The Writer's Corner
A Bring Milly Back Production
By Michelle Palmer
Chapter 5: Apple Pie
When the happy couple arrived at the hotel, Milly turned to
Lucas. She smiled as she looked up into his eyes. “I’m…sorry I
dragged you from your work, Lucas.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lucas said softly with a grin. “You
didn’t drag me away. Lou Mallory did! She said something about
there being some dynamite about to explode.”
Lou hurried up to the smiling couple. “And I was that
dynamite!” she declared with a firm nod of her head. She folded
her arms. “Well now, it looks like you have managed to put that
dreamy look back in her eyes.”
“Maybe so, Lou.” Milly crossed her arms as she shook her head.
“But I STILL haven’t been able to get my errands done!”
Lou put an arm around Milly’s shoulders. “Well, tomorrow, you
and I will get an early start! We’ll take it one step at a
time!” She turned to Lucas. “I must get this lady of yours fed
so she won’t be late for work, Cowboy!”
“Oh, lunch!” Milly threw a hand to her mouth. “I completely
forgot.” She blushed as she looked at Lucas. “I can’t seem to
function on my own these days!”
“That’s because your head is in the clouds, where it should be
at a time like this!” Lou declared with a chuckle.
Lucas followed the ladies into the restaurant. He held his
chair out for Milly then sat down beside her. “Are you staying,
Lucas?” Milly asked hopefully.
“If you’ll let me. While I’m here, I might as well eat. If I
have to leave now, I’ll ride all the way back home and have to
fix some sandwich or something. And hey…” Lucas patted his
middle. “I’m a growing boy!”
Milly chuckled as Lou filled their cups with coffee. “Yes…” She
poked his belly. “We’ll just have to see about fattening you up
once we’re married. You’re getting too skinny!” Milly looked
up at Lou. “Beef stew, please.” Then she turned back to Lucas.
“What about ordering the lumber?”
“The…lumber?” Lucas questioned as he raised an eyebrow.
Milly stared at her husband. “That…is why you came into town
today, remember?” She laughed and gave her fiancée a look that
told him they both knew that wasn’t the real reason.
While they were eating, Mark hurried in. “Pa!” Mark sat down.
“What are you doing here?”
“Nevermind that, son.” Lucas placed his arms on the table and
lifted his eyebrows, silently requesting for Mark to mind his
manners. Mark wrinkled up his face as he tried to figure out
why his father was looking at him like that.
“Mark McCain, take your hat off!” Milly suddenly demanded
“Oh…uh…” Mark took his hat off. “Yes ma’am.”
“Honestly!” Milly shook her head. “You are 15 years old, Mark!
It looks like I’m going to have to teach you some manners.”
“I’ve been working on him for 15 years, Milly,” Lucas pointed
out as he gave Mark the evil eye.
“Well…” Milly smiled at the waiter as he sat the stew down in
front of her. “You just haven’t used the right approach.” She
picked up the spoon and started eating.
“Th…The…right…approach?” Mark questioned as he looked at his
“Oh don’t worry, Mark.” Milly smiled at her soon-to-be son.
“You’ll see what my approach is soon enough.”
“I’d take that as a warning, son,” Lucas chuckled.
“You’ll learn too, Lucas.” Milly took another bite of her stew.
“Elbows off the table, dear.”
“Huh?” Lucas stared at Milly as she lifted an eyebrow. “Oh…Yes
ma’am.” He turned back toward Mark. “What are you doing here
anyway? Seems I asked you to get straight home and start
working on the wood chopping.”
“I was hungry!” Mark declared. Lucas cocked his head to one
side and studied him. “Oh…” Mark reached out and took the money
from his pocket. “See, I had my own money. I wasn’t even going
to charge it…this time.”
Milly laughed. “Uh…What are you doing here, Pa?”
“I told you this morning I was going to come order the lumber
today,” Lucas reminded him.
“Yes.” Mark nodded. “But you were going to order the lumber
later this afternoon. You said you had some shoeing that HAD to
get done this afternoon and you were going to do it yourself to
save money since you have some unforeseen sudden expense…OUCH!”
Mark shouted suddenly as he rubbed his shin.
Milly turned toward Lucas. “He came into town to save a damsel
in distress,” she answered. Then she sobered. “Honey, if I’ve
caused problems, I’m sorry. I…”
“The only one who’s causing problems around here is my son.”
Lucas turned and lifted an eyebrow at Mark. Mark gulped,
knowing he’d caused some problems.
“I…I…I think I’ll go eat with Lou in the kitchen,” he mumbled as
he stood up.
