Welcome to The Writer's Corner
A Bring Back Milly Production
by Michelle Palmer
Chapter 3: Wedding Plans
”Milly!” Lou called as she raced up the stairs. “Milly Scott,
I want to talk to ye!” Milly stopped and turned to look at Lou.
Lou put her hands on Milly’s shoulders and studied her face.
“Is there something ye want to tell me?”
Milly laughed as she opened the door to her room. She held out
her hand, inviting Lou inside. Milly closed the door and leaned
back against it as she sighed and closed her eyes. “He asked me
to marry him,” she announced with a wide grin.
“And ye said yes!” Lou declared.
Both women squealed. Lou sat down on the bed. Milly hurried
over and sat down on the bed so hard that she bounced. “Oh, I
feel like a school girl all of a sudden! I want to open the
windows and holler down on the street that I’m going to be Mrs.
Lou giggled. “Oh, I can take care of that for ye!” She acted
as if she was about to stand up.
“NO!” Milly gasped. “Lucas McCain is the president in the town
council! People start hearing he’s engaged and I’ll never get
him to myself!” Milly laughed. Then she got all dreamy-like as
she thought. “Mrs. Lucas McCain…I can hardly believe it!”
“So, tell me, Mrs. McCain to be... how did he propose?” Lou
demanded as she made herself comfortable on the bed.
“Well…” Milly brushed her hair back as she leaned forward and
smiled at Lou. “He took my hands in his and he looked deeply
into my eyes…” Milly stopped and smiled.
“Yes….And?” Lou prodded, a smiled crossing her own face.
“And…he said…’Mildred Scott, will you marry me?’” Milly mocked
Lucas’s voice. Then she giggled like a school girl.
Lou wrinkled up her nose. “That’s it?” she asked surprised, yet
in a disappointed voice.
“Well…” Milly shrugged and narrowed her eyes. “What else is
there to say?”
“Well, he could have quoted a poem or sang you a song or…” Lou
pouted with a firm nod of her head.
Milly giggled again as she rolled her eyes. “Have you not stood
beside Lucas at church and heard him sing?" Both women giggled.
"Not pretty! He doesn’t seem like the poetry type either.
Lucas is a simple man. He just speaks what’s on his mind.”
“Meaning he’s not romantic?”” Lou asked as she raised her
“Well…” Milly pressed a finger to her lips. “I do remember a
time when…” Milly laid on the bed on her stomach. “…Let’s
see…It was two…no…three?...Three years ago, I think. Lucas was
in the store buying work pants, work shirts, needle and
thread…You know…” Lou nodded. She did know – very well.
“Anyway, there was this church social coming up and I waited
for him to ask me. I even hinted. I finally came right out and
told him I had some fancy shirts he could look at. Do you think
he took the hint?”
Lou pinched her lips together as she laid down on her stomach
next to Milly and propped her head up with her hand. “No!”
Milly nodded. “I finally had to tell him that I might allow him
to take me to the church social if he were dressed properly.”
Lou smiled. “And of course he bought the shirt right then and
there!” Milly shook her head as she raised an eyebrow. “I
thought not!” Lou shook her head. “Men!”
“He said, ‘And if I’m not?” The girls giggled. “Like I said…he
speaks his mind!”
“Yes. He does at that. And he finally spoke what needed to be
spoken, long before I came to town.” Lou stated with a firm
nod. “Believe me, I know!”
“Oh…” Milly rolled over onto her back and closed her eyes with a
contented sigh. “Maybe he didn’t get down on one knee. Maybe
he didn’t strum a guitar or read a romantic poem. But he asked
me, and I could tell how much he loved me. I could feel it in
his…” Milly stopped and threw a hand to her mouth.
“Milly, we are both women. I saw you kiss him tonight,
remember?” Milly giggled. “So…how long were you back in town
before he took you in his arms and kissed you?”
Milly smiled. “Well…once he got over the initial shock of
seeing me on his doorstep…” Milly blushed as she remembered that
“That’s just what I thought!” Lou straightened up on the bed.
“So…tell me, when’s the wedding?” She demanded.
“Well…I don’t know. He wants it soon – says he’s not big on
Lou raised her eyebrows at Milly as she said, "I don't think
it’s that he's not big on long engagements…but rather that we've
been gone too long. And he wants to get a ring on her finger
before he can have any more regrets."
There was more giggling.
"Maybe we could get married in a couple weeks…” Milly thought.
Lou gasped. “A couple weeks?” She stood up and put her hands
on her hips. “Ye think that’s enough time for me to plan a
“You?” Milly asked in surprise. Lou nodded. “Well…I was just
thinking something simple. Maybe you and Micah could witness
and…” Milly stopped when she saw Lou shaking her head. “No?”
She asked as she again raised an eyebrow.
“Milly Scott, it’s not every day the leading citizen of North
Fork gets married! You’ll need a dress – after all, a girl only
gets married once…” Lou put a finger to her chin and pretended
to be deep in thought. “Well…hopefully…”
“Lou!” Milly gasped in mock horror.
