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bethandmanly
Dean's Dedicated Diva
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PostSubject: Matchmakers   Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:08 pm

This story takes place during the Season 6 episode, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not". We find Caroline and Eliza Jane plotting to get Laura and Almanzo back together. This is a new venture for me because Caroline is the POV character.

Enjoy!

Cheryl
Matchmakers

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.



Caroline smiled as a familiar red-headed teacher walked toward the bridge leading out of town. “Hello Eliza Jane.”

“Oh, hello Caroline.”

Eliza Jane’s eyes were not their usual bright blue and dark purple circles hung under her puffy eyelids. Her thin, tall frame seemed even more slender and her hands displayed rough calluses on several fingers.

“Are you feeling all right?” asked Caroline.

Eliza Jane's lips parted into a weak smile. “Yes, I’m just not used to doing so many chores by myself.”

“I can send Albert over to help you a couple days a week if you would like,” offered Caroline.

“Thank you, but one of the Mason boys comes over after school Monday and Thursday to give me a hand.”

Caroline wondered if Eliza Jane had heard from her brother. “How long do you think Almanzo will be gone?”

Eliza Jane shrugged. “I don’t know. He’s trying to start a new life in Sleepy Eye.”

Caroline’s heart broke as she thought of all the nights Laura cried herself to sleep. She couldn’t imagine why Almanzo would leave Laura only because he had to wait two years to get married. Eliza Jane looked like she would fall asleep where she stood.

“Why don’t you let me buy you a cup of coffee and we can talk about how we can help Almanzo and Laura?”

“Sounds lovely,” said Eliza Jane, trudging up the steps into Nellie’s place.

*

The two women huddled at a table in the corner of the restaurant. Eliza Jane told Caroline everything that Almanzo had written in his letter. It was obvious that Almanzo was hurt by Laura’s decision not to go with him.

Eliza Jane gazed sleepily into the hot black liquid in her cup. “It’s his stubborn pride that’s caused this.”

“What I don’t understand is how he could abandon you.” Caroline reached across the table and rested her hand on top of Eliza’s. “When Bart Slater caused so much trouble at school, Almanzo was ready to pick up and leave the crop he planted in the field to help you start over.”

Eliza Jane’s eyes rolled at the mention of the inconsistency. “That’s because he was thinking of me instead of his injured pride.” She sipped from her cup as if the coffee was the only thing keeping her awake. “He’s just like Father. Almanzo is too proud for his own good.”

Seems I know someone who is just as proud chuckled Caroline to herself. What trouble Charles’s pride could be.

“Almanzo left because Laura chose Charles over him,” said Eliza.

Caroline’s eyes widened in amazement. “That’s not how it is.”

“I know, but that’s how he sees it and Almanzo doesn’t want people gossiping about how Laura rejected him. One comment from Mrs. Oleson would infuriate him.”

Caroline couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Until now, I’ve never seen Almanzo as anything but easy going. Charles told me how angry he was when he told him he would have to wait two years to get married, but I figured it would blow over.”

Eliza Jane’s head shook as she told Caroline of how Almanzo had stomped through the house that night. His boots left long, black streaks across the wooden floor where his heals had dug in. He muttered angry words into the air, slamming the half-full coffee pot back on the stove after pouring coffee into his cup, and cursing when drops of the hot liquid splattered on his arm. It hadn’t surprised Eliza when he announced his plans to move to Sleepy Eye after Laura refused to run off with him. Nothing she could have said would change his mind, so Eliza Jane had merely nodded and said, “That’s fine.” She knew Almanzo didn’t mean to leave her to manage the farm by herself, but without the Mason boy’s help, she would probably fall asleep during school.

Caroline remained silent, studying the emotions popping up in Eliza Jane’s tired face. I have to do something to bring them together again. But what?

*

Two days after their conversation at Nellie’s, Caroline waltzed into the schoolhouse.

“I’ve got it,” she sang.

Eliza Jane’s head cocked to one side in confusion. “You’ve got what?”

“I know how we can get Laura and Almanzo back together.” A triumphant smile curled the corners of Caroline’s lips.

