A Reflection on Friendship
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.
Almanzo couldn’t get her out of his mind. It confused him. Wasn’t she just a child; a young girl who had a crush on him that she would surely outgrow — once she matured.
Perhaps he had been tired when he ran to her, excited his horse Barnum had not been crippled by the reckless behavior of his younger brother, Perley Day. And yet, she felt so right nestled up against his body; her tiny frame fitting perfectly in his embrace. The impetuous kisses he placed on the top of her head signified more than mere friendship. He remembered her hair; long and flowing, reddish-brown, sparkling in the morning sun. It was still beautiful after a night without sleep.
“Hey Almanzo, ya gonna stop daydreamin and get my order?”
“What?” Almanzo’s face turned red. “Sorry Mr. Morgan. I’ll start loadin ya up right away.”
He waved goodbye to Mr. Morgan when he was done and looked at the next order on the list. He spotted her walking over the bridge with her siblings on the way to school. She strolled over to the platform at the Feed and Seed.
“Hi Manly,” she said with a huge smile on her face.
“Howdy Beth,” he replied with less enthusiasm than normal.
“How’s Barnum doing?”
She squinted up her eyes, curious about the change in him. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, why do ya ask?”
“I don’t know, it’s just you’re acting kind of strange.”
“Got a lot on my mind.”
The school bell rang. “Gotta go. See ya Manly.”
Laura ran off towards the schoolhouse. His stare lingered after her, following her up the school steps and ending at the open door long after she had disappeared inside. She had run from the barn to the house that morning when they found out Barnum would recover. She declared she would prepare breakfast and dashed into the little house on Plum Creek. Maybe she was just happy that Barnum was okay or perhaps she was excited to share her table with Almanzo. But she had seemed young to him then, much younger than she had during the night when she carried pots of coffee out to her pa and him while they tended to Barnum’s injured leg.
She was just a school girl after all, while he was a man with a job and a farm to run. It wouldn’t be right for them to be together. They shared a special connection from the time they met, he couldn’t deny that. But he had never seen her as anything more than a young friend — until now. And still his mind played tricks on him. There were moments when she seemed like a child, playing baseball and shooting marbles in the schoolyard. But then there were other times when even as his junior she had taught him a lesson.
Almanzo turned his back to the schoolhouse and walked into the office of the Feed and Seed. He hung the clipboard on the nail sticking out of the wall. He tried to clear his mind of the thoughts floating around in his head. This was nonsense. Laura was just a friend, plain and simple. They would never be anything more.