The Rifleman
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Fan Fiction


The Wedding
A Bring Back Milly Production
by Michelle Palmer

Chapter 2:  The Proposal

When Lucas got home Friday evening, Mark was fast asleep.  He had sort of hoped Mark would be awake so he could talk to him about his decision; but it was just as well.  Mark needed his sleep.  Lucas, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink.  He sat up in bed and thought on how he was going to ask, first Mark, then Milly to be his wife.  At one point in his restless night, he stood over Mark and just watched him sleep.  If Milly said yes to his proposal, their lives would change forever.  Lucas prayed Mark would understand.

Lucas finally crawled out of bed the next morning before the sun was up, realizing he wouldn’t be able to sleep.  He yawned as he started a fire in the stove and pushed the coffee to the front burner.  He smiled. Milly had fixed fresh coffee yesterday and it was much better than what he made.  Of course, a woman had that way about her. Somehow, things tasted better when they were prepared by a woman.

When Mark got up later, he saw his father tiredly sitting at the table.  “Did you sleep last night?” Lucas groaned into his cup.  Mark sat down across from his father.  “That was quite a surprise yesterday, wasn’t it?”

“It was a nice surprise.”  Lucas turned and looked at Mark.  “Don’t you think?”  Mark nodded, but suddenly realized his Pa wanted to be left to his thoughts.  So he quietly ate his breakfast then went out to do the chores.

Lucas wanted to get through the chores and settle down before he and Mark talked about Milly.  Lucas fixed Mark breakfast, but the way his stomach was feeling this morning, Lucas knew he wouldn’t be able to eat.  Mark questioned him on how he was feeling, but Lucas just shook his head.  He told Mark to work on the planting while he made repairs on the roof.

Another April would be upon them in just a couple short weeks.  Lucas remembered back to a year ago when he had to say goodbye to Milly.  He had no idea this day would come.

Over the year, he and Milly had written back and forth.  He’d told Milly all about the struggles he and Mark went through.  He and Milly had spoken more about their feelings in the letters than they ever said face-to-face.  There was something magical about the written word – you can easily speak words on paper that can just not be found through the mouth.  Lucas had stared at the paper when he wrote the words “I love you.”  He’d suspected it for a long time, but when he saw the words on the paper…he knew.

After the roof was repaired, Lucas climbed down the ladder and put it back in the barn.  He turned and looked at Mark, still working hard with the planting.  He was about to burst if he didn’t talk to Mark about him and Milly.  Lucas was a bit nervous as he wondered just how Mark would take his proposal.  Lucas decided to take his boy fishing.  That would make talking easier – at least for him.  So he hurried in the house and grabbed the sandwiches he’d made earlier.  Then he hurried to the barn and retrieved the fishing poles.  “Come on, son.  Let’s go fishing,” he hollered toward his son.

“Huh?” Mark stood up and brushed off his jeans as he stood in the middle of the garden.  Mark couldn’t help looking at his father as if he’d just gone loco.  They had a lot of work to do on the ranch, yet Lucas wanted to go fishing?  “Fishing when there’s so much work to do?” Mark asked as he put his hands on his hips and walked toward his father.  “Pa, you’ve got it bad!”  Lucas narrowed his eyes as he looked down at his son through narrow slits.  Mark cleared his throat.  “I mean…Okay.”

Mark studied his father as they walked to the pond.  He seemed nervous about something.  As Mark tried to make small talk, Lucas just grunted in response every once in a while.  It didn’t take Mark long to realize that he hadn’t heard a word he had said.  Finally, Mark grabbed his father’s elbow.  “Is this about Milly?”  Lucas stopped and turned toward him.  He silently nodded his head.  “Is something wrong?” Mark suddenly panicked.  Seeing Milly yesterday had warmed his heart.  He was hoping they’d be welcoming her into the family soon.  But now he was worried.

Lucas motioned toward the pond.  “Let’s just get to fishing, son.”