Lucas nodded, still giving him an annoyed expression. “Yeah.
After Mark left, Lucas turned to Milly. He laid a hand on her
cheek. “I assure you, honey, you have caused no problems. If I
had known a year ago we were getting married, I may have had a
bit more money to work with. But you let me worry about that.
I DON’T want to wait to marry you any longer than I have to!”
Lucas laced his fingers through hers as he stared into her
eyes. “If you’re going to be my wife, you might as well
understand that with all the hardships Mark and I have had
lately, money’s hard to come by. I’m doing better than I was a
year ago, so things are looking up. And…” Lucas lifted his
eyebrows as he finished his statement. “…now that you’ll be
living there, Mark and I will have more time to tend to the
ranch. That will be a big help.”
His statement made Milly smile. Lucas kissed her softly,
telling himself he was going to have a severe talk with his boy
that afternoon about when to talk and when to stay quiet!
By the time Milly and Lucas finished lunch, it was time for him
to walk her to the school. Lucas waited in the lobby while
Milly went up and got her things. When she came down, he smiled
as he took them from her. Milly blushed as he led her outside.
Once they got on the street, he reached for her hand. Milly
smiled up into his eyes. He grinned down at her and gave her
hand a squeeze. “I’m going to miss this once we’re married,”
she said softly.
“This treatment. You carrying my things, walking me to work,
and holding my hand.”
“Oh?” Lucas turned his head to look down the street. “You don’t
want me doing it anymore once we’re married?”
“Well…I mean…it stops once a couple’s married. These are
“Oh. I see.” Lucas cleared his throat. “Margaret and I were
married for seven years and I never stopped courting her.”
“Oh?” Milly lifted an eyebrow. “Really?”
“My folks were that way. They were always showing their love
for each other. I remember my father taking my Ma’s hand in his
even just before I left for the war. My father sternly taught
me that a wife is very special. The husband should always do
things to show her. In return, the wife does the same. You
know…she keeps his house tidy and clean, puts her love in the
meals she prepares, loves his children and cares for them, and
uh…is there for him at night, showing him her love in that
special way.” Lucas turned to look at her.
Milly blushed and lowered her head. “Oh.”
“You know, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, Mil. That’s
the way God intended it to be, even from the beginning.” Lucas
squeezed her hand again. They were standing in front of the
church. “I’ll show you how much I love you any way I can. My
father brought all four of his sons up understanding that a wife
is always to be treated with respect, and loved.” Lucas bent
and kissed her cheek.
“And you’re raising Mark with the same values?”
“I’m doing my darndest!” Lucas declared. “But as you can tell,
it’s not always easy.”
Milly laughed as she took her things from him. “They say the
apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; so I’m sure your father
thought the same of you, yet look at how well you’ve turned
Milly started up the steps. “Uh, Milly…” Lucas smiled. “I’ll
be in town all afternoon. Have supper at the hotel tonight?”
Milly nodded. She flashed him a smile. “Lucas?” Lucas turned
back to her. “Thank you.” He nodded then turned to walk out of
the church yard. Several children greeted him. He patted them
on the head as he hurried back into town. Seeing Milly had put
a skip back in his walk. Lou was right. Going even a day
without seeing each other was causing problems!
The afternoon flew by in a fury of activity for both Milly and
Lucas. Since he was in town, Lucas decided to get all his
chores done so he could spend as much time as possible at the
ranch. He sent Mark on back to get started on his chores with
strict orders to be back in town at 4:00 sharp – or he would
have Milly to deal with!
At four o’clock, Lucas and Mark came in and started rearranging
the benches for Sunday services. Milly gathered up her stuff as
her men worked.
When Lucas announced they were done, she walked up to Lucas.
“Lucas, about the blackboard…” she started.
“I’ll do it tomorrow,” Lucas interrupted her as he held up his
Milly shook her head. “No, Lucas. I can wait. You have more
pressing things to think of.” She shrugged as she looked up at
him from under her long eyelashes. “I don’t know what got into
me…” Then she smiled coyly at him. “…but I think you made me
better.” Lucas smiled down at her, forgetting Mark was even in
the room. Milly shook her head as she chuckled. “I feel silly
about it now.”
Mark heard the conversation from where he stood. He slowly
walked up to them. “What Pa should have said, Milly, is that he
has ME working on the blackboard.” Mark smiled. “But I don’t
mind. It’s a good learning experience for me.” He put his hat
on. “Now, can we go eat? I’m hungry!”
The McCain’s and Milly went to the hotel to eat. Lucas walked
between the woman he loved and his son. He had a hand on each
shoulder. This is the way it had to be…always!
