The Rifleman
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Fan Fiction

The Wedding
A Bring Milly Back Production
By Michelle Palmer

Chapter 6:  Sunday at the McCain Ranch

Lucas yawned as he stood up from the table.  These days, it seemed sleep was hard to come by.  He’d gotten Milly home rather late last night.  They were both excited about their approaching wedding and seemed to have so much to talk about.  “Best get these dishes washed, son.  We don’t want to be late for church,” he said.

But Mark knew he was anxious to get into town so he could see Milly.  “You saw her last night, Pa,” Mark declared with a grin.

Lucas had started for the bedroom, but he turned and pointed a finger at his son.  “You just wait, boy!  Your day’s coming.  I’m marking it all down for when you are engaged.”

Mark laughed as he started to pick up the dishes.

Lucas hurried into the bedroom and took off his shirt.  He reached into the closet for his clean, white shirt that he had picked up from town yesterday, but groaned as he remembered he had left it in the living room the night before.

Lucas opened the door and stepped into the living room.  He suddenly heard female voices.

Lucas looked up.  “Milly!  Lou!” He stopped and stared at the ladies in surprise.  “Well, it’s not often we get such beautiful visitors this early in the morning.”

Milly couldn’t say a word.  Her mouth opened in surprise as she stared at Lucas.  She could feel her face growing warm.  Lou chuckled beside her friend.  “Well, from what I see, Milly, you are a very lucky woman!” She declared.

Milly stared at Lou, wondering how she could be so bold, Then she turned back toward her fiancé.  There was something about his bare chest that made her speechless..

Lucas looked down, suddenly realizing what the problem was.  He remembered Milly’s reaction from the last time she’d caught him with his shirt off.  He actually wanted to smile that she was so bashful about such matters while Lou seemed to be so brazen.  But he knew his bare chest was making her very uncomfortable.  “Oh…I’m…” Lucas hurried across the room and grabbed his shirt.  He quickly put it on and started buttoning it up.  “What did I do to deserve this surprise visit?” He asked as he walked back toward the women.

Mark walked in with a ham in his arms.  He came in just as his father was beginning to button his shirt up.  “Just sit it in the sink, Mark!” Lou ordered.  She turned toward Lucas.  “If we’re going to have Sunday dinner here, we’ve got to get it ready!” Lou declared.

Milly put a hand to her chest to slow her breathing down…or to start breathing again…at the moment, she wasn’t sure which it was.  “Oh, Uh…” She licked her lips as she turned toward Mark.  “Yes!  You two best get dressed for church!”  She blushed at that comment.  “I…I…mean…”

Lucas chuckled.  Milly turned and flashed an angry look at him.  Lucas quickly cleared his throat.

 “Lou and I are just going to put the ham in to bake.  That way we won’t have to wait until late-afternoon to eat.”  Lucas shook his head as he watched the two women take over his kitchen.

He turned and looked at Mark.  Bending over close to his ear, he quietly asked, “Why didn’t you warn me they were here?”

“I did,” Mark answered.  “I guess you didn’t hear me.”  Mark turned and looked at Milly.  Then he turned back toward his father.  “Just be glad it wasn’t your pants!”

Milly turned from the sink where she had started washing the breakfast dishes.  “Both of you!  Go get ready for church!”

“Pa told me to wash those!” Mark declared as he pointed toward the dishes.

Milly put a hand on her hip.  “And I told you to go get dressed for church!”

“Come on, son.”  Lucas cleared his throat as he and Mark went into the bedroom and closed the door.

Lou started working on spicing the ham.  After getting it into the oven, Lou went to work on drying the dishes while Milly turned and started wiping down the table.  The bedroom door opened and Lucas walked out.  He was all dressed, even had his tie tied correctly.  When he saw Milly cleaning up their mess from breakfast, he lifted an eyebrow at her.  “You don’t live here yet, honey.  You don’t have to clean up after us.”