After they were settled with their poles in the water, Lucas turned and looked at Mark.  He cleared his throat, still very nervous, as he spoke.  “Your mother and I grew up together.  Did you know that?” Mark nodded.  He’d heard enough stories over the years to know just about everything about his mother.  “But it wasn’t until after the war that I realized…Well, I guess that’s not true but when I came back and found my parents gone and Margaret there…I just ran away…sort of like what Milly did – except it was opposite.  Milly ran away and came here then had to go back.  I came home and ran away only to return.”  Lucas’s voice shook, he was so nervous.  He felt as if he was asking Milly’s father for her hand in marriage instead of his son.

“And when you got there, Ma was waiting for you!” Mark declared.

Lucas laughed, relieved to be able to joke at a time like this.  “Well…not exactly, son.  But the day I married your mother was the happiest day of my whole life, and that’s the truth.”  Lucas shook his head as he stared into the water.  “There will NEVER be a happier day.”  He knew Margaret would always hold a special place in his heart, and he knew Milly would accept that.

Mark heard just a hint of hesitation in his father’s voice.  He turned and looked at Lucas.  “You love Milly, don’t you?”  Mark knew he didn’t need an answer, but he had a feeling that’s where the conversation was headed.

Lucas turned and looked at his son.  That was a good way to break the ice.  “I guess I’ve loved her for a long time, son.  Through these past months I’ve been able to…” Lucas stopped.  He turned and looked at Mark.  “I’ve finally come to peace that your mother passed.  And I’ve come to understand that, maybe…God sent Milly to help me love again.”

“I understand, Pa.”

“Seeing Milly again, son…It’s made me think on things and…I want to…to marry her.” Lucas kept his gaze focused on Mark.  He almost expected Mark to become upset.  After all, Mark’s loved his mother for so long that it would be only natural if he didn’t want to replace her.  Lucas was all prepared with a speech he’d rehearsed during the sleepless night.  He was willing to explain to Mark that he wasn’t replacing his mother…He was just filling an empty space in his life with a woman he loved – a woman God had sent to him.

But as it turned out, he had no reason to worry.  Because as soon as the words left his mouth, a giant smile spread across Mark’s face.  He just stared back at Lucas.  His eyes sparkled with happiness.  Lucas waited, but Mark never said anything.  “Well…do you have anything to say?”

“Yes.”  Mark nodded.  “It’s about time!”

Lucas’s eyes filled with tears and his heart jumped.  “Really?”  Mark nodded.  “You know I still love your mother, son.  I mean nobody could ever…” Lucas felt he needed to explain even though Mark was happy about his decision.

Mark turned toward his father.  He felt he needed to convince his Pa that he had his permission.  “I love Milly like a mother, Pa.  Of course she’s not the mother that gave birth to me, but that doesn’t matter.  I’ve lived more without my Ma, than with her.  I do miss my real Ma, Pa, but…I think it’s these months Milly’s been gone…I’ve missed her almost as bad as I missed my ma after she died, but I’ve kept quiet about it because I saw the hurt in your eyes when she left.  I knew you loved her even then  I watched you read her letters and I saw the love in your eyes.  I could tell you loved her.”  Mark put a hand on his father’s arm.  “Pa, if it’s my consent you’re wanting, you got it.”  Lucas stayed quiet the whole time his son spoke.  His eyes filled with tears.  He knew that today they were closing a chapter on their life and getting ready to open a new one.  He knew they were both ready.

But still, Lucas felt he had to explain himself.  “I know it’s fast, Mark.  I mean…she just got back into town yesterday…but…I know in my heart that I want to marry her.”  Lucas smiled.  “I’ve known that long before yesterday,” he whispered.

Mark smiled.  “Then I think you should, Pa.  I think you should ask her to become your wife.”  Lucas and Mark gazed at each other.  “I think we’re both ready for this.”

