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 LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)

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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:01 am

Laura stomped towards Almanzo, her fists clenched by her sides. "When were you going to tell me?"

Confusion plagued Almanzo's face. "Tell ya what?" he asked, fingering the rim of his hat, which he held in his hands.

"That there is someone else."

His mouth fell open. "What!" Almanzo shook his head in disbelief. "Laura," he reached for her arm, but she yanked it away. "What on earth are ya talkin about?"

"I know Almanzo. I know that you have been seeing one of your old sweethearts." Hot fury painted Laura's face.

He could barely contain his laughter, but this really was no laughing matter. Laura was obviously upset. "I don't know what you're talkin about."

She glared at him. "So that's how it's going to be."

Frustration filled Almanzo's body and he smacked his hat against his leg. "Dagburnit Beth, would ya tell me what has ya so riled up? When I left everythin was fine between us, but now you're madder than a wet hen."

"He told me." Laura stepped in closer and pointed her finger into Almanzo's chest. "You had dinner at Nellie's with another woman."

"Wait a second. Who told you? Perley Day?"

"Yes," she spat.

Almanzo's lips curled into a crooked smile and then huge belly laughs flew out of his mouth as he realized what was going on. He doubled over, holding his sides they hurt so badly, but Laura was screaming at him.

"There is nothing funny about this. I thought you loved me! I should have listened to Pa. He knew you couldn't be trusted."

Almanzo's laughter stopped short and he grabbed both of Laura's arms. She tried to pull away, but he held her tight.

"Let go of me!" she hollered.

"Not until I have my say."

Laura's breaths still came in short, angry huffs and her eyes still glared at him, but she stopped struggling.

"I would never ask another woman out to dinner...except maybe my sister. Do you know what Perley Day told me on the day I left Sleepy Eye?"

Laura shook her head.

"He told me that there was somethin goin on between you and that Brewster boy. I have to admit it drove me crazy thinkin about ya bein with anyone else."

Laura's gaze fell to the floor. Almanzo could see the hot flush of embarrasment tinging her cheeks. Cupping her chin with his right hand, he titled her head up so he could look into her chocolate-brown eyes.

"The only woman I want to be with is you. I would never lie about somethin like that. Don't ya know how hard is it for me to be away from you while you're here in Sleepy Eye?"

Almanzo's lips brushed gently against hers. "I love you."

"I love you too," said Laura. She pulled away and dropped down into a desk. "I should have seen what Perley Day was up to. It's just...I've loved you for a long time and I really thought you were never going to feel the same way. When Perley Day told me about this woman I got afraid that you had changed your mind."

Clasping her hands in his, Almanzo led her up from the desk and into his arms. "Never."

Laura's lips felt soft when she eagerly accepted his kiss. His lips brushed her cheek before he pulled her into a long embrace. He was going to kill Perley Day, or at least make him wish he were dead. He had had enough of his younger brother's interference. He was going to make sure Perley Day never bothered Laura or he ever again.

To be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:40 pm

Almanzo heard the shrill warning voice of his sister in his head as he walked to the hotel to confront Perley Day, "Now Almanzo, get control of yourself...don't do anything in haste, this IS your little brother." But as he stomped up the stairs of the hotel leading to his conniving, scheming little brother, all rational thought was gone. He could only see red.

Not even stopping by the front desk, he clambered up the stairs to the room where he knew Perley Day was staying, according to Laura, and pounded on the door. No more had Perley Day turned the handle, and Almanzo shoved his way in and pushed Perley Day down on the floor in front of the bed. Flustered, Perley Day stared up at his outraged brother, and knew the game was up. He decided the only thing to do now was play dumb. "Manzo, what the heck are ya doin'?! Just what do you think I've done now?" Almanzo glared back at him, "Don't even try it Perley Day, I know everything. You've done everything in your power to try to split Beth and I up and it's about time you realize it's just not gonna work."

Perley Day hauled himself up off the floor, puffed out his chest and tried to stretch to his brother's intimidating height. "Manzo, you don't know what kind of 'girl' you're dealing with. Whatever Laura has been telling you, it's all lies. I know for a fact she's been 'doing things' with that Brewster boy. Why just the other day I caught them..."

"That's enough!!" Almanzo roared. "You no good little weasel, I oughta teach you the lesson you surely never got from pa...", as he reared back his arm, he felt resistance as he tried to swing.

"Stop, Almanzo!" Laura cried, clinging to him. "He's not worth it."

He turned to stare into her pleading chestnut eyes, and slowly lowered his arm...

To Be Continued....


“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

~Mother Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:16 am

Oh my goodnes, someone other than me writing this story. :haha: Thanks for the addition Amy.

Caressing Laura's cheek with his free hand, Almanzo's heart ached when he saw the fear in Laura's eyes. "Alright, I won't give him the wallopin he deserves, but only cuz ya asked me not to."

"Thank you," she replied, loosening her grip on Almanzo's arm. "Let's go."

Almanzo shook his head. "Not yet. I want a few words with my little brother."

Almanzo noticed how Perley Day winced when he heard the words "little brother." He hoped it caused the anger to bubble up inside him. But it wouldn't even come close to how livid he was over what Perley Day had tried to do.

"Are you two okay alone?" asked Laura.

"You can stay," Perley Day was quick to interject.

"That's fine with me," said Almanzo firmly. "I have nothin to hide."

In three steps Almanzo bridged the gap between him and Perley Day. The younger Wilder straightened up as he approached, showing no fear.

Pointing his his finger into Perley Day's chest, Almanzo glared at him. "No more of this nonsense little brother. I love Beth and I ain't gonna let ya hurt her or her family."

"Seems you're the one who kept hurting her, Manzo. She sat there pining away for you for two years. If it weren't for me, ya might never have noticed her."

Perley Day watched Laura's reaction. She stood behind Almanzo wringing her hands. He guessed she still wasn't sure she could hold onto Manzo.

"Yep, if I hadn't made ya see what a fine young woman she had grown up to be, ya probably never woulda asked her out to supper. Sounds like ya owe me. I think twenty dollars would cover it. Course I would need another five dollars for food on my trip outta here."

"That's all it's about to you, isn't it Perley Day? Makin a buck, cuttin a deal, not carin about anyone but yourself. I was angry when I came in here, but now I just feel sorry for ya. Ya got nothin. No home, no family, no job. Ya must be awful lonely."