Lou’s supper was always perfect, and tonight was no exception.
But then she served apple pie for dessert. After she left,
Lucas and Mark groaned as they looked down at their pie. Milly
lifted a disapproving eyebrow at father and son, then lifted a
bite to her mouth.
“Uh, Milly…” Mark started.
Milly took the bite. She raised her eyebrows as she looked from
Mark to Lucas, then back to Mark. Then she nodded her head and
stood up. Father and son watched hopelessly as she turned and
walked into the kitchen. After she disappeared, Mark bent over
and looked at his father. “Pa, you think she’s going to
actually tell Lou the truth?” He asked in a loud whisper.
Lucas shook his head. “I hope not! Took a lot of doing to get
her back in a good mood! I’d hate for her to see Lou’s temper
now! Maybe I should…” Lucas half-way stood from the table.
But Mark put a restraining hand on his father’s arm. “I
wouldn’t, Pa. Just let the women figure this out for
themselves!” Mark suggested. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned
from you about women…Don’t interfere!”
Milly read through the recipe. “And this is how you always make
it?” Lou nodded. Milly smiled. “Where did you get this
“An old family friend in Ireland. She wrote it down for me
and…” Lou stopped talking when she saw Milly’s smile. “Is
something wrong with it?” She asked defensively.
Milly gave her a friendly smile. “Yes. I’m afraid you forgot
the sugar.” Milly kept her voice low and calm, letting Lou know
she meant no disrespect.
“Th’…” Lou stared at the recipe. Milly watched as Lou’s eyes
scanned the ingredients once…twice…Then Lou’s eyes grew wide as
she slowly lifted a hand to her opening mouth. “Well, for-ever
loving…” Milly chuckled softly as Lou lifted her wide eyes to
look at her. “I never even…” Milly chuckled again when Lou’s
face began to turn red from embarrassment. “Milly! I bake many
different pies and cakes, most of which call for sugar and I
never…it never once occurred to me that…” She shook her head.
“Well, I can’t believe nobody has ever even complained!”
“Oh, but they have,” Milly giggled. “I’ve gotten complaints
from both my future husband and my future son.”
Lou narrowed her eyes. “And they never even…” Lou’s face grew
red. She began huffing as she planted her fists on her hips
“I’m going to give that cowboy a piece of my mind!” she
suddenly declared as she started toward the door.
Milly grabbed her arm. “Oh no!” She smiled mischievously at
her best friend. “You just leave them to me. Lucas McCain is
ALL MINE!” Then she laughed as she told Lou about her plan.
As the women walked back into the dining room, the telegrapher
hurried inside. “Miss Milly, my apologies!” He tipped his hat
quickly. “It got busy today and I forgot…Well, here it is!” He
quickly tipped his hat and hurried out.
Lucas laughed. “Well, you must have really put the fear of
Milly in him this morning!” He teased as he pulled her down
beside him and gave her a peck on the cheek.
Milly opened the telegram and read the contents. She smiled.
Wonderful news on your approaching marriage to Lucas, my
darling. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Will wait for
Milly hugged the telegram to her chest. “Oh Lucas, Mother’s
coming!” Then she gasped and stood up. “Oh my…I’ve got to
decide when to send Mark and Micah. Then I have to send mother
a detailed letter. Then I need to start planning the wedding.
Oh my!!! I forgot to get the invitations to the print…”
Milly’s voice grew excited and rushed.
Lucas stood up and grabbed her arms. “Milly…” he warned.
“But Lucas, I…” She stopped when she saw the final warning in
his eyes. Slowly, she sat down and put her hands in her lap.
Lucas cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow. “Now, Mark and
I have a lot of work to do at the ranch tomorrow, honey. I’ll
send Mark in mid-afternoon to get you so you can cook us
“Lucas McCain!” Lou declared, horrified.
Lucas held up his hands in surrender. “She told me earlier she
wanted to cook us supper!” he explained. “And I’m not one to
turn down a meal cooked by a fine looking woman!” Lucas grew
serious and pointed a finger at Milly. “Now, listen young
lady,” he said quite sternly. “You and Lou are going to sit
down tomorrow morning and RATIONALLY and CALMLY discuss wedding
plans. You hear me?”
Milly smiled. “Yes dear.”
Milly awoke when she heard a knock on her door. She slowly
pulled the covers back and stood up. “Who is it?”
“It’s Lou.” Milly opened the door as she yawned. “Did the
cowboy keep you out too late again last night?” Lou teased.