“I want to!” Milly declared.  She looked up and smiled at him.  “It brings me joy.”  She turned and looked at Mark as he stood at the mirror tying his tie. Then she looked at Lucas.  She gasped and threw a hand to her mouth as she watched them getting ready for church.  There was suddenly something so intimate about it.

Lucas cocked his head to one side as he walked up to her.  “What are you thinking?”

Milly shook her head.  “Nothing,” she answered quietly.  She turned from him.  “Nothing at all.”  But inside, she felt her heart warming.  Soon this would be her place.  She’d cook breakfast every morning and wash off the table as they got ready for church.  She soon wouldn’t feel like she had…

“Milly?”  Lucas called softly as he put his hands on her shoulders and turned her back around to face him.  He raised his eyebrows and looked into her eyes.

“Um…” Milly turned from him again and looked toward Lou who was putting the finishing touches on her chocolate cake mixture.  She suddenly felt very uncomfortable.  “Lou, I think we should go.”

Lou nodded.  She put a towel over the bowl with the cake mixture in it then started for the door.  Milly had her hand on the door before Lucas found his voice.  “Hold on there!” He grabbed Milly’s hand and held it firmly.  “Now, you just stay put.  I want to talk to you.”  He turned and looked up at Mark.  “Mark, you ride Lou on back to town.  We’ll be along shortly.”  Mark looked from Lou to his father, trying to figure out what was going on.  “Go on, son.”

Lucas closed the door after Lou left.  Then he turned back to Milly.  “What is it?” he asked softly.  Milly shook her head.  She started to turn away from him again, but Lucas pressed a hand against her cheek.  “Come on, honey.  What?”

“We…shouldn’t have come here, Lucas.  We were…intruding.” Milly bit her lip.  “I told Lou this would be a mistake.”  Lucas studied the look of regret on her face.

“We discussed you all coming over here last night, honey.”  Lucas touched her cheek again.  Milly looked up at him.  “We sat right here at this kitchen table and discussed it.”  Lucas smiled.  “And YOU could never be an intrusion, honey.”

“This isn’t my home…not yet.”  Milly looked into Lucas’s eyes.  “We put you and Mark in an awkward spot…just showing up like we did.”

Lucas chuckled softly.  “You mean like me not having my shirt on?”  Milly blushed.  “I won’t tell you what Mark said.”

“It’s not just your shirt…It’s…” Milly turned toward the window.  “…watching you and Mark getting ready to go to God’s house.  There was just something so…intimate about it.  I felt I was intruding.”

“I understand.”  Lucas took her hand and pulled her back toward him.  “I should have known you would need to get Sunday dinner started early.”  Lucas studied her.  She still wasn’t convinced.  He sat down at the table and pulled her down onto his lap.  “I must admit, I was a bit surprised at first; but I actually sort of enjoyed it.”

“You did?” Milly raised her eyebrows.  Lucas nodded.  “I enjoyed watching you rush around washing the breakfast dishes and starting lunch.  It sort of gave me a taste of what our Sundays will soon become.  I like what I saw.”

Milly put her arms around his neck and kissed him.  “Your life is about to change forever.”

“So is yours, my sweet Mil,” Lucas stated softly.

“Yes.  But I don’t really have any sort of life established yet.  I’m going to invade your house…sort of like what Lou and I did this morning.”  Milly laid her forehead against his.  “Are you sure you’re ready for that?”

“I’m very sure.”  Lucas raised his eyebrows at her again.  Then he kissed her.  “Don’t worry, Mil.  When we were in there in the bedroom getting dressed, Mark told me that he was looking forward to you being in the kitchen every morning.”  He lowered his mouth to her ear and whispered, “He also told me he’s glad I didn’t forget my pants.”  Milly giggled.  “That’s better.”  He patted her back.  “Now…shall we go to church?”