Almanzo dug into his pocket and pulled out twenty dollars. "This is all I've got, but you can have it. Use it to make somethin of yourself. Try to be the man Father wanted you to be."

Almanzo tossed the money on the bed and placed his arm around Laura. He glanced back at Perley Day before leaving the room. He swore he saw a tear in the corner of his brother's eye.

to be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:47 pm

Poor Perley Day is still crying because no one loves him enough to continue this story. bawling


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:18 pm

Perley Day gathered his things into his bag. Almanzo's words still burned into his soul. He's right. I've got nothin. Perley Day plunked down on the bed and unfolded the twenty dollar bill his brother had given him. What am I supposed to do now? I sure can't go back to Walnut Grove and there ain't nothin for me here.

He crunched the bill in his white knuckled grasp. Seems like Manzo came out on top again. Perley Day stood and jammed the money into his front pocket. Maybe it was time to head home and see his mother and make peace with his father.

*

Almanzo and Laura sat side by side in his buggy. The ride so far has been a quiet one. Neither of them felt comfortable about what had transpired lately.

Laura's sigh pierced the silence. "Manly, I'm sorry. I should have trusted you." She couldn't bear to look at him so her gaze stayed concentrated on her lap.

"Aw Beth, I was just as crazy to think anythin was goin on between you and Chad Brewster." A crooked smile appeared on his face. "I guess that means we must be in love, huh?"

Laura couldn't keep the smile from curling her lips. "Pa always says that when a person gets jealous that means she's in love."

Almanzo tugged the reins and the buggy came to a quick halt.

"What's wrong?" asked Laura.

"Nothin, nothin's wrong. It's just..."

"Just what?"

Almanzo covered both her hands with his hand that wasn't holding the reins. "Let's promise that we'll never jump to conclusions about each other. If we had just talked it out without thinkin the worst, we coulda saved ourselves a lot of problems."

"You're right." Laura gazed up at him sheepishly.

He leaned in and placed a quick kiss on her cheek. "Now, let's get home. I'm hopin to take my favorite girl out to supper tonight."

"Really, who's that?"

They laughed together as Almanzo promoted the horses forward. It was good to be happy again.


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Fri May 09, 2008 9:30 am

Perley Day's hand trembled as he held it in front of the door. I can do this. Exhaling deeply, he closed his eyes and prepared himself for what he was about to do. His shaking hand rapped on the door to the Wilder farm. I sure hope Ma and Pa are happy to see me.

*

"So," began Almanzo as Laura sat beside him in his buggy on the way back to Sleepy Eye. "This is your last week. Are you going to miss it?"

Laura shrugged. "In some ways, yes; but I would much rather be home with my family." A hot, red blush crept up her cheeks. "And you," she added.

A crooked smile appeared on Almanzo's face. "I'll miss these drives, but I'll sure be glad you're home too."

Laura adjusted herself on the seat, trying to push away the sudden feeling of discomfort that filled her mind. What will it be like for us when I'm home?

Nervous thoughts rambled around in her head, leaving her with a mixture of dread and excitement. She was excited about Almanzo courting her, but now he would be close by. They would spend more time together; be around each other more often. What if she did something wrong or if he discovered he didn't really care for her as much as he first thought.

"What are ya thinkin about?" Almanzo words pierced through the silence.

Laura's fingers fiddled with a button on her coat. "Nothing."

"Laura, we agreed we would talk things out." Almanzo freed up his right hand and placed it on top of Laura's busy ones. "What's botherin ya?"

"Oh Manly, it's just...I'm a bit scared. We haven't spent a lot of time together since we began courting. I've been here and you've been in Walnut Grove; even when you were here for a while, Miss Trimble kept you pretty busy."

Almanzo squinted, confusion clear on his face. "So?"

Laura's mouth felt as dry as the prairie ground during a drought. She turned away to hide her nervousness. "What if after we've spent some time together, you decide you don't care for me as anything more than a friend? What if I do something that makes you angry?" She began rambling. "I mean, we're going to be home now, and see each other more, and our relationship will be very different..."

"Beth," he said in a voice slow and tender. "We've been friends for a long time now. I guess I never really knew why I liked ya so much...but now I know. We share somethin special; somethin I've never felt for anyone else. Besides, ya think I'm not scared too."

This had never occurred to Laura and the thought of it made a gasp escape her lips.

"But you're older, you have more experience."

Almanzo chuckled. "How many ladies have I courted, 2, maybe 3?"

"But still, I've never been courted by anyone."

Almanzo tugged the reins and the horses came to an abrupt stop. Almanzo pushed his hat further back on his head so that Laura could see his face more clearly.

"This is new for both of us. Let's take it a day at a time and see how it goes. Okay?"

A crooked smile appeared and he suddenly looked like a mischievous little boy about to play a prank on his unsuspecting sister. "Besides, I've eaten your cinnamon chicken and your Pa has already knocked me across the room, so how bad can courtin ya be?"

Laura crossed her arms across her chest in feigned anger. "Manly!"

Almanzo leaned into her and placed a tender kiss on her cheek. "I can't wait until you're home all the time," he whispered.

A huge smile revealed all of Laura's teeth. She knew that first day that they were meant to be together. "Me either."

To be continued....


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:33 am

Nervous sweat poured down Perley Day's back as he stood in the middle of his parents' parlor. Father Wilder remained silent, pacing the floor, his right hand rubbing his whiskers. Anxious breaths rose in Perley Day's chest. Why doesn't he say something?

Father Wilder cleared his throat as he set his gaze upon his youngest son's face. "Do you know what kind of heartache your foolishness has brought upon your poor Mother?" A finger pointed to the small figure sitting sheepishly in the rocking chair, her eyes staring into her lap.

"Father, I..."

A put up hand silenced him. "No more excuses Perley Day. You are a selfish, ungrateful, unthinking young man. Did we not raise you to be better than that?" Father Wilder walked the room as he spoke, his face redding as he released his anger. "Did we not bring you to church? Did you not learn the Lord's Commandments?" His arms waved towards Perley Day's face. "How many times did you repeat, 'Honor your mother and father'?"

Taking a step back, Perley Day glanced at his mother. Help me.

She stood up. "James," she said. Father turned to face her, the angry fire burning in his eyes. "Perhaps you are being a bit hard on the boy."

