The Rifleman
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Fan Fiction

The Years Before
 
Chapter 11 - The Wedding that Almost Wasn't
Written by Michelle Palmer
 
“Papa! Papa!” Abraham groaned as Charlie grabbed a hold of his leg and shook it as hard as he could. “Papa!” Charlie started crying. Abraham was staring in the mirror trying to fix his tie, but he couldn’t get it straight – not with a two year old tugging on his leg.
 
“Son…go play with your blocks!” Abraham groaned as he took the tie off and threw it down on the shelf under the mirror. He turned toward the bedroom. “Julie! Julie! Honey, we’re going to be late!”
 
“I’m coming!” Julie called from the bedroom.
 
“How would you like it if your guests were late to our wedding?”
 
Julie opened the door and pinched her cheeks as she hurried into the main room. “Oh now Abe, if you remember right your own brothers WERE late for our wedding!”
 
“Oh…yes.” Abraham rolled his eyes remembering that Peter had taken Luke to the saloon in Fort Smith. He also remembered the explosion that had happened after the wedding between his two brothers and his father. Julie turned and smoothed David’s hair down. “Honey, now you know they aren’t going to the wedding! They don’t need all dolled up!” Abraham moaned.
 
“Well maybe not but they can at least have their hair flat when I take them for Mrs. Pritchard to watch!” Julie picked David up and started for the door. But she stopped when she saw her husband. “Abraham McCain!”
 
“What?”
 
“Where is your tie?” Julie sat David on the floor as she hurried over to the shelf and grabbed the tie Abraham had thrown down. She turned up his collar and started tying his tie. “Honestly! Between dressing the four boys and my husband…”
 
“Well…it ain’t easy for a man to dress when he has someone pulling on his leg!” Abraham declared. “Besides, why do I have to wear a tie? It’s not like it’s my brother getting married!”
 
“Abraham McCain!” Julie shook her head. “Scott is like a brother and you know it! Now…” Julie straightened his tie and nudged his chin with a smile. “Alright…you could have trimmed your beard before the wedding but…”
 
“Mama! Mama!” Charlie called.
 
“Charlie, I told you to…” Abraham’s eyes grew wide when he saw Sammy on the floor. He had managed to get the ink off the desk and pour it all over him! “Samuel McCain!” Abraham declared.
 
“Oh…” Julie stooped down and picked up the empty ink well. “Abe…” She shook her head at him.
 
“Now Julie…this is not my fault! I don’t know who…”
 
Julie slowly stood up and turned toward the desk. She picked up a half-written letter Abraham had been working on writing to Lucas. “Then whose fault is it?”
 
“Oh…” Abraham picked Sammy up. “Well, let’s go!”
 
“You can’t take my baby to Mrs. Pritchard’s like that!” Julie declared, horrified that he would even think of such a thing.
 
“Now honey…” Abraham leaned over and kissed her solidly on the lips. “What would you rather have…Scott upset that we didn’t come to the wedding or a little bit of embarrassment that Mrs. Pritchard; whom, by the way, has raised eight boys of her own and tanned the hide of all four McCain brothers at one time or another, discovers we are not perfect parents?”
 
“I don’t like this!” Julie declared as she grabbed her hat and put it on while looking in the mirror.
 
“Fine!” Abraham declared as he hurried into the boys’ bedroom and grabbed a fresh change of clothes for his ink-covered son. “Let’s go!”
 
It had occurred to Abraham that Julie was a bit moody, but usually pregnant women were moody to start out with. Julie was normally very happy and glowed through her pregnancies. He hoped this was just a bad day, and wasn’t going to set the mood for the next several months.
 
Mrs. Pritchard did give quite a look at seeing the spilled ink all over Samuel. She put her hands on her hips as Julie apologized profusely, and took the clothes Julie handed her. Abraham grinned as Julie, with reddened cheeks, sat back down on the wagon seat. “And you can wipe that smirk off your face, Abraham McCain, or you’ll be getting a whipping from me later!”
 
“Oh?” Abraham grinned as he raised an eyebrow. She pointed toward the road. “Yes ma’am.”
 
When they arrived, the music had already started. “You see? We’re late!” Julie declared as Abraham put his hands to her waste and swung her off the wagon seat.
 
“Not too late.” Abraham motioned for her to go up the steps. Julie started inside, but stopped just inside the door when she felt faint coming on. She placed a hand to her head and closed her eyes. “Julie?” Abraham caught her before she went down.
 
Margaret, who was standing at the back of the church waiting for her cue to walk up to the front, turned from the back of the church at the sound of Abraham’s voice and saw the commotion. “Julie!” she gasped as she hurried up to Abraham. Abraham slid Julie to the floor and started fanning her. “Ma, Aunt Ruth, come quick!”
 
The organ stopped and people gathered all around the couple. Abraham held up a hand. “It’s okay, folks!” Abraham looked down at Julie who was now quite embarrassed. “It’s nothing serious. “ Abraham raised his eyebrows as he bent down beside her. In a low voice, he stated, “You’ve stayed quiet for two weeks now, honey. I…think you should tell these good people the news.”
 
