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The Wedding
A Bring Milly Back Production
By Michelle Palmer

Chapter 4:  Tensions

Due to lack of sleep and all the excitement she had recently experienced, Milly overslept the next morning.  She woke up to hear banging on her door.  “Milly, yoohoo!” She groaned when she heard Lou’s cheerful voice calling to her.  Milly yawned and forced herself out of bed.  After putting on her robe, she opened the door and let Lou come in.  Lou smiled as she brought in a tray of food, complete with a pot of coffee.  “I figured ye were sleeping in!  That cowboy kept you out too late again last night?”

Milly yawned as she sat down at the small table in her room.  Lou poured some coffee in the cup and sat it down in front of her.  “No.  Actually, he got me back early.  I didn’t see you anywhere when I came in.”  Lou sat down across from her and folded her arms on the table.  “Are you going to eat?”

“I ate hours ago.”  Milly lifted her eyebrows as she studied her friend.  “Oh…ye don’t know what time it is…do ye?” Lou smiled.

“No, I…” Milly stood and walked over to the table.  She picked up the clock and stared at it.  “Ten O’clock?” She gasped.  “I slept in until ten…” Milly looked up and stared at Lou who was grinning from ear to ear.  “Lou…” Milly slowly walked back to the table and sat down.  She took a bite of her pancakes.  “I’ve NEVER slept until ten o’clock in the morning!”

“You’ve never been engaged before.”  Lou smiled into her cup.  “I ordered all my guests not to make any noise.  I was worried about ye earlier and knocked on the door.  Ye never answered, so I unlocked it and looked in on ye.  Ye were sound asleep.”

Milly put a hand to her chest.  “I didn’t even get my lesson plans together!” She declared.  “Why, when Lucas dropped me off last night I was so tired that…” Milly smiled.  “I just went straight to bed.”

Lou visited with Milly then stood to leave.  Milly gasped as she stood and walked across the room.  She opened a box on the desk and took out some money.  “This should cover the remainder of my stay.”

Lou held up her hands, refusing to take the money.  “No.  I can’t take it, Milly.”

“It’s not enough?” Milly questioned.

“You are staying here as my guest…” Lou chuckled.  “As my friend.”  Milly shook her head and held the money out to her.  “No, Milly…You see, Lucas and Mark have been here for me.  They helped me get settled even when I was mean to him.  And I need a best friend here.  Now that you’re here close by, I think we’ll be very good friends.  Ye just let me help ye in the wedding…that’s all I ask.”

Milly could tell Lou didn’t only want to do this, but she NEEDED to do it.  She smiled and put the money away.

Milly hurried and dressed as she prepared to go to the church.  She had just finished preparing her lessons when she realized it was time to go.

That afternoon, there were even more children.  Word had gotten around that she was teaching.  She counted the number of children and was amazed that there were twenty-seven children!  No wonder Mr. Griswald felt overwhelmed.  In her make-shift classroom, Milly divided the children up into learning levels.  The beginners were placed close to her desk so she could help them a lot.  Then those who could read a little were placed together.  A third group was made for children who could read independently.

The afternoon flew by.  Milly was overwhelmed by the little she was able to teach these children in three hours.  It broke her heart to deprive them all of a proper education, but there really wasn’t much she could do about it.

After Milly dismissed the children for the night with their morning work assigned, she closed and locked the doors to the church.  She was disappointed that Mark wasn’t there waiting for her.  The remainder of the evening was spent eating supper and preparing lessons for the following day.

On Wednesday, Milly woke up at 6:00 AM.  She went to breakfast, spending way too much time there as she and Lou talked over coffee.  She caught herself looking around for Lucas and felt her heart sink when he didn’t show up before she had to go to work.  Thursday happened the same way.  She sat in her room most of the morning thinking on everything she had to do.  Then she went down the stairs of the hotel, hoping she would see Lucas there to have lunch with her.  Again, her heart sank when he didn’t make an appearance.

When Milly came home from work that evening, she was in a pretty foul mood.  Lou suggested she help Milly begin wedding arrangements the next morning.  Milly stood from the table in the dining room and looked around.  Lou knew she was again looking for Lucas.  Then she turned back and snapped, “No, I’ll do it!”  Then she stomped off to her room.