A wide-eyed gaze stared back at her. "You speak nonsense woman. This boy as you call him, slithered out of here like the snake escaping from the Garden of Eden, leaving heartache and his duties to his family behind. How many hours were you forced to help me with the chores because of his treachery?"

"I didn't know," cried Perley Day, his voice as meek as a mouse.

Grabbing him by the shoulders, Father Wilder shook him. "Who did you think would pick up your burden? Your brothers and sisters are gone."

"I-I-I thought you would hire help."

Perley Day shrunk and squeezed his eyes tightly waiting for the strike of his Father's hand.

Father Wilder pushed him aside and stomped towards the doorway. "If you were here you would have known that the past few years have been less than prosperous for us. Manzo never would have left us."

"He's the reason I left!" screamed Perley Day. Fury filled him as he closed the distance between him and his father. "I'm tired of always bein compared to your perfect son. I got tired of not bein good enough; not livin up to the mighty Manzo. If you could have accepted me as my own man, I never would have left!"

To be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:33 pm

(I just got caught up on this, Cheryl---you're doing great! Thumbsup I'll add a little bit for now...)

Father Wilder just stared with his mouth agape, disbelieving that a son of his could be this immature. Taking a deep breath and gaining strength from the glance he stole from his wife, he prepared to rationally discuss this with his son. "Perley Day, I understand that you were younger then, but we did not raise you to think so selfishly. Now, I'm sorry you feel that we compared you to Manzo, but your brother did obey our wishes and the values we tried to instill in our children. You went in another direction, and I can't just ignore or forget that. And it surely doesn't help that you're standing here defending yourself to your mother and I, placing blame on us. There comes a time, son, when you have to accept responsibility for your own actions. Stop thinking that your "bad deeds" are because of what everyone else has done to you. Perley Day, it's time to become the man I know you can be."

Perley Day shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. Although he was still angry, and tempted to defend himself more, suddenly some of his father's words rang true in his ears. He knew what he'd been doing his life was not working for him. He had no friendships, no woman to court, and was even losing his family. He suspected though, that he had lost them a long time ago but didn't want to admit it to himself. As he stood here now, eyes fleeing between father and mother, he was assaulted with the fact of how much he truly did love them. What a stupid boy he had been. Indeed, it was time to make ammends. It was time to become a man....


“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

~Mother Teresa
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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:03 am

"I can't believe today is my last day," said Laura as she gathered her books and lunch for school and placed them on the table.

Minnie hobbled through the parlor into the dinning room still leaning heavily on the cane the doctor gave her two weeks ago. "I'll be sorry to see you go. You've been great company for this old woman. I'll miss seeing that fine fellow of yours around here too."

The heat of embarrassment rose to Laura's cheeks. "I'll miss you too Minnie. I can't thank you enough for all your help."

"I still can't believe the difference you made in that Brewster boy."

The mere mention of Chad's name brought the flush back to her face. How could Manly think their was something going on between the two of them? She couldn't believe the change in Chad either. The tutoring and all those medical books from Doc Baker had sparked a desire for learning in Chad that amazed everyone.

Laura buttoned her coat and straightened the hat whose rim rested on her bun. She knew Pa still didn't like her new hairstyle. Pa would always see her as his Half-pint, braids flying in the breeze as she raced off to the fishing hole to catch supper. In some ways, knowing she would always be his little girl was a comfort. Life was changing so quickly. She had her teaching certificate and first job, she was being courted by the man of her dreams, and the fear and uncertainty of how her relationship with Almanzo might change once she returned to Walnut Grove unsettled her.

Laura scooped up her books into her left arm and grabbed her dinner pail. "Almanzo will pick me up at the schoolhouse and we'll stop by for my things afterwards."

Minnie nodded. "I wish you two could stay for supper. Oh, I know," she said at the beginning of Laura's protest. "You have to get back before dark; but it sure will be a whole lot quieter and lonelier around here after you're gone."

"How about Almanzo and I make plans to come out and see you? He's busy with the farm, but he has to travel into Sleepy Eye upon occasion anyway. I would love to visit."

Minnie embraced her. "Oh, that would be wonderful. You just make sure you write and tell me when you're coming so that I can fix you a proper dinner."

"I will."

The clock chimed 8. "I've got to go. Can't have the teacher being late on her last day. See you this afternoon Minnie." Laura dashed out the door.

"Ah, to be young and in love once again," chuckled Minnie as she hobbled towards the stove to make a pot of tea.


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:28 am

Perley Day still wasn't used to rising so early in the morning, but his father insisted that he would help out with the chores while he was living at home. Yawning and stretching, he hauled his body off the bed and slid into his trousers.

"Morning Mother," he said as he wandered into the kitchen. He rubbed his empty stomach. "Breakfast sure smells good."

"Thank you Perley Day." His mother smiled. It brought her such joy to have her baby home again.

Heavy footsteps hammered through the lean to. "You aren't going to get any of that breakfast until you feed them chickens, so get your lazy behind out there."

Perley Day's eyes rolled as a huge sigh escaped his lips. "Yes Sir." Grabbing his felt hat off the hook by the back door, he wandered outside to the barn to find the feed.

James Wilder put a hand on his wife's shoulder. "That sure does smell like a fine breakfast Mother." He leaned over and placed a kiss on her right cheek. She slapped him with the towel.

"Now don't you think that flattering me will make up for your harsh words towards the boy."

"Mother, he needs to learn some discipline and self-control. How else is he going..." She put a finger to his lips and smiled. "I know James, but let me enjoy him being home just a few more days before you start showing him disipline and self-control."

James chuckled. "Alright Mother, he has three days to start pulling his own weight without me giving him a talking to." He walked over to the table and sat down in his chair. "But after that, I'm not going to let up on him. Someone has got to take that boy in hand."

*

Sunday morning dawned sunny and bright. The air flowing through the open window into the loft was cool, with the hint of early fall crispness. Laura inhaled deeply. There's no place like home. Closing the window, she hurried to dress so that she could help Ma with breakfast. As her foot left the last rung of the ladder, she twirled around and spied a picnic basket at the end of the kitchen table.

"What's that for?" she asked.

"Well, good morning to you too," said Caroline, a full smile beaming across her face.

Laura pecked her mother's cheek. "Good morning Ma. Are you and Pa going out after church?"

"We all are. I figured there won't be too many nice days left in the year to have a picnic, so I packed us a nice lunch to take down to the lake." Innocence washed across Caroline's face. "You can invite Almanzo if you like."