Abraham helped Julie to her feet. Her face was quite red. “Oh…I’m sorry!” She saw Amanda, wedding dress and all, standing in the doorway looking concerned. “I’m expecting and I guess I…almost fainted.”
 
“Hm!” Scott shook his head. “Nothing like being fashionably late!” Everyone laughed. Scott turned and looked at his fiancée. “See the family you’re marrying into?”
 
Amanda looked up at Scott. “I think it’s wonderful!” she declared. “We’re starting our life together today with the announcement that Julie’s having a baby!”
 
“Okay!” Jeremiah declared as he put his hands on his hips. “I’m not going to stand by and let my brother have all the glory! It just so happens that my wife’s expecting too!”
 
“Wow!” Amanda smiled. “Scott, isn’t this romantic? Did you really plan this?”
 
“Uh…” Scott rubbed his nose. “No. I would never think of doing anything THIS crazy!” Scott shook his head. “Now…if you McCain’s are finished ruining my special day, I’d like to get on with the wedding!”
 
“YOUR special day?” Amanda’s voice squeaked, causing Scott to pause.
 
“Uh…” Scott smiled and took her hand. “I meant OUR special day.”
 
Everyone filtered back to their seats. Abraham held on to Julie, keeping a steady hold on her arm as he led her to their seats.
 
“Well…this marriage is off to a good start,” Peter mumbled to Tiffany as he escorted her to her seat, who proceeded to elbow him in the ribs.
 
“Look who’s talking!” Tiffany declared. “Should I…remind you of the roaring start our marriage got off to?”
 
Peter smiled as kissed her; then walked back up to the front and stepped onto the platform as they waited for the wedding to begin.
 
Laura, who had been allowed to come to the wedding after receiving a very stern talk from her brother, turned and watched Margaret walk up the aisle. She was beautiful in her pink dress. Then when the organ started playing the wedding march, everyone stood for the bride’s grand entrance. Scott looked so nervous it looked like he was about to faint himself.
 
Amanda had walked half way up to the front when she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks and stared at the door in the front of the church. Her eyes grew wide. Scott saw the smile on her face suddenly disappear and turned to see what she was looking at. There in the doorway was Samuel Gibbs, drunk and dirty. He looked more like a homeless man than Samuel Gibbs. In his one hand, he held a bottle of whiskey, and in the other a bunch of flowers.
 
“Pa!” Scott stepped off the platform and took a step toward Samuel. Peter, who was standing as his best man, grabbed his arm to hold him back. Scott clinched his fists. “Pa, what are you doing here?”
 
“My invitation must a got lost in the mail.” He staggered in and fell on the front pew. “Heard ya was getting married.”
 
Margaret dropped her bouquet and hurried over to her father. “Papa!” She sat down next to him. Her eyes filled with tears as Scott forced Peter’s grip from him. “Papa, why are you here?”
 
“My boy’s getting’ married!” Samuel declared. “I guess I’ve got a right to be here if I wanta be.” He suddenly cursed.
 
“Papa!” Margaret cried. Emily stood and ushered Laura out of the church. Laura complained the whole way out.
 
“I didn’t invite you, Pa!” Scott sneered. “Get out!”
 
“Don’t I got a right to see my boy married?” Samuel took a long swig off his whiskey. “Well, don’t I, boy?”
 
“Pa, get out or so help me…”
 
“No!” Margaret threw a protective arm in front of her father, guarding Scott from doing anything. “He’s our father!”  Margaret turned and looked at him. “Papa…”
 
Marshal Williams stood and hurried forward. “Sam…get out!”
 
“But I wanta see…” he started.
 
Margaret stood up and helped her father to his feet. “Come on, Papa. Let’s get you to the hotel.”
 
“No! I wanta stay for the weddin’!” Samuel declared.
 
“Oh Samuel!” Jennifer suddenly stood and shouted. “Why do you have to ruin every special occasion? Why?”
 
Samuel looked at Jennifer as he narrowed his eyes. “Jenny…”
 
“Out! Out! GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!!” Jennifer screamed.
 
“I think he’ll be better off in jail today,” Scott declared through clinched teeth. “Get him out of here! Get him out of here now!” Marshal Williams grabbed Samuel by the arm and hurried him out the door.
 
“Pa…” Margaret started forward.
 
But Scott grabbed her arm. “Let him go, sis. It’s better this way.” Margaret’s eyes filled with tears. She loved her father so very much and wanted to help him. But she knew Scott was right. He was drunk and had made a terrible scene, so she wiped her eyes and took her place on the platform.
 
Amanda’s eyes were filling with tears. “Scott…I…” she stopped when Scott hurried up to her and grabbed her hands.
 
“Do you still want to get married? After you saw this?” Amanda nodded. “Then let’s get on with it!”
 
Scott hurried back up to the front and stepped back up onto the platform. Peter stepped up beside him. Scott’s jaw still clinched. “I’m going to give Pa a piece of my mind after the wedding!” Scott mumbled as the music started back up.
 
“Just forget about it. You have a bride to entertain.”
 
