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 The Announcement

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Little House Lady
Little House Lady

Number of posts : 2749

PostSubject: The Announcement   Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:50 pm

Awhile ago, I wrote "Yellow Flowers" and "The Valentine's Day Dance", two fan fics that dealt with Albert's feelings over losing Sylvia and newfound feelings for Belinda Stevens. I've been planning a follow-up to it, but finally got some time to write this weekend LOL. This post and the one right after it are the first six chapters. Please let me know what you think; if you enjoy it I'll post the rest. :)

The Announcement

Chapter 1

“Albert Ingalls,” Laura Wilder called as she passed back a test paper. She smiled lightly at her younger brother as their eyes met and he took the paper. He had always been a good student, and remained at the top of the class. As usual, he’d gotten an A.

“Willie Oleson,” Laura continued, surprised at the progress made by one of her other students. He usually was never anywhere near the top of the class, but lately, his grades had been improving. “Nice job, Willie,” she said, moving quickly down the aisle of the classroom.

Albert looked towards Belinda Stevens as Laura walked past him again. She turned towards him and smiled. He smiled back. Then they both turned their attention to Laura as she stood before the class. Inwardly, Albert sighed. He and Belinda had been like this for almost a year now; they had met and quickly became friends. Albert had just lost the girl he planned to marry, Sylvia, and was going through the most difficult time he had ever been through in his life. As time went on though, he knew that it would have been foolish of him to marry Sylvia; they both had been only fourteen. Had she not been killed, Albert wasn’t sure what would have happened between them.

He knew for certain that he had loved her, but ever since Belinda had come into his life, he had struggled with feelings of guilt for feeling something for her too. He didn’t want to hurt Sylvia, but he had learned that it was okay for him to go on and love again. The trouble was, he wasn’t sure if what he was feeling was love.

Belinda was everything any young man would want – she was beautiful, smart, funny, and had a beautiful voice as she sang in the church choir every Sunday. She was kind and generous and very understanding of Albert’s feelings. She had opportunities to be taken to social gatherings with other boys in the school, yet she always waited for Albert.

As time had gone on, Albert realized how deeply he cared for her. He had wanted so much for them to be more than friends, and had almost kissed her after the town Valentine’s Day dance. But at the last moment, he hadn’t, afraid of what may become of their friendship if Belinda didn’t feel the same way. That was another problem; ever since losing Sylvia, Albert was afraid of losing what was most important to him. He never realized that by suppressing his feelings for Belinda, he was losing out on something that could make him happy again. Belinda had agreed to remain friends and see what time brought their way, but Albert knew she wasn’t happy about it. Even he wasn’t happy about it, but he was afraid to do anything about it. So every day, they behaved the same way; as best friends.

Chapter 2

That afternoon, Albert walked part way out of town with his brother James, sisters Carrie and Cassandra, and Belinda. When they reached the road that led to Belinda’s house, Albert told his siblings, “I’ll see you at home.” But Belinda surprised him then. “You don’t have to walk with me today, Albert. I need to pick up some things for my mother at the mercantile.”

“I can go with you. I mean, if you want,” Albert said.

“Okay,” Belinda replied.

Albert followed her to the store then, leaving the younger children to continuing walking home.

“Afternoon, Mrs. Oleson,” he said, following Belinda to the counter.

“Good afternoon, Albert, oh, and Belinda. How adorable the two of you are,” Harriet Oleson gushed, clasping her hands together. “I bet it won’t be too long before we see another wedding in the Ingalls family. Now that your older sisters are married.”

Albert felt his face get hot at her daring statements. Besides him, Belinda coughed. “I need some things for my Ma,” she said, handing Harriet a list.

“Oh, yes, of course.” As Harriet hurried away to the storeroom, Albert leaned over and whispered to Belinda. “Ain’t nobody who can ruin a moment like Harriet Oleson.”

Belinda just smiled at him. “I don’t think she even tries to – it’s just her way.”

A few moments later, they left the store, Albert carrying Belinda’s packages. She didn’t live far from town, and Albert shuffled the two packages plus his books, trying to balance them. Mrs. Oleson’s words had been awkward, that was true, but they had also made him thoughtful. As he shifted the two packages to his left arm, he lifted the right arm to slip through Belinda’s. As he touched the fabric of her sleeve, the package of flour and vanilla beans slipped and fell to the ground before he could grab it.