“I can make the wedding cake. Since it’s spring, we can have
the wedding outside somewhere-“
Milly gasped. “At the ranch!” Oh, she could just imagine it
“By the pond!” Lou thought excitedly. “We have to have a
reception afterwards! Oh, AND an old fashioned barn dance in
Lucas’s…er…your barn! I’ll take care of everything! Oh Milly,
this is going to be wonderful!” Lou stopped as she studied her
new friend’s face. Milly was deep in thought. Lou threw a hand
to her mouth, realizing she had just taken over. “Oh…I’m sorry.
You don’t want me to do this. It’s okay. I got ahead of
myself. If you don’t want my help…”
“Oh no! It’s not that! Not at all!” Milly declared. “I would
love a big wedding and for you to help…if Lucas approves, of
course! I was just thinking…” Milly’s voice drifted off.
“Thinking what?” Lou’s voice softened as she laid her hand on
top of Milly’s.
“I want my mother here.” Milly lifted her eyes to Lou’s. “It
was my mother’s dream to see me married. My sister was so much
older than me and married when I was a little girl. She moved
away to Denver with her new husband for the event so my mother
didn’t even get to see her married.”
“Can’t she come? I’m sure Lucas would pay for…” Lou started.
Milly touched Lou’s arm and gasped. “Oh no! It’s not the
money!” She sighed. “She can’t travel by herself…Well…I mean,
she could, but I don’t want her to.” Milly stood from the bed
and went to look down onto the darkening street. “Mother had a
stroke soon after I got back home. Oh, it wasn’t bad but…”
Milly turned from the window. “I worry.”
“Oh dear…” Lou bit her lip. “Let’s see…” Lou stood as she
started pacing the length of the room. “A three day train ride
there…If we send someone to fetch her, it’ll take about a week.
You think she’d come?”
“YES!” Milly declared. “She’d come! Nothing would keep her
“Then it’s settled!” Lou declared with a nod of her head.
“We’ll talk to Lucas about it! Don’t ye worry, Lucas will see
that she gets here somehow!” Milly raised an eyebrow and smiled
at her new friend. “What?” Lou asked suddenly.
“Lucas has you pegged very well!” Milly smiled. “He said you
aren’t shy and are a feisty red-head.”
Lou pressed her lips together and raised her eyebrows. “Did he
mention the word Wolverine?”
Milly chuckled. “As a matter of fact…” The women laughed. Milly
grew series as she walked up to Lou and put a hand on her
shoulder. “He told me that you bend over backwards to help
people and you are very friendly.” Milly grabbed Lou’s hands
and squeezed them. “Thank you.” Then she yawned.
Lou gasped. “Oh my! And here I am getting onto that cowboy for
keeping you up too late!” Lou grinned as she pressed her lips
together and raised her eyebrows. “But I suppose he’ll be doing
a lot of that before too long!”
Milly’s eyes grew wide in shock at what Lou was insinuating.
Lou laughed out loud and drew her hand to her mouth. “Well,
it’s true!” She stood up. “But I really DO have to let you get
to bed now. Do you start your job tomorrow?”
“My…” Milly gasped. “Oh, my job! I forgot!” She rolled her
eyes. “I’m already nervous about marrying Lucas. Now I’m
nervous about my job too!”
“Well, ye just go to bed and put it all out of your mind! Get a
nice, quiet sleep.” Lou opened the door then turned around.
“By the way, Mark has told me Lucas snores.” Lou couldn’t hide
her grin as she closed the door. Milly thought on that as the
door closed. Well, as soon as she married Lucas she’d see if
that were true…Then she blushed as she thought on that.
Milly walked over to the French doors and opened them. She
stepped out onto the balcony and peered down onto the street.
She could hear the piano in the saloon playing a song. She
waved at Micah as he looked up while making his rounds for the
evening. “Mrs. Lucas McCain…” Milly said dreamingly. “Milly
McCain.” She looked up at the stars. One seemed to twinkle
brighter than all the others. “Oh Lucas…I can hardly wait for
that special day!” She mumbled.
Lucas looked up in the sky as he leaned over the corral. He saw
a star that almost looked like heaven was winking at him. It
made him feel like he had God’s approval.
He hoped they would have a fast engagement. Perhaps Milly would
agree to a simple wedding with Micah, Lou, and of course Mark
standing up with them. But whatever she wanted would be fine
with him. Lucas grinned. This was his bride’s day and he
planned on making sure she had everything she ever wanted on
that day – from the moment she got up that morning until she
fell asleep in his arms that night. Everything would be perfect
– or his name wasn’t Lucas McCain!
Lucas grinned. That night. It would be that night that he
would look his wife, Milly McCain in the eye. That night, he
would promise her that he would never let her go. That night,
they would be alone together with no holding back, able to
express their love for each other. That night, he would fall
asleep with her in his arms.
Then the next morning, when he woke up, she would still be
there. Lucas grinned. Oh, how he loved that woman! He
couldn’t wait for that night…and all the other nights and days
they’d be together.
“Pa?” Lucas turned to see Mark walking towards him. “You going
to bed tonight?”
He smiled into his son’s eyes. “I reckon I should.” Lucas
turned back to look into the corral. He wasn’t sure he’d be able
to sleep much – not with the thoughts that were racing through
his head. He’d just ask Milly to be his wife and she said yes!
Thinking that still made him shiver. How did a mean ol’ cuss
like him get so lucky?