Milly nodded and stood up.  Lucas opened the door as he grabbed his rifle.  He stepped back to allow Milly to walk out first.  Then he looked around.  He smiled in satisfaction.  Yes, he could definitely get used to this!  It was very rare that his kitchen was so clean after a rushed morning.  It was obvious women had been in his house, and he liked it!

They didn’t talk much as they rode into town side by side.  Each was left to his or her own thoughts.  But each was thinking on the same thing…That in only three weeks, they would ride together to church as a married couple.

They walked in the door as the doors to the church were closing.  Lucas and Milly made their way up front to sit beside Lou and Micah.  Today was the first day they sat together as an engaged couple.  Lucas looked down at Milly’s hand.  He laid his on top of hers and squeezed.

Reverend Gathers walked up to the pulpit.  He smiled down at the happy couple as they looked dreamingly into each other’s eyes.  Lucas certainly didn’t look like the rough and tough Rifleman he had met when he first came to North Fork!  He cleared his throat.

“Before we get started this morning, I want to make an important announcement that probably doesn’t really need to be mentioned, because you all probably already know.”  He looked down at Lucas and Milly.  “We will have a wedding in three weeks.  Lucas McCain and Milly Scott will be getting married on April 3.”  The room was filled with warm applause as the happy couple stood.  Lucas grasped Milly’s hand and kissed it as everyone stood and applauded louder.  Reverend Gathers lifted his hands to bring order back to his congregation.  “Let’s remember that this is still a church!”  he declared.

After church ended, Lucas and Milly were surrounded by well wishers.  Lou slipped out with Micah and Mark after Micah told Lucas they were heading on out to the ranch.  The couple tried to answer everyone’s questions, but found themselves overwhelmed by all the things that were being said.

Finally, Lucas grabbed Milly’s hand and pulled her out of the church and to the waiting buckboard.  He lifted Milly up into the seat then tipped his hat to the ladies gathered around the wagon.  He called to the horses and hurried out of town.  “Boy, you’d think we just said ‘I do’ in the church the way everyone’s acting!” Lucas declared after he put his arm around Milly and settled back on the seat.

When they pulled into the yard, Lucas hopped down and again picked Milly up and swung her down from the wagon seat.  She kissed him then hurried into the house.  Lucas slowly walked over to Micah and Mark as they sat whittling on a piece of wood.  He took a seat on the third chair and took off his jacket.  “Well…I’d say this has been quite a day already.”

“Women!” Mark shook his head.  Micah and Lucas turned and looked at him.  Mark got a guilty look on his face as he looked from his father to Micah.  “They seem to be taking over our lives!”

Micah frowned.  “You haven’t seen anything yet, Mark.”

“Oh?” Lucas raised an eyebrow.  “What do you know about it, you old goat?”

“I was married once!” Micah declared.  “I remember how a woman invades your home.”

Mark’s eyes grew wide as he leaned forward in his chair.  “You were WHAT????”

Micah raised his eyebrows at Lucas.  “I…thought you told him everything, Lucas Boy.”

“I don’t tell him things my best friend tells me in confidence!” Lucas declared.  He turned to Mark.  “Nevermind, son.  Maybe Micah will tell you someday.”

Micah nodded.  “It’s a pretty painful time, son.”  Then he cleared his throat.  “But Mark, somehow you like it when a woman takes over.  It feels nice and though women tend to get sort of bossy about some things…”

“Lucas!”  Milly suddenly called from the doorway.  “You keep that tie and jacket on until after supper!  It won’t hurt you men any to look decent for one meal!”  All three men turned to see Milly carrying a fresh bucket of water into the house.

Mark groaned.  “You…were saying, Micah?” He asked as he tied his tie back.

“Well son,” Lucas cleared his throat.  “Did you have to do breakfast dishes this morning?” Mark shook his head.  “We don’t have to worry about cooking lunch or cleaning up afterwards…We get to sit out here and talk while the ladies are in the house doing the work.  So, while they are bossing us, we like it because of the work they are doing.