"Now where are we inviting him to?" asked Charles, acting as if Caroline's suggestion angered him. The twinkle in his eye always gave him away.

"Pa! Is that any way to talk about my beau?" Two can play this game.

Charles couldn't keep the slight wince from crinkling the corners of his eyes. When did Half-pint grow up? He kissed the top of her head and took his place at the head of the table.

This was so new and strange for Laura. Knowing she would be courted by Almanzo under the watchful eye of her father made her nervous...but not as nervous as the thought of spending more time with Almanzo. Now they would really have a chance to get to know one another without the miles between Walnut Grove and Sleepy Eye separating them. What if she did something silly? What if he changed his mind about wanting to court her? Would this new feeling of uncertainty ever go away?


To be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:18 pm

Here's an updated synopsis:

This story takes place in Season 6. Almanzo and Eliza Jane Wilder come to Walnut Grove and Miss Wilder takes over as the new teacher. Laura is instantly attracted to her brother. Laura hopes to study for her teacher's exam so that Almanzo and her Pa will see her as a woman.

Caroline and Charles talk about the rapid changes in Laura and Charles expresses concern over Almanzo Wilder. Charles elicits the help of Albert to keep an eye on Laura. Manly is blissfully unaware of Beth's attraction to him and continues to nurture their friendship. Charles is sick and tired of hearing about Almanzo all the time and decides he needs a plan to get Laura's mind off Manly. Perley Day Wilder, Almanzo and Eliza Jane's younger brother shows up in Walnut Grove and Charles thinks he has found a way to refocus Laura's attention.

Laura and Perley Day ride into town together with Barnum. Laura thinks Perley Day is attracted to her and that he also knows she has a crush on Almanzo. When Manly keeps referring to her as a girl, an angry Laura invites Perley Day to supper. The younger Wilder drives recklessly and the buggy tips over, pining Laura underneath. Now scared over what his brother will do Perley Day says he is going for help, but instead he goes off to think about how he can prevent Almanzo from walloping him. Almanzo stumbles upon Laura and the overturned buggy and races to get Doc Baker. Laura suffers a broken leg. Almanzo confronts Perley Day and forces him to explain. Charles and Laura are both mad at the younger Wilder boy and Perley Day thinks it might be a good idea for him to leave Walnut Grove. Almanzo who feels responsible for Perley Day's actions offers his help to Charles who rejects it. He forbids Laura to go over to the Wilder's place again.

Albert tells Laura he will help her find a way to get Charles to change his mind. Miss Wilder shows up at the Ingalls farm and asks Laura if she would like the books to study for the teaching exam. Albert tells Laura it was his idea, and a thankful Laura expresses her gratitude.

Laura's injuries continue to heal, but she is distraught to find out Manly still sees her as a girl. It makes her study even harder. Later at the Wilder farm, Perley Day asks Almanzo what he thinks of him going to see Charles and offer to work for him to make up for what happened to Laura. Perley Day insists she is more mature than Almanzo gives her credit for, which makes Almanzo start to think about Laura in a different way. Charles agrees to let Perley Day work on his farm as long as Laura is fine with it. She knows how much Pa needs the help and so she agrees. The next morning Almanzo drives Perley Day to the Ingalls farm and then drives Laura, Albert and Carrie to school. Almanzo's feelings begin to deepen.

Charles still has hopes that Laura will refocus her attention on Perley Day. He likes the hard work the young man is doing and sees that he is remorseful for what happened. Almanzo asks Charles's permission to court Laura, but Charles refuses to give it, saying he wants to see how things with Perley Day work out first. That night at the Wilder place the two brothers fight over Laura. Almanzo is concerned Perley Day is hatching another one of his schemes, which could hurt her and her family. Perley Day tells Almanzo that he had his chance with Laura, but he didn't take it. The next morning, Caroline and Laura have a heart to heart about Perley Day and both express concern about his motives. They talk about Almanzo's strange behavior and Caroline tells Laura he might be seeing her differently.

Almanzo asks Charles if he can also help out at his farm, using the excuse that he feels responsible for what happened. Even though Charles is hesitant, he agrees. Almanzo is thrilled to have the chance to keep an eye on Perley Day. The younger Wilder tells Almanzo that his plan won't work, but Almanzo is optimistic after he finds out Caroline is on his side.

A conversation with Mrs. Oleson gets Charles thinking about the two Wilder brothers and he decides he better talk with both of them to make sure Laura doesn't get hurt. As he talks to them, his feelings towards Almanzo begin to change. He tells them that it is up to Laura to decide who she wants to be with and that he expects the other man to abide by her wishes.

The morning of her teaching exam Almanzo gives Laura a gift and asks Laura if she would like to have supper with him at Nellie's. With her pa's permission, she agrees. Laura passes the exam and makes plans to take a temporary teaching position in Sleepy Eye. Almanzo and Laura are outside after supper when Perley Day approaches and gives Laura flowers. She notices the tension between the two of them and when they start the drive home she questions Almanzo about it. When Laura gets home, Charles feels like he is going to lose his Half-pint.

Laura goes to Sleepy Eye and begins teaching. She misses her family and friends, but Almanzo most of all. He shows up on Friday to bring her home. They share their first kiss. When they get to the Ingalls place, Laura is anxious to see her family again, and Almanzo wonders if she is truly interested in him. As he drives home, he hopes he hasn't ruined his chances with Beth.

Laura joins her family for church on Sunday and Perley Day once again considers moving on. Laura and Almanzo’s budding romance leaves him little hope that he will get a chance with Laura. Charles is distraught knowing that his life is about to change as he has to sit idly by and watch his Half-pint grow up.

Eliza Jane and Almanzo find Perley Day with his back pack on the front porch. He tells them he is leaving Walnut Grove. Almanzo and Perley Day argue and Almanzo finds out that Perley Day was always jealous of their father’s relationship with Almanzo. Eliza Jane and Almanzo convince Perley Day to stay in town. Eliza Jane pushes Perley Day for more information about why he decided to leave home when he was younger. Again, Perley Day blames Almanzo’s close relationship with their father and how their father always wanted Perley Day to be more like his older brother as the reason. Eliza Jane suggests that Perley Day consider living with them in Walnut Grove, but he doesn’t want to live in Almanzo’s shadow.