Mark narrowed his eyes and studied his father. He sure was
happy about something! If he didn’t know better, he’d say his
father had grown two inches taller tonight. Lucas turned back
toward his son. When he saw his studious stare, he allowed a
big grin to cover his face. “She said yes.”
“You asked her????” Mark asked excitedly as his own eyes lit up.
“Twice!” Lucas answered with a nod.
Mark lifted his eyebrows. “Tw…twice?” he asked. Then he
grinned mischievously. “What? Did she say no the first time?”
“Mark,” Lucas rolled his eyes. “You sound like Milly.”
“Well then, I guess I picked the right person for my Ma!” Mark
declared with a nod of his head.
Lucas raised an eyebrow. “Oh?” he asked as he turned toward his
son. “You mean…I didn’t have anything to do with this?”
Mark folded his arms and gave his head a shake. “Well Pa, you
two weren’t exactly kissing in the General Store that first day.
Why, we weren’t in there two minutes before you started yelling
at each other! I had to stand between you two so you wouldn’t
start a fist fight!”
Lucas gave his son a disgusted look. “A fist fight? With
Mark cleared his throat. There was a mischievous gleam in his
eye. “Well…now I suppose I’ll have to stay between you two to
make sure you don’t…” Mark stopped and grinned as he raised his
eyebrows. He saw the warning on his father’s face and thought
that, even at the old age of 15, finishing that sentence could
have dire consequences.
Lucas shook his head. “Goodnight, Mark!” Lucas said sternly.
Lucas watched Mark slowly walk toward the house. He shook his
head again. “That boy!”
Milly had a lot to do Monday morning before school started at
one o’clock. Her first task took place at the general store
where she made several purchases for some items she would need
for teaching. Yesterday, Mr. Griswald had given her a grade
book for her to keep track of the progress of her students. He
also had on hand copies of the books grades 1-3 used in their
studies. Milly hadn’t been able to sleep the night before and
had looked through the books, remembering the same lessons back
East in Kansas City when she was a little girl.
After she left the general store with her new purchases in hand,
she made her way to the church. It had occurred to her during
her sleepless night last night that she had neglected to find a
place for her school. She just wasn’t herself the last couple
of days! As she thought on her dilemma, she remembered hearing
about how many towns in the West didn’t even have a school and
would have to use a church…or even in some cases…the saloon to
teach the children. The thought of using a saloon certainly
didn’t appeal to her, so she went with the most appealing option
– the church. She had mentioned her idea to Lou at breakfast,
and Lou assured Milly that Reverend Gathers would have no
problem with her idea.
When she got to the church, she was happy to find the reverend
there. He was busy on cleaning up from the Sunday service the
day before. “Well, Miss Scott, if I remember?” He smiled and
held out his hand to her.
“Yes. Hello, Reverend.” Milly took his hand and smiled sweetly.
“May I offer you my congratulations? I hear you will soon be
Mrs. McCain.” Among his many jobs as North Fork’s reverend, one
of his favorites was performing a wedding ceremony.
Milly let out a breath of surprise as she smiled, being reminded
of last night’s engagement. “Well, since I just accepted
Lucas’s proposal in marriage last night, I have to ask…how did
“Your future husband stopped by the parsonage last night. I tell
you, I’ve talked to men after their lady has accepted their
proposal, but I’ve not seen a man as excited about it as Lucas!”
He chuckled. “He is beside himself with joy.“ Milly blushed,
but smiled as she realized just how happy she HAD made him last
night. So, I presume you stopped by to tell me you set a date.”
Milly laughed. “No, I’m afraid not. I’m actually here to see
about using the church in the afternoons to teach the children.
You see, Mr. Griswald is overcome with children – seems our
community has done some growing since I left a year ago – and I
will be taking over the responsibility of the first three
grades. I can’t teach at the school so…”
Reverend Gathers smiled. “I would be more than happy to share
my pulpit with such a beautiful lady.”
Milly’s heart leapt. Everything was falling into place nicely!
“I’ll make sure everything is back the way I left it on
Fridays, Reverend,” she assured him.
“Well, I only use this place on Sundays. Save for people coming
in here to use the alter; it’s not used the rest of the week.
There’s no reason why you can’t leave your things in here all
the time instead of moving them in and out.” Reverend Gathers
smiled. “You’ll need a place to store your things. I’ll talk
to your fiancé’ about bringing a cupboard in here. I have a
couple in the parsonage I’m not using. You can just store your
supplies in there. I assure you, It will be no problem. If you
want, I could also have some men stay on Sunday afternoons and
rearrange the benches…”
“Oh no! That’s not necessary!” Milly declared. “I do want the
benches rearranged, but I have two sturdy men that are about to
become members of my family that will be more than willing to do
the job.” She would personally see they had a cheerful heart
for the task. “I’ll have them come over on Mondays and take
care of it for me.” Milly took his hand. “Really, I thank you
for just letting me use the church.”
Reverend Gathers finished up his cleaning then left Milly to get
ready for her first day in the ‘new’ school. She immediately
began setting the room up for her first school session. She
would need to get two strong men to help her rearrange the desks
this morning. Milly figured she could persuade Micah to help.