Amanda started walking up toward the front again, but just before she reached Scott, she held up her hand. The music stopped. “Scott Gibbs, you look more like you’re going to a funeral than a wedding! I won’t have any of this frowning bit!” Amanda smoothed her dress. “Now…I’m getting married only once, and I want this day to be memorable.”
 
“Well…I reckon it is,” Peter declared from beside him. “Memorable, I mean.”
 
Scott turned and glared at Peter. But suddenly, Abraham let out a chuckle. Julie elbowed him, but couldn’t stifle her own giggle. Their laugh was followed by another giggle and another until the church was full of laughter. Amanda and Scott both turned and looked around at their wedding guests who filled the church. Amanda turned and looked at her fiancé. They both cracked up laughing as well.
 
When the laughter died down, Scott stepped down and walked to Amanda. “Well…I guess Peter’s right, my dear. We’ll never forget this day!” Scott smiled. “Would you believe it if I told you that I planned this whole thing so you would get a clear image of the family you were going to marry into?”
 
“Would I believe it?” Amanda wiped at her eye as a tear tried to creep out. “No. Do I have regrets about marrying you? No. I want to marry you and your entire crazy family!”
 
“Hey! Who are you calling crazy?” Peter piped up then.
 
“All of you! Every last one of you…But I guess it takes one to know one!” Amanda declared with a loving smile.
 
Scott smiled into her eyes and took her hands. He swallowed as the organ started playing again. “Forget it!” Scott told the organist. He turned back to look at Amanda. “I just want to marry this woman now.” His smile broadened. “I do.”
 
“You’re rushing it a bit!” Reverend Gentry declared. “I haven’t asked the question yet!”
 
Scott sighed as he looked into Amanda’s eyes. “Yes…well…if you don’t hurry, I’m going to kiss the bride!”
 
Amanda chuckled as the Reverend asked the question. “Do you, Scott Gibbs take Amanda Johnson to be your lawfully wedded wife…” Scott got lost in her eyes and didn’t realize the Reverend had finished with the vows. “Well?”
 
Scott turned and looked at the Reverend. “Huh?”
 
“Just say ‘I do.’” Amanda declared.
 
“Oh, I do!” The Reverend asked Amanda the question.
 
“Yes,” Amanda declared.
 
“And now the rings…” Scott’s eyes grew wide as he stared at Amanda.
 
“You didn’t!” Amanda gasped as she gave Scott a not-so-loving look.
 
“Scott Gibbs!” Margaret rolled her eyes. “The last thing I said to you this morning before you walked out the door is…”
 
“Don’t forget the rings on the kitchen table!” Scott closed his eyes. “They’re at home…on the kitchen table!”
 
“Nevermind!” Amanda shook her head. “I knew how absent-minded he was before I said yes.”
 
“Then by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife!” Scott stared into Amanda’s eyes.
 
“Well, kiss her, dummy!” Johnny declared as he rolled his eyes.
 
Scott smiled and leaned into Amanda. He didn’t realize his foot was on the very edge of the platform, and as he leaned forward his foot slipped. He waved his arms around, trying to catch his balance, but he fell forward. When he did so, he fell against Amanda, who lost her balance and fell to the floor. Peter fell flat on top of her. They just stared at each other…shocked.
 
“My….my!” Julie declared under her breath.
 
“Hm…he MUST have some McCain blood in him somewhere – he sure knows how to…Oof!” Abraham cried as Julie gave him a hard elbow in the gut.
 
Scott and Amanda stared at each other as she lay underneath him. Scott smiled. “I guess I fell in love with you!” Scott declared as he lowered his head and kissed her softly on the mouth.
 
Emily turned and looked at her mother who put a hand to her mouth and giggled. Jennifer stood to her feet. “Scott Gibbs! Is that any way to act in church? You get up and act like a man this instant!”
 
“Act like a man?” Abraham chuckled. “Well..I think that he…” Julie slowly turned and raised her eyebrows in a stern warning at her husband. Abraham cleared his throat.
 
Scott stood and helped Amanda to her feet. “It was an accident, Ma! Honest!”
 
At that, Abraham whispered in Julie’s ear, “I sure wish I would have thought that cleaver at our wedding!”
 
“Sh!” Julie warned.
 
“Well, as I said…” Reverend Gentry said as he rolled his eyes skyward. “They are married…for better or for…worse!”
 
“Oh, I think it’ll be for better!” Scott said. He looked down at the floor. “My feet are firmly on the ground now.” He leaned forward and took his bride in his arms as he kissed her again.
 
Everyone started filtering out of the church after the wedding couple were introduced as “Mr. and Mrs. Scott Gibbs.”
 
“Maybe I should help you out, big brother,” Johnny teased. “I don’t want you to trip on the stairs and land flat on your…”
 
“Johnny!” Scott warned. “You watch it or I’ll plant a hard one on your…”
 
Scott smiled down at Amanda as they started down the steps. Everyone cheered for the bride and groom. They hurried over to the hotel where the dining room was reserved for the McCain/Scott family. White, lace tablecloths lined the tables. The table Scott and Amanda sat at contained vases of Marigolds and Posies Margaret had picked from her flower garden that morning. Scott was happy the reception was going better then the wedding.
 