Father and son turned back toward the pond and lifted their poles.  There were no worms on their hooks.

***
Lou took a sip of her coffee as she studied Milly.  “What have you done in the past?  I mean besides storekeeping.”

“Well, I was a teacher, and I loved it.”  Milly took another sip of her coffee.  “But Mr. Griswald is a wonderful teacher, and I don’t see him leaving North Fork.”

“Your right.”  Lou smiled.  Then she stood up and walked to the window.  “However…the school is growing.  I heard rumors that the school board may be looking for an assistant.”  Lou turned and smiled into her cup.  “You can always ask him.”

Milly smiled.  She had enjoyed her time with the children when she was a teacher.  There was something really special about teaching children and watching them learn.  “I just may do that.”  Milly smiled as she stood from the table and walked over to stand beside Lou.  “Oh, it feels so good to be back!”

Lou could hear the joy in her voice.  They both stood toward the window looking out, but Lou turned her head toward Milly.  “Ye love him.”  Lou smiled.  “Don’t ye?”

Milly smiled.  She found herself warming to Lou.  She felt they would soon become really good friends.  “You know, I’ve only met you, yet from Lucas's letters I feel I know you so well.”  Lou sat down her coffee cup and turned to look at Milly.  Milly had to ask the question.  She had to know where they stood as far as Lucas was concerned.  “How do you feel about him?” She asked quietly.

“Honestly?” Milly nodded.  “I have feelings for him.  I know he told you that we spent time together as a…couple?” Milly nodded again.  “Before we started seeing each other, he made it very clear that his heart belonged to you.” Milly gasped.  She certainly wished she had been let in on that little secret!  Of course, from reading his letters, she suspected it.  “Oh, not in so many words!” Lou declared suddenly.  “But his heart…his eyes…they told me.”  Lou sighed.  “I think that sometimes when a man feels lonely, he doesn’t know how to deal with it.  He leaned on me…maybe too much…and maybe I started feeling more than I should have.”  Lou smiled.  “But Milly, Lucas is a gentleman.  He sat me down one night and told me he was in love with you.  He told me we couldn’t continue to…” Lou stopped.

“I’m sorry.”

Lou shook her head.  “Don’t be.”  She reached out and touched Milly’s arm.  “Oh, he loves ye, and he deserves to be with the one he loves.  I want to see him happy.” Lou smiled.  “He is a wonderful man.”  Then she winked at Milly.  “But don’t ever tell him I told you that!  It would ruin his image of me.”

“Thank you.”  Milly smiled.  “Your approval means a great deal to me, you know.”  Milly sat down her coffee cup and went to look out the back door.  “After all…I lost all my rights to him when I got on that stagecoach and rode out of North Fork.”

“No.”  Lou shook her head and walked over to Milly.  “You still had his heart.  He still belonged to you.”  Lou smiled.  “Though he was able to give me a small piece of it for a time, and I’ll always cherish the memories.”  Milly smiled.  Lou silently studied Milly’s face.  Then she knew the truth.  “Ye want to marry him.”

Milly’s eyes widened.  She felt as if Lou had just looked into her heart.  She said nothing as she sat down her cup and hurried across the room.  “I best get changed.  I want to go talk to Mr. Griswald.”

***

Milly smiled as the door to Mr. Griswald’s room at the boarding house opened.  As he looked at her, she waited for recognition to cross his face.  “Milly!”  Steven smiled.  “Milly Scott, come on in!”  He moved aside and motioned for her to take a seat at the small table.  “I was just about to have some hot tea.  Would you like some?”

“Yes, please!” Milly answered with a smile.  She waited to speak any further until they were both seated drinking tea.  “I’ve come to talk to you about a job.”  Mr. Griswald’s eyebrows went up.  “I’ve come home and I want to re-settle here.  I was talking to Lou Mallory this morning, and she said she had heard that you needed an assistant.”