“Then after Milly and I are married, she’ll take over the domestic duties.  A woman works hard…as hard as we work.  All these years we’ve been doing everything.  Now Milly will be doing a lot of the work.  It’ll be an adjustment.  But it’ll be good because we love her.”

“Adjustments?” Mark questioned.  He wasn’t sure he liked the sound of that.

”Well, when Milly moves in,  there may be some things that bother us.  She may want our routine changed, or there may be times that was father-son moments and now must be shared…Like…Well, you know how we sit out on the porch at night and talk?”  Mark nodded.  “In the future, you may have to share those talks with Milly sometimes.  Or there may be evenings when Milly and I need those times to ourselves when we’re having a problem or…when we need to be alone to talk.  There may be fewer of them for you and me, but we’ll find other ways to adjust. Maybe we’ll go fishing on Sundays more, or maybe we’ll have our talks when we’re riding out on the range.  But we’ll find them.”  Lucas raised his eyebrows as he looked sternly into Mark’s eyes.  “Marriage is all about compromise, son.  There are advantages…but there are disadvantages.  There will be a time of adjustment but it’ll be no different than after your mother died.  It’ll be better, because this is a happy occasion.”

“Is that why you’re marrying Milly?  Because of benefits of having a wife?” Mark asked.

Lucas stared at his son.  “Now you know better than that!  I’m marrying her because I love her…” Lucas smiled as she came up to them.  “Very, very much.”

“I thought you and Micah may want a cigar before lunch, honey.”  She bent down and kissed him.  “Lunch will be in about 45 minutes.”  Then she turned and walked back toward the house.

“The benefits definitely outweigh the consequences,” Lucas mumbled as he watched her go back into the house.

“Definitely,” Micah nodded as he lit his cigar.

“Maybe…”Mark thought as he stood to take a walk and think about what his father had said.

***

“Now, you make sure you wash your hands!” Lou ordered as the men stepped into the house an hour later.  Milly held out a chair for Lucas.  Lucas smiled at her and sat down.  Everyone sat down and joined hands.  Lucas led the prayer.  After he said Amen, Milly unfolded Lucas’s napkin and put it on his lap.  Then she filled his plate with ham, spuds, and all the trimmings.  Lucas smiled at her, thanking her for her thoughtfulness.

“Pa?” Mark questioned, not understanding what had happened.

Lucas smiled as he bent over toward his son sitting on the other side of him.  “Well son, Sunday dinners are special.  It’s a time for the woman to serve her husband and show him just how much she loves him.  That’s what Milly was doing.”

“Did Ma do that?” he asked quietly.  Lucas nodded.  “You and Milly aren’t married yet though.”

“No.”  Lucas smiled as he turned and looked at Milly who was filling her own plate.  “But she’s showing me how I’ll be treated once we’re married.”  Lucas picked up his fork and started eating.  “You see son, for a marriage to work, both the man and wife must work at it.  I give a lot and take a little; she gives a lot and takes a little.  When you love somebody, you show them in many different ways.”

Mark shook his head.  “I’ll never figure it all out!”  Everyone at the table laughed.

As the group ate together, the conversation was kept light.  Lucas and Micah discussed the trouble in town Micah had dealt with the night before while Milly and Lou discussed the things they needed to get accomplished the following week.  Mark tried to keep up with everything that was being said but it was hard.

Finally, the men sat back in their chairs and complimented the women on the fine meal.  Milly bent over and gave Lucas a brief kiss.  “You hungry for dessert?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am.”  Lucas gave her a knowing smile.

“It’s chocolate cake,” Milly declared as she stood up and went to serve him.

After the dessert was eaten, the men went to get ready for their afternoon of fishing while the women went to work on cleaning the dishes.

Milly started washing the dishes while Lou cleaned the table.  She groaned as she bent over and picked up scraps off the floor.  “Oh, I feel sorry for you!” Lou declared.

