Laura and Adam stopped dancing and turned their heads toward Almanzo, who walked purposefully towards them with his eyes fixed on Laura.
"I'm not one to deny a man's right to dance with his own wife. I'll go see how Mary is doing.", Adam said cordially and then excused himself and went inside.
Adam was well aware that Laura and Almanzo had private matters to discuss as Mary had informed her husband of the morning confidences that Almanzo had shared with her. Mary had a difficult time keeping things from Adam. He was her best friend as well as her husband.
Almanzo held up his muscular arms in the proper position to lead a waltz, expecting that Laura would respond in the appropriate fashion. Instead, she threw herself against him and began sobbing into his shirt. Almanzo drew his arms around her tightly. As they stood embracing each other, the air shifted lightly and a few clouds began to gather overhead.
"Beth…I am so sorry. I didn't mean any of what I said to you.", he whispered. He thought of what Mary had told him about being gentle with Laura.
"I know you didn't mean what you said.", Laura answered through her tears.
"I don't know what got into me.", Almanzo voiced his mind.
Laura gathered herself and broke the tight hold that she had on Almanzo and slipped her hands into his.
"I do. When I was helping Ma and the doctor last night I started thinking about the morning he was born …and then…", Laura faltered.
"And then what", Almanzo asked quietly.
"The morning he left us…", she finished.
"I know. I was too. I was excited for Adam last night, but I kept thinking about Baby Wilder.", Almanzo admitted.
The wind picked up even more and the leaves on the oak tree in the yard began to sway. Laura felt a single drop of rain alight on her right hand, but she ignored it.
"I really hope that this girl of Mary's grows up to be great friends with Rose. I don't want any more loss in this family. It's just been too much.", Laura said and then silently offered a prayer for her older sister and for herself.
"Loss is part of life, Beth.", Almanzo said as he eyed the dark clouds in the sky. A few more drops of rain fell around and on them. Almanzo briefly thought about how the farm was doing, when Laura's words brought him back to the conversation.
"Of course it is…but Ma and Mary know just like I do how hard it is to lose a child. Just think…Adam Jr would have been five now and Baby Wilder would have been two…and Freddie….Ma hasn't talked about him in years, but I know she thinks about him!"
Almanzo interrupted Laura with a stern tone and put his hands on her shoulders to calm her.
"Beth, stop it…just stop it…don't do this to yourself. There is no point in thinking about what could have been. God has a bigger plan than we could ever hope to understand."
"I try to believe that…sometimes though it is so hard to see the purpose for such sadness.", Laura mused aloud.
"I don't think we will ever completely understand, but I know that we can't shut down forever when somebody we love is taken from us. If we did, we wouldn't be able to open our hearts to the people who need our love in the here and now."
"I know that you're right.", Laura sighed softly.
The rain was now falling quite steadily, but there were no signs of thunder yet. It was a simple summer evening shower and Almanzo enjoyed the soft rhythm of the rain upon his face.
"We should go inside.", Laura said and began to gather up her skirts so that they wouldn't get wet.
"But…I never got that dance.", Almanzo reminded her and he held his arms in waltz position again.
"In the rain?", Laura squeaked and then pursed her lips at him.
"Why not? I think it would be quite refreshing don't you?", Almanzo insisted.
Almanzo had the most infectious grin on his face. His smile made Laura feel like a teenager again. Laura couldn't help but put her right hand on his shoulder and her left hand in his right hand.
"And away we go.", Almanzo roared as they started to gallop around the yard and tried their best not to fall down even though their shoes were getting wet and dirty.
The young couple laughed at the precariousness of life as they danced. All that mattered at that moment was that they were holding each other in love.
"I don't believe it!", Adam said as he peered out of his bedroom window. He was holding Baby Kendall gently in his arms. He had been trying to rock the baby to sleep when he and Mary had heard laughter coming up from the backyard.
"What is it?", Mary called from their bed. The delivery had been difficult for Mary and the doctor recommended that she stay in bed for at least two to three days following the birth while she regained her strength.
"Your sister and Almanzo are dancing in the rain.", Adam told her with amusement.
"What?", Mary said, not sure if she had heard him correctly.
"…dancing in the rain…and kissing like love-struck newlyweds. They are completely soaked!", Adam added with a chuckle.
When Mary had formulated a mental picture to illustrate what Adam had just described to her an expansive smile spread across her face.