Then maybe…Milly smiled as her heart jumped at the
prospect…just maybe some certain handsome rancher would come
into town to see his intended today.
By the time Milly got everything arranged in the church, it was
time to have an early lunch. Then she would begin making
preparations for that afternoon’s lessons.
Milly took a sip of her coffee as she sat in the dining room
later that morning. She felt gentle hands on her shoulders as
she sat down her cup. “May I join you?” Lucas’s husky voice
asked from behind her as he leaned down close to her ear. She
raised her head back and smiled up at him. Like he needed an
answer to that! He quickly placed a kiss on her forehead then
sat down right beside her and took her hand. They smiled into
each other’s eyes.
Lou cleared her throat. Lucas and Milly turned and looked up at
her. “I came to take Milly’s order,” Lou said with a click of
her tongue. She held up a finger and shook it at Lucas. “Now,
Cowboy, this is a restaurant, so ye just mind that ye don’t
start any of that lovey dovey stuff in here!” She motioned to
his chair. “Ye just scoot that chair on back where I placed it!
If I wanted my chairs moved, I would…”
Lucas interrupted her with an impatient sigh. “Lou, we’ll have
the…” Lucas raised his eyes and looked at Milly. She shrugged,
indicating whatever he wanted to order her. “Bring us the Irish
Stew.” He waited for Lou to go then bent over and kissed her
cheek. “If she had her way, we’d sleep in separate beds after
we were married.” Milly blushed at his words. “But if she had
herself a cowboy, I’m sure she’d be just like us!”
Milly smiled and dropped his hand, regrettably. “I have to go
to work soon, Lucas. I still have some preparations to do.”
Lucas groaned, acting like a kid who was just told he couldn’t
stay outside and play anymore. “Don’t you have a ranch to run?”
Milly asked as she raised an eyebrow at him.
“Do I have to?” Lucas whined as he grinned at her.
“’Fraid so. But first, I need a good, strong man.” Milly
smiled as she grabbed his forearms and squeezed. Her heart beat
faster as she felt his hard biceps through his shirt. “Oh, and
I’d say you’d probably do,” she teased.
“Oh, thanks a lot!” Lucas kissed the tip of her nose.
Thankfully, the dining room was pretty empty so they had quite
a bit of privacy at the moment. “Engaged less than 24 hours,
and you’re already destroying my ego…and putting me to work!”
Milly laughed as she squeezed his arms again. “Well…it’s just
that I need a couple good, strong men to rearrange some
furniture in the church. I’ll be teaching my pupils there until
some other arrangements can be made.”
“Two strong men, huh?” Lucas raised his eyebrows and gave her a
suspicious look. “Did you…uh…feel his biceps too?” Milly
blushed, but couldn’t say anything. Lucas laughed at her
reaction. “Who is this other strong man?”
“Micah…” She smiled at her fiancée. “That is if we can track
“Micah’s your strong man?” Lucas chuckled as he took a sip of
his coffee. “I…think we can find him. I just left him in his
Milly laughed. “I’m glad to see he hasn’t changed any!”
“So…” Lucas took a piece of bread from the bowl. “Have you
thought about when you want to become Mrs. Lucas McCain?”
“Today!” Milly declared with a smile. Lucas bent over and
kissed her. She knew that would be fine with him. “Lou and I
talked about it last night.” Lucas raised an eyebrow. Two
women talking – especially those two women… “Oh Lucas, she
wants so badly to throw us a reception and help me plan a big
Lucas nodded. Lou’s enthusiasm didn’t surprise him. But what
Lou wanted didn’t matter. This was Milly’s day. “But, what do
you want?” Lucas asked softly as he put his arm around her and
drew her close to him.
“Well…” Milly laid her head on his shoulder. Then she looked
back up at him and gasped. “Oh Lucas, I’m sure you want a small
wedding. I know how you are and I…”
Lucas put a finger to her lips to hush her. He gently shook his
head. “I didn’t ask you what you thought I wanted, honey.”
Lucas took a bite of his buttered bread. “I asked what YOU
want. This is YOUR day.”
“Lucas, that’s not true. It’s your…” Milly started.
Lucas placed two fingers to her lips this time. “I’m going to
make sure you get everything you want for your wedding day.
What I want is to see you happy. If you’re happy, I’ll be
happy.” He smiled at her. Now…” Lucas handed Milly a piece of
buttered bread. “What do YOU want?”
Milly smiled as she looked into his eyes. “Well…I’ll only get
married once, Lucas. And Lou so wants to plan a big wedding
with a reception and a barn dance. She wants me to have a
beautiful wedding dress and…” Milly smiled. “If you want the
truth, Lucas, I would LOVE to have a big wedding with lots of
guests and…and everything! After all, it’s the biggest day of
my life!” Milly lowered her eyes. “Oh, but you don’t want a
long engagement and…and neither do I! We’ve waited so long and
Lou appeared with the stew. First she made sure she stood
between the chairs Lucas and Milly were sitting in, all in good
fun. She sat the bowls in front of them. Lucas sighed as he
raised an eyebrow up at her. “Lou, can you sit?” Lucas asked in
a voice that told Lou she WOULD sit. She nodded and sat down.
“How long would it take us to get a wedding all ready?”
“How long? Well Lucas, a big wedding takes months to plan!”