“More than an assistant, I’m afraid.”  Mr. Griswald frowned.  “There are several families who have moved here recently.  North Fork is growing rapidly, and I just don’t have room for all the children.  I teach as many as I can, and have put older children with the younger children to work  together, but…I’m afraid everyone’s academic studies are being affected.”  Mr. Griswald sighed into his cup.  “I’m afraid it’s gotten worse.  Last week…I had to turn some children away.  I just don’t have the room or the capability to teach so many children.”

It broke Milly’s heart to hear of such a state.  She felt strongly that every child – girl and boy, from age 6 to 18, needed a good, solid education.  Times were rapidly changing.  Already in the East, they had laws set in place requiring every child to be in school.  It was only a matter of time before those laws came to New Mexico Territory – especially after it was welcomed into the union as a state.  “So you need another full time teacher?” Milly asked hopefully.

“Yes.  I DO need another full time teacher, and that’s the truth.”  Steven sat down his cup and sighed.  “Only…what I need, and what North Fork can afford are two different things.  I’m afraid there’s only enough funds available for a part time teacher in the afternoons.  I’m looking for someone to teach the children in grades 1-3 from about 1:00 – 4:00.  That would give these children three hours.”

Milly bit her lip.  This news upset her.  The children needed all day to learn!  “I hate that these children will only get three hours, but I’m willing to take the job.”  Milly smiled as Mr. Griswald raised his eyebrows in an unspoken question.  “I was a teacher when I lived in Santa Fe…before I bought the General Store,” she explained.

Milly watched as relief came over him.  “Milly, that would be WONDERFUL!” Steven declared.  “Oh, you are a godsend!”  He smiled then.  “I’m sure Lucas and Mark McCain would agree with me.”

Milly smiled.  She hoped Lucas and Mark thought that highly of her!  Everyone in North Fork knew she and Lucas had courted while she lived here.  Then, Milly frowned.  “What is it, Milly?”

She bit her lip.  “Well…I just hate that these children are getting only three hours.  I wish there was something…”  She stopped when Mr. Griswald shook his head.

“Some of the parents care enough to help the children at home, but others just send them to get them out from underfoot.”  Steven wrinkled his brow as he thought.  “I tell you what…do you think you could give these children assignments they could work on at home during the mornings?  We could send notes home on the first day explaining our situation to the parents…those that understand and care anyhow.  For the others, I don’t trust the parents to see that their studies are done.  For those children, I’ll monitor their work in the morning.  That way they are still getting a full day’s worth of work.  What do you say?”

Milly smiled as she batted tears from her eyes.  “I say that would be wonderful!  Just wonderful!”  It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it would be better than just learning them three hours a day.

“Well then…” Steven picked up his cup.  “When would you be able to start?”

Milly leaned forward in her chair.  “Is Monday too soon?”  She couldn’t keep the excitement from her voice.

“Monday?” Mr. Griswald gasped.  “Don’t you need some time to settle?”

Milly chuckled.  “Well, I’m not sure what my future plans are at the moment…Living arrangements, that is.  I’m staying at the hotel until I decide what I’m going to do.”  She sighed.  “And I don’t want to see these children go another day without a proper education.  I’ll be ready to start Monday afternoon.”  Suddenly, Milly gasped and threw a hand over her mouth.  “Oh my…I didn’t even think that…Of course, you’ll have to put this before the school board first.”

“I’m sure your teaching won’t be a problem with the school board.”  Mr. Griswald stood.  “Especially since Lucas McCain is head of the school board.”  His eyes crinkled as he smiled.  “They’ll be meeting again on Friday and I’ll have them officially vote you as the assistant teacher.”  Milly heard the confidence in his voice.  But then he frowned.  “You will need a place to teach.”

Milly felt joy in her heart.  She so loved children and couldn’t wait to get back to teaching them!  “Oh, don’t you worry, Steven, I’ll have everything ready come 1:00 Monday afternoon!”  That, she was quite sure of!