Belinda giggled. “Need some help?”

“I’m sorry,” Albert said, embarrassed again. How easy it was for him to feel that way around her.

They picked up the fallen items and when they stood up, their faces were only inches apart. Belinda blinked, caught off guard, but she didn’t move away. Albert, not wanting to break the moment between them as they stared into each others eyes, could only think to say the one thing that he was thinking. “Maybe Mrs. Oleson did have a point,” he reasoned. “We are good together.”

“M- maybe she did,” Belinda stammered, then giggled again nervously.

“Do you – do you think it would be all right if I take you – I mean, would you want to go with me to Nellie’s on Saturday? For supper, I mean.” His bold statements surprised him. He was asking her to go somewhere special with him – not a church social, or to his family’s house for dinner – but to the restaurant in town. He thought that would be special and he had some chore money saved up.

“Yes,” Belinda said, surprise in her voice. “I would like that a lot.”

“Great.” Albert’s face broke into a smile.

Belinda didn’t live far from town so it was a short walk. When they reached her house, Albert brought the packages inside for her, and said good-bye. He walked back to his own house, about three miles from town, with a spring in his step, every now then whistling a bit. He smiled at the way he was acting. Maybe this really is love, he thought. Maybe it was okay to feel this way too – it was obviously what he wanted, he recognized, and he was pretty sure Belinda felt the same way. Maybe Saturday really would change things between them. The Valentine’s Social had been fun, but he had ruined a chance when he walked her home. This time, he would reach out, he promised himself. He would take that chance.

He felt his heart flutter when he thought about it – of actually kissing Belinda this time. What would she think? She might be a little nervous too – surely she was surprised that he had come out and asked her to supper; even he was surprised by it. He would be honest and open with her, telling her how he felt and why it had taken him so long to admit it. And then he would kiss her.He smiled to himself as he reached his house, pushing open the door.

Chapter 3

As usual, the house was a flurry of activity when Albert arrived home. James Cassandra and Carrie were gathered around the table working on their homework. His youngest sister, Grace, who wasn’t yet old enough for school, ran to hug his legs when he walked through the door.

“Hi there, Grace,” Albert said, tickling her to make her laugh.

“Hey, Albert, wanna go fishing when we’re done with our homework?” James called, just as Carrie asked, “Would you help me with my arithmetic?”

“Yeah, okay,” Albert said. He was used to the energy that overtook his house when someone first walked through the door.

From the kitchen, he heard the backdoor close.

“Where’s Ma?” he asked his siblings.

“In the kitchen,” Cassandra answered, not looking up from her homework.

Albert went into the small kitchen that was set off from the larger sitting room, and let himself out the backdoor. “Ma?” he asked, when he saw his mother standing beside the door, gazing out at what appeared to be nothing.

“Oh, Albert,” his mother, Caroline, answered. “You startled me.”

“I’m sorry. Are you…okay?” he asked hesitantly. His mother was acting a little strangely. Usually on the days she wasn’t working at Nellie’s Restaurant, she would be in the sitting room helping the younger kids with their homework by the time he got home.

“Yes.” She was quiet, distant, and Albert wondered if she something had happened while the children were at school. But before he could ask, she said, “It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?”

Albert followed her gaze, still not able to tell exactly what she was looking at. “What is?”

“Everything. The fields, the flowers, the land,” she said quietly. “Our land.” Then she turned quickly. “I best get supper ready. Your Pa will be home before long.”

Something’s wrong, Albert thought as his mother went back inside. His mother had seemed far away – as if she barely noticed he was there. And all the talk about the land. As he headed back inside, Albert wondered if everything was all right with his family.

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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Little House Lady
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:51 pm

Chapter 4

Charles Ingalls came home for supper a little after six that evening, and he too was quiet. He had greeted all the children when he came into the house, but then had sat quietly while Caroline put supper on the table. After he said the blessing, Charles said, “Children, your Ma and I have something to tell you.” He’d paused a moment to glance at his wife.

Albert felt his stomach clench. “Are Mary and Adam okay?” His oldest sister and her husband had moved to New York the summer before; Albert knew they had gotten a letter from her a few days ago.

“Oh, yes, they’re fine,” Caroline replied quickly. “It’s nothing like that.”

“No, no,” Charles said. “It’s not that at all. It’s just that, well, things have been tough around here the last few years.” He looked around the table at the children. “It’s been harder and harder for me to make end’s meet.” His gaze finally rested on Albert; Charles knew this would be difficult for him. “We’ve decided to pull up stakes here and move to somewhere where things will be better.”