“Months?” Milly turned and looked at Lucas. “Lucas, no!”
“When do ye want to get married?” Lou questioned with a huff.
“YES!” They both declared.
Milly leaned forward after taking a bite of her food. “Look
Lou, neither of us wants a long engagement. I was thinking more
along the line of…” Milly turned and looked sideways at Lucas.
“Days!” Lucas declared.
“Weeks!” Lou and Milly both argued back.
“Alright.” Lucas sighed as he reached for Milly again. Milly
pulled away so she could take another bite of her food. “If I
have to wait weeks, I guess I can.” Lucas turned to Lou. “How
“Well, I suppose we could do it in three weeks, Lucas. But it
would be pushing it!” Lou looked at Milly then. She paused only
for a moment before she cleared her throat and spoke. “But
there’s something else, Lucas.”
“We need to get Milly’s mother here.”
“Lou, I…” Milly started.
Both Lou and Lucas held up their hands to hush Milly. Milly
stared from one to the other. “It would take a week to get her
here. Milly will need to contact her and let her know when the
wedding is so she can be ready. We’d need to send someone for
her. Milly doesn’t want her to travel alone.”
“Her mother, of course!” Lucas nodded. “She has to come!” Lucas
took a sip of his coffee. “I’ll be busy getting the house ready.
There’s no way I’ll have time to go. You and Milly have a
wedding to plan.”
“Could Mark?” Lou asked suddenly.
Both women heard Lucas’s sharp intake of breath. “Not by
himself, Lou! I couldn’t allow that!” Lucas answered sternly.
“He’s fifteen, Lucas!” Lou argued.
Suddenly, Milly held up a hand to hush them. “First of all,
this is my mother you’re discussing, so is it okay if I get in
on this conversation?” Lucas and Lou both chuckled as they
realized they’d gotten carried away. “Second of all, I have to
eat so I can get to work. Thirdly…” Milly stopped to take a
bite. After she swallowed, she lifted her chin and said, “Mark
is fifteen years old, Lucas! He’s very level headed and mature
and I think he’s plenty old enough to…”
“No!” Lucas said a bit louder than he intended. The group
looked around. Lucas cleared his throat. “Absolutely not! I
Both women knew he had just put an end to this discussion.
Lou gasped, suddenly coming up with the perfect solution. “What
“Send the town Marshal to Kansas City?” Lucas raised an eyebrow.
“Well Lucas, you just said that he’s sitting in his office
napping. I’m guessing he can do that on a train as well as he
can in a chair!” Milly retorted. Milly looked at Lucas through
her long eyelashes as she spoke her next words. “We could send
Mark with him, give them some grandfather/grandson time. And I
think it would be good for Mark to meet his future grandmother.
They could get to know each other on the ride back.”
Lucas scratched under his nose. “He’d miss a week of school,
Milly,” he hinted, thinking that would make her reconsider what
he thought was an order…not a suggestion.
“I don’t think that’s what you’re worried about, Lucas. I think
you’re worried about missing Mark.” Lucas smiled at Milly’s
words. This woman knew him so well! “It would be a good
adventure for the boy. And uh…” Milly bent over and laid a hand
on Lucas’s cheek. She flashed him a big smile. “It would give
us some time alone to uh…work on those wedding plans.” Her
smile grew as she lowered her eyelids over her eyes.
Lucas smiled back at her as they just gazed at each other. Lou
gave a disgusted groan. “Oh, I think I’m going to be sick!” She
retorted. Milly and Lucas laughed.
“If you are worried about Mark and his schoolwork, Lucas, I can
talk to Mr. Griswald and see about his assignments. I suspect,
though, that missing a week of school won’t hurt him too much.”
Lucas groaned at her glowing smile. He knew that smile would
imprison him for the rest of his life. It would be hard to say
no to that! “Okay…I’ll…” Lucas stopped as he smiled. There was
no more “I.” “We’ll talk to Mark about it tonight.”
Milly nodded, then took her hand away from Lucas and took a bite
of her soup. “Well, I have to get to work. You two should go
so I can eat.” She looked from Lou to Lucas.
Lou stood up. She turned and looked at Lucas. Lucas looked at
Lou, then at Milly. “Me?” Lucas asked, pressing his hands to
his chest in shock. “Oh, but I’m your fiancé!”
Milly nodded. “Yes you are, my love…” Milly bent in to him and
stared into his eyes. “And if you want to stay that way, you
best leave so I can finish eating!”
“What about my Irish stew?” Lucas asked.
Milly bent over and patted Lucas’s cheek as she chuckled. “If
you promise to be a good boy, you can sit there and eat it. But
you must be good.” Lucas grinned mischievously and moved toward
her. Milly pressed a hand against his chest. “Not that good!”
After eating, Lucas and Milly made their way to the Marshal’s
office. Micah was still sleeping. The couple paused just
inside the door. Milly folded her arms and shook her head.
“Doesn’t he get hungry?” She whispered in her fiancé’s ear.
“Oh, didn’t you know?” Lucas asked in a normal voice. Then his
voice grew louder as he said, “He just eats anytime he pleases.
In between naps.” That made Milly giggle.
“Huh? What?” Micah sat up and looked to see who had dared to
interrupt his sleep. “Well, if it’s not the future Mr. and Mrs.