Milly turned from the sink.  “Why?”

“These men eat like pigs!  Look at all the food on the floor.  No wonder they’re always hungry!  They only get half of it in their mouth.”

Milly chuckled.  “I don’t mind, Lou.”

Lou walked over to the counter.  She picked up a dishtowel and started drying the dishes.  “This will soon be your home, Milly.  Your kitchen.  Can you believe it?”

Milly again turned from the sink and looked around.  This would soon be…”Home.”  Milly smiled.  “I’ve been looking for a home for so long.  This will be my home…” Milly ran her hand down the cabinet that held Margaret’s dishes.  “My…family…”  She turned back to Lou.  “What do you think Margaret would say?”

Lou stopped drying the plate and sat it down.  She put her hands on Milly’s shoulder. “Margaret would say ‘Take good care of my husband.  Love him like I loved him.  Treat him like I’d want him treated.’”  Lou smiled.  “I can see Margaret by talking to Lucas.  I feel like I know her in a strange way.  And I know that Margaret would approve of ye.  If she didn’t, Lucas and Mark wouldn’t approve of ye.”

Milly turned and smiled at Lou.  She nodded, knowing Lou was right.  “Well, let’s get these dishes done!  Then maybe we can go for a walk on the ranch.”

The women worked together as they finished cleaning the kitchen.  Milly threw the water out the back door and hung the pan on the nail.  Then she turned to Lou.  “This floor needs another good scrubbing.  I know its Sunday, but…Do you think Lucas would mind?”

“Yes.  He would mind.”  Lucas stood in the doorway.  He went to the desk and took some pieces of paper from one of the drawers.  “I wanted to show Micah the plans for the rooms.  I know they’re in here somewhere.”

Milly walked over to him.  “Lucas, I won’t have time to come out here and clean your house next week.  I want to get this floor clean at least.  I…”

Lucas straightened up and cocked his head to one side.  “I have the floor on Mark’s list of chores for tomorrow, Mil.”  Milly looked down at the floor.  “You’ll be taking care of us soon enough.  You just concentrate on the wedding.”  Lucas opened the bottom drawer.  “Aha!  Here they are!”  He grabbed them.  Then he looked back at Milly once more.  “Look honey, Today’s the day of rest.  My folks never did anything on Sunday.  Us kids had to sit around the house and look at each other!  Now, I’m not that strict, but in my house, we do as little work as possible.  I’ve always had it that way.  Mark’s not assigned any chores and is limited on the things he can do.  God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh.  My family is no different.  God takes good care of us.  He deserves the same respect.”  He turned and opened the door.  “Remember that.”

The ladies looked at each other as the door closed.  “Well…I think he missed his calling!  He should have been a preacher!” Lou declared.

Milly smiled.  She loved his speech.  “I think he’s wonderful!” she Mumbled.

The ladies made their way outside.  They walked out onto the range as they talked about anything and everything.  Milly told Lou about her family, and Lou told Milly about hers.  Before they knew it, they came to the pond where the men were fishing.

Lucas stood and came back to Milly.  He kissed her, but Milly wouldn’t get too close to him.  “You smell like fish!” she declared.

Lucas smiled.  “And this time tomorrow I’ll smell like manure!”  He shrugged.  “I don’t work in a field of daisies, honey.”

The ladies sat down on the bank and watched the men fish.  They held their own conversation, leaving the men to their own.  After a while, they stood and started back towards the house.  When they got there, Lou folded her arms and looked at the hole in the wall.  “Well…so this is where Mr. and Mrs. McCain’s bedroom will be.”  Lou smiled.

Milly blushed.  “You should see how big it’s going to be!”

“Oh, ye will love it!” Lou declared.  “I know you will!”

Milly slowly turned and looked at Lou.  “Oh?  How do you know?”

“Lucas asked me some advice is all,” Lou shrugged.  “He swore me to secrecy!”
She sat down at the table and studied her hands.  “I hope I can find what you have someday.”