Everyone at the table was silent, staring at each other as Charles and Caroline watched their expressions carefully.

“Where?” James asked then. “Mankato? Sleepy Eye?” He named the two biggest cities surrounding Walnut Grove.

“Not exactly,” Charles said carefully.

Albert kept his eyes on the table. “You mean the big city.”

“Yeah,” Charles answered. “A city called Burr Oak. It’s in Iowa.”

“How far away is Iowa?” Cassandra had asked.

But Albert kept talking. “What’s so much better about the city?”

“It’s not so much that it’s the city,” Caroline explained gently.

“That’s right,” Charles added. “In Burr Oak, I can get a regular job. I won’t have to worry about bad crops or wheat prices. I’ll be guaranteed to take a home a certain amount of money, we’ll always have enough to eat and a secure roof over our heads.”

“We have that here,” Albert insisted.

“But there’s always a chance of not having it,” Charles said, a little impatiently. “Every year, the struggle gets harder. It isn’t easy being a farmer,” he said a bit wistfully, recalling the earlier days when he thought things would get easier as he got older. But they weren’t. Not just for him, but for everyone else in the town. He was tired of worrying and struggling one season after the next. “Every man in Walnut Grove is having it rough.”

“I’ll be done with school soon,” Albert said. “And before long, James, too. We could help out.”

“Son, that’s not fair to you or your brother. You want to be a doctor; you got college to go to. And you both have your own lives to live. It’s your Ma’s and my job to do what we have to do to make your lives the best they can be now.”

“How is it best for us to take us away from everything, and everyone, to start over in some faraway place?” Albert raised his voice in anger.

“Don’t raise your voice to me,” Charles said sharply. “This wasn’t an easy decision to make, you know.” He own voice shook with emotion.

Albert was sure that was true; he recalled the nights from the past few months that Charles had spent awake, sitting by the fireplace or pacing the perimeter of the house. He should have known something was wrong; he should have seen this coming, but he hadn’t. He was too busy with school, too busy with Belinda, to have realized and tried to convince his father not to take the family away.

“When do we have to leave?” he asked.

“End of this month or beginning of next, hopefully” Charles answered. “In time for the new school term. When we find a buyer for this farm.”

The words made Albert sick; a knot had formed in his stomach. How could this be happening? he asked himself. So this was why his mother was acting strangely earlier; she knew this was coming, and probably dreaded it. But she would do anything for her family, Albert knew; it wouldn’t be the first time she made such a sacrifice.

Overcome and defeated, Albert gave up trying to argue and let his brother and sisters ask their questions. But he couldn’t finish his supper; all he could think of was how, not even two hours before, he had been so happy and hopeful about his future. Now it was all crashing down before his eyes.

Chapter 5

An hour later, the supper dishes had been washed and put away, and the children sat quietly around the table, staring at their schoolbooks. Charles knew they weren’t really studying them. He’d swallowed hard more than once; he wished desperately for another way to fix their situation. But he’d tried before and it always came back to this; struggle after struggle, year after year, and it hadn’t gotten better. No, he realized, there’s nothing else I can do. We’ll start over and maybe things can finally get better.

Caroline had said she was going for a walk and had been gone for nearly a half hour when Charles decided to go outside himself. She had been quiet all day; although they’d made this decision several weeks ago, the house in Burr Oak was only found yesterday, and Charles knew that for Caroline, it made things final. They had talked for months about their circumstances, finally agreeing that moving somewhere to start fresh, where Charles could get a job where he would have a regular paycheck and wouldn’t be burdened every day with worries about crops and weather.

She was standing by the fence when Charles approached her. Her arms rested on the top rung, her pale white hands dangling over the edge. The gentle breeze blew at strands of her hair, and she turned in surprise when Charles tucked her shawl around her shoulders; he had grabbed it from the house on his way out.

Caroline turned to face him. “I didn’t hear you come out,” she said.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” Charles answered. “I was just worried, you being gone so long.”

“I’ve been here.” Caroline waved her hand. “Just looking at it all.” Her voice was ragged and she blinked several times before looking at him. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” she said, for the second time that day.

Charles smiled tightly, resting his hand on the small of her back. “That it is.”