“No! I couldn’t sleep! So instead, I started making wedding
plans.” Milly showed her the list that she had worked on. “I’m
sure I haven’t thought of everything yet.”
Lou studied the list then smiled boldly at Milly. “You forgot
the most crucial thing!” Lou wrote it at the bottom. Milly’s
eyes grew wide and she threw a hand to her mouth as she looked
at Lou. Both women giggled.
“I’ll take care of the whole reception. Ye don’t worry about a
single thing! Except…what do ye think you’d like to eat?”
“Well…” Milly put a finger to her mouth as she thought. “We
could do a pig roast.”
“Perfect!” Lou declared. “And I’ll have plenty of vegetables!
Now, how many people ye think?”
“Oh Lou, I don’t know!” Milly shook her head. “I’m going to
talk to Mark on the way to his house about guests for his
father. But mum’s the word. This is a surprise for Lucas.”
“Well, let’s go to the general store and see about the material
for the dress. We’ll work on it in the mornings.” Lou declared,
taking charge of the situation.
They walked into the General Store. Lou grabbed the catalog off
the desk and started swishing through it. They looked at the
various styles and materials for wedding dresses. Milly and Lou
discussed the matter for quite awhile as they stood at the end
of the counter. They wrote down notes and listed the supplies
they would need. Finally, the ladies agreed on the material and
other items they would need for the dress. Milly explained to
Lou how she wanted it to look from looking at various pictures
in the catalogue. After adding a few more purchases to their
order, Lou ordered the store clerk to rush it.
“It’ll take about a week,” The clerk declared.
“We can get it from Santa Fe!” Lou shot back.
“It’ll cost more!” the clerk argued. “It’s cheaper if I…”
Lou shook her head as she turned and looked at Milly. Then she
turned back to the clerk. Milly smiled as Lou placed her hands
on her hips and lifted her head to glare at the clerk. “Ye
listen to me! This woman is getting married in exactly three
weeks. We have a lot of plans to make. Since this is her only
wedding she’ll ever have, we want everything…and I DO mean
everything…to be perfect! So, that order…” Lou tapped the order
the clerk was holding in his hand. “…will arrive on the train
in exactly three days or I will have your job!” She spun on her
heels and started toward the door. At the door, she turned back
to the clerk. “And ye have my word on that!” She finished with
a swift nod of her head.
Milly hurried after Lou. “Yes ma’am,” she heard the clerk
“I think it’ll be here on Wednesday!” Milly affirmed with a
smile. “You think we can get it done in 2 ½ weeks?” She held a
bit of panic in her voice.
“With time to spare!” Lou answered.
“Have you made wedding dresses before?”
Lou led Milly to the Print Shop. With how nervous and edgy she
seemed to be, Milly was glad to have a take charge sort of
friend like Lou Mallory. Milly showed the man what she wanted
her invitations to say. “How many?” the printer asked.
“Oh…” Milly put a finger to her chin as she thought. “Let’s do
a hundred for now.”
The printer looked up at Milly. “A hundred?” His eyes grew
wide. “Just who do you plan on sending them to?”
“Nevermind!” Lou answered before Milly could. “Ye just print
them up! We’ll worry about who to send them to!”
Milly and Lou walked out of the print shop. “I also want to
post announcements in the New Mexico newspapers.”
Lou nodded. “You best go get ready to go to your future home.
I’ll get this over to the telegrapher and have him send a wire
to the newspapers. I’m paying for it.”
“No!” Milly argued.
“No arguments, Milly Scoot! Lucas and Mark have done a lot for
me since I arrived here. This is just a small way to return the
Milly smiled. She unfolded a piece of paper. “These are the
newspapers I want to send it to.”
“I’ll take care of it!” Milly hurried off to the hotel. Lou
looked down at the paper. “And maybe a few more besides…” She
smiled to herself as she hurried toward the telegraph office.
Mark wiped the chalk board clean. “Well, it seems to work just
fine, Pa.” He picked up the big erasers. “And I even did the
erasers! Look.” He boasted, proud of the work he had done.
Lucas looked up from the paper he was working on. “That’s great
“Ya think Milly will be proud of me?”
Lucas smiled as he kept working. “That’s very important to you,
isn’t it son?”
“Well, I…I guess so…” Mark brushed his hands on his pants and
sat down. “Pa? Can I talk to you for a second?”
Lucas heard the hesitation in his son’s voice. He sat down the
pencil and looked up at him. Mark kept his eyes averted as he
spoke. “I do want Milly to be proud of me. This marriage
ain't…ain’t like a lot of marriages. I mean…there usually
aren’t kids involved.” Mark paused and looked at his father.