***
Lucas and Mark walked into the church Sunday morning.  Lucas hadn’t seen Milly since he dropped her off exhausted at the hotel on Friday.  The church was quite crowded that day so Lucas suggested he and Mark should sit in the back and catch up with Milly later.  But just as Reverend Gathers came in to start the service, Lou stood up and waved to Lucas.  “Over here, Lucas!  We saved your seats!” she yelled.  Mark and Lucas looked at each other and laughed.  She was her own chipper self!  Lucas slowly made his way through the crowd as Mark followed close behind.  He laughed as Lou shifted Milly on the other side of her so she and Lucas could sit beside each other.  Mark took a seat beside his father.

After church, Lou announced she had dinner almost ready.  She had explained to Milly earlier that morning that she, Lucas, Mark, and Micah always ate Sunday dinner together, and this was no exception.  Lou and Milly hurried over to the hotel to get things ready.  The men lagged behind.

As they walked into the dining room, Lucas saw Milly come out of the kitchen.  He smiled at her as she carried a large platter of meat.  He hurried forward and took the platter from her.  “Oh, let me get that for you, Milly.”  He sat it down where she told him to.  Then Lucas looked around to see how many people were in the dining room.  He was surprised to see  there was nobody else in hearing distance.  Then he smiled at her.  “Hi.”

“Hi.”  Milly looked up at Lucas, happy to finally have a moment to themselves.

“I’m sorry I didn’t come into town last night.  Mark and I had…a lot to talk about,” Lucas explained.

“I understand.  After Friday, I needed some time to recuperate.” Lucas gave her a short laugh.  Then he looked down at the hat in his hands.  “Milly, I apologize.  I had no right to keep you out so late.”

“I’m not complaining, Lucas.  I enjoyed every minute of it: from seeing the look on your face when you answered my knock to falling asleep on your shoulder.  It was all worth it.”

“Good.”  Their eyes sparkled as they held a gaze.

Milly started to speak.  “Lucas, I…”

“Hey Pa!  Are you gonna cut that roast today or what?” Mark suddenly hollered out.

Lucas could kick his son!  Couldn’t he see he was busy?  “I’m coming, son.”  He started to turn away, but stopped as his eyes again locked with Milly’s.  He softly brushed the back of his hand against Milly’s cheek.  His heart beat so hard that he thought she could hear it.  “Mil, I need to talk to you after lunch…just the two of us.”  He thought his voice was shaking, but he wasn’t sure.

Milly nodded.  “I’ll go with you as soon as the kitchen is cleaned.”

“Lucas, you want me to cut the meat today?” Micah asked.  His tone of voice told Lucas he was enjoying this very much.

Lucas turned his head slightly from Milly’s as he answered.  “No!  I’ll cut the meat, Micah!” He answered in a frustrated, warning voice.  Then he turned back to Milly.  “Can I have you the rest of the day after that?” They just looked into each other’s eyes as Milly smiled.  That’s exactly what she wanted.  Lucas nodded.  “Alright, then I give you permission to help Lou with the dishes.”  Then quickly he turned from Milly.  He pulled out a chair for her, then pushed it in after she sat down.  Then he looked sternly at Mark with raised eyebrows.

“Huh?” Mark teased him back.  “Oh!”  he answered after he saw his father press his lips together.  He stood and moved to the empty seat across from his father and Milly so Lucas could sit down beside the woman he hoped would soon become his fiancée.

After lunch, Lucas and Micah sat at the table drinking coffee.  Mark had long ago gained his father’s permission to be excused so he could go find Freddie and the boys.  “But you behave yourself!” Lucas ordered.  “I’d hate to throw you in jail!”

“Lucas!” Milly was just about to go back into the kitchen after filling the men’s cups with one final round of coffee.  She stared at Lucas with wide eyes.  Then she shook her head as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Micah turned.  “I thought you wrote her about everything.”