Manly shows up at the Ingalls farm to bring Laura back to Sleepy Eye. He asks Charles’s permission to stay in Sleepy Eye with Laura so he can help out Miss Primm/Primble/Trimble. Charles agrees. Laura and Almanzo share a tender moment on Miss Primm’s porch. Meanwhile, back in Walnut Grove, Perley Day is doing some thinking. He wonders if things would be different for him at home now that Almanzo isn’t there.

The next morning, Perley Day is doing the chores. He becomes furious that Almanzo is in Sleepy Eye getting closer to Laura while he is stuck doing his work on the farm. Perley Day takes off, leaving Eliza Jane all alone to take care of the farm and teach school too. Perley Day borrows a horse from Charles, who believes he is heading to Sleepy Eye. Later that morning, Charles stumbles upon Eliza Jane walking to school and he heads to Sleepy Eye to see if he can find Perley Day.

Perley Day meets up with Almanzo in Sleepy Eye. They get into a fight. When Charles arrives in Sleepy Eye, he finds his horse tied up in front of the Sheriff’s Office. He goes in and finds Almanzo and Perley Day in a cell. Almanzo explains what happened and Perley Day tries to make it seem like he isn’t really there to cause problems and that he didn’t exactly steal Charles’s horse. Charles doesn’t buy it. Perley Day has played him the fool once too often. He bails Almanzo out, but leaves Perley Day in jail. Almanzo agrees to pay Charles back and to tell Laura about everything that happened. He is afraid of what Laura will think of him, but all she says is that she’ll miss him now that he has to go back home to run the farm.

Almanzo decides to leave Perley Day in jail for a while and heads home to Walnut Grove. He stops by to see Eliza Jane at the schoolhouse and both of them decide Perley Day will never care about anyone other than himself. A week later, Almanzo returns to Sleepy Eye and bails out Perley Day. He tells him he thinks it best if Perley Day leaves and doesn’t come back, which Perley Day says he was planning to do. Almanzo tells him that he will be back in Sleepy Eye on Monday to bring Laura to school and he expects him to be gone.

Perley Day stares out at the starry sky. He is sad to think of being all alone again, but then the wheels in his mind start turning, and he knows he could still get the best of Almanzo.

Perley Day tries to convince Almanzo that Chad Brewster is interested in Laura, while also trying to convince Laura that Almanzo has been seeing one of his old girlfriends. Though Almanzo doesn't pay him much attention, the thought drives him crazy. Laura, however, believes his lies and confronts Almanzo when he returns to Sleepy Eye. Laura and Almanzo confront Perley Day and Almanzo's terse words make Perley Day decide to head home to make peace with his parents.

A nervous Perley Day arrives in Spring Valley and knocks on his parents' door. James Wilder has a few choice words for his youngest son but agrees to give him a chance for his wife's sake. He's given three days to pull his own weight.

Laura returns to Sleepy Eye for her last week of teaching. She'll be happy to be home, but is nervous at the thought of being around Almanzo all the time. Maybe he'll change his mind about her. As Laura begins her last week of teaching, she makes plans for her and Almanzo to return to visit Minnie, but once she's back in Walnut Grove, her anxiety returns and she wonders if she'll always feel uncertain about Almanzo and her.


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:40 am

Angelina watched through the kitchen window as James and Perley Day worked to repair a fallen piece of fencing. While she knew that Perley Day would never be satisfied with being a farmer and raising horses the way Almanzo was, she had enjoyed spending the evenings with her youngest son during the last three weeks. And even though James would never admit it, he liked having the boy home too. I wonder how long it will last?

*

The last three weeks had been a flurry of activity for Laura. Now back in Walnut Grove to stay, she spent most days doing chores and helping Miss Wilder in the classroom. The weekends were filled with helping Ma and taking long buggy rides and going on picnics with Almanzo before the harvest was ready and the town got busy preparing for a Minnesota winter. The Farmer's Almanac said it would be a harsh one.

Life could have been comfortable for Laura if she didn't constantly carry around the anxiety she felt with Almanzo being so closeby. Still nervous that she would do or say something to make him change his mind about their courtship, she couldn't fully enjoy their time together. Instead, she spent most of the time on edge, ever careful of how she acted and sometimes wishing they could go back to their old, easy friendship.

The sparsely covered trees held a few leaves of red, orange, and gold, but most had fallen to the ground, making colorful pools around tree trunks. Laura pulled her shawl tighter and nestled her chin into its soft warmth. Almanzo slid his hand over hers.

"What are ya thinkin'?" As if I don't already know your answer.

Laura glanced up sheepishly. The warmth of his smile comforting her. She pushed back the strand of strawberry blond hair that had fallen over his forehead. "Nothing."

He chuckled and a crooked smile slid across his face. "That's not true, is it?"

A touch of crimson stained Laura's cheeks and she shook her head. "No, it's not. I don't know...it's just..."

Almanzo's forehead crinkled as he gazed at Laura. She played with the blades of grass touching the edge of their blanket, keeping her eyes slanted down. He found this side to her alluring. He knew that feisty young woman he fell in love with still existed, but since they had come back from Curry Laura seemed determined to keep her hidden from him.

"You're not still afraid are you?" He clasped the hand that had been playing with the grass. He tilted her chin so she was forced to look at him. "Are you?"

Laura rolled her eyes. "Afraid of what?"

Almanzo's hand went up and caressed her cheek. "Of me...of us."

Tears floated behind Laura's eyes and Almanzo was sure they would spill onto her cheeks. But Laura wouldn't let that happen. She blinked them away glanced up at the sky to calm herself. This is ridiculous. What am I so afraid of? She could see the expectant look in Almanzo's eyes, but she couldn't swallow away the lump in her throat to answer him.

He slid in closer to her. "Would ya feel better if I asked ya to marry me?"

"What?!" Laura's eyes widened in amazement and she realized she had practically screamed her response. She couldn't possibly have heard him right. I didn't hear him right. He didn't say what I think he said.

"I said,'Would ya feel better if I asked ya to marry me?'"

The smile returned to his face as Laura sat there mouth agape. Not quite the reaction he expected, but he hadn't exactly given her much notice. They hadn't even spoken of marriage yet. He wasn't much for sharing his feelings but he knew he wanted Beth to be his wife. It had taken him a week to work up the courage to ask her. And this certainly wasn't how he planned it, but it felt like the time was right.