Lucas McCain!” He stood up. “I was uh…up most of the night
helping damsels in distress.”
“Mm hm…” Lucas grunted as he looked at Micah doubtfully and
nodded. “Well, since you are well rested, you can come with us
to the church.”
“The church?” Micah looked from Milly to Lucas. Then he folded
his arms and grinned. “Well, Lucas Boy! I knew you wanted to
marry her, but isn’t this rushing it a bit?”
“Micah!” Lucas grunted again. “Milly will be teaching the
children in the church in the afternoons. We need to rearrange
some furniture so she can get started.”
“Oh!” Micah grinned. “So, when IS the date?”
Lucas turned to Milly and folded his arms as he cocked his head
to one side and narrowed his eyes. “Yeah. You and Lou never
DID give me that piece of information.”
Milly smiled. “How about three weeks from Saturday.”
“Last Saturday?” Lucas asked hopefully.
Milly shook her head and patted his cheek as she turned to walk
out. “No my love…NEXT Saturday.”
Micah and Lucas watched Milly walk out. Lucas turned and raised
an eyebrow at his friend. “Next Saturday,” he mocked.
“LUCAS!” Milly warned.
“Coming, dear!” Lucas called.
Micah laughed. “Somehow I get a feeling those two words will
become very familiar to you, Lucas Boy.”
Lucas patted Micah’s back as they walked out onto the street.
Lucas shifted his rifle from one hand to the other as they
walked down toward the church. Milly walked ahead of them,
giving them some privacy to talk without her hearing. “I’ve got
a favor to ask you.” Lucas smiled. “It would be a wedding
present for Milly.”
“I need you to take a trip.”
“A trip?” Micah stopped walking as he turned toward his friend.
“What? She wants you become the town Marshal now?”
Lucas laughed. “I need you and Mark to go fetch her mother in
Kansas City,” Lucas said quietly.
“Kansas City???” Micah retorted. “You’re going to send the two
of us away to…” Micah stopped as he turned and looked at Milly
who was walking ahead. “Oh…I see!” He grinned wide again.
“MICAH!!!” Lucas rolled his eyes. “Milly thinks it would be
good for you and Mark.”
“Oh for me and Mark, huh?” Micah grinned even bigger. “I’m sure
she has your best interest at heart too, my lucky friend you! A
whole week without the boy and Marshal around will give you two
plenty of time to…”
“That’s enough, Micah!” Lucas grunted.
Micah cleared his throat. “So sending Mark away isn’t your
“No. Definitely not my idea.” He rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t
exactly…given a choice.” Micah was enjoying having fun at his
“What about my job?” Micah asked then.
“Well, I suppose you can sleep on the train as well as you
can…OH!” Lucas grunted as Micah elbowed him in the gut. Lucas
held up his hands in mock surrender. “You have a standing
deputy, you know.”
“And you’re sure he won’t get distracted from his duties by a
certain raven-haired beauty?”
“I’ll be at the ranch working hard. If there’s trouble, someone
will come get me. I’ll stay in town at night when things tend
to get crazy in the saloon. It’ll only be for a week, Micah.
How bad could things get?”
Micah laughed at that last statement. “Well okay, Lucas. As a
matter of fact, it’ll give you something to do to help keep your
mind off your impending prison…uh…life sentence. You just tell
me when.” Lucas nodded. Then they stopped on the steps before
entering the church. “But you also remember that someone will
have to take her back to Kansas City after the wedding.”
Lucas grinned as he turned and looked at Milly as she walked
into the church. He turned back to Micah, a big smile on his
face. “Uh huh…” They both smiled at each other. “But, you’ll
have to find yourself another deputy when you…and Mark…take her
back. I’m going to be on my honeymoon!” Both men laughed
Milly nodded her approval as she continued writing notes on the
paper. Micah sighed, happy the moving of furniture was finally
over. “But you know we have to do this every Friday evening and
Monday morning.” Micah said this quietly, thinking Milly
wouldn’t hear him.
“Oh no.” Milly looked up. She pointed her pen at Micah.
“Micah, you’re off the hook.” Then she looked at Lucas. “Mark
will be helping Lucas from now on.” As soon as she finished her
statement, she lowered her head and went right back to her
Lucas put his hands on his hips and shook his head at Micah.
“You see? Less than 24 hours of engagement, and she already has
both mine and Mark’s lives all planned out!” Micah laughed as
he turned and walked out the door.
If Milly heard the snide remark, she chose to ignore it as she
stood from the desk and looked around the room. “Oh, I hope
this is going to work out!” she said nervously as she put a hand
to her chin and looked around.
Lucas walked up behind her and put his arms around her. He
rested his chin on top of her head and gave her a backwards hug.
Milly laid her arms on top of his and leaned her head into his
chest. “You’re going to do fine, Milly! These kids have the
best school teacher anywhere!”
Milly closed her eyes as she continued to rest her head on
Lucas’s chest. “You’re a bit prejudice,” she pointed out
Lucas kissed the top of her head. “Maybe.” He turned her
around to face him. He looked into her eyes. “But I could see
the passion for these children in your eyes. You haven’t even
met them yet and you already have hopes for them.” He kissed
her softly. “Now…” he said as he touched her chin. “Let’s go
get those kids.”