Lucas merely nodded. “Well, I guess that what I’m trying to
say is that I’m a…a complication sort of…”
Lucas stared at Mark. He stood up and walked over to his son
and put a hand under his chin to keep his eyes focused on him.
“Mark McCain, you…” Lucas swallowed as he gave Mark a small
smile. “You could never be a…a complication – to me or Milly.
When Milly accepted my proposal of marriage, she accepted you.”
Lucas looked hard at his son. “Don’t you EVER call yourself a
“Well, I…” Mark pulled away from his father, no longer able to
look into his eyes. He walked towards the window. “I’m not
meaning any disrespect for it, Pa. But…” He turned and looked
at Lucas again. “Oh Pa, you know darn well that most women
don’t have a kid hanging around after her wedding! I mean,
she’s already got a teenager and she’s not even married yet!”
“Son,” Lucas folded his arms and walked slowly toward his son.
“She’s known about you for as long as she’s known about me.
There was no Lucas and Milly. It was always Lucas and
Milly…and Mark.” Lucas sat down at the table. He pulled out
the chair beside him and patted it for his son to sit down.
“It’s complicated, Mark, but she loves you as much as she loves
me.” Lucas laid a hand on his son’s shoulder. “There will have
to be some…well, some adjustments made that don’t need to be
made in a marriage where children aren’t involved.”
“Like what?” Mark asked.
Lucas grinned. “I…was hoping you wouldn’t ask me that question.
“Well…like you’ll have to share me. There are times when Milly
will need me…and only me. But, Milly will also have to share me
because there are times when you will need me and only me.”
Mark just watched his father intently. Lucas sighed.
“Alright, son…you know I’ve told you about the…benefits of
marriage?” Mark grinned and nodded. “Well, those times are
private, and there may be a time or two I send you into town to
stay at the hotel for the night so Milly and I can be…completely
“Oh.” Mark grinned. He lifted his head. “And what about all
those nights you don’t send me to town?” Lucas narrowed his eyes
at Mark. Mark laughed. “Alright, alright!” Then he sobered
again. “I just don’t want to feel like an inconvenience.”
“Son, there are a lot of things you make me feel like…angry,
hurt, mad, happy, proud, loved…But you never felt like an
inconvenience.” Lucas raised his eyebrows. “You understand?”
Mark cleared his throat. “But…I DO want to do something special
for Milly…to show her how much I love her and that I welcome her
into the family. I know it won’t be ready in time for the
wedding, but…I was talking to Freddie and his mother has lots of
roses in her yard. He said it brings the bees, but she loves
them. I was wondering if I could plant some roses around the
back and under her…” Mark grinned. “…your bedroom window once
Lucas smiled. “I think that’ll be fine, son. I want Milly to
feel loved…Not that she doesn’t already!”
Mark nodded. “There’s something else, Pa.” Lucas looked up at
him. “Well…when Milly lives here, she’ll still be teaching
“That’s what she wants to do right now,” Lucas answered.
“Well…I was wondering if I could use some of the money I’ve been
saving and buy her a nice gentle colt to pull the buggy.”
“We don’t have a buggy, Mark.” Lucas pointed out.
“We will soon, Pa. Dr. Burrage got a new buggy. He told me I
could have the old one if I fix it up.” Lucas narrowed his eyes
at his son. “He’s gonna just throw it out as junk if I don’t
take it off his hands, Pa! Nils and I have already been talking
about it.” Lucas wrinkled his brow in thought. “Well?”
Lucas scratched under his nose as he thought some more. Then he
nodded his head. “I think that will be wonderful, Mark.”
“While we’re talking, there’s something else, Pa…” Mark bit his
lip as he looked down at the table. He wasn’t quite sure how to
put his thoughts into words.
“Mark?” Mark lifted his head. “What is it, son?” Lucas asked
“Well…I…I love Milly…She’s like a Ma to me.” Mark paused.
Lucas smiled and nodded. “Now, mind ya…I don’t want to
disrespect my real Ma or anything, but…I feel I want to call
Milly… ‘Ma.’” Mark saw tears shining in his father’s eyes.
“Would you mind?”
Lucas gave Mark a tiny smile. He patted his son’s hand. “I
don’t mind, son. Not at all.”
“You think she’d mind?” Mark raised his eyebrows.
“I don’t think your Ma would mind a bit, son…either one of
them.” Lucas smiled as he patted Mark on the shoulder. “In
fact, I’ve a feeling Milly will be pretty darn proud of you.
Why don’t you go on into town and fetch Milly…” Lucas smiled.