When she still didn't answer he clasped both of her hands in his. Sitting in front of her, Almanzo made sure to look straight in her eyes so that she could see he was sincere. "Beth, I love ya. I know this is kinda sudden, but I don't wanna wait. I want ya to be my wife." He brought her hands up to his mouth and kissed them. "Whatdya say...will you marry me?"

Tears flowing down her cheeks a wide smile curled the corners of her lips. The anxiety flew away and her heart swelled with love for the man she once dreamed would be her husband. "I'd love to," she whispered.

To be continued....


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:44 pm

i hope you guys don't mind if i continue for a little bit..

Almanzo smiled. Letting go of her hands, he brought one of them up to caress her cheek, his thumb gently brushing away her tears. "I've been thinkin' about askin' ya for a while now, I guess I just never got around to it."

He slid closer and brought his face down to meet hers. "You mean everything in the world to me," he said, as he kissed her lightly on the lips. When they broke apart, he smiled down at her.

"I wanted to give ya somethin'," he said reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a small white gold diamond ring, which he slipped on her finger.

Laura let him release her left hand and brought it closer to examine the ring. "Oh Manly," she said, as she watched it sparkle in the sunlight, "It's beautiful."

Almanzo smiled. "Want to set a date? I don't want to wait too long."

Laura looked up at him. The anxiety was back, she wanted to talk to her parents first. This is what she always hoped for, this is what she was dreaming about since they first met.

"Manly, I was wondering, before we do anything else, do you think that we could.."

The smile on his face widened. "Want to talk to your parents about this first?"

She nodded her head. She reached out and covered his hands with her own. "I was hoping that you ask that."

"I was going to do that anyway," he said. "I want your Pa and Ma to know how I feel about you and I want to do things properly, not just run off."
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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:59 am

[I used a heavy amount of dialogue from "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" in this piece. I changed it around a bit, but it will definitely sound familiar. This is just one of those great dramatic scenes I don't like to tinker too much with.]

Almanzo's hands rested on the fence. His sleeves were rolled half-way and his summer tan had turned his strong arms a golden brown. "Mr. Ingalls, I don't think the difference in our ages should matter."

"Neither do I," said Charles. He couldn't face Almanzo. Even though he knew he was right, he knew it wasn't what Almanzo had wanted to hear. He had grown quite fond of the boy these past few months and that made his decision all that much harder. "The difference in your ages stopped bothering me a long time ago. It's Laura's age that bothers me, not yours."

Charles dared to turn and face Almanzo. He could see the anger in his eyes. What would I have done if Caroline's Pa had told me we had to wait? It didn't matter. He couldn't take that chance with Half-pint. She had always been so much more immature than Mary. She couldn't possibly be ready for such a commitment.

"I know Laura loves you, but she's still so young."

Almanzo opened his mouth to argue but Charles's stern gaze stopped him.

"She's growing and changing so quickly. She needs to be sure that this is what she wants. It's exciting to be courted and all you think about is the wonderful things that your future will bring. You never think about the hard times. And believe me, there will be plenty of those. You're old enough to know what you want, but I don't think Laura is. If you love each other now, you'll love each other even more two years from now."

Almanzo exhaled deeply. "And that's your final word?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so." Charles immediately worked to lighten the mood. He saw the dark look in Almanzo's eyes and he knew the boy wanted to say more, but held back out of respect. "Why don't we go back in the house and have some dessert. I think Laura made your favorite pie."

"No thank you sir. I think I'll be goin."

"Almanzo?"

Anger filled the young man's face as he turned to look Charles in the eye. He stood tall and firm as his eyes became mere slits. "You asked me to understand how you feel, and I do. Now, I expect the same from you. I'm not goin back in that house and pretendin like I agree with ya, because I don't. I want to marry your daughter. I love her. And right now, two years seems like forever. Goodnight Mr. Ingalls."

Charles watched as Almanzo jumped onto the wagon seat and slapped the reins hard against Barnum. He sighed as Almanzo's horse trotted up the hill and out of sight. And now I have to face Half-pint. Wonderful!

The door creaked open and the light from the house filtered out onto the ground. Laura stood in the doorway with Caroline behind her. Charles tucked his hands into his pocket and wandered toward them.

"He left? Why?" Laura barely got the words out without crying.

"I told him the two of you would have to wait."

Tears swam in Laura's eyes and they would have spilled over if she let them. "I won't wait Pa. If waiting means I'm going to lose him...I won't wait. I mean it Pa!" Laura raced back into the house and Charles heard her boots climbing the ladder up to the loft.

Caroline stood before him in silence. "You think I'm wrong, don't you?"

"If things were only a matter of right or wrong, life would be very simple. It's about loving folks and wanting what's best."

He was sure she could seen the pain in his eyes. Caroline had always been so perceptive.

"I'll go to her," she said, then disappeared into the house.

Charles turned and went back toward the barn. What if Laura meant what she said? Would his decision cost him his beloved Half-pint?


to be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:37 am

“I’m not ready, Almanzo. I just need a little time, that’s all. I can’t marry you now. It’s not that I don’t love you.”

They were by the little footbridge that spanned the lake. He had decided earlier that morning that he was going to Sleepy Eye and he was going to take Laura with him. He wanted to get married and nothing was going to stop him.

“Then what is it?” Almanzo asked.

“Where will we live, Manly? I know you asked me to go to Sleepy Eye with you, but I really don’t want to leave Walnut Grove. I didn’t think you did either. We have no land of our own except the house that you share with your sister. Do you want us living there? I would think that you’d want us to be by ourselves. Besides, maybe my Pa is right. If we love each other now, our love will be stronger two years from now.”

“Is that how you want things to be?” he asked her. “Did your Pa talk you into this? He wants you all to himself, Beth. He won’t share you with anyone else, not now.”

He took her hands in his. “I won’t wait anymore, Beth, especially two years.”

“That’s how I want them right now, Almanzo. I want to do what’s right for both of us. It’s my decision, not my Pa’s. And it doesn’t mean that I love you any less or love my Pa any more. I was hoping that you would understand that.”

Almanzo hadn’t said anything, but he had driven off, leaving Laura standing by the bridge. He urged Skip and Barnum in the direction of Sleepy Eye. He still had some goods to deliver, but he wasn’t so sure anymore if he wanted to live there. After all, he had some responsibility to live up to. He had to look after his sister plus run the farm. Was he going to be like his younger brother Perley Day? Was he going to run out on everyone that he knew and loved just so he could get his way?