Turning away, Caroline said, “You’re – you’re going to spread word around town tomorrow? About it being for sale?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I think we better. We need the money to pay off the new house.”

“The new house,” Caroline repeated softly. “And you’ll get settled in with a job?”

“Yeah.” Charles shrugged his shoulders. “I hear tell there are new jobs every day in the city. But I can get a job at one of the shops in town right away.”

Caroline nodded. “All right.”

Feeling the lump rise in his throat again, Charles swallowed hard. “I’m sorry, darling,” he whispered. “I wish – I wish there was another way.”

Caroline looked towards him, her gentle blue eyes filled with tears. “I know,” she answered simply. “I know.”

Chapter 6

Albert lay awake in the loft for most of the night, unable to sleep. The silence was nearly deafening as Albert tried to think of how to possibly make things better. But he knew nothing would change, and he knew he had to do what was best for his family. He would be there for the younger kids; it would be harder on them then it would on him to be starting a new school, in a big city. Albert had at least lived in the big city for most of his life; he knew what to expect. They, for the most part, didn’t. His mother, too, would have a hard time with the harshness of city life. By helping out with the children, Albert would be helping her.

And at last there was his father. Albert wanted to be mad at him; after all, it was his decision to move to the city. But somehow he just couldn’t be. He loved Walnut Grove as much as Albert did, and Albert knew that the impending move must be tearing him up inside. But he would do whatever he needed for his family, no matter how much he had to sacrifice. And if everyone else was willing to make those sacrifices, Albert would be too.

He knew his family would be all right; they always were and nothing could tear them apart. The only thing really eating him up inside was telling Belinda. He didn’t know how he could face her and he desperately didn’t want her to think that he had been leading her on all this time. All the time they spent together and then finally, at the Valentine’s Day dance, Albert had asked her to wait even longer for him to come around. What other girl would put up with that? Albert wondered. Especially a girl as pretty and talented as Belinda; she could find a beau tomorrow if she wanted to. But she didn’t. She was always at Albert’s side, always waiting for him, even before he had asked her too. And he hadn’t been fair to her.

When the family awoke the next morning, Albert saw the tiredness he felt reflected in his father’s eyes at the breakfast table. He must have hardly slept the night before either. As Albert gathered his schoolbooks, he could feel Charles watching him, waiting for something from him, something that would let him know his oldest son was okay. Albert met his eyes as he walked towards the door. “We’ll be all right, Pa,” he said softly.

Charles smiled a little smile in return and nodded. “I know we will. I love you, son.”

“Love you, too.”

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:14 am

Great job! I loved it.
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Little House Lady
Little House Lady

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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:20 pm

Thanks Monica :) I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Would anyone else like to see the rest of it? LOL if not, it won't hurt my feelings - just tell me and I'll stop wasting space with it. Would it be easier if I posted one chapter at a time? There are 6 left, but I know that's a lot to read. Let me know what your thoughts are, everyone! I'd really appreciate it :) {{hugs}}

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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Frontier Traveler
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:34 pm

I like it, and I would like to read more!
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Red Hummingbird
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:58 pm

EllieJane wrote:
I like it, and I would like to read more!

:agree: :yeahthat:

"I would fight for you - I'd lie for you - walk the wire for you - ya I'd die for you..."
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Little House Lady
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:43 pm

Thanks for the interest, ladies, I appreciate it :) Here are the next 2 chapters!

Chapter 7

Albert ran ahead of his brother and sisters that morning, telling them he wanted to get to school early. When he was within site of the schoolhouse, he slowed to a walk, trying to put his nerves at ease. He’d decided, during the long night before, that he would talk to Belinda as soon as he saw her. She needed to know – she deserved to know; Albert’s moving would affect her too.

But first, Albert wanted to talk to his best friend – his sister, Laura. He walked quietly into the schoolhouse and found her, grading papers at the desk. When she looked up and saw his tired expression, her heart sank and she had to swallow before she could speak. “Albert,” was all she managed to say.

“Did you know?” he asked, walking towards her.

Laura put her pen down. “Ma came by yesterday at recess,” Laura began, speaking slowly. “She was – she was pretty upset, so I went back to the restaurant with her to talk.”

Albert couldn’t remember Laura being gone from the school at all that day. Of course not, why should he remember? he thought, sitting down at a desk. Whenever he wasn’t doing schoolwork, he was playing ball or talking to Belinda. He could have kicked himself for not realizing there was a problem sooner; maybe he would have been able to help fix it.