Mark pulled up to the hotel and jumped down. He started inside
when Micah hollered to him from across the street. “Hi, Micah!
What’s up?” Mark asked.
“Well uh…” Micah frowned. “Ever since the arrival of Milly
Scott last Friday I haven’t seen much of you or your father. I
was wondering if maybe I’d been replaced and forgotten by a
raven haired beauty.”
“Ah shucks, Micah! Nobody can replace you!” Mark started up
the steps. “I can’t take Milly fishing.”
“Oh! Well, I’m good to see someone still needs me.” Micah
frowned. “How are things at the McCain household?”
Mark froze on the steps and turned around. He folded his arms.
“You know, Micah…Pa and I were just talking yesterday. I think
maybe you should come out to the ranch tomorrow afternoon. You
and I could fish in the pond, then Pa could cook up his famous
mess of catfish. You know how much fun we’ve had doing that in
“Oh?” Micah raised his eyebrows at Mark. “And uh…what about
“What about me?” Milly asked as she came out smiling at Mark and
“Oh!” Mark smiled at Milly. “I was just coming to fetch ya.”
Mark nodded toward Micah. “I was just inviting Micah out to
the ranch for fishing tomorrow afternoon.”
“That sounds great!” Milly smiled. Her eyes crinkled as she
patted Mark on the head. “I think Mark could use some grandpa
“Oh, but what about you and Lucas?” Micah asked.
“What about us, Micah?” Milly turned and looked at Lou. “Lou
can keep me company tomorrow! We’ve a lot of talking to do.”
She turned toward Mark. “We should get going. We don’t want
your father to worry.”
As Mark drove the horses down the road, he and Milly discussed
their own plans for the wedding. Milly grew excited as she
thought about the look on Lucas’s face if they were indeed able
carry out at least some of the plans she and Mark discussed..
Milly opened her tablet and began making a list as Mark
Mark stopped the team and pulled the break forward. A loud
noise could be heard coming from the house. “What on earth?”
Milly lifted her skirt and accepted Mark’s hand as she stepped
over the wagon wheel. Another loud bang sounded. She and Mark
hurried toward the house.
When they got inside, Milly saw Lucas tearing down a wall on the
back of the house. “Lucas, just what are you doing to my
house?” Milly asked with her hands on her hips. Then she
pointed to the mess on the floor.
Lucas poked his head through the growing hole in the wall. “Oh,
hi Mil.” He looked at the mess on the floor. “Well honey, if
you want a bedroom, I’m going to have to knock out this wall!
It ain’t pretty, but if you have a neat way of doing it, I’m
all ears!” He grinned up at her. He started to return to his
work, but stuck his head back through the hole. “Oh…one more
thing, darling.” Milly narrowed her eyes and waited. She knew
he was talking sweetly to her for a reason. She soon found out
what it was. “Once I start building, you won’t be allowed to
come here until the wedding.”
“WHAT????” Milly squealed. “Lucas, I want to get things ready
and moved in! I…”
“I’m sorry, honey.” Lucas stood up and walked over to her. He
put his arms around her then turned his head toward his son.
“Uh Mark, why don’t you go do your chores.”
“Chores are done, Pa,” Mark answered.
“Well then go swap out the barn.” Lucas turned and grinned as
he stared in Milly’s eyes.
“Barn’s all clean, Pa. I did it yesterday,” Mark announced with
an impish grin.
“Go tend to your crops then,” Lucas said, a bit impatiently as
he continued staring into Milly’s eyes.
“All done, Pa,” Mark declared as his grin turned even more
“Mark, it’s a big ranch! I know you can find something that
needs doing!” Mark chuckled, but still didn’t move. “Will you
get the heck out of here before I give you a swift kick in the
“Sure, Pa.” Mark went to the door. “Have fun.”
“Mark McCain!” Milly gasped and turned to go after him.
Lucas grabbed her and pulled her into a tight embrace. “Forget
that now, honey.” He stared into her eyes and brushed the back
of his fingers softly along her cheek. “I love you,” he said
“I love you too, Lucas,” Milly smiled as Lucas’s lips parted
just a bit. “Oh, I can’t wait to become your wife!” She lifted
her head upwards and gave him a soft, fast kiss. Lucas put his
hands behind Milly’s neck and pulled her head toward him as he
kissed her harder. Milly slowly lifted her arms around his back
and gave in to his kiss. Their embrace became passionate as
they enjoyed a long kiss. The kiss lasted several moments,
until they heard sizzling on the stove. Lucas groaned as Milly
broke the kiss. He kept her firmly in his arms and tried to
bring her lips back to his. “I have to tend to your supper!”
