This is a fill in story about Almanzo and Laura's courtship which takes place between Sweet Sixteen to LIW
The Dating Game
A Story by Request
Almanzo sat on the Wilder porch watching stars shoot across the wide prairie sky. The social was over and he had two women to drop off, the first was his older sister, Eliza Jane, then Laura, at the Ingalls place, but he had done it reluctantly. He didnít want to let her go, but he knew that he had to.
He had run into Charles who was out in the barn doing some last minute repair work. They had talked for a while, not long, and he had asked permission to come by in the morning to talk, it was getting late.
He hadnít been able to sleep, not with all these thoughts roaming around his head. He didnít want to wake his sister, so he crept quietly downstairs and managed to close the door without waking her.
What he needed most was to sort out his feelings for Beth. He knew he was head over heels in love with her and he knew that he had been all along; he couldnít go on denying it any longer. He always played down those feelings for her, but she had hooked him from the first day he met her, with her mispronunciation of his nickname. He loved everything about her, her smile, her laughter and admired her confidence and her strength. And she was feisty and spirited, something that he had always wanted in a wife.
He was shy while she was outgoing. She was so much younger than he was, ten years to be exact, but she always acted so much older than he did. She had the older women he had dated beat by a mile, she knew about farming and she had a passion for horses, same as he did. After all, she did help break Barnum, something he had been trying to do for weeks. They could talk for hours and he always felt comfortable.
Tonight they had shared two kisses, one at the social and a goodnight one just before she walked through the Ingalls door, both short but sweet. Those kisses made him feel dizzy and lightheaded and wonderful, all at the same time.
He knew how it had started; he had missed seeing her walking by in the morning, a wide smile on her face ready for him. He had missed her walking back from school and sharing with him what she learned. And he had definitely missed seeing her at lunchtime, always the leader of a small group of kids, mostly the boys. Basically, he had missed her that first week and he couldnít get her off his mind.
Then came that Friday, the end of the first week. He couldnít believe this was the same Laura Ingalls, his little Beth in braids who stopped by the Feed and Seed every day. All of a sudden, she looked different; she looked older.
He actually couldnít believe he had asked her to go to the church social with him and to make matters worse was the response he had gotten after he asked her.
She said she had to think about it, that she would let him know on Friday. He never expected to hear that, not from his little Beth.
Almanzo couldnít get that comment off his mind. He didnít know what to make of it; all he knew is that he missed her. The conversation he had with his sister Wednesday night confirmed his feelings for her all along. It was time he admitted it, time to tell her how he felt.
And so on Thursday, he offered Charles his services and told him that he would take the lumber delivery for him to Slayton because it passed by Currie, where Lauraís assignment was. After that, everything had turned out embarrassingly wrong.
He hadnít been sure if she was going to turn up at the social or with whom. He wasnít sure if she had forgiven him for punching out poor Chad Brewster when he had stopped off to see her. He had agonized over that for a day and a half after confessing his feelings to Charles.
Well, there was nothing he could do now. No matter what it was or how it got there, he loved her and he wasnít going to lose her; he knew that for sure.
Laura looked out her window in the loft, smiling to herself. It was like a dream come true. Was this real? Was this actually happening? She finally made Almanzo see her as a woman, finally, after a year, one whole year. Things were moving quickly now and she wasnít sure what to do. Her mother had told her that boys like to pursue a little bit and thatís exactly what she was going to do from now on. No more running up to Manly in the middle of his working hours, even if he had made time for her. It was all different now.
Her mother had told her that Almanzo would be over in the morning to get País permission to court her and that he had approached him last night. She warned her to be careful. Let him pursue you, she reminded her, donít rush into things and everything will fall into place.
She knew what she had to do and what she wanted to accomplish. She was confident that in two years she would Mrs. Laura Ingalls Wilder. She had always known from the first day that they met.