Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E.

After the Dance

By, Ashley J.

It was late, and the children had school in the morning. Matthew had offered to take Brian and Colleen home when the dance ended, because Michaela and Sully were showing no signs of being tired or wanting to part company for the evening.

Michaela had thanked her oldest son, and he'd taken the younger children home after Sully promised to get their ma home safely. Now they sat at a table at Grace's, sipping cider and smiling at one another from across the table.

Michaela still felt foolish, but Sully had eased her worries with a few tender words and a kiss. She did feel terrible about not trusting him, however. She knew in her heart that it wasn't trust that was the issue. It was her own insecurities and fears that she had let herself get carried away with. She especially regretted snapping at Sully the way she had after she found him with Dorothy and assumed the worst.

"Sully," Michaela began, placing her tin cup down onto the table. Sully did the same thing, knowing that whatever Michaela had to say was probably important. The look in her eyes worried him, but he knew this had something to do about her presumptions that he and Dorothy were having some kind of a torrid love affair. Sully knew, however, that Michaela was the only woman for him, and that all other women paled in comparison to her beauty and courageous heart.


"I'm sorry about everything."

"We don't need to talk about this right now, do we?"

"I think so," Michaela replied. Sully stood, and Michaela feared that he might walk away, but he extended his hand to her. Michaela smiled and nervously took it. His hand curled around hers, and their fingers intertwined. He threw two bits down on the table for the cider, and the two walked off down the deserted street. The band from the dance was still playing music, and as they walked toward the homestead, the music grew fainter and fainter.

"I'm sorry if I worried ya. I'm sorry I said ya didn't trust me."

"You had every right, Sully. I'm not used to this."

"Used to what?"

"Well, courting for example. I'm used to our friendship, and when you want to kiss and touch," she whispered, feeling herself blushing, "I feel like I'm ready, but I'm not sure that I am." Sully was confused now.

"What are ya sayin'? Ya just wanna be friends?" He hoped to God that wasn't what she was saying. He couldn't take just being her friend. He needed her love more than anything.

"No!" she said, nearly too loudly. Sully smiled, feeling reassured. "I'm saying that this is all new to me. I need a little time to adjust."

"Michaela, I think somethin' else is botherin' ya."

"What makes you think that?" Sully smiled, and his hands caressed her shoulders and moved down to rest upon her waist. Michaela's heart quickened at his touch, and she looked away. Sully tilted her chin up and she forced herself to look into his eyes.

"Michaela, you've never . . ."

"Sully!" Michaela exclaimed.


"It isn't proper to talk about those kinds of things together."

"Why not? I thought courtin' was when we're supposed to get to know each other."

"It is, but . . ." Michaela was at a loss for words. She knew Sully wasn't trying to pry, but he was trying to ask a very personal question. Michaela knew that he should know in order to understand why she was reluctant to touch and kiss as much as Sully wanted to.

It wasn't that she didn't want to, because she definitely enjoyed it, but she had been taught that it wasn't proper to display so much public affection.

Sully, on the other hand, had had no such upbringing. It wasn't as if that was a bad thing, but it was something Michaela needed time to adjust to. But, right now, as Sully's hands rested upon her waist in the middle of the empty street, everything was beginning to feel comfortable. She began to relax, but Sully drew away so Michaela could have some space. Michaela took a deep breath and swallowed hard.

"I've always believed it's proper to wait," she explained. Sully smiled at his heart song. Curiosity got the better of the doctor now, and she needed to know about Sully's relationship with Abagail. She felt like she was prying, but as Sully'd said before, courting involved getting to know one another better. "Sully? Did you and Abagail . . ."

"I respected Abagail," Sully broke in. "I respect you too." Michaela smiled, feeling the awkward moment beginning to fade.

"If I've upset you Sully, I'm sorry. I don't mean to push you away like I did when I was trying to teach you to dance."

"It's all new to ya," Sully pointed out. "Don't worry." He leaned in closely and looked into her eyes. She tilted her head back a little, and their lips met in a soft kiss. "I do love you, and I don't ever wanna do anything that's gonna hurt ya." They joined hands again and continued on down the road toward the homestead.

The bright full moon lit their path, and to Michaela, it was as if she could clearly see her own path and where she wanted to be. She knew in her heart that her shyness and hesitation would fade away, but she needed a little time to collect her thoughts. Sully was going to give her that time, and she knew that once she was ready to fully enjoy every aspect of their courtship, nothing would stop her from letting everyone see her true feelings for Sully.

As they reached the homestead, Sully let go of Michaela's hand and smiled when he saw Colleen and Brian peeking out the window.

"I'll see ya tomorrow." He turned to walk away.

"Wait," Michaela called after him. He turned, and Michaela smiled at him. She moved forward, taking her first steps toward getting over her worries and fears.

"The kids are watchin'," Sully warned.

"I won't let it bother me if it doesn't bother you," Michaela replied boldly. She gave him a smile, and stood upon her tiptoes as Sully pulled her into his arms, bringing her lips to his own. The children giggled at the window, and when Matthew swatted them away and ushered them off to bed, Michaela and Sully were left alone in the moonlight, enjoying one another and their courtship, all while they were thinking about the future to come.

The End