Margaret brought out the white cake and sat it down on the table, a little ways from where Scott and Amanda sat. “It’s time to cut the cake!” Margaret announced as she picked up the knife, decorated with a fine bow. She paused as Scott reached for it. “With all the disasters you’ve been involved in today, Scott, I don’t know if…”
 
“Give me the knife!” Scott demanded through clinched teeth. Margaret released the knife to him. Amanda put her hand on top of his as everyone watched the couple cut their wedding cake.
 
The couple smiled as they picked up a piece of the cake. “You know…” Scott smiled. “I really do come from a big, crazy family.”
 
Amanda smiled. “I know.” She picked the piece of cake up and kissed him. “And it’s with that in mind that I do this.” She lifted the cake up to his mouth and started to feed it to him. Scott did the same, but Amanda suddenly smeared it all over his mouth.
 
The group started roaring with laughter. Scott did the same to Amanda, but he got a bit too excited. His bad knee was hurting from earlier and when he leaned forward, it gave way. Amanda had bent down to get a napkin, and in that instance, Scott landed on her back, pushing her flat on the table. Her face landed in the cake with most of it landing on the front of her dress.
 
“OH!” Amanda cried. Scott tried to grab her, but ended up getting cake, which he still held in his hand, all over the sleeve of her dress. “Oh!” Amanda cried again.
 
“Oh honey…I’m…” Scott bent down and tried to peel the cake from her front, but instead, the cake fell from the platter and landed on her feet.
 
 
“Scott Gibbs!” Amanda declared as she stood up in shock at the mess he had made.
 
Margaret’s eyes grew wide as she shot a hand to her mouth. “Scott!” she declared in horror.
 
Scott, desperate to help his wife clean off some of the cake, grabbed what he thought was a napkin. Instead, it was the corner of the table cloth. Plates suddenly rolled and fell to the floor with a crash. “Scott, reach!” Marshal Williams shouted.
 
Scott looked toward the Marshal and put his hands up in the air. “Now…just stay like that!” Margaret hurried over with some towels for Amanda.
 
“Oh honey…” Scott turned to look at his wife. “Amanda…I’m so…”
 
Amanda held up a hand. The look on her face told him she was indeed very angry. “Don’t…say it!” She groaned as she wiped at her wedding dress. “I don’t want to hear you are sorry, Scott Gibbs!” She threw the towel down on the table. “I think I just want to go home!”
 
“Home?” Scott put his hands on his hips. “Amanda, we have a room full of wedding guests! We can’t go HOME!”
 
“Oh?” Amanda put her hands on her hips and turned to look at him. “I CAN go home and I WILL go home! Honestly!” She turned and looked at the guests.  “Thank you all for coming!”
 
Scott watched her walk angrily toward the door. He put a hand to his face. Abraham, with a big grin on his face, slowly stood up and patted his shoulder. “Well now…would you like me to tell you what to do with an angry wife?”
 
“No.” Scott sighed. “I think I can figure that part out for myself!”
 
Abraham watched Scott walk toward the door. Julie slowly stood. “I’d like to know what to do with an angry wife!”
 
“Huh?” Abraham turned and looked at Julie. “Oh…uh…” he cleared his throat and scratched under his nose. “Anything she says!”
 
Several laughed as Abraham plopped back down beside Julie. “I can’t help but wonder something.”
 
“What’s that?” Julie asked.
 
Abraham turned and looked at Julie. “I sure do hope their wedding night goes a lot better for Scott!”
 
“Abraham McCain!”
 
***
 
Scott quietly drove the wagon towards the boarding house Amanda had been living at. They were going to stay in the hotel that night, but Amanda had declared she wanted to go straight to the boarding house and collect her things, then go home to the Gibbs’ ranch. She stayed quiet until they got all the way to the boarding house. When they pulled up in front, she just sat there. “Uh…honey?”
 
“Don’t you ‘honey’ me!” Amanda folded her arms and turned toward her husband on the wagon seat. “Scott…I don’t even know where to start with you!”
 
“Oh…honey…”
 
Amanda wagged a finger at him. “I don’t know when I’ve EVER been so humiliated in my whole life!”
 
“Now…you know I have this lame leg of mine…”
 
“And don’t you DARE start blaming all this on your lame leg!”
 
Scott sighed. This was going to be a LONG night…he could just see it now! “Now Amanda!” he suddenly snapped. “Would you please be quiet for a minute and let me speak?!”
 
Amanda stared at Scott. She opened her mouth, then clamped it shut. “Thank you.” Scott sighed. “Now…as for my father…”
 
“Your father was not your fault, but everything else…”
 
“I had absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that Julie chose TODAY to faint and make that announcement!”
 
“Maybe not but…”
 
Scott held up his hand. “I admit that the wedding rings were my fault!”
 