Milly turned and looked at her desk. She reached to do a little
more rearranging, but Lucas grabbed her arm. “Everything’s
fine, Milly,” he said sternly. He walked with her to the school
and helped transport all the children to the church. He stayed
quiet in the back of the room and watched as Milly tried to get
the laughter and talking under control. Finally, she clapped
her hands together really hard and shouted, “SILENCE!”
Lucas threw a fist to his mouth. She sure wouldn’t have any
trouble! “Now,” Milly sighed. “That’s better! Let me
introduce myself. I am…”
“You’re the Rifleman’s woman!” one of the children declared.
Milly sucked in her breath and put her hands on her hips.
Lucas cringed when he saw the mean look on her face. He sure
hoped she never used that look on him or Mark! The child
straightened up in his chair. “That’s what my Pa said at the
supper last night. He said you’s gonna tame the Rifleman.”
Milly cleared her throat as she looked back at Lucas. She saw
the laughter in his eyes. “My name, young man, is Miss Scott.
The Rifleman…” Milly closed her eyes as she realized her slip
of the tongue. “…Mr. McCain and I will be getting married soon.
Then my name will be Mrs. McCain. I do not want anyone to
refer to me as ‘The Rifleman’s woman.’ Is that clear?”
The children nodded. Lucas leaned against the door and folded
his arms as he watched his fiancée hard at work. “And everyone
who is in the classroom will be expected to work…Regardless of
The children turned to see Lucas standing in the doorway. Lucas
straightened up and nodded his head. “Yes ma’am!” Then he
quickly left the church.
Milly felt passionate as she taught the kids for the afternoon.
She could see the desire to learn in some of their eyes, while
in others she saw confusion. She worked with each child
individually to get a better understanding of where they were
academically. Then for those who would be staying at home for
the morning, she recorded their assignments in a note and sent
them on their way.
As Milly exited the church, she was surprised to see Mark
waiting for her. “Pa sent me to fetch ya, Milly.” Mark
explained as he walked up the steps of the church.
“Oh?” Milly put the key to the church in her handbag. “Why?”
“He said you’re coming to dinner tonight.” Milly rolled her
eyes. “He said we had some things to discuss…as a family.”
Mark grinned at her.
Milly smiled as she made her way down the steps. That warmed
her heart. She may even forgive him for not “asking” her to
come for supper.
“How’s it feel to be teaching again?” Mark asked then.
“Wonderful!” Milly declared. Mark helped her into the wagon.
All the way home, she told Mark about the joy of watching the
When they pulled into the yard, Milly saw Lucas in the corral
tending to an injured calf. He straightened up and started
toward her. Milly blushed as her eyes landed on his chest. His
shirt was unbuttoned all the way down and hanging out of his
jeans. “Good afternoon, Miss. Scott!” Lucas greeted her with a
smile. He started to take her in his arms, but Milly took a
step back. She blushed and looked towards Mark.
Lucas looked down. “Oh! I’m sorry, Milly.” He quickly
buttoned his shirt, enjoying her bashfulness. “I have beans and
cornbread cooking in the kitchen.” After tucking his shirt in,
he put an arm around her waist and led her toward the house.
“How was your first day?”
Milly stopped and turned to him. “Wonderful, Lucas!” She
beamed. “It was just wonderful!” She paused at the door. “You
and Mark just go on with whatever you usually do. I’ll finish
They enjoyed their meal as they engaged in small talk again.
After supper, she and Lucas talked to Mark about riding to
Kansas City to fetch her mother for the wedding. Lucas smiled
as the excitement of adventure danced in Mark’s eyes. But Milly
looked sternly at her soon-to-be son. “I’ll be talking to Mr.
Griswald about your lessons for the week you miss school. I’ll
give you a choice of either working ahead before you leave or
working on the train.” There was a warning in her voice that
said, “No argument!”
Mark stared at Milly. She had just returned three days ago, and
she was already laying down the law! He turned to look at his
father. “Pa?” He asked for help.
Lucas held up a hand and shook his head. “This is her turf now,
son.” Lucas picked up the dessert plates from the table. “And
I’m glad it’s now out of my hands!”
“Boy, oh boy!” Mark exclaimed. “Engaged for 24 hours, and she’s
“I was bossing you way before now, and you know it!” Milly
declared as she reached out and touched Mark’s ear. “You forgot
the ear-pulling I gave you in the school yard?”
“Oh yeah,” Mark groaned as he touched his ear. He was still
trying to decide who’s ear-pulling hurt the worst…
“And the smack on the backside?” Mark groaned. “And the…”
Mark held up his hand. “Alright, alright!” She certainly knew
how to get her point across!
Milly smiled. “Now, get over there and do those dishes, young
Lucas walked over to Milly’s chair and took her hand. He helped
to her feet. They walked out onto the porch and sat down. He
draped an arm around her shoulders. His voice was a bit
reserved as he spoke. “Milly, I hate to bring this up, but I’m
afraid we got some important matters to discuss.”
“Oh?” Milly raised an eyebrow.
“Well, it seems when I built this house, I didn’t exactly
foresee me getting married. We only have one bedroom and uh…”
Lucas took her hand and leaned in towards her so he could look
into her eyes. “That just won’t do.”