Milly argued as she gave him a poke in the ribs.
Lucas followed her into the kitchen. Milly began stirring the
contents in the pan. Lucas sighed heavily as he wrapped his
arms around her waist. He kissed her hair. ”What’s for
supper?” he asked, his lips against her cheek.
“Roast with carrots and potatoes…” Milly smiled as he kissed her
cheek again. “Green beans and fresh bread.” Lucas mumbled his
approval as he gave her other cheek a soft kiss. Milly giggled
as she put her hands on his hands, still tightly wrapped around
her waist. “And for dessert…”
“I don’t need dessert. All I need is you…” Lucas mumbled as he
trailed kisses down her cheek.
Milly forced his arms away from around her waist. “Well, you
will have to wait!” She pecked him on the lips. “That’s
enough, Mr. McCain!” She bent over and opened the oven. Then
she carefully removed something. “Because tonight, we are
having…” She turned and held the pan up to him. “Apple pie.”
The McCain’s enjoyed every morsel of Milly’s fine cooking. Mark
commented several times that he couldn’t wait until after the
wedding. He wanted to eat like this every day!
Milly smiled; happy her two favorite men were enjoying her
company. She couldn’t wait to be Mrs. McCain. She remembered a
few years back when she told a young man she had been courting
that she didn’t want to be a regular housewife who just cooked,
cleaned, and took care of the kids. But as she looked up into
her fiancée’s eyes, the sound of being a regular wife didn’t
bother her in the least. She couldn’t help wondering if the
problem was the man; and now that she found the man she wanted
to marry, being a ‘wife’ didn’t sound so bad.
“A penny for your thoughts,” Lucas said softly.
Milly blinked her eyes and looked up at him. “What?”
“You took a trip somewhere. Where did you go?” Lucas asked as
he smiled at her.
“I was just…remembering back.” Milly blushed. “To before I
moved to North Fork. I told someone once that I didn’t want to
be a regular wife who just took care of the kids and did the
chores around the house. I wanted so much more.”
“Well?” Lucas lifted his eyebrows. He remembered Milly telling
him about the man who had wanted to marry her.
“Sitting here…with you two…” Milly lowered her head and studied
the contents on her plate. She took a bite of her green beans
while she gathered her thoughts. “I find myself wanting to do
just that. I mean…the day I arrived, what did I do? I cleaned
your house! And the whole time I was wishing it was mine. Now
it soon will be. I can’t wait to cook your meals for you and
clean your house…take care of you and Mark. Those are the ideas
I was running from, yet they seem to have found me right
here…right where I ran to.” Milly lifted her head. She looked
at Mark, then at Lucas. She shrugged. “Maybe it was the man…my
heart was telling me I didn’t want to do those things for him.”
Lucas laid a hand on top of hers. He smiled into her eyes. “He
was forbidding you to do anything else if I remember right,
honey. I’m not going to forbid you from teaching. If you
wanted to come back here and tend the store like you used to, I
wouldn’t stop you. But…” Lucas chose his words carefully…”We
would have to discuss it…as a family if things got out of hand.
You know what I mean?”
Milly nodded. “Meaning that as long as I pull my weight around
here tending your home and taking care of you two, you have no
objections.” Milly smiled. “And meaning working more than part
time would be out of the question.”
“Did I say that?” Lucas asked.
Milly shook her head. “You didn’t have to. I’m a pretty
sensible woman…for a city girl.” Lucas chuckled.
Mark cleared his throat. “Which reminds me, Pa; I invited Micah
to come out here tomorrow.”
Lucas took his hand off of Milly’s and picked up his fork.
“What’s that got to do with anything we were discussing?”
“Well…” Mark rolled his eyes. “It was getting a little
too…mushy in here!” Lucas and Milly laughed at the look on
Mark’s face. “Anyway, I think Micah’s feeling a bit left out.
Since Milly’s come back, you haven’t played checkers or visited
with him or anything.”
“He was the first to know we were getting married,” Lucas
“You mean, you went to talk to him before the preacher?” Milly
“Uh…n…no..” Lucas cleared his throat. “I talked to him at
Sweeny’s after I left you with Lou Friday night.”
“Oh.” Milly narrowed her eyes at Lucas. “So, he really WAS the
first to know!”