“Not about that, Micah.”  Lucas lifted an eyebrow as he glanced at Micah over his cup.  “And don’t you tell her either!  If I want Milly to know I’ve put Mark in jail to teach him a lesson, I’ll let her know!”

“Oh.” Micah nodded in understanding.“ I guess letting her know would sorta put a damper on your evening.”  Micah grinned.  “You…do intend on uh…popping the question tonight?”

Lucas sat down his coffee cup as he stared hard at his best friend.  “That, my friend, is none of your concern!” Micah continued grinning at his friend.  He could tell by the way Lucas was acting that tonight was indeed “the night.”  Lucas was getting tired of seeing that stupid grin on his friend’s face.  As he lifted his cup back to his lips, he said, “Don’t you have a job to do?”  Micah stood up as he laughed and walked out without saying another word.

“Oh!”  Micah turned from the door at the sound of Lucas’s voice.  “When you’re doing your…uh….Marshalling and you just ‘happen’ to run into Mark and go fishing, tell him to get home in time to do the evening chores.”

Micah grinned.  “Just don’t keep her out too late, my friend.” Micah said as he nodded.  “Lou will take a stick to you.”  Lucas shook his head as Micah walked out.

It was another 45 minutes before Milly finally came out and announced she was ready to go.  Lucas reached for her hand after he saw a stern warning in Lou’s eyes. He was glad she, for once, kept her mouth closed.  But that look told him everything he needed to know.  He was to bring her home at a decent hour tonight.

The only talking he wanted to do was with this beauty beside him.

But talking wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.  As they strolled down Main Street arm-in-arm, several North Fork citizens stopped to welcome Milly back.  Though Lucas was proud to be courting such a popular young lady and Milly enjoyed all the greeters, he knew he had a job to get done and they would never get to Miller’s Pond if they stayed on Main Street.  So, Lucas finally grabbed her arm and quickly pulled her around a building so they could be alone.  They continued on their walk to the pond quietly and alone.  Milly couldn’t help giggling at his impatience of having her to himself.  She had no idea what was about to take place.

After they were seated by the pond, Milly watched as Lucas became really quiet.  He loosened his tie and started taking deep breaths.  She studied him as he sat looking out over the waters with his arms wrapped around his knees.

She broke the silence that had fallen between them.  “I talked to Mr. Griswald yesterday.”  Lucas turned and looked at Milly with a question in his eyes.  “He can use an assistant.  This town’s growing, and there’s lots of children who need help.  I’ll be assisting in the afternoons with the younger children. I start Monday afternoon.”

Lucas was a bit taken aback by this news.  He saw her eyes dancing with exceeding joy as she told him about her conversation with Steven the day before.  His heart warmed as he noticed the passion for children in her heart.  Her words and passion to teach children made him love her that much more.  “So, you think it’ll be okay, Lucas?  Do you?” Milly asked excitedly as she smiled into his eyes.

Lucas raised his eyebrows as he realized he hadn’t heard the last part of what she had said.  He was trying to come up with a way to spill out that four worded question that he wanted to ask her.  “Will what be okay?”

“Lucas!  Haven’t you heard a word I said?” Milly chided him.

“I’m sorry, honey…I have a lot on my mind tonight.  I…” Lucas cleared his throat as he turned to her.  “Okay, you have my full attention.” He tried to sound convincing.  He smiled into her eyes and thought to himself not that she didn’t before… “Is what okay?”

“For me to go ahead and start working with the children tomorrow instead of waiting for the school board to vote.”  Milly repeated, a bit upset that he hadn’t heard her the first time.  “Steven said he figures it would be fine seeing as how I’m pretty good friends with the president of the school board.”  She smiled and waited for a snide remark from the man she loved.

But instead, she discovered that she DIDN’T have his undivided attention!

“Oh…That…That’s great!” Lucas declared enthusiastically.  “I um…” Lucas swallowed nervously.  “I…”

He still hadn’t heard what she said. From the look on his face, he looked like he was about to tell her he was dying. “Is something wrong, Lucas?”  Her voice held concern.

