hour!" "Ok, have fun!" replies Daniel.
"Where are we going?" Margaret asked as Hawkeye led her to the woods behind their house. "You'll see. I promise you'll love it. There's a beautiful lake, lots of trees, and best of all, a tree house Dad and I made a few years ago!" Hawkeye said. "Neat!" "After this we can go to the beach. It's beautiful. It's all rocky and by the time we get there, we can watch the sunset. Oh, there's an old lighthouse there two. It's about a fifteen minute walk from the tree house and a twenty minute walk from my house. You'll love it!" Hawkeye was so excited about showing his favorite places to Margaret he could hardly wait. They took a quick walk through the woods and then set out for the beach that Hawkeye had promised was so beautiful. They trudged along on the dirt path hand in hand until they reached an open field with another area of woods on the other side. "Race ya!" Exclaimed Hawkeye and he was off. Margaret ran after him at full speed and easily passed him out. They reached the other side in record time, Margaret first. "Ha! I beat you and you even got a head start," she said. "Okay, okay," Hawkeye was not used to losing in races. He was the fastest in the whole seventh grade. Until Margaret showed up, that is. They walked through the woods quickly and reached a rocky ledge about thirty feet above the rocky shore. They sat down on the ledge. It's a little cool the high up and that close to the ocean and neither had a jacket with them so they moved a little closer for extra warmth. Hawkeye and Margaret both had this weird feeling. They didn't know where the idea came from, but they turned to face each other. They leaned closer. They kissed. Their first REAL kiss. Wow. Little did they know, Al Houlihan had seen this. He was not happy at all.
"Margaret Jean!" He screamed.