“That’s when she told me,” Laura continued on, breaking into his thoughts. “Pa had gotten word of a house in Burr Oak. He told her about it yesterday, too.”

Albert nodded, trying to accept what she was saying. “Did you know?” he asked. “Did you know that they were planning to move?”

Swallowing hard, Laura nodded. “I think so,” she whispered.

Slamming his hands down on the desk, Albert sighed loudly. “Then why didn’t you tell me?” he asked in a harsh whisper. “Why didn’t somebody tell me that my life was going to change?”

“Nobody told me,” Laura explained, looking into his eyes. She wanted him to know she was telling the truth. “I just…knew. I know Pa; I’ve known him my whole life. And I know that when things are hard…” she sighed herself, trying to find the right words. “Well, it wouldn’t be the first time he thought things would be better somewhere else and packed up the family. I never thought he actually would though, not now,” Laura said. “But he’s desperate. The farming around here is worse than ever. I worry that someday Manly’s going to want to leave. Then after I talked to Ma, I almost wished he did.” She blinked several times, trying not to cry. “I don’t want to be away from the family,” she whispered. “But – but it’s the way things are. We can visit sometimes, we can write –”

”Laura,” Albert cut her off. “I don’t want to hear it. Visiting and writing is not going to be the same thing and you know it. You know the city. You hate the city!” Realizing he’d raised his voice, Albert lowered it just as quickly. “We both hate the city. Everything I know is here. You, the school, the town, our farm, my friends…Belinda.” Albert’s words tumbled out in a rush.

Instinctively, Laura moved towards him and took his hands, but said nothing. She knew he needed her to listen.

“I was getting to a point where I was getting over things,” Albert explained, willing the lump in his throat to go away. “I wanted to be with Belinda, and then – and then –” he left the sentence dangling, then sighed deeply. “Why is nothing ever right for me?”

Laura felt emotions swell in her throat; Albert had been her brother for six years, when the Ingalls found him living along and abandoned in the city of Winoka. Immediately, her family took to him and when they had moved back to Walnut Grove, Albert had come with them. But through the years, Albert still had faced a good number of challenges: first, when the Ingalls tried adopting him, his real father was found and almost took him away. Shortly after that, Albert and a friend had been playing with a pipe in the basement of the Blind School where Mary and Adam taught. When the pipe caused a fire, burning the school to the ground with Mary’s baby and Albert’s best friend Andy’s mother inside, Albert had blamed himself and ran away. It had taken him months to get over what happened and still to this day, she knew he felt responsible. Then he had met Sylvia. It was no surprise to Laura that it had taken Albert such a long time to sort through his emotions; first love is supposed to be a wonderful thing, but it had brutally torn away from Albert and left him afraid to get close to anyone like that again. Now, as he had said, things were finally getting better, when that chance was being taken away too.

“Ma and Pa just want what’s best for the whole family,” Laura found herself saying. “They don’t want to hurt you. They love you, and Carrie, and Cassandra, and James and Grace. And I know you love Belinda,” Laura said softly. “That’s why I know that somehow, everything will be okay.”

Albert blinked back tears. “I know that,” he said, more to convince himself than Laura. “I know.” His breath was ragged. “I feel like I’m being selfish,” he choked out. And then the tears came.

Laura’s heart broke as she held her little brother and let him cry. Selfish was the last word anybody would use to describe him – he was always helping out at home, taking care of his brother and sisters, friendly to everyone he came in contact with. “That’s not true,” Laura said empathically. “You’re not being selfish – you’re just hurting, and it’s okay for you to feel that way.” She sniffled. “I know how hard it’s going to be, but I know someday, it’ll be better.” Her own voice broke then as she said, “I’m going to miss you so much.”

Albert wrapped her in a hug. “I’ll miss you too.” And he knew that he truly would.

Chapter 8

“Morning,” Belinda said when she saw Albert approaching her, a few minutes after his talk with Laura. He’d dried his tears and tried to be calm, trying to figure out what he could possibly tell Belinda.

“Hi,” Albert answered. “Can – would you go for a walk with me?”

“The bell’s going to ring in five minutes, silly,” she said with a grin. “We can go for a walk at recess,” she added hopefully.

“I’d really like to talk to you now – I don’t think I can wait til recess,” Albert replied. Laura had given him permission to take as much time as he needed to talk to Belinda before coming to school.