“And knocking me to the floor in the church?” Scott nodded. “And dumping the cake in my lap?” Scott nodded. “And…”
 
“Alright, alright!” Scott threw his hands to his head in desperation. This is not at ALL the way he had expected his wedding day to go! “Look…I’m guilty as charged! I’m dirt..I’m scum…I’m…”
 
“A man!” Amanda suddenly declared. Amanda shook her head. “This was supposed to be the most…most…”
 
“Memorable day of your life?” Scott finished for her.
 
“NO!” Amanda sighed and rolled her eyes. “It was supposed to be the specialist day of my life!”
 
“Well, we got married…didn’t we?”
 
Amanda turned and looked at Scott. “Barely!”
 
Scott turned in his seat. “Now honey…is this any way for us to start off our marriage…arguing?” He leaned in and kissed her. “Wouldn’t you rather…you know…spend our wedding night like most Newlyweds?”
 
“Oh?” Amanda raised her eyebrows at her husband. “And what do ‘most’ Newlyweds do?”
 
“Well…” Scott thought on it. “It’s just a guess…I mean what my Pa told me…I mean…” Scott felt his face redden.
 
Amanda put a hand on his cheek and turned him to face her. “I need to get my things then change out of this dress.”
 
“Oh?” He kissed her softly. “And then what?”
 
“Well…I suppose spending our wedding night at the ranch would be a bit…”
 
“Odd?” Scott nodded. “I was kind of hoping our wedding night would be uh…just the two of us.”
 
“Yeah.” Amanda smiled. “So after I get my stuff, we’ll go back to the hotel…oh…after your family has…”
 
“Our family,” Scott grinned.
 
Amanda nodded. “Our family has gone home.” Amanda stepped down from the wagon and looked up at Scott. “I don’t care to see any of the McCain/Gibbs family tonight! Maybe by the time we go home to the ranch tomorrow they would have forgotten the horrid events of today!”
 
Scott was made to wait in the wagon while Amanda fetched her things. He helped her back up into the wagon then they headed back to town. At Amanda’s demand, Scott stopped just outside town and helped her down from the wagon. He put a finger to her lips and led her up onto the porch of an unoccupied house. “You stay right here until I see if the coast is clear.” Amanda watched him slowly make his way down the street.
 
When Scott snuck into town, he hid along the wall of the saloon. Scott saw Marshal Williams making his evening rounds. “Psst, Psst!” he called. The Marshal stopped and slowly turned around. Scott motioned for him to come over.
 
“What the devil…” Marshal Williams started. Scott hushed him. “What are you doing, boy?”
 
“Is my family gone?”
 
“Peter’s in the saloon having a few beers. But your whole family is at the hotel.”
 
“The hotel? Still?”
 
“They took a room. Your mother and sisters did, anyhow. Johnny went home with Jeremiah. They figured you’d want the house all to yourself tonight.”
 
“Oh.” Scott rolled his eyes. “Well could you get my family to go home?”
 
“Could I what?”
 
“You’re the law. Can you just kind of go up there and uh…” Scott turned to look around. “…tell them to go home in the name of the law?”
 
“In the name of the…” Marshal Williams put his hands on his hips. “You must have damaged your head when you fell! Or did that wife of yours hit you in the head? Where is she? What did you do with her?”
 
Scott rolled his eyes. “I left her at that empty house outside town. Look…” Scott held up a hand in frustration. “I’m in the doghouse already and…”
 
“Already?’ Marshal Williams shook his head. “You’ve been married less than two hours!”
 
“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” Scott sighed. “Look…I want to make her really happy. She doesn’t need any more memorable experiences tonight and…”
 
“Oh?” The Marshal chuckled.
 
“Well…you know what I mean!” Scott sighed. “Listen, has there been any talk of a shivaree?
 
“Yes.”
 
“Great…just great!” Scott ran a hand through his hair. “Do they know we’ll be at the ranch?”
 
“Oh yeah!” Marshal Williams declared. “The scene you two caused in the hotel made it through the rumor grapevine quite quickly”
 
“Is my father in jail?”
 
“Yep.”
 
“Okay…listen…” Scott licked his lips. “You have GOT to make sure no trespassers come out to the ranch.”
 
“Scott, you can’t keep them from having a little bit of innocent fun!” Marshal Williams declared.
 
“Look…” Scott rolled his eyes. “If they come out to have their fun, then I won’t get to have ANY fun…if you know what I mean! My wife will be so angry she may make me sleep in the barn for the first year of our marriage!” Scott slapped a hand on his shoulder. “From one married man to another…I’m BEGGING you!”
 
“Well…” Marshal Williams shook his head. “I’m sorry, son. I’d like to help you…I really would, but…”
 
“Thanks!” Scott declared. “Thanks a lot!”
 
Scott turned and hurried back to where he left Amanda. Amanda stood and stepped off the porch. “Well?”
 
“It looks like we got the ranch all to ourselves tonight. Mother checked the family into the hotel tonight.”
 
“Oh.” Amanda smiled. “So can we go home then?”
 
“Of course!”
 
Their trip back to the ranch was uneventful. Scott pulled the horses up to the barn and stepped down to help Amanda down. He ordered her to stay by the wagon as he went to put the horses up. After exiting the barn, he put an arm around her shoulders. “Uh…the fall hurt my knee a bit. I’m afraid I can’t carry you tonight.”
 