She leaned against her door after giving it a slam as she felt her eyes fill with tears.  Between day dreaming all morning and school in the afternoon, Milly had allowed almost a whole week to go by without making any plans.  She walked over to the mirror and stared at herself.  “You’ve got to get yourself together, Milly Scott!” she spoke out loud.  “Just because he hasn’t been here since Monday doesn’t mean he’s having second thoughts!  He’s a rancher for crying out loud!  Lucas McCain is just a very busy man.”

But as she laid in bed that night, she couldn’t sleep because deep down she wondered if maybe…just maybe Lucas hadn’t come to town because he was having second thoughts.

***

Lucas Mark McCain and Mildred Josephine Scott
Announce their engagement and
Request your presence in their wedding
To be held at the McCain Ranch
Saturday, April 3, 1886 at
One O’clock in the afternoon
Reception and Barn Dance to follow

Lou sat down next to Milly at the table in the dining room.  She leaned over and read the words Milly had sketched on the piece of paper.  “That’s very good!” Lou smiled.

Milly finished her coffee and stood up.  “Yes, and I’m afraid I’ve a million things to do this morning!”  Milly gathered up her papers from the table.  “I’ve got to get this to the print shop so I can get the invitations printed…I’ve got to send a telegram to my mother and let her know I’m getting married.  Oh, and I need to start a list of all the things I’ve got to get ready for my wedding.  On top of all that,  I need to go talk to Mr. Toomey about making a blackboard for my class.  Several of those children don’t have slates and it’s just impossible to teach those children on my little slate!”  Milly suddenly gasped as she placed a hand to her chin.  “Oh, I’ve got to start on my dress and…”  Her voice suddenly became panicked.  She was feeling overwhelmed!

“Now, you just take a deep breath, Milly Scott!”  Lou demanded.

Milly shook her head as she hurried out of the dining room.  “I don’t have time to take a deep breath!  Lou, I’ve a million things to do!”

“Oh, don’t give me that, Milly Scott!” Lou chided her as she planted her hands on her hips. “I know what your problem is!  Ye haven’t seen that cowboy in three days!  I’ve a good mind to go out there and take a stick to him, treating you this way!  Why don’t you ride on out and visit him this morning?”

Milly stopped and turned to look at Lou.  She was right.  Milly did miss Lucas.  She had expected him to come into town before this.  She was nervous and afraid that Lucas suddenly didn’t want to marry her.  Maybe he was having second thoughts!  Maybe…Milly stopped.  She didn’t have time to think about that right now!

“Lou, this is Friday!  We have exactly three weeks until the wedding!  I’ve had my head so high up in the clouds these last few days that I haven’t even been able to think about the wedding plans!”  Milly shook her head.  “I’ve got to tell mother about the wedding so I can decide when to send Micah and Mark to fetch her.”  She looked at Lou and rolled her eyes.  “Oh, I’ve got to go!”

Lou watched Milly hurry out the door.  Lou shook her head as she stared at her friend’s retreating figure. Being a woman, Lou knew the look she’d seen on Milly’s face, and she had a feeling that some of the citizens of North Fork were going to get a visit from ‘Cyclone Milly’ that morning!

“Lou, I’ve got the supplies for the hotel,” Willie stated from behind her.

“Thanks, Willie.  I have an errand for you to run,” Lou turned and gave him the information.

***

Lucas wiped the sweat from his neck as he worked the forge.  He had just gotten the coals good and hot when he saw a rider coming with a trail of dust behind him.  Lucas scooted his hat way back on his head and picked up his rifle.  Shading his eyes, he watched the rider approach until he could make him out.  “Willie?”

Willie wasn’t one who took to long horseback rides, so he became concerned that something was wrong in town.  He hurried forward as Willie rode up beside him.  Lucas grabbed the horse’s rein and held tight.  “Willie, what are you doing out here?” he asked.  “Something wrong in town?”

“You bet there is!”  Willie took the lid off his canteen and took a long drink.  “Miss Mallory sent me out here to get you.  She said Miss Scott needs you – and the sooner, the better!”

“Milly?” Lucas felt his heart leap into his throat.  “What’s wrong with her?”

“Lou told me to tell you that Miss Scott is about to explode like dynamite.  She said if you know what’s good for you, you best get into town before they BOTH explode.  Lucas, Lou’s awfully riled.”

Lucas hurried over to the fence and grabbed his shirt.  “Tell her I’m on my way!”  Lucas didn’t even stop as he threw those words over his shoulder.  He saddled Razor, jumped on his horse, and raced to town as fast as he could.