Maybe he was making a hasty decision to run off and get married early. Maybe he should wait like her Pa suggested. Laura was right. Where were they going to live? How was he going to provide for her? He hadn’t thought about these things until she brought them up. What exactly was it? Her father still thought of Beth as little girl, but Beth wasn’t so little, was she? She was sixteen years old and ten years younger, but she sure didn’t behave that way. Sometimes she acted older than the both of them. Everything she said had been right and it made him think. Well, he’d stay right here and prove that he could wait. He didn’t let Perley Day get the better of him and he wasn’t going to let Laura’s Pa get to him either.

He turned around, a smile on his face. He would go to Sleepy Eye and take Laura with him, but not to get married or to live. Maybe he could catch her before it was too late.

“I’m worried, Caroline,” Charles said, “she just ran off this morning in such a hurry.”

Caroline smiled. “She just said she was going over to the Wilder’s to talk to Almanzo. I’m sure that’s where she went. I don’t really think you have much too worry about. I think Laura knows right from wrong. She seemed to last night after we talked.”

Charles nodded. “Maybe you’re right, Caroline.” Maybe she really is growing up, he thought as he walked out to the barn. Maybe he would have to let her go.
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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:15 am

Laura shuffled down the road toward school, clouds of dust floating into the air around her boots. She hadn't been ready to face Almanzo when his wagon stopped at the bridge. After he drove off, putting an end to their conversation, she had time to reflect on things and now she was angry. Did he actually say what I think he said? “Did your Pa talk you into this?" How could he think so little of me...and of Pa?

As she crossed the bridge going into town she heard wagon wheels racing along the ground behind her. She spun around to see what was the matter.

"Whoa!" Almanzo tugged hard on the reins pulling his Morgans to a stop. "Hi Beth"

Laura's lips pursed into a thin line as she glared at him. "Hello Almanzo."

"I was thinkin'--"

"I heard enough of what you were thinking earlier." One hand planted on her hip, her freckles turned a darker shade of red. "I can't believe that you accused Pa of talking me into waiting to get married!"

She shook her head. "He has always wanted me to wait until I was eighteen. You knew that."

Almanzo jumped down from the wagon seat and placed his hands on her arms. She shrugged away and backed up. No way am I giving in on this one.

"Beth, please let me explain."

"Explain what?" she yelled. "That you see me as a child as much Pa does?"

His eyes widened. "You know that's not true. I love ya. I just want us to be together. I can't stand the thought of waitin' two years." He dared to place his hands on her shoulders, but this time she did not rebuff him. "I'm sorry if I upset you. I was just so sure that you would say "yes"."

Laura sighed. This was one of those moments when she wished she could go back to being a little girl when things were easier. All she did was do what Ma and Pa told her. Now she was old enough to make her own decisions. The irony hit her and she laughed. Haven't I just spent the past two years trying to prove how grown up I am?

Almanzo chanced a smile back. "What's so funny?"

"Suddenly, being a woman doesn't seem like so much fun."

He pulled her in close to him and tilted her chin up so she could look into his eyes. "Beth, I love ya. If I havta wait two years, I'll wait...but don't exoect me to be happy about it." He leaned down and placed a tender kiss on her lips.

"Why did you come racing back here?"

"Oh, I wanted to ask you to go to Sleepy Eye with me."

"I have school."

"My sister can do without ya for a day."

A wide smile curled the corner of Laura's lips. "All right. Let's go tell her, that way when she sees Ma and Pa this morning she can let them know."

*

Laura climbed into Almanzo's wagon and the two set off for Sleepy Eye. Eliza Jane had promised to let Laura's parents know what was going on and that she wouldn't be back until suppertime. Charles was working at the mill when the children came out for recess. A little while later he saw Miss Wilder pulling the bell for them to come back inside. That was usually Laura's job.

Charles shut off the saw and strolled over to the schoolhouse. "Good morning Miss Wilder."

"Oh, good morning Mr. Ingalls."

"Is Laura inside?" Charles shifted his weight from one foot to the other

"No. She asked me to tell you that she went with Almanzo to Sleepy Eye today."

Charles's face dropped and he could barely get the next words out. "They went to Sleepy Eye?"

Puzzled by his reaction she wasn't quite sure what else to say. "Yes, they left a few hours ago."

Charles tipped his hat and dashed toward the restaurant.

"They should be back around suppertime!" she hollered to him.

Eliza Jane watched as Charles took the steps up to the restaurant two at a time. She shrugged. Why would he react like that? She would ask Almanzo about it tonight when she saw him. She closed the door and went to settle down the children.

*

"Caroline! Caroline!" Charles screamed.

The door to the kitchen swung open. "What is it?" She saw the panic on his face. Something must be terribly wrong.

"Eliza Jane just told me that Almanzo and Laura headed off to Sleepy Eye today."

Caroline wiped her soapy, wet hands on her apron. "You don't think--"

"I don't know." Charles grabbed her shoulders. "But I'm not waiting to find out."

Caroline nodded. "Let me tell Mrs. Oleson that I'm taking the day off. Why don't you go ask Albert to watch the children after school. I'll meet you at the mill."

Charles raced out the door and Caroline headed into the back room where she was sure Harriet would be on the switchboard listening in on someone's conversation. Oh Laura, please don't do anything foolish!


to be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:55 pm

Two horses were never pushed harder or prompted to move faster than Charles Ingalls's team. He had to catch them. He must stop them before they got married. How could Laura go against my wishes this way?

Beside him on the wagon seat, an anxious Caroline held on with a white knuckled grip. Her body rocked about as the wheels dipped into grooves in the road. She hoped their fears were unfounded, but even she knew that Laura would do anything to hold onto Almanzo.

*

Sleepy Eye was only a few miles off. Almanzo would be glad to get off the wagon and stretch his legs. He glanced over at Laura. He was glad they weren't angry at each other anymore. He hated arguing with her. She was probably the only person he knew who was just as stubborn as he.

"And just what are you smiling at?" Laura raised her eyebrows as she smirked at him.

"My favorite girl."

Laura shook her head. "Do you know how many times I wanted to hit you for calling me that?"

Almanzo's eyes widen. "Really? Why?"

"Because, you would always call me that when you had some young lady on your arm." Laura saw Almanzo's face ting red. "And you usually tugged on my braid while you were doing it." She sighed. "Do you know how heartbreaking it was for me to know that you saw me as a child?"