“Oh.”
 
Scott stopped and turned to her. “I’m afraid there’s more bad news.” Scott sighed. “I couldn’t stop the uh…the…visitors from coming.”
 
Amanda narrowed her eyes as she looked at Scott. “Are you telling me there’s going to be a shivaree? After all that’s already gone wrong?”
 
“A Sivaree isn’t wrong, honey. It’s a…tradition!”
 
“Scott Gibbs…” Amanda started as she pointed a finger at him.
 
Scott held up his hand. “Darling, I promise…I’ll make sure they don’t stay long! I’ll get my shotgun after them if I have to!” He leaned in to kiss her.
 
Amanda turned and stepped back. “As soon as they leave you can kiss me.”
 
“Why are you punishing me? This isn’t my fault!” Scott declared.
 
“Then make sure they leave soon! I told you I didn’t want a shivaree!”
 
“I know, I know!” Scott sighed as he followed her into the house.
 
***
 
Abraham stood and strapped on his holster. He started for the door, but paused when he heard the door to the boys’ bedroom close. “They all down for the night?”
 
“Yep.” Julie stopped when she saw him with his holster on. “Going somewhere?”
 
“Uh…Yes.” Abraham nodded.
 
“Oh?” Julie folded her arms. “Exactly where are you going this time of night?”
 
“I’ve some business to tend to, Dear.” Abraham turned and kissed her. “I won’t be long.” He turned from her and put his hand on the door.
 
“Abraham!” Julie’s stern voice stopped him cold.
 
Abraham turned, afraid he was just about to get caught. “Yes Dear?”
 
“Is this uh…business…at the Gibbs’ Ranch?” Abraham closed his eyes, his hand paused on the door. “Well?”
 
“Yes. It’s in that general direction, I believe.”
 
“And uh…just what is your business there?”
 
Abraham sighed. “Honey, look…Shivarees are tradition!”
 
“Oh?” Julie folded her arms and took another step toward her husband. “As I recall, we didn’t have a shivaree.”
 
“No honey, we didn’t.”
 
“And as I recall, the reason we didn’t have one is because you promised great bodily harm to anybody who tried. I think your speech included something like, ‘I’ll be making a list of everyone who shows up anywhere near the cabin and I will personally see that you are punished.’” Abraham sighed. “Well?”
 
“Oh but honey, I…”
 
“You are not leaving this house, Abraham McCain!” Julie declared as she pointed a finger at him.
 
“Oh, but honey…”
 
Julie grabbed him by the front of his shirt and smiled mischievously. “I have other plans for you tonight, my love.”
 
Abraham unstrapped his gun belt and followed her toward the bedroom. Boy, was he surprised to find out that her ‘plans’ were not the ‘plans’ he thought they were. Instead, she pointed to a hole in the door. “That hole, as I recall, was supposed to be fixed days ago! You promised, Abraham, that you would fix it!”
 
“Tonight?” Abraham groaned. “Honey, I…”
 
“If you have time to go bother a couple who, by the way, have had a very rough day; then you have time to repair that hole!” Then she pointed to the dresser. “And that drawer has been broken for a whole month! Every morning you get mad when it doesn’t close and quite frankly, I’m tired of listening to your griping about it!”
 
 Abraham groaned as he started out the door to get his tools. “That’s the problem with being happily married…eventually, the Honeymoon ends!”
 
“What was that, dear?” Julie asked as she went to work on her sewing.
 
“Nothing, dear. Absolutely nothing.”
 
***
 
It was nine o’clock. Scott and Amanda sat at the kitchen table. Scott started drumming his fingers, waiting and listening. “You think they’re coming?” Amanda asked.
 
“Well…” Scott stood and walked to the window. “If they were going to come, surely they would have come by now!” He turned and looked at Amanda as he leaned against the window. “What do you say if we uh…turn in?” He smiled.
 
Amanda stood and walked over to him. She slowly put her arms around his neck and gave him a long, soothing kiss. “I think that’s a very good idea, Mr. Gibbs.”
 
On the way to the bedroom, Scott blew out the lamp on the living room table. He closed the door to the bedroom and went to sit on the bed. Slowly, he took off his boots as he watched her take her hair down. “You were beautiful, by the way.”
 
Amanda turned and smiled. “Thank you.”
 
Peter stood behind her. He looked at her through the mirror and slowly lifted a hand to brush against her cheek. She closed her eyes and lifted her head back as his hands tracked down her neck to the hem of her dress. He lowered his head, his lips finding her neck. Then he moved his hand down the front of her dress and began slowly unbuttoning it.
 
Amanda suddenly opened her eyes. “What’s that?” she asked as she grabbed Scott’s hands.
 
“What?” They paused and listened, but he didn’t hear anything. “It’s probably nothing.” He pressed his lips back onto her neck and started unbuttoning her dress again.
 
“Scott!” Amanda suddenly turned. “There’s something…something out there! I hear it!” Amanda buttoned her dress back up and opened the door to the bedroom.
 