Belinda didn’t know what to expect; sure, she was hoping he would tell her what she had been wanting to hear – that he felt the same way about her as she did about him. She knew deep down he did, but it felt like she’d been waiting forever for him to say it. But now, she thought as they began to walk towards the woods, his voice was flat, his eyes weren’t twinkling.

They held hands as they walked, something that felt so natural and easy that neither one of them gave it a second thought. “Albert,” Belinda asked finally, “Are you okay?”

“No.” He took a deep breath. “No, I’m not okay. Belinda, there’s something I have to tell you.”

“What is it?” she felt butterflies beginning to rise in her stomach and knew that something was wrong. “What?” she repeated quietly.

“M-my family,” Albert began. “They’ve – my pa – decided that we’re moving. To Iowa.”

For a moment Belinda stood silent, replaying the words in her head to make sure she had heard him right. But the look on his face left no room for doubts. “When?” she asked.

“In a few weeks,” Albert replied. “My pa’s trying to sell our farm. They – they already found a house, and my pa’s getting a job.”

“Albert,” Belinda began, her throat feeling tight. “I – I don’t know what to say. This is so sudden.”

“Oh, believe me, I know,” he answered, and felt the anger rising up in him once more. “I don’t want to leave here. I don’t want to leave you,” he said softly.

Her heart a mess of emotions, Belinda nodded. “I don’t want you to.”

It took every ounce of energy Albert had not to cry again. “I want to spend all the time I can with you,” he said. “I mean, if you want to.”

When she nodded, he asked, “Can I still take you to supper at Nellie’s tomorrow?”

A strangled laugh escaped her lips. “I’d like that.”

Albert took her other hand in his then and held them both together. “So would I.”

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:35 pm

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Little House Lady
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:12 pm

Thanks Monica :) Here's the next chapter...b/c you're reading it at least I don't feel as though I'm cluttering the board with something no one's reading, LOL. But anyway:

Chapter 9

The next evening, Albert left his house just as the sun was setting. The night air was cool and he stopped to pick several daisies from the field as he made his way to Belinda’s. She looked beautiful, as she always did he reminded himself, as they strolled into town together. They walked silently and when they got to Nellie’s, they talked easily. They spoke of the future – how Belinda wanted to study and become a teacher, just like Laura had, and how Albert dreamed of going to college to become a doctor. And they never once mentioned Albert’s moving.

“Thank you,” Belinda said after Albert paid the bill. “I had a really nice time.”

“So did I,” he answered honestly, then laughed a little as they walked out the door. “I feel like a grown up, taking a beautiful lady into town.”

She smiled. “I feel like a grown up having a gentleman take me to a restaurant.” She held his gaze as they joined hands again. “Do you have to go home right away?” Albert asked her.

“Not right away,” she answered.

“Do you want to walk a little?”


They walked again in silence, enjoying each other’s company in a way that no words were needed. They settled down in a spot covered with brush by the lake. Belinda leaned lightly against Albert’s shoulder as he gazed out at the water. “What are you thinking about?” she asked him.

He shrugged, embarrassed. “I feel foolish telling you.”

She smiled. “Well, then now you have to tell me.”

He laughed, wrapping an arm around her shoulders to pull her closer. “Are you cold?”

Giggling, she turned to face him. “Don’t try to change the subject. What are you thinking about?”

His heart pounded in his chest. “I was thinking that for these few hours I’ve been with you tonight, everything is perfect.”

The butterflies returned to Belinda’s stomach, but this time, she knew it wasn’t because something was wrong. “It is perfect,” she whispered.

Although he knew he shouldn’t – so many changes were going to happen for them and his mind was telling him that this would only make things harder – Albert listened to his heart, leaned down and kissed her. Before he knew it, his head was swimming and the world around him was spinning. It was something he hadn’t felt since he was with Sylvia and maybe, just maybe, it felt different somehow too. These feelings now were new, and Albert realized that he had grown up in the last year. It had taken him awhile to get over what had happened to Sylvia and at times he thought he would never love again, but he was young and somehow, when he least expected it, he had begun to fall in love with Belinda.

And there, holding Belinda in his arms by the lake, despite all the bad things that had happened in the past years and uncertainties the future would bring, Albert finally allowed himself to give into his feelings. And nothing else mattered.