***

Milly hurried into the telegraph office and took the form to fill out.  She didn’t even acknowledge the man behind the counter.  “I need this sent to Kansas City right away!” She demanded hurriedly as she quickly wrote the words on the piece of paper.

“Lucas and I are getting married. Will send someone to travel with you to wedding.  Wedding is April 3. Details to follow.  Please respond ASAP. Milly.

Milly drummed her fingers impatiently as the telegrapher sent the telegram.  He turned and told her it was done as Milly gave him the money.  “Could you get the return telegram to me as soon as possible?  I’ll be at the church this afternoon.”  Milly’s orders were rushed.  Her eyes flashed a silent warning to the telegrapher.

The telegrapher nodded without saying a word.  Milly gave him a short nod, then turned and hurried out.  She knew she was being short with him, but she just had so many things to do!

She hurried out onto the boardwalk, running smack into Sam Barrows.  “Oh, I’m sorry, Miss Scott!” The papers Milly had in her hand fell to the boardwalk.

“Would you watch where you’re…” Milly shot out.  She stopped and closed her eyes to regain control of her emotions.  She put a hand to her chest.  “I’m…sorry.  I didn’t mean to snap at you.”  She bent over and picked up the papers she had dropped.  “I’ve just got a million things to do!”  She hurried down the steps as she rushed to the church.

Sam stared after her.  The telegrapher walked out of his office.  “Somebody sure did put a burr under her saddle!” the telegrapher exclaimed.  “I feel sorry for the person who doesn’t give her exactly what she wants!”

Milly hurried down the boardwalk.  “Three weeks until the wedding and I don’t know how everything will ever get done,” she muttered under her breath.

She hurried into the classroom and got it all ready for class.  She had a few papers to grade and quickly did that.  Then she raced out of the church and made her way to the Blacksmith’s.

***

Lucas hurried into the hotel.  Lou was sorting mail behind the desk.  “Lou, Willie told me to get into town.  Something wrong?”

“Yes, Cowboy, indeed there is!” Lou smacked down the receipts that were in her hand.  “Ye haven’t seen your fiancée in three days!” Lou accused.

Lucas jerked his head up and narrowed his eyes at Lou.  “You mean you dragged me all the way into town to tell me that?” Lucas’s eyes flashed the same anger as Lou’s.  “I thought something terrible had happened!”  Lou placed her hands on her hips.  Lucas held his hands up in defeat.  “Okay, okay…” He sighed.  “Is she upset?  I told her I had things to do at the ranch.“

“Is she upset?”  Lou walked from behind the desk and put her hands on her hips.  “Lucas McCain, Milly probably heard you say you were busy, but she still needs ye!  Your getting married in three weeks and she’s very nervous!  She’s trying to do everything!  She’s not asking for help and she feels a lot of pressure!  She needs your support!  I’ve watched her look for you every day this week, and I watched her disappointment grow.  Right now, she just needs reassurance – to know you still care!”

“Lou, I’ve got a ranch to run!  You don’t understand that…” Lucas started.

“No Cowboy!”  Lou folded her arms and came closer to him.  “It’s you who doesn’t understand!  Milly feels like she’s being pulled into ten directions at once.  I want to help her with the wedding, but for the last three days she’s insisted she doesn’t need any help…not yet at least, she says.  Lucas, she’s being short with people and I think teaching the kids is getting to her also.  She loves, ye, Lucas.  I don’t expect ye to understand, but she’s feeling insecure, as any woman would…and she just needs ye to remind her that ye want to marry her.”

“Of course I want to marry her!” Lucas declared with a hint of impatience.

“Then tell her.  Just go to her, Lucas.  Maybe your presence will calm her.” Lou’s voice softened.

Lucas took off his hat, rubbed a hand through his hair and sighed.  “She’s right. I am a little rough around the edges.”

“Not just a little, Lucas!” Lou retorted.  “But she may forgive ye since you are a man!”

“Well…I was coming into town this afternoon anyhow.  I have to put in my order for lumber.  It better get here next week so I can get started on that room!” He grumbled.

Lou saw the pressure building in Lucas as well.  She put a comforting hand on Lucas’s arm.  “I think ye both need to sit down and take a breather, Lucas.  You seem on edge yourself.”

“Now you sound like Mark!” Lucas declared as he turned and walked out the door.