Milly blushed as she thought on the implications of that sly
smile Lucas held on his face. “Well then…I think we DO have
some things to talk about.”
Lucas kept a hold of her hand as they stood up. He led her to
the back of the house. “I was thinking about knocking out this
wall.” He pointed toward the wall. “We could add on a couple
“A couple?” Milly questioned as she turned to look at him.
“Well…” Lucas cleared his throat and lifted his eyebrows. “You
know…things happen.” He grinned mischievously.
Milly blushed. “Do you…want more children?” She asked.
“As many as you can give me.” Lucas grinned as he drew her to
him and again kissed her. She found herself lost in his embrace
as she slowly drew her arms around his neck and leaned into his
kiss. Lucas was the one to finally break the kiss. He cleared
his throat. “There’s only so much a man can take…”
Milly blushed again. “I think two rooms is a good idea…for
now.” Milly smiled coyly at him. Lucas took a piece of paper
out of his pocket and opened it. Milly looked at the plans he
had been drawing. “Okay, so we can make our bedroom come out
right here…” he pointed around the yard and showed her where
their bedroom would come to. “Then the other bedroom.”
“That’s a pretty big bedroom!” Milly declared.
“Milly, I’m going to make it special. I’m not telling you what
I’m planning for you. It’s a surprise. You’ll see it…on our
Milly blushed. The mere mention of it sent shivers through her
body. She cleared her throat and took a few steps from him.
She looked at him, but he suddenly averted his eyes from her as
they started walking out of the back yard. “Lucas?” Lucas
stopped but didn’t turn toward her. “What else are you thinking
Lucas jerked his head around and stared at her. “How did you…”
“Lucas McCain! I can always tell when you are avoiding
something. What is it?” She folded her arms and waited.
He took her hand and led her back to the porch. He sat down and
pulled her down next to him. The next item up for discussion
was difficult, but it was one that had to be discussed. “Well…I
haven’t told you much about my wife and…Well, discussing my past
wife with my future wife is a bit....” Lucas cleared his throat.
“Margaret was…well, she was something special. I’ll always
hold a place for her in my heart.”
“I understand that, Lucas.” She put her hands on his cheeks.
“I’ve always understood that. The love you have for her runs
very deeply, and I’ll always respect that.”
Lucas took her hand from his cheek and drew it to his lips. He
held it in both of his hands and studied it intently. “I know…”
He swallowed. “When Mark and I settled here, it took a long
time for us to make peace with the fact that she was gone, but
we’ve finally done it…pretty much…But we wanted her all around
us. So, after we settled here, we sent for a lot of our things
from Oklahoma. The lamps, the pictures on the wall, the
curtains and…” Lucas raised his head and looked into her eyes.
“The dishes.” Milly nodded without flinching. She stayed
quiet. “Well…a woman…she wants her own things. She needs…”
Lucas lowered his head. Talking about this was very difficult
Milly suddenly leaned into Lucas and put a finger under his
chin. She lifted his head, forcing him to look into her eyes.
Then she gently shook her head. “Stop right there, Lucas
McCain.” Milly kissed him softly before continuing. “Now, I
know that Margaret was Mark’s mother and your wife. I could
never replace her in either role, and I don’t want to. She will
always have a special place here…” She laid a hand on his chest
over his heart. “And here…” she laid a hand on the top of his
head. “And here…” She pointed toward the house. “I accepted
that a long time ago.”
Milly took Lucas’s hand in both of hers and smiled softly. “You
weren’t ready to move on to the point of marrying me and
accepting me into your home before I left, Lucas. But now you
are. I can tell you have come to terms.” She dropped his hand
and put her own in her lap. “When I move in, I move in with the
intention of seeing Margaret’s memory around. She’s part of you
and Mark, Lucas. I can never stop that, even if I wanted to.
There are memories and moments that I’ll never be a part of.
Those are private memories between you and Mark. But Lucas,
when I marry you, I’m marrying Lucas McCain. I’m moving into
your home and setting up house. I would be so…” Milly suddenly
felt her eyes moisten. She put a hand to her chest as she felt
tears trickle down her cheeks. “…so honored to use Margaret’s
Lucas smiled and brushed a tear from her cheek. “And we would be
honored to share them with you. They will be as much yours as
they were hers.”
“But Lucas, if my using Margaret’s dishes and such bothers
Mark…” Lucas shook his head. “Then I am more honored that you
would allow them to become mine as well.”
Lucas turned to her then. They shared a look of silence as they
searched each other’s face. Then Lucas drew her close to him
and again they shared a kiss.
“OH, again?!” They heard Mark groan from behind them. Their
lips parted. Lucas continued looking into Milly’s eyes. “Pa,
if you want I’ll escort Milly back to town.”
“No son. I’LL escort her back to town!” Lucas declared as he
stood up. “You finish your chores then get to bed.” He put his
arm around Milly’s waist as they headed toward the barn. Lucas
never took his eyes off of her. “You got school tomorrow.”
Mark leaned against the post as he watched them enter the barn.
He allowed a slow easy smile to cross his face. “Welcome back,
The Wedding — Tensions
This is a
story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
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around The McCain Ranch