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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Ingalls Friend for Life
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:04 pm

Excellent story! I like it very much! Applause


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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:14 am

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Ingalls Friend for Life
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:23 pm

MORE, MORE....Please???? Its really good. Albert really did go through alot in his life. I hope I know where this is going....but I will wait and see. Keep writing!

It is the lack of Christianity that has brought us where we are. Not a lack of churches or religious forms but of the real thing in our hearts. LIW.....Words From a Fearless Heart
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:34 am

Christina this is excellent! Applause Laughing

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Little House Lady
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:37 pm

Thank you all for your nice comments :) I really appreciate it and I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Here are the next 2 chapters, only one more after this. I hope you like it! :)

Chapter 10

The next two weeks were a whirlwind to Albert. He had vague memories of packing all his belongings in a wooden crate and of a family by the name of Carter coming by to look at the farm. But mostly, he remembered Belinda. He snuck away every chance he could to be with her. It was during those times that he didn’t worry about his new school or what the city would be like. Things away from the turmoil of planning the move were carefree.

On the Ingalls’ last night in Walnut Grove, Laura, Almanzo and their baby came to supper. Belinda was there too, and the family talked after dinner late into the night. I wish it could always be this way, Albert remembered thinking. As he drifted off to sleep for the last time in the house on Plum Creek, he said a prayer that God would bring him to where he needed to be.


Downstairs, Charles and Caroline Ingalls lay awake. They were anxious about the move and sad about all they were leaving behind – their daughter and grandchild.

Charles looked carefully at his wife; she lay, expressionless, but he could tell a million thoughts were running through her mind. He closed his hand around her own and said, “Laura?”

Caroline turned her head to face him. “Yes,” she said quietly. “I know she’s grown up now – a woman with her own family and child. But I can’t help but feel like I’m abandoning her.”

“We’re not abandoning her,” Charles said gently. “She has her own life to live; we know she’ll be all right. No matter how much we miss her, she’ll be all right.” Charles had to swallow hard then himself. He had been trying to block out the idea of leaving his Laura behind when they moved. It had been so hard for him to see her as a woman, a grown-up, and he knew deep down that she would always be his halfpint. “Iowa’s not terribly far – we’ll make the trip back to visit,” Charles said, trying to reassure himself as well as his wife.

“I wish we could’ve seen Mary before we left,” Caroline added. They hadn’t seen their oldest daughter since the summer before. “I know she’s all right, too,” Caroline continued. “It’s…different with Mary. She was out on her own, teaching when she was sixteen. We’ve never really been apart from Laura. That’s why I feel like I’m abandoning her.”

Suddenly, Charles began to laugh.

Caroline lifted her head from the pillow. “What could possibly be funny?”

Charles covered his mouth to muffle the sound. “I’m sorry, darlin’ – you kept saying abandon and I got to thinking. Do you remember when we took that trip to Mankato – our second honeymoon?”

Caroline thought for a moment. “When Mr. Edwards stayed here to watch the girls?”

“Yeah.” Charles nodded.

“That was almost ten years ago!” Caroline was puzzled. “Why on earth are you thinking about that now?”

“Do you remember the name of the play we saw?”

It took Caroline a few moments, but then her eyes lit up. “‘Abandoned Daughters.’”

“You spent the whole trip worrying about the girls, and Edwards took fine care of them. Except for shooting a hole through the roof that he thought I’d never find out about.” Charles began to laugh again.

“I don’t see anything funny about this, Charles Ingalls,” Caroline admonished. But despite herself, she laughed too. “Carrie was only a baby at the time,” she said. “She couldn’t help but tell on him.”

Charles gathered her back into his arms.

“We had so many good times here,” Caroline said then. “So many memories.”

“So many memories to take with us,” Charles said softly. “And so many more good ones to make. Because we’re a family. And we’re going to be okay, together.”

“I know.” Caroline swallowed hard. “I know we will.”

Chapter 11

At the Wilder farm, Laura and Almanzo too, lay awake late into the night. “My ma was trying so hard not to cry tonight,” Laura said finally.

Almanzo turned his head towards her. “So were you.”

“I know.” Laura looked down, thoughtfully. “I’ll be okay.” She sniffled then and Almanzo wrapped his arms around her. “I’m sorry, honey,” he said. “I wish things were different.”