Giddy with excitement, the women snuck into two benches and faced each other.

“Would you allow Laura to take two weeks away from her studies?”

Eliza Jane shrugged. “I don’t see why not. She already has her teaching certificate.”

“Good. Now all I have to do is ask Charles.” Caroline bit her finger as she tried to come up with the best way to approach her husband.

Eliza Jane’s white knuckled grip clenched the bench separating them. “Caroline, please tell me what you’re planning.”

A giggle escaped from Caroline’s lips. “I’m sorry, I got tied up in my thoughts.” This has to work. “I want to send Laura to help Mary and Adam get the new blind school ready.”

Fidgeting with the string holding her eyeglasses around her neck, Eliza Jane looked like she would burst. “How does that get Laura and Almanzo back together?”

Caroline smirked. “The blind school is in Sleepy Eye.”

Realization dawned across Eliza Jane’s face. “Oh….with both of them in Sleepy Eye they are bound to run into each other.”

“And start talking and maybe they’ll go out to dinner and.”

The room filled with the mischievous laughter of two happy matchmakers sure this was going to bring about a reconciliation. The women went their separate ways hoping that Charles would say, “yes”.

*

Charles had drifted off to sleep beside Caroline. Her face glowed with satisfaction as she watched the slow, steady rise and fall of his chest. She had waited to say anything to him until Laura decided to go to Sleepy Eye. Caroline knew he couldn’t say “no” to his Halfpint. Even when Charles found out Almanzo was in Sleepy Eye, he didn’t interfere with Caroline’s plan; though he did admit he didn’t understand her.

Thrilled that Laura wanted to go, Caroline enjoyed her matchmaking adventure with Eliza Jane. Then suddenly a horrible thought crept into her mind. She remembered what happened when she played matchmaker between Grace and Isaiah Edwards. Caroline slid out of bed and knelt down asking God to make sure everything went well, wondering if a familiar red-headed teacher knelt beside her own bed asking for the Lord’s blessing on their plan.


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Carol
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PostSubject: Re: Matchmakers   Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:27 pm

Great story Cheryl! Thumbsup


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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: Re: Matchmakers   Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:50 pm

Thanks Carol. This was another Diva request. It's nice to change the POV every once in a while.


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Gin
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PostSubject: Re: Matchmakers   Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:35 pm

Good story Cheryl....I have a hard time seeing Manly get that mad. BUT some time apart does seem to always bring those you love closer. Thank goodness for Caroline's wisdom. Just wish Eliza Jane had found someone.....(next story Cheryl)




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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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: Re: Matchmakers   Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:08 am

You know Gin, I had the same problem with Almanzo acting like such a pigheaded jerk for two episodes in a row. HLM,HLMN was the last episode of Season 6 and LIW was the first one from Season 7, so suddenly Almanzo's personality does a total 180.

Dean was kind enough to explain this for me. Here is what he said when he answered my question at the Diva group:

"THOSE TWO EPISODES WERE HELPING TO DEFINE ALMANZO AS A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS READY TO STEP OUT ON HIS OWN AND MAKE A LIFE WITH LAURA. I THOUGHT IT WAS A NECESSARY BECAUSE IT MADE LAURA HAVE TO MAKE A STAND FOR HER FUTURE. IT WAS GOOD FOR LAURA'S CHARACTER, IT WAS GOOD FOR ALMANZO'S CHARACTER, AND IT WAS ALSO A TURNING POINT FOR PA'S CHARACTER."

I finally paired up Eliza Jane with someone from her past in the fan fic, "A Happy Ending." BTW, I went out to www.fanfiction.net the other night and organized all my stories--all 50 of them. Now, a reader can follow from story 1 down the line, plus there are other stories about different characters out there. You've probably read most of them. As for the next story, I'll have to look over some ideas and then stop time so I can write it. LOL!

Glad you liked this one. Thanks for the feedback. It's always appreciated.

Cheryl


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PostSubject: Re: Matchmakers   Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:30 pm

Applause Awesome job buddy... As usual!!


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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: Re: Matchmakers   Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:43 pm

Thanks Lorrie. You Divas inspire me


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