That’s when he heard it – the metallic clanging in the distance. Peter hurried to the front door and opened it. “Blow out the light in the bedroom, honey. Maybe they’ll go away!”
 
Amanda ran into the bedroom and blew out the lantern. “Ouch!” she cried in the darkness after Scott heard a loud thump.
 
“What happened?”
 
“I banged my head on the door!” She joined Scott at the window. “If the lights are out, will they think we’re…You know…”
 
“We were getting ready to anyhow,” Scott answered.
 
“I know, Scott, but…”
 
“Shh…” Scott held up his hand as they rode into the yard making all kinds of noise.
 
The riders got down banging their pans and hollering. “Alright, you love birds! Come on out of there!” They all laughed and banged on the pots as they waited. “Come on now!” The spokesman – Able the telegrapher – said. “Come on you love birds! We know you aren’t sleeping!”
 
“Scott, do you participate in this?” Amanda asked, a bit taken aback by their disruption.
 
“Uh…I’m in here, honey…” Scott knew what she was asking, but chose to avoid a direct answer.
 
“You know what I mean!” She whispered loudly. “Do you participate in these?” Scott nodded. “Well, don’t you worry! You’ll never participate in another one of these again!”
 
Scott rolled his eyes as he watched out the window. “I think you’re making it worse by not going out there! Imagine what they’re thinking!”
 
“Oh now honey…every adult knows what a couple does on their wedding night.” Scott turned from the window. “It’s no big secret, you know.”
 
“I know, but…”
 
“Look!” Scott pointed out the window. “You see? They’re leaving!” Scott turned and smiled at Amanda. “Now we’ll have no more interruptions!”
 
They walked back into the bedroom. Scott unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off as Amanda stood nervously by the bed. He grinned as he slowly walked up to her. She stepped away with a sudden gasp. “What’s wrong now?”
 
“My head!” Amanda groaned. “I think it’s bleeding!”
 
Scott turned to light the lamp. “NO!”
 
“Honey, I have to light a lantern so I can look at your head!”
 
“But Scott…if you light the lamp, THEY will see it! They might come back!”
 
“Amanda, they’re gone!” Scott declared impatiently.
 
“How do you know?” Amanda folded her arms and went to look out the window. “How do you know somebody’s not out there just…watching…”
 
“Amanda…”
 
“Go check!” Amanda ordered.
 
“What???”
 
“Go check!” Scott stared at her in the darkness. Amanda gave him a push toward the door. “I want you to go outside with a lantern and look around!  Take your shotgun if you have to and check every inch of the yard!”
 
“Honey, I’ve done enough Shivarees to know that they don’t lurk around! The men are polite and…”
 
“POLITE???” Amanda put her hands on her hips. “How POLITE is it to come to a person’s house at NINE O’CLOCK at night, knowing what’s going on inside and stop that? Don’t they know how special it is supposed to be???”
 
“Special?” Scott grumbled as he lit the lantern and turned the wick all the way up. “Yeah…So why are we standing here arguing instead of in there in the bedroom…”
 
“Because!” Amanda shoved him toward the front door and handed him the shotgun. “I assure you that I won’t be able to relax until I KNOW for sure there is nobody still lurking out in the darkness!”
 
Scott went outside and did as he was told. He went from one corner of the yard to the other. When he saw nobody, he rolled his eyes and walked back into the house. “Well, there’s nobody…” He stopped when he saw Amanda at the stove cooking.”
 
“What the blazes are you doing???” Scott asked.
 
“I’m…fixing you something to eat. After the day you had, you MUST be hungry!”
 
“After the day I had, I’m tired! I want to go to bed!” Scott declared, a little more angry than impatient now.
 
“Would you like some coffee?”
 
“Would I…” Scott stopped when he saw the sparkle in Amanda’s eye. He put his hat on the hook and sat down at the table. Throwing his hands up in the air in defeat, he said, “Yes my love, I’d LOVE some coffee!”
 
He couldn’t help smiling as he allowed Amanda to serve him fried eggs and salt pork for a late-night supper. He sat politely and quietly, allowing her to have her way. Then he wiped his mouth and leaned forward. Brushing the hair away from her forehead, he gently touched the forming bruise. “Ouch!”
 
“Oh no…” Scott groaned. “I don’t believe this…of all the dumb luck!”
 
“What is it now?”
 
Scott stood up and went into the kitchen. He emerged with the medicine box and a wet cloth. “I’m afraid that the family is never going to let us live this night down.”
 
“Why? What’s wrong?” Amanda tried to get up so she could go look in the mirror.
 
Scott grabbed her arm and forced her to sit back down in the chair. “You stay still now! I want to clean it.” He wiped at her forehead, then shook his head after snapping the medicine box closed. “You are going to have an ugly bruise on your forehead.
 
“What???” Amanda stood and hurried across the room. She looked in a mirror. “Scott…” Her eyes grew wide. “Do you know what they are going to…”
 
Scott smiled as he slowly walked over to her. He turned her around and lightly kissed her forehead. “I know. We’ll worry about that tomorrow.” Scott turned and blew out the lantern for the last time that night. “But right now, we have more important things to discuss.”
 