***
“No, Mr. Toomey!  I need that blackboard yesterday!” Milly insisted loudly as she folded her arms and flashed her eyes at him.  “I can’t keep teaching from a little slate!  Reverend Gathers said I can keep it at the church.  I don’t understand the problem!” Milly declared quite loudly.

“Whoa!  Whoa!”  Lucas hurried up to the two.  “What’s going on here?”  He stood behind Milly and laid his hands gently on her shoulders.

“Lucas, I told Milly I’m really busy.  I have more pressing matters to deal with and she doesn’t seem to understand.” Toomey kept his voice calm, but it was evident to both Lucas and Milly that he was irritated at the treatment he was getting.

Lucas nodded his understanding from behind Milly. He had Toomey working on a few surprises for Milly that he didn’t want her knowing about.  “I’ll take care of it, Toomey.”

“Lucas, No!” Milly argued as she spun around to face him.  “You have your hands full already!”

Lucas looked down at her as he raised his eyebrows.  There was sternness in his face as he pressed his lips together.  “It’s okay, Milly.  I’ll work on it tomorrow.  It’ll be ready for you by Monday.”  He took her hand and led her out onto the street.

Milly was pleasantly surprised to see Lucas in town.  Her heart fluttered with joy, yet she kept a calm expression on her face.  “What are you doing in town today, Lucas?” She asked.

“Aren’t you glad to see me?” Lucas teased as he gave her a mock pout

“Well…” Milly tried to act nonchalant about it.  “…I suppose its okay I ran into you…Just as long as you don’t stay too long!”  But inside, she was beaming.  All of Milly’s insecure thoughts fluttered away, but she was still feeling very overwhelmed.

“Actually, I’ve come to order the wood for the extension on the McCain house,” Lucas answered as he turned his head toward her and smiled.  “Walk with me?”

“Oh, I’ve got things I have to…” Milly started.

Lucas lifted his head and narrowed his eyes at her.  “I’m afraid I’ll have to insist on it.”  They started toward the hardware store. Lucas took her arm.  “I’m told you are biting heads off.”

Milly turned and glared at him.  “Lucas, I have a lot to do!” She declared impatiently.  “I have a wedding to plan, school to teach, and…” Lucas held up his hand to hush her.

“Okay.” His voice was firm as he led her over to a bench away from people and sat her down.  “You and I are going to have a little talk.”  Lucas frowned.  “I won’t have you like this, Milly,” he said as he sat down beside her.

Milly flashed him an angry stare as she put a hand on her hip and sat up straight. “You don’t seem to understand, Lucas!” Her eyes flashed, and her voice held a hint of anger.

Lucas clinched his jaw.  He took a deep breath, and then spoke in a calm, yet firm, voice.  “If this is how you’re going to be, I think we should rethink your planning a big wedding.  Between that and the school…you are doing too much.”

“No, Lucas!  I…” she stopped as the stern expression on his face turned even sterner.

“Lou wants to help you, Milly.  Why are you refusing her?”  Lucas waited but Milly didn’t answer.  “And she said your job is getting to you.” Lucas raised his eyebrows as he waited for her to speak.

“Well, Lou has a big mouth!” Milly declared.  She regretted her words as soon as they left her mouth.  She pressed her fingers to her forehead.  “I’m sorry.  I guess maybe I did get caught up in wanting to do everything myself.  You know how I am…I think I have all the answers and get wrapped up in doing it all.”

Lucas chuckled.  “I remember the first day I met you,” he said in a husky voice.  “I thought you were going to chop my head off that day!  You can be pretty feisty yourself, Milly.”  Milly looked up at Lucas and smiled.  He put a hand on her cheek.  “You were beautiful even then.”

“Oh Lucas…”  But his words calmed her.  Milly sighed and laid her head against his chest.  “I’ve been terrible!”  She lifted her head up, suddenly coming to a realization.  “Lou sent for you, didn’t she?”  Lucas nodded.  “Oh, Lucas, I’m sorry!  I HAVE been terrible!”

“I’m not.”  Lucas grinned.  “At least I get to do this today.”  He lifted her head and kissed her passionately on the lips.  Milly responded to his kiss as her arms went around his neck.  After they parted, Lucas asked softly, “Feel better?”

“Some.”  Milly answered.

“Some?” Lucas lifted her head up toward him.  “Talk to me.”

“Well…” Milly sifted through her papers.  “I have this.”  She handed Lucas a piece of paper.  He read the words for the invitation.