“You will.  Maybe some nice looking man will come to our wedding and dance with you at the reception.  Maybe he’ll sweep you off your feet!”

Lou chuckled.  “I’d be happy to meet someone as wonderful as Lucas.  Ye know, I’ve seen a lot of weddings and watched a lot of young couples marry; but it’s not often that a love like yours comes along.  That Cowboy would move heaven and earth to make ye happy.  I saw it in his eyes the very first day I met him.”

“Really?” Milly was surprised.

“Mm hm.”  Lou nodded.  “I was trying to buy the General Store and he told me he’d be willing to sell it if he thought the price was fair to ‘Milly.’  The way he said it was…well, there was something about it.  Then when I said ‘She must be a good friend.’  Do you know what he said?”  Milly shook her head.  “He said ‘And I intend to make sure she stays…a good friend.’”

Milly smiled.  “And he did.  We wrote letters back and forth the entire time.  Even at a distance, he helped me through so much.”

They heard voices outside. Milly stood and opened the door to find Lucas and Mark standing with a mess of fish.  “Well!” Milly folded her arms.  “Looks like we’ll have a lot of fish for our supper!”

“Yeah.”  Lucas grabbed her arm and pulled her outside.  “So you ladies just stay outside.  Micah, Mark, and I have the kitchen tonight.”  He started to bring the fish into the house.

“I don’t think so, Lucas McCain!” Milly declared.  “You just turn around and get those fish out of here!  Clean them outside!”

“We’re going to, Milly!” Mark said.  “But we’re just going through the house to…”

“No you aren’t!” Milly stated.  “You’ll step foot in this house when those fish are clean and…” Milly gave the three men a disgusted look.  “You three are clean!”

“Oh Milly!” All three men groaned, but Milly pointed toward the barn.  She turned and looked at Lou as they both started laughing.

Lou and Milly sat outside and discussed wedding plans while the men worked on cooking the fish.  Then that evening, they sat around the table for a second meal at the McCain Ranch.  The ladies shook their heads as they watched the men stuff themselves.  Lou and Milly were only able to eat a small piece before they declared they were stuffed.  Later, as the women worked at cleaning the kitchen, which looked like it had been hit by a Kansas twister, the men went outside to smoke while Milly sat Mark down at the table with his lessons.

“Well Lucas Boy,” Micah said as he sat in the rocking chair on the porch.  “What do you think about it all now?”

Lucas turned and looked into the open door.  He saw Milly lean over as Mark asked a question about his studies.  She patted his back and smiled gently and then stood up as she went back to her cleaning.  His stomach was full from the two meals they had shared together.  He remembered Milly sitting away from him at the pond just watching him fish.  He remembered her sitting on his lap as he assured her everything was okay.  He felt her lips on his as she greeted him with a kiss several times that day.  And he smelled the stew she was cooking for his and mark’s supper tomorrow night.

Lucas turned back and looked at Micah.  “What do I think?”  He took a long puff off of his cigar.  “I think God has given me more than I deserve.  And I think that…” Lucas paused as Milly came out and handed him a fresh cup of coffee.  She sat down in a chair beside him and gave him another short kiss.  “And I think that any man would be blessed to have what I have.”

Mark stood in the doorway as Lou came to sit in another chair on the porch.  “Milly, my homework’s done.”

Milly nodded.  Lucas smiled as he squeezed Milly’s hand.  He loved how she had already taken over certain aspects of their lives.  It was almost like she had never left.

“You want to sing?” Mark asked.

Lucas grinned as Milly squeezed his hand.  “I haven’t heard you play your guitar in a long time, Mark!” Milly declared happily.

Mark disappeared into the house, but soon reappeared with his guitar.  He sat down on the steps and worked on tuning his guitar.  “Okay, I’m taking requests!” he declared.