Lucas nodded. “Then I told him for sure Monday morning BEFORE I
came to see you at the hotel.” Lucas shook his head. “I didn’t
realize he was feeling neglected, but I suppose we haven’t been
including him in things.” Lucas nodded. “Alright son, why
don’t we make a day out of it?” Lucas turned to Milly. “We’ll
have lunch at the hotel, then we’ll all come back here to the
“I thought that maybe Lou and I would stay in town…to give you
‘guys’ some time alone,” Milly suggested.
“Oh Milly…” Lucas groaned. “We’re going to be so busy next
week…I’m afraid we won’t have much time to spend together. Can
we invite Lou and Micah out here tomorrow afternoon? While
we’re fishing, you girls can uh…” Lucas grinned. “Just stay in
the house and clean!”
Milly gasped. She picked up her napkin and threw it at him.
“Lucas McCain!” Lucas bent over and kissed her on the cheek.
“Actually, I have a better idea.” Milly stood and started
picking up the empty plates from the table. “Lou and I can fix
Sunday dinner here at the ranch while you guys sit around and
talk or…” Milly cleared her throat. “…do whatever it is guys do
on Sunday afternoons. Then after lunch, Lou and I will talk
and…” Milly smiled. “…do whatever women do on Sunday
afternoons…while you go fishing. I have a yearning to taste
Lucas took Milly’s hand as she reached for his plate. “That was
a good meal!” he declared softly.
“It sure was!” Mark stated. “Can I have seconds?”
Milly smiled at Mark. “You already had seconds.”
“Oh…” Mark raised his eyebrows. “Can I have thirds?”
Lucas laughed, shaking his head. “It’s going to be hard keeping
his stomach satisfied!” Then he looked at his son. “Milly made
apple pie, son.”
“OH!” Mark declared with a smile. “Milly makes the best apple
Both father and son smiled as Milly took their empty plates to
the sink. She smiled as she carefully cut the apple pie. She
gave a big piece of it to Lucas, and then to Mark. Then she
picked up some more dishes from the table, turned toward the
kitchen, and smiled widely.
“Milly?” Milly turned back around. “Aren’t you going to have a
“Not right now, Lucas,” Milly answered as she went to the sink.
From the corner of her eye, she watched as Lucas and Mark took
a big bite of their pie. She watched Lucas’s smile disappeared.
He adjusted himself a bit in his chair then raised an eyebrow
at Mark, who undoubtedly had the same expression. Milly turned
back to the sink and smiled, very satisfied with herself.
She busied herself in the kitchen until they were all done.
Then she walked back to the table. “So…” She picked up the
empty saucers as the father and son took a big swig of their
drinks. “How was it?”
“Good, Milly,” Lucas answered as he coughed into his hand.
“Yeah. Really good, Milly.” Mark lowered his eyes to the table.
Milly turned from the counter after sitting the saucers down.
She folded her arms and shook her head. “Liars!” Lucas and
Mark jerked their head up and turned to her. They both stared
at her, shocked. “You two are pitiful! Just pitiful!” She
walked over to Lucas and pinched his cheeks together. “And
you’re about to stand in front of a preacher and promise to
never lie to me.” Then she turned to Mark. “And you both
should have your mouth washed out with soap!”
Lucas looked at Mark. They studied each other for a moment.
Then recognition slowly registered on their faces. “Oh…LOU!”
Lucas groaned. “You asked Lou to bake us her pie?”
“No.” Milly turned back to the sink as she started pumping water
into a pan to heat. “I baked the pie.”
“What?” Mark asked. “It tastes just like Lou’s!”
“I used Lou’s recipe.” Milly walked back to the table. Lucas
reached out to take her arm so he could pull her down onto his
lap, but she snapped it away. “You want to know what the
problem was? Sugar. It’s a simple mistake – one anyone as busy
as a woman running a hotel and feeding half-starved bachelors
can make.” She walked toward the front door. “And since both
of you saw it fitting to lie to me, you will both get in that
kitchen and clean it up! I want everything spotless by the time
I get back!” Milly opened the door.
“Where are you going?” Lucas whined.
“For a walk…alone!” Milly declared. She walked up to Lucas and
looked into his eyes. She took his chin in her hand. “And you
can imagine what you are missing.” She smiled, then turned and
walked out the door, firmly closing it behind her.
After she walked out, Mark groaned and went to check the water
on the stove. “Pa, I don’t think we better ever…ever lie to
Milly again! Even if it’s to spare her feelings!” He advised.
“Yeah.” Lucas shook his head as he folded his arms and stared
at the closed door. He thought on what he was missing right
now. Holding her hand, kissing and hugging…Then after
marriage…Lucas’s eyes widened. “YEAH!”
The Wedding — Sunday at the McCain
This is a
story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
Table of Contents
around The McCain Ranch