Lucas laughed nervously.  There was nothing wrong yet, but he was trying to remind his heart not to beat through his chest…at least until after he got the question past his lips.  It was a simple question with four easy words to say, yet he couldn’t seem to get them past his lips.  He remembered back to another proposal he had to suffer through years before. “You know…when I was courting Margaret, I proposed to her twice.”

“She said no the first time?” Milly teased.  But her heart started racing at the word “proposed.”

“No.  I was delirious with fever.”  Lucas laughed nervously as he looked up at her.

Milly threw a hand to her chest and giggled.  “Oh, you are joking!”

“No!”  Lucas laughed.  He was beginning to feel a bit better now that he had started the conversation.  Surely she had picked up on what the conversation was about.  “I came down with malaria .  She nursed me day and night – never left my side.  I asked her to marry me.”  Lucas laughed.  “She sure wasn’t happy after I recovered, when she found out I didn’t remember doing it!  Of course, I was sort of relieved when she told me because I did want to marry her.  I figured that was a good deal since I probably wasn’t nervous when I asked.”  Lucas smiled when he saw the look on Milly’s face.  He felt better about asking, feeling more confident she would accept his proposal.  “But she made me ask her again.  She said a man’s proposal isn’t worth anything if he can’t remember it.”  He cocked his head to one side as he studied her.  “Of course, I wasn’t too nervous since I knew what her answer would be.”

Milly quietly smiled. Her eyes were already shining with tears.  Her heart raced.  She knew what was about to happen…well, she HOPED she knew what was about to happen and she already had the three letter answer on the edge of her tongue.

Lucas’s hands shook as he grabbed her hands and lifted them.  He sat just in front of her as he stared intensely into her eyes.  He couldn’t stop his heart as it raced out of control.  “Mildred Scott, will you…” he swallowed.  He had gotten half way there...  Milly’s face broke out into a smile.  He relaxed more when he saw her encouraging smile.  “Will you marry me?”

Even though she was expecting it and she had been ready for a response, tears filled her eyes.  She had been waiting to hear those words ever since she came back.  She lowered her head and sniffed, unable to find her voice.

Lucas was concerned at her reaction.  “I’m not that bad, am I?” He asked.

“No!”  Milly declared with a smile.  “No, Lucas…I…”  Lucas’s eyes grew wide at that two letter word she had spoken…twice!  No man likes hearing the word no after a proposal of marriage and Lucas was no exception.  Milly saw the pained expression on his face and laughed as she gently ran a hand down his face.  “Oh! I’m not saying no to your proposal!  I’m…”  She cleared her throat.  “Would you…ask me that again?”

“Again?”

Milly laughed softly as she nodded.  “Well, you said you proposed to Margaret twice.”  Milly raised her eyebrows.

Knowing what her answer would be made it pretty easy the second time.  “Mildred Scott, will you marry me?” His voice was passionate.

“Yes,” Milly whispered.  She watched Luca’s face light up like a thousand candles.  ‘Yes, yes yes!” Milly declared as tears filled her eyes.

“You will?”  Lucas stood up and lifted her to her feet.  “You really will?”  His heart danced now.  He felt like he was floating in the clouds.

“I really will!” Milly declared as her own heart soared.  “I’ll marry you, Lucas McCain!”

“Oh, Milly!”  Lucas enveloped her into his arms and pressed his lips to hers.  She wrapped her arms around his neck and gave in to the kiss.  Happiness was in the midst of them as they became engaged to be married.  Their kiss deepened and lasted several moments.  Finally, Milly pushed against him and he groaned as he released her lips from his.  But he kept her in his arms, their faces only an inch apart. “I love you,” he whispered as he ran the back of his hand down her cheek.  His eyes sparkled.  “I love you so much!”