“One o’clock, huh?”  Lucas looked up at her.  “Why not make it for 8:00 in the morning?”  He grinned.

“Eight o’clock???” Milly’s eyebrows popped up.  “I thought you were trying to make me feel better!  You expect me to stay up all night and do my hair and everything and be ready by that early in the morning?”

“You don’t need to spend a long time on your hair, Milly.”  Lucas grinned at her.  His eyes were shining as he looking lovingly at her.  “You look beautiful just the way you are.  All you need to do is just show up.”  He laid a hand on her cheek.  “That’s all you need to do, Darling.”

Milly lifted her chin in that stubborn stance.  “One O’clock in the afternoon, Lucas McCain!”

“Okay.”  Lucas looked at the paper again.  “It looks good except…the barn dance.”

“What about it?”

“Well…” Lucas struggled to find the right words.  “Barn dances have a tendency to go long into the night.  I have other plans that would go long into the night, and they don’t include anybody but you…” Lucas took her hands in his.  “…and me.”  Lucas kissed her again.  “So if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather have the barn dance in somebody else’s barn.”

“What about getting married on the ranch?”

“Well…” Lucas hesitated.  “I think that sounds good, honey,” Lucas kept his eyes averted from hers.  “But wouldn’t you rather be married in the church?”

“The church is the people, Lucas, not the building.  I will be getting married in the presence of our church.”  She put a hand on Lucas’s cheek and turned his head toward her.  “You don’t want the wedding at the ranch.”  Lucas shrugged, not really wanting to answer her.  She suddenly gasped.  “Oh!  What about the hotel?  I could come down the staircase and you could be waiting for me at the bottom!”  Milly stood up as she thought.  “And we could have the reception right there then…” She walked away from him as she began imagining the way it would look.

Lucas laughed and walked up behind her.  He laid his hands on her shoulders and turned her around.  “Think about it, honey.  You…AND LOU…” He lifted his eyebrows and added this last part very sternly.  “You said yourself that she wants to help you plan it.  So let her.”  Lucas pointed to her.  “That’s an order.  If I hear you are getting all upset over this again, I’ll put my foot down.  You don’t want me to call the whole thing off, do you?” Milly nodded.

“What?” Lucas took a step away from her and stared into her eyes.  “Do you?”

“Of course not, Lucas!” Milly declared.  “Of course I want to marry you!  I’ll…be good.”

Lucas folded his arms.  “Now…what about school?”  Milly looked down.  Lucas put a hand under her chin and lifted it up.  “Milly?”

“Well…it’s just that…” Milly paused, trying to find the right words.  “Oh Lucas, these children need to learn!  Three hours isn’t cutting it and…there’s no way they can learn everything they need to in three hours!  Isn’t there any way they can be taught all day?” Milly’s voice was pleading with him.

Lucas nodded.  “I understand your frustration, honey.  Mr. Griswald felt the same way.”  Lucas sighed.  “Look, we’ve petitioned the territorial governor for more funding, Milly.  These things take time.”

“These children don’t have time, Lucas!  They need to learn!  I need all day!”  Milly turned from him.  “Lucas, do you suppose…” She allowed her question to die.

“No,” he answered quite sternly.  Then he turned her around to face him.  “You will just have to make do with the three hours.  At the pay you’re getting, you can’t work more than that.  You already have a full plate, and…” Lucas kissed her softly again.  “You are about to become the wife of a rancher.  If we get the funds, we’ll hire a full time teacher.  As far as I’m concerned, you can continue with your part time job, but more than that would be stretching you too thin.”

Lucas took her hand and looked around.  “Now…come with me.”  He led her behind the blacksmith shop and wrapped her in his arms.  He kissed her passionately once again, leaving her breathless.  “Just remember that in three weeks, you will be Mrs. Lucas McCain.”  Lucas nodded firmly.  “Oh, and I’ll be sending Mark into town to check on you every day.”

“I don’t need checked on, Lucas,” Milly declared.

“I’ll feel better if he does,” Lucas stated firmly.  “And this afternoon when school lets out, we’ll be there to get the room ready for Sunday.  Then we’ll have supper at the hotel.  And then, I’m going to take my girl on a buggy ride in the moonlight.”  Lucas grinned as he held her close.  “How’s that sound?”

“Wonderful.”  Milly laid her head against his chest.  “Lucas?” She lifted her head to look at him.  “Thank you for saving this damsel in distress.”

The Wedding — Apple Pie

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

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