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The Next Step...
Chapter 34 – Never Too Old
Written by Deanne Bertram

Micah and Hattie’s wedding was planned for the first weekend in September. Lucas was to walk the bride down the aisle and give her away. Johnny and Mark stood up with Micah. Milly and Lou stood up with Hattie.

As Reverend McCafferty asked, “Who gives this bride away?” Lucas answered, “I do, on behalf of the town council of North Fork.” He gave Hattie a kiss on the cheek and quietly said, “I love you Ma.”

Tears were in everyone’s eyes when the reverend pronounced them husband and wife. Micah quickly kissed Hattie.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I now introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Micah Torrance.”

*****

After their wedding reception, Micah walked Hattie back to her home, before he left however, he reminded everyone that he owned a scatter gun and had no reservations against using it on anyone who thought about a shivaree. And those who were fortunate enough to avoid his scatter gun, he’d see to it that they spend at least a week in jail.

The McCain’s and the Drako’s watched as the new Mr. and Mrs. Torrance walked arm in arm down the street.

*****

Mark was sitting in the Marshal’s Office and Johnny was out to doing his morning rounds of North Fork, when Micah arrived.

“Excuse me,” Mark stated. “But just what are you doing here?”

“Mark, I’m the Marshal of this town and if I want to…”

“Micah, you’re not the Marshal for at least the next few weeks. You just got married!”

“This town is my responsibility.”

“Isn’t that why you have Johnny and me? To help out when you need some time off? Now go back to Miss Hattie or else I’ll go get her and then the two of us will parade you through the streets.”

Micah looked around the office.

“Micah, you best get, because if Johnny or my Pa finds you here instead of with Miss Hattie…”

“Okay, Okay, I’m going.”

“Enjoy yourself Micah and tell Mrs. Torrance I said hello.”

*****

Mark got up and walked out to the front of the office and lead against the hitching rail when a rider approached and dismounted in front of him.

“Drew, Drew Anders?”

“Howdy Mark. How ya been?” Drew stated as he turned and shook Mark’s hand.

“Been fine. What brings you to North Fork?”

“Just traveling through. Supposed to head down to El Paso in a week or so, to help out. But before then, got some time, so I thought I’d stop by and visit with ya.”

Mark invited Drew in and offered him a cup of coffee.

“You never got to liking this stuff did ya, Mark?” Drew asked.

“Nope, tastes like tree bark in water.” Mark stated as he grimaced with his face.

“Hey Mark, that little gal you were so sweet about, the last time I was here. What ever happened to her?”

“I married her,” Mark stated, then smiled as she entered the office. “Morning Hope. Do you remember Drew Anders? Drew, my wife Hope.”

“Marshal Anders, if I remember correctly,” Hope stated as she greeted Drew.

“Yes ma’am. So you got this fella lassoed and hog tied? Boy Mark, you look as smitten with her today as you did, what two years ago?” Drew asked.

“Mark, I’m sorry to interrupt, but did I see Micah in town?”

“Yes, I chased him back home. Told him he if he didn’t head back home to Miss Hattie, I’d go get her and then parade him through town. You know they say ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, well, he’s just going to have to get used to being a married man and realizing he has two capable deputies,” Mark stated as he pulled Hope into his arms and gave her a kiss. “And all the benefits you can enjoy as a married man.”

“Mark!” Hope blushed as she tried to push away from Mark. Then turning to Drew, “If you’re staying in town for a while, maybe you could join Mark and me for supper at the hotel tonight?”

“What? No home cooking for a long, lost friend?” Drew faked a pained look on his face.

“Well, we would invite you home, but with Micah having just gotten married, Johnny and Mark are responsible for the town. And with Johnny’s little boy having the sniffles, I’m sure he’d want to spend supper with Lou at home, instead of being held hostage to the office,” Hope answered. “So that means Mark really needs to stay close to the office.”

“I understand Miss Hope, I’d be pleased to join you and Mark at the hotel, say six o’clock?” They agreed.

Mark and Hope enjoyed sharing a wonderful supper and conversation at the hotel. Mark walked Hope to a room at the hotel and kissed her goodnight. He bid Drew goodnight as he walked down the hallway to return to the marshal’s office.

*****

That night, Micah was embarrassed about the whole situation. Micah kept saying, “I don’t know why I let me talk myself into marrying. I’m too old for this. Marriage is for young people.”

“Now Micah, I thought you loved Hattie?” Lucas asked.

“I do, but marriage? Everyone looking at us and smiling? Should have just stayed a bachelor and enjoyed her company and her cooking,” Micah said grumpily.

“Micah, there’s more to marriage than company and cooking. There are many other pleasures,” Lucas stated as he tried to hide a grin from his face.

“Now don’t you go starting in on me too.” Micah threatened Lucas by pointing a finger at him.

Lucas spent time convincing Micah that, maybe, they should travel for their honeymoon. The following morning the McCain’s and the Drako’s saw Micah and Hattie off at the train station.

The Next Step — Fort Sam Houston

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

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