“I love you, Lucas McCain.” Milly studied every inch of his face.  She had never seen him so happy as he was at this moment.  She lowered her head, suddenly unable to look into his face.  She blushed as her hand began to toy with the collar of his shirt.  Now that she was engaged to him, she knew the decision she had made earlier wasn’t hers alone to make.  She needed his approval, and the mere thought of that sent butterflies in her stomach.  “What about…my job?”  She asked quietly.

“What about it?” Lucas asked as he lowered his head and raised his eyebrows at her.  His voice was soft and soothing as he spoke to her.  “Is there any reason why you can’t be my wife, Mark’s mother, and hold down a PART TIME job…which by the way starts tomorrow?”  Her eyes widened.  Well, he HAD been paying attention after all!  Lucas kissed her softly.  “Are we really that much of a handful?”

“No.”  Milly smiled.  “I would love to take care of you and Mark…and teach.”  Mentioning Mark made her realize he had probably gained his son’s approval before asking her.  She pulled away from Lucas a bit, suddenly concerned.  “Is that…why you didn’t come into town yesterday?  Did Mark have trouble…” The question died on her lips.  She so wanted to be Mark’s mother.

“No…no!” Lucas shook his head as he pulled her back close to him.  “Do you want to know what he said when I asked him about making you my wife?”  Milly shook her head.  “He said it was about time.”

Milly smiled in relief.  “That’s our boy!” She declared proudly.

Lucas gasped as he grabbed her shoulders as if he suddenly realized they were REALLY going to be married.  “I don’t want a long engagement, Milly.  I want to marry you soon.  I’ve waited a year to ask you this question.  The minute you told me you were leaving…I…I…”

“Can I have a few days to think about it?  Then we’ll decide.”  Right now, Milly’s head was spinning.  She didn’t think she could make any more important decisions tonight.  Actually, she couldn’t think of anything more important than the one she had already made.

Lucas nodded.  “Of course.”  Then he breathed, “Oh, I love you!”  He tightened his arms around her once again and kissed her passionately.  Milly felt his love in his kiss.

After their lips parted, Lucas unwillingly took his arms away from around her.  Lucas turned as they silently started walking back to town.  Lucas reached his hand out to hers, and again the small act of affection caused her insides to flutter.

The sun was going down as they walked into the hotel.  Lou stood behind the desk as Lucas and Milly made their way inside.  She hurried forward and placed her hands on her hips.  “Well, it’s good to see ye brought her back at a reasonable hour tonight!” she declared.

But her words went on deaf ears.  She watched as Lucas and Milly stood at the bottom of the stairs and smiled into each other’s eyes.  “Goodnight, Milly,” Lucas whispered as he lifted her hand to his lips.  He kissed it.  As he lowered it, he watched a tiny, sweet smile play at the corners of Milly’s mouth.  “I don’t know if I’ll be able to get into town tomorrow.  Mark and I are planting all week.  But I’ll be back soon…As soon as I can.”  Lucas’s smile deepened.  “You’ve made me so…happy!”

Milly turned and raised her eyebrows at Lou.  Lou, suddenly realizing she was invading the couple’s privacy, turned and hurried back to the desk.  Then Milly turned back around and placed a hand on Lucas’s cheek.  “I’m the one who’s happy.  I’m very happy.”  Her smile deepened.  “I love you, Lucas McCain.”  She didn’t care who was watching as she kissed him softly.  Then she turned and hurried up the stairs.

Lucas watched her until she disappeared.  Then he slowly walked out of the lobby. Lou, being Lou, had watched the whole thing.  She’d heard the private conversation.  She could tell by the way the couple acted that something big had happened that night.  She hurried around the desk and took the stairs two at a time.

Lucas smiled as he walked down the steps and stepped onto the street.  “She said yes!” Lucas declared suddenly.  “She said yes!”  He knew he’d be sitting high in the saddle tonight!

The Wedding — Wedding Plans



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

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