"Beth, I--"

She put her hand up to silence him. "I know, I know, it's just something that's going to take me a while to get over. I wonder if it's possible that you could really see me as something more than girl."

Almanzo tugged the reins hard, stopping the horses in the middle of the road. A crooked smile covered his face. Shifting the reins into his left hand, he reached up and caressed Laura's cheek. "You never need to doubt that I love ya. We've both changed since the day we met...maybe you more than me, but I don't see that young girl that I first met when I look at you." He leaned in and Laura felt the warmth of his breath on her face. "I see the woman I love."

Their lips sought each other and they lingered there a moment. Emotion filled eyes staring back at each other, it took the sound of fast approaching wagon wheels to break the trance.

Almanzo and Laura looked behind them.

"Is that Pa's wagon?” Laura squinted at the fast approaching team.

“Sure looks like it.”

The gap between the two wagons grew smaller and smaller.

“That is Pa,” said Laura. “And Ma is with him.”

Charles yanked on the reins and his team pulled to a stop. He glared at Almanzo whose welcoming smile quickly diminished.

“Pa what’s wrong?” It must be something terrible if he raced after us like that.

Charles did not reply nor did he glance in her direction. His steady gaze remained on Almanzo. Almanzo looked at Caroline sitting next to her husband. She clasped both hands in her lap. Her back tall on the wagon seat, it appeared she wished to say something, but instead she glanced from Laura to Almanzo and back again. Charles's breathing seemed labored, as if he had been running. Why didn't he say something?

"Pa, please...tell me what's wrong." Laura could not remove her eyes from her father's face that was etched into a frown.

"How could you do this?" said Charles.

Laura squinted back at him. "What is that I've done?"

"And you," Charles's eyes fixated on Almanzo. "You knew my wishes and yet you went against them anyway."

Almanzo looked over at Laura and she shrugged. She didn't know what he was talking about, but it was obvious that Pa was upset over something.

Puzzled Almanzo figured the only way to solve this was to get Charles to speak his mind. "Mr. Ingalls, please tell me what you're talking about."

Caroline squeezed Charles's hand. "Laura, were you running off to get married?"


to be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Thu May 28, 2009 12:57 am

Almanzo and Laura looked at each other and burst into laughter. Realizing something must have gone wrong when Eliza Jane told her parents they went to Sleepy Eye, Laura would have explained if she could stop laughing long enough. Tears streamed from her eyes and she could barely make out Almanzo's face that had turned red from laughing so hard. She gripped her sides that ached as she struggled to catch her breath.

Charles and Caroline stared over at them, not thinking any of this could possibly be funny.

Laura gulped in three large breaths and wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Oh--Ma--you thought--we were--running off--to--get married?" Another chuckle escaped her lips, though she tried to control it while Caroline glared at them.

"That's exactly what we thought Laura Ingalls!" Now furious at herself for acting in haste, even after all the times she told Charles to reflect before acting, she was even angrier with Laura for finding this all so funny.

Charles's wavy hair bounced as he shook his head. "If you aren't running off to get married, then why did you skip school?"

"Almanzo invited me to come along for the ride and Miss Wilder said that it would be okay." The skin around Laura's eyes crinkled as she squinted in confusion. "Didn't you talk to her before coming out here?"

"Of course we did." Caroline sighed. How could I have been so silly? "But when we heard that Almanzo and you had gone off to Sleepy Eye, we thought--"

Charles placed a hand over Caroline's. "I thought you had made good on your word and decided to get married without my permission."

Almanzo's face had finally lightened to its normal healthy pink color. He sat listening to their conversation, not wanting anyone to begin thinking of why he might have originally invited Laura to Sleepy Eye. But this sudden idea that Charles thought Laura would have run away with him got him to wondering.

Almanzo turned to face Laura. "What is your Pa talkin' about?"

Now it was Laura's turn to sigh. She always did speak before she thought things through. "Last night, after you left, I told Pa that I wouldn't lose you. That if waiting meant I would lose you, I wouldn't wait."

Almanzo's eyes widen. Did she say what I thought she just said? "But this mornin' you told me you wanted to wait." Almanzo scratched his bare head, his hat having fallen into the back of the wagon when he was seized by that fit of laughter.

Laura shrugged as she felt her cheeks turn red. "Well....I had a chance to think things over and I realized that maybe Pa had a point."

"Hmmph." Almanzo crossed his arms over his chest. "So if I had just come back last night we might have been married today?"

The color on Laura's cheeks deepened to a dark crimson. Her wide eyes stared at Almanzo and chanced a look around him to where her parents sat listening to their conversation.

A hearty chuckle escaped Almanzo's lips. "I'm just foolin' Beth." But Almanzo figured it would be better to fess up now than wait for Laura to tell her folks about their earlier conversation. A sudden knot formed in his stomach. "Truth is Mr. Ingalls, I did ask Laura to run off with me this mornin'."

"I knew it!" Charles practically bounced out of his seat.

"I hope it doesn't make you think ill of me, but two years sure seems like a long time when you're waitin' to be with someone you love. And I do love her, Mr. Ingalls."

Almanzo's stare stayed fixated on Charles, but he could feel Laura's hand clasped around his arm. She squeezed tighter, urging him to continue.

"I thought for sure she'd say "yes". When she didn't, I was pretty disappointed."

Caroline's face had softened as Almanzo spoke. She understood what Laura and Almanzo were going through. There were times she thought her wedding day would never come. As soon as she decided that no matter where Charles went, she would follow, she wanted to get married right away.

"So why are you driving all the way out here?" asked Caroline.

"I had some crates to deliver and I figured it would sure be nice to have some company. I'm sorry you came all the way out here for nothin'."

"Oh, it wasn't for nothing." Charles rubbed Caroline's back. "I realized I was right about you."

Suddenly Almanzo's face lost all color. His heart pounded in his chest. He dared a glance at Laura, who sat frozen on the seat holding her breath, her fingernails digging into Almanzo's arm. Almanzo tried to gulp down the lump in his throat.

A wide smile curled the corner of Charles's lips. "Laura couldn't have found a better man."

Charles tipped his head back and the sound of his laughter filled the air around them. Caroline playfully slapped his arm. She wasn't quite sure what he was going to say either. Almanzo wondered if Charles noticed him fall back against the wagon seat and release a long-held breath.

To be continued...


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PostSubject: Re: LHOTP - The Continuing Story (You decide what happens)   Today at 1:06 am

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