Lou smiled.  “Let’s sing ‘Go Tell Aunt Rhody!’”  Mark started the singing and soon, all five were singing:

Go tell Aunt Rhody,
Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
That the old gray goose is dead.

The one she's been saving
The one she's been saving
The one she's been saving
To make a feather bed.

The old gander's weeping,
The old gander's weeping,
The old gander's weeping,
Because his wife is dead.

The goslings are mourning,
The goslings are mourning,
The goslings are mourning,
because their mother's dead.

She drowned in the mill pond
She drowned in the mill pond
She drowned in the mill pond
from standing on her head.

Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
that the old gray goose is dead.

Milly listened happily, enjoying being with the people she loved.  Lucas put his cheek to hers as he sang in his own scratchy voice.  He laughed out loud when they finished.

Mark began strumming the next song.  He started singing the words:

When I was young I used to wait
On Master and give him his plate
Pass…

“Uh…Mark?”  Mark stopped playing and looked over at his father.  Lucas scratched behind his ear.  He shook his head.  “Not tonight, huh?”

“HUH?” Mark asked, confused.

“It’s…uh…not appropriate…” He pointed to Milly.  Milly turned and saw him pointing.  Lucas bent over and kissed her, but she gave him a dirty look.

Mark cleared his throat as he changed to a different song.  Milly turned to Lucas and laid a hand on his cheek as he bent and kissed her softly. Lucas held her against him closely as they cuddled and listened to Mark sing.  This song held so many memories.

The first time that I looked at her,
It wasn’t hard to see
She is something special
Especially for me.

The bluest eyes that I’ve ever seen
And pretty as can be
She is something special
Especially for me!

I’m lucky that I found her
On that special day
I want so much to tell her
The Things I cannot Say

If she would only look my way
I know that she would see
She is something special,
Especially for me!

Something special…
Especially…for me!

Milly turned and looked into Lucas’s eyes.  She again put a soft hand on his cheek.  Before they could kiss, Mark started strumming on the guitar again.  He smiled.  “This is one I’ve been working on learning.  Pa, you don’t know I can play this one yet. Mark closed his eyes as he leaned his head against the post and smiled as he began singing the words.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Thru many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we'd first begun.
Mark opened his eyes as he stopped playing.  He looked to see Milly with her head on his father’s shoulder crying softly.  Lucas patted her shoulder as she wiped at her tears.  She lifted her head from Lucas’s shoulder.  “Oh Mark…That was…” Milly swallowed.  “That was just beautiful!”

Lucas nodded proudly at his son.  “Thank you, son.”  Everyone else murmured their pleasure to hear Mark’s singing.

“You have a beautiful voice, Mark.”  Milly said softly.

Micah stood up.  “I need to get you ladies home.”  Micah stretched. “Outlaws may have overtaken the town by now!”

Everyone nodded their agreement, that it was time to get back to North Fork.  “You should get to bed, son,” Lucas said.

“Can I play one more while they leave?”  Lucas nodded as he walked Milly toward the wagon.  He watched as they paused and Lucas turned to look into her eyes.  He brushed a hand against her cheek.  Mark smiled then softly began strumming on the guitar.

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lull'd by the moonlight have all pass'd away!
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Mark smiled as he sang the words.  He watched his father bend down and kiss Milly softly on the mouth.  Then they stood and looked into each other’s eyes before Lucas lifted her onto the seat.  Micah picked up the reins and called to the horses.  He waved as he quietly rode away.

Lucas watched until the wagon disappeared over the hill.  Then he slowly walked back to stand beside his son.  He put an arm around Mark’s shoulders and smiled down at him.  “What do you think now, son?” he asked, repeating Micah’s question to him from earlier.

“I think it’s alright, Pa.  Our lives are changing, but I do see the benefits.”  Lucas looked down at his son.  Then they turned and walked into the house.  Lucas paused at the door and blew out the lamp.  Then he walked inside and closed the door as the memories of the day etched themselves on the land.

The Wedding — Sunset at Miller's Pond

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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