“Oh?” Amanda sighed as he once again trailed kissed down her neck and unbuttoned her dress. “Like what?”
 
“Oh..I’m going to tell you all about my duties as…your husband.” Scott breathed hard as she suddenly reached up and kissed him hard on the lips. He picked her up in his arms, ignoring the pain in his leg as he carried her and laid her on the bed. They were soon undressed and in each other’s arms under the covers. Sleep didn’t come for some time as the couple took their time that night. All the frustrations and anxiety from earlier melted away as they made love that night.
 
In time, they fell asleep in each other’s arms.
 
***
It was well after ten o’clock. Abraham straightened up from his place on their bedroom floor and rubbed his back. Julie stood in the doorway and nodded as she studied her husband’s handy work. “Is there anything else you would like me to do tonight?”
 
“Yes,” Julie answered with a nod of her head.
 
Abraham slowly stood up and groaned. “Oh, now Julie…It’s after ten o’clock and I have a lot of work to do tomorrow! I want to go to bed!”
 
Julie swung the bedroom door closed and started unbuttoning her dress as she walked toward him. “Well Abe…that’s just the thing I want you to do.” She giggled as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “You worked hard tonight, my love and you deserve to relax.” She gave him a long, soothing kiss. “And if you’ll just come to bed, I’ll make sure you do just that…”
 
Abraham allowed her to lead him to the bed. She pushed him down on the side of the bed and straddled her legs on his lap. Then she gave him a long, passionate kiss.
 
***
 
The Newlyweds had not emerged from the bedroom when the Gibbs came home the next day. When they walked inside, they saw coffee cups, dishes, and the medicine box still sitting on the table. The shotgun was also there. Johnny slowly picked up the shotgun and turned to look at his mother. “I wonder what went on here last night…”
 
“Johnny Gibbs!” Margaret declared with a gasp.
 
“I mean with the shotgun!” Johnny argued. “Jeremiah told me that there was no one home when they came by at nine o’clock last night.”
 
Margaret helped her mother work on cleaning up the mess on the table. “Well, apparently they are here now,” she said.
 
Suddenly, they heard a loud thump come from Scott’s bedroom. Margaret and Jennifer straightened and turned to look toward the door. “What…” Johnny started.
 
“Perhaps we should have waited to come back.”
 
The bedroom door opened. Amanda, fully dressed, emerged from the room and smiled. “I’m sorry…we overslept.” She looked toward the table. “Oh, and I’m sorry about the mess. We had sort a…interesting night last night.”
 
“I’m sure you did…” Johnny grinned.
 
“Alright!” Jennifer tugged on Johnny’s ear. “You just march right out that door, mister, until yout find your manners! Go on now!”
 
Margaret, Beth, and Jennifer all three saw the bruise on Amanda’s forehead. They studied it silently but didn’t ask any questions about it. Scott emerged a couple minutes later grumbling and complaining. “Nobody’s fixed coffee yet?”
 
“I’m working on it!” Amanda declared. Then she smiled at her husband. “Good morning.”
 
“As soon as I have my coffee!” Scott declared as he walked back toward the bedroom. “Wake me when it’s ready.”
 
Amanda turned and looked at the Gibbs ladies. “Is he always this pleasant in the mornings?”
 
Margaret and Beth looked at each other and smiled. “YES!”
 
***
 
Margaret smiled as she watched Scott and Amanda sit together at the table. Scott whispered something in Amanda’s ear and she giggled. Then they stood from the table. Scott took Amanda’s hand and started toward the door. “We’re going for a walk, sis. We’ll be back later. Don’t wait up for us.”
 
Margaret turned and walked into her bedroom. After getting her diary out of the drawer and opening it, she wrote her intimate thoughts.
 
I often wonder what it would be like to have my own wedding. After watching the disastrous wedding Scott and Amanda had, I know all the things I can fear about my own. I imagine that someday I will marry Lucas, and when that day comes I want a big wedding with all kinds of flowers and a two-ring wedding! And if my Love forgets the rings, well…I suppose I’ll marry him anyhow. Oh, but I think I’ll ask him to give my brother the rings to hold onto, because I doubt Scott would want to go up against Lucas if he forgets them!
 
I wonder how long it will be before Lucas and I get married. I can’t help to picture him up on that platform holding my hands and looking deeply into my eyes. I can only imagine that smile on his face as he says those words…”I do.” Then he takes me in his arms and kisses me. Oh, and we’ll have to dance at our wedding! I want so badly to dance with Lucas the moment we’re married! I can just imagine it now. Then he’ll take me home to our very own place…they’ll be no living with other family for me! No, I want him all to myself!
 
Then maybe nine months later we’ll have ourselves a little boy or a little girl…Oh my, its grown warmer in here just thinking about that. Oh, I want it more than anything!
 
One thing’s for sure though – When I walk up that aisle on my wedding day, I’ll be walking into the waiting arms of Lucas McCain!

The Years Before — Loss

 

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

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