“Me, too.” She sniffled again, and blinked back several tears. “Ever since Ma told me they were leaving, I’ve been thinking about the silliest things. Like one time when I was really little, Ma and Pa left us with Mr. Edwards. They went on a second honeymoon, but they came back early because Ma was so worried about us.” She smiled then. “Mr. Edwards did all these crazy things while they were gone – he made us rattlesnake stew!” She wrinkled up her nose at the memory. “And Mary and I snuck outside one night and scared him – and he shot a hole through the roof of the house.”

Almanzo laughed then. “I could see Edwards doing that.”

“He patched the hole and made us promise not to tell. But Carrie was so little she accidentally let it slip. Pa laughed.” Laura smiled. “And I remember when Albert first came to live with us. He slept in the barn for a few days because he said I snored.”

“You do snore,” Almanzo told her.

“I do not!” Laura exclaimed and giggled. “I just have so many memories. I feel so blessed to have the family I do.”

“The memories aren’t going anywhere,” Almanzo assured her quietly.

“I want Rose to know them, Manly. I want Rose to know my Ma and Pa the way I did – I want them to be a part of her life.”

“They will be,” Almanzo answered. “It’s like all those memories you’re talking about – she’ll know them. And I promise you, we’ll make a trip out to Iowa sometime to see them.”

Sniffling again, Laura hugged Almanzo tightly. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Beth.”

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:07 pm

SUPER! Love that you brought in "The Abandoned Daughters". That was awesome. Keep it up ...Your doing great!
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:23 pm

Thanks, Gin. This is the last chapter! Sorry it took so long to get up, with Christmas things were a little crazy. But here goes! grinsmiley

Chapter 12

The Ingalls family went to Oleson’s mercantile the next morning to buy supplies for the trip. Albert tried not to look at the house as he left it for the last time; he didn’t want to remember it as a bare, empty set of rooms. Instead, he watched from the front yard as his Pa paced the land one last time.

Now in town, a bunch of their neighbors had gathered to see them off. Albert left his family with the Olesons, Hester-Sue, Doc Baker, Reverend Alden and Mr. Edwards. He and Belinda, who also came into town, walked away from the group of people.

Albert held onto her hand tightly, memorizing the way it fit perfectly into his own. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, as they walked.

“For what?” Belinda looked at him, confused.

“For starting this,” he said, looking away shyly. “I care for you. A lot. I think…I love you. I do. I love you. ” He hadn’t meant to say those things; it was only making things more difficult, but he couldn’t stop the feelings or the words from flowing. “But I have to leave with my family and I think I made things even harder for you.”

But Belinda just smiled, and caressed his cheek. “You made happen what I’ve wanted all along. I love you too, Albert Ingalls.”

As he held her close for the last time, he said, “I wish I didn’t have to leave you. I’m so sorry.”

He felt her shoulders shaking as she started to cry, but she only said, “What’s meant to be always finds a way. Somehow, we’ll find our way back to one another someday.” Those were the last words she said to him, and they walked back to his family, piling into the wagon, in silence. He kissed her and tried to smile, then kissed her cheek before getting into the wagon.

His joy of finding love with Belinda was overshadowed by the pain of leaving her. Again, fate had been cruel to Albert. He swallowed hard as he sat with the other children, his gaze never leaving Belinda’s. The wagon started to move and Albert lifted his hand to wave. Slowly, Belinda waved back, a small, shaky smile forming on her lips. Albert’s heart ached as he watched her grow smaller and smaller as the wagon got farther away. When he couldn’t see her anymore, he closed his eyes tightly, trying to prevent any tears from escaping. But one began to slide down his cheek, and he swiped at it angrily, turning away from the others. Life is so unfair, he thought. It had taken him so long to admit his true feelings, and just when he had a chance for happiness, again, it had been ripped away. I’m not letting her go, Albert thought. He couldn’t, not after all they had been through together. She had been the most special person he ever met.

Somehow, we’ll find our way back to one another someday. Belinda’s words echoed in his head. I hope so, Albert thought. Right then, someday seemed like a very long time away. The road that stretched on before him for miles and miles led to Burr Oak, where he and his family would start a new life. He had so many questions about what would become of his future, but he knew for certain it would be a long time before he would see Walnut Grove again.

This is the end of my story, but not the end for Albert and Belinda, as I have some other ideas in mind grinsmiley Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it :)

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:48 pm

Great story. I loved reading it Applause
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Little House Lady
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PostSubject: Re: The Announcement   Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:10 pm

Thanks, Cinlynn. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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